[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----N.C., USA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Sep 12 19:18:23 CDT 2007
3 face death penalty in death of ASU student in 2005
The first of three trials in the 2005 murder of an Appalachian State
University student is scheduled to begin Monday morning in superior court.
The three men accused in the death of 19-year-old Stephen William
Harrington will have separate trials. Kyle Quentin Triplett, 21, of Boone
will face charges of first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous
weapon, felony burning of personal property and first-degree murder.
Harringtons body was discovered in the trunk of his car on Sleepy Hollow
Lane in Foscoe on Nov. 8, 2005.
Police received a 911 call from a tree-trimming crew at approximately 7:45
a.m. reporting a vehicle fire.
Foscoe firefighters and Watauga Sheriffs deputies responded to the scene.
They forced open the truck of the vehicle and discovered Harringtons
partially burned body.
Investigators found the body of Stephen William Harrington locked in the
trunk of his car on Sleepy Hollow Lane in 2005.
Court documents indicate Triplett has confessed to his involvement in the
crime, describing the events of the night. Triplett alleges that he awoke
at the residence of Neil Matthew Sargeant, 24, on Poplar Grove Road, Boone
to the sound of Harrington crying out Why me? Triplett testified, at that
time, Harringtons hands were already bound behind his back with duct tape,
and his head and face had been taped as well.
Triplett alleged he assisted Sargeant in putting Harrington into the trunk
of a 2000 red Subaru Legacy belonging to Harrington. Triplett stated he
drove the Subaru to Foscoe with Sargeant in the passenger seat armed with
A third man, Matthew Brandon Dalrymple, 20, of Bessemer City was allegedly
present at the Poplar Grove residence. Triplett alleges Dalrymple followed
them to Foscoe in a separate vehicle. Once on Sleepy Hollow Lane, Triplett
testifies he sets fire to Harringtons body before returning to Sargeants
The report from the state medical examiner indicates the cause of death to
be asphyxiation. The report notes the duct tape used to bind Harrington
completely covered his nose and mouth.
The murder is alleged to be a drug deal gone bad. Sources report
Harrington had gone to the Poplar Grove residence for a cocaine deal.
The same day the body was discovered a search of Harringtons home revealed
a dry erase board with the words Total Neil - 3400 written on it. A close
friend of Harrington stated he had been to Sargeants home and showed
investigators how to get there.
On Nov. 9, a magistrate issued a search warrant for the Poplar Grove home.
Triplett, Sargeant and Dalrymple were all present at the home when
investigators knocked on the door at 12:30 a.m. The three men were asked
to accompany officers to the sheriffs office to talk to us about a matter.
Sargeant consented to a search of the home, at which point officers
discovered a plastic sandwich bag of a white powder substance, believed to
The 3 suspects accompanied investigators to the sheriffs office, though
they were not under arrest at this time. During questioning, Triplett told
officers of their alleged involvement in Harringtons murder and all three
were arrested and charged with 1st degree murder.
Triplett faces the death penalty if convicted. The charge of 1st degree
murder has been designated a capital offense. The grand jury recommended
this designation at the time of indictment, alleging first degree
kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony burning of personal
property and first degree murder in January of 2006.
Triplett, Sargeant and Dalrymple have been in custody at the Watauga
County Detention Center since their arrests in 2005. Sargeant and
Dalrymple will remain in the detention center until their trials, which
are tentatively scheduled for early 2008.
(source: Watauga Democrat)
Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New Yorks Trial of the Century---- By
Mike Dash----Illustrated. 449 pp. Crown Publishers. $24.95.
On a sweltering New York night in July 1912, Herman Rosenthal, a gambling
house owner sheltered for years beneath the protective wing of Tammanys
Big Tim Sullivan, was shot dead in front of the Caf Metropole on West 43rd
Street by four men: Lefty Louie, Whitey Lewis, Dago Frank and Gyp the
Blood. The gunmen had seen fit neither to use sham license plates nor to
bother hiding their faces this while riding in a touring car with its
roof down since under standard operating procedures at the time, the
authorities could be expected to conduct only a perfunctory investigation
of this murder of a miscreant by professional criminals. Rosenthal,
however, had been in the midst of a public battle with a corrupt police
lieutenant, Charley Becker, who was accused of having hired the gunmen and
soon put on trial for murder.
