[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----DEL., ARIZ., PENN., WIS.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Mar 4 13:17:39 CST 2006
Charbonneau moved from death-row cell----new trial date awaited in brutal
A 58-year-old woman, whose murder conviction and death sentence were
reversed earlier this week, has been removed from death row. Her attorney
said she is awaiting a new trial date.
Attorney Craig A. Karsnitz said he expects to meet with the judge and
prosecutors in the coming weeks to discuss a retrial date for his client,
Linda Lou Charbonneau.
"My best guess, and that's only a guess, is that we are not looking at
trial until sometime next fall," Karsnitz said.
Charbonneau was convicted in 2004 of masterminding the beating death of
her former husband, John Charbonneau, 62, in September 2001, and then
planning a similar fate for her husband, William Sproates III, 45, the
next month, after he became suspicious about blood splatters he found in a
box. An autopsy indicated Sproates was buried alive.
The jury convicted Charbonneau of 1st-degree murder, and Superior Court
Judge Richard F. Stokes sentenced her to death. But on Wednesday, the
state Supreme Court reversed her conviction because the jury did not get
to hear from a witness.
In their appeal, Charbonneau's attorneys said if the witness had
testified, they would have tried to point out inconsistencies between his
statements and the version of events presented by a witness who was
allowed to testify -- thus hoping to raise reasonable doubt among jurors.
When she was sentenced to death, Charbonneau became the only woman on
Delaware's death row.
Because the state's only women's prison, Baylor Women's Correctional
Institution, did not have a death-row unit, Department of Correction
officials had to augment a maximum-security cell to hold someone in that
After the Supreme Court's decision, Charbonneau was moved from the special
cell to a maximum-security cell, prison spokeswoman Beth Welch said.
(source: News Journal)
Ariz. Man Arrested for Quintuple Homicide
In Phoneix, the employer of 3 of the 5 victims of a quintuple homicide
last week was arrested Friday in connection with the killings, police
William Craig Miller, 28, was arrested at a Scottsdale restaurant and
booked on suspicion of 5 counts of 1st-degree murder, a weapons misconduct
charge and 1 count of burglary, police said.
"We believe that he was involved in the shooting," said Mesa police Sgt.
Chuck Trapani. He said investigators are confident Miller did not act
alone and are continuing to investigate.
Police said they believe Miller was at the victims' home at the time of
the killings but declined to say if he was the triggerman in any of the
Trapani said the burglary charge was related to Miller unlawfully entering
the victims' home in a gated neighborhood in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.
He would not comment on the weapons misconduct count.
Police declined to say what the motive for the killing may have been.
Miller's attorney, Phil Noland, did not immediately return a message from
The Associated Press left at his office late Friday night.
Killed were 32-year-old Tammy Lee Lovell; her 10-year-old son, Jacob
Lovell; her 15-year-old daughter, Cassandra Lovell; Lovell's boyfriend
Steven Duffy, 30, and his 18-year-old brother, Shane Duffy.
Tammy Lee Lovell's mother, Pat Morehart, said she was "ecstatic" there had
been an arrest in the case.
"This is the 2st time I've been happy in 2 weeks," Morehart said Friday
The Duffys and Tammy Lovell worked for Miller's company, PuroClean of
Scottsdale, a disaster restoration clean-up company.
Miller was charged along with Steven Duffy with arson for an alleged
attempt to torch his Scottsdale home in November. Records in Maricopa
County Superior Court show that Tammy Lovell contacted police about the
arson and Lovell and Steven Duffy apparently helped police gather evidence
in the case.
Police have searched Miller's home twice since the killings, once after he
called to report that someone sprayed bullets into his bed during a
Miller told a local newspaper this week that some of his friends gave
sworn depositions that they were with him during the early morning hours
of Feb. 21, when the 5 were shot to death.
Miller's friend, Seth Ladner, told the East Valley Tribune that he was
with Miller and another man at Miller's house after 11:30 p.m. Feb. 20
during a night of heavy drinking. Ladner said, however, he passed out
about 2 a.m. -- too early to be sure of Miller's whereabouts at 2:41 a.m.,
the time of the homicides.
(source: Associated Press)
Death penalty sought in killing of 6-year-old
A Blair County man charged in the stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy will
face the death penalty if convicted of 1st-degree murder, prosecutors said
Nathan Shaw, 25, of Tyrone, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, stood
motionless in front of Judge Daniel Milliron during his five-minute
arraignment. Shaw also is accused of beating and raping the childs mother,
his former girlfriend.
The arraignment was held a half hour earlier than scheduled for security
The defense told the court that Shaw was pleading innocent to the charges.
The list includes criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault,
rape, sexual assault, three counts of aggravated indecent assault, theft,
2 counts of indecent assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.
