[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----FLA., ARIZ., USA, GA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Nov 2 17:01:13 CDT 2007
High court clears way for state executions----Lethal injection method
LOCALS ON DEATH ROW----Here is a look at Southwest Florida inmates on
Florida's death row:
Harold Lucas, sentenced 2/9/77
Robert Power, sentenced 11/8/90
David Thomas, sentenced 3/15/91
Anton Krawczuk, sentenced 2/13/92
Joshua Nelson, sentenced 11/27/96
Kevin Foster, sentenced 6/17/98
Joel Diaz, sentenced 1/29/01
Mark Twilegar, sentenced 8/14/07
Jack Sliney, sentenced 2/14/94
James Ford, sentenced 6/3/99
Daniel Conahan, sentenced 12/19/99
Dwight Eaglin, sentenced 3/31/06
Stephen Smith, sentenced 8/18/06
Thomas Gudinas, sentenced 6/16/95
Brandy Jennings, sentenced 12/2/96
Michael Lambrix, sentenced 3/22/84
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that the state's
new lethal injection methods, revised after a botched execution in
December, are constitutional.
The decision clears the path for the Nov. 15 execution of Mark Schwab,
whose appeals for a new trial in a separate case were denied Thursday by
the state's highest court.
Even so, Schwab's victim's mother said she expects the execution to be
halted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I respect them for following Florida law," said Vickie Rios-Martinez.
"I'm not a betting person but I'll bet there is not going to be an
Schwab, 38, has been on death row for 15 years for kidnapping, raping,
torturing and murdering 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa in April
1991. He was convicted May, 22, 1992, and sentenced to death.
Lawyers for Schwab in October argued that Florida's lethal injection
methods are unconstitutional. They made oral arguments to the court on the
same day justices heard another death
row inmate, Ian Deco Lightbourne's, challenge. Lightbourne's case was the
test case for Florida's new protocols developed after the error-riddled
The Florida Supreme Court "basically followed what we asked and what we
believed. This now moves to the federal courts," said Florida Attorney
General Bill McCollum.
Scwab's attorney, Mark Gruber, was visiting Schwab in prison Thursday and
did not return phone messages.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued three stays of execution since September
when it agreed to consider a Kentucky lethal-injection case.
Alison Nathan, a professor at Fordham Law School in New York City and an
expert in death penalty litigation, said that case will address the
standards lower courts should apply to cruel-and-unusual-punishment
challenges to lethal injection.
Do the stays already issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, the latest earlier
this week in a Mississippi case, mean there's a de facto moratorium on
"I can't say a hundred percent," Nathan said. "We don't quite have enough
evidence from the court. My strong sense is that we will not see any
further executions" until the Kentucky case is decided.
Arguments are set for January, with a decision expected by early summer.
At least three other state's governors or courts have issued stays to
await the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
McCollum said the nation's highest court decides cases individually.
"We really believe we have a good posture in this case. We've done what is
necessary to develop the protocols," McCollum said.
Schwab's is the first death warrant signed by Gov. Charlie Crist and the
first in the state since a state moratorium on executions was lifted
following an inquiry into the December 2006 lethal injection of Angel
Diaz. Diaz took nearly 3 times as long to die as previous executions.
Autopsies showed that the 3-drug cocktail Florida uses to carry out lethal
injections were injected into tissue rather than directly into his veins.
The Florida Supreme Court Thursday said new training and procedures are
"This Court's obligation is to ensure that the method used to execute a
person in Florida does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment,"
Thursday's ruling said.
Following Diaz's execution, then-Gov. Jeb Bush established a commission to
study the state's methods, as did the state's Department of Corrections.
Lower court hearings in Lightbourne's case on those findings and the
state's response ended with a finding that the new procedure's
The Department of Corrections has instituted new training and personnel
standards for executions that include checking with a shake and a shout
that the first course of drugs have rendered the condemned prisoner
Kids left behind by parents in prison
Records show Sonia Cresto was sent to prison on a charge of aggravated
assault in 2006, stemming from a drunk-driving accident.
They don't show how it affected her young son, Micah Angel.
But Cresto's mother, Clara Chavez-Cresto, remembers.
