[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----OKLA., S.DAK., PENN. CALIF., KAN.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Aug 29 15:22:53 UTC 2006
Inmate Scheduled To Die For 1994 Killing
An Oklahoma inmate convicted in the 1994 stabbing death of an Oklahoma
City woman is scheduled to be executed Tuesday under a new lethal
injection system that delivers a larger dose of anesthesia before the
fatal drugs are administered.
Eric Allen Patton, 49, was convicted of the Dec. 16, 1994, murder of
Charlene Kauer during a robbery at her Oklahoma City home. His execution
is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
On Monday, Patton's attorneys filed an emergency application for a stay of
execution with the U.S. Supreme Court, a common move for inmates nearing
"We just received (the application) and are preparing our response," Emily
Lang, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Attorney General's office, said
Patton had challenged the state's execution procedure, arguing that
inmates may be subjected to pain during lethal injection. Although a
federal judge rejected that argument earlier this month, the state
Department of Corrections revised its execution procedure.
Under the new system, inmates will receive a larger dose of the sedative
sodium thiopental, which causes unconsciousness, before getting injected
with vecuronium bromide, which stops breathing, and potassium chloride,
which stops the heart.
Dr. Mark Dershwitz, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical
School, said the change would reduce the chance an inmate might wake up
after the sedative had been administered and before the lethal drugs took
Patton, who had a lengthy criminal record of burglaries and robberies in
Oklahoma and California, was accused of attacking Kauer after he knocked
on her door and asked her for money.
Kauer, then 56, had taken the day off work from her job at Blue Cross and
Blue Shield to do some Christmas shopping, according to court documents.
Les Kauer discovered his wife's nude body at the couple's home with
multiple stab wounds from several knives, a barbecue fork and a pair of
scissors that were left protruding from her chest, court records show.
Patton, who had previously done some painting work for the couple, was
arrested 13 days after the murder when fingerprints he gave police matched
those on a bloody barbecue fork found at the scene.
He later confessed to the crime, but claimed in his appeals that he was so
intoxicated and high on cocaine that he could not form the intent to kill.
Les Kauer said Monday that Patton's pending execution does little more
than stir up painful memories.
"It's kind of hard to speculate as to whether this will bring closure,"
Kauer said from his Oklahoma City home. "I hope it does for all of my
family that has been involved in this thing."
The Kauer's daughter, Julie Lambert, wrote a letter to the state Pardon
and Parole Board last month asking that they deny clemency for Patton. In
the letter, Lambert wrote that her mother was an outgoing, kind woman who
tried to help others and especially enjoyed the holidays.
"Holidays were exciting times, with Christmas being her favorite," she
"Needless to say, holidays are not the same now, especially Christmas,
since her death was the week before her favorite holiday."
SOUTH DAKOTA----impending execution
Page execution on track
Barring a change of heart, confessed killer Elijah Page will have his own
death wish granted today at 10 p.m. CDT, after spending his last hours on
Earth visiting family and eating a favorite meal.
The state's 1st execution in 59 years was on schedule late Monday
afternoon as protesters against the death penalty began gathering on city
property across from the prison. More protesters - those against and those
for the death penalty - are expected today. They will be allowed on a
grassy section of prison ground near the parking lot of the penitentiary's
Jameson Annex where Page has spent the past 5 1/2 years.
"They can be in the designated area on the penitentiary property beginning
at 8 a.m. Tuesday," state Department of Corrections spokesman Michael
Winder said by e-mail Monday afternoon. "There will also be an area for
Each side will have most of the day to make its point. The 10 p.m.
execution time was selected to allow additional family visits by family,
according to an information sheet sent out by DOC on Monday. The time
allows prison activities to proceed during the day without disruption and
also gives Page - condemned to die for the March 2000 murder of Chester
Allan Poage, 19, of Spearfish - more time with his attorney, in case he
decides to file an appeal.
