[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----IND., N.C.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 10 01:19:56 CST 2005
Shackled to a gurney with a needle in his arm, Donald Ray Wallace Jr.
could turn his head to face his witnesses.
Staring through the mini-blinds and into the execution chamber, his
witnesses heard a short, simple statement:
"I hope everyone can find peace with this."
He then signaled to his executioners, as required in an agrement to not
autopsy his body.
He was ready to die.
It took only minutes for the lethal mix of chemicals to flow into his
vein, paralyzing his lungs and stopping his heart. He was pronounced dead
at 12:23 a.m. today.
He was 47.
Outside the prison, the death penalty was protested.
Marti Pizzini, 64, Michigan City, a member of the Duneland Coalition to
Abolish the Death Penalty, brought candles, leaflets, a few tables and
"I'm not very religious, but I believe you do not solve the problem of
violence with more violence," said Pizzini, who said she has attended 10
In Evansville, meanwhile, relatives of Wallace's victims -- Patrick and
Theresa Gilligan and their 2 children -- gathered for a prayer service at
St. Theresa Catholic Church, where the Gilligans were married.
During the 40-minute service, the priest who notified family members of
the killings led a rosary.
Diana Harrington, of Louisville, Ky., the sister of Theresa Gilligan, told
about 200 who attended that Theresa and Pat Gilligan would have
appreciated the turnout and that their "children with their wonderful
manners and beautiful smiles would have welcomed you all."
Several in the church cried and dabbed their eyes.
In January 1980, the Gilligans returned to their home to find Wallace, who
had just been released from prison, police said. Wallace, in what he later
called a "frenzied blur," killed the couple and Lisa, 5, and Gregory, 4,
according to police and Wallace's own letters.
He was sentenced to death in October 1982.
In a recent interview with WTHR (Channel 13), The Indianapolis Star's
news-gathering partner, Wallace said he panicked during the burglary and
had no intention of embarking on a horrific killing spree. Rather, the
murders were a "moment of utter madness," he said.
"I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I can't change the past."
Wallace had instructed his Indianapolis attorney, Sarah Nagy, not to
submit a request for clemency. Nagy earlier this week said she thought
Wallace had "resigned himself to the ultimate penalty."
Wallace and his attorneys also reached an agreement to avoid a
post-execution autopsy, a standard procedure meant to provide evidence
that the person put to death was not abused and did not suffer needlessly.
Gov. Mitch Daniels reviewed Wallace's case at least twice, including
Wednesday. Daniels, a Republican, has said he has moral misgivings about
capital punishment but supports the death penalty in "the most heinous
State law allows the governor broad powers to grant clemency to those on
In July, then-Gov. Joe Kernan reduced the sentence of Darnell Williams,
who killed a Gary couple in 1986. It marked the 1st time in nearly a
half-century that an Indiana governor spared the life of a convicted
In January, Kernan, a Democrat, spared the life of an Indianapolis man,
Michael Daniels, convicted of murdering a minister during a robbery
Gov. Daniels spent Wednesday night at the official governor's residence,
4750 N. Meridian St.; it has a hotline to the State Prison.
5 protesters had gathered on the sidewalk outside the residence by 11
p.m.; 2 more stood on the other side of Meridian Street.
Karen Burkhart, of the local chapter of Amnesty International, carried a
sign declaring: "Execution is not the solution."
Referring to the death sentences Kernan commuted, she said "the reason he
stopped them was because he thought there were some major questions about
how death penalty cases were handled by the courts. We want Governor
Daniels to take the same approach."
Ed Towne, a retired Christian Theological Seminary professor, also showed
up for the protest.
"When you have a man in custody, you don't have to kill him in order to
protect society from him," Towne said.
Wallace's execution could be the 1st of a series of clemency decisions
Daniels faces this year. On April 21, the state is scheduled to execute
William J. Benefiel, 48, for torturing and killing an 18-year-old Terre
Haute woman in 1987.
Outside the sprawling, chain-linked State Prison, death penalty opponents
prepared to gather late into the night, braving a bitter wind chill.
Rows of satellite TV trucks lined a parking lot across from the prison
entrance just hours before Wallace's scheduled death.
A bitter cold breeze off Lake Michigan kept protesters sitting in their
idling cars as they waited for the execution.
Robert Dhoore, 64, South Bend, braved the elements long enough to carry 2
signs over to a small folding chair to claim his spot for a rally. A
veteran protester at state executions, Dhoore came prepared.
"I've got my 2 sets of pants, 2 sweatshirts. And I got a pail in the car
just in case," he said.
There are no public restrooms outside the prison.
But the protests go on anyway along Hitchcock Road, the 2-lane street
alongside the sprawling State Prison property. On this night, it was
crowded with traffic. A few cars honked as they drove by.
Dhoore, a Catholic who attends church on the campus of the University of
Notre Dame, is eager to share the message on his well-worn signs, one of
which begins: "We are called to love our enemies."
"What more can I say?" said Dhoore. "I do not believe in the death penalty
for any reason at any time. It's gotta stop."
It was not a sentiment shred by Mark Hamner, 37, an Indianapolis Police
Department officer who drove to the prison with 2 friends to support the
death penalty. They set up a camping stove on a card table and cooked
hamburgers and beans for dinner.
"We came up here to protest the protesters," Hamner said. "Most of the
time, it's the protesters that get the press. We are here to show that the
majority of this state does favor the death penalty."
Not all of the protesters of Thursday's execution were outside the walls
of the prison. Holly Saylor, 46, Greenwood, said she was on the list to be
a witness to the execution, courtesy of her 2-year friendship with
She said she began corresponding with Wallace, who she met through her
husband, who was incarcerated at the same time.
"Society as a whole just throws these people away," Saylor said. "He
(Wallace) has admitted his guilt, and he is ready to pay the price. But he
is going to be very missed."
Wallace becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Indiana, and the 12th overall since the state resumed capital punishment
Wallace becomes the 9th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 953rd overall since America resumed executions on January
(sources: Courier-Press, Indianapolis Star, Associated Press & Rick
NORTH CAROLINA----impending execution
N.C. high court denies death row appeal
The fate of a Cleveland County man now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court
or N.C. Gov. Mike Easley.
On Wednesday, William "Bugsy" Powell, 58, lost his latest appeal to the
N.C. Supreme Court and is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 2 a.m.
Friday at Central Prison in Raleigh.
What happens next: Powells attorneys made a final appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon. They expect an answer today.
Barring that, they are hopeful that Easley will grant clemency. He could
rule that Powell be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The witness list: On Wednesday, prison officials released the list of
witnesses to the execution.
They are Cleveland County District Attorney Bill Young; Assistant DA Rick
Shaffer; two Cleveland County sheriffs deputies, Lt. Rick Beaver and Lt.
David F. Crow; two members of the victims family, Keith and Ricky Carroll;
and three media witnesses, Bill Holmes of The Associated Press, Tracey
Early of News 14 in Raleigh and Star court reporter Amelia Townsend.
The crime: Powell was convicted in 1993 for the beating death of Mary
Gladden of Cleveland County.
On Halloween night 1991, Powell went into the convenience store where Mrs.
Gladden worked to steal money to buy drugs. According to court documents,
Mrs. Gladden was beaten with a tire tool and died at the store.
(source: The Shelby Star)
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