[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----S.C., N.H., OHIO, KY.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Nov 18 18:20:40 CST 2008
Dec. 5 execution date for SC man in racial killing
13 years ago, a South Carolina jury decided that Joseph Gardner should be
executed for helping to rape, torture and kill a white woman in what
prosecutors described as his revenge for centuries of oppression against
State officials said Monday that Gardner will be put to death Dec. 5 for
his crimes. He can choose between lethal injection and electrocution.
Gardner was assigned to a Navy ship in Charleston in December 1992 when he
and several friends began talking about the injustices done to blacks
since they were brought to the country as slaves. The group decided to
kill a white woman as retribution, said prosecutors, citing a letter found
by investigators that contained racial slurs and passages aimed at
justifying revenge against whites.
Several of the men saw 25-year-old Melissa "Missi" McLauchlin walking
along a road and offered her drugs in exchange for sex. She agreed at
first, going back to a home north of Charleston, but later changed her
mind. Five men raped her at gunpoint that night, prosecutors said.
The men forced McLauchlin to bathe, then blindfolded and handcuffed her
before putting her on the floorboard of a car. Gardner shot McLauchlin
twice in the face after she got free from the handcuffs and tried to
escape. He then shot her 3 more times on the side of a road near
Summerville, authorities said.
"It was the absolutely most brutal and senseless crime, one of the worst
things I have ever seen. Totally unprovoked," said Walter Bailey, who was
the chief prosecutor in the case.
The circumstances around McLauchlin's death stirred racial fears in
Charleston just 9 months after riots in Los Angeles following the
acquittal of 4 white police officers in the videotaped beating of black
motorist Rodney King.
As the details spilled out, McLauchlin parents went on television from
their home near Detroit, pleading for calm and asking everyone in the
community to go to church and pray for them and the families of the
Gardner was the only person sentenced to death in the case. 2 men received
life sentences for murder, while the other 2 men that prosecutors say
raped McLauchlin each received less than 10 years in prison as part of
A message left for an attorney who represented Gardner was not immediately
Gardner would be the 40th person executed in South Carolina since the
death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and the 3rd inmate put to death in
the state this year.
(source: Associated Press)
Last-minute motions filed in N.H. death penalty case
As the case against Michael Addison heads into its final phase, attorneys
are still wrangling over what can be said during the sentencing hearing.
Addison, 28, was convicted last week of capital murder in the fatal
shooting of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in October 2006. On
Monday, the jury determined Addison is eligible to receive the death
penalty and on Friday, the jury will begin the final task of sentencing
Addison to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Both sides have filed last-minute motions, which legal experts say is a
way to use the rules of evidence to bolster their cases.
Suffolk University Law professor Jeffrey J. Pokorak said it's the
prosecution's goal to make Addison seem horrible in the jurors' eyes,
while the defense will play to their humanity.
"How much can the defendant be vilified on the prosecution side and turned
into an 'other,' and someone so far outside of the community that the jury
feels comfortable saying they should be eliminated forever? ... You are
going to hear every negative thing they can find and muster and say about
him," said Pokorak.
"The defense is going to try to humanize the person as much as possible,"
Pokorak said. "Basically the argument in the punishment phase of a capital
case comes down to the fact ... that no one is as bad as the worst thing
they ever did."
Franklin Pierce Law Center professor Albert Scherr said the prosecution
must persuade the jury to pick the harsher of two severe punishments.
"The jury has two choices. They can vote to execute Mr. Addison ... or if
they vote not to do that, they are essentially voting for a life in prison
without any chance for parole sentence," said Scherr. "What the
prosecutor's got to think (is) what is it about this case that's not about
emotion, that's not about revenge, that, as a matter of reason and logic,
requires that the jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he
should be executed rather than put in prison for rest of his life."
In a motion filed this week, the defense targeted potential testimony from
those very close to Briggs, asking victim impact statements be limited to
injury and harm caused to the Briggs family.
"(Victims) can testify about the harm to them and, in a death penalty case
obviously, the effect on them by the death of the person. And also you can
talk about who the victim was," said Pokorak. "The fear about that stuff
is that we would give the death penalty to people not because of what they
did but because of who they happened to kill and that's not a good way to
run a criminal justice system."
Pokorak said victims are not allowed to say what they think the punishment
The prosecution is asking the judge to restrict Addison's unsworn
statement to the jury to his own feelings, not his feelings on other
testimony or evidence.
Pokorak, who is personally opposed to the death penalty, said judges
should err on the side of the defense in this area, especially if the
defendant did not take the stand. Pokorak pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court
decision on the issue where the dissenters worried that a jury could
sentence a man to death without ever hearing the sound of his voice.
"That's a very powerful idea, that the jurors want to hear from them,"
said Pokorak. "What horrible harm can come from having someone say
whatever they're going to say?"
As of Tuesday afternoon, Judge Kathleen McGuire had yet to rule on either
Scherr said although the judge has some discretion as to what testimony is
excluded, the state statute is very specific about how the jurors should
go about making their decision.
"Though at one level the task the jury has is a profoundly emotional and
moral one, the statute by design aims to make decision making process as
rational and logical as possible," said Scherr, not based on anger or a
desire for revenge.
Once the hearing is under way, the state will present aggravating factors,
which include Addison's previous criminal record, the pain he caused
Briggs' family and the likelihood he will commit more crimes in prison.
The defense will counter with mitigating factors, such as Addison's
difficult childhood and his impaired brain function, as reasons to spare
The jury must unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt that the state
proved the required number of aggravating factors and that the defense
proved at least one mitigating factor. If the jury then finds the
aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, the jury can vote for
the death penalty.
