[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TENN., OHIO, N.Y., N.J., CONN.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Sep 10 16:55:00 CDT 2007
Holton scheduled to die Wednesday
A Shelbyville man who's been incarcerated for nearly 10 years since he
killed his three sons and their half-sister is scheduled to die Wednesday
morning in the electric chair at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in
Daryl Holton, 45, has selected electrocution for his death.
Previous execution dates for Holton have come and gone with legal
challenges from attorneys with the Federal Defender's Service in
Knoxville, as well as an attorney hired by the state to be sure death row
inmates' legal rights are preserved. That's not happened this time.
"He has dismissed all his attorneys," said Stacy Rector, executive
director of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing said on
Friday, repeating requests asking Gov. Phil Bredesen to stop the execution
and direct a hearing on Holton's "competency" for the death penalty.
Holton has waived his appeals.
His father, Ernie Holton, believes the execution will happen this time.
"I know it will unless the governor steps in, but it's what he [Daryl]
wants -- to get it over with," he said on Saturday.
"Daryl is a mystery," the elder Holton said of his son. "He's full of
13 hours before his scheduled execution on Sept. 19, 2006, the U.S.
Appeals Court in Cincinnati stopped the procedure and a U.S. Supreme Court
decision led to re-examination of the competency issue which was overcome
in state and federal courts.
Additionally, Bredesen included Holton when he stopped all executions in
the state so the methods could be examined to be sure they didn't violate
the Constitution's protection against cruel and inhuman punishment.
Electrocution protocol was reviewed, as were lethal injection procedures,
and found to be adequate, but they were revised to be more clear, concise
and complete, according to a report filed by Corrections Commissioner
Robert Blecker, a professor of the New York School of Law and a death
penalty advocate who's the subject of a documentary being written and
directed by Ted Schillinger for Capital Filmworks Inc., visited with
Holton on Sunday.
"I made him a promise a year ago," Blecker said Friday. "I met with him
about six days before the other" execution date.
Blecker knows the intricate twists and turns of Holton's case and has
shifted his belief from an expectation that the execution will happen, to
doubt, or disbelief.
"Twice he's said he would allow himself to be killed and twice he's
reversed himself," Blecker said recalling Holton's original murder-suicide
plot that included his ex-wife.
Holton killed his sons, Steven, 12, Eric, 6, Brent, 10, and their
half-sister, Kayla, 4, on Nov. 30, 1997.
After the shootings, he drove towards Murfreesboro to find his ex-wife's
home. After failing to locate the apartment, and realizing if he killed
himself there would be no one to explain that he believed the children
were better off dead than being raised as they were, Holton surrendered
himself to police.
"He has always denied it to me," Blecker said when asked about whether
revenge was his motive. "That was the prosecution's theory, but he said it
was wrong and it's the only thing he disagrees with.
"He insists that he killed his children out of love for them; that he felt
their situation was terrible and they would be better off than the place
that they were," Blecker said. "She was an alcoholic, he said, and they
were being neglected and sent to school in dirty clothes."
In the last couple of years, Holton's legal moves for himself apparently
cut off everybody's ability to prevent the execution, according to the New
York law professor.
The Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing opposes execution "as
people of faith and human beings," the coalition's leader, Rector, said.
"Killing a human being is not an appropriate or necessary thing to do and
we should speak out about it."
Asked about actions that prolong such circumstances, Rector said, "Our
hearts go out to those who have suffered from his crime, but taking Daryl
Holton's life does nothing to help them in the process of grieving ... It
only adds to the suffering."
Old Sparky, as the state's electric chair has been dubbed, hasn't been
used since Nov. 7, 1960, but according to the state corrections
department, it was refurbished in 1989. Portions of the original chair
remain with substantial modifications to the electrocution system.
(source: Shelbyville Times-Gazette)
Execution Nears, Prisoner Moves to Death Watch
The countdown to execution has begun for Daryl Holton. Sunday, the death
row inmate was moved to his death watch cell.
Holton, 45, is scheduled to die Wednesday at 1:00 a.m. Nearly 10 years
ago, the Gulf War veteran lined up his 3 young sons and their half-sister
and shot them to death.
Holton could become the `st prisoner to die by electrocution in Tennessee
since 1960. In fact, Holton chose this method.
(source: News Channel 5)
Tenn. child killer chooses electric chair
A Tennessee child killer has elected to be executed by electrocution
rather than lethal injection.
Daryl Holton, 45, who shot and killed his 4 young children a decade ago,
is set to die in the electric chair at 1 a.m. Wednesday, The New York
Times reported Sunday.
