[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Nov 10 22:37:01 UTC 2006
Moore Shocks Courtroom By Recanting Confession
Thursday saw a shocking turn of events in a Williamson County courtroom.
The man who reportedly confessed to the disappearance and murder of
Georgetown resident Rachel Cooke recanted his confession after entering
It's definitely not what prosecutor's had hoped or planned to hear:
Michael Moore entering a not guilty plea to charges he killed 19-year-old
It's a plea that even caught Moore's attorneys off guard.
District Attorney John Bradley says the most painful part of all of this
that Rachel Cooke's parents are still left wondering what happened.
It was supposed to have been simple, an open-and-shut plea bargain already
worked out in advance.
Convicted killer Michael Keith Moore admitting he murdered 19-year-old
Rachel Cooke in exchange for a lighter sentence.
That all fell apart when Moore stunned the courtroom -- apparently
changing his mind.
Red-faced officials insist they have the right suspect, even if Moore
refused to live up to his confession.
"There were several things that Michael told us that only the person
involved in the abduction and possibly the slaying of Rachel Cooke could
have known," Williamson County Sheriff Jim Wilson said.
Many people in the community had hoped yesterday's hearing would provide
some type of closure for the Cooke family. Instead the emotional
rollercoaster they've been on for nearly five years now took another
Because Michael Moore did not plead guilty, prosecutors must start
building a case against him. The D.A. will now take the case to a grand
jury for an indictment. And the plea bargain is out, so Moore could face
the death penalty.
Williamson County detectives want to hear from anyone who may have
information about the Rachel Cooke case. You're asked to call (512)
(source: KEYE TV News)
Man on death row chooses SLT man as spiritual adviser
Doug Tjapkes, author of the book "Sweet Freedom" and president of a
nonprofit organization called INNOCENT, admits that what he's about to do
may be the most difficult assignment he has ever faced.
Tjapkes, who regularly works to free the wrongly convicted, has been asked
by Charles Anthony Nealy, 42, to be his spiritual adviser at the time of
his scheduled execution on Nov. 16.
Tjapkes believes Nealy is an innocent man, but the state of Texas believes
he is a murderer and deserves to die.
Tjapkes first visited his friend on death row in Livingston, Texas, 2
years ago. They had been corresponding since 2002 when INNOCENT was asked
to look into the case. A Dallas newspaper called the trial the fastest
death penalty trial in the history of Texas.
"There is new hope for a possible stay of execution," said Tjapkes, who
lives in Spring Lake Township.
At a hearing earlier this month, a witness in the Nealy trial testified
that he had been untruthful, and that he had been coerced by the
prosecutor to sign a statement. Since then, Nealy's attorney, John Nation,
has been frantically working with the courts for a stay of execution,
Tjapkes, a staff member at Ferrysburg Community Church, said that he was
honored to had been asked to serve as Nealy's spiritual advisor, but that
nothing would please him more than to have the scheduled death of his
Airplane tickets have already been purchased for Nov. 15.
"It would be a wonderful thing if I could fly down there for a friendly
visit with Anthony, rather than witness the murder of an innocent man,"
Meanwhile, Tjapkes asks for 2 things:
First, the sending of letters, notes and picture postcards to Nealy, who
commonly uses his middle name Anthony. A fellow inmate who was due to be
executed this week killed himself last week, and life in that Texas death
row prison unit is very unpleasant right now, Tjapkes said.
The address is: Charles Anthony Nealy, No. 999289, Polunsky Unit, 3872-FM
350 South, Livingston, TX 77351.
Tjapkes' 2nd request is prayer for the condemned man's spiritual adviser.
(source: Grand Haven Tribune)
Jessica's Law: Will Texas Put Child Sex Offenders To Death?
Texas may soon have a law to put repeat child sex offenders to death.
"What I'm asking the legislature to do is pass the toughest law in the
country - Jessica's Law," re-elected Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said
The law is named after a 9-year-old Florida girl raped and buried alive by
a registered sex offender. It sets minimum prison sentences for predators
who molest children.
Dewhurst's plan is a souped-up version of that law.
"If you molest a child under 14, you're going to go to jail for 25 years
as a minimum. Then, it's lifetime GPS monitoring. And God forbid, you ever
do it a second time, it's the death penalty" said Dewhurst. Many other
states have passed similar laws, but Jessica's Law has it's critics.
