[Deathpenalty]death penalty news---MO., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 15 23:27:09 CST 2005
Court refuses to block execution despite mental-retardation claim
The Missouri Supreme Court on Monday refused to halt the execution of
Stanley Hall, despite claims that the condemned killer is mentally
The court offered no explanation in its one-line ruling. Hall's attorney,
Nelson Mitten, said he would appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Gov. Matt Blunt was weighing a clemency request.
Hall, 37, is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the
Potosi Correctional Center for the 1994 murder of Barbara Jo Wood of St.
Louis County. His execution would be the 62nd since the state renewed the
death penalty in 1989 and the first since John Clayton Smith was put to
death Oct. 29, 2003.
Mitten said Hall was disappointed by the ruling. Hall's wife, Stephanie
Hall, said: "He's holding strong. He's forgiven himself, God's forgiven
The U.S. Supreme Court banned executions of the mentally retarded in 2002,
and Missouri issued a similar ban a year earlier.
In an appeal to the state Supreme Court on Thursday, Mitten wrote that he
recently discovered an IQ test taken when Hall was 7 showing a score of
57, which would indicate he was mentally retarded. Mitten said Hall's
trial lawyer had failed to cite the test.
But subsequent testing has shown Hall's IQ in the 70-75 range, which
Attorney General Jay Nixon characterized as borderline mentally retarded,
making Hall eligible for the death penalty.
On Jan. 15, 1994, Hall and a friend borrowed a car and drove to South
County Mall in search of a car to steal. The men approached Wood, who
worked at a store in the mall, as she pulled her car into a parking spot.
They pulled a gun and drove her to the McKinley Bridge over the
Wood was forced out of the car and shot. Still struggling and pleading for
her life, Hall lifted her over the bridge railing. She dropped 90 feet
into the icy river. Witnesses notified police, who captured Hall minutes
after the crime.
Hall confessed. Wood's body was found 7 1/2 months later about 70 miles
(source: Associated Press)
Peterson's Death Penalty Decision Comes Wednesday----Jurors Reportedly
Mulling Book Deal
Scott Peterson faces a life-or-death court hearing on Wednesday.
Peterson is scheduled to learn at his formal sentencing whether he'll face
the death penalty. He was convicted in November in the deaths of his
pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son. The jury that convicted him
also recommended the death penalty.
But the judge will have other decisions to make on Wednesday, too.
On Monday, Peterson's lawyers filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that
newly discovered evidence could have brought a different verdict.
Scott Peterson's attorneys accused prosecutors of withholding key evidence
that a state prison inmate claimed to have information about Laci
Peterson's disappearance. The inmate said he was told the pregnant
schoolteacher had interrupted a burglary at a neighbor's home.
Peterson's attorneys claimed that information was buried in thousands of
pages of documents. Prosecutors countered that the defense simply missed
the details in its haste to take the case to trial.
Meantime, KCRA-tv IN Sacramento, Calif., reported that some of the jurors
who convicted Scott Peterson are teaming up to write a book.
Starting this week, the jurors are allowed to sell their story. Under
state law they could not accept payment for information for 90 days, and
as such have been reluctant to discuss details.
"I certainly couldn't get involved in anything to make money over such a
terrible thing, but if there was one and if I were to get involved with
it, it would certainly have to take into consideration something that
would pay respect to the memory of Laci and Conner Peterson," juror Mike
"It could be a possibility, no one's approached me, I haven't written a
book. (It's) something I've thought about at times but right now I am
mainly focused on my work, my career," juror John Guinasso said.
KCRA confirmed that as many as 11 of the jurors have scheduled a meeting
with an attorney for later this week to discuss a book deal.
Many of the jurors are expected to be in court Wednesday as Peterson is
formally sentenced. Many said they hope being there in person will give
Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, faxed a letter to the media Tuesday,
expressing her anger that she cannot get more seats in the courtroom for
Laci's family and friends.
"Laci would be sooooo upset to know that the people who worked so hard to
find her, and worked so hard to put Scott in prison, won't be allowed to
witness his sentencing," the fax read. "She would be heartbroken to know
her family and dearest, lifelong friends won't be allowed to witness the
sentencing of the man who murdered her because their seats were taken by
people who felt their need to be part of the circus atmosphere in the
courtroom far outweighs the needs of Laci's loved ones to witness justice
being served on her and Conner's behalf."
The court is reporting that the family requested and got 21 seats.
(source: The LouisvilleChannel)
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