death penalty news----TEXAS, ARK., USA, WIS., MASS., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Nov 15 22:50:14 CST 2005
Killer in Houston crack house shooting executed
A habitual drug user was executed this evening for the slayings of 2
people at a Houston crack house 12 years ago.
"I would like to apologize to the victims' family and all the grief I have
caused them," Robert Dale Rowell said in a brief final statement as the
mother, sister and brother of one of his victims watched through a window.
"I would like to say I love the girls next to them," he said, referring to
6 women he selected to watch him die. Several of them sobbed. Then he
said, "Praise the Lord. Let's go warden. That's it."
Rowell, 50, snorted twice as the drugs began taking effect. He was
pronounced dead 9 minutes later at 6:24 p.m. CST.
Rowell already had been to prison, where records showed he fatally
stabbing a fellow inmate while serving a sentence for robbery, and was
free under mandatory supervision when he was arrested for the 1993
shooting spree that sent him to death row.
His execution was the 1st of 2 scheduled in Texas on consecutive nights
this week. He was the 18th prisoner this year to receive lethal injection
in the nation's most active capital punishment state. Condemned inmate
Shannon Thomas was to follow him to the death chamber gurney Wednesday
night for a triple slaying in Baytown on Christmas Eve in 1993.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to review Rowell's case and no
late legal attempts were made to spare him.
Raymond Mata, 38, and Irvin Wright, 52, were killed May 10, 1993, when
Rowell showed up at Wright's house before dawn complaining about paying
too much for some crack cocaine. Mata also was living their with his wife,
"He always had a dope problem," said Kelly Siegler, the Harris County
district attorney who prosecuted the capital murder case and used Rowell's
extensive criminal history to persuade jurors to send him to death row.
Wright was beaten with a claw hammer. Then all three were herded into a
bathroom where they were shot in a bathtub. Perez was seriously wounded
but survived to testify against him.
Rowell was arrested a short time later at an auto repair shop where he
worked. Police found a .22-caliber revolver with six spent cartridge
casings and a bank bag belonging to Wright.
Rowell declined to speak with reporters as his death date approached.
Witnesses at his trial described him as depressed, introverted,
psychopathic and a chronic drug user who turned violent while under the
influence of drugs.
Rowell 1st went to prison in 1974 at age 18 with 10- and 12-year
concurrent sentences for armed robbery. He was paroled 4 1/2 years later.
A 1980 robbery spree that included a shootout with a Houston police
officer at a restaurant ended with his arrest while he hid under a car in
a parking lot and got him a 30-year sentence. 2 years later, prison
records show he fatally stabbed a fellow inmate at the Ramsey I prison in
Brazoria County, earning him a manslaughter conviction and another 8-year
prison term. In June 1991, however, he was released under mandatory
supervision only to be arrested 2 years later for the crack house
Rowell becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this
year, and the 354th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982.
Rowell becomes the 115th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas
since Rick Perry became Governor of the state in 2001.
Rowell becomes the 51st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 995th overall since executions were resumed on January 17,
1977. There are 6 more executions scheduled across the country this month,
and if all are carried out, the nation will execute its 1000th condemned
inmate in Virginia on November 30. The death penalty was re-legalized in
the USA on July 2, 1976.
Thomas was to follow Rowell to the death chamber 24 hours later. One other
execution is scheduled in Texas for December. If carried out, the 20
lethal injections would be 3 less than a year ago. A record 40 were
carried out in 2000.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Arkansas Parole Board Recommends Execution Go Forward
The state parole board says the November 28 execution of condemned killer
Eric Nance should go forward as planned.
The board rejected arguments from Nance's attorneys that he is mentally
retarded and cannot legally be executed. His lawyers also say DNA tests
could exonerate him of attempted rape, an underlying crime that was used
to convict Nance of capital murder in the 1993 death of an 18-year-old
Malvern woman in 1993.
The panel voted 6-1 to recommend that Governor Huckabee turn down Nance's
Huckabee spokesman Alice Stewart says the governor takes all executions
seriously and will take the recommendation under advisement. Meanwhile,
U.S. District Judge James Moody is to hear a request from Nance's lawyers
Wednesday for a stay of execution.
The 45-year-old Nance was convicted of the murder of Julie Heath, whose
throat was cut.
(source: KAIT news)
Death Penalty Sought Against Suspect in 1984 Slaying
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a 2nd suspect in the
slaying 21 years ago of convenience store clerk Bradley Newell Perry.
Arraignment of Wade Maughan, 50, on a capital murder charge has been
continued to Dec. 5, Deputy Box Elder County Attorney Kevin McGaha said
Maughan was interviewed in Washington state by Box Elder detectives about
Perry's murder earlier this month, and he was transported to Utah on
The county attorney's office is also seeking the death penalty for Glenn
Howard Griffin, 47, of Logan, who was charged earlier.
Police arrested Griffin after they said they matched his DNA with blood on
a dollar bill found at the crime scene when Perry was slain.