Prison visitors and employees came and went Monday under gray skies and a
periodic drizzle. During drier moments, Deb McIntyre of Sioux Falls,
executive director of the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center, kept a
mostly solitary vigil on the city land across the street. Occasionally,
someone stopped to talk about the death penalty and the man preparing to
die somewhere behind the formidable prison walls across the street.
"Today has just been a vigil, a time to reflect on what we're going to do
here tomorrow, and to give witness that we personally do not support what
I consider to be state-sponsored murder," McIntyre said. "People come and
go, stop and visit a bit. Sometimes, they cry or tell stories about where
they've been in life."
McIntyre said that vigil would continue today, but with a consistent
presence and greater numbers. The Peace and Justice Center also will hold
a vigil today at the bronze statue of President Jimmy Carter in downtown
Rapid City, from 10 a.m. MDT through the time of the execution, McIntyre
McIntyre said that she and other opponents of the death penalty continued
to hold out fading hope that Gov. Mike Rounds would stop the execution.
She said Rounds has particularly clear grounds because Page and one
accomplice, Briley Piper, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to death by a
judge, but another accomplice, Darrell Hoadley, went to trial, lost and
received life in prison from a jury.
"One goes before a jury of his peers and gets life, while 2 others go
before a judge and get death. How can anybody say that's right?" McIntyre
Rounds has said more than once that he was listening to all arguments
about the execution but hadn't been convinced that he should interfere
with decisions made by the courts.
Page still has the power to save his own life. Because he stopped his
ongoing legal appeal last winter and asked to be put to death, he could
change his mind and re-commence the appeals process at any point until the
multi-drug injection that will kill him. His sister, father and friends
have been trying to persuade him to do exactly that, and prison officials
are prepared to stop the process at any point if he does.
If the execution proceeds as scheduled, about two dozen witnesses will
watch. They will include Associated Press reporter Carson Walker of Sioux
Falls and Journal reporter Bill Harlan. Walker and Harlan will then appear
at a news conference to describe what they saw and answer questions.
Family members of Elijah Page and Chester Allan Poage also may speak, if
they choose to.
All witnesses must sign a certificate of execution, which must be filed
with the Lawrence County Clerk of Courts office within 10 days. After it
is filed, it is considered a public document.
Page has spent the past couple of days in a holding area near the
execution chamber of the penitentiary. His close friends Art and Pam
Guettler and their son and daughter of Spearfish had received special
permission to see Page on Monday. He will eat his last meal, which will be
of his choosing as long as it can be prepared "within reason" by the
prison kitchen. Officials will release the details of that meal today.
Page will be allowed telephone calls and visits from his immediate family
- sister Desiree Page and father Kenneth Chapman were scheduled - until 4
Members of the clergy must leave the holding area by 9 p.m.
DOC officials have declined to talk about the make-up of the execution
team or to say whether anyone from other states where lethal-injection
executions are routine would be called in to help. The state used an
electric chair for its last execution - of George Sitts in 1947. This will
be its first use of lethal injection.
It is also McIntyre's 1st time demonstrating outside the state prison as
an inmate prepares to die.
"I've never done this kind of thing before," she said. "The governor
hasn't. Nobody here really has."
(source: Rapid City Journal)
Nuns oppose death penalty
An Aberdeen church has scheduled a prayer vigil tonight relating to the
scheduled execution of Elijah Page.
North Highland United Methodist Church prayer vigil will be from 9:30 to
10:30 p.m. at the church at 620 15th Ave. N.E.
Prayers will be said for all the families involved - both those of the
victim and Page. A press release notes that the United Methodist Church
has long stood against the death penalty.
All are welcome, according to the release.
2 Presentation College nuns had an afternoon vigil Sunday near Capitol
Lake in Pierre to voice their opposition to the execution.
Their message was simple: All life is sacred - even those who have
The nuns did say, however, that their opposition probably won't change
But they hope Gov. Mike Rounds, who is a Roman Catholic, may reconsider
his decision not to intervene in the execution of Page, 24.
The nuns represented the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center. Donata
Daml and Marilyn Dunn live in Eagle Butte.
(source: Aberdeen News)
Protestors Hope To Stop Execution
It didn't take long for people to start gathering outside the prison to
begin protesting the execution.
