[Deathpenalty] death penalty news---TEXAS, S. DAK., MASS. CAL., ARIZ., N.J., ARK.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Aug 24 23:56:36 UTC 2006
Fuller executed for murder of Tyler man
Condemned prisoner Justin Fuller quietly went to his death this evening
for the abduction, robbery and fatal shooting of a Tyler man 9 years ago.
In a brief statement, Fuller thanked his family and friends for their
"Let everyone know that you must stay strong for each other,'' he said.
"Take care of yourselves.''
He told the warden standing next to him, ``That's it.''
As the lethal drugs began to take effect, he looked at his parents
watching through a window a few feet away and said, "I love you.''
The parents and a sister of his victim watched through an adjacent window,
but he didn't acknowledge them.
8 minutes later, at 6:18 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
About 4 hours before the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an
appeal to review his case and halt the punishment. Only 2 of the 9
justices - Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens - voted for a
In the appeal, Fuller's lawyers contended his trial attorneys were
ineffective and failed to tell him about a proposed plea bargain that
would have spared him from a death sentence.
Fuller acknowledged being in the vicinity when 21-year-old Donald
Whittington III was killed at Lake Tyler in the early morning hours of
April 21, 1997, but he said he didn't fire the fatal shots with a
.22-caliber pistol and didn't show off the body later to friends.
Whittington's remains weren't discovered by police until four days after
he went missing.
Authorities said by then numerous people had gone to see the body, which
became the subject of conversation at Tyler's Chapel Hill High School. A
student at the school, which Whittington, Fuller and 2 other people
convicted in the slaying had attended, overheard some of the talk and
The case inspired passage of a state law making it a crime to know about a
dead body and remain silent about it.
Fuller said in a recent interview with the Associated Press he couldn't
express regrets about the killing.
"If I have regrets, it means I done it," he said.
3 others convicted in the case are serving long prison terms.
Samhermundre Wideman, of Tyler, and Elaine Hays, of Red Springs, have life
sentences. Wideman was 21 when arrested and Hays 25. Brent Bates Chandler,
19 at the time of the killing, accepted 25 years and testified against
Fuller and Wideman lived in the same apartment complex as Whittington.
Prosecutors said the robbery plot was hatched by Hays, Wideman's
girlfriend, who believed Whittington had received $15,000 from a trust
fund when he turned 21.
Hays' lawyers at her trial blamed the scheme on the 3 men.
Fuller said they went to Whittington's place to retrieve rings Hays gave
him in exchange for some cash. Once there, Whittington was sprayed with a
tear gas, blindfolded, had his hands and feet tied and was threatened with
death if he didn't surrender his ATM card and password. Chandler took
clothing and items from Whittington's apartment and the other assailants
threw Whittington in the back seat of his own car, drove to a bank and
withdrew about $300, then went to the lake area where Whittington was
Fuller told police he was urinating in the lake at the time of the
shooting. His companions disputed his story.
"They said I was the triggerman," said Fuller, who blamed Wideman for the
shooting. Whittington's ATM card was found in Fuller's wallet.
According to court records, Fuller took friends to see body the day after
the shooting and detailed his involvement. From death row, Fuller denied
Fuller, whose 28th birthday would have been next week, became the 19th
inmate executed this year in Texas, matching the total executions in the
state for all of 2005. At least 7 condemned prisoners have death dates
through the end of the year.
If all are carried out, however, the total would be well short of the
record 40 inmates put to death in 2000 in Texas, the nation's most active
capital punishment state. Scheduled to die next is Derrick Frazier, 29,
set for execution Aug. 31 for the slaying 9 years ago of a woman and her
son at their home on a ranch in Refugio County in South Texas. Jermaine
Herron, a companion of Frazier's also convicted in the double murder, was
executed in May.
Fuller becomes the 374th condemned inmate to be put to death overall since
Texas resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982. Fuller is the 135th
condemned inmate to be put to death since Rick Perry became Governor of
Texas in 2001.
Fuller becomes the 38th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1042nd overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Ex-football star accused in killings----Former athlete at Jones High and
another man face charges in slaying of a young couple
A standout running back and wide receiver who earned All-District honors
is one of two people charged with capital murder in the slaying of a young
couple who managed the Bellfort Plaza apartment complex.
Marcus Dantrelle Aguillard, 18, surrendered to Houston homicide division
investigators at police headquarters early Wednesday. Kelton Ramon St.
Cyr, 22, was already in custody in the Harris County Jail on an unrelated
murder charge, according to Houston police.
