[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----CALIF., PENN., N.DAK., US MIL., KY., S.C.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Aug 12 07:35:33 UTC 2006
So Cal jury recommends death penalty for serial killer
In San Bernardino, a judge will determine whether to follow a jury's
recommended death sentence for former truck driver Wayne Adam Ford,
convicted of strangling four women and dumping their mutilated bodies
Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith will ultimately decide Ford's fate
when he is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 20. Smith also was to hear
defense motions for a new trial at that time.
Jurors spent seven days deliberating whether Ford should be put to death
or spend the rest of his life in prison. The same panel convicted him in
June of the slayings and the special-circumstance allegation of multiple
murders, which made him eligible for the death penalty.
Ford, 44, was arrested after he walked into a sheriff's station in
Northern California's Humboldt County in November 1998 with a woman's
severed breast and told authorities it represented the "tip of the
He was subsequently charged with the killings of Patricia Tamez, 29, of
Hesperia; Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las
Vegas; and an unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough. The
killings occurred in 1997-98.
3 jurors who spoke with reporters after the verdict said the panel's 7
women and 5 men were so shaken by the gruesome testimony and the
photographs of the victims' mutilated bodies that all planned to seek
counseling. They said everyone on the jury suffered nightmares and had
trouble sleeping during the trial.
"It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my life," said Darlena
Murray, a 47-year-old English teacher from Highland. "I pray to God I
never see that again."
The 3 also said the panel didn't buy the defense's contention that Ford
was repentant when he walked into the sheriff's station with his brother.
"They knew police were looking for him," said Elecia Morris, 25, of
Jurors also were skeptical of Ford's contention that he couldn't remember
killing the women, noting that as the father of one victim described
nightmares he was having about the way his daughter must have died, Ford
interrupted him and said it didn't happen that way.
Prosecutors said Ford would pick up prostitutes and hitchhikers, have sex
with them in his truck and strangle them. He would then cut off parts of
their bodies to keep as souvenirs.
Morris said autopsy results that showed the victim who could not be
identified had once given birth to a child was what convinced her to vote
for the death penalty.
"Knowing she has a child, family and friends who will never know what
happened to her," she said.
During the trial's penalty phase, Deputy District Attorney J. David
Mazurek showed jurors images of the women's dismembered bodies on a
projection screen and called their killings "some of the most horrific,
brutal crimes you could ever see."
"I'm very happy the victims' families finally have justice," he said after
Some of the victims' relatives also testified during the penalty phase,
asking the jury to recommend death.
"I want to see him dead," said White's father, Bill White. "He's already
dead to me."
The defense argued that Ford surrendered to stop the killings. His lawyer
told jurors the former trucker from Arcata had arrived in tears at the
sheriff's station just 2 weeks after the last murder and after having
attended a Bible camp.
"This man is here because he repented," said attorney Joseph D. Canty Jr.
The defense also focused on Ford's troubled past, which his lawyers said
included a failed marriage, a lack of time with his son, a difficult
childhood and a head injury he suffered in a 1984 traffic collision.
A prostitute who testified during the trial said Ford choked her during
sex and then showed her a photograph of his ex-wife and their son. She
said Ford cried and claimed his behavior was revenge against his ex-wife.
(source: Associated Press)
One of the most provocative issues of our times, the death penalty, is the
subject of "Coyote on a Fence." The Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills is
giving the award-winning drama its Orange County premiere.
Written by Bruce Graham, the piece won the Lois and Richard Rosenthal
award in 1998 for Best New American Play and received Obie and Drama Desk
Graham wrote "Coyote on a Fence" after corresponding with a Texas inmate,
James Beathard, who published a death-row newspaper. Beathard was executed
and later exonerated.
There are 4 characters: an educated inmate who protests his innocence and
puts out a newspaper, his cell neighbor who is a mass murderer, a female
prison guard and a reporter.
Casey Long, who plays the psychotic mass murderer, said the show has
challenged him emotionally and shifted opinions that were black and white
to shades of gray.
"As the play evolves you see different perspectives," said Annie
Mezzacappa, who plays the reporter.
"The playwright has not argued one way or the other. It leaves it to the
audience to come to its own decision."
Every Sunday, the play will be followed with a discussion between cast and
audience. Sometimes there will be guest moderators, including an assistant
public defender, Denise Gragg, of Orange County.
Directed by Patricia Ansuini, the show runs through Sept. 10. 4 p.m.
Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. 5552 E. La Palma Ave. 714-777-3033,
APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS DEATH PENALTY IN HAYWARD CASE
The death penalty of a man convicted of kidnapping and murdering an
8-year-old Hayward girl in 1978 was overturned by a federal appeals court
in San Francisco today.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Richard
Hovey, 54, for the murder of Tina Salazar, but set aside his death
sentence because of incompetence of his defense attorneys during the
penalty phase of his 1981-82 trial in Alameda County Superior Court.
Tina was abducted while walking home from school in Hayward on March 10,
She was found by the side of a road, with hands and legs tied and with 6
skull fractures, later that afternoon. She died 8 days later.
Hovey appealed in the federal courts after the California Supreme Court
upheld his conviction and sentence in 1988.
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff called the ruling "very
He said he will consult with the state Attorney General's office, which
handles death penalty appeals, and then decide whether he wants to appeal
the ruling or retry the penalty phase.
If the penalty phase is retried, a new jury would choose between
recommending the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
If there is no retrial and no successful appeal, Hovey's sentence would be
changed to life in prison without parole.
A 3-judge panel of the appeals court said Hovey's defense attorneys at the
trial were incompetent in failing to give a defense psychiatrist key
information about Hovey's mental condition.
The court said the attorneys' failure to give the psychiatrist information
about a previous mental health hospitalization and about another
kidnapping by Hovey undermined the doctor's testimony that Hovey was
Circuit Judge Kim Wardlaw wrote, "Counsel's egregiously deficient
performance" in preparing the psychiatrist "substantially weakened the
doctor's testimony and enabled prosecutors to destroy his credibility on
The court said that if the doctor had been properly prepared, "there is a
reasonable possibility that Hovey's jury would have concluded that the
balance of aggravating and mitigating circumstances did not warrant
Hovey's appellate lawyer, William Turner of San Francisco, could not be
reached for comment today.
(source: Bay City Area News)
Death penalty sought in Easton killing----Prosecutors say suspect has
history of making violent threats.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Andrew Pascal, who is
accused of killing a gang member in the parking lot of an Easton
Pascal, 21, of Easton, told Northampton County Judge Stephen G. Baratta at
his arraignment on Thursday that he understood what was happening and
wanted to talk with his attorney, Brian Monahan of Easton.
Pascal, who was arrested in Upper Macungie Township two months after the
May 14 shooting death of Marcellus J. McDuffie, was arraigned on criminal
homicide and conspiracy charges.
Police have said they suspect the shooting was gang- or drug-related.
Prosecutors can seek the death penalty only if a defendant is convicted of
1st-degree murder. If that occurs, jurors may impose the death penalty
only if they find at least one aggravating factor and conclude that such a
factor is not outweighed by a mitigating circumstance.
First Deputy District Attorney Terry Houck told Pascal that if a death
penalty hearing is held, he would present two aggravating factors: that
Pascal ''knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in
addition to the victim of the offense'' and that Pascal has ''a
significant history of felony convictions involving the use of threat of
In 2000, when Pascal was 16, police charged him as an adult in an armed
robbery. Sentenced to up to 28 months in county prison, he was sent to
state prison in 2003 when he failed to return to the prison's work-release
Monahan told Baratta he would need another lawyer to help him defend
Also charged in the crime is Jorge Velasquez, 26, of Easton, who is
accused of driving the car used during the shooting. Prosecutors have not
filed notice that they intend to seek the death penalty against Velasquez.
Police have said McDuffie, 29, of Easton, who according to the FBI was a
member of the Bloods, was shot about 2 a.m. May 14 outside Larry Holmes'
Ringside Restaurant and Lounge. Pascal went to police headquarters at 3
a.m. to say he wasn't involved. Police did not have sufficient cause to
arrest him. On May 17, while driving along Lehigh Street, Velasquez was
shot in the arm. Police on June 2 charged Velasquez in the McDuffie
The affidavit of probable cause in the shooting had been sealed by court
order, but Baratta released it on Thursday. According to the affidavit, a
woman interviewed at 9:40 am. May 14 said she was with McDuffie as he left
the restaurant. According to the affidavit, she said, ''Andrew Pascal and
another individual(s) pointed handguns at [McDuffie] and fired.''
She identified Pascal from photos. The affidavit also says police
recovered ''numerous'' 9mm and .25-caliber bullet casings from the parking
A preliminary hearing for Velasquez is set for Aug. 28. Monahan said he
would file a proposed court order asking that a preliminary hearing be set
for Pascal. Houck told the judge he wanted to have the suspects tried
(source: The Morning Call )
1st Stage of Jury Selection Complete
The judge in the case of a slain University of North Dakota student is
promising to keep close tabs on jurors in the trial of Alfonso Rodriguez
Lawyers were whittling down names for the final panel after the 70th
potential juror was added to the pool Thursday morning. Opening statements
are scheduled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson said the 12 jurors and 4 alternates
will not be allowed to leave the courthouse during the day. He said he
will monitor the group for any signs of jury tampering or discussions of
the case outside the courtroom, including "wives that say boo or husbands
that say boo."
