[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----IND., PENN., FLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Apr 19 17:04:02 UTC 2007
Death row inmate amends clemency appeal
A man scheduled to die by lethal injection May 4 for killing a 77-year-old
neighbor amended his request for clemency Wednesday, arguing that
Indiana's death penalty is unfairly administered.
Attorneys for David Leon Woods said a February report by an American Bar
Association team that called for a temporary halt to executions in Indiana
pointed out that many of the same problems in the Woods case.
Woods is scheduled to appear Friday before the state Parole Board at the
Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. The hearing, without Woods, will
continue Monday in Indianapolis. After that hearing, the Parole Board will
decide whether to recommend that Gov. Mitch Daniels grant Woods clemency.
(source: Indianapolis Star)
DA Will Seek Death Penalty
In Hollister, District Attorney Candice Hooper said Wednesday she will
seek the death penalty for the 25-year-old Hollister man accused of
stabbing his girlfriend to death in March.
Samuel Turner, who appeared in court for an arraignment hearing Wednesday,
is eligible for the death penalty because he has been charged with
first-degree murder and mayhem in connection with the March strangling and
stabbing death of 31-year-old Hollister resident Elizabeth Esther Gomez.
District Attorney Candice Hooper said the mayhem charge was added because
of the brutality of the crime.
Turner did not enter a plea to the charges, and his arraignment was
postponed for a fourth time Wednesday.
Authorities have been unable to determine how many times Gomez was
The victim's brother, Victor Gomez, said he did not care whether Turner
received the death penalty.
"I don't have a preference," Gomez said. "I just want justice for my
The brother also shed new light on Turner's past. Gomez said his sister
visited Turner several times during his stay at Atascadero State Hospital.
Atascadero State Hospital is a state-sponsored facility that provides
rehabilitation for people who have been found incompetent to stand trial,
not guilty by reason of insanity, mentally ill or sexually violent,
according to the hospital's Web site.
Gomez added that the family recently learned through one of the victim's
friends that Turner physically abused his sister during their 3-year,
"I know that my sister was physically hurt prior to this incident," Gomez
The family was unaware of the abuse, and Gomez hopes others can learn from
what happened to his sister. He said there is help for women who are
victims of abuse.
"I hope that something good comes out of this," Gomez said.
At the request of Turner's lawyer, Harry Damkar, the arraignment and
entrance of a plea was continued to May 2.
Damkar requested the hearing be delayed until he could finish his own
investigation into the case.
"Our request is based on not what the prosecution gave us today but on our
investigation," Damkar said.
Authorities believe Turner strangled and stabbed Elizabeth Esther Gomez in
her second-story apartment on Prospect Avenue on March 13. Hollister
Police Department officers found Turner in the woman's bedroom, Capt. Bob
Brooks previously told the Free Lance.
Both Turner and Elizabeth Esther Gomez had been seen together in the days
preceding the murder. Victor Gomez said the apartment manager told him she
saw them two hours before the crime.
"She said they walked up the stairs holding hands," Gomez said.
Turner is being held at the San Benito County Jail without bail. He will
be in court again May 2 and is expected to enter a plea.
(source: Free Lance)
MURDER OF ANA MARIA ANGEL----Jury votes for death penalty in teen's
rape-murder; A Miami-Dade jury recommended death for Victor Caraballo in
the killing of a South Miami High teenager.
Victor Caraballo moved a step closer to Death Row on Wednesday when a
Miami-Dade jury voted 9-3 that he should be executed for his role in the
murder of 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel.
Caraballo didn't react when the verdict was read. Across the courtroom,
Angel's mother, Margarita Osorio, trembled as she held back her emotions.
''This sends a message that a person like this can't live among us,'' she
said, teary-eyed, after court adjourned. ``Ana was a tender person, but
also a fair person. . . . At least now she can have a little peace.''
Osorio sat through more than a week of testimony as witnesses recounted
how her daughter, a South Miami High School senior, was kidnapped,
gang-raped and killed.
Angel was with her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, on April 27, 2002, when 5
men pushed them into a truck at Miami Beach's South Beach and began to
drive north on Interstate 95.
When the men took Portobanco out of the truck, then came back a few
minutes later with blood on their hands, Angel became convinced they had
killed him and that she was next.
Assistant State Attorney Abe Laeser told the jury that the next 15 minutes
of Angel's life were so horrific that Caraballo should die for his role in
''I don't know the words she used to beg for her life,'' Laeser said. ``I
don't know how loud she was. But I know that for 15 minutes, she was
Laeser took out an old-fashioned stopwatch and stood in silence in the
hushed courtroom as it audibly ticked away the seconds in a single minute.
''Ana walked out of that car after she had just begged for her life for 15
minutes,'' he told the jury after the watch stopped. ``There were men
there who had guns and knives, men who had just raped her, had hurt her.
And she fell to her knees and she prayed.
''I speak for that child,'' he continued.
``And I urge you to recommend death for this defendant.''
Caraballo was one of five men charged with kidnapping Angel and her
boyfriend, robbing both of them, trying to kill him and raping and killing
her. He was convicted of all the charges last week in the first trial in
Portobanco, who survived, testified about how he crouched on the floor of
the truck for the hourlong trip north, listening as Angel was raped
Prosecutors believe another man, Joel Lebron, was the ringleader, but they
are asking for the death penalty for each of the adults. One of the men
was a juvenile at the time and cannot legally be given the death penalty.
Caraballo's attorney, Joel Denaro, argued that the man who shot Angel
deserved a harsher punishment than Caraballo.
''Joel Lebron shot and killed Ana Angel,'' he said. ``There has to be a
He also urged the jury to consider Caraballo's history of mental illness,
limited intelligence and abuse as a child.
''I'm not offering an excuse, but the doctors say it's important,'' Denaro
said. ``I'm not a doctor. Mr. Laeser is not a doctor.''
Caraballo was committed to a psychiatric hospital repeatedly in the months
before Angel was killed. A discharge note filled out by the last doctor to
see him said he was having homicidal thoughts just 2 weeks before the
''We're going to close the mental institutions, where he should be, the
state says,'' Denaro argued. 'And then, when he's involved in killing
someone, the state says, `Let's kill him.' ''
After the jury's recommendation was read, Denaro's co-counsel, Gary
Rosenberg, spoke briefly with the media.
''It was a very difficult case with a lot of unfortunate and pretty
difficult facts,'' he said.
Circuit Judge William Thomas will hold more hearings on the Caraballo case
next month and then determine Caraballo's sentence.
Prosecutors expect to try each of the other 4 men charged in the case in
the coming months. In addition to Lebron, they are Caraballo's brother
Hector Caraballo, Cesar Mena and Jesus Roman.
(source: Miami Herald)
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