[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----N.Y., N. MEX., CALIF., N.C., MD., MO.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Mar 25 02:34:22 EST 2006
NEW YORK----federal death penalty sought
Federal death penalty trial mulled for man charged with killing trooper
In Rochester, a suspected bank robber and 2 accomplices accused of killing
a state trooper could be indicted within weeks on federal murder charges,
which would make them eligible for the death penalty.
"There's been discussions with the U.S. attorney's office" in Buffalo to
convene a federal grand jury to weigh charges against Anthony Horton and
brothers Bryan and Wayne Adams but "it's something we're still reviewing,"
Chemung County prosecutor Charles Metcalfe said Thursday.
A decision could be reached within a month, said Metcalfe, chief assistant
to John Trice, the county district attorney in Elmira. A federal trial
would "more than likely" be held in Rochester, he added.
A county grand jury has already indicted Horton on charges of aggravated
murder, which carries a maximum life sentence without possibility of
parole, along with robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. The Adams
brothers were charged with 2nd-degree murder and robbery and could get 25
years to life in prison.
The federal death penalty statute allows for capital punishment for
murders committed during a bank robbery. 3 people have been executed for
federal crimes since 2001, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh,
who grew up near Buffalo.
Horton, 33, a career criminal prosecuted on weapons, drugs and burglary
charges dating back to his childhood, was identified by state police as
the triggerman in a gun battle March 1 that killed Trooper Andrew Sperr
near the hamlet of Big Flats midway between Elmira and Corning in western
Less than an hour earlier, police alleged, Horton robbed a bank in Big
Flats of $1,900 and escaped in a pickup with Bryan Adams, 45, a former
landscape worker. The trooper, a 10-year veteran, was apparently unaware
of the robbery and chanced upon them on a road a few miles away.
Sperr was shot 6 times when he stepped out of his patrol car and mortally
wounded. But, he managed to wound both men as they ran to a waiting car
driven by Wayne Adams, 42, police said. Horton was dropped off soon
afterward at a hospital in nearby Elmira and Bryan Adams also surrendered
after retreating to a motel. Wayne Adams turned himself in early the next
All 3 pleaded not guilty and were ordered held without bail.
Sperr, 33, was the 23rd trooper felled by gunfire since the New York State
Police was formed in 1917. Thousands of police officers attended his
funeral in Greece, a suburb of Rochester where he grew up as the youngest
of 11 siblings.
2 days before his death, a police officer was shot and killed while
chasing 2 men suspected of robbing a store in New Hartford near Utica of
more than $1 million in jewelry.
(source: Associated Press)
Feds Seek Death Penalty Against Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff
The Federal government wants the death penalty for Kenneth Supreme
McGriff. Comment United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf filed notices
of intention to seek the death penalty of five defendants, including
McGriff, scheduled for trial April 3 before Judge Frederick Block in
Brooklyn, New York. McGriff is being charged with murder and racketeering
of New York, rapper Eric E Money Bags Smith and Smith's associate, Troy
"In the event that the defendant Kenneth McGriff is convicted of the
capital offenses relating to the death of victim Eric Smith, a sentence of
death is justified and the United States will seek the death penalty,"
writes Mauskopf in her filed notice of intent.
The notice also goes on to list statutory aggravating factors as
justification for asking for the death of McGriff. The factors include:
Grave risk of death to additional persons, substantial planning and
premeditation, procurement of the offense by payment and conviction for a
serious Federal drug offense.
Previously prosecutors alleged that McGriff helped fund Irv and Chris
Lorenzo'sThe Inc. record label on illegal drug money, but they were
unsuccessful in their attempt to prove it. In addition, the Majestic
character in 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' was loosely based on
Mauskopf closes her letter by stating that the US intends to "rely upon
all the evidence admitted by the Court at the guilt phase of the trial and
the offenses of conviction, as described in the Fourth Superseeding
Indictment, as they relate to the background and character of the
defendant Kenneth McGriff."
DA seeks death penalty for accused of murderer
District Attorney Matt Chandler says he will seek the death penalty
against a former Clovis dentist accused of beating a woman to death.
Thirty-seven-year-old James Smith is accused in the death of 30-year-old
Laura McNaughton. Her battered body was found by hunters in Curry County
last December 10th.
Chandler says he will seek the death penalty based on aggravated
circumstances, including kidnapping.
