[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS, N.J., NEB., N.Y.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Nov 30 00:25:21 CST 2007
Dallas DA seeks death penalty for dad accused of killing 2 kids
The Dallas County district attorneys office Thursday filed a motion that
prosecutors will seek the death penalty for an Irving man accused of
killing his two children in March.
The shooting deaths of 3-year-old Javier and 8-month-old Diana Medina
occurred on a Sunday 2 days after their mother filed a restraining order
against their father, Hector R. Medina, 28.
The children were already dead when the restraining order was granted on a
Monday. The childrens mother was running errands when the children were
(source: Dallas Morning News)
Fortin guilty of brutal murder but may escape death penalty----Victim's
mother declares "I hope he rots in hell"
Just like in 2000, a jury has found Steven Fortin guilty of the August
1994 murder of Melissa Padilla, a mother of 4.
But he may escape a sentence of death by lethal injection this time -- by
way of a new jury picked for the penalty phase of the capital murder trial
or following possible action by the state Legislature.
Fortin, 43, a former Carteret handyman, showed little reaction when the
verdict was read today in Superior Court, New Brunswick -- nuch the way he
acted after being sentenced to death in the same case in 2001. He shook
his head slightly when the jury forewoman pronounced him guilty of the
The jury of 9 men and 3 women deliberated for 9 hours over 2 days.
They convicted Fortin of murder, aggravated sexual assault for savagely
molesting the woman, felony murder in connection with that sexual assault
and 2 related sexual assault charges. He was acquitted of robbery and
felony murder in connection with it.
Fortin attacked Melissa Padilla on Aug. 11, 1994, while she was carrying
two bags of groceries from a convenience store to a motel on routes 1 and
9 in Avenel where she lived with her children and boyfriend.
In a wild and unprovoked rampage, the muscular Fortin beat and sexually
assaulted her, bit her chin and breast, and strangled the 5-foot 4-inch
Prosecutors offered a steady stream of damning evidence in the case,
including Fortin's own incriminating statement to investigators and
details of a similar, although admitted, attack against a Maine state
trooper months later.
Carmen Gonzalez, Padilla's mother, said today she favors life behind bars
for Fortin as opposed to execution.
""I hope he rots in hell,'' Gonzalez said after the hearing.
She has raised Padilla's two daughters, while the victim's 2 boys are in
the custody of their father, Gonzalez said. All the children are now in
high school, she said. The oldest was 5 at the time of the slaying.
The New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the 1st conviction against Fortin
and sent the case back for retrial. Fortin now faces another penalty phase
in which a newly-picked jury will determine whether he will face death by
Judge James Mulvihill has scheduled a status conference for Jan. 18, but
added that the Legislature may act before then. Democratic lawmakers have
said the Legislature will vote soon on a bill to abolish the death
New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 and currently has 8
prisoners on death row. It has not executed anyone since 1963.
A formal moratorium on executions has been in place since December 2005.
(source: New Brunswick Home News Tribune)
Opening Arguments In Terry Sellers Trial
2 years after two men were shot and killed, the man prosecutors say is
responsible went to trial.
Opening arguments were given Thursday in the case against Terry Sellers.
If convicted he could face the death penalty.
Sellers faces a total of 6 charges, including 1st degree murder, for the
deaths of Kevin Pierce and Victor Ford.
In February 2005, police found the bodies of those men, just a day and a
half mile apart. Prosecutors say both victims were stripped, then shot in
the head. Omaha police were led to Sellers and 2 other suspects after 3rd
victim narrowly escaped just days later.
During opening arguments today, prosecutors said robbery was sellers'
motive. Prosecutors said they'll use cell phone records and testimony from
Sellers then-girlfriend, Taiana Matheny, to prove the crimes were Sellers'
The jury's decision will likely hinge on Matheny's testimony. She struck a
deal with prosecutors. The defense said she's the one who carried out the
They also accuse her of changing her story several times. They claimed
Matheny was a drug addict who admitted to being a witch involved in a
satanic cult. Both sides expect the trial to last until at least the end
of next week.
(source: KTPM News)
Last NY death row Inmate Gets Life Term
New York's last inmate on death row was resentenced Thursday to life
without parole for the execution-style killings of 5 employees at a
John Taylor, whose death penalty sentence was overturned last month by the
state's highest court, showed no emotion as he was led into a New York
City courtroom nearly filled with relatives and friends of the victims.
"Look at me, John Taylor; look at me. Do you know the pain I am feeling
for my child?" Jean Truman Smith said angrily as she gave her victim
impact statement before the sentencing. Her daughter, 23-year-old Anita,
was 1 of 7 employees shot in the head by Taylor and a co-defendant in
All the victims were blindfolded during a robbery and herded into the
Queens restaurant's walk-in freezer, where they were forced to kneel and
were shot at close range. Two victims survived but were critically
Taylor, 43, shackled and handcuffed, avoided eye contact with the family
"I want to say I am sorry," Taylor said quietly after he rose to address
the court. "I know this is not enough."
Judge Randall Eng sentenced Taylor to life without parole, saying, "It was
a night of unprecedented horror."
Taylor was convicted in November 2002 of 20 counts of murder and attempted
murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. He has been held
ever since on death row at the New York State Correctional Facility in
The Queens prosecutor's office fought unsuccessfully to have Taylor's case
declared an exception to a 2004 Appeals Court's decision that found New
York's death penalty law unconstitutional because of a flaw in its
mandated instructions to the jury.
(source: Associated Press)
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