[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----CALIF., N.Y.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Apr 28 12:42:58 CDT 2007
Redlands man gets death penalty in '03 Riverside slaying
The slaying of a retired Riverside professor was so heinous that the
killer deserves the death penalty even though he is mentally ill, a
Superior Court judge ruled Friday.
Johnathon Ross Luther, of Redlands, was convicted Feb. 2 of murdering
Brian Jacques, 74, while Jacques rested in his bedroom watching the
Luther's attorneys filed motions for a new trial and to have Luther's
sentenced reduced from death to life in prison, but Judge Christian
Thierbach denied those motions. On Friday, the judge sentenced Luther, 26,
to live in San Quentin State Prison until his execution.
A history of violent acts including holding his girlfriend at gunpoint and
various crimes while in a Riverside County jail "portray Mr. Luther as a
man without a moral compass," Thierbach said.
In addition, he said he had rarely seen Luther's level of criminal
sophistication in the way he planned to wear all black and stealthily
moved around Jacques' home until he could see Jacques through an opening
in the vertical blinds.
During interviews with detectives, Luther told police how he planned his
moves before he shot the retired La Sierra University communications
professor. After the shooting, he drove away from the Riverside home with
his car lights off, swapped the tires on his car and transferred the
Jacques' family told the court how life has been since the killing in
His sons, Daryl and Brian Jr., explained how the family remains constantly
concerned about their safety and family members become fearful when
someone does not arrive home on time. Alarms are constantly set, doors
remain locked and blinds closed at night.
After 50 years of being married to Brian Jacques, Florence Jacques
described how difficult it is to keep going everyday. She was an
arms-length away from her husband when he was shot and tried to use her
nursing skills to save him. Now, loud noises make her heart pound and
hands shake, she said.
She has not slept through the night since.
"When I wake up in the morning, my husband is not beside me," she said.
"When I sit down for a meal I eat alone."
(source: The Press-Enterprise)
Death-penalty statute urged----Bruno says Spitzer should press for
reinstating punishment for cop killers
Gov. Eliot Spitzer should stop pushing campaign-finance reform, gay
marriage and other issues and instead focus on getting a death-penalty
statute enacted in the wake of this week's trooper shootings, Senate
Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said Friday.
"This governor has got his priorities wrong," said Bruno, R-Brunswick,
The Senate is expected to pass a bill next week that would reinstate the
death penalty for cop killers.
Spitzer has said he supports the concept, but has yet to actively advocate
The same bill has been introduced in the Assembly by RoAnn Destito,
D-Rome, Oneida County. But Assembly leaders say they're still against the
The state hasn't had a death-penalty statute on the books since the Court
of Appeals invalidated the law in 2004. Nobody has been executed in the
state since 1976.
The renewed push for a new death-penalty statute comes in the wake of the
shooting death Wednesday of State Trooper David Brinkerhoff and the
wounding of 2 other troopers over 2 days.
Bruno spokesman Mark Hansen said the State Police announcement Friday that
Brinkerhoff was killed by friendly fire didn't change the Senate's
position on the need for the death penalty for cop killers.
Spitzer said earlier this week that it was too early to talk about the
policy implications of the shootings, and instead he said he was focused
on trying to comfort the victims' families.
Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,
D-Manhattan, said that "with life without parole, we don't feel we need a
(source: Democrat and Chronicle)
More information about the DeathPenalty