Shaw is accused of stabbing Jared Kline in the neck during the evening of
Dec. 26. Authorities said Shaw also beat and raped Christina Muoio,
Jared's mother and the mother of a 2-year-old girl by Shaw.
Tyrone Borough police claim Shaw then stole Muoio's 1993 car and fled the
area. He was captured four days later in Blackwell, Okla., after crashing
Muoio's car into a stream following a high-speed chase.
Friday's arraignment served to officially inform Shaw of the charges
against him and included notification by District Attorney Richard
Consiglio that it is a capital murder case because of the aggravating
"We believe we have several aggravating circumstances in this case,"
Consiglio said following the arraignment.
He said they are:
- An attack on a child younger than 12 years old.
- Use of torture.
- A murder perpetrated during the commission of a separate felony or
felonies: The rape and aggravated assault of Muoio and the theft of her
The torture included the numerous attacks Shaw made on Jared, police said.
He beat him in the head and chest area, choked him and stabbed him,
Death was caused by a stabbing with such force that the blade went past
the spinal column and into the tissue nearly to the back of the neck, a
pathologist testified at Shaws preliminary hearing in January.
A trial date has yet to be set.
Consiglio said his office already has turned over a large amount of
evidence to the defense.
Tyrone police are awaiting results on some evidence sent to the state
police crime lab in Greensburg, he said.
While Shaw was quiet and motionless in court, he had a nervous demeanor
"He was pacing the whole time he was in the holding cell," Blair County
Sheriff Larry Field said. "He just kept walking around."
(source: The Tribune-Democrat)
Avery case resurrects death penalty talk ---- Halbach's rape, killing
gives backers momentum
The release of horrific details about Teresa Halbach's death likely will
reinvigorate efforts to reinstate the death penalty in Wisconsin, say 2
Fox Valley legislators and a prominent defense attorney.
State Sen. Alan Lasee, R-Town of Rockland, said Friday that he thinks his
resolution to put the question to voters statewide now has a "better than
a 50-50" chance of passing the Legislature. Lasee has pushed
unsuccessfully since the 1990s to restore the death penalty.
Milwaukee defense attorney Gerald Boyle, who represented serial killer
Jeffrey Dahmer in the early 1990s, agrees.
"I expect that you are going to see people now asking for Wisconsin to
reinstate the death penalty because, if these statements are true, this
man's as vicious as they come," Boyle said. "I've already heard that
argument being made on the radio."
Calumet County Dist. Atty. Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor in the
Halbach case, released an account at a news conference Thursday of how she
was killed. He warned people before he spoke about the graphic details,
which described how the two people charged in the case - Steven Avery and
his nephew, Brendan Dassey - allegedly raped Halbach before stabbing,
strangling and shooting her.
The details were gleaned from interviews investigators recently conducted
with Dassey, who admitted his involvement. Halbach, 25, a freelance
photographer from St. John in Calumet County, disappeared Oct. 31 after
traveling to the Avery Salvage Yard in Mishicot to take photos of a
minivan Avery was selling.
Dassey, 16, made an appearance Friday in Manitowoc County Circuit Court,
where a judge set a $250,000 cash bond and said Dassey will be tried as an
adult. Dassey, who was arrested Wednesday, faces charges of being a party
to 1st-degree intentional homicide, 1st-degree sexual assault and
mutilating a corpse.
Avery, 43, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, 2st-degree
sexual assault, mutilating a corpse and possession of firearms by a felon.
He is in the Calumet County Jail. He is eligible for release if he posts a
$500,000 cash bond.
Avery repeatedly has denied involvement in Halbach's disappearance and
death. Investigators say they found her remains at the salvage yard and
Avery's blood in her sport utility vehicle, which was concealed on the
Dassey's attorney, meanwhile, announced Friday that he no longer will
represent the 16-year-old. The attorney, Ralph Sczygelski of Manitowoc,
said he learned about four hours after the hearing that Halbach is a 2nd
cousin once removed. He will ask to be removed from the case.
Boyle, the Milwaukee attorney, said the details of the case have sparked
outrage, and that "is going to cause a lot of people to start saying the
penalty of life in prison without parole isn't severe enough."
If Lasee's resolution passes the Legislature, it would be on the ballot in
September or November. To become law, both houses of the Legislature and
the governor later would need to approve the measure.
State Rep. Steve Wieckert, R-Appleton, said the latest news about the
Halbach case came to light as the Legislature is about to adjourn. He said
the Legislature is running out of time to act on Lasee's resolution.
"It's always worth considering and worth debating but right now, I don't
sense there's a majority of attention paid to that," he said.
Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853 and has the longest-running
prohibition of capital punishment of any state in the country, according
to the Legislative Reference Bureau. The Death Penalty Information Center
says that 12 states and the District of Columbia do not have the death
(source: Appleton Post-Crescent)
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