"I found him under the covers crying. It's such a devastating loss," she
Micah, now 8, ended up living with Chavez-Cresto, his grandmother. So did
his 5-year-old brother, Alex, and his 20-month-old sister, Ciera. They
share a small apartment in south Scottsdale. Chavez-Cresto, 50, herself is
single. She brings in a modest salary as a preschool teacher.
"This has been a really rough road, but incredibly, the kids are
surviving," she says.
With his grandmother's support, Micah might well do better than just
survive. He's bright and personable. He wants to go college and make
enough money to buy his grandmother a Hummer.
If it works out, statistics say Micah would be the exception.
Emily Jenkins has those statistics at hand. She chairs a work group that
has wrapped up a five-month study on children of incarcerated parents.
These children, she said, are "five to seven times more likely than their
peers to end up behind bars themselves."
Jenkins first became involved with children at risk for imprisonment in
1998, as chair of the Juvenile Services Coordinating Council in Pima
County. In 2006, the council became part of a 14-state study in
cooperation with the Soros Foundation's Open Society Initiative. In
Arizona, this became the Arizona Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of
Gov. Janet Napolitano signed on as well. The Arizona Parents Commission -
through the Governor's Office of Children, Youth and Families - provided
$85,000 for staffing, Jenkins said. A report from the Governor's Office,
including recommendations, is due out this month. The project included
more than 250 representatives from state and local agencies, as well as
educational, religious and non-profit groups.
Jenkins spoke about some of the findings.
On any given day, nearly 96,000 children under 18 in Arizona have a parent
in prison or in jail. Another 80,300 have a parent on probation.
Kim O'Connor with the Governor's Office of Children, Youth and Families
has another figure.
"One out of every 33 children has a parent involved in the criminal
justice system," O'Connor said.
If nothing is done, Jenkins said, Arizona prisons will become even more
crowded. And the state already has the highest incarceration rate in the
West, she said.
"Do the math," she said. "We can either do something to intervene for
these kids . or we can have a huge population that will continue the
family pattern of criminality."
The work group studied three areas in which children of imprisoned parents
need help. The group identified them as three of eight rights - including
the right to be safe and informed at the time of the parent's arrest, to
be cared for and to have support.
Police making an arrest, she said, should know if children are in the
house. Officers should make sure children are kept out of harm's way and
have a place to go in the parent's absence. This could require special
training, Jenkins said.
It's a practice already carried out in Pima County, she added.
Olivia Gillespie was not at home at the time of her mother's arrest.
"I was at school," said Olivia, 13.
At the time she was living in Show Low. Olivia now lives in Mesa with her
14-year-old sister, Shawntea, They're being cared for by their
grandmother, Kathy Gillespie, 47, and her husband, John.
They sat at the dining room table one afternoon as they spoke to a
visitor. Olivia busied herself with math homework, stopping to answer
questions - often with a funny comment. Shawntea was quieter, more
matter-of-fact, though polite. Their grandmother adopted them after Child
Protective Services took them from their mother.
As it happens, only about 10 percent of children are legally severed from
parents in prison.
Olivia and Shawntea were fortunate. They found stability at their
grandmother's house in a quiet Mesa neighborhood.
Like most children of imprisoned parents, they ended up being cared for by
relatives, said Jenkins, who chaired the children of incarcerated parents
project. There's something of an order to this, she added. If the father
is arrested, the children end up with the mother. If the mother is
arrested, they usually end up with grandparents.
And more grandparents are called into action as a growing number of women
with children are ending up in prison. In the past 40 years, the Arizona
prison population for women has exploded. In 1968, 50 women were prison.
By 2006, that number had climbed to more than 3,000.
For most women, though, it's not a straight shot behind bars. Their crimes
are usually nonviolent, ranging from drug use to property crimes like
fraud. On average, a woman who lands in prison has already been arrested
10 to 12 times, Jenkins said.
By then, she added, "the kids are living in chaos."
It's a chaos Olivia and Shawntea have experienced. They talked about their
mother's poor choice in boyfriends - boyfriends who abused their mother
and, in one case, threatened to kill them, Olivia said. The girls talked
about their mother's drug use and neglect of her children.
Their mother, Lupe Baldonado, does not dispute this.
She spoke by phone, as the Arizona Department of Corrections would not
allow a face-to-face interview.
"When we're using drugs, we push the most important things aside,"
Baldonado said. "You're locked up in a room or you're locked up in a
bathroom and you're telling your kids, 'I'll be there in a minute.' Or,
'Hold on.' You know, they're always on hold and that's not fair to them."
