[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----N.C., MO., FLA., S.C., ALA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jan 20 08:48:57 CST 2006
N.C. man executed for 1984 murder of retired minister
Perrie Dyon Simpson was executed early Friday for the 1984 beating death
of a retired Rockingham County minister, minutes after he apologized to
the victim's family and his own relatives.
"I want to say I am sorry for what I did," Simpson said in his last
statement. "I'm sorry for the victim and the families. I'm sorry for my
family. I'm sorry for everybody."
Simpson, 43, was executed by injection at 2 a.m. in Central Prison for the
death of retired Baptist preacher Jean E. Darter, 92, of Reidsville, on
Aug. 27, 1984. A day earlier, the minister had given food and $4 in cash
to Simpson and his girlfriend and allowed Simpson to use his telephone.
Simpson was pronounced dead at 2:17 a.m., said Keith Acree, a spokesman
for the state Department of Correction.
An uncle and aunt, along with two defense lawyers, watched Simpson's
execution, as did grandchildren of the victim and two police officers.
"We, the family, live with the memory of terror Perrie Simpson inflicted
upon Rev. Darter, but we are not interested in sympathy or being portrayed
as victims," said a written family statement. "Life goes on and we do our
best to make the most of it. Our grandfather would want it that way."
Simpson was executed came after Gov. Mike Easley rejected Simpson's
clemency request Thursday evening and after the U.S. Supreme Court
rejected his appeal. The state Supreme Court also rejected Simpson, whose
arguments a day earlier were nullified by a lower state court.
The clemency petition asked Easley to change the death sentence to life in
prison. But Easley, who has granted clemency only twice in his 2 terms as
governor, said Simpson didn't deserve clemency.
"Given the facts and circumstances of these crimes, I find no convincing
reason to overturn the verdicts of the juries, affirmed by the state and
federal courts," Easley said in a statement.
About 3 1/2 hours before the execution, police arrested 16 death penalty
protesters who attempted to enter the prison grounds. They were charged
Prosecutors had pointed out the gruesome nature of the murder - Darter was
found with his neck tied with a belt to the bedpost. A broken glass Tab
bottle was nearby and Darter had been beaten so severely with it that
there was glass in his eye. Blood was pooled by the bed and Darter had
been deeply cut from elbow to wrist on both arms with his own razor
Simpson was 21 at the time and his girlfriend was 16-year-old Stephanie
Eury. On the day of the killing, the pair went back seeking more money and
stole a radio, 3 boxes of tissue, a flashlight and a laundry basket. Eury,
who also was convicted of murder, is serving a life prison sentence.
Simpson becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
North Carolina and the 40th overall since the state resumed capital
punishment in 1984.
Simpson becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1006th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
15 NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENTS ARRESTED FOR PEACEFULLY ATTEMPTING TO DISRUPT
HE EXECUTION OF PERRIE SIMPSON
For the 2nd time in less than 2 months, local death penalty opponents from
the Raleigh-Durham triangle were arrested at Central Prison while
attempting to disrupt an execution.
Thursday night, at 10:30 p.m., 15 demonstrators approached the prison
driveway with the intent of reaching the prison doors to stop state
witnesses and others from entering to carry out the execution of Perrie
Simpson. State law requires state witnesses to be present in order for an
execution to be carried out.
However, the group did not get any further than the crosswalk when police
stopped and arrested the demonstrators for trespassing.
Members of the group, many of whom also took part in the civil resistance
action on the night of the 1,000th execution in December 2005, felt
obligated to peacefully resist Simpson's execution in the spirit of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, which was celebrated this past Monday.
Beth Brockman, a Durham resident and mother of two children, was one of
those arrested for trying to stop Simpson's execution.
"My daughter told me on Dr. King's birthday celebration, 'killing is never
right,'" said Brockman, "She reminded me that Dr. King said something
similar: 'I do not think God approves of the death penalty for any
Dr. King, who was a firm believer in and practitioner of nonviolent civil
disobedience, was also a strong opponent of the death penalty. "Capital
punishment is against the best judgment of modern criminology, and, above
all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God," said
King in 1957. Many members of the group feel obligated to stop the
execution in honor of Dr. King.
"I believe that we are acting in the spirit of Dr. King by
opposing-nonviolently and in faith-the state's injustice," said Bill
Gural, a 43 year-old teacher at NC Central University.
Several members of the group were also arrested on the night of December
1, 2005, when North Carolina executed Kenneth Lee Boyd, the 1000th U.S.
inmate to be executed since 1976. All 17 were arrested and charged with
2nd degree trespassing and "resisting, obstructing and delaying a public
officer." Charges were subsequently dropped, and the group feels morally
and religiously obligated to oppose further executions.
"The state of North Carolina has no moral authority to take a life,
and.the system of capital punishment is extremely prejudicial towards
people of color and the poor," said Gural. Other resisters felt moved to
risk arrest on religious grounds.