"If that happens, I will sequester this jury," Erickson declared. He also
said that if necessary, he would "not hesitate to call a mistrial and
Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer is expected to give the opening
statement for prosecutors, followed by remarks by defense attorney Robert
Hoy. Both men are expected to speak for about one hour.
Erickson said he expects the government to begin its testimony on Monday
with 1 or 2 witnesses "to sort of break the ice."
Rodriguez, 53, a convicted sex offender from Crookston, Minn., is charged
with kidnapping resulting in the death of Dru Sjodin. He has pleaded not
guilty. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if he's
Sjodin, 22, of Pequot Lakes, Minn., disappeared from a Grand Forks
shopping mall in November 2003. Her body was found the following April in
a ravine near Crookston, where Rodriguez was living with his mother.
Sjodin's father, Allen, and her mother, Linda Walker, declined to comment
outside the federal courthouse on Thursday.
Erickson approved the 70th potential juror, a man who works nights at a
Fargo retail store, after dismissing the first candidate of the day
because of economic hardship. The final selection of the 12 jurors and 4
alternates was being done in private.
Defense attorneys are allowed to disqualify 30 potential jurors, 10 more
than the government. Erickson said he made that change to help "level the
playing field" because of pretrial publicity.
Jury selection is the "least scientific part of the trial," said Joseph
Daly, a law professor at Hamline University in St. Paul.
"Truth be told, it's a matter of getting a sense of the person," Daly
said. "Once you get to the preemptory challenges, it goes fast because the
lawyers already have a jury profile."
The 12-member panel is being selected from the first 62 potential jurors
who were advanced into the pool. The 4 alternates will come from the final
8 candidates. The list of names will not be made public, Erickson said.
"I think we have a jury that can try this case," the judge said.
(source: KSTP.com, Minn.)
Sailor charged with espionage won't face death penalty
A sailor who the Navy says deserted his submarine last year has been
charged with trying to pass secret documents contained in a stolen laptop
to an unspecified foreign government - more than one, possibly.
Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann, 21, of Salem, Ore.,
has been charged with 3 counts of espionage, desertion, larceny, failure
to obey a lawful order, copying classified information and destruction of
The Navy will not seek the death penalty, according to a Navy legal
The Navy has not said which nation or nations are involved. A story in the
Aug. 9 issue of the Jerusalem Post, citing a Saudi newspaper account,
alleged that Israel is the country involved. A Navy official who asked not
to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the charges said Aug.
9 that the nation was "definitely not Israel."
Other press reports cited defense officials as saying the country is
Russia, but they could not be independently verified.
The case was heard July 26 in an Article 32 hearing by an investigating
officer who will prepare recommendations for Adm. John Nathman, the top
officer at the Norfolk, Va.-based Commander Fleet Forces Command and the
convening authority for the case. Nathman is expected to decide the week
of Aug. 14 which charges, if any, will be referred to a court-martial.
That hearing was not publicized or open to the press. But on Aug. 11, the
Navy played audio recordings of the hearing for members of the media.
Won't pursue death penalty
According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, espionage is a capital
crime. But Capt. Max Jenkins, commanding officer, Region Legal Service
Office Mid-Atlantic, said Aug. 11 that the Navy would not pursue the death
penalty for Weinmann.
Weinmann, who joined the Navy in July 2003, was assigned to the attack
submarine Albuquerque in October 2004. The Navy says he deserted the sub,
then located at New London Submarine Base, Conn., in July 2005, and took
with him a government-owned laptop computer, according to the charge
sheets supplied by CFFC.
The Navy alleges that Weinmann tried to pass classified information to
representatives of a foreign government multiple times: in March 2005,
before he deserted, "at or near" Manama, Bahrain; in October, in Vienna,
Austria; and in March, in Mexico City.
The data - classified as "confidential" and "secret" - was apparently
stored in the laptop, although the Navy would not confirm that. But the
charges allege Weinmann illegally made an electronic copy of the
classified material, stored it in an unauthorized location and that in
March, he destroyed a government-owned laptop hard drive "by smashing it
with a mallet and cutting off the pins."