Baldonado was convicted of forgery, ending up in Perryville in 2005. She's
scheduled for release in September 2008.
Though she lost custody of her girls, she hopes to reconnect with them.
She's made a start through an experimental DOC program called HOPE - for
healthy options prevention education.
DOC Director Dora Schriro said the program is meant to help women in
prison "maintain and strengthen their parenting skills and to work on
their relationship with their kids."
HOPE fits in with an overall prison-release program called the Arizona
Plan, Schriro said. The idea is to give prisoners the tools they need to
make it outside - including education, and lifestyle skills, such as drug
and alcohol rehab, as well as parenting programs.
Of more than 18,000 prisoners released last year, more than half served
less than 2-1/2 years, Schriro said. Only about 4 % of prisoners, she
added, are serving life terms or are on death row.
"The Arizona Plan (for prisons) is based on the premise that virtually all
inmates are going to go back to the streets," she added.
During an eight-week HOPE session, Olivia and Shawntea visited their
mother every Thursday evening, as did Gillepsie.
For Baldonado, the class has helped her be more open with her children.
"It makes you realize the importance of communication, of being able to
have that communication with your children," she said in a phone interview
from Perryville Prison west of Phoenix.
In HOPE, Baldonado could get together with her daughters on a small
playground. They made crafts together. They tried to look ahead to the day
she'd be out of prison, Olivia said.
"They made my mom do a list of what she plans to do . when she gets home,"
They all see prison as a hard lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.
"She's going to be a better person, I hope," Olivia said. "I hope she
never goes back into that dark hole."
Micah is less ambivalent. He can't wait until his mother Sonia Cresto
comes home. And his grandmother is all but counting down the days until
her release - set for next July.
Taking care of the 3 children on her own, Chavez-Cresto says, has been a
struggle. When she first took them on, she was unemployed. They ended up
in a homeless shelter in Phoenix. They moved into an apartment after she
managed to get her old job back.
Things are more settled, but Chavez-Cresto has no backup when an emergency
arises. A while back Ciera needed treatment for ear infections.
"I had to miss work to take her to the doctor," Chavez-Cresto said.
A few weeks ago, Alex, 5, fell off his skateboard, breaking his arm. The
strain has taken its toll on Alex as well as Micah, she says.
"He at times has been a little difficult." But she adds, with a measure of
hope: "Most of the time he's well-behaved and well-mannered."
Micah, though friendly and outgoing, has had not taken his mother's
incarceration well, his grandmother said.
"2 weeks ago, I went to pick up Micah at aftercare. He had an emotional
breakdown. I don't know what else to call it."
Micah, for his part, doesn't hold back on how much he misses his mother.
"I'd do anything in the world to get her back right now," he said.
They, too, are preparing for her return by taking part in the HOPE
program, visiting every Friday.
"The 1st part of it is just so beautiful," Chavez-Cresto said. "People
hugging, and you see you're not the only ones here. And, at the end of the
visit, you walk out and you're in your own world, and you're so alone."
Her incarcerated daughter Cresto said HOPE teaches women in prison about
self-esteem and "good affirmations for ourselves."
Even the crafts are geared toward bringing the family together, she said.
They did a small quilt, with symbols for different family member.
Referring to the quilt, Cresto said, "My mom was a heart, because she's so
loving, and my son was a star because he's really good at baseball."
Chavez-Cresto later wondered if she'd have the time to take Micah to
baseball practice when the new season starts. Last season, she said, was a
challenge, piling all three children into the car, watching practice and
getting home late.
After a moment's reflection, she had a change of heart. She said she'd
still drive Micah to baseball practice and to games when the season
started. She just had to recuperate, she added.
"It's wearing," she said. "It wears a person out."
Things have gotten a bit better, she added. Micah recently received
excellent grades in school. And Chavez-Cresto is able to make her food
budget now, with food stamps, in addition to some cash assistance from the
She's had to navigate the social-services maze on her own.
Project chairwoman Jenkins said caregivers for such children should not
have to cast about for help - on everything from legal advice for child
custody to finding health care. There should be something of a one-stop
shop for services, she said.