"As a Christian I believe that the ritual execution of people we fear is
human sacrifice to the idol of security. To worship Jesus, you have to
stop worshiping false gods. You have to stop sacrificing to idols," said
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, 25, a Christian peacemaker and minister at St.
Johns Baptist Church in Durham.
Wilson-Hartgrove expressed what the group feels is their duty to halt all
state-sponsored executions: "I have to put my body on the line and say,
'No more. Not in my name.'"
All 15 arrestees were released at 2:30 am Friday morning with a written
promise to appear for a March 2, 2006 arraignment and trial in Wake County
To support the Raleigh 15 "Martin Luther King Affinity Group," please
contact Scott Langley at scott at langleycreations.com or (919) 833-4129.
For photos from the protest and the arrest:
(source: Raleigh Catholic Worker)
MISSOURI---stay of execution
U.S. judge OKs stay of Missouri execution
A federal judge on Thursday halted the planned execution of a man who
raped and killed a 15-year-old Kansas City girl.
The Missouri Supreme Court recently scheduled a Feb. 1 execution for
Michael A. Taylor, 1 of 2 men sentenced to death for killing Ann Harrison
in 1989 after she was abducted while waiting for a school bus.
In Thursdays order, Senior U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright granted a
request by Taylors attorney to stay the execution until he could present
evidence challenging the constitutionality of Missouris method of
That hearing is set for Feb. 21 and, if needed, Feb. 22, which would have
been Ann Harrison's 32nd birthday. Wright's order stated that he would
issue a decision "within a reasonable time" after the hearing.
The Missouri attorney general's office filed a notice Thursday that it
would appeal the execution delay.
Ann Harrison disappeared from her family's east Kansas City driveway March
22, 1989. She was found stabbed to death the next night in an abandoned
Taylor and Roderick Nunley, both of Kansas City, were arrested several
months later. Both confessed to police that they raped Harrison before
stabbing her multiple times. Both pleaded guilty without benefit of a plea
agreement with prosecutors.
The federal court action filed by Taylors lawyer, John William Simon of
St. Louis, argues that the three-drug sequence Missouri uses to execute
its prisoners creates a risk of gratuitous pain and is unnecessary to
carry out the goal of "mere extinguishment of life."
(source: Kansas City Star)
Bishops to Bush: Spare 2 killers----Gov. Jeb Bush, a Roman Catholic
convert, has been urged by Florida's Catholic bishops to reconsider the
death sentences of two killers on death row.
Florida's Roman Catholic bishops urged Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday to
reconsider the death warrants he signed for a pair of convicted killers
scheduled for execution in the next tw weeks.
The governor, a Catholic convert, has rejected similar appeals in the
past. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"We sense that the attitudes in society are changing about the death
penalty, that people are reconsidering their earlier attitudes about it,"
said Mike McCarron, executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference.
Clarence Hill, 47, of Mobile, Ala., is scheduled to die by lethal
injection Tuesday for fatally shooting Pensacola policeman Stephen Taylor
during a 1982 bank robbery.
Arthur D. Rutherford's execution is scheduled a week later on Jan. 31.
Rutherford, 56, killed Stella Salamon, who was drowned or asphyxiated in
the bathtub at her Santa Rosa County home, where Rutherford had done
repair work, in 1985.
The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal from Rutherford
on Jan. 26.
The state high court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Hill, but his lawyer
Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution and was
planning file a separate appeal Friday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Atlanta.
"Reflecting on the continuous exposure to violence in society, which
hardens the hearts and minds of even our youngest members, we reiterate
our plea for respect for life, even for those who are guilty of violence,"
the bishops said in a public statement.
They expressed sympathy for the victims' families but said "their pain and
incomprehensible loss of life cannot be wiped away by another death."
(source: Associated Press)
Court overturns death sentence
A man who had been sentenced to death has been resentenced to life in
prison after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling vacated his original sentence,
Assistant 11th Circuit Solicitor Dayton Riddle said.
Ted Benjamin Powers was sentenced to die for the Sept. 8, 1990 death of
Powers was 16 at the time of the murder. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last
year that capital punishment for people younger than 17 is
unconstitutional. Thursday, Powers was sentenced to life in prison.
(source: The State)
Man given death sentence in quadruple slaying
Kenneth Eugene Billups is headed to Holman Prison's death row cell block.
A Jefferson County circuit judge yesterday followed a jury recommendation
that the 30-year-old Birmingham man die by lethal injection.
Billups was convicted in November on four counts of capital murder for the
December 2003 execution-style slayings of four Hispanic males in Center
Prosecutors said the victims were lured to an apartment for a drug deal
and each were shot in the back in the head.
2 co-defendants -- Charles Cooper and Catrina Robina await trial on
capital murder charges. Earlier this month, a 3rd co-defendant -- Quincy
Parish -- pleaded guilty to felony murder and will serve 4 life sentences.
(source: Associated Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty