[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----FLA., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Nov 28 12:39:16 CST 2005
Prosecutor: Smith should be executed ---- Defense blames drug addiction
for Brucia murder
A former auto mechanic should be executed because he killed Carlie Brucia
in order to cover up evidence that he had kidnapped and raped the
11-year-old girl, a prosecutor said Monday.
Joseph Smith's desire to avoid arrest for the abduction and sexual battery
of the girl was 1 of 6 "aggravators" that justify a recommendation of
death, prosecutor Debra Riva told jurors on the first day of the
sentencing phase of Smith's trial.
Smith wanted "to eliminate Carlie as a witness," Riva said. "The defendant
did not have to kill the girl."
Other aggravating circumstances, Riva said, include that the victim was
under 12, Smith was on probation for possession of cocaine at the time of
the murder, and the slaying was premeditated and "heinous, atrocious and
Defense attorney Carolyn DaSilva asked jurors to recommend sparing Smith's
life. She noted that he had battled back pain, depression and drug
addiction for the past dozen years, and said relatives, friends and a
drug-addiction expert would testify how "a man with good qualities could
have fallen so far."
"You will hear from witnesses who can tell you about Joe's good qualities
... even though he was unable to control his drug addiction," DaSilva
said. "You will hear from people who care about Joseph Smith, and that his
life has value."
Her slaying received worldwide attention because her abduction on February
1, 2004, was captured by a car wash surveillance camera. Her body was
found 5 days later outside a church.
Circuit Judge Andrew Owens, who ultimately will decide the sentence, said
he would give the jurors' recommendation "great weight." Over the
objections of the defense, the judge also said he would allow jurors to
listen to victim impact statements from Carlie's father, mother,
stepfather and a teacher.
The same jury convicted Smith on November 17 of kidnapping, sexual battery
and 1st-degree murder. Carlie's murder spurred the introduction of federal
and state legislation to crack down on probation violators.
Jurors must consider aggravating circumstances that would justify a
recommendation of death by lethal injection and mitigating circumstances
that would persuade jurors to recommend life in prison without parole.
Their vote does not have to be unanimous.
(source: Associated Press)
Press Release----For Immediate Release
November 28, 2005 Contact: Sister Alice Gerdeman 513-579-8547
Ohio Prepares for 19th Execution Since 1999 As the Country Prepares to
Mark the 1000th Execution,
John Hicks is 999th Execution
The nation is watching the count, 999 Hicks in Ohio, 1000 Lovitt in
Virginia. This countdown is causing many people of good will to question
the application of the death penalty in the US. More and more people
understand that the death penalty makes mistakes, disproportionately
affects the poor and people of color, doesn't deter crime, and is
expensive, arbitrary, and immoral.
John Hicks, a Hamilton County man who committed his crimes while in a
cocaine psychosis, has expressed great remorse. "He is not the worst of
the worst. His life has value," according to Sister Alice Gerdeman,
chairperson of Ohioans to Stop Executions. "John Hicks committed a
terrible crime but execution will not make society safer or better. This
case, like so many others, is about revenge not justice."
"The death sentence is not the inevitable result in this case. This case
points out once again however, the arbitrary and senseless use of the
death penalty. John admitted his guilt and expressed his remorse
voluntarily and almost immediately following the incident. Neither the
interest of the victim's family nor those of society will be in any way
served now by taking another life." says Hick's defense attorney Marc
Mezibov of Mezibov and Jenkins in Cincinnati.
Vigils are scheduled throughout Ohio including a witness tomorrow morning
outside the prison. People of good will from throughout the state will
gather outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility starting at 8:30am
and remain in witness until the time of death.
OTSE is committed to a moratorium on executions in Ohio. Over 100 Ohio
organizations have joined the call for a moratorium and thorough review of
the state's death penalty system, including the city councils of
Cincinnati, Dayton, Oberlin and Yellow Springs. Nationwide, over 3,900
national and local groups, businesses, and faith communities have called
for a halt to executions, including 142 local governments.
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