Down the road, more will need to be done, she added. That might mean more
spending, but state budget woes have put that on hold for the moment, she
"We'll be going to the Legislature in the future, not this coming year,"
But government alone can't solve the problem, she said. It has to be a
community effort, Jenkins said.
Faith-based and charitable groups, for example, can help with emotional as
well as material support, she said. And groups such as Big Brothers and
Big Sisters can provide mentors who can take children like Micah to Little
League and provide positive role models.
Micah's grandmother has been thinking along the same line. Chavez-Cresto
would like to see a network of people like her - others caring for
children whose parents are in prison.
"I'm just overwhelmed," she said. "If we could find each other, help each
(source: Arizona Capitol Times )
The Death Penalty in America: Is It Time for a Change?
Listen to/Watch entire show:Listen Podcast
A podcast of this PRI program can be heard at:
Executions are on hold in America until the US Supreme Court decides
whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. Is it time for
the states to review the death penalty process from arrest to conviction?
We hear about wrongful convictions, victims' rights, and issues of
fairness and safety. Also, devastating floods in Mexico's state of
Tabasco, and Venezuela has President Hugo Chavez. It also has one of the
world's great programs for training children in music.
Brutality, Disguised----The Supreme Court should end both lethal injection
and capital punishment altogether
Tuesday evening, Earl W. Berry, a Mississippi prisoner condemned to lethal
injection, was just moments away from facing his fate when the Supreme
Court wisely granted a stay of execution. Legal experts say that this
decision signals to lower courts that a de facto moratorium on lethal
injection is in place, at least until the Supreme Court hears a case on
whether injection is cruel and unusual later this term. Although this is a
step in the right direction, it is a distraction to the real issue at
hand: the ultimate end of capital punishment.
It seems likely that the Court will maintain this moratorium on capital
punishment until it issues a ruling on whether lethal injection is
constitutional, which is appropriate when both the legality and morality
of lethal injection remain in question. However, the case it will hear in
January relates only to the mode of punishment, not its very existence.
While the number of executions per year has dropped to 42 this year, its
lowest level in more than a decade, we cannot let the moratorium distract
us from the larger issues at stake.
Although lethal injection is less gruesome than other methods of
execution, it is no less brutal. Research indicates that the anesthetic
can wear off, while another drug keeps the condemned paralyzed, thus
giving the illusion of serenity, underscored with massive unseen pain. The
drugs are known to take anywhere between 7 minutes to 2 hours to be
effective, and finding a suitable vein is often a long, torturous ordeal.
It is stupefying to fathom that lethal injection, which has been used for
almost 25 years, is only now being seen as cruel and unusual punishment.
This makes lethal injection more insidious. By disguising the true horror
of execution with medicine, lethal injection anesthetizes society to what
amounts to murder by the state. We hope that the Supreme Court rules
against lethal injection, finally recognizing its true nature.
Beyond the method of lethal injection, we believe that the death penalty
is categorically wrong, both morally and legally. Our system of justice is
inevitably imperfect, and even one tragic mistake costing an innocent life
is too much. The connection between the death penalty and racially charged
cases is well documented, and the system needs to be reevaluated to
eliminate biases. In an age where all of Western Europe, Canada, and many
other countries have abolished the death penalty, it is hard to understand
how the United States, with its explicit constitutional denunciation of
"cruel and unusual punishment," can justify retaining such anachronistic,
unjust, and inherently flawed barbarism.
We can only hope that the justices of the Supreme Court, who voted 7-2 in
favor of the stay of execution, will not only end lethal injection but
open the door to abolishing capital punishment entirely.
(source: The Harvard Crimson)
Ga. Judge Blasts Judge in Courthouse Murder Case as a 'Fool' and
'Embarrassment'----Judge Craig Schwall blasts Fuller in an e-mail to
Superior Court judges, saying Fuller should be replaced
Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig L. Schwall has told other members of the
Fulton bench that Judge Hilton M. Fuller has bungled the Brian G. Nichols
murder case and should be replaced.
In an Oct. 11 e-mail sent to all Fulton Superior Court judges, Schwall
doesn't mince words, calling Fuller a "fool" and "embarrassment," adding
"Surely he can be replaced."
The full text of the e-mail reads (with original punctuation and
"From: Schwall, Craig, To: All Superior Court Judges."