Only 10 states still permit use of the electric chair, and only Nebraska
has it as the only option for capital punishment. The chair has not been
used in Tennessee since 1960.
Holton, who supports the death penalty, said he chose electric chair
because it was the legal method of execution when his crimes were
A lawyer who has filed many appeals on Holton's behalf said his
choice reflects his internally consistent code of ethics. But Robert
Blecker, a law professor who has visited Holton several times, told the
Times Holton does not show signs of remorse.
Vigil to protest death penalty
Jesus said "thou shalt not kill," and that's what he meant, said Patsy
Turner, a devout Catholic who opposes the death penalty.
"He didn't say, 'thou shalt not kill, except ...,'" said Turner, who will
be among the attendees at a candlelight vigil to protest the death penalty
Tuesday night at Jackson's Conger Park, on the eve of the scheduled
execution of Daryl Holton.
Turner and other members of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State
Killing are trying to build support for a state moratorium against the
The Tennessee General Assembly has already taken a step to re-examine the
death penalty. Legislators have passed a bill to study the issue over the
Holton, who was convicted of murdering his 4 children, is set to be
executed at 1 a.m. Wednesday. His case was recently featured on MSNBC.
"It (the report) was sad and chilling," Turner said.
"We know anybody who does that, there's something wrong," she said, adding
that Holton had a history of mental illness. She added that Holton had
"bad legal representation."
"The man is a child of our Lord. He should certainly be constrained, but
constrained dealing with his illness," Turner said.
Cheryl Fisher, the Jackson-based TCASK representative, said vigil
attendees on Tuesday are invited to meet at 7 p.m. at Jackson-Madison
County General Hospital on Skyline Drive. From there, they will walk to
Conger Park "symbolizing healing along the way."
They will sing, share a short message and pray for the family of Daryl
"Throughout the history of Western civilization, people have recognized
that the execution of the mentally ill violates our core belief in
justice," reads a statement about Holton's case on the TCASK web site.
"And yet the state of Tennessee continues to attempt to execute Daryl
Holton, a man obviously deeply affected by mental illness. To allow such
an execution to go forward would be the gravest of injustices."
(source: Jackson Sun)
Richey days away from jail move ahead of retrial
Death row Scot Kenny Richey is just days away from being moved to a county
jail, according to campaigners fighting to free him.
Lawyers acting for Edinburgh-born Richey, 43, have applied for him to be
moved to the Putnam County jail, ahead of a planned retrial of his case.
The move should take place within 7 days and, once there, Richey will be
allowed to have visitors for up to 30 minutes every week.
Speaking to Karen Torley, who has been heading the campaign to have him
released, Richey said he was "not over-excited" at the prospect of moving
off death row, away from the people he has spent most of his life with.
However, he admitted it was another step towards a retrial, which he hopes
will ultimately see him freed from jail after more than 21 years awaiting
the death sentence.
Richey was found guilty of starting a house fire that killed 2-year-old
Cynthia Collins in 1986. The conviction came despite serious flaws in the
forensic evidence and problems with his own legal team.
After his conviction was overturned on appeal earlier this year, Putnam
County prosecutor Gary Lammers decided to take the case back to court,
after being told he must either release Richey or retry him.
(source: The Scotsman)
Federal judge grants execution delay for inmate who joined lawsuit
In Columbus, afederal judge has delayed the October execution of a death
row inmate who joined a lawsuit challenging lethal injection as
unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
Judge Gregory Frost of U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio,
ordered the Oct. 18 execution of Romell Broom halted while the lawsuit
Broom, who raped and stabbed to death a 14-year-old girl, is one of 15
Ohio inmates claiming the procedure may cause prisoners to suffer during
Another death row inmate asked Frost on Friday for permission to join the
lawsuit. Michael Turner, 48, killed his estranged wife, Jennifer Lyles
Turner, and her boyfriend, Ronald Seggerman, at her apartment in suburban
Columbus on June 12, 2001.
Broom, 51, abducted Tryna Middleton in Cleveland at knifepoint on Sept.
21, 1984, while the girl was walking with friends. He then raped her and
stabbed her seven times, according to the attorney general's office.
The state opposes the lawsuit, arguing that the inmates missed a deadline
for filing such a complaint.
Earlier this year, an appeals court ordered the lawsuit dismissed over the
missed deadline but delayed its order to allow an appeal of that issue to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ohio is waiting for the high court's decision and its impact on the entire
lawsuit and so won't appeal the decision to delay Broom's execution.
"We're not going to do this piecemeal," said Leo Jennings, a spokesman for
Attorney General Marc Dann. "It's not the best use of our resources."
In Delaware, a federal judge in February allowed all inmates on death row
to join that state's similar injection lawsuit, while similar suits in
California and Missouri have put all executions on hold. A federal lawsuit
is also pending in Maryland where executions are on hold after a state
appeals court said the state didn't properly adopt new injection
Frost said there is increasing evidence of "an unacceptable and
unnecessary risk that Broom will be irreparably harmed" without the delay,
according to his Sept. 5 order to halt the execution.
At the same time, as he has said before, Frost said problems with Ohio's
injection process seem easy to fix.
In June, Frost also delayed death row inmate Clarence Carter's July 10
In Ohio and elsewhere, states use 3 chemicals: sodium pentothal,
pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The 1st drug is a painkiller,
which death penalty opponents have argued can wear off too soon. The 2nd
drug paralyzes the inmate, and the third causes a fatal heart attack.
Death row inmate Richard Cooey, sentenced to die for raping and killing
two female University of Akron students in 1986, brought Ohio's original
complaint in 2004. He alleged the current procedure would amount to him
being tortured to death.
(source: Toledo Blade)
Jury selection begins in death-penalty case
Jury selection is underway this morning in the capital-murder trial of
Justin L. Lucas.
Lucas, 20, of Coventry, is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated
robbery with a firearm. If convicted, he faces the possibility of the
County prosecutors say Lucas shot and killed 26-year-old Jason A. Halter
during a robbery on July 10, 2006.
Halter was shot 3 times as he left his home at 1123 13th Street NW.
In May, a jury convicted Lucas codefendant Jacob M. Rollins, 16, of
Coventry, of complicity to both aggravated murder and aggravated robbery
with gun specifications.
Prosecutors said Rollins went with Lucas to Halters home and supplied the
gun. Rollins is serving 28 years to life in prison.
A 3rd codefendant, Tona DeLong, 26, of Jackson Township is serving seven
years in prison for complicity to aggravated robbery, the result of a deal
with prosecutors for her testimony. DeLong lured Halter from his home with
This is the 2nd death-penalty jury trial in Stark County this year. In
July, Edward L. Lang III was convicted of killing a Canton couple and
sentenced to death.
(source: Canton Repository)
Highest Court To Hear Appeal, Decide Fate of Death Penalty
The state's highest court today will hear an appeal by the last inmate on
New York's death row. In the process, the Court of Appeals, which sits in
Albany, will decide the future of capital punishment in New York State,
legal analysts say.
There has been no active death penalty statute in the state since 2004,
when the Court of Appeals struck down capital punishment on a technical
point involving the instructions judges gave jurors. That decision,
however, does not automatically protect John Taylor, whose death sentence
was handed down in 2002, from execution.
The court's decision in the appeal will determine whether the earlier
ruling only applies to some capital prosecutions, or to all. The effect of
a ruling upholding Taylor's death sentence could be to revive death
penalty prosecutions across the state.
Taylor's case underscores the unusual history of capital punishment in New
York. Although the state has not carried out an execution since 1963 and
it abolished the death penalty altogether 2 years later, capital
punishment re-emerged as a major political issue in the middle of the last
decade when, during his successful campaign for the governorship, George
Pataki pledged to revive the death penalty. Seven death sentences were
issued under the new death penalty statute, which became effective in
Appeals to overturn those sentences have so far been successful. Now only
Taylor is left on the state's death row within the Clinton Correctional
Facility, near the Canadian border in Dannemora, N.Y.
"One of the questions that might be answered here is whether we again have
an abolitionist court willing to reach out and block every conceivable
execution," a professor at New York Law School who advocates the death
penalty in certain instances, Robert Blecker, said.
During a 2000 robbery, Taylor, along with a mentally retarded accomplice,
massacred employees at a Wendy's restaurant in Flushing, Queens. Taylor
and the accomplice, Craig Godineaux, bound 7 employees and shot them all
in the head. 2 survived.
The case has led to the emergence of the district attorney for Queens,
Richard Brown, as a champion of the state's death penalty statute. Lawyers
at Mr. Brown's office will argue that Taylor's case presents legal issues
that fall beyond the scope of the 2004 case, according to court papers.
In that case, known as The People v. Stephen LaValle, the court found that
individual jurors were at risk of being pressured to impose death
sentences out of fear that a deadlock would result in a defendant they had
found guilty of a capital offense getting less than a life sentence.
During Taylor's sentencing, however, the judge said that, in the event of
a deadlock, he would almost "certainly impose" a sentence of 175 years,
leading the Queens prosecutor's appeals lawyers to argue that concerns
about juror coercion could not have played a role in the jury's decision
to sentence Taylor to death.
Taylor's legal team has argued that the current appeal merely revisits
ground covered by People v. LaValle. Taylor's attorneys are led by the
state's capital defender, Kevin Doyle, who is urging the court to rule
that, by the reasoning of the 2004 decision, to uphold a death sentence
for Taylor would be to reverse the earlier decision.
"I'm very hopeful the principle of stare decisis will prevail," Mr. Doyle,
said, referring to the legal principle of honoring precedent. The makeup
of the state's 7-member Court of Appeals have changed dramatically since
the People v. LaValle decision. Since then, 2 of the 4 judges who joined
the majority opinion have retired and the positions of their replacements,
Judges Eugene Pigott and Theodore Jones, are unknown.
Mr. Doyle and 2 lawyers from his office, Susan Salomon and Barry Fisher,
will argue on behalf of Taylor today. 3 assistant district attorneys from
Mr. Brown's office, Garry Fidel, John Castellano, and Donna Aldea, will
present arguments on behalf of the state.
(source: New York Sun)
No delay for death penalty trial in Morris County
A Morris County judge this morning refused to postpone the capital murder
trial of the accused trigger man in a double killing in a Roxbury video
store, in spite of a defense argument that the Legislature is poised to
abolish the death penalty.
"Will the Legislature act after the election? I have no idea,'' Superior
Court Judge Salem Ahto said, refusing to put Omar Thomas' case on hold to
see what happens. Practically, though, Ahto said the case can't proceed
until at least November, and he scheduled a pretrial conference on Nov. 8.
Defense attorneys in two of three capital murder cases in Morris County
had asked Ahto to put the matters on hold to await action by the
Legislature. A study commission recommended that the never-used law be
replaced with life without chance of parole, and a bill is pending in the
Morris County Assistant Prosecutor John McNamara Jr. noted there has been
a death penalty abolition bill pending every years since the death penalty
returned to the state in 1982.
Ahto said he had to follow the law as it now exists.
Thomas is accused of gunning down 2 employees at Funcoland, a video game
store in a Route 10 strip mall, on Dec. 1, 2002, in a robbery that went
awry with 2 cousins. The cousins took plea deals agreed to testify against
Thomas. Authorities say Craig Thomas Jr., then 14, shot 21-year-old Jeff
Eresman as he lay on the floor of a rear storage room, but Omar Thomas
fired a 2nd and fatal shot at close range into Eresman's head.
When store manager Erik Rewoldt, 26, unlocked the door and stepped inside,
Omar Thomas shot him in the head, police say.
(source: (source: The Star-Ledger)
CONNECTICUT: Feds Won't Seek Death Penalty for Chester, Conn., Resident
Federal prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty against
27-year-old Noah Gladding, a former Chester resident who has been
convicted of kidnapping and murder.
Gladding was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without the
possibility of parole after he was convicted by a state jury last August
in Batavia, N.Y. for kidnapping and murdering Jason Argersinger in 2005,
according to the Middletown Press.
The Western New York Office of the U.S. Attorney said the decision not to
seek the death penalty was made by officials in Washington, D.C.
Thee Middletown Press reported that a federal trial date has not yet been
set and Gladding also faces kidnapping charges in Connecticut.
Gladding told police that in early March 2005, he attacked Argersinger and
stuffed him into the trunk of his own car, a 1997 Audi.
Eric J. Connolly, 24, of Chester, is accused of helping Gladding in this
attack but did not go to New York with Gladding.
According to police statements, Gladding drove Argersinger to Syracuse,
N.Y. and a meeting he arranged with the victim's drug dealer fell through
so he proceeded to drive Argersinger around western New York.
The meeting was arranged to help settle a $400,000 debt.
Argersinger pleaded to Gladding that they talk but after Gladding let
Argersinger out of the trunk, Argersinger ran for the driver's seat and
attempted to flea.
At this point, Gladding told police that he shot Argersinger in the back
with a 9mm handgun and killed him before dragging his body to a snow bank
face-up in Black Creek and shooting him seven more times.
Gladding also told police that on the way home, he threw Argersinger's
clothes in a rest stop trash receptacle, threw the gun in the Mohawk
River, and set fire to the car.
In late March 2005, police located the bloody clothing, gun, and body.
Argersinger, Gladding, and Connolly attended high school together.
Josiah Howenstine is accused of supplying the gun while Mitchell LaFrance
and Anthony Marinaccio were indicted in a marijuana conspiracy which
That conspiracy involved drugs being transported from Canada into New York
via the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.
(source: Associated Content)
More information about the DeathPenalty