[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----S.DAK., NEV., S.C., ILL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Oct 3 21:50:51 UTC 2006
Governor Rounds offered to stay Page's execution
Both men are on South Dakota's death row for their commission of the
murder of Chester Allan Poage of Spearfish. Darrel Hoadley is serving a
life sentence for the same crime.
A series of letters filed in Piper's court documents between S.D. Attorney
General Larry Long, Piper's attorneys Steve Miller and Steven Binger, and
Page's attorney Michael J. Butler, state that prior to Page's originally
scheduled execution date of Aug. 29 the governor was prepared to reprieve
the execution upon Piper's request via his attorneys.
"My staff and I are aware that you have expressed an interest in obtaining
the sworn testimony of Elijah Page for purposes of the state habeas corpus
action you have filed on behalf of Briley Piper," Long wrote to Piper's
attorneys just days before Page's originally scheduled execution date of
"I have spoken to the Governor of South Dakota, and he has expressed a
willingness and is prepared to grant a reprieve or delay of the execution
date for a reasonable time to facilitate your taking of Page's testimony
However, a follow up letter from Binger states that in order to request a
reprieve from the Governor, attorneys must have sufficient reason to
believe that the delay would produce information that could help Piper's
case. Previously Page had recanted an offer to give testimony which
defense attorneys said could help Piper's case, and had refused to
cooperate in the matter.
In a letter dated Aug. 29, 2006, the day Gov. Rounds issued a stay of
execution for Page, citing necessary changes in execution laws, Binger
wrote to Long, "Whether a reprieve would produce meaningful information
regarding our client's case is highly uncertain ... We have repeatedly
advised all parties, including the Court, that we have not had enough time
to completely review our own client's case, much less Mr. Page's case as
well. Under the circumstances we do not have sufficient information and
are not in a position to request a reprieve. However, if the Governor
independently decides to grant a 90-day reprieve, we would gladly avail
ourselves of the opportunity, if any, to further pursue the merits of our
While Gov. Rounds did not comment on the letter, Long said his
correspondence was issued to find out if Piper's attorneys were serious
about getting a sworn deposition from Page.
"... of course they were not," Long said Monday. "What they want is Page
dead so they can jump up and down and say the state killed our witness and
they should let our guy go."
Since the governor ultimately granted a stay of execution for Page until
after July 1, 2007, Piper's attorneys will now have more time to try and
get Page's testimony, Long said.
"One of the things that will be accomplished by the reprieve is if Mr.
Piper was serious about gathering Mr. Page's sworn testimony he now has a
full blown opportunity to do that without any disabilities that he was
talking about in the letter," Long said.
On Aug. 14 during a hearing in 4th Circuit Court in Deadwood before Judge
Warren Johnson, Page said he would provide deposition testimony that could
affect Piper's sentence, as long as the deposition did not delay his
scheduled execution date of Aug. 29. According to Butler, the deposition
was scheduled to take place on Aug. 25, but was later cancelled when Page
changed his mind and refused to testify.
In a letter dated Aug. 28, 2006, Butler wrote to Gov. Rounds, "I can
inform you that as of late this morning, on today's date, Mr. Page's
decision remains unchanged. Mr. Page will not give testimony under any set
of circumstances even if a temporary reprieve is requested by Piper's
attorneys and that request is granted by you."
Based on a letter written by Page on Jan. 30, 2006, Piper's attorneys
allege that Page has information that could be used as exculpatory
evidence to change Piper's death sentence. In his letter, Page wrote "It
was Darryl's and my idea to kill Alan, Piper really wanted nothing to do
with it all. But if Darryl and I were in it, we weren't going to let Piper
be out of it."
(source: Black Hills Pioneer)
Nevada high court upholds death sentence
Joe Weldon Smith's death sentence for the murder of a stepdaughter in
their southern Nevada home in 1990 was upheld Monday by the state Supreme
The high court rejected claims of ineffective counsel based on several
grounds in ruling against Smith, who was convicted of murdering his wife,
Judith Cox, 47, and her daughters Kristy, 12, and Wendy, 20.
