[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS

Rick Halperin rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jun 5 13:42:13 CDT 2007





June 5



TEXAS----new execution date

Daroyce Mosley has been given an execution date of Aug. 28; it should be
considered serious.


(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)

**************************

Rape, slaying detailed in capital murder trial


Prosecutors detailed the alleged carjacking and murder of a young couple
in opening statements today in the capital murder trial of 18-year-old
Dexter Johnson, who is accused of raping Maria Aparece then shooting her
and her boyfriend Huy Ngo last June.

Police said Johnson was one of a band of 5 accused killers, robbers and
thieves on a monthlong crime spree, which included the slayings of 4
people.

Today's trial against Johnson only involves Aparece. Assistant District
Attorney Lisa Andrews is seeking the death penalty in the case.

Aparece, 23, and Huy Ngo, 17, were in Aparece's car outside Ngo's home
about 2 a.m. June 18 when Johnson, and two friends banged on the driver's
side window brandishing a shotgun and forced the couple into the back
seat, Andrews said.

Andrews said Johnson, Keithron Fields, 18, and a 3rd man who is not
charged in the case, drove the couple around Houston while taking
Aparece's cash and credit cards and trying to get her ATM access number.

They stopped in a wooded area where Johnson raped Aparece in the back seat
as Fields along with Timothy Randle, 20 and Ashley Ervin, 18 taunted Ngo
outside, Andrews told jurors.

Randle and Ervin were following the stolen car in Ervin's car, Andrews
said.

She said Johnson then "marched" Aparece and Ngo into the woods and shot
both in the head.

The bodies were in the woods for 5 days before investigators pieced
together what happened. Randle led investigators to the bodies.

Police also implicated Alvie Butler, 23, in the alleged crime spree, which
involved the slayings of Brady Davis, 61, a retired woodshop teacher who
was shot May 25 and Jose Lopez, who was found shot to death in the 6900
block of Annunciation.

Defense attorney Jim Leitner told jurors that Johnson had the misfortune
of getting involved with Fields and a loose group of friends of relatives
who came to blame Johnson for the shooting. Butler is Randle's uncle.
Ervin is Randle's cousin and Fields' girlfriend, police said.

He said the group "sticks together" and had time to get their story
straight after Johnson was arrested.

Leitner also said there was no physical evidence that Johnson raped
Aparece or that he was the shooter.

The trial is expected to continue for 3 weeks in state District Judge
Denise Collins' court.

**************************

Dexter Johnson stands trial in death of woman----Prosecutors describe
night of rape, taunts and killings


On his knees in the woods, with a gun to his head, Huy Ngo listened as his
girlfriend was raped, all the while having to endure the taunts and jeers
of her attacker's friends.

Then after assaulting Maria Aparece in the backseat of the blue Toyota
Matrix he had car-jacked the couple in, the man marched Aparece and Ngo
deep into the woods and shot them both in the head.

That's what prosecutors say Dexter Johnson did the night of June 18 of
last year  one moment in a series of weeks where officials say a band of
five robbed, stole and killed four people.

"He had been brave up to this point," Assistant District Attorney Lisa
Andrews told jurors in her description of Ngo.

"Then he began to cry."

Family members of Aparece's and Ngo's sniffled and wiped their eyes as
Andrews detailed the alleged carjacking and murder of the young couple
Monday in opening statements of Johnson's capital murder trial in the
death of Aparece.

Andrews is seeking the death penalty for the 18-year-old.

'Marched' into the woods

Aparece, 23, and Ngo, 17, were in Aparece's car outside Ngo's home about 2
a.m. when Johnson and two friends banged on the driver's side window
brandishing a shotgun and forced the couple into the back seat, Andrews
said.

Andrews said Johnson, Keithron Fields, 18, and a third man who is not
charged in the case drove the couple around Houston while taking Aparece's
cash and credit cards and trying to get her ATM access number.

They stopped in a wooded area, where Johnson raped Aparece as Fields,
along with Timothy Randle, 20, and Ashley Ervin, 18, taunted Ngo outside,
Andrews told jurors.

Randle and Ervin were following the stolen car in Ervin's car, Andrews
said.

She said Johnson then "marched" Aparece and Ngo into the woods and shot
both in the head.

Police also implicated Alvie Butler, 23, in the alleged crime spree, which
involved the slayings of Brady Davis, 61, a retried woodshop teacher who
was shot May 25, and Jose Lopez, who was found shot to death in the 6900
block of Annunciation.

Defense attorney Jim Leitner told jurors that Johnson had the misfortune
of getting involved with Fields and a loose group of friends of relatives
who came to blame Johnson for the shooting. Butler is Randle's uncle.

The trial is expected to continue for 3 weeks in state District Judge
Denise Collins' court.

(source for both: Houston Chronicle)

************************************

Ex-deputy set to die Wednesday for Houston woman's slaying


Michael Griffith is about to pay with his life for violating the law he
once swore to uphold.

The former Harris County sheriff's deputy is set for execution Wednesday
for the 1994 rape, robbery and stabbing death of a Houston woman at her
family's flower shop. The slaying of Deborah McCormick, 44, came nearly 2
years after Griffith was fired for violating the sheriff's department
policy on domestic abuse.

