[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----US MIL., USA, COLO., OHIO, CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Feb 17 02:39:13 UTC 2007
Hennis hearing postponed
Army Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis' Article 32 hearing for 3 murders and a
rape near Fort Bragg in 1985 has been postponed until April 2, Fort Bragg
officials said Thursday evening.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday. It was postponed at the
request of Hennis' lawyers, who wanted more time to prepare.
Hennis is charged with raping Air Force wife Kathryn Eastburn and stabbing
her and 2 of her 3 children to death. The 3rd child, a toddler, was left
The Eastburns lived on Summer Hill Road, less than a half-mile from Fort
Bragg off Yadkin Road.
In the military court system, an Article 32 hearing is held to assess the
evidence against someone and determine whether there is sufficient cause
to pursue a general court-martial.
Hennis, now 48, has been tried twice for these crimes.
He was found guilty in the state court system and sent to death row in
1986. 2 years later, the state Supreme Court ruled that his trial had
severe mistakes. It awarded him a new trial. A jury found him not guilty
Hennis was freed and resumed his military career, serving in Operation
Desert Storm. He retired in 2004 in Washington state.
In the 1990s, his story was portrayed in a book and a television
In 2006, North Carolina authorities announced that they had tested a DNA
sample from the evidence and Hennis again was their prime suspect. But
because the U.S. Constitution bars double jeopardy a person found
innocent can't be tried again for the same crime the North Carolina court
system was barred from prosecuting him again.
However, the military can prosecute Hennis because the U.S. Supreme Court
has long held that the state and federal governments are separate entities
for the purposes of double jeopardy.
A not guilty verdict in the state system does not protect someone from
prosecution in a federal or military court.
The Army called Hennis out of retirement to face the charges in the
military court system. He returned to duty at Fort Bragg on Oct. 30 and
was charged Nov. 9.
In the meantime, the Army says, he has been assigned duties appropriate to
his rank and is free while waiting for his case to advance through the
(source: Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer)
Writing for Their Lives----Death Row USA; Edited by Marie Mulvey-Roberts
Foreword by Jan Arriens
A powerful anthology documenting the thoughts and experiences of those
waiting to die
Going well beyond graphic descriptions of death row's madness and
suicide-inducing realities, Writing for Their Lives offers powerful,
compassionate, and harrowing accounts of prisoners rediscovering the value
of life from within the brutality and boredom of the row. Editor Marie
Mulvey-Roberts brings together the writings of prisoners (many of whom are
also prize-winning authors) and the words of those who work in the field
of capital punishment, whose roles have included defense attorney, prison
psychiatrist, chaplain and warden, spiritual advisor, abolitionist and
executioner, as well as a Nobel Prize nominee and a murder victim family
member. The material is presented through articles, journal extracts,
letters, short stories, and poems.
Exposing little-known facts about the 5 modes of execution practiced in
the United States today, Writing for Their Lives documents the progress of
life on death row from a capital trial to execution and beyond, through
the testimony of the prisoners themselves as well as those who watch,
listen, and write to them. What emerges are stories of the survival of the
human spirit under even the most unimaginable circumstances, and the ways
in which some prisoners find penitence and peace in the most unlikely
surroundings. In spite of the uniformity of their prison life and its
nearly inevitable conclusion, prisoners able to read and write letters are
shown to retain and develop their individuality and humanity as their
letters become poems and stories.
Writing for Their Lives serves ultimately as an affirmation of the value
of life and provides bountiful evidence that when a state executes a
prisoner, it takes a life that still had something to give. This edition
features an introduction by the editor as well as a foreword by Jan
MARIE MULVEY-ROBERTS is a Reader in Literary Studies in the School of
English and Drama at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She
has published extensively and has taught in a number of prisons in the
United Kingdom, including Open University courses for prisoners serving
life sentences. JAN ARRIENS is the founder of LifeLines, an international
organization of correspondents who exchange letters with death row
Dr. Mulvey-Roberts will be donating her profits from the sale of this
volume to the legal charity Amicus, which assists in capital defense in
the United States.
"2 intertwined themes . . . often dominate the lives of many of the men
and women on death row: the terrifying, traumatic, soul-destroying efforts
by the State to take their lives, and the first true flowering of many of
them as human beings. Many discover that they are in fact intelligent and
talented." -- Jan Arriens, from the foreword
January 2006----264 pages. 6 x 9 inches.
Cloth, ISBN 0-252-02793-0. $45.00
Paper, ISBN 0-252-07099-2. $19.95
Criminal Justice / Cultural Studies / Law / Sociology
(source: University of Illinois)
Artist 's date with death row
Claire Phillips hopes to interview through bullet-proof glass two inmates
awaiting execution A potrait artist has been given 5,000 to paint
condemned men on death row in America.
Claire Phillips, 43, is travelling to the Deep South next month to record
on canvas prisoners facing execution by lethal injection or the electric
Mrs Phillips will be travelling through Florida, Georgia, Mississippi,
Oklahoma and Texas during her ten-day mission, which starts on March 2.