The Becker-Rosenthal affair has been reported on over the years by several
writers, most notably Andy Logan, whose book "Against the Evidence" (1970)
exhibited the fine craftsmanship she developed in her years as a New
Yorker journalist in William Shawn's heyday. Now we have "Satan's Circus:
Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New Yorks Trial of the Century," by
Mike Dash, the author of "Tulipomania" and "Batavia's Graveyard." He has
researched the case meticulously, and wisely incorporates into the story
enough pertinent New York City history to provide context and atmosphere.
Hence the duality of the books title, in which Lieutenant Becker's is the
trial of the century and "Satans Circus" refers to the name used by
clergymen and reformers for the area New Yorkers always called the
Tenderloin, which Dash describes as stretching from 23rd to 57th Street,
between Sixth and 10th Avenues. It offered the most intense concentration
of saloons, brothels, gambling parlors, dance halls and clip joints in the
city. It also offered the police the richest grafting territory there,
which gave rise to its name; when Capt. Clubber Williams was transferred
to the district, he said: "I've been living on chuck steak for a long
time. Now Im going to get me a little of the tenderloin." The name stuck.
Clubber was also fond of pointing out that "there is more law in a
policeman's nightstick than in a decision of the Supreme Court."
Becker subscribed broadly both to Clubber's legal philosophy and to his
taste in beef, as did many Tenderloin policemen; most of them had secured
their jobs by bribing a commissioner with a few hundred dollars a quarter
to a half of a year's pay. These officers thus drew a line not between
honesty and corruption but between "honest" graft (cash from shopkeepers
for overlooking violations) and dishonest graft (extortion or protection
money). Cops, gamblers, pimps and well-heeled vice seekers inhabited the
Tenderloin in symbiotic harmony.
Along with four crucial witnesses who lied, all from the underworld, 3
reputable but self-serving citizens convicted Becker of a crime of which
he was almost certainly innocent. Foremost was District Attorney Charles
Whitman, who recognized that securing the execution of a corrupt police
lieutenant would catapult him ahead politically. He led witnesses, in
return for immunity, to fabricate the story that convicted Becker. Whitman
did, in fact, become governor of New York, thanks largely to his
successful prosecution. In league with Whitman was Herbert Bayard Swope,
an excessively ambitious reporter as "self-centered as the last dodo," in
the words of the artist Peggy Bacon making his name as one of the ablest
newsmen of the day. He worked for the leading paper in Manhattan, The New
York World, and happened to be very close to the notorious Arnold
Rothstein, a major figure in the Tenderloin, who played a cameo role or,
as usual for Rothstein, just maybe a bit bigger one in the Rosenthal
Swope savaged Becker from the start, leading the charge of the press,
which was relentless. The World devoted more space to the testimony of 1
witness at the trial than it had to the sinking of the Titanic. In later
years Swope credited his trial coverage for initiating his extraordinary
career. Joining the Whitman and Swope offense was the trial judge, John
Goff, a thin-skinned, self-educated lawyer, intensely biased against
Becker and apparently motivated by pure vindictiveness. His charge to the
jury was virtually a direction to convict. It did so, of 1st-degree
murder. After a successful appeal and a 2nd guilty verdict in his retrial,
Becker was electrocuted at Sing Sing, the only policeman to be executed
for murder in the history of the United States.
Maintaining a historian's reluctance to insert himself into his chronicle,
Mike Dash offers no opinion on Becker's guilt or innocence. Andy Logan
became convinced of his innocence. I, too, believe that corrupt though he
was, Becker was innocent, but one can be certain only that he was treated
unfairly. I recall as a child hearing the case referred to from time to
time, and as an adult have heard it spoken of occasionally. None of the
speakers ordinary folk old enough to remember the story firsthand, or
those to whom it had been passed down orally ever questioned Becker's
guilt, a testament, perhaps, to the staying power of newspaper coverage,
and to the value of popular histories that set the record straight.
(source: Vincent Patrick's novels include "The Pope of Greenwich Village"
and "Smoke Screen."; New York Times Book Review)
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