Weinmann was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on March 26. The Navy says that
when Weinmann was arrested, his backpack contained $4,000 in crisp, new
$100 bills, with consecutive serial numbers; a CD-ROM containing
classified "biographical" information; a small book containing some type
of classified info; and an undisclosed amount of currency from an unnamed
A customs agent testified at the Article 32 hearing that Weinmann also was
carrying "several digital camera flash cards"; an external computer hard
drive; several pages of handwritten notes; a handwritten letter; and a
piece of paper with the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of
Weinmann was transported to Naval Station Norfolk after the arrest and has
been held in the brig most of the time since.
Weinmann is being represented by two uniformed Navy attorneys.
According to the Salem, Ore., Statesman Journal newspaper, Weinmann's
father, Rob Weinmann, told a local TV station that his son was "gung-ho"
about the Navy when he joined in 2003 but became disillusioned while
serving on the Albuquerque. He told the paper the family's only contact
with their son is through letters censored by the Navy.
"Every father says they know their son," Rob Weinmann told KGW-TV,
according to the newspaper. "I know how he was brought up. I know his
values. In a lot of ways he was very naive, gullible. I definitely don't
want him to be a scapegoat."
Weinmann had previously expressed an interest in Russia, according to his
hometown newspaper, the Statesman Journal. The paper wrote an April 2003
feature on his effort to collect hometown elementary school letters for
sailors on the now-defunct aircraft carrier Constellation during the
invasion of Iraq.
According to the paper, he said he was interested in foreign languages and
planned to study Russian and become a translator.
Several years earlier, during his sophomore year in high school, Weinmann
wrote to the paper's editor, voicing disdain for what he said was his
classmates' failure to show respect during the playing of the national
"The United States of America is one of the only nations where that kind
of behavior is legal," he wrote. "If they don't like how the United States
treats them, they should go someplace where they can be happy. They
couldn't give 1 minute and 19 seconds to honor everything this country
stands for and all the men and women who have given their lives to protect
"We are lucky," he added, "and it's time people realize this."
(source: Navy Times)
Combat stress "no excuse in Iraq murder-rape case"
Prosecutors at a U.S. military hearing dismissed claims that the strain of
war might have led U.S. troops to rape a 15-year-old Iraqi girl and murder
her family, the BBC reported.
The hearing, to determine if the four U.S. soldiers should be
court-martialed for rape and murder, had earlier been told that combat
stress had driven the soldiers' unit "nuts".
But in closing argument, a prosecutor said the rape-murder case couldn't
The soldiers face charges of rape and murder over the incident, which took
place in the town of Mahmudiya last March.
Spc James P Barker, Sgt Paul Cortez, Pte Jesse Spielman, and Pte Bryan
Howard are accused of helping a former private - Steven Green - plan,
carry out and cover up the heinous crime.
Green, who was discharged from the army, faces the same charges in a U.S.
federal court in Kentucky.
If court-martialed and found guilty, the soldiers could face the death
A 5th soldier, Sgt Anthony W Yribe, is accused of lying to cover up for
"Murder, not war"
At the hearing, Spc Barker described how, on the day of the attack, the
soldiers had been drinking when Green said he "wanted to go to a house and
kill some Iraqis".
The soldiers then went to Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi's house, took turns
in raping the 14-year-old girl before shooting her, along with her parents
and 6-year-old sister.
Some of colleagues of the accused soldiers claimed at the hearing that the
troops were demoralized and emotionally drained after the frequent attacks
by Iraqi fighters in the so-called Triangle of Death.
In his closing argument, Spc Barker's lawyer, David Sheldon, also said:
"When you put an individual like [ Green] in a stressful situation, he
becomes a canister of gas waiting to explode."
But prosecutor Capt. Alex Pickands said the case had nothing to do with
"Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about
today," he told the hearing.
"Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and
murder that 14-year-old girl.
"They gathered together over cards and booze and came up with a plan to
rape and murder that little girl," he said.
The rape-murder investigation, the 5th involving serious crimes being
probed by the U.S. military in Iraq, prompted Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri
Maliki to call for a review of foreign troops' immunity from Iraqi
Man Gets Death Penalty for Killing Woman
Last May a Warren County jury took less than 45 minutes to convict Phillip
L. Brown of beating and stabbing 36-year-old Sherry Bland to death.
Brown was convicted of the same crime 3 years ago, but was granted a new
trial when the state Supreme Court ruled some of the evidence had been
Brown was originally sentenced to "life without the possibility of parole
for 25 years," but this time he got the death penalty.
Phillip Brown is 25 years old.