Justices previously had upheld Smith's no-parole life sentence for killing
his wife, and had changed a death sentence imposed for Kristy's murder to
a no-parole life term. That left the death sentence for Wendy's slaying,
which was preserved in the high court's latest decision.
Smith also was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for trying to kill
his landlord, Frank Allen, when Allen arrived at the house in Green Valley
after the murders.
Smith fled Nevada after the slayings, and was on the run for 6 months
before he was captured in California.
At one point he claimed Allen was the killer because he was angry that
Smith owed him money. On another occasion, Smith claimed Colombian drug
dealers killed the victims, and said he attacked Allen because he believed
he had to protect himself.
Trial testimony in 1991 indicated Smith went from room to room beating and
then strangling his victims.
Allen testified that he went to the home to pick up two checks Smith had
promised him as part of a deal to purchase the house, and found Smith
crouching in a corner. He said that Smith attacked him and he had to crash
through a glass door to escape.
(source: Associated Press)
Gowdy elected head of prosecutorial commission
Solicitor Trey Gowdy will play a lead role for the next 2 years in
prosecutorial administrative functions as the new chairman of the S.C.
Commission on Prosecution Coordination.
Gowdy, 7th Circuit Solicitor since 2001, was elected chairman last week
and replaces 16th Circuit Solicitor Tommy Pope. Gowdy will oversee
commission activities, including coordinating administrative functions of
the state's 16 solicitor's offices, tackling budget discrepancies between
rich and poor circuits and representing the offices before the state
Pope, who plans to retire this year, said Gowdy has shown he can manage
prosecutions at the local level while taking on extra duties and making
his voice heard.
"He has provided statewide input, whether it's legislative issues or
budgetary issues," Pope said. "I think he has worked hard to build
consensus among solicitors."
The position could bring prosecutors' methods in Spartanburg and Cherokee
counties, which make up the 7th Circuit, to the forefront of a new model
for statewide consistency in solicitors' operations. Circuits vary in how
dockets are managed, which guidelines are used and even how the death
penalty is applied, Gowdy said. More dialogue is needed, he said, on what
some circuits find successful that other circuits can copy.
"I don't think you should be able to go to a different county in this
state and find a radically different criminal justice system," Gowdy said.
Gov. Mark Sanford first appointed Gowdy, 42, to the commission in 2003.
(source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal)
6.5 mil. verdict against FBI agents in jeopardy
A $6.5 million jury verdict against 2 FBI agents could now be in question
after a federal judge threw out claims ex-cop and ex-death row inmate
Steve Manning lodged against the feds.
Manning won the award in early 2005 after convincing a jury that 2 FBI
agents framed him for 2 crimes.
That award still stands, but as Manning waits to collect, U.S. District
Judge Matthew Kennelly delivered a blow to Manning in a recent opinion,
saying the freed inmate isn't that innocent and rejected many of Manning's
theories on claims that remained against the government. Kennelly, who
presided over the jury trial, wrote that the agents' actions at times
"were wrong and deplorable" but said "there is significant untainted and
credible evidence . . . indicative of Manning's involvement in the
Manning, who has changed his name to Etienne Duvalier, has been
controversial for years. He was fired from his job as a Chicago cop, and
his father was murdered -- the killer never was caught. Associates of
Manning's also have disappeared.
While the jury ruled on issues against the 2 agents individually, Kennelly
was in charge of deciding several claims against the government. Kennelly
didn't put the agents in the clear, however, saying they acted improperly
at times in their zeal to keep Manning off the streets.
Kennelly's findings appear to put the government in a better position as
it looks to either appeal the verdict or negotiate down the jury's award.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Haile would not comment on which route
the government will take.
Manning's lawyer, Jon Loevy, could not be reached for comment.
Convicted of murder in '93
Once the case has run its course, the agents can ask to be indemnified,
meaning they could petition the government to pay damages so they are not
held personally liable. However, the U.S. attorney general must sign off
on any indemnification, said Michael Pavia, FBI chief division counsel in
Chicago. Manning's case was unusual; such allegations rarely make it to
trial, Pavia said.
