[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, S.C., MISS., WASH., DC
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Nov 18 14:45:53 CST 2008
TEXAS----new execution date
Virgil Martinez has been given an execution date of January 28, 2008; it
should be considered serious.
(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)
Man set to die for 1995 slaying wins reprieve
A Houston man who participated in a notorious death row escape attempt a
decade ago won a reprieve to keep him from the Texas death chamber Tuesday
for the fatal shooting of a woman during an abduction.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the stay of execution for
convicted killer Eric Dewayne Cathey, 37, about 4 1/2 hours before he was
scheduled for lethal injection.
Cathey had insisted he wasn't involved in the slaying of 20-year-old
Christina Castillo, who was grabbed outside her Houston apartment complex,
blindfolded and tied up with duct tape, then shot and dumped in a field.
Prosecutors said Cathey was the gunman among several men involved in the
1995 abduction because they believed Castillo's boyfriend was a drug
dealer and hoped to get information from her to steal his drugs and money.
Attorneys filed appeals late Monday contending they had evidence of Cathey
was mentally retarded and ineligible for execution under U.S. Supreme
"I was surprised, but I'm happy with that," Cathey's lawyer, Kevin Dunn,
said. He said the reprieve would give attorneys time to develop additional
information to support their mental retardation claim.
Cathey would have been the 18th Texas inmate executed this year. Another
lethal injection is set for Thursday in the nation's busiest death penalty
Cathey was among seven condemned inmates who staged a daring prison break
on Thanksgiving night in 1998. He got as far the top of a second fence
surrounding the outside of the Ellis Unit prison before gunshots from
officers convinced him to surrender.
Prisoner Martin Gurule was the only one to get over the 2nd fence and
disappear into the foggy night. After an intense manhunt, his body was
found a week later in a creek a couple miles from the prison. An autopsy
showed he had been shot once but that he died of drowning.
The escape prompted Texas corrections officials to move death row to the
more modern and secure Polunsky Unit, about 45 miles to the east near
Livingston. Life for inmates on death row also became considerably more
restrictive, with privileges eliminated like television access and an
inmate work program that allowed them time away from their cell.
Castillo's body was found by a man collecting aluminum cans more than a
week after she was reported missing.
More than 4 months later, Cathey and several of his companions were
arrested in Brookshire, west of Houston, where one of the group involved
in Castillo's abduction had become a paid police informant.
The inmate set to die Thursday is Robert Jean Hudson, convicted for the
1999 fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Edith Kendrick, at her home in
Mesquite in Dallas County.
(source: Associated Press)
SOUTH CAROLINA----new & impending execution date
John Gardner has been given an execution date of December 5; it should be
considered serious .
State seeking death penalty----Jury will be seated today in Minter trial
In Gulfport, a jury will be seated today in the capital murder trial of
Larry Tyrese Minter.
The state is seeking the death penalty for Minter, who was 18 when he was
arrested with 3 others in a Gulfport police investigation. He is accused
in the Dec. 15, 2006, slayings of Harold "Bucky" Levron and Christine Ann
Minter, now 20, is 1 of 4 teens and young adults arrested in the case and
the 1st of 2 who will stand trial.
Jury selection on Monday extended into the evening as Circuit Judge Lisa
Dodson questioned prospective jurors one by one on the death-penalty
issue. Potential jurors are disqualified from serving on a capital murder
trial if they express an unwillingness to impose the death penalty.
Once seated, the jury will be sequestered. Court rules require jurors in a
capital murder case be isolated until the conclusion of the trial. The
jury will be announced at 9 a.m.
Levron, 54, lived on West David Drive in Pine Hills, a subdivision in the
Orange Grove area. Suber was 38. Police claim both were shot to death when
they walked in on a burglary in progress; Suber also was sexually
Minter's co-defendants include Darryl Simmons Jr., 19, who will be tried
separately at a later date. Junior Cleveland Green, 19, and Lazairian
DeAngelo Murphy, 18, have pleaded guilty to related charges. Both are
expected to testify at Minter's trial.
This is Dodson's 1st capital murder trial since the longtime prosecutor
was elected and sworn in to serve on the bench in January 2007.
The Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office summoned 400 people for jury
selection. Dodson began questioning 98 prospective jurors around
If the defendant is found guilty, the trial will enter a 2nd phase with
arguments and deliberation on whether to impose the death sentence.
Harrison County juries have not imposed the death penalty since 2004, when
Jason Glen Taylor, 25, was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Taylor
was found guilty in the capital murder of Chelle Cazeaux, 18, a store
clerk killed in a Gulfport robbery in 2002.
Taylor died of apparent suicide on death row in 2005.
(source: Biloxi Sun Herald)
Ayers Talks Death Penalty at Law Center
Anti-war activist William Ayers, who attracted national attention during
the presidential campaign for his past connections to President-elect
Barack Obama, highlighted the need for conversation between people of
different beliefs in a speech at the Law Center last night.
Ayers, who is currently a professor at the University of Illinois, was
invited by the National Lawyers Guild at Georgetown. During his speech,
Ayers did not mention his career with the Weather Underground, a radical
organization responsible for numerous acts of domestic terrorism, nor did
he mention the controversial accusations leveled against him in the recent
presidential campaign. Ayers dismissed accusations that he and Obama were
closely associated, but expressed the widely felt optimism surrounding the
"You should have been in Grant Park [on Nov. 4]," he said. "This was the
1st large crowd I've been in that was all love, all unity, all hope and
it was exciting."
Ayers also emphasized his opposition to the death penalty and gay marriage
bans, flaws he perceives in the judicial process.
Ayers specifically condemned the atmosphere at the execution of serial
killer John Gacy in 1994 and said that the death penalty evokes disturbing
emotions and occasionally punishes the innocent.
"Leading up to the execution, Chicago and the whole state worked itself
into a frenzy of glee," said Ayers. "There was something about it that was
sickening to me."
Ayers noted that Illinois has reformed its investigative procedures by
taping interrogations, but cautioned that circumstantial evidence still
results in unfair convictions.
The speech was followed by a question-and-answer session, during which a
student asked whether Ayers had ever planned to kill soldiers, referring
to rumors that Ayers once targeted an Officers Club dance in Fort Dix,
N.J., when he led the Weather Underground. According to the New York
Times, Ayers wrote in his book that he "participated in the bombings of
New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971
and the Pentagon in 1972".
Although Ayers released this information in his book "Fugitive Days", last
night he flatly denied the reports.
"Not only did I never kill or injure another person, but the Weather
Underground in the 6 years it existed never killed or injured another
person," he said. "If you ingest way too much Fox News, you're going to be
confused about a lot of things."
Ayers cautioned against censorship when a student criticized his presence
at the Law Center.
"You cannot move forward as a society until you enter into a dialogue with
people you do not agree with all the time," he said. "You have to be
willing to accept that there are a range of opinions across the board."
Ayers also challenged claims that he is a terrorist, criticizing the
Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq as terrorist acts.
"Let's not forget that governments also carry out acts of terror," he
said. "I always think it's interesting when my name is raised in this
notorious context, it is always the question of, 'why did you do that
tactic at that time?' and yet when [Henry] Kissinger speaks, no one asks
him about the 3 million deaths [in Vietnam]. How does he account for
Some students and alumni in attendance questioned the Law Center's
invitation to Ayers, arguing that the Law Center should not condone
(source: The (Georgetown Univ.) Hoya)
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