"Is there any way to replace the debacle and embarrassment Judge Fuller
is. He is a disgrace and pulling all of us down .He is single handedly
destroying the bench and indigent defense and eroding the public trust in
the judiciary. See his latest order. He can not tell the legislature what
to do. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. .Surely he can be replaced. He is a Fool .How is
it done. Seek mandamus for a trial? We should investigate if it can be
The e-mail is signed: "From not shy in 5C."
Schwall uses courtroom 5C. The Daily Report obtained the e-mail from a
source who is not involved in the case. 2 Fulton Superior Court judges,
who asked not to be identified, verified the authenticity of the e-mail.
Speaking as a group, the judges acknowledged the e-mail and
dissatisfaction with Fuller. Asked to comment on Schwall's e-mail, the
Fulton bench issued the following statement through its public information
officer: "One judge does not speak for the entire court, however Judge
Schwall's frustrations are shared by a great many, including some members
of the Fulton judiciary."
ATTACKING JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE
Georgia State University Law professor Roy M. Sobelson said Schwall's
comments, made in a private communication to colleagues, don't violate any
But he said he is unaware of any way the Fulton judges could remove Fuller
from the case absent any evidence of wrongdoing or bias. Sobelson added he
is disturbed by the "continuing ad hominem attacks" on Fuller.
"This whole issue of complaining about judges' decisions while we claim to
uphold the idea of judicial independence is troubling to me," said
Sobelson. "You can't go around attacking judges willy-nilly for their
rulings you don't like. Illegality or incompetence is one thing, but I'm
very troubled by all this talk of impeaching Judge Fuller or removing
Schwall's criticism comes amidst growing pressure on Fuller, a DeKalb
judge who was appointed to preside over the case of accused courthouse
shooter Nichols after all members of the Fulton judiciary recused
themselves. Nichols is accused of murdering Judge Rowland K. Barnes, court
reporter Julie Brandau, sheriff's deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley and federal
agent David Wilhelm on March 11, 2005. Nichols was on trial for rape when
he overpowered a deputy and then allegedly sought out Barnes, who was
presiding over his rape trial.
Last month, state House Speaker Glenn Richardson announced the creation of
a committee to investigate Fuller's "poor handling of public funds."
Richardson later suggested the House consider impeachment of Fuller. Some
lawmakers say Fuller is pursuing his own agenda; Rep. Tom Knox, R-Cumming,
a member of a legislative indigent defense committee, has accused Fuller
of attempting a "de facto repeal" of the state's death penalty by
bankrupting the indigent defense system.
Nichols' defense team says it has rung up fees of $1.2 million so far,
although the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, the state agency
charged with funding his defense, places the cost at $1.8 million. The
council has told Fuller it can't afford to pay the defense any more money,
prompting Fuller to threaten to hold the council in contempt. Fuller then
recused himself from the contempt hearing he scheduled. Schwall apparently
refers to Fuller's recusal from the contempt hearing in his e-mail.
Rockdale Superior Court Chief Judge Sidney L. Nation Sr. will preside over
the contempt hearing Monday.
Fuller halted voire dire 2 days after it started last month because of
concerns that without additional funding the defense could not hire expert
witnesses for Nichols' mental health defense and otherwise get the case
ready for trial. That move was the latest delay in the trial that
originally was set for Jan. 11.
FACING FUNDING WOES
Schwall's Oct. 11 e-mail was sent the day after Fuller ordered the council
to continue funding Nichols' 4-lawyer defense according to an order he
issued in July 2005, when he mandated -- with the council's approval --
that 3 private attorneys would join with a state-funded lawyer to defend
Nichols. That lawyer has since resigned and been replaced by another
attorney who is working at no charge.
In his Oct. 10 order, Fuller noted that attorney fees and expenses had not
been paid for several months, and that the lawyers were owed more than
$32,000 in fees and expenses for experts and other trial-preparation
Fuller also called on the state, which has not allocated all the statutory
funding allowed to the council, to live up to its responsibilities, and
said Fulton County should shoulder more of the case's cost. The county has
since agreed to pick up the tab for Nichols' lead attorney, North Carolina
lawyer Henderson Hill, who earns -- per Fuller's order -- $175 an hour.
Schwall, a former Fulton State Court judge, was appointed to the bench by
Gov. Sonny Perdue in June 2005 to fill the seat of the slain judge. He did
not respond to e-mail or telephone requests for comment. Through a
spokesman, Fuller said it would be inappropriate for him to respond.