Smith has been held without bail at the Curry County Detention Center
since his arrest December 20th.
(source: Associated Press)
DA aspirants differ when put to test
Last week at San Jose City Hall, I nearly fell asleep during a forum for
the four candidates for Santa Clara County district attorney, the county's
most powerful law enforcement job.
Maybe it was the questions. ("How would you improve the DA's relationship
with the police?") Maybe it was the presence of four lawyers eager to
avoid mistakes. Maybe it was the state of the moon. But the night was dull
The beauty of being a columnist is that you don't have to take treatment
like this lying down. So I've decided to stir the pot by looking at an
emotional issue -- the death penalty.
None of the four candidates -- Chief Assistant DA Karyn Sinunu, Superior
Court Judge Dolores Carr, Assistant DA Marc Buller and Deputy DA Jim Shore
-- formally opposes capital punishment. Each vows to follow the law of the
Sinunu, however, has acknowledged that she struggles with the death
penalty. And DA George Kennedy has rarely brought capital punishment cases
in recent years (one exception is the case of DeShawn Campbell, the
25-year-old San Jose man accused of killing police officer Jeffrey Fontana
in the Almaden Valley in 2001).
Bingo. Test time. Shore declined to participate, saying he didn't respond
to hypothetical questions. But to the other three, I read the following
Late one night, 2 parolees break into a Kansas farmhouse, apparently set
on robbery. Inside, asleep, are a prominent farmer, his invalid wife and
two teenage children. The robbers tie everyone up and bring the father to
the basement. Apparently upset that there is not more money in the house,
they slit his throat and shoot him in the head. Then the two men proceed
to kill the others point-blank with a shotgun. They skip town and are
caught several months later by investigators in Las Vegas. A bootprint
ties one of them to the crime. One of the men blames the other for
wielding the shotgun.
You may recognize the crime as the Clutter family murders Truman Capote
memorably described in ``In Cold Blood.'' My question for the candidates
went to how they make decisions: What would be the first quesions you'd
ask in determining whether to bring the death penalty?
BULLER: What are the details of the crime? Who actually was the killer?
What are the reasons behind the cold-heartedness? Who are the individuals
and what have they done? What is their criminal background? Who are the
victims? How old are they? How vulnerable are they? Is my case strong?
SINUNU: Are there special circumstances for each perpetrator? (She answers
yes: robbery, multiple victims.) Who did what to whom? What is the
relationship between the crime partners and their relationship to the
victims? What was the mental state of each perpetrator? Were drugs or
alcohol involved? What is the background and criminal history of each?
What is the view of the victims' surviving family members?
CARR: Not in order of importance: How old are the perpetrators? What is
the evidence that shows what each did in the crime? Were they both active
participants? Was one of them a bystander? What were they on parole for?
What's their social history? Were drugs involved? What's their mental
My quick tally? A lot of repetition. But nuances of difference emerge:
More than the others, Buller asked about the victims. Carr and Sinunu
asked more about potential mitigating circumstances. Sinunu was the only
one who asked how the survivors felt. (In one big case where the DA did
not bring death charges, the murder of Palo Alto attorney Gretchen
Burford, family members opposed the death penalty.)
Enough to make a decision on the DA's race? Not by itself. Then again, it
beats falling asleep in a discussion of performance evaluations.
(source: Mercury News)
A March 3 news story reported on the issue of physicians' participation in
executions. I do not support the death penalty and do not feel doctors
should. By participating in the barbaric process we are indirectly
encouraging it. I believe the Bible says something about "Thou shalt not
kill," and I do not remember any modifying clause that says, except when
12 people vote that you should.
Obviously there is a conflict between the type of work we doctors were
trained to do and being asked to participate in the death of an
individual. Will North Carolina's next execution be something we can all
be proud of?
If people foolishly believe that executions are appropriate, perhaps there
should be a curriculum at some school somewhere to train laymen for this
particular need. Please don't ask physicians to become the state
Arthur H. Hemmerlein, M.D.----Emerald Isle
(source: Letter to the Editor, News & Observer)
Prosecution in Morris case would seek death penalty
Washington County State's Attorney Charles P. Strong Jr. filed notice
Wednesday that he will seek the death penalty for Brandon Morris if a jury
convicts the inmate of first-degree murder in the Jan. 26 shooting that
resulted in the death of Roxbury Correctional Institution Officer Jeffery
Alan Wroten, according to court documents.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Tracey Wroten, Wroten's ex-wife, said,
"My family fully supports that."