Perry, 22, was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death on May 26, 1984, at
the Texaco Short Stop convenience store on U.S. Highway 89.
Authorities considered more than 300 suspects, processed hundreds of
fingerprints and investigated countless tips over the years, with more
than 13 agencies working on the case.
Earlier this year, they got a call from the Utah Crime Lab, which reported
that Griffin's DNA, a sample of which was taken when he entered federal
prison in 2004, matched blood on a dollar bill a perpetrator, pretending
to work at the station, gave 2 customers immediately after the slaying.
The blood on the bill and the man's clothes made the customers suspicious
and they contacted law enforcement after leaving.
The customers said the man left the store in a truck with another man.
Griffin and Maughan are being held at the Box Elder County Jail without
(source: Associated Press)
Senator Wants To Reinstate Wisconsin's Death Penalty
Teresa Halbach's slaying has one state senator pushing to reinstate
Wisconsin's death penalty.
Sen. Alan Lasee introduced a measure in February that would allow voters
to decide whether Wisconsin should bring back the death penalty.
The referendum only applies to cases of multiple murders.
Lasee said the Halbach case is so gruesome he wants to amend the
referendum so it would apply to any vicious murder with DNA evidence.
Mass. lawmakers reject bill to restore death penalty
Massachusetts lawmakers rejected on Tuesday a bill that would have revived
capital punishment in a liberal U.S. state that has not put anyone to
death since 1947, defeating a proposal by its Republican governor.
Gov. Mitt Romney, who is considering a run for the White House in 2008,
proposed the bill in April with "virtually foolproof" provisions untested
in other states that he said would have ensured Massachusetts only
executed the guilty.
It was roundly defeated by 100 votes to 53.
"There is no guarantee under this bill, or under any other death penalty
bill, that we wouldn't execute an innocent person," said Rep. David
Linsky, a Democrat who worked as a state prosecutor for 14 years.
"Executing an innocent person is not something a civilized society should
even consider doing," he added.
The bill would have applied capital punishment only in certain 1st-degree
murder cases and required "conclusive scientific evidence" such as DNA or
fingerprints that links a suspect to the crime scene, the weapon or a
It would have demanded a sentencing jury to find there was "no doubt"
about a defendant's guilt, a tougher standard than the current "beyond a
Romney unveiled the bill weeks before the May 13 execution in neighboring
Connecticut of convicted serial killer Michael Ross -- the first person
executed in New England in 45 years.
Massachusetts is one of 12 U.S. states without the death penalty. The
governor's opponents said that by not allowing capital punishment the
state already ensures that innocent people are not executed.
Josh Rubenstein, northeast regional director of Amnesty International USA,
said Massachusetts has not executed anyone since 1947 and there was no
reason for that to change now.
"The bill is supposed to rely so much on scientific evidence that reduces
the possibility of human error. But it doesn't eliminate human error,"
said Rubenstein. "There were many problems with this bill."
A 1997 push to reimpose the death penalty in Massachusetts failed by a
single vote in the state House of Representatives, but Rubenstein said he
is confident there is greater opposition to such a measure now.
OHIO----clemency denied for impending execution
Board recommends denying clemency in 2 deaths
In Columbus, the Ohio Parole Board recommended Tuesday that Gov. Bob Taft
deny clemency to a man scheduled to die by injection this month for the
1985 murders of his mother-in-law and 5-year-old stepdaughter.
John R. Hicks strangled his mother-in-law, bought cocaine with money he
stole from her and later returned to her Cincinnati apartment, high on the
drugs, to kill his stepdaughter. Hicks, 49, is scheduled to die Nov. 29.
In a report issued Tuesday, the board acknowledged that Hicks' judgment
had been impaired by drug use, but they said the brutality of his crimes
overruled the lapse in judgment and his good behavior in prison.
Earlier this month, Hicks described the crimes to a parole board member,
crying as he recalled his close relationship with the victims, 56-year-old
Maxine Armstrong and 5-year-old Brandy Green. He blamed his cocaine use
and said he strangled Armstrong so he could rob her and buy more drugs.
He returned to the apartment after buying $50 of cocaine to kill Brandy,
who he feared could identify him as Armstrong's last visitor. He attempted
to smother her and finally bound her mouth and nose with duct tape.
In a hearing last week, defense attorney Marc Mezibov said the jury had
not understood the extent of Hicks' cocaine problem or what effect it had
on his actions.
But Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Ronald Springman said
investigators had found no signs of mental illness.
"Hicks is asking for mercy, but he gave no mercy to the victims," he told
A court-appointed psychologist said Hicks had not suffered from a
cocaine-induced psychosis when he committed the murders. Hicks had acted
purposefully when he returned to the apartment and smothered Green, he
Ohio has executed 18 men since reinstating the death penalty in 1999.
Hicks' execution would be the fourth this year.
On the Net: Clemency reports:
(source: Associated Press)
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