[Deathpenalty]death penalty news------MARYLAND
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Jan 9 20:39:47 CST 2006
MARYLAND----new execution date
Judge signs death warrant----Evans convicted in 2 1983 killings
A Baltimore County judge signed a death warrant Monday for a man convicted
in the 1983 contract killing of 2 Pikesville motel clerks, scheduling the
longtime death row inmate's execution for the week of Feb. 6.
The warrant for Vernon L. Evans Jr., 56, comes 5 weeks after the execution
of another Baltimore County defendant, Wesley Eugene Baker, who was put to
death Dec. 5 for killing a teacher's aide in 1991 on a mall parking lot.
The death warrant signed by Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Grason
Turnbull II is the 2nd for Evans. The convicted killer had been scheduled
to be put to death in April before his lawyers successfully argued that
the execution should be postponed to give them a chance to appeal the
death sentence, using a University of Maryland study that found racial and
geographic disparities in the state's application of the death penalty.
Maryland's highest court turned down that appeal in November, ruling that
Evans' motion to correct an illegal sentence "was not the appropriate
vehicle to raise this issue" of the study.
"Certainly, our hope is that we're finally going to see the just end to
this case," Baltimore County prosecutor John Cox said Monday.
Attorneys representing Evans said they were disappointed at the short time
between the signing of the warrant and the scheduled execution. State law
requires that an execution be scheduled within 4 to 8 weeks of the
issuance of a death warrant.
Defense lawyer Jeffrey B. O'Toole said the execution is scheduled before
the dates by which Maryland's highest court has asked attorneys to file
legal briefs on an appeal of Evans' sentence based on his lawyers' claim
that he did not have effective assistance of counsel at a 1992 sentencing
hearing. Also pending are a new appeal from Evans based on the University
of Maryland study and a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an
appeal rejected by state appeals courts.
Evans and drug kingpin Anthony Grandison were convicted and sentenced to
death in the April 1983 killings of David Scott Piechowicz and Susan
Kennedy at the Warren House Motor Hotel in Pikesville.
Grandison was convicted of paying Evans $9,000 to kill Piechowicz and his
wife, Cheryl, who were to testify against Grandison in a federal drug
trial. Kennedy was working for her sister Cheryl that day, and prosecutors
said that they believe Evans mistook Kennedy for her sister on the day of
Grandison is also on death row.
(source: Associated Press)
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