[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, N.C., OHIO, VA., CALIF., TENN., WIS.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Aug 1 21:29:40 UTC 2006
DNA samples taken from 24 in hunt for killer----Police release new details
about a possible suspect in series of slayings
Houston police investigating a series of possibly related sexual assaults
and slayings in north Houston have taken voluntary DNA samples from 24
"persons of interest," and are developing a profile of the killer.
Those samples, said Capt. Dale Brown, who heads the department's homicide
unit, were taken voluntarily from people suggested as suspects by the
public. No arrests have been made in the case.
Brown said a serial killer could be connected to numerous sexual assaults
and the slayings of 6 women whose nude or partially clothed bodies were
discovered hidden in wooded areas in Acres Homes.
Surviving victims and witnesses have told police that the man, believed to
be in his late 20s or 30s with closely cropped or shaved dark hair, may
have tattoos of scales or a zodiac sign, and "Old English" lettering on
his back or shoulders, Brown said.
He may recently have served time in prison, perhaps for sexual assault,
Brown said, without detailing the reasons for that speculation. Later,
through a spokesman, he declined to elaborate on what evidence
Wore Celtics jersey
Brown said the killer may have committed a recent sexual assault in which
the assailant wore a white Boston Celtics jersey, the number 62 in green
letters on the front.
At a City Hall news conference, Brown and Councilman Jarvis Johnson urged
residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior - especially
at night in areas frequented by prostitutes.
"This needs to be a citywide effort," said Johnson, who represents Acres
Homes, noting that some victims could have encountered the killer in other
parts of Houston. "It's important that everyone understand that we have to
be on a heightened alert."
The killer, Brown and Johnson said, could be a charming man able to lure
women into his vehicle, which is described as a black or dark blue 4-door
1990s sedan. He also could have used force to get the women, some of whom
had a history of prostitution, into his vehicle, Brown said.
"We have a very dangerous person in our city," Brown said, adding that the
man might be a former or current Acres Homes resident. "We need the whole
city to be vigilant."
'Addicted to killing'
At a town hall meeting Monday night, local and federal law enforcement
agencies detailed how their offices can contribute to the search, capture
and prosecution of the killer.
"We have put all the resources we possible can into this investigation,"
Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt told the crowd of about 200 people.
Some residents said they were encouraged by the focus from law enforcement
and the community on solving the deaths.
"I'm just thankful that the people have a mind to catch him," said Vicki
Pringle, who has lived in Acres Homes for 35 years.
"The community needs to come together to try to catch this guy because if
we leave him on the loose, he will kill again. It seems like he's addicted
Eric Lakey, who said he was born and raised in the Lincoln City area of
Acres Homes, was also optimistic, but guarded. Lakey said it will take a
sustained effort, especially from the community, to catch the killer.
"It's going to take time," he said. "It didn't happen overnight, and it's
not going to be solved overnight. Crime only stays where its welcome, and
its not welcome in Acres Homes."
So far, Brown said, police have received at least 171 tips. Those led to
interviews with the men who agreed to DNA tests.
The body of the last known homicide victim was found 2 weeks ago behind
the Parlay Cafe on Rosslyn. Police first noticed a pattern in the deaths
in April after a body was found in the 1900 block of Mansfield.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Rally urges clemency for man to be executed for girl's death----Supporters
say he is a good man, not a 'hardened criminal'
Supporters of Samuel Flippen, who is scheduled to die Aug. 18 for the
murder of his stepdaughter, held a rally last night urging Gov. Mike
Easley to grant him clemency.
About 50 people came to the rally at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in
Flippen's attorneys filed a petition yesterday asking Easley for clemency
in the case. The attorneys are scheduled to meet with Easley's staff
Thursday to present their case for why Easley should change the sentence
to life in prison.
Last night, family, friends and other supporters argued that Flippen, 36,
is not a "hardened criminal" who deserves to die.
Some said they believe that he is innocent; others said that the death
penalty was being unevenly applied if a gentle man such as him was killed.
"He was and still is a good person, and his life should be spared," said
Pearl Dormer, whose son grew up with Flippen and went to the same school,
Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown.
Flippen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in
Forsyth Superior Court in 1995 for the death of Britnie Nichol Hutton, his
Britnie, 2, died Feb. 12, 1994, after bleeding to death from a blow to her
abdomen that severed her pancreas and tore her liver.
Prosecutors said that Flippen beat Britnie because she wouldn't stop
crying. Flippen said that Britnie's injures came from a fall from a chair
Jurors found Flippen guilty after deliberating for an hour and 20 minutes.
