[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----MO., COLO., CALIF., VA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon May 12 15:14:56 CDT 2008
Duo Convicted Of Hate Crime Could Get Death Penalty ---- Men shot William
McCay because he was black, prosecutors said ---- Possible Hate Crime Case
2 men found guilty of a racially-motivated murder in Kansas City will find
out on Monday if they will get the death penalty or spend life in prison.
Prosecutors said Gary Eye and Steven Sandstrom bragged about murdering
William McCay back in Marsh 2005, saying "he was in my hood, so I smoked
McCay was walking to work on 9th Street when Eye and Sandstrom shot and
There was a 3rd person in Eye and Sandstrom's car at the time of the
murder. The pair were also found guilty of threatening her for cooperating
Deliberations resume in death-penalty case
The jury in a death penalty case resumed their deliberations on Monday
morning, after a weekend away from the case.
Prosecutors in Arapahoe County say "stop snitching" was the code Sir Mario
Owens lived by and that is why they say he decided to go after a witness
with a gun in his hand.
On Friday, both sides summarized their case and the jury started
deliberations that afternoon. The jury will decide if Owens is guilty of 2
counts of 1st-degree murder.
Owens also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit murder after
deliberation, aggravated witness intimidation, accessory to a crime and 3
counts of witness intimidation.
Authorities say there is no time frame for when the jury might return a
verdict and often times in murder cases, a jury will deliberate for th3 to
5 days. The case is under a gag order, but the jury was not sequestered.
Prosecutors painted Owens as a very cold, deliberate killer. They said
that as long as he thought there were snitches around, his livelihood was
Owens faces the possibility of the death penalty should the jury find him
In June 2005, as they were driving in Aurora, Javad Marshall Fields and
his fiancee Vivian Wolfe came under attack when 13 bullets went into their
Marshall Fields was set to be a key witness in an earlier murder case.
Prosecutors allege Owens went after Marshall Fields to essentially prevent
him from testifying.
At the trial, his defense has argued that prosecutors have been unable to
definitely put Owens at the murder scene and have relied on unreliable and
somewhat inconsistent witnesses.
However, prosecutors point to a baseball cap with his DNA that was left at
Owens is already serving a life sentence for the earlier murder.
(source: KUSA News)
Man Gets Death Penalty In Female Deputy's Murder
A man convicted of murdering an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's
deputy during an attempted robbery in Long Beach in March 2006 was
formally sentenced to death Monday.
Frank Christopher Gonzales, 27, was convicted April 22 and jurors Thursday
recommended he be sentenced to death. Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan
Comparet-Cassani followed the jury's recommendation and formally handed
down the death sentence Monday.
Gonzales was convicted of 1st-degree murder, attempted robbery and the
special circumstance allegation of murder during an attempted robbery for
the attack on Maria Rosa, who was gunned down about 6 a.m. outside a
Jurors also found Gonzales used a handgun to kill Rosa, who was on her way
to work as a jailer at the sheriff's Inmate Reception Center.
In December, a separate jury convicted co-defendant Justin Ashley Flint,
21, of 1st-degree murder and attempted robbery in connection with the
attack. He was sentenced in January to 29 years to life in state prison.
(source: CBS News)
Court will decide case of Va. man on death row
The Supreme Court on Monday granted a temporary reprieve to a death row
inmate in Virginia to consider whether lower courts correctly weighed his
claim that his lawyer did a poor job of representing him.
Edward Nathaniel Bell, 40, had been facing execution in July for murdering
a police officer.
Bell asked the court to step into his case, arguing that he could have
been spared a death sentence if his lawyer had done a better job of
representing him during the sentencing phase of his trial.
His execution was previously delayed by the Supreme Court's consideration
of lethal injection procedures. The court upheld the execution method last
The justices said they would resolve an issue that has split federal
appeals courts around the country.
Death row inmates may petition the federal system to review their cases
after they have run out of appeals in state courts. Some appeals courts
have deferred to state court rulings against the defendant, even when new
evidence becomes available in the federal appeal. Other courts have taken
the evidence into account.
Bell contends that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond was
wrong when it determined that Virginia courts acted reasonably in turning
down his claims. Bell argues that the state refused to consider evidence
that could show he was deprived of adequate representation in violation of
his constitutional rights.
The high court will hear arguments in the case in the fall.
Bell was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for killing Winchester,
Va., Sgt. Ricky Timbrook in October 1999.
