[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----USA, WASH., KY.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Dec 9 22:28:40 CST 2008
9/11 suspects may not plead guilty if no death penalty
Blunt warning on emissions issued by top UN officialElaborate farewell for
Russian Orthodox patriarchPoland 'optimistic' on German backing over coal
powerUkraine's fractious coalition set to be reinstatedIn crisis time for
Pakistan, president's ability under scrutiny'Tokyo Two' at centre of war
over whalingKhalid Sheikh Mohammed (centre) and co-defendant Walid bin
Attash in court on Monday.
5 men accused of planning the September 11th, 2001, attacks have changed
their minds about pleading guilty after a military judge suggested it
might prevent them from receiving the death penalty.
"Are you saying if we plead guilty we will not be able to be sentenced to
death?" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the attacks,
asked a military tribunal at Guantnamo Bay.
Two of the five men have not yet been judged competent to represent
themselves, and Mr Mohammed and the two others said they would defer a
decision on a guilty plea until all 5 could act together. Mr Mohammed has
expressed a desire to die as a martyr but the presiding judge, Col Stephen
Henley, questioned whether a death sentence was permissible without a
verdict by a military jury.
The men are charged with conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of
war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally
causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the
law of war, terrorism, and providing material support for terrorism.
Military prosecutors have asked for the death penalty but some of the
defendants, including Mr Mohammed, claim they were tortured by CIA
interrogators. Civil rights lawyers argue it is unacceptable to accept a
guilty plea from someone who has endured torture.
President-elect Barack Obama has promised to close the detention centre at
Guantnamo Bay and to abolish the military tribunal system established by
the Bush administration.
Mr Obama's advisers have yet to decide, however, what to do with about 250
inmates who remain in Guantnamo.
Some cannot be repatriated to their home countries because they could face
torture or death. The Bush administration has approached a number of third
countries about accepting some Guantnamo inmates.
Others are likely to go on trial in the US in conventional civilian or
military courts, but allegations of torture mean that much evidence could
prove inadmissible in the US court system.
Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch,
said the judge should hold a full hearing to determine that any pleas are
free from coercion and investigate Mr Mohammed's influence over the other
"In light of the men's severe mistreatment, the judge should require a
full and thorough factual inquiry to determine whether or not these pleas
are voluntary," she said.
(source: Irish Times)
Capital Punishment Trials Open Wounds For Family Members
Convicted double murderer Darold Stenson was to be executed last week at
the Walla Walla State Penitentiary in Washington.
Stenson is alive because federal and state courts issued temporary stays
of execution. But last week the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal stay
on the execution. As the case goes forward in state court, the Washington
State Attorney General's Office says it plans to fight to carry out
Stenson's death sentence.
In the first installment of a 3-part series -- State of Execution --
KUOW's Patricia Murphy examines 2 executions through the eyes of the
The framed photos on Peggi Hendrickson's coffee table look like any
family's holiday snapshots until they're put into context.
Peggi Hendrickson: "This is my mother and that was taken the Christmas
before she was murdered."
On April 14th 1982 Charles Campbell walked away from an Everett
work-release facility. Six years earlier, Campbell had raped Renae
Wicklund after holding a knife to the throat of her then 18-month old
After the crime, Wicklund fled with her daughter to Peggi's mother's
house. Barbara, Peggi's mom, later testified during the trial that sent
Campbell to prison for 40 years. But now he was freed, intent on getting
He went to Renae Wicklund's home and murdered Renae and her daughter. Then
he killed Barbara. The murders were vicious. When the police arrested
Campbell, they found one earring from each of his victim's in his pocket.
Peggi Hendrickson: "He had lived his life brutalizing people. You bother
me I will hurt you worse. That was his creed"
In December of that year Campbell was sentenced to death for the murders.
For the survivors who are already grieving the violent death of a loved
one, the realities of a capital trial can be overwhelming.
Mark Roe: "This will be over no time soon."
Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roe has tried many murder and
death penalty cases. In those first meetings with family members, Roe is
honest about what's ahead.
He tells them that they will relive the tragedy over and over in the
courtroom, through witness testimony, crime scene photos, and coroner
reports. They will hear the defense try to make the person who may have
murdered their loved one sound like an ok guy.
Mark Roe: "And we have to tell them that it is very unlikely that even if
a jury returns with a death verdict that this person will actually be
There have been 19 death penalty reversals in Washington since 1981. Most
offenders are now doing life without parole. Charges were dismissed
against one man for having ineffective counsel.
In addition, capital cases are costly. They can drag on for years.
Seeing Campbell during the trial only added to the Hendrickson family's
Peggi Hendrickson: "And when he sat in the courtroom he would draw things
like hangman's nooses and little gravestones. And he would hold them up so
we could see them. It was like it was all a joke to him. It was just a
The stress of the ordeal had a ripple effect. Peggi's marriage ended. Her
father Don, who'd discovered the crime scene, began to drink. It
eventually killed him.
Peggi Hendrickson: "We were all living in the same limbo...the same mental
and physical agony as the aftermath of the murders."
Campbell fought his execution. But not all of Washington's condemned do.
Since 1981 3 of the 4 men who've been executed here actually requested
they be put to death. This troubles death penalty opponents, who say it
amounts to state-assisted suicide.
In one case, janitor James Elledge strangled then stabbed 47-year-old
Eloise Fitzner after luring her and a friend to the Lynwood church where
he worked. Elledge hid Fitzner's body, then kidnapped and assaulted the
friend. Then he let her go.
Elledge turned himself in, he'd already served time for beating a Seattle
motel owner to death with a hammer in 1975.
Prosecutor Mark Roe says it wasn't long before Elledge confessed and asked
to be executed.
Mark Roe: " I think he honestly felt that he believed he deserved to die
for what he had done. And as despicable as the acts were that he had
perpetrated I will give him some sliver of respect for the fact that he
knew it. Hell, I agreed with him."
Eloise Fitzner's brother, Michael Helland, was still reeling from the
details of his sister's murder when Mark Roe asked for his input.
If they went along with Elledge's offer to confess in exchange for the
death penalty, they would avoid a lengthy trial. Still, it was not a
decision that Hellund wanted to be a part of.
Michael Helland: "I felt like if we said oh no we don't want you to put
him to death they would have had no choice but to go for the life
sentence. There was a perverse part of me that said, well, lets give him
what he doesn't want, which is life in prison"
Helland says his sister was a good woman, who always reached out to the
less fortunate. They shared a strong Christian faith.
He was deeply conflicted over the role he had been thrust into during the
trial -- evoking Eloise's memory to convince a jury that Elledge should
Michael Helland: "I knew the more sympathetic story I could think up the
more likely they were to go along with the process. It was hard and I
don't know just kind of unfair. "
For Peggi Hendrickson and her family, as excruciating as the trial was,
there was no conflict around the prosecutor's decision to pursue death.
The sheer brutality of the murders made it clear. Campbell felt no
Peggi Hendrickson: "This isn't someone who is at all sorry for what he's
done. Therefore, we were resolved to see the sentence carried out. His own
mother told the prosecutors he needed to die. His own mother. "
In Washington, the condemned have two choices for the method of execution.
Lethal injection is the default, or you can be hanged. Charles Cambell
wanted to hang.
But it took 12 years. 2 days before his 1st scheduled execution, the 9th
Circuit court issued Campbell a stay. 2 years later, he had another date.
Peggi's father and brother were there.
Peggi Hendrickson: "They wanted him to see that they were there. But what
was true is that the area where they do the hanging, it was screened off.
So no one really saw anything. And Campbell never really saw the people
that were standing up for the victims. But it was something that they
needed to do. To honor her, well to honor all of them."
