[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----OHIO, VER., GA., NEV., VA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed May 7 19:17:23 CDT 2008
Prosecutor wants execution date for Cooey
A prosecutor has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to set an execution date for
a man who raped and murdered 2 University of Akron students in 1986.
Richard Cooey's execution has been repeatedly delayed by legal challenges
and last month he lost what might have been his final appeal.
Cooey claimed in a 2004 lawsuit that the 3-drug cocktail of chemicals used
to put criminals to death in Ohio violates the Constitution's ban on cruel
and unusual punishment.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that he had missed a deadline to
file the suit.
Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says with no pending appeals
the state Supreme Court should set an execution date.
(source: Associated Press)
Burge's death penalty hearings wrap up
Earlier this year, ACLU attorney Jeff Gamso said he hadn't gone looking
for "nice ways to kill people," but he may have found one thats humane
enough to consider.
Gamso, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohios legal director,
conceded Tuesday that evidence gathered during hearings a county judge is
holding to review lethal injection might offer a solution.
"There is no nice way to kill people, but I think the evidence in this
case is that a single megadose of a barbiturate, properly administered,
would provide a painless death," Gamso said after the most recent hearing
Gamso is one of several attorneys representing accused killers Ruben
Rivera and Ronald McCloud, who are challenging the legality and
constitutionality of Ohios lethal injection process in an unprecedented
hearing before county Common Pleas Judge James Burge. Both men could face
execution if convicted of separate murders in Lorain.
Burge said he hasnt decided how he will rule, but he ordered Gamso to
provide a written argument detailing how the current 3-drug cocktail used
by Ohio and other states in their lethal injection processes violates the
Constitutions ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the quick and
painless requirement of Ohio law.
He also wants Gamso to explain what the state could do to change the
process to make it more humane.
2 anesthesiologists testified last month that the lethal injection process
a sedative, a drug to paralyze the condemned inmate and a drug to stop the
heart currently used by the state is a humane death if the drugs are
Gamso said there's no way to guarantee that.
"There is at least the possibility that lethal injection certainly will
not be painless," he said, later pointing out that in at least 2
executions conducted in Ohio those of Joe Clark and Christopher Newton
there were significant problems.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo disagreed.
"I don't believe there's been a botched execution in Ohio," he said.
The anesthesiologists also said that the sedative alone would be enough to
kill an inmate without the added risk of the other 2 drugs.
Greg Trout, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction, said after the hearing that the state is always willing to
listen to criticism and suggestions for improving the process. But he also
doesn't believe using only 1 drug would end the fight over lethal
injection or the death penalty.
"We've always been amenable to improvements if they offer substantial
improvement, but we have to be skeptical of the never-ending pursuit of
perfection through litigation," he said.
But Trout also called using only a sedative an "untested method" that has
never been used in an execution and that could bring its own problems.
Tuesday's hearing ranged from a debate over the grammar of an Ohio statute
that requires the drugs used in executions be "of sufficient dosage to
quickly and painlessly cause death" to accusations by Cillo that Burge was
helping Rivera and McCloud by asking questions.
"How is the state supposed to get notice what arguments it's supposed to
be defending if the court is coming up with the arguments from the bench?"
Cillo demanded of Burge.
"Well, you're supposed to know all of them," Burge replied.
Burge left the bench shortly after the exchange, in which Cillo brought up
a 1997 drug case when Burge, while still a defense attorney, refused to
tell him about a motion he planned to make at the end of the trial.
That trial ended with a 9-year prison sentence for Burge's then-client,
Burge's past as a defense attorney was called into question by Cillo at a
previous hearing, when he complained about the judge keeping a photo in
his office of another former client, James Filiaggi, who was executed last
year for the 1994 murder of his wife.
Burge's controversial decision to review the lethal injection process lost
much of its steam after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld lethal injection in
a Kentucky case earlier this year. The judge said Tuesday that he is
conducting the hearings with the belief that the death penalty and lethal
injection are both constitutional.
Burge said he expects to make a decision on the question of lethal
injection by July, but there will likely by an appeal.
(source: The Chronicle-Telegram)
Killer spared death penalty
A Butler County jury recommended Tuesday night that convicted killer
Harvey Johnson Jr. serve life in prison without possibility of parole for
strangling his girlfriend, Kiva Gazaway.
