[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS, KAN., N.C.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 2 12:25:46 CST 2006
Convicted killer Max Soffar sent back to death row
Max Alexander Soffar, who spent 23 years on death row before his
conviction was thrown out, has lost his second bid to escape the death
chamber for a 1980 robbery and murder at a northwest Houston bowling
A jury agreed this morning that Soffar, 50, should return to death row for
killing Arden Alane Felsher, 17, during an attack that also left 2 other
young people dead and another teenager severely wounded.
Standing at the defense table as the verdict was read, Soffar turned his
gaze toward the prosecutors and slowly shook his head back and forth.
"I don't think anybody who leaves a courtroom after a death verdict is
happy,'' said defense attorney Kathryn Kase.
The jury convicted Soffar last week for the killing of Felsher during the
robbery of Stephen Allen Sims, 25, an assistant manager at the Fair Lanes
Windfern Bowling Center on U.S. 290. The attack took place on July 13,
Also killed in the attack were Sims and Felsher's boyfriend, Tommy Lee
Temple's mother, Margaret Johnson, wept and hugged her son, Robert Temple,
after hearing the verdict. She said she feels safe now that Soffar is
returning to death row.
"I was so afraid he was going to get out," said Johnson, 62. "We'd be
living in fear again, like we were before (if he had received a life
She said she is still apprehensive about the appeal process and hopes
Soffar's 2nd conviction is not overturned.
"I just hope this is over," Johnson said. "I don't want to live through
Robert Temple, 42, said "We'll have some closure when they execute him."
Gregory George Garner, 18, also was shot in the head during the 1980
attack but survived and called his parents for help.
Garner, who lost his left eye and has undergone numerous surgeries to
repair his injuries, testified in this trial. His father, Ira Garner, and
other victims' relatives have attended the trial.
Soffar was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1981, but
a 3-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the
conviction 2004. The panel concluded that Soffar had ineffective legal
If jurors had returned with a life sentence, Soffar could have become
eligible for parole immediately because he has served more than 20 years
in prison, which was all that was required at the time of his 1st
However, prosecutors said parole would have been unlikely. They also
suggested that, if it appeared that he might be released, they could try
him for the slayings of Sims and Temple.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Death penalty again sought against John Robinson
Serial killer John E. Robinson has been indicted in Kansas City federal
court for kidnapping leading to death, allowing authorities to again seek
the death penalty against him.
The charge, handed down late Wednesday, accuses Robinson of luring Suzette
Trouten in March 2000 from the state of Michigan, through Missouri and
eventually to Kansas, where he killed her.
Robinson was sentenced to death in 2003 in Johnson County, Kan., for the
murders of Trouten, Izabel Lewicka and Lisa Stasi in Johnson County. He
later pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to life terms, for killing 5 other
women in Missouri, Paula Godfrey, Catherine Clampitt, Beverly Bonner,
Sheila Faith and Debbie Faith.
Kansas death penalty currently is in limbo. After the Kansas Supreme Court
struck down the states death penalty law in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court
heard arguments on the issue in December. The high court has yet to rule
on whether Kansas death penalty is constitutional.
(source: Kansas City Star)
URGENT ACTION APPEAL
2 March 2006
UA 46/06 ---- Death Penalty
USA (North Carolina): Patrick Moody (m)
Patrick Moody is scheduled to be executed on 17 March. He was sentenced to
death in 1995 for the murder of Donnie Robbins in September 1994.
On 16 September 1994, Moody went to the home of Donnie and Wanda Robbins,
where he said he was interested in purchasing Donnie Robbins's car. While
he was being shown the car in a nearby field, Moody shot Donnie Robbins in
the back of the head. The next morning, Moody reportedly confessed to the
murder and directed police to the murder weapon.
At trial the state alleged that Moody and Wanda Robbins, Donnie Robbins's
wife, with whom Moody was having an affair, had planned together to kill
Donnie Robbins to claim his life-insurance money. At his trial Moody
admitted to the murder, but denied doing it for money, saying that he had
been coerced by Wanda Robbins, who had threatened to turn him over to the
police in connection with other unrelated crimes.
Wanda Robbins received a life sentence for her role in the killing.
Moody's childhood and adolescence was marked by abuse and neglect. From
the age of four or five, he was brought up by his father and stepmother.