Allison Taylor oversees sex offender treatment for the State of Texas.
"All sex offenders are not created equal, and we can't lump them into one
category" Taylor told News 4.
Taylor added that "Incarceration in an institutional division does not end
the proliferation of sexual violence. In fact, the same deviant person
going in to prison is going to get out after that 25 year sentence."
But if they do it again, Dewhurst wants to put them to death. That
provision will likely to generate the most controversy this spring.
5 other states allow the death penalty for sex offenders, but none of
those states has actually executed one. A Supreme Court ruling in 1977
suggested that the death penalty can only be used in cases of murder. So,
it's unclear whether Dewhurst's plan would be constitutional.
According to Dewhurst, 18 other states have some form of Jessica's Law.
California voters just approved a version Tuesday, and and the state of
Oregon signed one Wednesday.
(source: WOAI News)
Wrongful conviction amounts to $450,000---Man cleared by DNA after 18
years is mum on what he'll do with cash
State law: A person pardoned based on innocence is eligible for up to
$25,000 for each year in prison. The state caps it at $500,000.
Arthur Mumphrey, who spent 18 years in prison on a wrongful conviction, is
keeping his day job as steel foreman even though he will soon be nearly a
half-million dollars richer.
Mumphrey, released from prison Jan. 26 after new DNA test results cleared
his name, has been awarded $452,082 before taxes in restitution from the
He recently got his first lump sum of $226,041 and will get another lump
sum in the same amount in August 2007, according to the Texas
He will have to report the compensation to the Internal Revenue Service,
and tax officials will decide if and how much he will pay in taxes, said a
Mumphrey, who did not respond to a request for an interview, has been mum
about his compensation. Not even his wife, Angela, or his attorney, Eric
Davis, know what he plans to do with his money.
''That's his business," said Angela Mumphrey, who described her husband as
a quiet ''homebody" since his release nine months ago.
A jury convicted Mumphrey of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in a
wooded area of Conroe on Feb. 28, 1986, partly based on blood tests that
could not rule him out as 1 of the 2 attackers.
A Montgomery County judge later ordered Mumphrey released from prison
based on new test results using technology not available in the 1980s. The
tests proved he was not responsible for the attack.
Gov. Rick Perry signed a pardon based on innocence for Mumphrey on March
17, expunging the conviction from his record and making him eligible for
Busy on the job
Mumphrey received his 1st payment in August, but the windfall hasn't
changed his priorities.
The Conroe native still spends most of his time working. His 1st job after
his release was at a Houston glass company. The past seven months he has
worked at a Houston steel company, where he was promoted to foreman last
month, his wife said.
When he's not working 14 to 16 hours, 6 days a week, Mumphrey relaxes at
his Houston home, watching football and basketball.
"On Sundays, he plays dominoes with my dad, and he talks on the phone with
his sisters every weekend," Angela Mumphrey said.
Davis, who reopened the case in 2005, described Mumphrey as ''hardworking
"He's a good success story in making the transition" from prison to the
real world, Davis said.
Mumphrey gained his freedom thanks to the persistence of Davis, who spent
months tracking down the original DNA in the case.
Davis found the evidence at the Texas Department of Public Safety's
Houston crime lab, but when prosecutors inquired about the DNA, lab
officials said they did not have it.
Stunned by the reversal, Davis kept digging until he reached a lab
supervisor who found the samples stored in a refrigerator.
Prosecutors now think Mumphrey's younger brother, Charles, might be one of
the attackers in the case.
Statute of limitations is up
Just days before Arthur Mumphrey was released, Charles Mumphrey, 35,
confessed to an investigator for the Montgomery County District Attorney's
Office during a jail interview, said Assistant District Attorney Marc
Brumburger, who handles post-conviction and appeal cases.
No criminal charges will be filed against Charles Mumphrey because the
statute of limitations has expired.
But his DNA has been submitted to the state crime lab to be compared with
evidence from the case.
Brumburger said he has not received any information about the evidence
since submitting it about 9 months ago.
Charles Mumphrey, like his brother, is now free. He completed his 1-year
sentence for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and was released April
21, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records.
He could not be reached for comment.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
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