She was inspired to successfully apply for a grant from the Arts Council
after painting veteran journalist Charles Wheeler, patron of Reprieve, a
charity which provides legal representation for people on death row.
Mrs Phillips, who graduated from Northbrook College, Worthing, said: "I
have been supporting this British-based charity for a long time and got
more and more involved.
"I have also painted the legal director, Clive Stafford Smith, who talked
about using whatever talents you have to raise awareness.
"We came up with this idea of having a series of portraits of people who
have faced or are facing death."
Mrs Phillips, who lives in The High Street, Partridge Green, said he hoped
to interview through bullet-proof glass 2 inmates awaiting execution.
She also intended to talk to a British subject called Krishna Maharaj,
originally from Peckham, London, who, after being convicted of murder,
spent 15 years on death row before his sentence was commuted to life
Other subjects she planned to meet included a prison warden who had
executed people but subsequently voiced misgivings about capital
punishment, and former prisoners who had been freed.
Mrs Phillips, who is travelling to the States with husband Mike, also, 43,
already had photographs, provided through Reprieve, of those she intended
to visit but felt it was very difficult to paint someone you had never
She hoped her portraits, which will take about 2 years to complete, will
make people think about the death penalty.
Mrs Phillips, who has 3 daughters, Emma, 16, Sally, 14, and Sophie, 12,
said: "Personally I think the risk of executing an innocent person is way
"One of the people I will be painting, using documentary footage, is
Edward Earl Johnson who was executed some years ago even though there was
a very strong case that he was innocent.
"I don't think it is grisly. These are human beings. It is a question of
humanity. A lot of these people are there because they don't have the
money for a good defence.
"It could be anyone's father, son or brother."
Mrs Phillips, who is also visiting flood-ravaged New Orleans during her
trip, ultimately hoped to stage an exhibition of her oil portraits in a
top London gallery.
(source: The (UK) Argus)
Sentencing guidelines needed
Which criminals deserve the death penalty? How about life in prison? Or
six months to 30 years? America's ambiguous legal terminology makes it
impossible to come up with a standard sentence for any given crime.
In 2005, over 3,000 people were convicted of murder and waiting on death
row. Last year, 53 criminals were executed, 1 in Indiana.
Murder is generally considered in three categories: first, second, and
third degree.A person convicted of first-degree murder gets a sentence of
life in prison or execution. 'Murder One,' as it is commonly called, is
premeditated, planned, and executed with some sort of particularly
gruesome violence or other action.
Second-degree murder is premeditated but not extremely heinous or grisly
in nature. This crime is typically punished with about 20 years in prison.
Any other type of murder, including felony manslaughter, falls into the
category of 3rd-degree murder.The difference between types of manslaughter
is the type of crime being committed at the time of the victim's death.
For example, if a person is vandalizing property and that somehow causes
another to die, he or she would be convicted of misdemeanor manslaughter,
which is not 3rd-degree murder.
A 3rd-degree murder would be a heat of passion crime or a crime of
provocation in which a reasonable person would be incited by the situation
and act without consideration of the consequences.
Other factors that help determine the length and type of punishments
include mental health, past convictions, motivations and the vicinity of
children when the crime was being committed.
It is mandatory to imprison those who murder, rape or commit violence due
to gang activity. State statutes determine the sentences for drug, firearm
or vehicular crimes.
Of those on death row in 2005, two-thirds had a prior felony conviction
and one in 12 had a prior homicide conviction.It seems to me that once a
person is convicted of murder, he or she should not be allowed back into
Maybe we should send criminals to secluded islands like they did years
When lawyers are paid megabucks to get their clients "off the hook"
without consideration for the truth, we're in trouble. Lawyers with good
reputations are those who can guarantee an acquittal no matter what the
circumstances, and are considered as a profession to be wealthy, but
sneaky and dishonest.
I can see how it would be difficult for a lawyer to defend truth and
justice with a law he can't define.
(source: Sarah Matlock, The Univ. of Southern Indiana)
Public Eye----Legislative solution: Don't kill catch
We can argue over the philosophy and morals of the death penalty from now
until the end of time, but the reality is, Colorado has no death penalty.
OK, OK, to be technical exceedingly technical that's not true. On Oct.
13, 1997, convicted murderer Gary Lee Davis was executed by lethal
injection. But before Davis, no one had been put to death in Colorado
since 1967. Currently, two convicted murderers are on death row, but no
date with the needle is in sight.
As Colorado public defender Doug Wilson notes, "Getting a death-penalty
verdict is like getting struck by lightning."
Over the same period of time, an estimated 1,200 murders have gone
unsolved in Colorado. Which means, logically, there are as many as 1,200
murderers out there, walking around with you and me. Assuming some might
have committed multiple murders and others have died or left the state,
we're still left with about 1 for about every 3,500 adults (18 or older)
in Colorado. The number is growing at a clip of 40 every year.