Aguillard was a standout football player at Jesse H. Jones High School. He
was named 2nd team 21-4A All District as a wide receiver.
Aguillard enrolled at Jones in April 2005 as an 11th-grader, according to
Houston Independent School District records, but did not return the
following school year.
"The young man just said he was with the wrong people at the wrong place
at the wrong time," said activist Quanell X, who escorted Aguillard to the
According to Harris County criminal court records, Aguillard has a prior
felony record. On Feb. 20, he was charged with aggravated assault with a
deadly weapon in the 262nd state District Court.
After posting a $30,000 bond, Aguillard was released two days later from
the Harris County Jail.
Aguillard's punishment in that case, on July 20, was deferred
adjudication, pending his successful completion of three years' probation.
His probation was scheduled to end in July 2009.
Richard Nino Jr., 29, and Eva Pena, 26, were found dead at 12:05 a.m. on
May 15 inside their apartment at 7035 Bellfort. Their 7-month-old daughter
was found unharmed.
Pena's family is caring for the baby.
Police initially went to the apartment complex at about 11:30 p.m. on May
14 after residents reported hearing gunshots.
Officers returned about 30 minutes later, after a tenant found the couple
inside their apartment.
Investigators said the couple had been shot several times and had
apparently "put up a significant struggle." Their apartment was ransacked.
After an investigation that included tips to Crime Stoppers as well as
witness statements, the investigators said they obtained enough
information to file capital murder charges against both suspects.
St. Cyr also was charged with capital murder Wednesday in the 183rd State
District Court. Both Aguillard and St. Cyr are being held without bail in
the Harris County Jail.
They are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
South Dakota prepares for execution
South Dakota could execute its 1st death row inmate since George Sitts was
electrocuted in 1947. Elijah Page has given up his right to appeal his
conviction for the brutal murder of a man in March of 2000. Twelve percent
of the people executed in the United States have waived part of their
appeals. People opposed to the death penalty are writing Governor Mike
Rounds and Elijah Page. They are the only 2 people who can stop or delay
Elijah Page was sentenced to die by lethal injection in 2001 after
pleading guilty to the brutal murder of 19-year-old Chester Poage. Page,
from Athens, Texas, and 2 of his friends set out to rob Poage. But in
order to prevent Poage from reporting the robbery they decided to murder
Attorney General Larry Long says it was a violent death in which the
beating went on for several hours.
"The terror and the torture and the inhumanity they put that kid through
I'm sure is what convinced the judge to give Mr. Page the death penalty. I
totally agree with it," says Long.
Elijah Page and Briley Piper both pleaded guilty to the crime and received
the death sentence from the judge. The 3rd man, had a jury trial and
received life in prison.
Now 24 years old, Elijah Page is not appealing his sentence and a judge
has found Page competent to make the decision. If he's executed, Page will
be the 8th person younger than 25 to be executed in the United States
since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Attorney General Larry Long says Page is making a conscious decision to
accept his punishment.
"Frankly there's part of me that believes he's finally made a responsible
decision. That he has said himself that he deserves the death penalty and
he's willing to see it carried out," says Long.
Deb McIntyre, Executive Director of South Dakota's Peace and Justice
Center, says Elijah Page was an abused child. His mother traded him to be
used sexually for drugs. His father physically abused him.
"People respond out of their own pain, frustration, and negativity," says
McIntyre. "What those boys did came out of a violence that was angry at
all of us. It came out of a violence that was looking for an outlet of
what had been done to them," she says.
McIntyre is organizing a letter writing campaign focusing on Gov. Mike
Rounds and Elijah Page. Page can delay his execution saying he wants to
appeal his death sentence. Governor Rounds can stop the execution by
commuting Page's death sentence to life without parole. Deb McIntyre says
if the state goes through with the execution it's nothing more than state
"You can't have a double standard here. It makes no sense to be able to
say if we kill Elijah Page then we're better than he was," says McIntyre.
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds says he won't intervene. Political observers
say he doesn't have to.
Bill Richardson, Chairman of the University of South Dakota Political
Science Department, says the governor's stance on this case can't be used
against him politically because he isn't being asked by Elijah Page to do
"The governor, unless something changes, is merely the person watching
with the greatest power. There's really no return for him intervening of
his on volition," says Richardson.
There are still plenty of legal questions about the death penalty in the
United States. South Dakota is one of 37 states that use lethal injection
as its form of execution. Another South Dakota death row inmate is
challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection. It's one of a
number of cases around the country that claim lethal injection causes pain
making it cruel and unusual punishment.