The N.C. Supreme Court overturned Flippen's sentence in 1996, but not his
conviction. The court said that the trial judge did not tell the jury to
consider Flippen's lack of a criminal record before recommending its
Flippen was again sentenced to death in a 2nd sentencing hearing in 1997.
Ben Streett, Britnie's uncle, said that the execution would serve justice
and bring needed closure to the family. "Britnie did not have clemency,"
he said. "The court said he deserved the death penalty. We stand by that."
If Easley turns down the clemency petition, Flippen would remain scheduled
to die at 2 a.m. Aug. 18 at Central Prison in Raleigh.
(source: Winston-Salem Journal)
Prosecutor won't seek death penalty against woman in child death
A woman accused of killing her 2-year-old goddaughter by placing her in a
bathtub of scalding water will not face the death penalty, prosecutors
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said he would not pursue a
capital murder case against Jamie Lee Wilson. The 22-year-old has been
charged with first-degree murder for allegedly holding Briana Faucette in
the bathtub while baby-sitting the toddler in December, and waiting hours
before calling 911.
"After several meetings with the victim's family, we came to a joint
decision not to seek the death penalty," Woodall said after a brief court
hearing Tuesday. "At our last meeting they agreed it was probably the
wisest thing to do."
The decision means Wilson could face life in prison if convicted.
The child had bruises on her face and upper body, and her legs and waist
were bright red with deep burns indicating she had been held under the hot
water, according to an autopsy.
Wilson, who had been a close friend of the child's mother, was being held
in the Orange County jail, Woodall said.
(source: Associated Press)
Incompetent attorneys often blamed for reversals
Attorney incompetence is the top reason cited when federal appeals court
judges overturn death sentences in Ohio, the state with the nation's
2nd-busiest execution chamber, a review of court rulings shows.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati blamed ineffective
counsel 62 percent of the time, or in 13 of the 21 death sentences it has
overturned since 1981, when Ohio's new capital punishment law took effect,
according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
The state has executed three inmates this year and expects to put a 4th to
death next month. Ohio has executed 14 inmates since 2004, behind Texas
with 58 executions. North Carolina executed 12 inmates during the period.
In California, by comparison, which has the country's biggest death row
with about 650 inmates, 12 of the 25 death sentences reversed by the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited attorney incompetence, or 48 %, the
California Department of Justice said.
Reversals for attorney incompetence came into question last week after the
6th Circuit's chief judge criticized that court's handling of death cases.
Judge Danny Boggs, who has not looked kindly on court decisions delaying
executions, said sensible attorneys reading the court's decisions could
conclude their clients had a better chance if they did a less thorough job
as defense lawyers.
"Thus, if counsel provides fully effective assistance and the jury simply
does not buy the defense, then the defendant is likely to be executed,"
Boggs said. "However, if counsel provides ineffective assistance, then the
prisoner is likely to be spared, certainly for many years, and frequently
Boggs' comments came in a decision overturning the death sentence of
Dewaine Poindexter, convicted of fatally shooting his former girlfriend's
boyfriend in 1985. The 6th Circuit judges, including Boggs, said attorneys
hadn't done enough to turn up evidence that could have convinced a jury
not to sentence Poindexter to death.
Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey criticized Boggs for his comments,
calling them an affront to attorneys and an accusation against other
judges on the 6th Circuit, which hears appeals from Ohio, Kentucky,
Michigan and Tennessee.
If anything, defense attorneys "representing the absolute pariahs of
society are frequently hamstrung by a critical lack of relevant
experience, an obvious lack of time and resources, or both," Daughtrey
Public defenders say defense attorneys make the easiest target when courts
are looking for ways to overturn questionable death sentences.
That's true whether the real problem was errors by a judge or misconduct
by a prosecutor, said State Public Defender David Bodiker.
"It's much easier to put the onus on defense counsel," Bodiker said.
"Prosecutors seem to get away with not being held responsible."
An official in Hamilton County, which had 5 cases reversed for attorney
incompetence, challenged Bodiker's comments. As appointed officials who
serve for life, federal judges don't need to worry about who they blame,
said William Breyer, the county's chief assistant criminal prosecutor.
He also said Bodiker's office often raises attorney incompetence when
representing death row inmates before the 6th Circuit.
"Attorneys have a duty not to raise frivolous issues, so I assume they
were serious about their claims," Breyer said.
In 1999, the Ohio Supreme Court criticized prosecutors for mistakes while
noting that few death sentences were overturned because of those errors.
Only 2 of the 6th Circuit's 21 reversals cited prosecutor's mistakes.
(source: Associated Press)
Court Posts Moussaoui Evidence Online
Photographs of the carnage of Sept. 11 and tape-recorded final phone calls
from victims in the World Trade Center used as evidence against Zacarias
Moussaoui were posted online Monday by the federal court that tried the
The U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., said it is the first criminal
case for which a federal court has provided access to all exhibits online.
