[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----FLA., OHIO, N.C., TENN., ARK.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Sep 27 00:33:37 CDT 2005
Jury To Hear Closing Arguments In Triple-Murder Case
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to make closing arguments
this afternoon in the 1st-degree murder trial of Chip Carter, accused of
gunning down his girlfriend, her boyfriend and her daughter 3 years ago.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday morning. The state
will request the death penalty if Carter is convicted.
On Friday, Carter took the stand in his own defense and admitted to jurors
that he accidentally pulled the trigger on 16-year-old Courtney Smith
during a struggle with her mother, Liz Reed, for his loaded, .22-caliber
rifle in July 2002.
"Liz had both hands on the barrel," Carter said. "She pulled and, 'Boom!'
Courtney fell instantly. I turned around toward Courtney, and that's when
I shot Liz."
Carter's testimony came after the prosecution called its last witness, a
firearms expert who said the rifle Carter used had to have the trigger
pulled each time. His testimony was intended to bolster the prosecution's
contention that the shootings were premeditated.
Carter testified that after he shot Reed and Smith, he turned the gun on
her boyfriend, Glenn Pafford.
"I turned (the rifle) with one arm to Mr. Pafford and shot him," Carter
said. "I can only remember (shooting him) two times, but apparently it was
When cross-examined by prosecutors about why he shot Pafford and Reed,
Carter had no explanation.
"I didn't know," Carter said. "I dont know why. I just did. I was
depressed and hurt and didn't know what was going on."
Carter's attorney, Bill White, presented photographs to the jury that he
hoped would counter the prosecution's claim that the accused intended to
kill the victims.
Among the pictures shown to jurors were trips to Disney World with Reed
and her four children; a cruise to the Western Caribbean; and a glamour
"I turned (the rifle) with one arm to Mr. Pafford and shot him," Chip
Carter testified Friday. "I can only remember (shooting him) two times,
but apparently it was 3."
After the shootings, prosecutors said Carter spent more than a year
running from the law, swimming across the Rio Grande to Mexico before his
arrest on a weapons charge.
Thursday, in an unusual move to an already unusual trial, Carter's brother
and sister testified against their sibling.
Steve Carter and Cindy Starling took the stand for the prosecution. They
were subpoenaed to speak about two notes that were written by Carter
shortly after the slayings.
Steve Carter said one note, which read, "Momma, I want to be cremated.
Love, Chip," was so alarming to his mother that he testified she woke him
up early the morning after the killings. He said he rushed to Reed's home
hoping to find his brother, but instead found the house surrounded by
Note investigators found at the home of Chip Carter's mother just hours
after the murders.
Starling told jurors about a second note written for her that read, "I'm
sorry Cindy. I want to be cremated. Love, Chip."
Carter faces the death penalty if convicted of 1st-degree murder. White is
arguing that the shootings were crimes of passion and not premeditated.
Closing arguments in the trial will begin Monday at 1:30 p.m.
TIMELINE OF MURDERS, MANHUNT
July 24, 2002 - Elizabeth Reed, 35, and Glenn Pafford, 49, are shot and
killed in just after midnight at Reed's Arlington home. Reed's 16-year-old
daughter, Courtney Smith, is also shot and in critical condition.
July 25, 2002 - Police announce they want to question Reed's former
boyfriend, Pickney "Chip" Carter, in connection with the murders.
July 27, 2002 - Courtney Smith dies at Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center.
Aug. 8, 2002 - Carter is located in a Mexican jail. He was arrested on a
weapons charge after allegedly swimming across the Rio Grande River from
Texas with a gun. He refused to talk with Jacksonville homicide
Nov. 27, 2002 - Carter pays $1,000 and walks out of the Mexican jail. The
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wasn't told of the release for a month, then
kept it quiet until February 2003 as they tried to locate him.
April 2003 - Carter featured as fugitive on "America's Most Wanted."
November 2003 - Carter featured in People magazine.
Dec. 9, 2003 - State Attorney Harry Shorstein reluctantly tells Mexican
authorities that prosecutors will not seek the death penalty if they can
find and extradite Carter.
Jan. 1, 2004 - A man identifying himself as "Rodney Vonthun" is arrested
for public intoxication by Kentucky State Police.
Jan. 6, 2004 - "Vonthun" is rearrested and identified as Carter.
Jan. 8, 2004 - Carter extradited to Jacksonville.
Jan. 15, 2004 - Grand jury indicts Carter on 3 counts of 1st-degree
Jan. 20, 2004 - At his arraignment, Carter pleads not guilty.
Sept. 19, 2005 - Murder trial of Chip Carter begins.
