[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, KY., USA, VA., OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Aug 22 16:48:56 UTC 2006
FULLER EXECUTION THURSDAY
Justin Chaz Fuller is scheduled to be executed Thursday - 5 days before
his 28th birthday - for the 1997 capital murder of a 21-year-old Tyler
Fuller, of Tyler, was sentenced to death for killing Donald Whittington
III, who was shot 3 times and left on Lake Tyler's Sandy Beach on April
21, 1997. The murder case inspired a new state law, making it a crime to
view a body without reporting it.
Fuller, along with Elaine Hays, Brent Chandler and Samhermundre Wideman,
were convicted in March 1998 of kidnapping, torturing and fatally shooting
Whittington during a robbery plot that began at the victim's Tyler
The group robbed Whittington of trust-fund money and was angered when his
ATM card yielded only $300 from a machine. They bound, blindfolded, gagged
and maced him and took him to Lake Tyler, where he was shot
execution-style with a .22-caliber firearm.
Investigators found Whittington's body 4 days after he was reported
missing and after at least a dozen people viewed the decomposing remains
without reporting it to police.
Fuller, a Dallas native, was the only defendant sentenced to death. 2 of
his co-defendants received life sentences while another received a 25-year
sentence. Fuller, who was 18 at the time of the murder, claimed he was not
the gunman as authorities contended.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied all of Fuller's appeals and
affirmed the death sentence. The execution date was set by 114th District
Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent.
(source: Tyler Morning Telegraph)
Medina County murder trial set
In Hondo, prosecution is slated to start today in the 1st death penalty
case held in Medina County in more than 2 decades.
The capital murder trial of Ramiro Gonzales could have occurred in Bandera
County, home to both Gonzales and victim Bridget Townsend, whom he's
accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing in 2001. The
kidnapping took place in that county. Despite some disagreement about how
the case ended up in Medina County, officials in both counties are pleased
that justice may finally be served.
Defense attorneys face an uphill battle because Gonzales, 23, has said
publicly that he abducted his former schoolmate during a burglary and shot
Gonzales has pleaded not guilty.
"I'm just trying to save his life," Lisa Jarrett, one of Gonzales' 2
court-appointed lawyers, said before jury selection began June 26.
The final juror was seated last week. The case is being prosecuted by the
state attorney general's office because District Attorney Tony Hackebeil
said his office doesn't have the needed staff or budget to handle it.
"It would be virtually impossible for me to try the case without giving up
the rest of my duties," Hackebeil said.
The state intends to seek the death sentence if Gonzales is convicted,
according to court filings.
Townsend, 18, vanished Jan. 15, 2001, from her boyfriend's trailer outside
Bandera. Her fate was a mystery until 21 months later, when authorities
said Gonzales led police to her remains.
Gonzales, who'd attended middle school with Townsend before dropping out
in 8th grade, came forward days after receiving two life sentences for
kidnapping and raping another Bandera woman.
"I did do it. I regret it," Gonzales said in a 2002 jailhouse interview
with the San Antonio Express-News, blaming cocaine for his actions. "I
wasn't in a right state of mind."
Townsend's skeleton was found at a ranch near the border of Bandera and
Medina counties. The ranch was the same one where, in September 2001,
another Bandera woman Gonzales had kidnapped had escaped after she had
been left in a cabin.
By statute, officials said, the case could have been tried in either
county because Townsend was kidnapped in Bandera County and was slain in
Recollections differ on how the decision was made to prosecute the case in
the 38th Judicial District, which serves Medina County, and not the 216th,
which includes Bandera County.
"When the Medina County Sheriff's Office was notified about this, as I
recall it, they felt that once Bandera County (officials) determined that
most of the crime occurred in Medina County, that they just sort of tossed
the ball and said, "It's your case,'" Hackebeil said.
But Matt King, former chief deputy in Bandera County, said deputies there,
who'd long worked Townsend's missing person case and had apprehended
Gonzales in the other kidnapping, were eager the take the case.
"We wanted it," said King, now chief deputy in Kendall County. "They said
the body was in Medina County and they were going to take it."
Lucy Cavazos, assistant district attorney in the 216th, who'd just
prosecuted Gonzales in the other abduction, was also "anxious to sink her
teeth into that one," King recalled.