The exhibits can be found on the court's Web site at
A total of 1,202 exhibits from the Moussaoui trial were put online. The
videos, photographs and taped phone calls on the court's website were
graphic in some cases, leading the court to mark 18 of the exhibits
Other trial exhibits range from motel receipts for the Sept. 11 suicide
hijackers to photographs of the U.S. flight schools where some of the
terrorists learned to pilot commercial jets. Also among the exhibits are
the surveillance videotapes of some of the terrorists passing through
airport security checkpoints before climbing aboard the jetliners they
Indicted in December 2001, Moussaoui pleaded guilty last year to terrorism
conspiracy charges, saying that he was to hijack a 747 jetliner and fly it
into the White House at some later date if the United States refused to
release a radical Egyptian sheik who is serving a life term for terrorist
acts in New York.
When he testified in court this year, Moussaoui claimed that the 747 was
to be a 5th plane hijacked on Sept. 11 and that Richard Reid, now
imprisoned for a December 2001 shoe bombing attempt aboard a
trans-Atlantic flight, was to be on his hijacking team.
Choosing between sentencing him to execution or life in prison, the jury
in Alexandria, Va., found Moussaoui directly responsible for deaths on
Sept. 11, but declined to give him the death penalty.
Professing surprise at the life sentence, Moussaoui moved to withdraw his
guilty plea and appeal his sentence. Moussaoui said he lied on the witness
stand March 27 when he reversed 4 years of denials and claimed he was to
have hijacked a 5th jetliner on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed it into the
White House, "even though I knew that was a complete fabrication." On the
(source: Associated Press)
Studio City Actress Flaunts Her Friendship With a Serial Killer
She's making waves at jail and in court with her obsession with recently
convicted murderer Wayne Adam Ford.
Serial killer Wayne Adam Ford had few public admirers when Victoria
Redstall, a former spokesmodel for breast enhancement supplements, breezed
through the doors at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga
determined to meet him.
Redstall, a British-born actress from Studio City, admits to a lifelong
fixation on serial killers and said meeting Ford in April - to interview
him for a documentary - was "the dream of a lifetime."
She expected to be fascinated, she said, but not drawn into a deep bond
with Ford that has caused a disruption in court and triggered an
investigation by the Sheriff's Department.
"I trust Wayne with my life.. He's got such a kindness to him and such a
conscience," she said, her eyes briefly filling with tears during an
interview at a cafe in Studio City last week. "He is so tuned in to me and
I to him that sometimes words don't have to be said."
Ford, a former long-haul truck driver, is on trial in San Bernardino
County for crimes that would send most women running in the opposite
direction. In 1997 and 1998, Ford murdered three prostitutes and a
hitchhiker, dismembering 2 and dumping all 4 bodies in California
waterways, before surrendering voluntarily with his final victim's breast
in a Ziplock bag in his jacket pocket.
A jury convicted Ford of 4 counts of first-degree murder in June and on
Monday began deliberating over whether to send him to death row.
Redstall, who also does voice-overs for commercials and had bit parts in
the movies "The Rock" and "Nothing to Lose," began visiting Ford so often
last spring at the detention center that it dominated her evenings and
She says they shared details of their childhoods and sang country songs
together through the plexiglass in the jail's visitors chambers and that
she got gooseflesh the first time he sang. When Ford couldn't remember all
the words to Dwight Yoakam's "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere," she sent him
the lyrics, she said.
The unusual relationship between Redstall and the defendant is causing
waves at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and appears to
have unnerved Ford's attorneys.
At their request, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A.
Smith held a hearing Friday to review Redstall's media credentials to
cover the trial.
The judge asked Redstall to provide verification on letterhead that she is
actually doing a documentary with the company she listed on her media
request, but he told Ford's lawyers he was reluctant to ban her from
filming and photographing Ford.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department also has launched a
"personnel investigation involving inmate Ford and his visitation," said
department spokeswoman Cindy Beavers, declining to elaborate. But Redstall
said the inquiry was related to her visits.
She says she met Ford when a deputy who works at the detention center gave
her a tour. The tour included a very unusual stop in Ford's
maximum-security unit while he was out of his cell for free time, she
During Redstall's hearing Friday, Ford's attorney, Steven Mapes, said the
deputy who shepherded Redstall into the jail was told he would be fired if
he brought her back again.
Mapes also asked Redstall whether she knew jail officials had posted a
flier with her picture instructing deputies not to let her in.
"No!" she exclaimed on the stand with a response that made even the judge
chuckle. "Can I get a copy of the picture?"
