[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----N.C., OKLA., COLO., USA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Dec 8 23:39:02 CST 2008
Death row inmate dies in hospital
George Franklin Page, a death row inmate convicted of killing a police
officer in 1995, has died at a hospital, more than 4 years after state and
federal judges postponed his scheduled execution. He was 68.
Page died Friday at WakeMed hospital in Raleigh, where he's been for the
last month. He had a chronic heart condition and other health problems,
said Ken Rose and Shelagh Kenney, his attorneys at the Center for Death
Penalty Litigation in Durham.
Page was sentenced to death in 1996 for killing 24-year-old Winston-Salem
officer Stephen Amos. No one disputed that Page fired the high-powered
bolt action rifle that sent a bullet hurtling through Amos' squad car
windshield and into his chest on Feb. 27, 1995.
Page was set to be executed by lethal injection in February 2004.
But a state judge ordered the execution postponed over questions of Page's
mental health during the shooting. Prosecutors did not contest the stay,
admitting that a psychiatrist who examined Page in 1996 did not receive
copies of key brain scans that might have changed her opinion.
A federal judge ordered the stay while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a
case that challenged the constitutionality of lethal injection for some
inmates. The high court upheld the use of lethal injections in April.
Amos and his partner were on their way to training when they got a request
for backup at an apartment complex, where Page was firing out a window.
Page's lawyers contended he suffered from several mental problems,
including post traumatic stress disorder brought on by his yearlong tour
of duty in Vietnam.
Amos' mother, Ginger, said she has mixed emotions about the death of her
"I think the Lord has worked his hand in this," she told the Winston-Salem
Journal in Saturday's paper. "I'm glad this part is over, that we don't
have to go back to court. It's a lot off our family."
But, she added, "We miss Stephen so much. There will always be a void
(source: Associated Press)
Killings bring 2 death sentences
A Tulsa County judge delivered 2 death sentences Monday to a man convicted
of killing a retired bank executive and a trucking company owner in 1999.
Victor Miller formally got the death penalty Monday on each of 2
1st-degree murder convictions. A March 2 execution date was set for
Miller, although Associate District Judge Dana Kuehn noted the sentences
will be automatically appealed.
Miller asked to make a statement. Kuehn denied that after District
Attorney Tim Harris objected.
Miller was found guilty Nov. 14 of murdering Mary Agnes Bowles, 77, a
retired bank executive and community volunteer, and Jerald Thurman, 44, of
Owasso, owner of a trucking company, in 1999.
The state criminal appeals court overturned an earlier conviction for the
(source: The Oklahoman)
Execution date set for man in witness killing
A man convicted of gunning down 2 people, including a potential witness in
a murder trial, can be put to death as early as March, an Arapahoe County
judge said Monday.
Sir Mario Owens, 23, becomes the 2nd person on Colorado's death row.
Arapahoe County Judge Gerald Rafferty stayed Owens' execution pending the
routine review by the state Supreme Court, and appeals are expected to
delay the execution well past March.
Owens was convicted of murder in May in the 2005 shooting deaths of Javad
Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe. The same jury sentenced him
in June to be executed.
(source: Associated Press)
Even 9/11 confessions would not mean swift executions
The 5 terror detainees charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks may have
tried to hasten their martyrdom Monday in a note offering to confess, but
legal procedure and the uncertain future of military commissions likely
will keep them alive and captive for months, if not years to come, experts
By offering to plead guilty, self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed and his co-defendants appear to be trying to avoid lengthy
military commission trials in Guantanamo Bay.
Mohammed and two other men said in June they wanted to die as martyrs for
"I think they would like to be executed, and be executed sooner than
later," said Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School.
"But they are not going to be able to shortcut the entire process."
Before the death sentence that prosecutors are seeking could be carried
out, they would have to go through at least 2 levels of review - including
approval by the president, who by that time would be Barack Obama.
Then, executions could happen only if Obama decides to continue the
tribunals. During his presidential campaign, he vowed to close Guantanamo
and talked of trying detainees before a U.S. criminal court or military
Since being established by President George W. Bush in November 2001, the
military commissions have been subjected to legal challenges and much
criticism of their procedures.
After the surprise note became public at the first hearing witnessed by
relatives of 911 victims yesterday, both the judge and defendants appeared
uncertain about what will happen next.
In what was to be a routine pretrial hearing, the judge, Army Col. Steven
Henley, said he had gotten the note written Nov. 4 by the defendants, and
read it aloud:
"We all 5 have agreed to request from the commission an immediate hearing
session in order to announce our confessions."
The note said they wanted to drop all pending challenges filed by their
military-appointed lawyers, whom they do not trust and have tried to fire.
But when Henley asked each man if he were ready to plead guilty yesterday,
Mohammed, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Walid Bin Attash said they would wait for
the competency hearings of defendants Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa al
Henley then asked prosecutors and defense attorneys to file papers on
whether the military commission can "accept a plea of guilty to a capital
He also asked whether such pleas would preclude the death penalty because
a unanimous military commission jury did not set the capital sentence.
Henley set a Jan. 4 deadline for both sides to file.
Critics said yesterday that the incident highlighted the tribunal's
"Neither the military judge nor the accused are clear about how these
proceedings will move forward," said ACLU executive director Anthony
Romero. "The only solution is to shut the military commissions down and
start from scratch."
But the prospect of more delays or a new system granting more procedural
safeguards also frustrated others.
Maureen Santora of Long Island City, whose son was killed in the attacks,
was at the hearing in Guantanamo and told a reporter, "These are just
hateful individuals in every way."
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who represents many constituents affected by
911, said Mohammed and the others should get their wish.
"If they want to willingly plead guilty, they should be allowed to plead
guilty, but they should get the death penalty," said King. "It should be
carried out as quickly as possible."
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