Tuesday night at 10 pm, Elijah Page will be put to death for his role in
the killing of Chester Allan Poage of Spearfish 6 years ago.
But once the time and date were announced Sunday night, signs began going
up early Monday morning hoping someone will stop South Dakota's 1st
execution in 60 years.
The sign reads, Not In My Name. It shows how Deb McIntyre of the South
Dakota Peace and Justice Center feels about the state's death penalty.
"I'm here because I want to personally make a point that I don't support
the killing of Elijah Page."
But McIntyre knows it's going to take more than tape and a hammer to stop
his execution. That's why dozens of people plan to hold a vigil from now
until Page's death, praying someone steps in.
"We're not saying what Elijah Page did was right, but part of what I'm
saying is if we want to punish him to the full extent, let him have life
in prison," said McIntrye.
McIntyre says Page wants to die and the state shouldn't grant him his
death wish. "He recognizes how horrible the crime was, he's devastated,
he's willing to take blame for that and he thinks by committing suicide by
allowing the state to murder him that that will make everything better."
But McIntyre says nothing good can come of Page's execution. "If people
think that they're going to feel better because this person is murdered
for a murder he committed we're not going to feel better."
Dottie Poage, Chester Poage's mother, has gone on record as saying she
supports the death penalty.
Only the governor or Page himself can stop the process, but governor
Rounds has already said he has no plans to intervene and Page has waived
his appeals process so he can die.
Former Governor Talks About Stopping Execution
The last time South Dakota was preparing to put a convicted killer to
death, the Governor stopped the execution.
Governor Frank Farrar reduced Thomas Whitehawk's death sentence to life in
prison in 1969 .
In 1969, Frank Farrar felt he saved many lives by sparing 1 life.
Former South Dakota Governor Frank Farrar says, "I thought he should have
been put to death, however, if there would have been an uprising on the
reservations or riots there would have been ten or f15 people killed."
It was during Farrar's 1st year as governor that he stopped the execution
of Thomas Whitehawk. The Native American man had been convicted of
torturing the Vermillion family of James Yeado, and eventually shooting
and beating Yeado to death in 1967.
At a 1969 press conference Farrar said, "Convey to Mr. Thomas Whitehawk
that on October 24th 1969 I've commuted his sentence of death in electric
chair to sentence of life imprisonment. "
Farrar says while race played a role in his decision, other political
issues and an unstable society were also factors. There was debate across
the country about states' right to use the death penalty.
Farrar says, "In '69 and '70 we had a state and a nation that was in
disarray. The rule of the law was being replaced by what everyone wanted
While Farrar hasn't followed the Elijah Page case, he recalls the
difficult decision that he had to make in 1969 and knows what Governor
Mike Rounds is facing just 24 hours before the scheduled execution.
Farrar says, "To make that decision is a difficult decision and I'm sure
the Governor whatever decision he makes will be after a lot of
thought...he's fair...he's an honest man and will try to do what's right
and I think he will."
Attorney General Larry Long says only 3 people can stop Page's execution
tomorrow. They are Page himself, the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, and
the Governor. The execution can legally be stopped up until the lethal
(source for 2 above: KELOLAND TV)
In final hours, protesters strive to keep Page alive----Execution day
vigils include church services
On the eve of the state's 1st execution in almost 6 decades, death penalty
opponents ramped up 11th-hour pleas Monday to spare death-row inmate
Elijah Page from lethal injection.
"To me, this is a premeditated murder," said Deb McIntyre, director of the
South Dakota Peace and Justice Center. "We've planned it all out. We know
exactly how much solution to put in his veins, and to me, that's
McIntyre stood in a dreary mist across the street from the state
penitentiary Monday morning next to a handmade sign that said "Not In My
She was the first of what she expected would be several dissenters
gathering at the prison until the time Page is put to death. The lethal
injection is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. today.
Amnesty International called for Gov. Mike Rounds to offer Page clemency,
and several churches announced special services for this evening.