Man convicted of killing 4 doesn't pursue clemency
A man sentenced to death for killing 4 men, including an Air Force veteran
home visiting friends, is not asking for mercy ahead of his scheduled
execution next month.
Willie Williams Jr., convicted in the 1991 killings of four people at a
Youngstown housing project, instructed the state public defender not to
make any presentation on his behalf to the Ohio Parole Board, his attorney
"My client has decided not to formally pursue clemency," Joe Wilhelm,
chief counsel of the public defender's death penalty division, told the
"I would love to sit here before the board and make impassioned arguments
on his behalf, based on my personal beliefs and what I believe would be
better for society," Wilhelm said. "But unfortunately, that's not my role
before the board."
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his request last year to
overturn his conviction and grant a new trial.
The 2-1 decision said Williams failed to present evidence to support his
claim that the jury was biased toward capital punishment.
A dissenting judge said he would have thrown out the conviction because it
appeared that the trial court allowed the prosecutor to load the jury with
jurors who said they favored the death penalty.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that decision, and
Williams has no appeals left, Wilhelm said.
Williams planned to kill three alleged drug dealers, Alfonda Madison,
William Dent and Eric Howard, because he wanted to regain control of drug
trafficking at the housing project, according to the Ohio Supreme Court
decision upholding Williams' death sentence.
A fourth man, Theodore Wynn Jr., a recently discharged Air Force sergeant,
was killed after stopping by Madison's house on a visit, the ruling said.
Wynn was home visiting friends and had no involvement with drugs, said Bob
Beasley, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro.
Williams, who was helped by three teenage accomplices, strangled Madison
and Wynn, then shot each of the four victims in the head, records show.
Williams was arrested for the Sept. 1, 1991, murders, then escaped from
jail the next month. 3 months later, he broke into a juvenile jail and
held a guard and a receptionist hostage in an unsuccessful attempt to kill
the three accomplices because of statements they had made to police,
according to the 1997 state Supreme Court decision.
Williams "committed a mass murder, 4 individuals executed," Mahoning
County Prosecutor Paul Gains, told the parole board.
"Mr. Williams has demonstrated through his behavior and his criminal
history that there are absolutely no mitigating factors that would justify
anything less than the death penalty," Gains said.
Williams "is not salvageable," Gains said. "If this board or the governor
granted clemency to Mr. Williams, he would represent a clear and present
danger to every inmate in the general population."
Williams' execution is scheduled for Oct. 25.
ON THE NET Department of Rehabilitation and Correction:
Inmate's parents to miss execution due to Rita, lawyer says
The adoptive parents of a death row inmate missed their flight to Ohio
because of Hurricane Rita and will not be able to visit with their son
before he is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, the inmate's attorney
Herman Dale Ashworth, 32, is scheduled to die by injection for beating to
death and robbing Daniel Baker, 40, in an alley in Newark in 1996.
James Ashworth and Anna Mae Dalton, who are divorced and live near
Dequincy in southwest Louisiana, were scheduled to fly out of Houston on
Saturday afternoon, said Carol Wright, a lawyer who has remained as
Ashworth's standby attorney after he had her and another attorney removed
as his legal counsel.
Authorities in Houston shut down its two major airports Friday as Rita
approached and Dalton and James Ashworth changed their flight to Baton
Rouge, La., about 150 miles from their home. But a combination of a lack
of electricity and gasoline and flooding prevented them from making their
flight Sunday, Wright said.
Dalton and James Ashworth live about 50 miles northeast of where Rita came
ashore Saturday morning with 120 mile winds, causing massive flooding,
wiping away some sparsely populated towns and knocking out power to
hundreds of thousands of people.
Wright said the parents, who adopted Ashworth when he was an infant, will
try to speak with Ashworth by phone. The two had not planned to witness
"He did not want to attempt to delay this so his parents could get here,"
Except for a brief time earlier in the case, Ashworth has refused to put
on a defense or to let attorneys do it for him. He is the 4th condemned
prisoner in Ohio to drop his appeals since the state resumed executions in
(source for both: Associated Press)
Ashworth's sentence will fit his crime
As executions become more and more routine in Ohio, it's still difficult
for many of us to grasp the reality of our state government killing a man.
Beyond the substantial questions of whether it's proper for citizens to
take a life as punishment for killing another person, the mere possibility
of wrongful convictions and mistaken executions raises troubling questions
for many souls. Stories from Illinois and elsewhere have convinced many
that the death penalty should be abolished in favor of life sentences with
But in Ohio, the law of the land for the past 24 years clearly states that
those who kill and commit other felony crimes at the same time face the
possibility of execution. Numerous courts and judges have found the
state's law constitutional.