It was a crime that shocked suburban Liberty Township, where Gazaway and
Johnson lived. Johnson dodged the death penalty for killing the
38-year-old mother of 2 and dumping her body in a Blue Ash ravine in April
In a bizarre tape-recorded confession that was played at trial last week,
Johnson, 33, admitted he strangled Gazaway. But he insisted she asked him
to kill her and that he discussed with her what method of killing she
preferred, while he had her restrained with duct tape.
Gazaway's daughter, Jazmin, said she was satisfied with the verdict
because it means that Johnson will never see the light of day as a free
man again, "just like my momma will never see the light of day again."
Jazmin, 19, of Colerain Township, said she was conflicted over what would
be a suitable punishment for Johnson. "He was the father figure I never
had" during his five-year relationship with her mother, she said.
"I still have love for him. I love his kids," she said after the jury's
Johnson had also said he loved Jazmin and her 17-year-old sister, Arienne,
when he made an unsworn statement from the witness stand earlier Tuesday.
Kiva Gazaway disappeared on Arienne's 16th birthday, April 14, 2007.
Johnson could have used his statement as an opportunity to ask the jury to
spare his life, but he didn't.
But he does want to live, even if it's behind bars for the rest of his
life, said one of his two lawyers, Melynda Cook-Reich.
"He specifically said he wanted to live. He just didn't want to beg the
jury for that," she said.
Another lawyer for Johnson, Greg Howard, had, in fact, begged the jury to
spare his client's life.
He noted that Johnson grew up with a father who beat him and that Johnson
has relatives, including daughters ages 5 and 11, who want to maintain a
relationship with him even if on a limited basis.
Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said he thought Johnson's crimes were
heinous and warranted a death sentence.
Piper said he kept thinking about a photograph of Kiva Gazaway sitting at
her desk at Humana in Cincinnati, proud of the new promotion she had
gotten just prior to her death.
Piper thinks of her contemplating the new life she had planned to lead
after cutting loose her unemployed, freeloader boyfriend. But Johnson
apparently lashed out against that decision when he decided to kill
Gazaway, Piper said.
Piper had asked jurors to recommend death for Johnson.
He said all of the arguments offered in Johnson's favor ignored what
happened to Gazaway - and "Kiva had a right to her life."
After court, Piper said, "I would never ask for the death penalty for a
man I didn't think deserved it. But spending the rest of your life in
prison and dying behind bars isn't an easy gig, either. ... So I respect
the jury's decision."
The jury of 9 women and 3 men toiled long and hard in a trial that lasted
They deliberated more than nine hours to convict Johnson last week, plus
about seven hours Tuesday as they weighed the possible sentences: the
death penalty, life without parole or life with parole eligibility after
25 or 30 years.
Howard had warned jurors that their work would be difficult.
"It's going to be the toughest thing that you ever have to do," he said
before they began deliberations around noon Tuesday.
Common Pleas Judge Andrew Nastoff set sentencing for June 6.
The sentencing hearing is largely a formality, given the
life-without-parole decision for Johnson's aggravated murder conviction,
Piper conceded. But Piper said it's still important to go through the
procedure because the law requires it and because laws might change in the
Johnson has already been sentenced to 18 years in prison for an attempted
escape in which he tried to grab a bailiff's gun at a Fairfield Municipal
Court hearing last summer.
All told, Johnson faces an additional 43 years in prison for the other
crimes that the jury convicted him on last week: kidnapping, a weapons
violation, gross abuse of a corpse, grand theft and tampering with
evidence. The jury acquitted him of rape.
Throughout the trial, extra security measures were shielded from the
jury's view, including a stun belt and leg shackles that Johnson wore to
deter him from a repeat escape attempt.
Earlier Tuesday during the penalty phase of his trial, Johnson apologized
to his family and to the family of Gazaway.
But he also questioned the way his case had been handled, saying he should
have been given credit for confessing and leading authorities to Gazaway's
"What if I said nothing? What if I would have let those detectives find
her on their own, not 26 days later, but 26 months later?... Would I have
been walking free?" Johnson said.
He even chastised the jury for finding him guilty of the worst possible
charges despite his cooperation with authorities.
But Johnson, whose demeanor remained mostly expressionless throughout his
trial, concluded his remarks with an emotional appeal.