Corrections officials say they've been preparing for the execution for
months, including a visit to Texas to observe how lethal injections are
They've been mum with specifics of training, though.
A Department of Corrections press release last week said the state would
have separate areas arranged outside the prison for people to express
their support or opposition to the execution.
McIntyre said Peace and Justice Center members planned to be on the
grounds all day, beginning at 8 a.m. this morning.
"Really, there's not much we can do except just stand up and say 'I don't
support this,' " McIntyre said.
The Catholic Church Diocese of Sioux Falls repeated a message Monday from
the Catholic Advocate Network asking Rounds to stop the execution or
explain why it is necessary.
'People of prayer for the healing of our state'
Prayer services are scheduled at several churches across the state,
including in Aberdeen, Yankton and Sioux Falls. The South Dakota Synod of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has arranged an ecumenical
service at East Side Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.
"My intention is that we pray in a 360-degree manner," said Bishop Andrea
DeGroot-Nesdahl, who is contacting other religious leaders to involve them
in the service as well. "We want to pray across a wide spectrum of
DeGroot-Nesdahl said she doesn't consider the service to be a protest, but
instead a chance to pray for everybody involved, including Page, his
victim's family, the governor and staff carrying out the execution.
"It's a very serious event, and regardless of our opinions about the law,
it has an impact for all of us," she said.
"If it does go forward, then what we need is to be together as people of
prayer for the healing of our state."
She encouraged people of diverse views to attend the service, which
probably will last about 45 minutes.
Amnesty International's announcement Monday said Page should be sentenced
to life in prison instead of lethal injection.
"Elijah Page's case clearly demonstrates that our capital punishment
system is a lottery of death," Larry Cox, director of the organization's
death penalty opposition group, said in a statement.
'Page's execution must be halted at once'
Page was sentenced to death for his role in the murder of a 19-year-old
Spearfish man, Chester Allen Poage in March 2000. He and a co-defendant,
Briley Piper, pleaded guilty and were sent to death row. A 3rd
co-defendant, Darrell Hoadley, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to
life in prison instead.
"Page was sentenced to death, and Hoadley was sentenced to life - for the
same crime," Cox said. "Page's execution must be halted at once."
Witness list not yet public
Sioux Falls police spokesman Loren McManus said the police chief has met
with prison officials. City officers will be in charge of monitoring the
area surrounding the prison.
"Should there be any disturbance, we will respond," McManus said.
A Corrections Department press release Monday said the execution was
scheduled for 10 p.m. to allow Page a full day to visit with family and
friends, and give time with his lawyer in case of an appeal.
About 2 dozen people will observe the execution, the department said. It
would not release the list of witness names Monday.
Corrections spokesman Michael Winder said in an e-mail the witness list
would be made public within 10 days following the execution when it is
filed with the Lawrence County clerk of court's office.
(source: Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
Death and reflection----It's fair to debate executions, but also assess
failures that led up to murder by Page
Today is unlike any other in South Dakota, at least for the past 6
For the 1st time since 1947, we will execute a man.
No matter your position on the death penalty, today is a day for
About 10 o'clock tonight, barring some last-minute change in plans, a
young man - Elijah Page - will be executed by lethal injection for the
torture-slaying of another young man, Chester Allan Poage.
By all means, we ought to mourn and remember Poage, who was horribly
murdered 6 years ago at the age of 19.
But we also should carefully consider Page, now 24, whose terrible young
life of abuse set him on course for South Dakota's death chamber tonight
in the state prison in Sioux Falls.
That Poage should have been murdered is a tragedy, without doubt.
That another should die for that death might be justice, but we would be
remiss if we did not also recognize it as an occasion to note some of our
society's failures: It is a failure that the family conditions in Page's
young life could have been so incomprehensibly horrendous - drugs,
abandonment, sexual abuse and more. It is a failure that the death penalty
- in addition to providing retribution - does not appear to have reduced
the incidence of murder in our society.
In South Dakota, we have decided that some killers should die for their
crimes. 3 others are on death row with Page, including Briley Piper,
convicted of joining with Page in Poage's murder. Page will be the 1st to
be executed since the death penalty was reinstituted, in the 1970s.