So, Dale Ashworth, a 32-year-old Newark man on Death Row for nine years,
will die at 10 a.m. Tuesday while strapped onto a gurney. He'll be the
17th to receive a lethal injection of drugs since Ohio resumed executions
There's no doubt Ashworth savagely beat and robbed Daniel Baker in a
downtown alley in 1996, a crime so brutal it stunned the community.
Police brought Ashworth downtown wearing bloody shoes after he called them
to report a man had been beaten. He pleaded guilty and has openly admitted
to his crimes in court, interviews and letters.
He's also waived all appeals, saying he agrees those who take a life
should lose their own.
It's an open-and-shut case, demanding of the death penalty as established
in our state.
While we welcome debate on this critical issue, we also firmly believe we
must carry out the laws of our state or risk making a mockery out of the
In this case, there's no doubt the condemned committed the crime. Our laws
must be upheld to bring this tragic story of pain for 2 families to a
(source: Editorial, Newark Advocate)
Ohio's death penalty use becoming more frequent
It took 18 years for Ohio to execute a prisoner after the death penalty
was reinstated in 1981.
Newark's H. Dale Ashworth, 32, should become the 17th executed inmate in 6
years on Tuesday. In May, he waived all appeals of his death sentence for
the 1996 beating death of drinking companion Daniel Baker.
Ashworth is a so-called "volunteer" -- meaning he opted to waive all
appeals and proceed with his execution. He joins only 3 others, including
the 1st, Wilford Berry, to do so.
Ohio was 2nd only to Texas in 2004 -- by a rather large margin of 23-7 --
for total number of executions. But experts don't see Ohio becoming
"There's something of a bulge in the anaconda right now," said Greg
Meyers, chief counsel for the Ohio Public Defender's Office, noting that
the state's recent string of executions comes from a backlog of old cases
that have finally exhausted appeals after a number of years.
Meyers, who was Berry's lead attorney, anticipates the rate of executions
will decrease once the backlog is cleared due to a "fairly dramatic drop"
in the number of death sentences handed down since 1996. He cites a
life-without-parole sentencing option for killers and the ever-brightening
spotlight on wrongful convictions as major factors.
"We certainly have the trend of the increasing number of wrongful
convictions nationwide," Meyers said. "That chills the hand of death and
makes the jurors more conscious."
There are 196 men and one woman on Ohio's death row. The average age of
those inmates is 42 and the average amount of time each has spent on death
row is 11 years. Of the condemned inmates in Ohio, 99 are black, 91 are
white, 3 are Hispanic, 2 are American Indian and 2 are Arabic.
Of the 16 executed inmates, 62.5 % were white and 37.5 % were black. Their
average age at death was 45 and the average time spent on death row was 15
Since clearing hurdles in 1981 and 1999, the death penalty has become
routine in Ohio, and no legal challenges appear to be on the horizon.
"There's always an opportunity for someone to try and step forward and
challenge," said Kim Norris, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's
"But I don't see anything else."
ASKING TO DIE -- Ever since Ashworth killed a man downtown in 1996, he has
pursued excecution. He will get his wish Tuesday
Dale Ashworth's nine-year wait to die should end Tuesday.
It's a conclusion he's been fighting for since shortly after his Sept. 11,
1996, arrest for the brutal killing and robbery of Daniel Baker in a
downtown alley just a block from City Hall.
"My daddy always told me 'If you done wrong, stand up and be a man and
admit it.' That's what I'm trying to do," Ashworth said in an interview
after pleading guilty in 1997.
The convicted killer's death -- by lethal injection in the Southern Ohio
Correctional Facility -- will make him the 1st Licking County resident to
be executed since Harold Shackleford of Newark in 1957.
Ashworth, now 32, has declined all requests for interviews. In a 2003
letter to The Advocate, he explained his intention to drop all appeals:
"... Why can't they just let me go?" he wrote. "Wouldn't we all be getting
what we want? Everyone wants me to spend the rest of my life in prison.
What does it matter if the rest of my life is a few months or several
years? Either way, everyone gets what they want ... me not making it out
of here alive.
"... When a guilty man lies and says he is innocent, they think he's just
an ordinary criminal ... nothing wrong with him. But when some admits
(sic) their guilt and wants to accept the consequences of his action ...
they think he's crazy. Sometimes I think I'm the only one mixed up in this
that's not crazy."
Ashworth's philosophy has been unwavering.
During trial he prevented his attorneys from introducing any evidence to
prevent his execution, and during appeals, he cooperated briefly only to
speed up the process, before eventually asking the judge to allow him to
drop further appeals.