(source: WBKO News)
Prosecutors: Stanko's actions after crimes show he was sane
Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments Friday that Stephen Stanko's
actions after killing his live-in girlfriend and raping a teenager in the
home prove that he was sane.
The defense has argued that Stanko, 38, suffers from a congenital brain
defect and was insane when he strangled 43-year-old Laura Ling in April
"He's anti-social. He's mean. He's narcissistic. He wants what he wants
when he wants it," assistant prosecutor Fran Humphries said. "He knows the
difference between moral and legal right and moral and legal wrong."
Humphries said that after the killing and rape, Stanko took Ling's car,
used her bank card and called her employer to say she wouldn't be in
because she was suffering from food poisoning. Humphries said that shows
Stanko was trying to cover his tracks because he knew what he had done was
Stanko was arrested in Augusta, Ga., four days later after investigators
had launched a nationwide manhunt.
In his closing, Humphries noted that experts for the defense said Stanko
had a brain defect and his behavior the day of the slaying shows he was
"How convenient a standard that is," Humphries said. "If your conduct gets
really bad you are insane. When I am really really bad, when I am evil,
you can't hold that against me."
Gerald Kelly, defense attorney, urged the jury to "let the truth be the
Kelly said Stanko has a defect in the front lobes of his brain, which
controls behavior and he was in a blind rage at the time of the crime.
"Until he was put on trial for his life, he had no idea" about the brain
damage, Kelly said. "The blind rage can come out of your brain. It comes
roaring out in the same way water stacked up against the dam finally comes
Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson told attorneys before closing arguments
that under state law she had to tell the jury they had four options:
guilty, not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity and guilty but
If found guilty or guilty but mentally ill, he could face the death
Stanko attorney Bill Diggs objected to the charge for guilty but mentally
ill saying the defense's reason for arguing mental defect was to prove
Stanko was not guilty.
"It's fundamentally unfair," Diggs said. "It gives the state the ability
to reach a compromise verdict.
"The state has 2 options on this verdict form which can result in a death
Jefferson said under state law she was required to include the verdict of
guilty but mentally ill and that such a charge to the jury has been upheld
by the state Supreme Court.
Stanko was released from a Ridgeville prison in July 2004 after serving
more than 8 years of a 10-year sentence on kidnapping charges in Berkeley
While in prison, he co-wrote a book, "Living in Prison: A History of the
Correctional System," with the help of professors at East Tennessee State
University in Johnson City, Tenn.
Stanko also is charged with killing Henry Lee Turner, 74, of Conway whose
body was found about 24 hours after Ling's slaying. A trial date has not
been set in the Horry County case.
(source: Associated Press)
Souers family discussed death penalty with solicitor
Tiffany Souers parents said they would back 13th Circuit Solicitor Bob
Ariail if he decides to seek the death penalty for Jerry Buck Inman.
Jim Souers, Tiffanys father, met with Mr. Ariail Wednesday in Greenville
to ask him questions about the death penalty process and what would happen
to her alleged killer, Jerry Buck Inman, if they didnt seek the death
In an exclusive interview, Tiffanys mother, Bren Souers, told the Anderson
Independent-Mail that learning Inman would not remain in lockdown and
would "live a life" in prison put "a little different perspective" on the
familys feelings about the death penalty.
"(That) isnt an acceptable punishment for me," she said. "After talking to
(Mr. Ariail), I felt more comfortable with (Mr. Ariail) and his decision,
if he does go for that.
"We 100 % back the solicitor if his choice is to seek the death penalty,
and well do what we need to do to help him out, be a part of the trial or
Tiffany Souers, 20, was a junior civil engineering student at Clemson
University. She was found May 26 strangled to death in her off-campus
apartment. Inman, a convicted sex offender from Tennessee, is charged with
her rape and murder.
Mr. Ariails office has declined to speak to the Independent-Mail about the
case. Mrs. Souers said Mr. Ariail planned to ask for a gag order to
prevent the media from speaking to families and officials involved in the
When the Independent-Mail spoke to Mrs. Souers on Tuesday, she said she
didnt know if she would want prosecutors to seek the death penalty for
She said she didnt know if she wanted to endure the lengthy death penalty
"Thats not something I want to relive every 3 or 4 years," she said. "You
got to put your family back together, too."
She also said death might be too good for Inman if he is found guilty.
"I think a worse punishment, for me, would to be living in a 6-by-6 cell,"
she said before the meeting with Mr. Ariail.
Mrs. Souers said she and her husband plan to make another trip to
Greenville soon to meet with Mr. Ariail.
(source: Anderson Independent Mail)
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