[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----OKLA., N.Y., ILL., S.C., OHIO, CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Aug 11 22:06:28 CDT 2007
Prosecutor to pursue death penalty even if man pleads guilty
A Grove man who is charged with fatally shooting his father might not
escape the death penalty even if he enters a guilty plea, District
Attorney Eddie Wyant said Thursday.
Mark Henry Thurman, 24, is charged in Delaware County District Court with
1st-degree murder in the death of Bob Thurman, 61, of Grove. The elder
Thurman died Nov. 29, 2005, of gunshot wounds to the head.
Wyant said he will seek the death penalty against Thurman, even though he
is scheduled to enter a plea Aug. 21.
"He (Thurman) also planned to kill the mother of his 5-year-old child, as
well as the child," Wyant said. "He invited the 2 to his parents house so
he could kill the entire family."
The younger Thurman had just returned home the day before the shooting
from the Missouri State Penitentiary, where he served time on a burglary
Wyant said the elder Thurman was shot after he unexpectedly arrived at the
home early after leaving his business to go home and work on a wood stove.
Thurman confessed to shooting his father, and he later called his mother,
Carol Thurman, on her cell phone and told her about the shooting,
according to a probable-cause affidavit filed at the time of the shooting.
After several days on the run, Thurman was arrested at a motel in Raton,
Wyant said Thurman expressed a desire to be the next "Chainsaw Massacre"
killer or "Natural Born Killer," referring to movies in which a killer
murders a series of victims.
"There very well could have been more victims," Wyant said.
Wyant said those aggravating circumstances led him to seek the death
Although Thurman will not have a trial if he pleads guilty, it's not
unusual for the death penalty to be part of a plea, Wyant said.
"The judge will hear testimony and make a ruling," Wyant said, referring
to the penalty phase of the plea hearing.
(source: Jpllin (Mo.) Globe)
Latest shooting of trooper opens up death-penalty debate
Are police wearing a badge or a bull's-eye?
For the 3rd time in 2 years, North Country state troopers responding to a
routine call stepped into a hail of gunfire.
As they investigated a car pulled off remote Kildare Road at 1:30 a.m. in
Tupper Lake on Thursday, troopers Douglas Hoffman and Steven H. Euler
encountered Brent A. Bates, a 48-year-old Plattsburgh man with a criminal
background, who allegedly grabbed a stolen 357 Magnum from the front seat
of a stolen car and started shooting. Hoffman was struck in the leg.
Trooper Amanda Reif responded to a domestic incident June 19 in Potsdam,
when Steven McUmber fired two rounds striking Reif in the shoulder.
Almost two years ago, on Sept. 9, 2005 Trooper Sean Finn was shot on Tom
Miller Road in Plattsburgh while pursuing Vladimir Kulakov who ditched a
stolen truck after an attempted traffic stop. Finn was hit in the scalp
and the hand.
All 3 troopers survived the shootings.
Bates, who was shot 3 times as troopers returned fire in the Tupper Lake
incident, will likely face 2 counts of attempted murder in Franklin County
He is currently under State Police guard and remains in critical condition
at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
But the increased number of these violent attacks has raised concern that
New York law is not protecting law-enforcement officers. Some see it as a
breech of public safety.
Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) issued a statement Thursday shortly after
details of the Tupper Lake shooting reached Albany.
"Our police officers as well as correctional officers and peace officers
are the very symbol of security and order in our society," Little said.
"Our law-enforcement officials place themselves in harm's way on our
behalf. The laws protecting them, in my opinion, should reflect the
increased danger they face. A death-penalty law for those who kill cops,
correctional officers and peace officers is needed. The governor has
indicated support for this type of measure. We've passed it repeatedly in
the Senate and now need the Assembly to take action."
Senate bill S319, approved on May 14, would replace an overturned death
penalty for the intentional murder of a police, peace or correction
Under the 1995 law, if a jury is deadlocked in deciding between death or
life in prison, the court could render a minimum indeterminate sentence of
20 to 25 years or life in prison making a convicted murderer eligible for
The "deadlock instruction," the Court of Appeals ruled in June 2004,
swayed jurors to choose a death penalty to prevent a more lenient
(source: Press Republican)
Man facing death penalty wants to plead guilty
A man accused of killing an elderly Seneca couple told a judge he wanted
to represent himself and pleaded guilty after prosecutors announced Friday
they will seek the death penalty.
LaSalle County Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. declined to accept the guilty plea
from Keith Mackowiak, 39, of Seneca and delayed the court hearing until
The judge told Mackowiak that he had a right to represent himself, but
advised against it during Mackowiak's scheduled arraignment Friday, the
(LaSalle) News Tribune reported.
He urged Mackowiak to think carefully before spurning legal counsel.
''If we start the trial and things aren't going well, you can't change
your mind,'' the judge said.
Mackowiak is charged with 30 counts of 1st-degree murder in the July 11
beating deaths of Aloysius Twardowski, 84, and his wife, Catherine, 87.
Authorities allege Mackowiak beat the couple with a shovel as he tried to
burglarize their home in Seneca, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago.
LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne told the judge Friday that he
decided to seek the death penalty against Mackowiak after talking to the
couple's family to ensure they had no objections.
More than 20 family members attended Friday's hearing.
(source: Associated Press)
SC man escapes death penalty in fatal hotel fire
A South Carolina man escaped the death penalty Friday when a jury failed
to agree on his punishment for setting a hotel fire that killed 6 people.
The judge said he will sentence the man to life in prison without parole
at a later date.