A CONSTANT DISTRACTION
One member of the Fulton bench, speaking not for attribution, said the
ongoing trial has been a constant distraction at the courthouse. There is
sympathy for Fuller, said this judge, and an understanding that Fuller
must be cautious in his handling of the case in order to ensure an
error-free trial that will survive any appellate challenge. Other jurists
have expressed the view that Fuller is being scapegoated for political
gain by some members of the Legislature.
Even so, the judge said there is concern that Fuller hasn't moved the case
along more quickly. The judge said the Nichols' case has hampered the
prosecution of other death penalty cases because of the difficulty of
providing security for more than one such trial. The county has 10 other
pending capital cases.
There also is resentment at the fees paid Fuller, who as a senior judge
makes about $500 a day, and concern that, should the trial drag on, a new
slate of jurors will have to be selected, the judge said. Jury selection
began in January with the creation of an initial pool of 1,100 jurors. As
the delays continue, however, it's possible that the pool could become
stale, raising the possibility that the county might have to begin the
The judge said the shadow of the case hangs over the entire courthouse,
where friends and family members of the March 11 victims -- including
Barnes' widow, Claudia Barnes, who clerks for State Court Judge John R.
Mather -- still work.
And because the courthouse -- considered a crime scene by the defense --
will be seen by jurors, said a judge, no memorials to the dead can be
displayed until the trial is over.
"We can't even hang portraits," said the judge.
(source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Prosecutor sues judge over delays in Nichols' trial
A prosecutor is suing the judge overseeing the murder trial of accused
courthouse shooter Brian Nichols, seeking to force the resumption of jury
selection, and questioning whether the judge should be removed from the
In a filing in the Georgia Supreme Court, Fulton County District Attorney
Paul Howard said repeated delays in the Nichols trial "create an emergency
situation" that deserves the high court's attention.
In the complaint, dated late Thursday and served Friday on Superior Judge
Hilton Fuller, Howard is asking the high court to lift the indefinite
suspension of the trial, direct the trial court to refrain from exceeding
its jurisdiction and to clarify whether Fuller has effectively recused
himself from presiding over the trial because of decisions he has made.
The lawsuit, which lists Fuller as defendant, seeks expedited review by
the Supreme Court and also seeks oral arguments on the issues.
There was no immediate hearing scheduled by the high court.
Fuller said Friday he fully expected this case would be challenging.
"When I accepted this assignment, I told my wife that this was going to be
a very difficult case in which not only the defendant but the legal system
would be on trial," Fuller said in an exclusive interview with The
Associated Press. "That has certainly been the case."
When asked if he plans to continue presiding over the case, Fuller
replied, "I haven't had an opportunity to evaluate today's filings, but I
haven't seen anything yet that removes my determination to stay on the
When asked when the trial would resume, he said, "I had told the lawyers
several weeks ago that we would resume jury selection Nov. 26. I don't
know what effect these filings will have on scheduling."
Fuller, a retired DeKalb County judge, was appointed to preside over the
Nichols trial after all of Fulton County's judges recused themselves.
Fuller has been the target of fierce criticism from state political
leaders and even from a fellow judge over his handling of the Nichols
Earlier this week, an e-mail became public that was sent by Fulton County
Superior Court Judge Craig L. Schwall to all the county's judges, calling
Fuller a "fool" and an "embarrassment,"
State House Speaker Glenn Richardson recently announced the creation of a
committee to investigate Fuller's "poor handling of public funds" and
later suggested the House consider impeaching Fuller.
The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council has said that because of the
amount of money already spent on Nichols' defense so far - $1.8 million as
of the end of June, according to the council - there isn't enough money
for other cases. Fuller has said Nichols' defense costs have reached only
$1.2 million. The council has stood by its figure, and it has pointed out
that the average Georgia death penalty case costs the defender's office
The council has told Fuller it can't afford to pay the defense any more
Nichols is accused of going on a deadly shooting spree that began at the
Fulton County Courthouse on March 11, 2005. 4 people died in the shooting
rampage: Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann
Brandau, Sheriff's Deputy Hoyt Teasley and federal agent David Wilhelm.
Nichols surrendered to authorities in suburban Atlanta the next day after
allegedly taking a woman hostage.
(source: Associated Press)
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