[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS, OHIO, USA, IND.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Sep 29 23:09:34 CDT 2005
October 6, 2005
Ronald Ray Howard - TEXAS
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Ronald Ray Howard, a black man, faces execution on Oct. 6, 2005 for the
murder of Department of Public Safety Trooper Bill Davidson, a 43-year-old
white man, during a traffic stop on April 11, 1992. Ronald Howard was 18
years old at the time of the crime and driving a stolen car when Davidson
stopped him. In an unpremeditated panic Howard shot Davidson. Ronald Ray
Howard has continual expressed his deep regret.
On appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Howard's rehearing
request. In a dissenting opinion Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Justice
Overstreet held that two of the state-stricken jurors were not challengeable
for cause. Perhaps if these two legitimate jurors had been allowed to
remain on the jury Howard's trial would have ended differently.
Thirteen years on death row has changed Ronald Howard. He not only has
continued to regret his own crime, but has also joined in the struggle to
help other at-risk youth to not follow down his path. Howard's own ghetto
upbringing allows him to connect with other at-risk youth. In his 13 years
on death row Howard has used this fact to help other young people to not
travel the path that he did. Additionally Howard has spent his time on
death row becoming a more educated Christian man. Howard has earned the
respect of wardens and prison guards, some of whom have come to him for
advice or aide. Howard also currently lacks legal representation.
The death of Officer Davidson is tragic. However the death of Ronald Ray
Howard will not bring Davidson back. Allowing Howard to live also will
allow him to continue his work in preventing similar fates for other at
Please contact Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to
ask that Ronald Ray Howard's execution be stopped.
Jury selection begins in murder trial
Jury selection began Wednesday in a potential death penalty capital murder
Arthur Lee Allen has been charged with capital murder in connection with
the death of Quinlan-area resident Hazel Shores in May of last year.
General voir dire, or the questioning of the jury pool, started Wednesday
morning in the 354th District Court.
Individual jurors in the pool received extensive questionnaires, which
they were asked to complete and return when the individual voir dire
process is scheduled to begin in the court Monday.
District Attorney F. Duncan Thomas has indicated he would seek death by
lethal injection as a punishment for Allen, should the defendant be
convicted of capital murder.
Thomas's office has also presented a list of some 50 proposed prosecution
witnesses which may be called to testify when the case goes to trial.
A date has not yet been announced for the start of testimony in the case.
Allen has entered a plea of not guilty in the case and remains in custody
at the Hunt County Jail.
Shores, the aunt of Allen's wife, was killed at her home in the Kitsee
Vista subdivision just south of Quinlan on May 13, 2004. Autopsy reports
indicate she had been stabbed several times about the throat and neck.
In a criminal complaint against Allen filed as part of court records, Hunt
County Sheriff's and Texas Ranger investigators believe some of the wounds
on Shores' body were defensive in nature. An amount of hair was also found
in one of her clenched hands.
Allen was alleged in the complaint to have stolen around $200 from Shores
and also to have taken her 1992 Toyota Camry. Allen was later arrested in
Dallas while behind the wheel of the vehicle.
Capital murder is filed when the murder alleged is committed in connection
with the commission of a second major felony, such as robbery, kidnapping,
rape or another murder. Those convicted of capital murder face a sentence
of life in prison or death by lethal injection.
The Texas Legislature has since passed a law allowing a third option, life
without parole, although the new law would not apply in Allen's case as it
was adopted after Shore's murder.
Should Allen by convicted of capital murder and receive a sentence of life
in prison under the capital murder statute in place at the time, he would
face a minimum of 40 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
(source: Greenville Herald Banner)
Death Penalty Possible In Baby's Murder
A Cincinnati teenager now faces the death penalty in connection with the
murder of a year-old baby boy.
A Hamilton County grand jury indicted 19-year-old Charles Finley.
The victim is his girlfriend's son, Christopher Beck.
The alleged crime happened at her home in Silverton last week.
An autopsy report showed the baby was severely beaten. "This was a well
cared for baby and the baby suffered multiple trauma to the body and head
including a severe concussion to the right side of the head," said Joe
Deters, Hamilton County Prosecutor.
Last week, Finley fought to get away from deputies during his court
appearance. He was quickly subdued.
He's being held on a $500,000 bond.
(source: WCPO News)
Resolution to Keep Foreign Laws Out of US Courts Considered
As the President gets set to announce his next Supreme Court nominee,
members of the House of Representatives are giving him some advice; choose
someone who will not look to foreign laws and judgments to shape his or
her decisions. A resolution before the House will send a strong message
that the US Constitution can be envied, but not influenced by other
countries. Representative Tom Feeney of Florida thinks the practice
threatens our very sovereignty.
