[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----NEV., WIS., OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 23 22:46:51 CST 2005
NEVADA----stay of impending execution
Nevada high court stays scheduled execution
The scheduled Dec. 1 execution of convicted double-murderer Daryl Mack was
stayed Wednesday by the Nevada Supreme Court.
The high court had been petitioned by Mack's mother to stop her son's
lethal injection at the Nevada State Prison and order another hearing to
determine whether he was competent to waive available appeals.
Mack claims he didn't commit the murder that led to his death sentence but
wants to die anyway.
Viola Mack, through Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael Pescetta,
said in her "next friend" petition, filed Monday, that Mack deserves "a
full and fair" competency hearing.
Pescetta said the Reno judge who ruled that Mack, 47, was competent to
waive further appeals failed to consider the fact that Mack is being
involuntarily injected with a powerful psychotropic drug. The defender
said the use of such drugs to make Mack competent violates his
Pescetta also said Washoe District Judge Robert Perry failed to consider
whether Mack's claim that he didn't kill Betty May, who was sexually
assaulted and strangled in her Reno home, "is the result of a delusion
produced by mental illness."
The defender added that the judge failed to ensure Mack's right to
effective legal counsel. He added that an attorney in earlier proceedings
didn't seek a hearing where 3 psychiatrists who had clashing opinions on
Mack's competency could be questioned.
Mack was serving a no-parole life term in prison for murdering Kim Parks
in 1994 in a Reno motel when he was linked through DNA evidence to May's
murder and convicted. A 3-judge panel sentenced him to death in 2002.
11 men have been executed in Nevada following the U.S. Supreme Court's
ruling in the 1970s that cleared the way for capital punishment to resume
in this country. 10 of those who died in Nevada were inmates who declined
to file appeals that would have kept them alive.
The last execution in Nevada was that of Terry Jess Dennis, who died in
August 2004 for strangling a woman in a Reno motel in 1999.
(source: Associated Press)
Avery's case helps spark talk of reinstating death penalty
Weeks ago, state lawmakers called Steven Avery the poster boy for law
changes designed to help ensure no man would spend time in prison for a
crime he did not commit.
Now, with Avery back behind bars after being charged with the grisly
murder of a 25-year-old photographer, some lawmakers are citing him in
their push to resurrect the death penalty in Wisconsin.
"It's sad that this murder occurs but it brings the whole issue of the
death penalty back in the news," said state Senate President Alan Lasee,
R-De Pere, who has fought to bring back capital punishment for decades.
Wisconsin's 1853 ban on the practice is the longest-standing one of any of
the 12 states without it. Attempts to reinstate the punishment - which
resulted in 4 hangings in the 1840s and 1850s - have repeatedly failed
over the past 152 years.
Lasee's plan, introduced in February, calls for a nonbinding referendum
asking voters whether the state should use the death penalty in cases
involving multiple murders and strong DNA evidence.
The lawmaker said he is so incensed by the murder and mutilation of Teresa
Halbach in his eastern Wisconsin district that he will amend the
resolution to apply to single murders.
"It's pretty gruesome what happened to her," he said.
But Avery illustrates the danger that authorities could put innocent
people to death, said Keith Findley, co-director of the Wisconsin
Innocence Project, which helped free Avery from prison in 2003 for the
1985 rape he did not commit. "It is in the end a human system and it
cannot be made infallible," Findley said.
Avery, 43, was charged with 1st-degree murder and mutilation of a corpse
earlier this month after investigators said they found Halbach's remains,
including teeth and bone fragments, at his family's property near
Mishicot. Halbach disappeared Oct. 31 after she went to the Avery family's
auto salvage business to take a picture of a vehicle for sale.
The next day, lawmakers gave final approval to a series of criminal
justice reforms known as the "Steven Avery bill" designed to prevent
wrongful convictions. Avery was exonerated after DNA evidence showed
another man already serving time for sexual assault committed the rape.
Gov. Jim Doyle and lawmakers appeared with Avery at a news conference in
August to endorse the reforms recommended by the so-called Avery task
force. Doyle is expected to soon sign the resulting legislation, which
would expedite DNA tests that could exonerate prisoners and force police
to adopt written policies on using witnesses to identify suspects.
Lasee's resolution for a death penalty referendum, which could get a
public hearing as early as next week, needs to pass the Senate and the
Assembly before it could appear on statewide ballots next year. If voters
support bringing back the death penalty, lawmakers would still have to
pass a bill doing so and have the governor sign it into law.
State Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, meanwhile, introduced a bill last
week to reinstate the death penalty in cases in which a person is charged
with murder, sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse. Avery would not
qualify since prosecutors have not charged him with sexual assault.
Reynolds said it was a coincidence his bill was introduced as Avery's case
dominated the headlines, though he felt that may help his cause. He said
he started looking into the bill after a convicted sex offender murdered
and dismembered a 19-year-old woman he lured into his West Allis apartment
"When a murderer takes somebody else's life, their life should be taken,"
ON THE NET----Wisconsin Legislature: http://www.legis.state.wi.us
(source: Associated Press)
Federal Jury Gives Death Penalty To County Man
After 8 hours of deliberation, a federal jury decided early Saturday
morning that a Sequoyah County man deserved the death penalty for the 1999
shooting death of Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) Trooper David "Rocky"
Eales during a drug raid.
Jurors found Kenneth Eugene Barrett, 45, guilty Nov. 4 of three federal
charges. U. S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling reported that Barrett was
sentenced to death for intentionally killing a state law enforcement
officer engaged in the performance of his duty. The defendant was also
sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release for both u
sing or carrying a firearm during and in relationship to a drug
trafficking crime with death resulting and using or carrying a firearm
during and in relationship to a federal crime of violence, with death
Barrett was not present to hear the jury's decision.
Witnesses finished their testimony last week in the sentencing phase of
the trial. The sentencing phase involved the prosecution presenting
aggravating factors, and the defense presenting mitigating factors, which
are matters that must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. The
jury then weighed whether the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating
"This jury heard all the relevant facts and saw to the core of the case -
the defendant murdered one law enforcement officer and tried to murder
another," Sperling said.
"While the jury found multiple mitigating factors urged by Barrett,
including that he had been previously tried, sentenced and convicted for
the death of the victim in Sequoyah County, they found that the
aggravating factors sufficiently outweighed any possible mitigation as to
warrant a sentence of death," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Littlefield
This is the 3rd trial Barrett has faced. Barrett's 1st state trial ended
with a deadlocked jury, while Barrett was convicted of a lesser charge of
manslaughter by a Sequoyah County jury during his 2nd state trial last
year. The 2nd jury gave Barrett a combined 30-year prison sentence for the
death of Eales and the wounding of another trooper, who were shot while
trying to serve a night time, no-knock drug search warrant at Barrett's
rural home northwest of Sallisaw.
Barrett's formal sentencing is set for Dec. 7.
(source: Sequoyah County Times)
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