Beavers said she could not comment on the fliers or on Redstall's visits.
After getting the judge's permission, Redstall photographed Ford so
frequently - even keeping one picture as the screensaver on her cellphone
- that court officials began publicly reprimanding her for taking pictures
in the courtroom when it wasn't permitted for any photographer.
Soon courtroom officials scaled back all media access to Ford - even
taking the extra step of ordering everyone near the courtroom to be out of
Ford's line of sight when he was escorted down the hall.
One of Ford's attorneys, Deputy Public Defender Joseph D. Canty Jr.,
declined to comment on his client's relationship with Redstall, saying it
would violate attorney-client privilege.
He did say, however, that he was troubled by her conduct in court and at
the county jail.
"This is not a person who is being honest and forthright with the court,"
Redstall says she has already lost friends over her bond with Ford, which
she insists is deeply "emotional" but not romantic. The irony of a model
for breast enhancement pills, Herbal Grobust, seeking out a killer with a
breast fetish is not lost on her, and she addresses it with the dark humor
that both shocks and entertains the people she talks to in the courtroom.
"It's hysterical," she said.
After closing arguments last week in Ford's sentencing hearing, Redstall
drove alongside the bus returning Ford to the jail in her red convertible
so he could see her blond hair blowing and her jewelry glimmering in the
sunlight, she said.
She says she feels bad about the scandal she's caused at the jail but that
she's no stranger to causing disruptions.
In 2004, her former homeowners association sued her in Los Angeles County
for attracting news helicopters - another one of her obsessions - that
would hover over the condo building and shine their spotlights down as she
was on the balcony in her nightclothes, she said.
Redstall said she later starred in an independent film loosely based on
her copter attraction - "Hover me: The Making of Helicopter Girl."
But that's another story. Right now, Redstall says she is focused on
getting financing so she can get Ford's side of the story out and getting
back in to see Ford.
"Wayne's pleasure of his day is having me visit him," Redstall said, "and
we're going to get this documentary made together."
(source: Los Angeles Times)
TENNESSEE----impending execution stayed
Death row inmate granted stay
Death row inmate Stephen Lynn Hugueley has been granted an automatic stay
of execution after deciding to resume his appeals process. Hugueley, 38,
had been scheduled to die Aug. 15 for fatally stabbing prison counselor
Delbert Steed at the Hardeman County Correctional Complex in 2002, where
he was already serving time for killing his mother in 1986.
Circuit Court Judge Weber McCraw granted the stay last week, state court
system spokeswoman Sue Allison said Tuesday.
The judge's order was largely a formality. If an inmate chooses to fight
the death sentence, he is automatically allowed a stay because death row
inmates are entitled to go through the appeals process.
Until last week, Hugueley had resisted appeals on his behalf, saying he
wanted to die.
But The Tennessean newspaper reported recently that Hugueley changed his
mind because prison officials barred him from having contact visits with
his only daughter and his spiritual adviser.
In a petition filed July 25 in Hardeman County Circuit Court, Hugueley
said he had ineffective counsel during his trial and appeals. He requests
a court-appointed lawyer.
Besides murdering his mother and the prison counselor, Hugueley also was
convicted of killing a fellow prison inmate and of trying to kill another.
(source: Associated Press)
Mental evaluation ordered for convicted child killer
A federal judge in Knoxville has ordered a mental evaluation of a death
row inmate scheduled for execution next month.
But Judge Thomas Phillips didn't stay the September 19th scheduled
execution of Daryl Keith Holton -- sentenced to die in the fatal shootings
of his children in Shelbyville. The victims ranged in age from four to 12
The hearing Monday came after Assistant Federal Defender Stephen Ferrell
filed a motion on Holton's behalf.
The inmate has dropped his appeals and has consistently refused to meet
with Ferrell and has repeated his desire to be put to death.
Ferrell argued Monday that Holton suffers from Post Traumatic Stress
Syndrome and depression.
A jury sentenced Holton to death after convicting him in 1999.
Police testimony showed Holton admitted he lined up his 3 sons and his
former wife's younger daughter in a garage where he worked and shot them
with a semiautomatic rifle. He told investigators he was angry at not
being allowed to see them for several months.
Ferrell went to US District Court after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled
that defense attorneys could not file appeals for Holton without his
(source for both: Associated Press)
Vote against brutal death penalty
Dear Editor: In this November election, Wisconsin voters will have an
opportunity to vote against restoring the death penalty. The death penalty
should be anathema in a humane society. It is a barbaric system of
It seems ironic that half of Christians support the death penalty. Christ
died by the death penalty.
I hope everyone takes this opportunity in November to vote against the
(source: Letter to the Editor, The Capital Times)
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