He expressed a wish for his daughters and Kiva's daughters to grow up into
beautiful women "and to become all that they can be."
Then Johnson wiped his nose with a napkin and said that, despite his lack
of outward displays of emotion, "I hurt deep inside, and nothing, nothing
will change that.
"Even if that jury had found me not guilty of every charge I would still
be punished forever by my memories. ... I apologize to everyone that was
affected by all of this. I really do. And I ask God to ease all of our
(source: Cincinnati Enquirer)
No death penalty in Spa City murder ---- Federal prosecutors won't seek
capital case for Bronx man accused in 2002 hotel shooting
A slaying suspect who allegedly left his sidekick's body in a Saratoga
Springs hotel room following a 2002 marijuana heist in Vermont will not
face the death penalty.
Roger Aletras, 36, of the Bronx, could have faced federal execution on
charges he gunned down Kevin Arkenau, 25, of New Jersey, after the duo
allegedly traveled from New York City to Burlington, Vt., in December 2002
to rob a drug dealer of 50 pounds of pot.
But federal prosecutors in Vermont, citing "mitigating factors," have
chosen not to seek the death penalty in the case, according to acting
Attorney General Mark R. Filip.
Those factors were not specified.
Aletras, also known as "Roger Knox," has multiple prior convictions that
include burglary and grand larceny, as well as possessing stolen property
on Long Island and the Bronx. He is now serving a 19-year stint in
Pennsylvania for an unrelated federal weapons conviction.
In December 2002, prosecutors say, Aletras shot Arkenau twice in the head
inside the former Sheraton Hotel on Broadway, now known as The Saratoga.
He was not charged with killing Arkenau until January, 5 years after
Arkenau was found murdered.
Jean Barrett, the defendant's Montclair, N.J.-based attorney, said Tuesday
that while capital punishment was "always a possibility," she did not
expect the government to seek it in the case. She had not been asked to
make any presentations, she said.
Barrett said, among other factors, prosecutors might have been swayed
against the death penalty because Arkenau engaged in "high-risk activity"
prior to being killed.
"It's hard to really pin things down," said Barrett, a capital punishment
specialist appointed by the court to represent Aletras. "It's just a sense
that I got coming to the case, they didn't seem to want to hear from us
about it, which is usually a sign that it's going in the right direction."
Generally, the number of victims and the brutality of the crime, among
other factors, are taken into account before the U.S. Justice Department
decides whether to seek death.
Neither New York nor Vermont has capital punishment at the state level. In
2005, federal prosecutors in Vermont sought death for Donald Fell, who was
convicted of carjacking and abducting a supermarket employee. The employee
was taken to New York state and bludgeoned to death in Dutchess County as
she prayed for her life. It was Vermont's 1st capital punishment case in
In New York, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have sought capital
punishment for Ronell Wilson, a gang member convicted of killing 2
undercover New York City detectives on Staten Island in 2003.
(source: Times Union)
DeKalb County DA To Seek Death Penalty In Officers' Deaths
DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming says prosecutors will
seek the death penalty against the man charged with murder in the deaths
of 2 police officers.
Twenty-seven-year-old William Woodward is accused in the shooting deaths
of officers 26-year-old Ricky Bryant Junior and 33-year-old Eric Barker on
Keyes Fleming said Tuesday she wants to send a message that the county
will not tolerate what she calls "such horrific acts of violence."
Witnesses say the officers were shot while trying to frisk a man at the
Glenwood Gardens apartment complex where they were working an extra
security job in police uniform.
Judge throws out conviction of death row inmate
In Savannah, a judge has ordered a new trial for a Georgia inmate who has
spent 20 years on death row after being convicted of murdering a Wayne
County restaurant owner, his wife and their teenage son.
Superior Court Judge Gary McCorvey ruled prosecutors withheld evidence
that key witnesses had lied, changed their stories and cut deals with
authorities before testifying against Larry Lee of Savannah. McCorvey's
order called the trial "fatally flawed" by "prosecutorial acts and
The ruling also said Lee, 47, of Savannah had an inadequate defense at his
trial, where he was represented by a lawyer who had little experience with
death penalty cases.
"Not only was the state's evidence in this case 'thin,'" McCorvey wrote in
his April 28 order, "but what is more devastating is that trial counsel's
preparation for and performance in the penalty phase is even 'thinner,'
the investigation and preparation being nonexistent."
