[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----LA., OHIO, ILL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Apr 25 17:00:21 UTC 2007
Death penalty to be sought in shooting at fast-food restaurant
A Livingston Parish grand jury has brought a 1st-degree murder charge
against a man accused of shooting and stabbing his wife at a fast-food
restaurant. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty when Christopher
Harold Pell is tried, the district attorney says.
Pell, 23, of Livingston, is accused of killing Janah Lynn Pell, 23, of
Livingston on April 4 at the Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurant where
she worked, Walker police have said.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said Tuesday that the 1st-degree charge
was possible because a court order for Christopher Pell to stay away from
his wife was in effect.
1st-degree murder can be punished by death or life in prison; 2nd-degree
murder carries a mandatory life sentence.
Christopher Pell allegedly walked into the restaurant, argued with Janah
Pell and tried to shoot her with a pistol he had bought at a pawn shop
earlier that day. When the gun jammed, he allegedly stabbed her several
times with a knife, police have said.
Walker police and Livingston Parish sheriffs deputies caught him after a
(source: Associated Press)
Death penalty to be sought in Walker slaying
A Livingston Parish grand jury returned a 1st-degree murder indictment
Tuesday against the man accused of shooting and stabbing to death his
estranged wife on April 4 at a fast-food restaurant in Walker, prosecutors
With this indictment, the state plans to seek the death penalty for
Christopher Harold Pell, 23, of Livingston when the case goes to trial,
21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said.
Pell is accused of killing Janah Lynn Pell, 23, of Livingston at the
Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits restaurant where she worked, Walker police
Pell allegedly walked into the restaurant, argued with the victim and
attempted to shoot her with a pistol he had purchased at a pawn shop
earlier that day.
When the gun jammed, he allegedly stabbed her several times with a knife,
police have said.
Pell then fled on foot; Walker police and Livingston Parish sheriffs
deputies captured him after a 4-hour manhunt in a wooded area off Walker
South Road, police have said.
Detectives reported Janah Pell sought assistance from the Sheriff's Office
when her husband allegedly beat her the week before the shooting.
Instead of having him arrested, she elected to obtain a protective order
that deputies served on Pell four days before she was killed.
Because the protective order was in place at the time Pell attacked his
wife, prosecutors are able to seek a conviction for 1st-degree murder,
rather than 2nd-degree murder, Perrilloux said.
1st-degree murder carries a possible death sentence or life imprisonment
while 2nd-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, he
Pell faces arraignment at 1 p.m. today in the Livingston Parish
(source: The Advocate)
Death row inmate denied 2nd trial
Death row inmate Tyrone Noling won't get a new trial, a Portage County
Common Pleas judge ruled.
Judge John Enlow wrote that evidence uncovered by The Plain Dealer that
raised doubts about Noling's conviction did not meet the standards for
granting a second trial. The judge also wrote that Noling's lawyers should
have presented it sooner, even though the courts have barred Noling from
seeing that evidence for more than a decade.
Noling, convicted in 1996 of the murders of Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig,
has always said he did not kill the elderly Atwater Township couple.
Since a jury sentenced him to death, he has asked state and federal judges
to allow him access to the Portage County prosecutor's files and each
time, he has been told no.
Last year, The Plain Dealer filed a public records request with the
prosecutor and received hundreds of pages of information, including crime
scene reports, psychological evaluations, handwritten notes and
transcribed interviews that Noling's lawyer, Ohio Public Defender Kelly
Culshaw, had never seen. Records showed key witnesses for the prosecution
drastically changed their stories from interview to interview, in some
cases telling the grand jury one thing, the trial court another.
Culshaw told the court in January that her client had been robbed of his
right to a fair trial.
"Inconsistency after inconsistency, lie after lie," Culshaw told Enlow.
"The only way to fix the mistakes in this case is to give Mr. Noling a new
Jurors never heard that police questioned 2 other suspects soon after the
killings in 1990. The first, who matched the description of a man seen in
the Hartigs' neighborhood the day of the murders, initially said he didn't
know the couple, then admitted he had sold them insurance and had been in
their home. The other suspect once owned a .25-caliber Titan handgun, a
brand that experts say was one of only four that could have been used to
kill the Hartigs.
Noling's trial attorneys had that information, but didn't use it nor did
they pass along all the evidence to Noling's new lawyer when the trial was
over, Culshaw said.
Enlow did not elaborate on why he found the evidence lacking, but sided
with prosecutors who argued that Noling's claims were not new and had been
rejected by other courts.
Culshaw said she plans to appeal Enlow's decision. Another appeal is
pending in U.S. District Court.
(source: The Plain Dealer)
189 People On Death Row In Ohio----After James Filiaggi is executed, who
will be next to die from Ohio's death row?
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the
state has made Mansfield home to 188 men and 1 woman.
All of the people on death row were found guilty of aggravated murder. The
men were taken to the Mansfield Correctional Institution. Female death row
inmates are housed at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.
Executions take place at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in
According to the Ohioans to Stop Executions Web site, Christopher Newton
is the next man scheduled to die in Ohio. His execution date was set for
John Spirko, 59, is set to die Sept. 18. He was convicted in the 1982
slaying of Betty Jane Mottinger, who was abducted from her job at the post
office and stabbed to death.
An Ohio judge has issued a temporary stay of execution for Jeffery Hill,
due to a lawsuit that claims Ohio's method of execution by injection is
cruel and unusual. Hill was convicted of the 1991 murder of his mother,
Emma Hill, while he was high on crack cocaine.