A court-ordered psychological evaluation in April found him to be slightly
depressed, but competent to waive appeals. District Court Judge Edmund
Sargus formally allowed him to waive all appeals in May.
Gov. Bob Taft denied clemency Friday, clearing the way for Tuesday's
What leads a man to beat his drinking companion to death with his hands,
feet and a 2-by-4 board while wearing a T-shirt that read "No fear. Let
the ass-kicking commence"?
"There's a lot of reasons that led up to it, but there's just not one
excuse for it," Ashworth said in an Advocate interview on death row in
Years of drinking and drug abuse led up to that night, he said then.
"If I'd been a stronger person, I could have stopped it."
Ashworth was then 23 and an unemployed laborer.
Baker, 40, an electronics technician, had recently moved to Newark to take
a job at Rockwell International after his marriage of 17 years ended in
The 2 men met for the 1st time the evening of Sept. 10 in the Wagon Wheel,
a bar then located at the northwest corner of Fourth and West Main
streets, across from City Hall and the old police station.
Witnesses said Baker bought drinks for both men before they crossed Main
Street at about 9 p.m. Sept. 10 to visit another bar, Legends Night Club,
to watch a female revue. Employees there told them the show wasn't
scheduled to start until 10 p.m., so the two left and went into an alley
behind the bar. Ashworth originally told police that Baker made a pass at
him in that alley, which enraged him, causing him to severely beat him
with his hands and feet. He later recanted that story and said the 2 men
went behind the bar to smoke marijuana.
Baker's family denied both claims and said Ashworth made up both stories
to mask his real motive -- robbery. Ashworth admits he took about $42 and
credit cards from Baker, making him eligible for the death penalty.
Ashworth returned across the street and visited yet a third bar, the TNT
Lounge, where he saw a former girlfriend. He told her of the beating and
worried that his victim could identify him, adding he might have to go
"finish him off."
Ashworth admits that's what he did, sometime after midnight, beating Baker
with his fists, stomping on his chest and beating him with a 2-by-4. A
couple walking their dog found Baker's body on what was then a loading
dock of the Salvation Army Thrift Store the morning of Sept. 11. The
city's Water Department Office now occupies that site.
About 30 minutes later, at about 4:15 a.m., Ashworth himself called 911
from a pay phone and told authorities he had beaten a man and left him in
Police arrested him at home later that morning wearing blood-spattered
tennis shoes. A cousin whom Ashworth had told about the fight reported him
to police after hearing about the killing on the news.
Dr. Patrick Fardal, then the Franklin County assistant coroner, testified
in June of 1997 that the beating was the second worst he had ever seen and
said the results looked similar to the victim of a plane or automobile
crash. Baker suffered 14 rib fractures, a cracked sternum, and a torn
spleen, liver and heart.
Baker was a small man, standing about 5 feet, 4 inches and weighing less
than 160 pounds. Ashworth stands a foot taller and weighed 195 pounds at
A high-school dropout, Ashworth had a history of fighting -- in school, at
home, in bars and even in the Licking County Jail while awaiting trial on
his murder charge. He punched a deputy who had ordered him not to use a
soup cup to hold juice. He was convicted for assaulting a peace officer in
He previously was convicted of felony theft and burglary charges in his
home state of Louisiana, and drug abuse, drunken driving and speeding in
Licking County. He had also been charged with domestic violence for
allegedly beating his then wife, but was never convicted.
"I don't blame my being in here on drugs, alcohol, or a bad childhood, or
anything else," he said in the 1999 death row interview. "Everyone in the
world can try to teach you right from wrong, but you have to make your own
choices in life. Where you end up depends on those choices and the
decisions you make. I screwed up, and now I'm paying for what I've done."
Ashworth's birth mother, Betty Briggs, gave him up for adoption when he
was less than a month old to James and Anna Mae Ashworth, her older
brother and sister-in-law, of DeQuincy, La.
James and Anna Mae divorced when Dale was 3. They are expected to visit
Dale in prison this week, according to Anna Mae's current, yet estranged
husband, Bill Dalton of DeQuincy, La.
Dale was the youngest of 5 children with the Ashworths. He has three
sisters, Tammy, Lessie Marie and Jamie. His older brother, Ricky Ray, died
in a motorcycle crash in 1983.
The Daltons later moved to Newark, where Dale attended Wilson Junior High
and Newark High School. He dropped out of high school in the 11th grade to
go to work.
In 1991, Dale married Kathy Marconi, an older divorcee who had one son.
Bill Dalton said that while Ashworth and Marconi were separated before the
murder, the couple did not divorce until Ashworth was on death row.
During his imprisonment, Kristin Lewis, 37, of Heath, began writing to
A recovering alcoholic herself and a former resident adviser for the
Community Based Correctional Facility in Columbus, Lewis said she sent
Ashworth literature from Alcoholics Anonymous "to let him know you can be
behind bars but still be free in mind and spirit."
The 2 both believe in the death penalty and discussed it in their early
letters and visits, Lewis said.
Ashworth once told her: "I was pro death penalty before this happened and
just because I'm subject to it doesn't mean I've changed," she said. "He
has been consistent with that down the line."
Lewis contends Ashworth would not be awaiting death now had he received
treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
She continues to pray for both Ashworth and Daniel Baker's family.
"I want him to know God before he goes," she said. I want him to know
Lewis' left leg bears a tattoo depicting Christ on a cross, with
Ashworth's name and prison number beneath it. She admits she had the
crucifix about a year before she added Dale's name, saying "it just felt
appropriate at the time."
When she showed it to him, he told her "That's probably the only way I'm
ever going to see the foot of Christ," she said.
Lewis visited Ashworth in the Mansfield Correctional Institution and
exchanged letters with him for about a year before the relationship
deteriorated and ended.
"I really didn't know Dale well, but I did grow to care for him," she
said. Lewis said she never expected much from the friendship, but felt a
Christian obligation to try to help Ashworth.
"That, in a nutshell, is what I was trying to bring him," she said, "some
sort of inner peace, and I think I failed."
During the Advocate's 1999 interview, Ashworth said he had begun reading
his Bible and praying, occasionally.
"I try sometimes," he said. "I don't know if he hears me or not, but I
hope he does. ... I'm not going to lie to you and say I'm reborn, like
some people do. I do have a Bible up there and read it from time to time,
not every day, but I do read it."
2 other men from county were executed for crimes----Shackleford, Angel,
both put to death
Executions came quickly after convictions the last time a Licking County
criminal was put to death.
On Tuesday, Dale Ashworth, 32, will become the first man from Licking
County executed since Ohio's 1981 death-penalty reinstatement. In May, he
won a federal ruling to drop all appeals and proceed with his execution.
5 decades ago, 2 other men were tried here and executed for their crimes.
Both cases went from arrest to execution in about 9 months. Ashworth's
execution will come more than 9 years after his arrest.
On March 4, 1952, Allen Drake picked up 2 hitchhikers along U.S. 40 near
Kirkersville. They were both absent without leave from the Marine Corps.
One of them was Louis Allen Angel. He shot Drake -- a Columbus writer --
and left him for dead along the roadside.
Angel was later convicted of the crime and sentenced to death at the Ohio
Penitentiary in Columbus.
In his final hours, he said he found God. The pastor from his hometown of
Huntington, W.Va., came to visit him in prison, baptizing him shortly
before his death.
His last words were uttered to prison guards before they lowered the death
mask over his face. Slightly under his breath he mumbled, "You're all good
At 7:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, 1953, Angel died in the electric chair.
Harold Shackleford beat and strangled to death 51-year-old Mary Dunn as
she walked to church along East Main Street at 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 16,
1956. Shackleford never apologized or repented for his actions. Shortly
before his execution he said, "I know I was right. People just don't
understand me, and I just don't understand them. No one ever helped me.
I've always been alone. People won't confide in me."
A month before the murder, he was paroled from a California prison after
serving 5 years for rape and robbery. The crime there was eerily similar
to Dunn's death -- a woman was savagely beaten and left for dead.
Shackleford later confessed to police. He claimed he lost his mind after
getting out of prison in California and finding out his wife had children
with another man while he was locked up.
"She was to me the image of my wife," he said of Dunn.
His lawyer, Robert Weaver, didn't appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme
Court, saying: "Further legal action would be futile."
At 8:07 p.m. on June 25, 1957, the 33-year-old Shackleford died in the
electric chair at the Ohio Penitentiary.
Condemned killer's mother regrets giving him up----Fla. woman never got
response after writing Ashworth in prison
A brutal killing in a downtown alley in September of 1996 irrevocably
changed the lives of people living half a country away.
Family members of Dale Ashworth still struggle to understand why he killed
a man that night and, now, they fret over his execution, scheduled for 10
Ashworth, 32, has been actively lobbying for his death since admitting to
robbing and killing Daniel Baker, 40, of Newark.
But his birth mother, Betty Briggs, of Palm Bay, Fla., "can't handle what
they are going to do to my baby."