Eric Preston Hans, 37, was convicted last week of 1 federal count of arson
resulting in death.
Hans showed no reaction when U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong
announced that the jury could not reach a decision.
The jury of 6 men and 6 woman deliberated four hours beginning Thursday
afternoon. Jurors would not comment on the how the vote was split as they
left the court Friday afternoon, except to say more time would not have
helped them reach a consensus.
Prosecutors have said Hans set the blaze to get the attention of a
stripper with whom he was obsessed. Melba Lashawn Canty, 21, and her
15-month-old son, Jaden, died in the fire.
"I really think that the jury should have deliberated at least through the
day," said Sheila Cromer, Jaden's paternal grandmother. "I just feel like
Jaden didn't have the chance to have a life, so (Hans) shouldn't have the
Canty's mother, Dorothy Croskey of Michigan, testified during both the
guilt and sentencing phases of the trial on Hans' behalf. She said her
daughter and Hans had a good friendship.
She said Friday she felt a little better about South Carolina. "I think I
can go home and breathe a little bit better now," she said.
The January 2004 fire at a Comfort Inn in Greenville also injured about a
dozen people and sent guests out into freezing rain in their pajamas. Some
people shattered windows and waited for firefighters or climbed down bed
Hans spoke to jurors briefly before they got the case Thursday, saying he
didn't want anyone to plead for his life during sentencing because he is
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, while I disagree with your verdict, I
respect it," Hans said. "It was against my wishes to call witnesses in
mitigation because I've maintained my innocence since day one."
Attorneys said they expected Hans to be sentenced in about a month. Until
then, he will remain at the Spartanburg County jail, under the supervision
of federal prison officials, defense attorney Rick Vieth said.
Hans' mother says she knows her son wasn't perfect, but she thinks he is
innocent of this crime.
"He would never have done this to Tootie," Vivian Hans said Friday, using
a nickname for Canty. "She was his friend. He would have never hurt her."
She said her family has formed bonds with the families of some victims.
"All of them were in our prayers from the moment we heard of this
tragedy," Vivian Hans said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Johnny Gasser said he was pleased with the
"Our victory was last Thursday, when the jury returned a guilty verdict,"
he said. "We respect each and every juror's viewpoint."
Gasser said he could have asked that jurors be required to deliberate
further but said he chose not to do so, discussing the issue briefly with
victims' families before telling the judge his decision.
Vieth said the sentence was the best his client could hope for. During his
closing argument Thursday, Vieth said Hans may have set the fire but did
not intend for anyone to get hurt. Hans thought the fire would set off
alarms, cause Canty to leave the room she shared with her son and
boyfriend and he could rescue her, Vieth said.
Still, some victims' family members felt cheated by Friday's verdict.
"I think that he deserves to die because I'll never see my sister again,"
said April Austin, sister of Jessica Hamby. "Maybe where he's going, he'll
get worse punishment."
(source: Associated Press)
Death Penalty Scot's Sentence Overturned
A Scotsman who has been on death row in the US for more than 20 years has
had his death sentence overturned on appeal.
Kenny Richey Kenny Richey was convicted of arson and the murder of a
two-year-old girl in the state of Ohio in 1986 and sentenced to death on
January 27, 1987, but has always protested his innocence.
A federal court of appeal in Cincinnati overturned Mr Richey's death
The state of Ohio may now release Richey or re-try his case within 90
The appeal was one of the last available to Richey.
John Watson, director of Amnesty International Scotland, said: "This is
fantastic news and represents the opportunity that Kenny's long fought for
- the chance to clear his name in a proper trial.
"Nobody should be sent to the living hell of death row, but Kenny Richey's
20-year ordeal came after a flawed trial and serious concerns about the
Ohio justice system."
Richey, now 43, was 18 when he left his mother's home in Edinburgh to live
with his American father in Ohio, where he joined the US Marines.
In July 1986 he was arrested for the murder of 2-year-old Cynthia Collins,
who died in a fire at her mother's apartment.
The prosecution claimed he started the fire because his estranged former
girlfriend and her new lover - supposedly the intended targets - lived in
the flat beneath.
Protesting his innocence, Richey refused a plea bargain which would have
led to an 11-year sentence for arson and manslaughter.
(source: Sky News)
Walk to Stop Executions
Death penalty opponents from Death Penalty Focus, California People of
Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, and Amnesty International USA
will embark on a 800 mile Walk to Stop Executions on September 15, 2007.
The purpose of the walk is to draw attention to the issue of the death
penalty, unite local activists, and to encourage the district attorney in
every county along the walk route not to seek the death penalty in any
Details about supporting the walk
We are very excited to tell you about the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions,
which starts on September 15th. The Walk will begin at the San Diego
County Court House and will cover more than 800 miles, ending at the State
Capitol in Sacramento on November 30th. The Walk will stop in 15 counties
to encourage the district attorneys in each location not to seek the death
penalty in any case. The walk will also unite local activists and draw
attention to the issue of the death penalty along the way.
We have set a fundraising goal of $6000 for the Walk to Stop Executions.
Funds raised will be used by Death Penalty Focus and California People of
Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, to continue our work to educate
the public about the inherent flaws in the death penalty.
Please consider supporting the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions by pledging
$.03 to $.75 for each mile the walkers complete.
Individuals donating $24 (3 cents per mile) or more by September 15th will
receive a 2007 Walk to Stop Executions t-shirt.
A gift of any size is appreciated. Every dollar will help bring us closer
to our fundraising goal of $6000.
(source: Walk To Stop Executions)
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