Griffith, 56, would be the 15th condemned inmate executed this year in
Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state. He's also the 1st of
5 convicted killers scheduled for lethal injection this month in Texas.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January refused to review his case and
Griffith's lawyer planned no additional appeals to try to block the
execution.

"I have consulted my client on this  about filing anything on his behalf,"
James Rytting said. "There's nothing left."

Griffith, one of the few former lawmen ever on death row in Texas, rose to
the rank of sergeant over his 10-year career. He declined to speak with
reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled punishment.

Griffith also was convicted of 2 violent robberies the same month
McCormick was killed. In one, evidence showed he shot a woman in the head
during the robbery of a savings and loan office. In the other, he robbed
and sexually assaulted a woman at a bridal salon. Both women survived and
testified against him at his capital murder trial.

Former wives and girlfriends also testified how he abused them, including
one who said he became violent with her on their wedding day.

"It's amazing to see a policeman go bad like that," said Ira Jones, a
former Harris County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Griffith.
"Policemen make mistakes. They are human beings. But to go that bad,
there's something seriously wrong."

Griffith was arrested after the robbery and attack at the bridal shop.
Credit cards belonging to McCormick's mother were taken in the $400
robbery and slaying at the flower shop. Police found them on Griffith,
along with an envelope with money, a knife and a receipt for roses he'd
purchased that day from the store.

McCormick's mother, who ran the store with her daughter, said Griffith had
been a frequent customer. Mary Ringer left briefly that morning and the
women had a policy to not allow people into their place unless they knew
them. When Ringer returned after about a half-hour, she found her
daughter's body.

A medical examiner testified the knife found on Griffith was used to
repeatedly stab McCormick. DNA tests tied it to the victim and to
Griffith.

Dawn Kirkland, McCormick's daughter, said she planned to attend the
execution and hoped to get an explanation from her mother's killer.

"My mother was always welcoming and very friendly," she said Monday. "If
anything, he hasn't spoken out at all. I would like to know why, why her
of all people. Then again, I might not like the answer."

A psychologist, testifying for the defense, said Griffith had a borderline
personality disorder that showed up against wives and girlfriends whose
actions reminded him of growing up in Los Angeles where his neglectful
mother was described as often angry and violent when drunk. The
psychologist also said when Griffith lost his sheriff's department job,
his sense of reality became chaotic and led to intense anger.

An FBI profiler, testifying for the prosecution, compared Griffith to a
sexual predator who had a high degree of committing future acts of
violence.

A Harris County jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours before returning with
the death penalty.

After Griffith, scheduled to die next is Cathy Henderson, facing lethal
injection June 13 for the 1994 slaying of Brandon Baugh, a 3-month-old
Austin-area child she was babysitting. Henderson has insisted the child's
skull was fractured accidentally when she dropped him. His body was found
18 days after she and the child disappeared and about 60 miles to the
north, buried in a field in a wine cooler box. She said she panicked and
fled to her native Missouri.

Henderson would be the 4th woman executed in Texas since the state resumed
carrying out capital punishment in 1982 and the 12th nationally since the
U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 allowed the death penalty to resume.

On the Net: Texas execution schedule
http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/scheduledexecutions.htm (source:
Associated Press)

*************

DA's office responds to Mendoza appeal


The Collin County District Attorney's Office has filed a response to
Moises Sandoval Mendoza's appeal of the murder conviction that sent him to
death row in 2005.

The 125-page brief filed Monday in 401st District Court is in response to
Mendoza's 2005 murder conviction for the death of Rachelle O'Neil
Tolleson, 20, of Farmersville, whom he strangled, raped and stabbed, and
tried to dispose of her body by burning it in an eastern Collin County
creek bed in March 2004.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Mendoza became the
12th defendant to receive the death penalty in Collin County since 1976.

A hearing on Mendoza's appeal will be heard by the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals later this month.

The state's brief lists 81 responses to issues raised by the appeal report
during the voir dire, guilt-innocence, and punishment stages of Mendoza's
trial.

One of the issues in Mendoza's appeal report states the evidence presented
to the jury was "legally" and "factually insufficient" to support a guilty
verdict of capital murder, claiming Tolleson voluntarily left her home.
The report cited testimony from former Farmersville Police Department
Officer Scott D. Collins about the condition of Tolleson's house and Texas
Ranger A.P. Davison about photographs of the home, one of which depicts a
stack of clothing "as if someone was in the process of moving."

The statement also cities testimony from Tolleson's mother, Pam O'Neill,
who found Tolleson's infant daughter, Avery, alone on a bed with 2 pillows
"propped up beside the baby," all of which the statement said does not
"suggest that she did not prop the pillows around the baby and was going
to leave her for a short period of time."

The state's report claims there is "a great deal of evidence to the
contrary." It cites testimony from Davison that Mendoza told him Tolleson
left her home with him to get some more cigarettes even though there was a
pack of cigarettes "3/4 full" in the house and a 2nd pack in her car.

The report also claims Mendoza lied about being in Tolleson's home that
night after investigators found Mendoza's bootprint on some divorce
paperwork left in the house, and that the condition of the house was
"uncharacteristic of Rachelle, most importantly that 5-month-old Avery
(Tolleson's daughter) had been left uncovered and alone on a bed."

The state is asking the court to affirm Mendoza's conviction and sentence,
according to the report's prayer.

(source: McKinney Courier-Gazette)






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