Cavazos said, "I wanted to try that (Townsend) case, but Medina insisted
on taking it."
Gonzales' surviving victim and Patricia Townsend, Bridget's mother, have
criticized Medina County officials for not getting to trial sooner with
what they see as a slam-dunk case.
But Hackebeil said he's satisfied with the pace of the case and grateful
for the help prosecuting it from the attorney general's office.
"It's not unusual at all in rural districts that cases of this nature take
this long," he said.
Asked about the issue of where the trial should be held, Medina County
Judge Jim Bardensaid, "We'd always prefer that those expensive trials be
held somewhere else, but I didn't know that decision was ours to make."
The last time the death sentence was sought in a Medina County courtroom
was in the early 1980s at a trial moved from Uvalde, said Rogelio Munoz
Sr., district attorney here from 1985 to 1994.
In that case, said Munoz, who was a defense attorney at the time of the
trial but not involved in the case, a hung jury resulted in a life
sentence for a man who killed Uvalde County Chief Deputy Clyde Hobbs
during a traffic stop Aug. 9, 1982.
Medina County Auditor Teresa Martinez declined to speculate on the trial's
cost, but said $26,000 in expenses billed to date doesn't include 2 years
of defense attorneys' pay, private investigators, psychiatric exams on the
defendant or jury fees.
"This is all new to us," she said of death penalty cases.
(source: San Antonio Express-News)
Death Row Inmate Requests DNA Testing In 1990 Slaying
A Kentucky Death Row inmate has requested DNA testing on evidence stemming
from the 1990 shooting deaths of a husband and wife in Lexington.
Attorneys for Thomas Clyde Bowling, 53, said a DNA test would raise doubts
about his guilt in the April 1990 slayings of Eddie and Tina Earley
outside their Lexington dry cleaning store, Earley Bird Cleaners.
Bowling is asking a Fayette Circuit Judge to order the preservation of all
evidence in his case and DNA testing on Bowling's car, which his attorneys
claim someone else may have used to commit the killings.
Bowling is the 2nd death row inmate in Kentucky to ask for DNA testing
under a state law that allowed condemned inmates to requests genetic
testing of evidence in cases that predate the use of the scientific
Bowling's attorney, Assistant Public Advocate David Barron, said the DNA
could show that another suspect who lived in the area and had a grudge
against the Earleys took Bowling's car and used it in the shootings.
"The car is the essential link tying Bowling to the crime and DNA testing
of the car can be conducted to determine if someone else was driving it,"
Prosecutors did not immediately return messages Monday morning seeking
One death row inmate has already been granted a DNA test on evidence
stemming from a 1979 murder. A judge in Louisville ordered tests at the
request of Brian Keith Moore, 49, who is awaiting execution in the slaying
of Virgil Harris.
Prosecutors have appealed that ruling and no tests have been scheduled.
Kentucky's law is similar to statutes in 39 other states. It allows death
row inmates to request DNA testing on evidence so long as there haven't
been previous tests and that they can convince a judge that the evidence
would have affected the outcome of their trial.
Similar tests have resulted in 14 people around the country being freed
from death row.
Bowling was originally scheduled for execution in November 2004 for the
slayings. He has previously lost appeals claiming he is mentally retarded
and that he is ineligible for execution because his mental age falls below
In a case still under review by the Kentucky Supreme Court, Bowling has
also challenged the legality of lethal injection.
Kentucky has executed 2 inmates since the reinstatement of the death
penalty in 1976.
(source: The Associated Press)
A Red Herring for Shane McRae
OK, here's the premise for you...death row. 2 men. Separated by a wall.
Desperate for hope. Is there life after impending death? Can an unlikely
friendship defy limitations while also exploring levels of forgiveness,
fear and compassion? You never know who's on the other side.
