[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----S.C., NEV., MD., N.H.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Dec 31 02:08:32 CST 2008
"The way he would have wanted to die"
On Monday, friends and family of a Myrtle Beach police officer killed in
the line of duty gathered to remember him for a 6th annual memorial
service at the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Monday marked 6 years since Officer Joe McGarry was shot and killed by
McGarry was questioning Cottrell in a Dunkin Doughnuts on Hwy. 17 in
Myrtle Beach when Cottrell pulled out a gun and shot him.
"If he had to die, that's the way he would have wanted to die," his mother
Anita McGarry said at the service Monday night.
Cottrell was convicted in the Spring of 2005 and sentenced to death, but
that conviction was overturned by the S.C. Supreme Court. The state's high
court said the judge in the case made a mistake in not allowing the jury
to consider voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge that doesn't carry the
Cottrell, however, was convicted of yet another murder in Marion County
and sentenced to life in prison. But state prosecutors say they will retry
Cottrell for the murder of McGarry in the coming months.
For his mother, having to revisit that trial is almost too much.
"Everybody knows he's truly evil, a sociopath, and it's just ridiculous,
(source: WPDE News)
With eye to cost, death penalty study sought ----Lawmaker sees moratorium
as a way to help with state's budget crisis
As lawmakers examine ways to trim the state budget, Assemblyman Bernie
Anderson thinks the death penalty should get a 2nd look.
"There is an enormous cost to the state," said Anderson, D-Sparks,
chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
It includes additional cost during the trials, constant appeals by
convicts on death row and "if they put up a fight, they are there
forever," he said.
Anderson is proposing the state impose a moratorium on the death penalty
while a legislative study is carried out. He has asked that a bill calling
for the study be drafted for the 2009 Legislature. The study would look at
the cost of the death penalty and whether it's applied justly in Nevada.
The study would update one carried out a few years ago, Anderson said.
There are 82 men on Nevada's death row at the state prison in Ely. One
example of the length of time they await execution is Edward T. Wilson,
50, who was sentenced to death in December 1979 for killing an undercover
Reno police officer.
Anderson said he doesn't know of any instances of a person being wrongly
executed in Nevada.
"I don't think we have executed anybody who didn't deserve it," he said.
(source: Las Vegas Sun)
Biela to enter plea this week in Denison killing
Arraignment for James Michael Biela, a 27-year-old former Marine, is
scheduled before Washoe District Judge Robert Perry at 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday. The district attorney has not determined whether to seek the
Authorities said DNA links Biela to Denison's death and the rapes of 2
college women that occurred in October and December.
During Biela's 2-day preliminary hearing that began Dec. 10, his attorney,
Richard Davies, questioned the strength of the DNA evidence against Biela.
He also said the woman Biela is accused of raping in a University of
Nevada, Reno parking garage in October only identified him after she saw
him on television.
During her testimony, that woman pointed at Biela and identified him as
her attacker. She also worked with a police sketch artist who drew a
composite of the suspect that resembled Biela.
Another college student testified she was kidnapped in December as she was
walking through a parking lot to her apartment, was rendered unconscious
and then sexually assaulted in her attacker's pickup. She did not see the
man, but police said DNA links Biela to the incident.
Biela was ordered held for trial on charges of murder, kidnapping and 3
counts of sexual assault.
Prosecutors are still investigating the November sexual attack of a
college woman whose attacker fled after she kicked and screamed. Police
said DNA links Biela to the incident, but prosecutors said they haven't
enough evidence to file charges.
Denison was 19 when she disappeared Jan. 20 from a friend's home near the
UNR campus. Her body was found Feb. 15 in a south Reno field. An autopsy
concluded she was sexually assaulted and strangled with a pair of panties
found with her body.
Biela became a suspect in the case in November after a friend of his
live-in girlfriend tipped Secret Witness. The girlfriend let police take a
DNA sample of their 4-year-old son which scientists said linked Biela to
Denison's body. When police took Biela's DNA, it matched, authorities
said. He was arrested Nov. 25.