District Attorney Stephen Kelley, who was in law school when Lee was
prosecuted by his predecessor, criticized the court system for taking
"entirely too long" with Lee's appeal. He noted 1 of 2 key prosecution
witnesses is now dead.
"There's something wrong with a system that takes 21 years to decide if a
case needs to be retried," Kelley said.
Kelley said he has asked the state attorney general to appeal the judge's
ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court. He said he would hold a new trial if
McCorvey's order stands.
A Wayne County jury sentenced Lee to death in 1987 for the murders of a
local restaurant owner, 48-year-old Clifford Jones, his wife, 47-year-old
Nina Jones, and their 14-year-old son, Jerold.
The 3 family members were shot to death in their rural southeast Georgia
home early in the morning on April 26, 1986. They appeared to have been
slain during a burglary. A money bag containing about $1,500 from their
restaurant was stolen.
No physical evidence tied Lee to the crime scene. Prosecutors based their
case primarily on two witnesses - Lee's sister-in-law, who said she and
her husband took part in the robbery with Lee, and a jailhouse snitch who
testified Lee had confessed to the murders while they were jailed together
in coastal Glynn County.
David Morris, a convicted burglar, told jurors Lee threatened to kill him
if he told anyone about the confession. Morris also identified a
handwritten note on which he said he had scrawled Lee's threat verbatim
after it was made.
But prosecutors failed to disclose to Lee's lawyer, or to the trial jury,
that Morris initially told investigators Lee himself had written the note
containing the threat. The judge said defense lawyers could have used
Morris' lie to undercut his credibility.
Prosecutors also never disclosed that Morris had testified for them as an
informant in other criminal trials, the ruling said, or that his
cooperation in Lee's case won Morris a transfer from a state prison to a
more comfortable county jail.
Sherry Lee, the wife of Lee's brother, agreed to testify against him after
a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent told her the GBI had learned they
committed the crimes.
McCorvey's ruling says Sherry Lee's initial statements to authorities
differed in key respects to her testimony at Larry Lee's trial. Her prior
statements were never made available to Larry Lee's lawyer, who could have
used them to discredit her on cross-examination, the judge ruled.
Part of Sherry Lee's testimony was that Larry Lee and her husband, Bruce
Lee, stole guns - including an antique shotgun - from Clifford Jones'
home. But prosecutors, the judge wrote, never disclosed to the defense or
the jury that investigators found no guns missing from the home. All
firearms Jones had listed on an insurance inventory were found in his
Both Sherry Lee and her husband are dead. Bruce Lee was fatally shot after
killing another man in a burglary before his brother's trial.
The judge also ruled Larry Lee's trial attorney, Alex Zipperer of
Savannah, provided an inadequate defense. Zipperer had tried only 1 other
death penalty case, 12 years before Lee's. He was the only attorney
representing Lee even though Georgia courts routinely appoint 2 defense
lawyers to capital cases.
The judge said Zipperer failed to prepare for the sentencing phase of
Lee's trial. The only witness he called to persuade the jury to spare
Lee's life was his sister, Lynn Grizzard. Zipperer asked her a total of 7
questions. Grizzard described Lee as "gentle" and "nonviolent," and said
she'd never known him to hurt anyone.
Michael Koval, the lead attorney handling Lee's appeal, declined to
comment other than to say, "The judge issued a strong and clear order."
Georgia resumes death penalty----State executes convicted killer in first
use of lethal injection since Supreme Court decision last month.
He didn't have any last words, and he refused an offer of a last prayer.
With a shudder and a yawn, William Earl Lynd became the first inmate put
to death in more than 7 months as the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the
constitutionality of lethal injections.
Lynd's death ushered in a new wave of executions set to resume around the
country after the U.S. Supreme Court last month upheld the
constitutionality of the 3-drug cocktail used in some 3 dozen states. With
the longest pause in U.S. executions in a quarter century having passed,
condemned killers are scheduled to die in Mississippi later this month,
Oklahoma in June and Texas in August.
The 53-year-old Lynd was pronounced dead at 7:51 p.m. It came less than an
hour after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected efforts to block it.