Still, interested. Well then, you get to hear some more from the two stars
of RED HERRING, one of the shows being presented at the 2006 International
Fringe Festival in NYC in August. I posed a few questions recently to
co-stars Thomas Jefferson Byrd and Shane McRae, no strangers to the Great
In 2003, Byrd was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in "Ma
Rainey's Black Bottom. He has also appeared in major roles in 5 feature
films directed by Spike Lee, including CLOCKERS, GET ON THE BUS, GIRL 6
and HE GOT GAME with Denzel Washington. In addition, Mr. Byrd was in the
most controversial film of the new millennium - "BAMBOOZLED" where he
appeared in blackface in the character of Hunnicutt. Most recently, Mr.
Byrd played a principal role in the Academy Award winning motion picture -
"RAY" directed by Taylor Hackford and HBO's critical acclaimed production
of "LACKAWANNA BLUES" directed by George C. Wolfe.
McRae scored his first role in the Tony Award-winning TAKE ME OUT on
Broadway. He later appeared in RICHARD III at the Public Theatre. Shane
has also made TV appearances on HACK for CBS and played Bobby on the new
NBC comedy "FOUR KINGS". He can also be seen in the upcoming feature film,
KILLER PAD directed by Robert Englund. In a recent interview, I asked
McRae about his role in the show and about life after TAKE ME OUT.
TJ: OK a political question -since you are playing characters on death
row, what's your stand on the death penalty?
MCRAE: I'm against the death penalty. This play has really challenged me
to think about why. I'm by no means an expert, but the fact that almost
all people who have been executed are poor speaks volumes to me about the
problem with capital punishment in this country. People can argue all day
about the philosophies behind putting someone to death, but the economic
and racial discrepancies are too much for me to get past.
TJ: Was it difficult playing these roles, especially with your views on
the death penalty?
MCRAE: It has definitely been a great challenge to play Scrap. Has my view
of the death penalty made it more difficult? For me I don't think that has
played into my thinking very much. I don't see Red Herring as a political
play. I think it is all based on the relationship between these 2 men. The
politics haven't been in the forefront of our discussions.
TJ: What can you tell me about your characters in the show?
MCRAE: I play Scrap who sees the world as random and often harsh. Things
happen, simply because they happen. The world is "ugly" and "nothin's
gonna change that." Montgomery sees meaning and spirituality in
everything. So their world views are directly opposite.
TJ: How do you prepare for these types of roles, outside of just
rehearsals? Do you do any type of case studies?
MCRAE: I've been reading "Dead Man Walking," which of course was made into
a movie. It really brings you inside the reality of what it means to be on
death row; to be waiting to die. It's an idea that is so overwhelming,
that one has to find ways to avoid it. The author of Dead Man Walking,
Sister Helen Prejean, talks of how she would find herself in seemingly
mundane conversations with the condemned even as they were on the brink of
death, "You can only attend to death for so long before the life force
sucks you right in again." So trying to make the "wait for death" as
personal and specific as possible has been a key into the play for me.
TJ: How did you both get involved with RED HERRING?
MCRAE: I've known Michael for awhile and we both wanted to work together.
Luckily, the timing was right and it worked out. How intense have the
rehearsals been for you? They have indeed been intense, but they have been
incredibly organic. Jonathan has really created a great space. He and
Michael are incredibly open so that makes for a very collaborative
TJ: Is this experience everything you expected it to be?
MCRAE: Yes. I knew with that with the shorter rehearsal period and the
other challenges that the Fringe provides that it was a really ambitious
play to undertake. I wasn't wrong. But it has also been amazingly
TJ: So Shane, your first time out and you landed a role in the critically
acclaimed TAKE ME OUT. Did you expect to get something like that so soon?
What was that experience like for you?
MCRAE: I never expected to come out of the gate and go into a play like
TAKE ME OUT. What an overwhelming intro to NY theatre! I was walking
around in a daze for days on end. The whole experience was fantastic. The
guys were really great to me. Which medium do you prefer, acting on stage
or in film/television and why? I really enjoy all the mediums. They all
offer such different challenges. Theatre of course is my first love, but I
really like the other 2 as well.
TJ: What's up next for you after RED HERRING?
MCRAE: I'm headed out to LA the day we close to finish up post production
on a comedy I did called, Killer Pad, which should come out later this
year. So I am very excited to see how it turned out.
TJ: OK, here's the part where we let our readers find out a little more
about you by talking about some of your FAVORITE THINGS so here goes.
MCRAE: James Baldwin.
