[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, MISS., IOWA, VA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 28 23:54:00 EST 2006
Houston man set to be executed for refinery worker's death
The robbery plan was simple but brutal. Jerome Harville would be
distracted by his girlfriend while her cousin sneaked into the Exxon
employee's home. Once inside, the cousins would kill Harville and ransack
His girlfriend, Charlotte Kincy, stabbed him several times after her
cousin, Kevin Kincy, fatally shot him in the head. They stole everything
from a microwave to Harville's car.
But it was the car that led authorities to Kevin Kincy after the March
1993 slaying. He was spotted driving it near Beaumont by an FBI agent
about two weeks later. He was arrested after leading authorities on a
high-speed chase into Louisiana.
Kevin Kincy, 38, was convicted of capital murder and is set to be executed
Wednesday night in Huntsville. He would be the 7th prisoner put to death
this year in Texas and the 3rd this month in the nation's busiest capital
punishment state. Another inmate's execution, which had been set for
Tuesday, was delayed last week.
Julian Ramirez, who prosecuted Kevin Kincy, said the condemned inmate had
no regard for Harville's life.
"He had bragged about killing the victim to a number of people," said
Ramirez, a Harris County prosecutor. "The thing that will always stand out
in my mind is what he said before he shot the victim in the head. He said,
'You got to go, Jerome.' There was no hesitation, no second thoughts about
Kevin Kincy had a long criminal history, including convictions for
attempted murder and delivering cocaine.
Harville, 31, had worked for 3 years as an industrial hygienist at an
Exxon refinery in nearby Baytown. Officials said he was well-liked by
co-workers, who called authorities after the punctual employee failed to
show up at the refinery. After his death, Exxon offered a $5,000 reward
for information on his killer.
Kevin Kincy, who a pizza delivery driver at the time of the crime, was not
allowed to grant media interviews last week after state prison officials
said he was a threat to guards and other personnel.
On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from his
attorney, Alexander Calhoun, to delay the execution by lethal injection
because the combination of drugs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Calhoun has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Similar appeals this year by 4 other condemned Texas inmates have been
"I think there is some merit here," Calhoun said. "It's not just a
Calhoun said his client has claimed he was innocent of capital murder in
"Mr. Kincy disputes the fact he planned to even burglarize the home. There
was no prior plan to kill," Calhoun said.
In prior appeals, Kincy suggested he acted in self-defense and that
prosecutors coerced two witnesses to lie when they testified against him
at trial. Appeals courts denied these claims.
Calhoun said Charlotte Kincy was equally responsible.
"Maybe she's more culpable. She suckered the victim into her web," he
said. "That just doesn't look good. If (Kevin Kincy) has to die, why does
she escape that?"
Charlotte Kincy pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon
and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Ramirez said Kevin Kincy was more culpable because he fired the fatal
"We had a mountain of evidence against the guy and frankly didn't need her
to testify in order to convict Kevin Kincy," Ramirez said. "She had given
a statement implicating him and her as well in the crime."
Next on the execution schedule is Pedro Sosa, condemned for the 1983
shooting death of a Wilson County Sheriff's Department deputy. He is set
to be executed April 25.
(source: Associated Press)
Miss. death row inmate argues jury selection errors tainted his trial
Death row inmate Devin Bennett argued Tuesday that he deserved a new trial
because of errors during the selection of his jury in Rankin County.
Bennett, of Richland, was sentenced to death in 2003 for the murder of his
10-week-old son, Brandon Bennett. An autopsy showed the child had injuries
consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Defense lawyers argued that Devin Bennett accidentally kicked the child
off a bed while he was asleep.
According to the court record, the baby had been left in Bennett's care by
the child's mother when she went to work.
In arguments Tuesday before the Mississippi Supreme Court, Andre de Gruy
of the Office of Capital Defense Counsel said prosecutors should not have
been allowed to remove a potential juror and Bennett's trial attorney
erred by allowing 3 people onto the jury who were strongly in favor of the
De Gruy said 1 juror was excused by the prosecution solely because she
said that "she could not vote for death unless she was absolutely sure"
about the case against Bennett. He said prosecutors improperly questioned
the woman about hypothetical issues related to the case.
"She never said she never would impose the death penalty. Her answers were
that she would have to hear the evidence before she could decide. She
clearly would have been a difficult juror for the state to convince in
this case ... that does not mean she can't serve in this case," de Gruy
said. Assistant Attorney General Melanie Thomas said prosecutors more
closely questioned the woman because it was difficult to determine where
she stood on the death penalty.
"She was confused on the death penalty issue. Her answers were
contradictory," Thomas said.
Thomas said the woman was saying that she would have to be 100 % certain
about Bennett's actions before she could vote for the death penalty.
Thomas said that was a higher standard than the law required to impose the
De Gruy said the trial defense counsel erred in allowing 3 people on the
jury who had in their pretrial questionnaires and in later questioning
said they strongly supported the death penalty.
De Gruy said Bennett's attorney tried to keep them off the jury earlier
but the trial judge refused to allow it. He said the defense had 6
challenges remaining and didn't use any of them to remove the 3.
"There is no conceivable strategic reason to leave 3 jurors who are
clearly leaning toward the state ... three jurors strongly in favor of the
prosecution's position on the death penalty," de Gruy said.
Thomas said the jurors' answers to the questionnaire should not be a
deciding factor in whether they would be fair.
She said none of them had any experience with the death penalty process.
Under questioning, Thomas said the three went "from imposing the death
penalty in any circumstance ... to not automatically imposing the death
"There is no evidence that these jurors were not fair and impartial. All
the evidence shows they were. These jurors were willing to be open minded
and were unafraid to admit they had changed their minds," Thomas said.
(source: Associated Press)
Judge recalls challenges in rare Iowa death penalty trials
In Iowa City, a U-S district judge spoke tonight about his experience
presiding over the first capital punishment trials in Iowa in 4 decades.
Judge Mark Bennett presided over the trials of Dustin Honkin and his
girlfriend Angela Johnson. Both were convicted in the drug-related
slayings of 5 people and sentenced to death.
Bennett says the cases provided a challenge on a variety of levels _
professionally, personally and philosophically.
As a former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, he says the
cases conflicted with his opposition to capital punishment.
But he declined to step down, confident he could put his beliefs aside in
the interest of ensuring Honken and Johnson fair trials.
He says there also were extreme security measures imposed to protect
jurors, witnesses, victims' relatives, lawyers and even his family.
He spoke tonight at the University of Iowa College of Law.
(source: Associated Press)
Defense rests in Moussaoui death penalty trial----Defendant labeled as
misfit by al-Qaida
Zacarias Moussaoui's lawyers have rested their case after trying to cast
doubt on their client's own testimony.
In the death penalty trial's last testimony, a handful of Osama bin
Laden's operatives used written statements to portray Moussaoui as a pest
and a misfit who was mostly outside al-Qaida's inner circle.
Moussaoui claimed Monday he was supposed to fly a hijacked airliner into
the White House.
But one terror suspect says Moussaoui was "absolutely not going to take
part in the September 11, 2001, mission." Another, believed to be the
mastermind of the suicide assault on the USS Cole, says he knows of no
part Moussaoui would have played on 9/11.
Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.
(source: KHQA News)
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