He was sentenced to die for kidnapping and fatally shooting his live-in
girlfriend, 26-year-old Ginger Moore, 3 times in the face and head 2
decades ago. After he buried Moore's body in a shallow grave near a south
Georgia farm, authorities said Lynd fled to Ohio, where he shot and killed
another woman who had stopped along the side of the road to help him.
Lynd never denied killing Moore 2 days before Christmas in 1988. But his
lawyers had sought a last minute reprieve from the courts, arguing that
new forensic evidence showed he could not have kidnapped her because she
was already dead when he stuffed her in the trunk of her car.
Prosecutors allege that Moore was still alive when Lynd placed her in the
trunk -- despite 2 gunshot wounds to the head. They say Lynd confessed to
authorities that he fired the final, lethal shot when he heard her
"thumping around" in the trunk.
The kidnapping had been an essential "aggravating" circumstance that made
Lynd eligible for the death penalty.
Lawyers say Lynd and Moore had a volatile relationship and were in a
heated argument over a trip to Florida when he shot her.
About a dozen death penalty protesters were outside the state prison.
"I just feel a profound sense of sadness that our state has rushed to be
the first in the country to resume executing people," said Laura Moye, of
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
(source for 3 above: Associated Press)
US resumes executions after 7-month moratorium
Georgia put inmate William Lynd to death on Tuesday, ending a 7-month
hiatus on executions in the United States following an appeal against the
use of lethal injection, which was rejected by the Georgia executed a
convicted murderer on Tuesday, the 1st person to be put to death in the
United States since the Supreme Court ended a de facto moratorium on
capital punishment last month.
William Earl Lynd died by lethal injection at a prison in Jackson, central
Georgia, at 7:51 p.m. (2351 GMT). Lynd, 53, was convicted of shooting his
girlfriend to death in December 1988.
"Under the order of the court, the execution of William Earl Lynd has been
carried out," said Paul Czachowski, public affairs manager at the Georgia
Department of Corrections.
"The condemned declined to make a statement or offer a prayer," he said,
adding the execution began at 7:34 p.m.
In the hours before Lynd died, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final
request for a stay filed by his lawyers.
Lynd's execution is the 1st since the same court on April 16 rejected a
challenge to the cocktail of 3 drugs used in most U.S. executions, which
opponents had argued inflicted unnecessary pain.
A nationwide pause in executions had been in effect since shortly after
the court said on Sept. 25 it would hear an appeal by 2 death row inmates
in Kentucky against the use of the lethal drugs.
Last year, 42 people were put to death in the United States, the lowest
number since the 31 executions in 1994. But the 2007 number was
artificially low because of the Supreme Court case.
Fewer than 20 protesters opposed to the death penalty demonstrated outside
the prison in Jackson where Lynd was executed in an apparent indication
that the subject arouses few passions.
Demonstrators said they also planned protests in 5 other cities in the
"It's sad that the state of Georgia has put someone to death and is
leading the United States in the resumption of executions," said Laura
Moye, chairwoman of Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. "It
is said it is a resumption of justice but instead we are being
After shooting Ginger Moore three times in the head and face, Lynd buried
her in a shallow grave. Soon afterward, as he drove to Ohio, he allegedly
shot and killed another woman but was never convicted of that crime.
The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a bid by Lynds lawyers to
stop the execution. They argued that experts who described the murder
scene in court had exaggerated.
Several states have scheduled executions since the moratorium ended,
including Virginia and Texas, which carries out more executions than any
other state. Lynd is the 1,100th person put to death since the Supreme
Court lifted a temporary ban on capital punishment in 1976. Since then,
Texas has had 405 executions, followed by Virginia with 98.
Protestors say death penalty is too harsh
A south Georgia killer was pronounced dead at 7:51 Tuesday night. He's the
1st inmate in the country executed since the United States Supreme Court
ruled lethal injection is legal.
53-year-old William Earl Lynd killed his girlfriend Ginger Moore in
Berrien County in 1988. As the execution was carried out, death penalty
opponents around the state protested.
"Say no to execution," yelled Elizabeth Dede to cars passing by in
Americus Tuesday evening.
It's a debate of to kill or not to kill. "Yes to life," yelled Dede.
Protestors heard many responses to that question as they held signs at one
corner in Americus. "A couple of people drove by and were shouting 'kill
him, kill him, kill him'," said Dede who's with Koinonia Partners.