TJ: FAVORITE SHOW?
MCRAE: Since I've been in New York, I have seen quite a few shows that
really, really moved me. It's hard for me to choose. I really loved TOP
DOG/UNDERDOG. And I was blown away by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in LONG DAYS
JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. But I must admit that I am biased toward TAKE ME OUT.
I replaced Kohl Sudduth 6 months into the run, so I saw the show before I
was ever involved with it. It had so much joy in it, and Denis O'Hare was
just amazing. So I know I am biased but I think I would have to say TAKE
TJ: FAVORITE PART OF THE WORLD?
MCRAE: I really don't think I'm well traveled enough to even have a
favorite part yet. I loved Italy, in my short stay, as well as Paris.
Hopefully, eventually, I'll be able to answer this question with
TJ: FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK?
TJ: FAVORITE PASTIME ACTIVITY?
MCRAE: I love going to see live music. My sister's a singer/songwriter,
and I've always loved music of all kinds, so it's hard to beat going out
to see a great band.
RED HERRING was written by Michael Albanese and directed by Jonathan
Silverstein. The production will be presented on August 23rd and 26th at
the Connelly Theatre on 220 East 4th Street in New York City. For more
information and tickets, call (212) 279-4488 or go to www.fringenyc.com.
Have a great time and as always, theatre is my life. Ciao!
(source : Broadway World -- TJ Fitzgerald has been around the New England
Theatre scene both as a participant (acting and directing) as well being a
theatre fanatic since birth. He had been a featured columnist on
interviews and theatre features for New England Entertainment Digest since
1992 and is currently a board member of the New England Theatre
Conference. His past interviews have included Tony Award winner Faith
Prince, Tony Nominee Brad Oscar (The Producers), Maureen McGovern, (Little
Women), Joanna Gleason (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Into The Woods), Gregory
Jbara (Chicago, Into The Woods)and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell).
It's been quite a life thus far, folks and the best is yet to come)
Rapist charged with murder----Earl Washington Jr. was nearly executed in
1985 for the same slaying
A convicted rapist serving a life sentence was indicted yesterday in the
1982 rape and murder for which Earl Washington Jr. was nearly executed 21
Kenneth Maurice Tinsley, 61, was charged yesterday with the June 4, 1982,
rape, sodomy and capital murder of Rebecca Lynn Williams, 19, the mother
of 3 young children who was raped and stabbed to death in her Culpeper
His 1st appearance in court on the case is scheduled for Sept. 6, said
Richard E. Moore, the special prosecutor.
In 1985, Washington, 46, who is mildly retarded, came within 9 days of the
electric chair for the same murder. The indictment is the latest
development in a decades-old case that has attracted international
Peter Neufeld, a lawyer for the former farmhand from Fauquier County, said
yesterday that, "we are now one step closer to complete closure both for
the family of Rebecca Williams and for Earl Washington, who are both
victims of this crime."
In May, a federal jury awarded Washington $2.25 million after finding that
a now-deceased state police investigator fabricated parts of Washington's
confession, wrongfully sending the mildly retarded man to death row for a
rape and murder he did not commit.
Tinsley was convicted in July 1985 and sentenced to two life terms plus 14
years for the Nov. 16, 1984, rape, sodomy and robbery of Albemarle County
woman who was attacked by a man armed with a knife.
He is being held at the Sussex II State Prison, near Waverly.
Moore, an assistant Albemarle County commonwealth's attorney, said in a
prepared statement that his decision to seek Tinsley's indictment is based
in large part on test results not available to any previous prosecutors in
He was referring in part to Culpeper County Commonwealth's Attorney Gary
L. Close and Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney James L. Camblos
III. Camblos bowed out of the case in March 1984 when he learned he had
once represented Tinsley.
Washington's sentence was commuted to life in 1994 when DNA testing raised
questions about his guilt.
In 2000, Gov. Jim Gilmore pardoned him when further testing failed to find
his DNA in crime-scene evidence. Tinsley's DNA did turn up, and Gilmore
ordered the investigation reopened. Camblos was appointed special
DNA testing in 2004 found Tinsley's DNA in the slain woman's vagina. The
state had fought release of the evidence for new testing.