In 1993, Manning was convicted of the murder of Jimmy Pellegrino and
sentenced to death. He also was convicted in a separate kidnapping case in
Missouri. His convictions were later overturned, and state prosecutors
declined to retry him. Manning sued agents Robert Buchan and Gary Miller,
alleging they framed him. He claimed the FBI targeted him after he balked
at working as an undercover informant. Kennelly rejected that theory.
Improper photo lineup
"Buchan's motive was, arguably, a laudable one: the court is persuaded
that he honestly believed Manning to be a dangerous criminal," Kennelly
wrote. "Unfortunately, Buchan's zeal to put Manning away led him to take
steps that went beyond the proper role of a law enforcement officer."
Kennelly found that Buchan held an improper photo-lineup to suggest
Manning to a witness.
Mysterious gap in tape
Kennelly found it "deplorable" that Buchan and Miller failed to disclose
to prosecutors privileges allowed to Thomas Dye, a controversial jailhouse
informant whom Kennelly called a "polished liar" and who was used to
elicit a courthouse confession from Manning.
Dye testified that Manning confessed to Pellegrino's murder during a
seconds-long gap on a tape. Kennelly rejected Manning's claims that agents
altered Dye's recording, but said Miller aided Dye's story by suggesting
that the tape malfunctioned. Ultimately though, Kennelly said he believed
Manning admitted the murder to Dye, but likely didn't get it on tape.
"There is significant and credible evidence indicating Manning's actual
involvement in the murder," Kennelly wrote.
(source: Chicago Sun-Times)
Woman whose son, daughter-in-law were murdered to speak at anti-death
The death of a child is thought to be the worst loss a parent can endure.
That's why forgiveness for the person who murdered your child must be
renewed each and every day.
So says Antoinette Bosco, an anti-death penalty activist and the next
speaker coming to Decatur on behalf of Macon County Citizens Opposing
Capital Punishment and the Millikin University Chapter of Amnesty
Author of "Choosing Mercy," published by Orbis Books in 2001, Bosco grew
up near Albany, N.Y., hearing about a relative who died in the electric
chair at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Her lifelong opposition to the
death penalty went from an intellectual issue to a personal matter in 1993
after an intruder shot and killed her son, John, and his wife, Nancy, as
they slept in their beds.
"Forgiveness is not the first impulse of anyone in their right mind," she
said in a telephone interview from her home in Brookfield, Conn., "but it
was necessary if I was going to do anything good with the rest of my
For 4 long months, however, Bosco did not have anyone to forgive as
sheriff's deputies in Big Fork, Mont., investigated the shootings.
A neighbor who had expected to hear from Nancy Bosco had called
authorities after discovering the couple's van parked outside their home,
still packed for a camping trip they were supposed to have taken a week
earlier, and a basement window open.
The break in the case didn't come until after Joseph Shadow Clark, the
18-year-old son of the couple from whom the Boscos had purchased the
house, read about it while home for Thanksgiving and talked about the
killings to his roommate at the college he was attending in Oregon.
He later confessed to authorities and told them where the gun was.
"At first, I wanted to kill him with my own hands," Bosco recalls. "I
asked the Lord to help me, and I asked John to help me."
Her prayer was answered within days of Clark's arrest when she dreamed
John came to her in her kitchen but shrank away each time she asked why he
had to die.
"Come back because I love you!" were the words she finally said to bring
him back by her side.
"Where I am, all that's important is love," John told her.
As a result, Bosco and her 5 surviving children wrote a letter to the
judge asking that Clark not be given the death penalty. He later was
sentenced to 220 years in prison as the result of a plea bargain.
She said putting him to death would have given her and her children no
closure or peace, and her heart went out to Clark's mother. "It is only a
delusion to believe that one's pain is ended by making someone else feel
pain," she said.
A Roman Catholic, Bosco also believes God should be the only one who
determines when life begins and ends.
"I want to tell everybody about the journey I had to go on," she said.
"We've become a society that wants vengeance, but that's not what God
(source: Decatur Herald)
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