The jury always has the option of voting for life in prison.
(source: Associated Press)
Governor denies Ohio killer's clemency request
The U.S. Supreme Court was considering Tuesday whether to postpone
Wednesday's scheduled execution of an Ohio death row inmate who killed a
collectibles store owner in 1992.
Gregory Bryant-Bey, 53, said he was denied adequate legal representation
at his clemency hearing last month. He's asked the high court for a 60-day
reprieve to gather additional material to present to Gov. Ted Strickland
as part of a clemency request.
He made a similar request to Strickland Nov. 12, but the governor on
Tuesday rejected it.
Strickland said in a 1-page statement denying Bryant-Bey clemency that he
made his decision after reviewing all the materials in the case.
Among Bryant-Bey's arguments to the governor: Strickland is supporting a
Tennessee death row inmate's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on a similar
Bryant-Bey's lawyers said a state public defender was assigned full-time
to his clemency case only 10 days before the hearing last month.
A clemency hearing "requires a much more fact-intensive, broad
investigation than a typical trial investigation," said Carol Wright,
Bryant-Bey's federal public defender.
The Ohio Parole Board on Oct. 22 unanimously recommended that Strickland
A U.S. District Court judge and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Cincinnati have both denied Bryant-Bey's request for a reprieve.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 12 in a case asking
whether poor death row inmates seeking mercy from state officials have a
right to lawyers paid for by federal taxpayers.
Bryant-Bey argues that he should receive a delay in his execution at least
until the high court rules on that case.
The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is that of Edward Jerome Harbison
of Tennessee, who was convicted in the 1983 beating death of an elderly
woman in Chattanooga.
Harbison asked in 2006 to expand the responsibilities of his federal
public defenders to also represent him in state clemency proceedings if he
lost his court challenges.
The Justice Department argues there is no constitutional right either to
clemency itself or to lawyers to pursue it.
Bryant-Bey notes that Strickland joined other current and former governors
in a Sept. 15 court filing supporting Harbison's argument.
"As explained in this brief, defense counsel play a critical role in
ensuring that Governors have all the information they need to fulfill
their responsibility to make clemency decisions," the Sept. 15 filing
The filing is not directly related to Bryant-Bey's case in that it
specifically addressed federal funding of lawyers in clemency cases.
Bryant-Bey arrived at the death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional
Facility in Lucasville Tuesday morning. He requested a special meal to be
served Tuesday afternoon.
He was sentenced to death for the Aug. 9, 1992 stabbing death of Toledo
collectibles store owner Dale Pinkelman in a robbery. He also was
convicted in the Nov. 2, 1992, killing of Peter Mihas, owner of The Board
Room restaurant in downtown Toledo.
After police arrested Bryant-Bey for Mihas' death, similarities between
the two crimes led to charges in Pinkelman's slaying.
A jury recommended life in prison for Bryant-Bey in the Mihas killing.
2 of Pinkelman's sons-in-law, Donald Clark and Stephen Ujvabi, were
scheduled to witness the execution Wednesday.
On the Net: Strickland: http://governor.ohio.gov/
Death row: http://www.drc.ohio.gov/Public/deathrow.htm
A look at death row inmate's timeline
Timeline of events in the death penalty case of Gregory Bryant-Bey:
Aug. 9, 1992 - Bryant-Bey stabs and kills Dale Pinkelman, owner of sports
collectibles and coin shop. The store's cash register is cleaned out.
Nov. 4, 1992 - Bryant-Bey stabs and kills Toledo restaurant owner Peter
Mihas in a downtown parking lot. An empty money bag is found nearby.
June 8, 1993 - Jury finds Bryant-Bey guilty in death of Mihas.
June 10, 1993 - Bryant-Bey is sentenced to life in prison for killing
Nov. 11, 1993 - At 2nd trial, Bryant-Bey is convicted of killing
Dec. 22, 1993 - Bryant-Bey is sentenced to death for Pinkelman's slaying.
Oct. 22 - Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommends that governor deny
Nov. 18 - Bryant-Bey asks U.S. Supreme Court for 60-day reprieve; Gov. Ted
Strickland denies Bryant-Bey clemency.
Nov. 19 - Bryant-Bey is scheduled to be executed.
(source for both: Associated Press)
Officials Prepare Marco Chapman For Final Minutes On Death Row----Chapman
Will Be Executed Through Lethal Injection
Events leading up to Marco Chapman's execution by lethal injection are
Chapman will be moved from death row to a cell in the execution chamber
building. At that time, a team of Kentucky Department of Corrections staff
members will take over his care.
Staff members from across the state serve on the execution team. The team
consists of approximately 14 members whose identities are not released.
Once he's in the execution chamber building, Chapman will have a special
schedule. His personal items and belongings will be inventoried. He'll be
allowed a final visit with members of his family. Then his request for a
final meal will be served 4 hours before execution.
Shortly before execution, the Chapman's chest will be shaved for heart
monitor leads. He'll shower and be provided clean clothing.
A last visit with clergy will be offered at this point and a final phone
call with his legal counsel will be available 15 minutes before execution.
At approximately 7 p.m., Chapman will be taken in the execution chamber.
He'll be given a chance to make a final statement of at most 2 minutes.
The administration of the lethal drugs will begin with each drug followed
by a saline wash. First, sodium thiopental will be given, followed by
Pavulon and potassium chloride.
The entire process is expected to take between 10 and 15 minutes.
[Compiled from information provided by the Kentucky Department of
(source: WLKY News)
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