[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS, OHIO, IOWA, MO.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jan 25 17:08:04 CST 2006
Texas Prepares For Years First Execution
A 33-year-old death row inmate from Alabama is scheduled to become the 1st
Texas inmate to be executed this year.
Marion Dudley is scheduled to receive a lethal injection just after 6 p.m.
Wednesday in the states death chamber in Huntsville.
Dudley acknowledges he dealt drugs, but he continues to insist he was not
at a Houston home almost 14 years ago when 4 people were shot to death.
Authorities say the slayings were a drug-dealer rip-off.
A Harris County jury convicted Dudley of barging into a southwest Houston
home in June 1992, tying up the people there and shooting them in the
Killed were 19-year-old Jessica Quinones, who was 7 months pregnant;
32-year-old Jose Tovar, 21-year-old Audrey Brown and 17-year-old Frank
Jose Tovar's wife Rachel Tovar, who was 33 at the time, and Nicholas
Cortez, who was then 22, survived the shooting.
Dudleys execution is the 1st of 2 over the next week.
(source: KWTX News)
Death sentence, conviction upheld for inmate who killed cellmate
The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction and death
sentence of an inmate who strangled his cellmate and beat his head on the
floor and then laughed and yelled while paramedics tried to revive him.
Christopher Newton, 36, killed Jason Brewer, 27, as they shared a cell at
the Mansfield Correctional Institution in 2001.
"Newton has demonstrated that he is a menace to the life, health and
safety of others even when he is protective custody in a maximum-security
prison," the court said in a 7-0 ruling written by Justice Paul Pfeiffer.
Brewer was serving a three- to 10-year sentence for attempted burglary
while Newton was in prison for 8- to 15-year sentence for having a weapon
illegally, attempted burglary and attempted escape.
Brewer died a few hours after the attack at Ohio State University Medical
Center. Newton told authorities he made a rope and later cut a strip from
his prison jumpsuit to strangle Brewer when the rope broke. He also
stomped on Newton's head, throat and chest.
Newton admitted to the killing, and said he had never met or heard of
Brewer until they had been put together in the cell.
Newton claimed that he is severely mentally ill and ought not to be
executed, but the court rejected that argument and said Newton has
falsified psychiatric symptoms so as to appear to have a serious mental
disorder to receive special treatment and medication.
(source: Associated Press)
Republican senators file death penalty bill
On day one of this legislative session, Republican senators filed a bill
to reinstate a limited death penalty for those who prey on Iowa's
children. Under the legislation, the death penalty would apply only to
those who kidnap, sexually assault and murder a child under the age of 18.
The legislation is needed because of a glaring weakness in current law.
Currently, no additional punishment exists for sex offenders who go on to
murder their victims. That means there is nothing to stop someone who
kidnaps and rapes a child from murdering them as well. This is especially
true when you consider that the child, in most instances, would be the
only witness who could identify the sexual predator. The death penalty in
these cases would close that loophole.
During the 2005 session, Republican senators proposed a similar death
penalty measure in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of Jetseta Gage,
a 10-year old girl from Cedar Rapids. A registered sex offender was
charged with the crime. Although lawmakers ultimately approved a bill to
toughen Iowa's sex offender laws, Senate Democrats blocked debate on the
death penalty provision.
While Senate Democrats do not support the death penalty, a majority of
Iowans do. An April 2005 poll conducted by the Des Moines Register
reported 67 % of Iowans support reinstatement of capital punishment for
When 2/3 of Iowans support the death penalty, it is wrong for Senate
Democrats to block debate on this bill. Senate Democrats should stop
holding the death penalty hostage and allow lawmakers to have a serious
discussion on the issue during the 2006 session.
Mother, others plead for life of death row inmate
It's one thing shared by two Kansas City mothers, Linda Taylor and Janel
Harrison - the pain reflected in their eyes when they speak of their
For Harrison, it is the pain of losing her daughter in one of Kansas Citys
most infamous crimes. For Taylor, it is the pain of knowing her son
participated in that crime and may soon be executed by the state of
On Wednesday, Taylor was joined by several dozen supporters and death
penalty opponents to make a public plea to Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt and
other officials to stop the execution of Michael A. Taylor, which could
come as early as Feb. 1.
For now, a federal judge has stayed the planned execution, but state
attorneys have asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the
stay. "We ask for mercy now," Linda Taylor said.
Ann Harrison was 15 on March 22, 1989, when she was kidnapped while
waiting for the school bus in front of her east Kansas City home. She was
raped and stabbed multiple times. Her body was found the next night in the
trunk of a stolen car.
A tipster led police to Taylor, then 22, and Roderick Nunley, who was 24.
Both gave statements to police admitting that they took part in the crime,
but implicating the other as the primary aggressor.
A judge sentenced them to death. Those sentences were overturned, but
other judges re-sentenced them to death. An execution date for Nunley has
not been set.
Taylors current lawyer, John William Simon, told the audience Wednesday
that Taylors case was riddled with problems from the ineffectiveness and
flawed advice of his original attorneys to racism to a lack of opportunity
to air his legal issues in court.
Simon obtained the stay by challenging the method - lethal injection -
that Missouri uses. The mixture of chemicals and the way they are used
create an unnecessary risk of pain and suffering, according to Simon.
To those who argue that it is a humane form of death, Simon said, "That's
The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday provided a possible boost to Simons
argument, granting a stay for a Florida inmate who made a similar
argument. Also speaking Wednesday was Kim Gladney, pastor of the Oak Grove
Missionary Baptist Church, where the event was held. Linda Taylor is a
member of the church.
Gladney said he opposed the death penalty because it's "simply wrong." He
said it didn't make sense to demonstrate that killing is wrong by killing
Other speakers Wednesday encouraged people to contact Missouri legislators
to support a moratorium on executions or to abolish capital punishment. As
for Linda Taylor, she said "my heart bleeds for the Harrisons," and she
said her son has always been remorseful for what he did.
He was the youngest of 3 children raised in a church-going, two-parent
family, but a series of childhood traumas and drug abuse led him to that
day, she said.
After Ann Harrison was killed, Taylor said, her son came home "shaking,
crying and hysterical," but she didn't know why at the time.
"He realized what a horrible crime it was," she said.
Janel Harrison declined to comment about Wednesdays gathering beyond
saying that she understands that Taylors family is doing what any family
(source: Kansas City Star)
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