Briggs, in an e-mail, wrote that she opposes the death penalty and will
not attend her son's execution, believing he doesn't want her there.
Briggs gave her son up for adoption to her older brother, James, and his
wife, Anna Mae Ashworth, of DeQuincy, La., less than a month after Dale's
"That was my biggest mistake in my life and I have regretted all of Dale's
life," she said. "I was married to Dale's dad. It just got real bad ... so
I got out of that relationship. Dale was born sick, and I could not take
care of him by myself. ...
"It was real hard, but I thought I was doing the right thing at the time,
and now I know it was not a good thing at all."
Briggs and her 2 daughters have written many letters to her son on death
row, but he has never answered any of them.
"I hate myself so much, I can hardly look in the mirror," Briggs wrote.
"He knows I'm his biological mother, but he does not know how much I love
him. I love him just as much as I do my other kids. And I'm afraid he has
not forgiven me."
Briggs said the pending execution is tearing her family apart and is
making her sick.
"I am so sorry Dale feels the way he does about me," she wrote, "but God
knows I have tried and tried to change the way he feels about me. But I
guess I failed that, too."
Dale's adoptive mother, the former Anna Mae Ashworth, divorced James
Ashworth when Dale was 3 years old. She's now separated from her 2nd
husband, Bill Dalton, of DeQuincy, La.
Bill Dalton said he doesn't see the Ashworth family very often and is
unsure how they are dealing with Dale's upcoming execution.
"I don't know what is going to happen," he said. "I'm just down here
dealing with the chaos."
Dalton married Dale's mother in October of 1982, he said, and separated
from her 7 months ago. He has filed for divorce, he said.
Dale lived with the Daltons before going out on his own.
"I never had a minute's problem out of him as long as he still lived with
us," Dalton said.
He remembers Dale as "a hard worker, when he was working."
According to Dalton, Anna Mae and James plan to visit Dale in prison in
Lucasville this week. He said he does not know if they will witness Dale's
execution by lethal injection Tuesday.
Attempts to contact the Ashworths were unsuccessful.
Timeline of the life of Dale Ashworth
Feb. 26, 1973: Herman Dale Ashworth born in New Orleans, La.
March 23, 1973: Less than 1 month old, adopted by his aunt and uncle, Anna
Mae and James Ashworth in DeQuincy, La.
1976: James and Anna Mae divorce when Dale is 3.
Late 1980s: Anna Mae and her 2nd husband, Bill Dalton, move to Newark,
where Dale attends Wilson Junior High and Newark High School before
dropping out of school to work.
1991: Dale, then 18, marries Kathy Marconi, an older divorcee. (They
divorce during Dale's later imprisonment.)
Dec. 30, 1991: Ashworth placed on probation and ordered to community
service after being found guilty of burglary and theft in Lake Charles,
La., where he broke into a baseball park storage shed and stole sports
April 1996: Returns to Newark and moves in with a cousin.
Aug. 21, 1996: Sentenced to 30 days in jail for drunken driving in Licking
Sept. 10-11, 1996: Kills Daniel Baker in an alley behind a downtown Newark
bar. Arrested at his home wearing bloody shoes.
March 19, 1997: While in the Licking County jail awaiting trial, he
punches a sheriff's deputy in the face after being told not to use a soup
cup as a beverage container. He referred to the attack on the deputy as
"an attitude adjustment."
April 8, 1997: While awaiting trial, writes to Licking County Prosecutor
Robert Becker and asks for color copies of the crime scene photos so he
would have a "little something for show and tell."
June 16, 1997: Licking County Common Pleas Judges Gregory Frost, Jon R.
Spahr and Robert Hoover sentence him to death. Ashworth pleaded guilty to
aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and forbade his lawyers from
introducing any evidence to offset the death penalty, vowing to waive all
Oct. 1, 1997: Ashworth's legal team convinces him to proceed with appeals
in the Ohio Supreme Court.
March 24, 1999: Ohio Supreme Court upholds death sentence. Lawyers begin
the process of appeals in federal court, a process that can take more than
Oct. 16, 2003: Writes U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus, pleading
for his right to fire his lawyers and proceed with execution.
June 10, 2004: Again writes to Sargus saying, "It is my wish to waive my
rights to all appeals and proceed with the execution."
April 4, 2005: A court-ordered psychological evaluation finds him to be
slightly depressed, but nonetheless competent to waive all appeal rights.
May 31, 2005: Sargus rules Ashworth can waive all appeals. His lawyers are
placed on standby status.
July 13, 2005: Ohio Supreme Court sets Sept. 27 execution date.