It is a solemn moment. Stripped of the political implications of the
capital punishment debate, this means simply that we've failed to stop
both murder and the conditions that make it possible. Perhaps we never
After all, murder wasn't the original sin, but it was close. And when
Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he brought with him the rules by which
we were to live - among them, "Thou shalt not murder."
Of course, the Bible is filled with murders. And so is our society -
though, thankfully, they are rare in South Dakota.
Tonight, though, we are scheduled to execute a man for murder. A horrible
murder, preceded by torture.
We have no doubt that Page committed the crime.
That is clear, and his potential innocence is not part of the debate, as
it often has been in other states before an execution.
Nor is there any question of appeals being denied. Page himself asked that
appeals be ended.
Nationally, he will be the 38th person to be executed this year. Last
year, 60 people around the country were executed.
In South Dakota, Page marks a turning point as the death penalty becomes a
21st century reality.
Tomorrow, our lives move on in normal fashion - except for those who knew
Page or Poage, and those left on death row.
But today all of us should reflect.
(source: Editorial, Argus Leader)
6 jurors on death-penalty case----Selection continues today in the trial
of Joseph Gacha, who is charged in the 2004 stabbing of Carrie Martin.
The 1st day of jury selection in the death penalty trial of Joseph Gacha
concluded Monday with 6 jurors being selected.
Gacha, 28, of Edwardsville, is charged with stabbing 20-year-old Carrie
Martin to death inside her Howard Street home on May 28, 2004.
Police say Gacha and his former co-defendant, Daniel Kukucka, stabbed
Martin more than 40 times after they broke into her home in search of
drugs and money, though no drugs were found. The men then fled the home
with a locked box that contained lipstick and pictures. Kukucka later
committed suicide in prison.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Gacha, arguing Martins
death occurred during the commission of another crime, robbery. That is
considered an aggravating circumstance, which would be weighed against
mitigating circumstances, such as a troubled childhood, if Gacha was
convicted of 1st-degree murder.
Gachas trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 5. Jurors will first decide his
guilt or innocence. If he is found guilty of 1st-degree murder, the case
would proceed to a separate penalty phase in which the panel would
sentence Gacha to death or life in prison without possibility of parole.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors spent most of Monday questioning
potential jurors regarding their stance on the death penalty and whether
they would be able to follow the law if the case gets to the penalty
phase. Jury selection is expected to last several days.
A pool of 150 jurors was called for the case. 12 jurors and 4 alternates
will be chosen from that group. Jury selection is scheduled to continue
(source: Times Leader)
Humboldt death row inmate attacked
A death row inmate from Humboldt County was severely injured Sunday when
he was stabbed by three other death row prisoners in a group yard at San
Quentin State Prison.
Curtis Floyd Price, 59, was in stable condition after being stabbed in the
throat, cheek and head with a shank -- a piece of plastic fashioned like a
knife, officials said Monday.
Lt. Eric Messick of San Quentin said the four men were the only inmates in
the yard at the time.
Messick said all 4 men are white and have gang affiliations, but an exact
motive for the attack is under investigation.
According to Times-Standard articles covering the year-long trial that
ended in July 1986, Price may have been chosen by the Aryan Brotherhood
gang to kill Richard Barnes, 1 of the 2 people a Humboldt County jury
convicted him of killing.
Barnes was killed execution style in his Los Angeles area home in February
Deputy District Attorney Worth Dikeman, who prosecuted the case, said
Barnes was the father of an Aryan Brotherhood member who got out of the
gang and provided information to authorities.
He's a member of an extremely violent prison gang, Dikeman said. It
doesn't surprise me that he's made enemies.
Dikeman also said Price has killed 2 people since being in prison, 1
another member of the Aryan Brotherhood, the other a black man.