At trial his step-brother testified that Moody's father beat Moody with a
board as a child, broke plates over his head and locked him in his room
for up to 18 hours without meals. He also said that Moody had moved in
with him temporarily at the age of 17 to escape the abuse. Moody also
reportedly suffered physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his school
At his trial, clinical psychologist Dr Jerry Wayne Noble testified for the
defense that Moody had told him that he was physically abused as a child,
and that Moody suffered from ''attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
borderline intellectual functioning (with IQ scores ranging from 74 to
82), alcohol dependence, a mixed personality disorder, child abuse
syndrome and physical problems resulting from psychological
difficulties.'' (Court record, 12 May 2005.)
Moody's current attorneys have presented a clemency petition to Governor
Easley which includes the above concerns as well as concerns that Moody
received ineffective legal representation from his trial attorney, who
they say, among other things, failed to properly investigate mitigating
evidence for his trial.
On 2 July 2004, Indiana Governor Joseph Kernan commuted the death sentence
of Darnell Williams, whose IQ was measured at a similar level to Moody's,
shortly before he was due to be executed (see UA 207/04, AMR 51/104/2004,
24 June 2004). Governor Kernan noted the 2002 US Supreme Court decision,
Atkins v Virginia, outlawing the use of the death penalty for those who
have mental retardation. The Governor wrote: ''Williams's IQ has been
measured at 78 and 81, and he attended special education classes
throughout his schooling. The usual 'cut-off' for mental retardation is IQ
of 70-75, and Williams falls above that level... The courts have set a
clear legal standard, but it remains problematic to confidently place the
solemn decision of life or death on a few percentage points on either side
of a line. Williams's mental status weighs as a factor in the clemency
There is strong support for a moratorium on executions in North Carolina
because of concerns about the fairness and reliability of the death
penalty. Almost 1,100 resolutions calling for a moratorium have been
passed by town councils, private businesses, church congregations and
religious organizations, political parties and student and community
groups. Many North Carolina newspapers have carried editorials in favour
of a moratorium on executions
Since 1977, when the USA resumed judicial killing, the US Supreme Court
has provided some constitutional protections for mentally impaired people
facing the death penalty. In 1986, in Ford v. Wainwright, the court ruled
that the execution of people who are insane violates the US Constitution's
prohibition on 'cruel and unusual punishments'. A decision by the Supreme
Court in 2002 (Atkins v. Virginia) prohibited the death penalty for people
with mental retardation, reasoning that mental retardation diminishes
personal culpability, and renders the death penalty difficult to justify
on deterrence and retribution grounds.
On March 1 2005, citing the ''overwhelming weight of international
opinion'' and ''evolving standards of decency'' the Supreme Court, in
Roper v. Simmons, finally outlawed the death penalty for offenders who
were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime. The Roper majority
quoted the Atkins decision: ''Capital punishment must be limited to those
offenders who commit a narrow category of the most serious crimes and
whose extreme culpability makes them the most deserving of execution''.
Amnesty International does not seek to excuse the perpetrators of violent
crime. However, it opposes the death penalty in all cases. Amnesty
International believes that there is a profound inconsistency in exempting
people with mental retardation from the death penalty while those with
serious mental illness remain exposed to it. Similarly, exempting juvenile
offenders from the death penalty because of their diminished culpability
is incongruous with executing those suffering from serious mental illness
or impairment other than retardation. The UN commission on Human Rights
has repeatedly called on those countries which still retain the death
penalty not to use it against anyone suffering from a mental disorder.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing sympathy for the family and friends of Donnie Robbins and
explaining that you are not seeking to excuse the manner of her death or
to minimize the suffering that their deaths will have caused;
- opposing the execution of Patrick Moody;
- noting reports of Patrick Moody's low IQ and his background of abuse and
- calling on the governor to stop this execution and to support a
moratorium on executions in North Carolina.
Governor Michael F. Easley
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Fax: 1 919 715 3175; 1 919 733 2120
Salutation: Dear Governor
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that promotes and
defends human rights.
This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including contact
information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank you for your help
with this appeal.
Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: uan at aiusa.org
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax: 303 258 7881
END OF URGENT ACTION APPEAL
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