Timbrook was looking for a probation violator when he spotted Bell and
pursued him on foot. Prosecutors said Bell shot Timbrook in the face
because he feared the officer would find him carrying a gun or drugs.
The case is Bell v. Kelly, 07-1223.
(source: Associated Press)
Death row more solitary than standard prison life
Prison is, by design, a place held far apart from life outside the walls.
But for the 20 inmates on Virginia's death row at Waverly, life is an even
more cloistered, solitary affair than it is for the standard prison
Since he was moved to Sussex I following his conviction for the murder of
Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook, Edward Bell has spent most of
his time in a 73-square-foot cell a little larger than an 8-by-9-foot
Drawing a comprehensive picture of life on death row in Virginia is
difficult. Visitation is limited, and Bell has yet to respond to a request
for an interview throug
But prison officials have provided a few details that they say hold true
for every condemned inmate held at Sussex I.
Each cell has a bed attached to one wall, a desk bolted to another. Each
of the 44 cells has a combination metal toilet and sink fixture. Inmates
are also eligible to have a small radio and television based upon their
behavior, according to prison officials.
One slim window provides light from the outside world, which Bell will see
only once more before he is executed, barring action by the courts or Gov.
Timothy M. Kaine.
While other prisoners are allowed exercise time with fellow inmates,
Virginia's condemned murderers are held in their cells 23 hours a day most
Inmates get a 1-hour exercise period on weekdays, followed by a shower. On
weekends and some state holidays, inmates can get an hour of non-contact
visitation from family members or others on a pre-approved visitation
Face-to-face visitation is allowed once every 90 days, provided the inmate
hasn't committed a violation of jail rules or the visit hasn't been deemed
hazardous by prison officials. Visits from lawyers, physicians and
volunteer clergy also are permitted.
Scott Vollum, an assistant professor at James Madison University who
teaches a class on the death penalty in the school's justice studies
program, took a group of students to Sussex I 2 years ago.
Vollum, who holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State
University, located 2 blocks from Texas' death chamber, was able to make
comparisons with the Lone Star State's system.
"What I saw was an incredibly mild, well-organized death row," he said.
"It was a very different experience than what I had in Texas," which has
hundreds of death-row inmates.
Sussex I's 2-story, V-shaped wing, which at the time housed 19 people, was
noticeably calm compared with other areas of the prison, he said.
"You get a sense when you go there that there is this sense of community,
that they all know each other."
Vollum encouraged his students to interact with the inmates during the
visit, and every one of them, except for John Allen Muhammad, who is on
death row for his role in the 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings,
"It was surreal. Each of them got up and stood at their [cell door] window
and talked to the students. At first the students were hesitant, but some
of the inmates would say, 'Hey, I'm a person. You can talk to me. You
don't need to look at me like I'm an animal.'"
Beyond approved visits, the only contact death-row inmates have with the
outside world is through the written word.
There are no group activities, nor any out-of-cell jail education
Inmates can have some photos, books and magazines. Cards and letters are
allowed, but all mail is opened and inspected for contraband before it is
delivered to inmates.
Death row can hold up to 44 inmates at any given time.
Sussex I isn't the last stop on Bell's march to the lethal injection
gurney. The actual death chamber is in Jarrat, just off Interstate 95, not
far from the North Carolina line.
Condemned inmates are moved to a special death unit there in the days
leading up to their execution. Life there is even more stark than in
Sussex, at least according to one former resident.
Dennis W. Stockton was executed in 1995 for the 1978 murder of 18-year-old
Kenny Arnder. He kept a diary that was published in The Virginian-Pilot.
He described his 1st night and day in the "the death house" in an entry
from Sept. 19, 1995.
"When I woke up my 1st morning in the death house, I asked for a cigarette
and a cup of coffee. Officers have to get everything for me, including my
cigarettes. I'm not allowed anything in my cell except a stack of papers 5
inches high and a beige plastic chair," he wrote.
"There's a shelf of sorts that also serves as a table for meals. I have a
commode, sink with hot and cold water and get this double-ply toilet
paper! Not the single-ply stuff I'm used to, which has the texture of
newspaper," Stockton wrote.
Nothing happens in the death house that isn't monitored, he added.
"Officers write down everything I ask for and everything I do, what they
call 'keeping a log.' Guards even make notes in the log when I answer a
call of nature," he wrote.
"They keep my Marlboros on a table, and when I want one, they have to get
it and light it for me," he wrote. "I'm not allowed to have a comb and
have been unable to comb my hair today."
Bell is slated to die on July 24.
(source: Northern Virginia Daily)
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