Colorado has spent an estimated $40.5 million in death-penalty appeals and
other legal maneuvering in fruitless death-penalty cases in the nine-plus
years since Davis was executed. But the state has no program in place to
catch the bad guys still out there.
That is worth repeating. Colorado has no organized network to investigate
unsolved murders. Colorado Springs, for that matter, has no formal
cold-case unit, stocked and funded with active-duty detectives charged to
solve the most heinous of crimes.
Which brings us to state Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville. He has put
together a clever proposal that has death-penalty advocates practically
gnashing their teeth. Weissmann wants to abolish capital punishment in
Colorado and to divert $650,000 in death-penalty savings to establish a
cold-case unit with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
"Sometimes in the process of government, you have a convergence of ideas,"
was the way that Weissmann put it to the House Judiciary Committee last
week. "We can never resolve the moral question over an eye for an eye, but
what I do have is an answer to how we can save money."
A diverse and compelling group of supporters spent several hours
testifying in favor of Weissmann's plan. Public defender Wilson stood
strong with the brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and friends
of murder victims. Several expressed their anger at an unjust system,
describing how the person they cared about was quickly forgotten when
someone richer or more famous was slain. Some said they might support the
death penalty, but really, they would prefer the person responsible be
Richard Randall, legislative director of the Libertarian Party of Colorado
(not the longtime Colorado Springs media personality) offered this: "Our
own system is providing vengeance, not justice." Fr. Bill Carmody, a
Colorado Springs Catholic priest, joined with Cathryn Hazouri, executive
director of ACLU of Colorado, and a group of Colorado Quakers in support.
A predictable trio of prosecutors spoke forcefully in opposition. Colorado
Attorney General John Suthers waxed forcefully about the death penalty's
importance in deterring crime. Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey
and Adams County District Attorney Don Quick echoed Suthers. It was a
brave position to take, in the midst of a roomful of grieving observers,
many of them carrying photographs of their murdered loved ones.
Four Republicans, including Bob Gardner (Colorado Springs) and Amy
Stephens (Monument), opposed the idea. Gardner said capital punishment
should have nothing to do with cold-case cash. Stephens suggested the
issue should be put to a vote of the people, to which Rep. Terrence
Carroll, D-Denver, had this to say: "We're elected for a reason."
Then the committee did something astounding: A majority actually approved
"It is time," said Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora, "to do some things
differently than we've been doing. We have taken a position of being tough
on crime, without coming in on the backside. It's time we shake up our
Weissmann acknowledges his proposal ultimately has little chance of
actually making it into law. ("Politically, it will make people nervous,"
he points out.)
But for a few hours last week, common sense prevailed.
Board says Strickland should deny clemency to killer of fellow inmate
The Ohio Parole Board has recommended against clemency for an inmate who
strangled his cellmate, beat his head on the floor and then laughed while
paramedics tried to revive him.
The board unanimously recommended that Governor Strickland deny clemency
to 37-year-old Christopher Newton, who killed Jason Brewer, 27, as they
shared a cell at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in 2001.
Strickland-a Democrat who took office last month-has postponed the
executions of three inmates including Newton while he reviews their cases.
Newton's execution, originally scheduled for Feb. 27, is now set for May
The Ohio Public Defender's office-which has represented Newton-says he has
waived his appeals thus far and has no pending legal proceedings.
(source: Associated Press)
Jailhouse 'Houdini' gets death sentence----Killer grins as judge calls him
'Houdini,' then sentences him to death
Santiago Pineda, 25, has been convicted of 2 murders
He strangled the second victim in jail
A Long Beach man who committed two murders, one of them while behind bars,
was sentenced to death by a judge who called him "a Houdini in jail."
Santiago Pineda, 25, was sentenced Thursday for choking and running down
Juan Armenta in 2002 after the man had confronted him about taking his
car. In 2004 he killed Raul Tinajero, who had testified against him about
the 1st killing.
Authorities said Pineda managed to leave his cell and roam the downtown
Men's Central Jail for hours before entering another cell and strangling
Pineda also was able to get out of the county jail in 2003, apparently by
stealing another inmate's wristband, said Deputy District Attorney Lesley
Klein. He was taken to the West Hollywood sheriff's station, where the
other inmate worked as a trustee, before he was caught, Klein said.
"You're a Houdini in the jail -- you seem to be able to get around all of
the obstacles placed before you," Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders
said in court.
"What's so equally astonishing is your willingness to attack people
without provocation and your viciousness in taking their lives," the judge
He denied a defense motion for a new trial.
In December, jurors convicted Pineda of 2 counts of 1st-degree murder with
special circumstances of murder during the commission of a robbery, murder
of a witness and multiple murders, which made him eligible for the death
Jurors recommended his death last month.
Pineda's lawyers had urged jurors to recommend a life sentence without
parole, saying he was affected by growing up in an abusive family and by
early exposure to drugs and alcohol.
(source: Associated Press)
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