[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----NEB., KAN., CONN., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jan 24 06:04:40 UTC 2007
High Court Rejects Nebraska Death Row Inmate's Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal by Nebraska death row inmate
Carey Dean Moore, who argued that execution by the electric chair amounts
to cruel and unusual punishment.
The order leaves Nebraska as the only state with electrocution as its only
means of execution.
Moore's lawyer, Alan Peterson of Lincoln, declined to comment on last
The appeal to the nation's top court criticized the state Supreme Court
for ignoring Moore's argument that the Eighth Amendment does not permit
mandatory death by electrocution.
The 49-year-old Moore was sentenced to death for the 1979 murders of Omaha
cab drivers Reuel Eugene Van Ness Jr. and Maynard Helgeland during 2
(source: Associated Press)
Man charged in 13 deaths won't face death penalty
A man accused of killing 13 women and girls will not face the death
penalty when he goes on trial in March, Jackson County prosecutor Jim
Kanatzar announced Monday.
Lorenzo Gilyard, 56, is charged with 1st-degree murder in the deaths of 13
females, ages 15 through 36, between 1977 and 1993. All of the victims
were strangled or suffocated, and most had worked as prostitutes.
In exchange for dropping the death penalty, Gilyard's attorneys agreed to
a trial before a judge without a jury and to give up nearly all of
Gilyard's appeal rights.
Jackson County Circuit Judge John O'Malley approved the agreement after a
hearing Monday morning.
The agreement gives the victims' families and the community a chance for a
"quick, just and final disposition" to the case, Kanatzar said.
His predecessor, Mike Sanders, who was elected Jackson County executive,
had sought the death penalty and alleged that Gilyard was Missouri's most
prolific serial killer. Kanatzar said he did not confer with Sanders on
Kanatzar said all the victims' families agreed with the decision and would
not speak to the media. Four family members stood behind the prosecutor at
the news conference but declined to comment. They nodded yes when asked if
they agreed with the deal.
If Gilyard is convicted on even one of the 1st-degree murder counts, his
only possible sentence would be life without parole. While he would still
have some appeal rights, they are "very, very limited," Kanatzar said.
(source: Woichita Eagle)
Death penalty evidence begins Wednesday in EH murder-arson
A Hartford Superior Court jury's swift determination last week that
Michael Kendall murdered his estranged wife and their two children in 2003
triggers another proceeding in which that same panel must now decide:
Should Kendall be put to death? Or is life in prison without the
possibility of release appropriate punishment for a man who shot and
burned a woman and two girls, all unarmed, in the middle of the night?
Just a few hours after closing arguments on Jan. 18, the jury found
Kendall, 46, guilty of capital felony, murder, and arson for killing
Ramona Kendall, 45, and their daughters, Kayla, 16, and Alexis, 12.
Kendall was charged with capital felony because he murdered more than one
person at the same time, and because Alexis was under 16.
Under state law, the capital conviction requires a hearing - to begin
Wednesday - in which jurors will decide which of 2 legislatively mandated
penalties Kendall deserves: a life sentence or execution.
That law also requires the state to prove the existence of at least one
so-called "aggravating factor."
That factor, prosecutors Donna Mambrino and Sandra Tullius say, is that in
committing the crimes, Kendall "knowingly created a grave risk of death to
another person in addition to the victim of the offense."
In fairness and mercy
Besides shooting Ramona, Kayla, and Alexis each once in the head with a
snub-nosed .38-caliber revolver, Kendall set them on fire inside the
family's East Hartford townhouse Dec. 13, 2003.
The prosecutors are expected to argue that it was the fires Kendall set on
and around his family's bodies that created the grave risk of death to
others - including Ramona's disabled father, 70-year-old Adam Alston, who
managed to escape the burning apartment and call police.
Some of the evidence for an aggravating factor presented during the guilt
phase came from firefighters. They testified about the potentially fatal
heat and smoke created by the fires, and a state fire marshal said damage
in the common attic of the rowhouses occupied by the Kendalls and five
other families showed that the superheated blaze was spreading.
In addition to the guilt phase evidence and the state's aggravating claim,
the panel of seven women and 5 men will hear evidence of mitigating
factors from Kendall's public defenders, Patrick Culligan and R. Bruce
Mitigating factors can be less concrete than other evidence in capital
cases, but they are often a convicted capital defendant's best hope at
State law says that mitigants "do not constitute a defense or excuse for
capital felony, but ... in fairness and mercy, may be considered as
tending either to extenuate or reduce the degree of his culpability or
blame for the offense or to otherwise constitute a basis for a sentence
less than death."