And there are many more inmates waiting to die.
You can send a letter for or against a death-row inmate by writing to
Gov. Ted Strickland
77 South High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Town dreading retrial in '96 shooting rampage----At the age of 19, Daniel
Ramsey once was the youngest man on Illinois' death row; this week, he
stands trial in the case again
As a teenager, Rachel Sloop survived a gunshot in the head, saw her sister
die of bullet wounds and comforted two wounded toddlers. The assailant
dripped blood on her body as she lay hurt.
Sloop's gruesome testimony helped convict former boyfriend Daniel Ramsey
for a 6-hour spree in 1996 that included 2 murders, a rape and shootings
that wounded 3. At 19, Ramsey became the youngest man on Illinois' death
Nearly a decade later, Sloop, now a housewife and mother of 2, is
preparing to tell a jury the horrible details again.
The man she vowed never to forgive is facing retrial with opening
statements scheduled for Wednesday in Lewistown, 90 miles from this rural
patch of western Illinois where the rampage occurred.
"It was bad enough the 1st time but imagine having to do it all over
again?" said family friend Katie Spurgeon. "She's scared about having to
relive this again. It's very upsetting for the family and upsetting too
for the town that thought this was behind us."
The Sloop family assumed the case was over until 2000, when the Illinois
Supreme Court ordered a new trial.
On Ramsey's appeal, the court found that a 1995 change in the state's
insanity defense law was too burdensome on defendants. Also ruling that
the law's placement in a package of unrelated legislation violated the
constitution, the court threw out Ramsey's conviction.
Other defendants appealed on the same grounds, but Ramsey's was the only
such case on death row.
In an odd twist, Ramsey's life would have been saved had the state's
highest court not intervened. He would now be serving life in prison under
former Gov. George Ryan's 2003 death row amnesty order.
But with his retrial, prosecutors have vowed to seek the death penalty
again. If convicted, and if the state's moratorium on capital punishment
is lifted, he could face execution.
Opponents of Illinois' death penalty say seeking death for Ramsey is
Others are appalled at the cost of it all -- Hancock County and state
authorities estimate that upward of $3 million will be spent retrying the
case. The first trial, completed in 3 weeks, cost barely over $100,000 and
included Ramsey's videotaped confession to police.
"This whole thing is a waste of time and money," said Sheldon Conover, a
bartender in Basco, near the scene of one of the murders. "How many times
do we have to try a man before he is convicted?"
Much has changed in a decade since the rampage horrified western Illinois.
The crime scenes are gone or abandoned. The 2 toddlers shot in the head
are now in junior high.
Ramsey, once a strapping young man, is now 29, paunchy and pasty from a
Ramsey's beat-up car sits frozen in time, a calendar on the dashboard
Haunted by a troubled upbringing, Ramsey has been diagnosed by several
psychiatrists as suffering from deep depression and bipolar disorder.
At age 9, Ramsey learned that the couple he thought were his parents were
his guardians and that he was born out wedlock.
As a teen Ramsey was at times calm and polite, impressing parents of girls
he knew. Other times, he was described as a "social misfit" and "bizarre."
Ramsey also had run-ins with the law. He was arrested several times for
theft, burglary, assault and harassment, Iowa authorities said.
"That's not Ward Cleaver's little boy over there," defense lawyer James
Harrell told jurors during Ramsey's first trial. "He didn't have a normal
According to court records, newspaper accounts and Ramsey's confession,
Ramsey, then 18, went looking for vengeance in the night of July 8, 1996.
He was angry that onetime girlfriend Sloop no longer wanted to see him.
The high school dropout from nearby Keokuk, Iowa, headed to the house of
friend Laura Marson, in tiny Basco, a few miles from the Mississippi
Marson, 16, described as a girl who dreamed of being president of the
United States, agreed to go for a ride with Ramsey. Ramsey told her he
wanted to get back at Sloop, 17, who broke up with him one week earlier.
Marson quarreled with Ramsey who then raped her and bound her in duct tape
but not before she vowed, "I'm going to tell on you," prosecutors said in
Ramsey is alleged to have dumped Marson into a grain bin and fatally shot
her twice with a .22-caliber revolver.
Ramsey then sped north toward Sloop's house in Burnside, with the
intention of killing himself in front of her, his attorneys said. He
stopped at a pay phone and called the Sloops, using a phony story of
trouble to lure the adults of the house.
Toward midnight, Ramsey arrived at the white-frame farmhouse, cut the
telephone lines and entered through an unlocked back door. He confronted
Sloop, shooting her once in the back of the head, but not fatally.
Ramsey turned his gun on Sloop's 12-year-old sister, Lonna, killing her
with 2 shots. He then wounded 2 toddlers visiting the Sloops with single
shots in the head.
Grabbing a rifle in the house, Ramsey fired a round at himself, grazing
the side of his head.
"He leaned over and was letting the blood flow over me," Sloop testified.
Before dawn, with a SWAT team assembled outside, Ramsey stumbled out of
the house with Sloop in tow. She recovered, as did the two toddlers, who
friends say now show few signs of head trauma.
Ramsey was convicted of eight charges, including two first-degree murder
"He got the future he deserved," Sloop's mother, Barbara, told reporters
after he was sentenced to death.
The families have declined to talk to the media recently. Friends say they
have spent months reliving the events of that July night and bracing to
confront Ramsey once more.
"As painful as it is, they are determined to testify," said Sandy Little,
victim/witness coordinator for Hancock County. "Then maybe they can put
this behind them and begin to heal."
(source: Chicago Tribune)
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