The U.S. Supreme Court stopped an execution in June because of questions
over lethal injection. Since then executions have been stopped in three
(source: Minnesota Public Radio)
1927 executions remembered
In Springfield, the Hampden County Chapter of Massachusetts Citizens
Against the Death Penalty and Catholic Charities of the Springfield
diocese marked the 79th anniversary of the executions of Nicola Sacco and
Bartolomeo Vanzetti with a memorial service last night.
Defenders of the men believe that they were wrongfully executed for the
robbery and killings of a paymaster and his guard at a shoe company in
South Braintree in 1927 because Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian immigrants
During last night's event in the Bishop Marshall Center at St. Michael's
Cathedral, three people received the Rev. Ken Childs Award for their work
with the Elms College Theatre for Social Justice: Christopher M. Lockwood,
of Chicopee; John M. Guimond, of Amherst; and James J. Gallant, of
The award honors people who are active in social justice and, in
particular, individuals who are working against the death penalty.
(source: The Republican)
CALIFORNIA----new death sentence
Jury recommends death penalty for Concord trail killer
An Indiana drifter should be executed for brutally raping, sodomizing and
killing an Antioch mother of 3 who had been enjoying her daily walk on a
popular Concord trail, a jury decided today.
Robert Ward Frazier, 41, did not visibly react when the verdict was read
in the Martinez courtroom of Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge John
Minney. But his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Wendy Downing, wept.
Afterward, relatives of victim Kathleen Aiello-Loreck, 49, hugged jurors
and prosecutor John Cope.
"We're happy with the outcome," Aiello-Loreck's son, Eric Lyon, 25, told
The Chronicle. "It's what we wanted. He deserved to die for what he did to
Asked if he wanted to say anything to Frazier, Lyon said, "From me? No, I
have nothing to say to that guy."
In June, the 8-woman, 4-man jury convicted Frazier of first-degree murder,
rape and sodomy for killing Aiello-Loreck on May 13, 2003, by dragging her
into vegetation and bashing her head at least 10 times with a metal bar.
Authorities linked Frazier to the slaying after tests matched DNA from
cigarette butts at the scene and the metal bar to the semen recovered from
the victim's body.
Several jurors said the DNA evidence left them no choice but to return
with a death-penalty verdict.
"We felt the circumstances of the crime far outweighed the mitigating
circumstances," jury forewoman Heather Burrows, 40, of San Ramon said.
"The brutality of it, we felt, was premeditated. We hope we've spoken for
Juror Rick Feliciano, 33, of Rodeo agreed, saying, "We left no stone
unturned. There was no reason to give him life in prison."
Juror Maria Duran, 23, of Brentwood said, "Hopefully there can be some
closure for the family and she rests in peace."
Cope said Aiello-Loreck was attacked so savagely that her blood turned the
dirt off the trail into mud in a daylight assault that would be "rated 'R'
for violence and cruelty."
Of the jurors, the prosecutor said, "They gave him more than he gave
Kathy. They gave him justice."
Cope said jurors viewed a tape of a police interview of the killer, whom
he described as "the worst of the worst."
"When you look at Mr. Frazier speak, it's very clear -- yeah, he's got
some issues upstairs, but he knew what he was doing and what he did," he
But Downing said her client was sexually, physically and emotionally
abused during his childhood and had sniffed gasoline, abused alcohol and
used crack cocaine.
Frazier, who was born to teenage parents, suffered from bipolar disorder,
attention-deficit disorder and organic brain dysfunction, Downing said.
"Robert Frazier was very ill mentally," she said. "This was not a long,
planned-out, premeditated crime. This was an emotional outburst. He lost
Downing said she believed Frazier should have been spared the death
"The truth of the matter is, there's good in him," she said.
Minney is scheduled to formally sentence Frazier on Oct. 27. When the
judge asked Frazier if he was waiving his right to be sentenced in 20
days, he replied, "Sure, whatever."
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Serial shooting suspects may face death penalty
2 men suspected of the serial shootings in the Valley may face the death
On Wednesday, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said he has until
Oct. 20 to decide whether or not suspects Dale Hausner and Samuel Deiteman
will face the possibility of execution.
Investigators say for more than a year, the 2 took turns shooting people
and animals throughout the city.
Right now Thomas is waiting on a panel of senior prosecutors to recommend
the death penalty, but he says the decision is really up to him.