'A long-term, toxic relationship'
Early in 2003, after nearly 19 years of marriage rife with domestic
violence, Ramona Kendall had filed for divorce. On Nov. 26, 2003, a family
court judge ordered her husband to leave the family apartment by 10 a.m.
Dec. 13. 5 hours before that deadline, Kendall killed his wife and
In the state's closing arguments, Mambrino told jurors the state believes
Kendall "obliterated" his family because he'd been ordered to leave the
home. Kendall, she said, would cede control to no one; he took it back by
The defense sees it differently.
In a list provided to Judge Joseph Q. Koletsky, Culligan and Lorenzen have
proposed 16 mitigating factors-including a claim that, "despite his love
for his wife, Michael Kendall's marriage to Ramona Kendall was a
long-term, toxic, and co-dependant relationship that emphasized and
encouraged the more negative personality traits of both husband and wife.
"No outside intervention succeeded in curing the deep-seated,
dysfunctional, and ultimately destructive nature of their marriage and
lives together and/or apart," the defense lawyers add.
Kendall, they wrote, "is genuinely saddened, despondent, and grievously
emotionally wounded by the deaths of his wife and daughters."
Other mitigating factors the defense may claim: Kendall was
alcohol-dependent, he grew up in a loving home and still has a loving
relationship with his mother, he has had an unremarkable prison record
since his arrest, and his vocational skills could be used while serving
life in prison.
Culligan and Lorenzen aren't claiming that Kendall suffers from any
particular mental illness and didn't call any witnesses to support a
psychological defense. Just prior to the start of the trial, they asked
Koletsky to order a competency hearing because, they said, Kendall's
refusal to accept a plea agreement calling for him to be jailed for life
showed he wasn't accepting the reality of the "overwhelming" evidence.
Koletsky rejected the motion.
Aggravating vs. mitigating
After both sides present their evidence - Tullius said the state should
take a day or two, while Lorenzen said the defense may need up to 4 days -
the jurors will begin the steps necessary to decide Kendall's fate.
First, the panel would determine if the state proved its aggravating
factor beyond a reasonable doubt.
If they unanimously conclude the state failed, deliberations would cease,
and the judge would, as required by law, impose a life sentence on
But if jurors conclude the aggravating factor was proven, they will then
consider mitigating factors.
The defense is required to prove mitigating factors only by a
preponderance of the evidence. And the jury can consider a mitigating
factor even if only one juror finds it proven. If so, then the jurors will
use their own backgrounds and experiences to "weigh" the importance of
mitigating factors versus the aggravating factor.
If the panel finds the mitigating factor or factors are in balance with
the aggravating factor, then the aggravating factor doesn't outweigh the
mitigating factor and Kendall would be sentenced to life in prison.
If the panel unanimously decides that no mitigating factors have been
proven, deliberations end and the judge must, by law, impose a death
If the jury concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating
factor outweighs the mitigating factor or factors found, then Kendall
would get the death penalty.
If Kendall should be given the death penalty, he would become the state's
ninth condemned prisoner.
7 men are on death row, and another man, Jessie Campbell III of
Bloomfield, is awaiting formal sentencing for murdering 2 women.
(source: Journal Inquirer)
Long-Serving Quentin Death Row Inmate Found Dead
One of the longest-serving death row inmates at San Quentin State Prison
was found dead in his cell Monday afternoon, a prison spokesman said
Marcelino Ramos, 49, an Orange County man, was found unresponsive in his
cell around 3:30 p.m. and attempts to revive him failed, Sgt. Eric Messick
He was pronounced dead at 3:53 p.m.
There were no initial signs of foul play, Messick said, although the death
remains under investigation.
Condemned inmates live in single-occupancy cells.
Ramos was a janitor at a Santa Ana Taco Bell when in June 1979 he murdered
20-year-old coworker Katharyn Parrott while robbing the store with another
man, Ruben Gaitan. A 2nd coworker survived, according to Messick.
Ramos arrived at San Quentin on Jan. 30, 1980, according to Messick.
He is the 1st death row prisoner to die since early January, when a
condemned prisoner died in a hospital from complications from a stroke,
A cause of death will be determined by the Marin County Coroner.
(source: CBS News)
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