Aug. 31, 2005: At a clemency hearing before the Ohio Parole Board, Baker's
family calls for Ashworth's death. "My family really needs closure in
this. We need this to be over," niece Tangee Overly said. Ashworth did not
request the hearing, nor did his lawyer make any statement.
Sept. 7: The parole board unanimously rules against recommending clemency.
The recommendation is forwarded to Gov. Bob Taft, who has final ruling on
Sept. 27: Scheduled to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the Southern
Correctional Institute in Lucasville.
Death leaves hole in local family----Bakers say they need closure in case
Daniel Baker's parents once enjoyed their retirement and traveling.
In the 9 years since Dale Ashworth killed their son, they've barely left
They were unable to attend Ashworth's August clemency hearing, where
Baker's niece, Tangee Overly, made an emotional plea for justice.
"My family really needs closure in this. We need this to be over," she
told the Ohio Parole Board. "We believe he should suffer the same way
"My family did not just lose Dan but, in some ways, we lost my
grandparents -- Dan's mother and father. My grandparents used to be a fun,
happy couple enjoying their retirement. But since their son was taken from
them, they have never been the same. They rarely go out of the house --
and this has been 9 years."
Baker's daughter, Lisa, a 21-year-old student, had to go through her most
formative years without her father. She was 12 when he died.
Shortly before his death, Baker took his daughter to the airport to send
her home to her mother, who Baker had recently divorced after 17 years of
"Growing up without a father is something no child should ever
experience," Overly said.
Members of the Baker family chose not to comment further, citing
(source for all: Newark Advocate, Sept. 25)
Courts lack guide on public defenders----Judges use own criteria for when
accused must pay for own attorney
State and federal law guarantee a lawyer in certain criminal and civil
cases, but there are no specific guidelines to determine who qualifies for
an appointed, taxpayer-paid lawyer.
In state courts, no one other than a judge has oversight over the process.
And their choices can be curious.
For example, when Larry Lintner, 56, of Raleigh was charged with
embezzling money from the chemical company BASF, he swore he was too poor
to afford a lawyer. He has 2 cars worth $4,000, an $8,000 checking account
balance, nearly $100,000 of equity in his $250,000 house and $60,000 in a
Still, a district court judge agreed to appoint Durham's public defender
to represent Lintner.
Judge Craig Brown, who approved Lintner's request for free attorney
services, said it was a mistake.
Brown said he usually has his clerk read to him the defendant's total
monthly income and total monthly expenses. Lintner's affidavit states that
he has no income since being fired from his job, and $2,500 in monthly
"Certainly I have the ability to reconsider," Brown said.
Durham, like Mecklenburg County, operates a public defender office that
hires staff lawyers to defend those found indigent by a judge. The state
spent $85.5 million last fiscal year defending people who said they could
not afford to pay.
(source: Associated Press)
Court resets execution for June in fast-food killings
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday granted a stay of execution for Paul
Dennis Reid Jr., convicted in the 1997 slayings of 7 people in Nashville
Reid was to have been put to death by lethal injection on Oct. 5, but the
court granted his request for a stay and reset the execution for June 28,
Reid has been convicted of 3 incidents of multiple murder during a 3-month
period in 1997. He received 7 death sentences for the string of murders at
fast-food restaurants in Nashville and Clarksville.
A Texas drifter who moved to Nashville to attempt a career in country
music, Reid was fired as a dishwasher from a Shoney's restaurant on Feb.
15, 1997, for losing his temper and throwing a plate that hit another
The next day, Sarah Jackson, 16, and Steve Hampton, 25, were slain
execution-style at a Captain D's restaurant not far from the Shoney's.
In March 1997, Ronald Santiago, 27; Robert A. Sewell Jr., 23; and Andrea
Brown, 17, were shot and killed in a midnight robbery at a McDonald's a
few miles from the Captain D's.
A month later, Angela Holmes, 21, and Michelle Mace, 16, were kidnapped in
a robbery at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in Clarksville, about 50
miles northwest of Nashville. Their throats were slashed and their bodies
were dumped at Dunbar Cave State Natural Area.
The Oct. 5 execution date was for the murders of Holmes and Mace.
Reid was arrested in June 1997 and linked to the murders after attempting
to kidnap and kill the Shoney's manager who fired him.
Both the Supreme Court and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals have
upheld Reid's convictions this year after he filed appeals.
(source: Associated Press)
How would Roberts rule?
As a government lawyer, John Roberts Jr. contributed to one of the Supreme
Court's most cold-blooded death penalty decisions. As its chief justice,
what would he do about it?