"I think surrendering our sovereignty is part of the mission of some of
the people involved in this."
In 2 landmark rulings, striking down sodomy laws and a death penalty case,
federal courts have cited foreign law to justify liberal, activist
"It is always and everywhere inappropriate to discern the original meaning
of the United States Constitution by reference to contemporary foreign
activities, laws or constitutions."
Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation says such references are a
dishonest way to bolster any point activists want to make.
"You can find whatever you want if you search far enough in the Zimbabwe
Constitution or in Ethiopian court decisions or Chinese or Iranian
Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation says the next step is a
much stronger remedy.
"There are many of us who think that when judges begin to rely on foreign
law to redraft our Constitution that actually is a basis for impeachment."
Feeney says the resolution is meant to send a message to the Senate, the
White House, and the judiciary. A Senate version of the resolution has
been introduced by John Cornyn of Texas . It has been sent to committee
but no hearings have been scheduled. Several House Democrats did not
return our calls for comment but Feeney says they will have a hard time
justifying a vote against the resolution.
(source: Focus on the Family)
Television reporter witnesses execution----Journalist recalls 'a very
eerie, somber experience' at state prison.
Walking into the dismal enclosure of the Indiana State Prison, WSBT-TV
reporter Amanda Hart said it was abruptly apparent what was before her.
"You quickly gather the seriousness of it," the reporter said. "You see
the wall, you see the barbed wire... It's a very eerie, somber
Hart was 1 of 6 people to witness former Granger resident Alan Matheney
put to death Wednesday by lethal injection for the 1989 murder of his
ex-wife Lisa Bianco. WNDU-TV's Jennie Runevitch also witnessed the
execution in Michigan City.
Although Hart said her reporter's mind focused on recording every part of
her surroundings, she still was cognizant that a life was ending before
"I was very much aware of the fact there was (a) passing of life," she
It was a letter that led Hart to be a witness at Matheney's execution.
The reporter had covered Matheney's trial in 1990, she said, and received
a message from Matheney in the mail asking if she would be present during
"It's certainly not the type of letter you typically get," said Hart,
adding that she thought long and hard about attending.
"It was my responsibility as a news reporter to cover it to the fullest
extent," she said.
When Hart and the other witnesses entered the darkened witness room, she
said the condemned man was lying on a gurney, covered by a sheet up to his
"He lifted his shoulder and head (and) turned toward us," she said.
Hart believes Matheney recognized the six people as witnesses during a 2nd
"He may have said, 'I see them,'" she said.
Hart said the witnesses reacted little during the short process. She
noticed Matheney's brother shift a bit, but for the most part, everyone
As the last of a series of injections was administered, Hart watched
Matheney's final movements from 15 feet away.
"He seemed to take a deep breath," she said, "then gasp and then lie
(source: South Bend Tribune)
Execution may be state's last in '05----Appeals could delay two inmate
deaths for months.
The execution of Alan Matheney on Wednesday for the beating death of his
ex-wife was the state's 5th this year, the most since the death penalty
was reinstated in the 1970s.
Matheney's execution also might have been the state's last for at least
Matheney, 54, was convicted of killing Lisa Bianco in 1989 outside her
Mishawaka home while on a furlough from a state prison near Pendleton,
where he was serving an 8-year sentence for beating Bianco and confining
their 2 children.
He was executed by chemical injection at the Indiana State Prison and
pronounced dead at 12:27 a.m.
After 5 executions in a 7-month span, no others appear imminent.
The state attorney general's office has said Michael Lambert and Marvin
Bieghler could be put to death this year, but both have appeals pending in
Lambert was just days away from his scheduled execution in June for the
1990 shooting death of a Muncie police officer when a federal appeals
court decided to consider his appeal that certain victim impact testimony
may have flawed the jury's recommendation for death.
The executions by the state this year are the most in 1 year since 1938,
when 8 men were electrocuted over the span of 9 months.
Bianco's death caused then-Gov. Evan Bayh to suspend the state's prison
furlough program. It was later reinstated with tighter restrictions. The
state also agreed to pay $900,000 to Bianco's estate and the couple's
children, who were home at the time of the attack.
Bianco had divorced Matheney in 1985. She continued to fear her husband
even after his incarceration and had gotten assurances from prison
officials that she would be notified if he was ever released.
She was not notified of the furlough, however, and Matheney violated the
terms of his pass and an earlier court order when he left central Indiana
for her home.
(source: Associated Press)
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