"I ultimately will make the decision, but I will do so after our capital
review team has assessed the case and makes a recommendation to me,"
Hausner and Deiteman pleaded not guilty to 2 counts of 1st-degree murder,
14 counts of aggravated assault and 16 counts of drive-by shooting.
(source: Arizona Family)
N.J. court ruling sparks appeals from its death row
A state Supreme Court ruling in July has given convicted murderers renewed
hope of getting off New Jersey's death row.
Public Defender's Office spokesman Tom Rosenthal said the office is
looking into whether the court's rationale for overturning the death
sentence of Anthony DiFrisco can apply to eight of the nine people on
Rosenthal said the office has already asked the high court to consider
hearing an appeal in the case of Ambrose Harris, who was sentenced to
death in 1996. Harris was condemned for the killing of Kristin Huggins,
22, of Lower Makefield, Pa., whom he kidnapped and raped in 1992.
"We think the criteria from the DiFrisco ruling is applicable to Harris,"
In July, the Supreme Court overturned the death sentence for DiFrisco, a
hit man who said he was paid $2,500 to shoot a Maplewood pizzeria owner to
death 20 years ago.
DiFrisco's successful appeal centered on complex procedural issues
involving the type and timing of reviews afforded in capital cases. The
ruling determined that DiFrisco's death sentence must be overturned
because a majority of justices had voted - at various times and for
various reasons - to sentence him to life in prison.
It was DiFrisco's 5th appeal to the state's highest court.
Harris' new request for an appeal is his 2nd to the state's Supreme Court.
In it, his attorneys argue that he has received votes against a death
sentence from 4 justices.
"Based on the new precedent carved out by the Supreme Court in the
DiFrisco decision," Rosenthal said, "we think that's sufficient to dismiss
his capital sentence."
9 men are on death row in New Jersey. The state though has not put anyone
to death since 1963 and currently has a moratorium on executions while
officials study capital punishment.
(source: Associated Press)
Judge orders new mental exam for death-row inmate
A new psychiatric evaluation of a man sentenced to be executed for killing
a woman at a transient camp near railroad tracks in Van Buren has been
ordered by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson on Wednesday granted a motion for a
second evaluation of Rickey Dale Newman that was filed by Newman's
Last week, those lawyers filed a motion seeking to overturn his conviction
for killing Marie Cholette in 2001, based on new evidence. That motion
argued that a key piece of prosecution evidence - hair found on Newman's
gloves - has been shown not to implicate him, as DNA testing showed that
the hair was Newman's, not Cholette's.
Wednesday's order granting a new psychiatric evaluation this month or next
said Dr. C. Scott Sanders was to be given access to Newman "in a private
setting" for two consecutive days. Newman is not to be restrained by
shackles, handcuffs or any other device, unless requested by Sanders or by
Newman's attorneys, the judge's order states.
The Arkansas Department of Correction must also permit Newman's attorneys,
Julie Brain and Bruce Eddy, to be present, the judge ordered. The Federal
Public Defender's Office will pay for the evaluation.
Newman is being held at the Varner Supermax Unit in Grady. He was
convicted in June 2002 of killing Cholette, who was from Fort Worth,
Texas. Her mutilated body was found in February 2001.
In evaluations conducted before the trial, Newman was found mentally
competent. He represented himself at the trial.
The attorneys handling Newman's federal appeal claim that he is mentally
ill and that his statements during the trial that he was guilty and
deserved to die were products of his illness.
Newman was convicted after he admitted killing Cholette in a homeless
camp. He has twice dropped appeals, only to take them up again later.
Twice, he approached execution only to see the proceedings halted. Newman
has since dropped objections to lawyers making filings on his behalf.
(source: Associated Press)
Judge Orders Psychiatric Evaluation For Death Row Inmate; Newman Attorneys
Want DNA Tests----Newman Allows Appeals To Spare His Life
Rickey Dale Newman was sentenced to die for the 2001 murder of Marie
Cholette at a transient camp in Van Buren. Cholette's mutilated body was
found near railroad tracks. Cholette was from Fort Worth, Texas.
Newman once said he killed Cholette because she lied about having been a
member of a railroad gang. He served as his own attorney at his trial. On
previous occasions, he also has said he wants to die.
In the latest court ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson said Doctor
C. Scott Sanders is to be given access to Newman in a private setting for
two consecutive days. Newman is not to be restrained by shackles,
handcuffs or any other device, unless requested by Sanders or Newman's
Newman is being held at the Varner Supermax Unit in Grady.
(source: KTHV News)
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