Assuming his confirmation, he will have the opportunity. A Tennessee death
row appeal the court accepted for argument in the coming term poses the
question of whether DNA evidence of a prisoner's innocence should entitle
him to a new trial.
Most Americans who aren't lawyers would be shocked that the answer is even
in doubt. But to the legal system, rules and deadlines are often more
important than simple justice. In a split decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled against Paul Gregory House because his lawyers had
not challenged certain circumstantial evidence when it was timely to do so
- that is, during his trial for rape and murder.
The key evidence was a semen sample consistent with House's blood type,
which the DNA testing now shows to have come from the victim's husband.
Does that prove House innocent? Not necessarily, but a jury should decide.
One of the Supreme Court precedents the 6th Circuit cited was the 1993
case of Leonel Herrera, who was executed for the deaths of two Texas
police officers. A decision written by the late Chief Justice William
Rehnquist held that it was too late for Herrera to present evidence that
his deceased brother was the killer. This was the case in which Justice
Harry Blackmun penned his memorable dissent, "The execution of a person
who can show that he is innocent comes perilously close to simple murder."
As deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, Roberts
co-signed a brief urging the court to rule that Hererra's claim came too
late. Sens. Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy reminded him of it during
Roberts' confirmation hearing. Although he continued to insist that the
issue was about multiple appeals, not actual innocence, Roberts did not
appear entirely comfortable with his defense. More important, he
acknowledged that it was "quite different from a claim, for example, of
the DNA evidence," which is exactly the issue in House's appeal.
DNA testing already has liberated 162 prisoners. But others who might be
freed remain trapped in procedural rules that are inconsistent with the
ends of justice.
Durbin and Leahy obviously got Roberts' attention. It remains to be seen
whether they got to his heart.
(source: Editorial, St. Petersburg Times)
Death row inmates work for state
Some death row inmates in the state work within a prison to earn money and
through their labor help operate the very state agency that oversees them.
While 103 inmates - 101 men and 2 women - sit on the states death row, 14
males are employed to mostly enter car title information into computers
for the state's Department of Safety at Nashville's Riverbend Maximum
The revenue the death row inmates produce helps operate Tennessee
Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction, or TRICOR, which runs the states
Department of Corrections prisoner labor program.
Of more than 18,000 inmates in the state's 15 prisons, about 1,000 are
employed by TRICOR.
Patricia Weiland, TRICOR's chief executive officer, said the inmates
produce the revenue to run TRICOR and pay its employees, as the agency
does not receive any taxpayer funding.
The inmates are paid in return for their work. The death row laborers
receive an average of about $1 per hour, the standard wage for all
industrial workers within TRICOR.
After prisoners are paid, their wages are deposited into a Department of
Corrections trust fund that regulates how a prisoner can spend the
The death row work program has been in existence "for many, many, years,"
Weiland said, but she hinted that the type of work they do could be
discontinued as technology advances.
"The whole data entry industry is going to scanning," Weiland said. "Data
entry as an industry for us is on its way out."
Asked what the death row workers would do if data entry was not needed
anymore, Weiland said it would depend, but it would have to be a "very
The reason death row prisoners are allowed to work in the first place is
to help relieve management costs for the Department of Corrections,
TRICORs mission is to help inmates gain skills for employment once they
are released from prison. Since death row inmates likely will never be
released, they are only allowed to work "as a service to support prison
management at Riverbend," Weiland said.
Through that relationship, Weiland said TRICOR saves the Department of
Corrections $3 million per year by supervising inmates while they work
during their shift.
During their shift, the corrections department does not have to pay
workers to supervise them and therefore saves the department and the state
an average of $3,000 per inmate, Weiland said.
Although TRICOR is a semi-governmental agency, it fashions its inmate work
programs after the private sector. To get a job, prisoners go through an
application and an interview. They can also be fired and not allowed to
reapply for 1 year.
"Our whole mission is to put these men and women in an environment that is
similar to what theyll have on the outside," Weiland said.
Weiland said trying to run a business within a prison is a big challenge.
"Any time you have to do a count and there are inmate counts taken
multiple times a day, youre work stops," she said.
Convicted Murderer Could Escape Death Penalty
A convicted murderer could escape the death penalty depending on the
results of a mental evaluation.
Monday, a federal judge ordered that Joe Louis Dansby would undergo an
evaluation after his lawyers claimed Dansby is mentally retarded and
should not be executed.
Dansby was convicted in the 1992 killings of 23-year-old Jeff Lewis and
21-year-old Malissa Clark, both of Prescott.
The victims were found shot to death near a logging road in Nevada County.
(source: KATV News)
More information about the DeathPenalty