After the execution of her mother's killer, Peggi says she collapsed. She
cried nonstop. Physically depleted, she didn't get off the couch for 3
Peggi said it was as if all of the emotion and trauma that had been
building in the twelve years since her mother's death were released.
The whole family agreed on one thing. That Campbell's death meant that the
world was a safer place. Peggi and her brother also noted something else
after the execution.
Peggi Hendrickson: "Colors are brighter. Somehow our systems were so
shutdown or impacted that whatever happened when that was gone. Colors
were brighter. And both of us noticed this."
Hendrickson says the family has had to move on, but with a new
appreciation for the fragility of life. Her new mission is to honor her
mother by living like she did -- with love and integrity.
Michael Helland didn't go to the prison the morning James Elledge was
lethally injected. Instead, he stayed close to his ailing mother who died
It's been 7 years since the execution.
Helland says he doesn't think about Elledge much. And though he believes
his sister is in a better place, he finds little comfort in the way things
Helland still has questions about what really happened to Eloise that
night. Then there was Elledge's mea culpa in the courtroom.
Michael Helland: "He said he that was sorry for the pain he had caused her
family. But he did not say he was sorry he did it."
Admitting remorse for the pain but not the cause of the pain is an
important distinction to Helland because of his faith. Especially since
Elledge made it clear that he believed God had forgiven him for what he
Helland still struggles with the notion of forgiving his sister's killer.
He might want to, but it always comes back to Elledge's imprecise
Helland will never be sure exactly what he meant. That troubles him.
Hellend says it would have been easier if Elledge had just said he was
(source: Oregon PB News)
1 of 2 defendants charged in this summers deadly robbery of a Radcliff
clothier was notified Tuesday morning he could face lethal injection if
convicted as charged in the crime.
Notice of the death penalty among sentencing options for Jermaine Lamarl
Kirkland and Jamah Deonta Harris in the July 21 robbery and shooting death
of Now Fashions owner Charles H. Dole was filed Dec. 1 by prosecutors.
Kirkland, 20, was informed Tuesday morning of the "death notice,"
according to his attorney, Hardin County Department for Public Advocacy's
Harris, also 20, is represented by Louisville attorney Charles C. Hagan
Jr., who would not discuss any notifications given to his client.
The pair is charged with fatally shooting Dole, 56, while robbing the
store of its cash register.
In an August e-mail to The News-Enterprise, Hagan said the store's cash
box was found in "woods" near Vine Grove, while the rifle thought to be
used in the shooting was found "in Knoxville with Mr. Kirkland."
In an August District Court hearing, Radcliff detective Tucker Raifsnider
said Dole's fatal chest shot came from the Chinese-made 7.62 caliber SKS
rifle found inside a Knoxville residence.
Raifsniders testimony also revealed that Harris and Kirkland were seen
together on gas station surveillance video fueling a stolen vehicle sought
by police after the crime.
Both were arrested in Tennessee without incident and returned to Hardin
County within a week of the crime.
They were also indicted for crimes relating to an attempted nighttime
burglary of the store about a week before Dole's killing.
If convicted as charged, Harris and Kirkland would have to serve no less
than 20 years imprisonment.
Dole family members reopened the North Wilson Road clothing store in late
Along with the cases against Harris and Kirkland, the death penalty is
being considered a potential sentence for Brent Burke, a Fort Campbell
military police officer charged with the Sept. 11, 2007 shooting deaths of
2 Rineyville women 1 of whom was Burke's estranged wife.
As with the case against the men accused of killing Dole, Burke is being
prosecuted by Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Shaw's office.
Special prosecutors working the 1991 kidnapping case against Michael Dale
St. Clair are seeking the death penalty for the already convicted killer.
If convicted and sentenced to death for Bardstown resident Frank Bradys
kidnapping, it will be St. Clair's 2nd death sentence. He was convicted of
Brady's murder in Bullitt County twice one being a re-trial after
mistakes were made during prosecution.
(source: The News-Enterprise)
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