(source: Reno Gazette)
When the Maryland General Assembly meets next month, Gov. Martin O'Malley
is expected to push to repeal the state's capital-punishment law. Since
the current death-penalty statute was enacted in 1978, 5 men have been
executed, the most recent being Wesley Baker on Dec. 5, 2005, for
murdering a woman in front of her grandchildren during a 1991 robbery in
In each of his first two years as governor, Mr. O'Malley tried
unsuccessfully to end capital punishment in Maryland, and he's determined
not to lose a third time. So, the governor decided to handle the problem
the way progressive politicians in the state are wont to do - by
appointing a commission and packing it with an anti-death-penalty majority
that will give him the result he wants.
Ergo he created the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, headed by
Benjamin Civiletti, who served as attorney general under President Carter.
The panel just issued a study calling for an end to capital punishment. It
concludes that there is an unacceptable risk that an innocent person will
be executed and that it is being administered in a racially discriminatory
But they never produce any substantial evidence that prosecutors have
tried to seek the death penalty based on a defendant's race. Nor do they
even attempt to make the argument that any of the five men on Maryland's
death row - Jody Miles, Heath Burch, John Booth-el, Vernon Evans or
Anthony Grandison - are innocent of the murders they were convicted of.
(Booth-el, Evans and Grandison have been on death row for 24 years; Burch
and Miles are on death row for crimes committed more than a decade ago.)
Mr. Civiletti and his 11 co-signers also contend that there are
"jurisdictional disparities" in the way capital punishment is administered
in Maryland. In other words, they say there is something wrong with the
fact that Maryland is divided into 24 jurisdictions with locally elected
prosecutors with the authority to make their own decisions about capital
punishment. In practical terms, this means that in more liberal
jurisdictions like Baltimore City and Prince George's County, where
opposition to executions runs high, prosecutors rarely seek the death
penalty. But in more conservative Baltimore County, prosecutors have been
willing to utilize capital punishment. The "disparity" is really nothing
sinister at all: It's called local control.
Mr. Civiletti's majority report, 119 pages long, makes some valid points
about the need to ensure that persons accused of capital crimes have
access to post-conviction DNA testing. But more often than not, the
majority trips itself up.
In an effort to show that death-penalty appeals are expensive, the
majority deluges readers with incomprehensible economic jargon about the
"opportunity cost" of capital punishment. Later, in an attempt to show
that sentencing murderers to life imprisonment does not endanger the
safety of the public or prison guards, the majority makes an astonishing
assertion: that offenders sentenced to life without parole "pose minimal
risk to correctional officers and other inmates."
It is difficult to believe that members of the capital-punishment
commission are unaware of the recent murders of correctional officers
Jeffrey Wroten and David McGuinn, who were slain by inmates at the Roxbury
Correctional Institution and the Maryland House of Correction,
respectively. Perhaps someone could introduce Mr. Civiletti or Mr.
O'Malley to Kevin Johns. Johns is a double murderer who was already
serving 2 life sentences at Baltimore's Supermax prison for strangling his
uncle and strangling a prison cellmate. He was convicted in May of
strangling a 2nd inmate aboard a prison bus.
Not everyone supports the death penalty. Some argue that lethal injection
is as morally repugnant as the electric chair. But Maryland
capital-punishment opponents don't stake their claim on such a righteous
In fact, while there are cogent arguments to be made against the death
penalty in Maryland and elsewhere, there are few to be found in the
Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment's new report.
(source: Editorial, Washington Times)
Death Penatly Opponents Want Statute Studied
New Hampshire's death penalty foes are proposing a commission to study the
capital murder statute, but have not decided if they will forge ahead with
separate bills to repeal the law or restrict its application.
Portsmouth Democrat Jim Splaine says the commission would explore whether
the death penalty has any value in New Hampshire.
He says members would include law enforcement and he may not like the
conclusions, but the statute needs to be studied.
Splaine says repealing the law would not affect the Michael Addison case,
so efforts to challenge the law may be put on hold.
A decision is expected within a few weeks.
Addison was sentenced to death this month for murdering Manchester Police
Officer Michael Briggs 2 years ago.
(source: Associated Press)
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