It is believed his other victim, Elizabeth Ann Hickey, was killed in her
West Simpson Street apartment in Eureka because she got in the way of a
The suspects in Sunday's stabbing are: a 37-year-old convicted in
Riverside County for a 1999 murder and who has been in the prison 4 years;
a 50-year-old convicted in Sacramento County in 1984 for a kidnapping and
murder who has been in the prison since 1987; and a 35-year-old from the
Central Valley who was convicted for a 2001 killing and has been at the
prison for 2 years.
The state also has 1 other death row inmate from Humboldt County,
according to a California Department of Corrections list from July. In
November 1990, Jackie Hovarter was convicted for the 1984 kidnapping, rape
and murder of a teen girl.
Earlier this month, Wayne Adam Ford was sentenced to die by a San
Bernardino County jury for the deaths of 4 women whose bodies were found
in Humboldt County and across the state.
(source: The Times-Standard)
Inland man among three suspects in prison attack----SAN QUENTIN: The
victim is in a hospital. Officials say a knife was fashioned out of a
piece of plastic.
A Riverside County man convicted in a Palm Springs execution-style slaying
is among 3 death row inmates suspected of stabbing another condemned man
at San Quentin State Prison, corrections officials said Monday.
Christopher Eric Poore, 37, is suspected of taking part in the Sunday
morning prison exercise yard attack that left 59-year-old Curtis Price, a
convicted killer from Humboldt County, with stab wounds to the neck, face
and head, said Lt. Eric Messick, a San Quentin spokesman.
Seriously hurt, Price was taken to a Bay Area hospital where his condition
was upgraded to stable Monday, said Messick, who described the attack as a
Also suspected in Sunday's attack are Todd Givens, 37, a convicted
double-murderer out of Tulare County, and David Breaux, 50, who had been
convicted of kidnapping and murder in Sacramento County, Messick said.
Poore was sentenced to death in February 2002 after a jury convicted him
in the Nov. 8, 1999, slaying of Mark Kulikov in Palm Springs, according to
Riverside County court records.
Kulikov was shot twice in the head and 3 times in the chest, said Ulrich
R. McNulty, the former Riverside County deputy district attorney who
prosecuted the case.
Evidence showed Poore killed Kulikov to become a member of the Aryan
Brotherhood, and that Kulikov may have had drug-dealing debts, said
McNulty, now in private practice.
In Sunday's attack, Price was stabbed with a knife fashioned out of a
6-inch piece of plastic with a cloth-wrapped handle, Messick said.
Prison officials are investigating how the inmates obtained the weapon in
the high-security cellblock.
A garrote fashioned from a shoelace also was used in the attack that
lasted just a few seconds, Messick said.
All 4 inmates have ties to white supremacist prison gangs, and
investigators are looking for links between the attack and their gang
affiliation, Messick said.
"They were all considered to be compatible and had been sharing the same
(exercise) yard for quite some time," Messick said.
He noted that such attacks on death row are rare, noting that condemned
inmates are separated from other prisoners and that armed guards closely
monitor the exercise yard.
The last such attack on San Quentin's death row occurred about 5 years ago
and involved some of the same inmates, Messick said. He did not have
details about that earlier incident.
The investigation into the latest incident will be passed on to the Marin
County district attorney's office for possible prosecution, he said.
Great Bend murders bring death penalty
A Lyons man was sentenced to death Monday for helping to kill a Great Bend
couple because he feared one of them might tell police about a previous
Sidney Gleason, 27, was convicted in April of shooting Miki Martinez, 19,
and her boyfriend, Darren Wornkey, 24, on Feb. 21, 2004. The jury
recommended the death penalty. On Monday, Barton County District Judge
Hannelore Kitts pronounced the sentence.
Gleason and his cousin, Damian Thompson, 27, kidnapped and killed Martinez
because they feared she might tell police about a previous crime -- the
stabbing and robbery of 76-year-old Paul Elliott in Great Bend. Gleason
and Thompson killed Wornkey, Martinez's boyfriend, as they kidnapped her.
Thompson previously pleaded guilty to murdering Martinez and is serving a
Gleason is the 9th person to be sentenced to die under the state's 1994
death penalty law, which was upheld earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme
(source: Associated Press)
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