[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----KY., MONT., CALIF., S. DAK.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Feb 16 16:43:21 UTC 2007
2 Accused Of Killing Social Worker Could Face Death Penalty
2 people accused of killing a social worker in western Kentucky could face
the death penalty if convicted.
Henderson County Commonwealth's Attorney Bill Markwell filed a notice of
intent this week to try the cases against Renee Terrell, 33, and
Christopher Luttrell, 23, both of Henderson, as capital cases. A Henderson
County grand jury charged the couple with murder, kidnapping, 1st-degree
robbery and theft over $300.
"We have reviewed the evidence in its entirety. We believe the conduct of
the defendants of murder and robbery raises (the case) to the level where
the jury should consider sentences more serious then life in prison,"
Markwell told The (Henderson) Gleaner on Thursday.
Terrell and Luttrell are accused in the Oct. 16 killing of Boni Frederick,
67, and in the kidnapping of Terrell's infant son. Police searched for the
3, who were taking shelter in a trailer near Godfrey, Ill., about 30 miles
north of St. Louis.
Authorities said Terrell and Luttrell beat and stabbed Frederick during a
scheduled visit that Frederick was facilitating between Terrell and the
infant at Terrell's residence in Henderson. The state has custody of the
The couple are accused of stealing jewelry off of Frederick's body and
taking her car to leave the area.
1st-degree robbery is considered an aggravating circumstance that makes
the case eligible for the death penalty.
(source: Associated Press)
Panel majority supports ending Montana death penalty
Not all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee favor abolishing
Montana's death penalty, but a majority agreed Thursday that the entire
Senate should have the opportunity to weigh in on the matter.
"This should be debated on the floor, though I'll probably vote against
it," said Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman.
Many lawmakers echoed Jent's statement. A bill to abolish the death
penalty, sponsored by Sen. Dan Harrington, D-Butte, passed 84, with two
Republicans and two Democrats opposing it.
"I've searched all the corners of my conscience and something inside me
tells me not to support this bill," said Sen. Jesse Laslovich, D-Anaconda.
"I don't know why. To a certain extent, I'm disappointed by that. It's one
of those votes that you look to your conscience and hope that ultimately
it's the right decision."
For the last decade, lawmakers have debated whether to abolish the death
Similar bills never made it out of committee during the 1999 and 2005
legislative sessions, but found their way to the floor in the 2001 and
It's not a political issue, but a philosophical and moral one, said Sen.
Dan McGee, R-Laurel. Senate Majority Leader Carol Williams, D-Missoula,
called last week's 3-hour committee hearing "one of the more powerful
hearings" she's heard on the death penalty.
Lawmakers who opposed the measure cited the Old Testament's an
eye-for-an-eye passage, and remained adamant that society should have the
option to take away the life of a convicted murderer who purposefully and
knowingly commits brutal acts, McGee said.
"We are all given a choice on how we are going to live," he said. "If they
(murderers) reach a point where they continue to do these things, society
has the right to say, 'No. No more.'"
Supporters emphasized the irreversibleconsequences of wrongfully executing
someone, and pointed to the number of exonerations in recent years because
of improved DNA technology.
"I don't think we know who's innocent and who's guilty," Williams said.
"The government shouldn't be in the business of executing people."
A life sentence with no chance of parole is practically a death sentence
anyway, argued Sen. Aubyn Curtiss, R-Fortine. The death penalty is a
better alternative to the poor quality of life an inmate leads living the
remainder of their days behind bars, she said.
On a national level, 12 states have abolished the death penalty, and six
states, plus the District of Columbia, have suspended the practice while
courts and studies consider whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual
(source: Great Falls Tribune)
Calif. seeks advice on lethal injection changes
In San Francisco, California penal officials are traveling nationwide to
confer with experts to overcome a federal judge's objections to its
execution procedure, the state's top prison official said on Thursday.
In December, federal Judge Jeremy Fogel found the state's executions
through lethal injection unconstitutional, but gave officials until May to
present a new procedure.
"I have people on my staff who are traveling around the country assessing
our policies and procedures and what changes need to be made to be
compliant with the court," James Tilton, secretary of the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in an interview.
The courts "have indicated that they think there are improvements that can
be made to pass the constitutionality and we are confident that we can do
that now," he continued. "By looking around the country we are think that
we can provide some improvements to our process that will be compliant."
The death penalty is under what may be an unprecedented review in the
United States, mostly involving questions about lethal injection, by far
the most common method of execution.
About 1/3 of the 38 states that allow capital punishment have halted or
delayed executions while legal and ethical challenges are resolved.
The review by Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose finding "implementation of
lethal injection is broken, but it can be fixed" has put executions on
hold in California, the nation's most populous state. Lawyers for a
condemned California inmate had argued that lethal injection constitutes
'cruel and unusual' punishment barred by the U.S. Constitution.
The court proceedings found shortcomings in past executions, including in
2005 when guards could not connect a back-up intravenous line to Stanley
"Tookie" Williams, the ex-Crips gang leader who later wrote anti-gang
"I wasn't here, don't have all the details of it," Tilton, who took office
last year, said of past problems. "I read some testimony that caused me
"Clearly we have to reassess our process."
Tilton also said he concurred with the chief justice of California's
Supreme Court who told Reuters in December 2005 that the state should
speed its execution process.
"We have people who are over 20 years on death row and that's not prompt
justice," Tilton told Reuters. "We've got to find a way to provide those
folks their due process. It seems to me that something short of 20, 25
years is more appropriate."
Senate passes fix to death penalty----Law now gives latitude to
corrections officials in administering lethal injection
A bill to fix a conflict between state law and prison procedure that
delayed a scheduled execution last summer passed 26-7 in the state Senate
The measure, requested by the governor, already had passed the House.
It would give the prison warden and secretary of corrections more
flexibility in deciding the type and combination of drugs to use in lethal
Gov. Mike Rounds last August delayed the scheduled execution of convicted
murder Elijah Page. The governor announced only a few hours before the
sentence was to be carried out that state law and prison procedure
The law specified a 2-drug combination for the execution, but prison
officials planned to use a 3-drug sequence common in many other states
that have the death-penalty.
Page's execution now is scheduled for early July.
Senators argued at length about a proposal to place a moratorium on
executions and study the death penalty for a year.
Sen. Ben Nesselhuf, D-Vermillion, said the state never is against
education studies and just this session created a commission to review
open records rather than pass a bill opening almost all records.
Sen. Gene Abdallah, R-Sioux Falls, said the delay wasn't needed.
"The last execution was in 1947. We've had 60 years to study this issue,"
"Yes, we've not done an execution for 60 years," Nesselhuf said. "We might
be a little rusty."
Senate Republican Leader David Knudson of Sioux Falls said lawmakers
needed to focus on fixing the conflict in statutes and policy, which he
said the bill being debated does.
"We've had ample opportunity this session to debate the death penalty," he
said. "Both those bills in the House and the Senate died in committee."
He referred to unsuccessful proposals in each house to repeal capital
Sen. Jerry Apa, R-Lead, the legislative district in which the murder for
which Page was convicted took place, said, "Too many times we coddle the
criminals and forget the victims. I will not forget the victims."
It wouldn't be coddling Page to make him wait another year for death, said
Sen. Gil Koetzle, D-Sioux Falls. He said Page has waived appeals and asked
to be executed.
"Let's let him sit for a year, let's let him think for a year," Koetzle
said. "Do I know if he thinks about the victim every day? No, I don't. But
I can promise you this - he thinks about how he really doesn't like where
Senators killed the moratorium amendment 22-12 before passing the other
(source: Argus Leader)
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