Last year, Virginia's highly respected forensics laboratory was faulted in
an audit conducted by the American Society of Crime Laboratory
Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board for its handling of some of the
testing in Washington's case.
The state lab, the audit said, failed to follow its own rules and erred in
2000 when it ruled out the presence of Tinsley's DNA in material taken
from Williams' body.
Washington filed a civil suit in federal court to get to the bottom of his
wrongful conviction for Williams' murder. The suit led to the 2004 testing
and last May's monetary award.
Virginia State Police documents filed in federal court -- and released by
court order in 2004 further implicated Tinsley. Among other things, police
said he was not at work on June 4, 1982, when Williams was killed.
According to one document, Tinsley, when confronted in prison by the state
police with the DNA evidence, said that if his semen was at the crime
scene, then police or someone else might have placed it there.
"If it's mine, as God's witness, I do not know how it got there," police
quoted Tinsley as saying. He denied having sex with a woman in Culpeper
and denied ever having been to the apartment where Williams was slain.
One investigator believed that Tinsley's Albemarle rape and the Culpeper
rape had similarities.
Other papers unsealed in the case showed that Tinsley resembled the
composite sketch in the original case. The sketch was based on a witness's
description of a man seen outside the Williams apartment on the day of the
(source: Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Mother faces son's execution
Reta Luther won't watch her son die.
She will be in McAlester on Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - the date the State
of Oklahoma has chosen to put her son, James Patrick Malicoat to death.
But she won't walk down the long, gray halls to the execution chamber.
Malicoat asked her not to be there. It would be too hard on her - and him.
Some will be anticipating the announcement of the execution of a monster
who beat, bit and tortured a 13-month child to death.
Luther will feel the horror of knowing that only moments remain in her
adopted son's life.
When Malicoat killed his daughter, he took away Luther's granddaughter.
She felt that pain again recently when her step-grandchildren were killed
in a fire on Sixth Street in Chickasha.
Luther said she knows what her son did and she agrees he should be
punished. But no mother can easily bear the knowledge that her son will
"It is very hard," Luther said. "I only go to work and go home. I sleep
about 2 to 3 hours a night. It is hard to function with that date hanging
Malicoat has never denied responsibility for the death of Tessa Leadford.
"He says he knows what he did was wrong and he will stand up and take the
punishment for it," Luther said. "He accepts that responsibility."
In fact, Malicoat didn't even plead for is life in front of the Pardon and
"I'm not here to ask for my life today. I don't know if it would do any
good," Malicoat told the board. But he did apologize for the grief he
caused family members.
Luther said she believes Malicoat's childhood contributed to his horrible
act which led to his execution. He was adopted when he was 18-months old.
She said his father, who was later convicted of child abuse, was very
abusive toward the young Malicoat.
She recalled a time where he was five years old and he was stripped down
and forced to break ice in a horse trough. She also recalls when he was
beaten with a 2-by-4 for putting a screw into the wall incorrectly.
She said the father never treated his two natural children the same way he
did his adopted son. But Malicoat has never said that is why he believes
he committed the murder.
"I have no idea why I did it. I have no idea why it happened. I've tried
to find an answer for it for nine and a half years," he said recently.
Since his conviction in 1997, Malicoat has never been outside. The closest
he has come to being outside is in an exercise room at the Oklahoma State
Penitentiary which has a glass ceiling.
He has requested a short trip outdoors before his life is taken, but his
mother doesn't expect that request to be granted.
Luther said the boy she helped raise - now the man the state will execute
- is basically a good person who committed one horrible crime.
She said he is a good poet who has a happy attitude and always kept his
"Anyone who knows him will tell you that this is a one time thing," Luther
said. "Since he has been on medication, he is doing better. I don't think
he should die for this."
But District Attorney Bret Burns, who prosecuted the case in 1997
disagrees. "I have never seen a case this bad," Burns said. "He tortured a
13-month old baby to death. Of all the executions I have been a part of,
he deserves it more than any of them."
For now a mother counts the hours, hoping for a last-second decision to
spare her son's life.
Barring an unexpected pardon, Malicoat will be executed at 6 p.m., Tuesday
[my note----the execution was delayed until August 31]
(source: Chickasha News)
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