The 'him' at the center of the protests and shouts is William Earl Lynd
who was put to death Tuesday night by lethal injection. "Why do we kill
people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" asks Dede.
There's no doubt for the 6 voices as they chant 'No to killing, yes to
life' on Forsyth Street. By standing up, Dede says they're saying no to
the death penalty.
"No to blood, loss and vengeance," said Dede.
"It's cruel. It's unusual and there are a lot of countries that have
abolished the death penalty," said Reverend Ezekiel Holley. Holley is a
board member of Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He wants
death penalties abolished in the state.
"This gentleman has spent 20 years of his life incarcerated and it's going
to cost the state just as much to kill him as it is to keep him for the
rest of his life," said Reverend Holley.
"I feel that it just isn't right. It isn't fair," said 13-year-old
protestor Tabatha Holley.
At just 13, Tabatha Holley is as loud as the rest with her opposition. "I
feel ashamed that I live in a state that has such a rule that we have to
kill to show what is right," said Holley.
Close to 7 p.m.,signs were placed down and replaced with clasped hands.
"We pray eternal God that you will touch the hearts and minds of our
elected officials to do the right thing," said Rev. Holley as he prayed
with the other protestors.
But before the clock hit 8 p.m., it was already done. Lynd took his last
breath. Protestors say it's not the last you'll see of them.
"Even for the people who are so angry and they drive by yelling kill him,
it makes a difference. They have to stop and think," said Dede. As some
gain closure from a condemned murderer's death, others feel justice isn't
Similar protests were held at the prison in Jackson where Lynd was
executed Tuesday night and in several other cities.
(source: WALB News)
Nevada death-row inmate challenges lethal injection procedure
William Castillo, a death-row inmate, who until now has declined to file
appeals that could keep him alive, has joined in a state Supreme Court
challenge of Nevada's lethal injection execution procedure.
The move by Castillo, represented by federal public defenders Mike
Pescetta and Gary Taylor, was welcomed by the American Civil Liberties
Union of Nevada, which had filed the challenge in October when Castillo
was scheduled to die.
The state Supreme Court stayed Castillo's execution pending the U.S.
Supreme Court's decision on lethal injections in Kentucky. Last month, the
U.S. Supreme Court upheld Kentucky's execution method, which is similar to
Nevada's. Since then, the Nevada stay has remained in effect.
Castillo's execution was stayed just 90 minutes before he was to get a
lethal injection for beating an elderly Las Vegas woman to death with a
(source: Associated Press)
Justices to consider Bells sentence on Thursday
After delaying court proceedings last month, the U.S. Supreme Court is
scheduled to meet on Thursday to decide whether to review the case of a
city man scheduled to be executed for killing a police officer.
The nine justices were scheduled to convene on April 25 to decide whether
to examine a January decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals upholding
Edward Nathaniel Bells death sentence, but took no action in the case.
The Supreme Court gave no reason for continuing the proceedings, court
spokeswoman Patricia Estrada has said.
Bell, 42, filed a petition on March 25 asking the justices to examine his
case. If he is granted a review, his attorneys will be allowed to present
oral arguments before the court.
At this point, the only way Bell can avoid execution on July 24 is if the
Supreme Court overturns his death sentence, or if Virginia Gov. Timothy M.
Kaine commutes his sentence to life in prison.
Bell was convicted in the Oct 29, 1999, capital murder of Winchester
Police Sgt. Rick L. Timbrook.
Bell shot and killed Timbrook, 32, during a foot pursuit on Piccadilly
Street, near the present site of the Timbrook Public Safety Center.
A Winchester Circuit Court jury found Bell guilty of capital murder in
January 2001 and recommended the death penalty.
He was formally sentenced on May 30, 2001, by 26th Judicial Circuit Court
Judge Dennis L. Hupp.
Bell had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 8, but one
week before his scheduled execution, Kaine placed a temporary moratorium
on all executions in Virginia and rescheduled Bells appointment with the
death chamber for July 24.
On April 16, Kaine lifted the moratorium after the U.S. Supreme Court
voted to uphold the use of lethal injections as a means of execution.
The courts decision stemmed from the Kentucky case of Baze v. Reese, which
made the claim that the three-chemical formula that 36 states, including
Virginia, use to carry out the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual
Bell is being held on death row at the Sussex State Prison in Waverly.
(source: Winchester Star)
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