Morris, 20, who is being held at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment
Center in Baltimore, commonly known as Supermax, was indicted Feb. 22 by a
Washington County grand jury on 36 counts, including 3 1st-degree murder
charges, in Wroten's Jan. 27 death.
The 3 death penalty-eligible charges Morris faces are 1 count of
1st-degree premeditated murder and 2 counts of 1st-degree felony murder.
1 felony count alleges Morris killed Wroten in the course of an escape;
the other alleges he killed Wroten in the course of a robbery - the theft
of Wroten's service revolver.
Morris, who is being represented by three public defenders, has pleaded
not guilty to the charges and has requested a jury trial, which is
scheduled to begin July 31 and last at least five days, according to court
Wroten was guarding Morris, then an RCI inmate, in a fifth-floor
Washington County Hospital patient room when Morris allegedly used
Wroten's .38-caliber service revolver to shoot him at close range in the
face at about 5 a.m., according to published reports.
According to a bill of particulars, a document Strong filed Monday
outlining his case against Morris, the inmate "crouched down over top"
Wroten, who was lying on the floor and begging for his life, and allegedly
shot the correctional officer in the left side of his face at close range.
Wroten died the next day at the hospital. The single bullet entered his
jaw, his left internal carotid artery, cervical vertebra, spinal cord and
brain stem, the bill of particulars states.
The sequence of events is not clear because no witnesses observed Morris
taking the revolver, but the bill of particulars states that there was a
struggle between the men and Morris allegedly "forcibly removed" Wroten's
revolver, which had been secured in a holster by a snap.
Strong said Wednesday that prosecutors made the decision to seek the death
penalty after reviewing the case and meeting with Wroten's family.
He said that he will not seek to have the case moved to another county.
If Morris' attorneys request the case be heard in another county, they
would have the automatic right to have it moved since the death sentence
notice has been filed, Strong said.
In a death penalty case, a defendant is first tried on the issues of guilt
or innocence, he said. If a jury returns verdicts on any charges that
carry the death penalty, there is a 2nd hearing at which sentencing is
Strong said he has not prosecuted a death penalty case before, but he has
prosecuted several homicides.
(source: The Herald-Mail)
Murderer should get 2nd death penalty, jury decides
A jury decided Thursday that Vincent McFadden - already facing 1 death
penalty - should be sentenced to another for the unrelated murder of his
former girlfriend's sister in Pine Lawn.
The jury began deliberations at 10:35 a.m. and reached its verdict about
4:30 p.m. No sentencing date was set. McFadden, 25, of north St. Louis
County, stood expressionless as St. Louis County Circuit Judge Gary M.
Gaertner Jr. read the verdict.
In closing arguments, defense attorney Karen Kraft told the jury, "There
is no shame in showing mercy to someone. You can choose not to participate
in the death of another human being. You can choose life."
Prosecutor Mark Bishop countered, "If anyone deserves death, it is him. He
earned it. The death penalty is only appropriate for the worst of the
worst. He is the worst of the worst."
On May 15, 2003, in the 2500 block of Kienlen Avenue, McFadden shot Leslie
Addison, 18, 4 times as she begged for her life. Her sister, Eva, looked
on in shock.
Eva Addison had been McFadden's girlfriend and is the mother of their
child. 30 minutes before the murder, McFadden and Leslie Addison argued,
and McFadden told her he would kill her if she didn't get out of town, Eva
9 months earlier and a few blocks away, McFadden had gunned down Todd
Franklin, a witness against 2 members of McFadden's gang, the 6 Deuces.
Another jury convicted McFadden of that crime a year ago and recommended
the death penalty.
3 months before Franklin's murder, McFadden fired shots into the car of a
rival gang. No one died in that shooting. McFadden got a 30-year prison
sentence for it.
He was not arrested in those crimes until two days after Addison's
Besides 1st-degree murder, the jury convicted McFadden in the Addison case
of armed criminal action and tampering with a witness. The latter charge
stemmed from phone calls McFadden made through an intermediary from the
jail threatening Eva Addison.
Jail recordings picked up McFadden's voice in the background instructing a
fellow inmate - identified in court only as Slim - what to tell Addison.
(source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
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