[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, MD., PENN., MONT., MO., N.H.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Nov 23 18:33:06 CST 2008
Convicted killer of Dallas-area woman executed
Convicted killer Robert Jean Hudson was executed Thursday night for
fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend after he beat down the door and barged
into her Dallas-area apartment nearly a decade ago.
Hudson, 45, repeatedly expressed love to his wife and a friend who watched
through a window and ignored 4 relatives of his victim as they watched
through another window into the death chamber.
"I will take you to heaven with me," Hudson said from the death chamber
gurney. "I will always be with you."
"Now pray with this young man down here and we'll go," he said, nodding to
the chaplain who stood at his feet. Hudson then prayed the Lord's Prayer
and concluded by again expressing love. "I am your's and we are one. Let's
go warden," he said.
8 minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow, he was pronounced dead at
6:24 p.m. CST. Edith Kendrick, 35, was killed and her 8-year-old son
seriously wounded in the 1999 attack in Mesquite, just east of Dallas.
The 9-member high court, with Chief Justice John Roberts not
participating, refused the appeal Thursday from Hudson. Justices John Paul
Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have granted a reprieve.
Attorneys for Hudson didn't question the 3-time parolee was responsible
for the slaying but faulted his trial lawyers for not presenting to a jury
mitigating evidence "that this was a crime of passion, and significantly
reduced Mr. Hudson's moral culpability," Maurie Levin, Hudson's lawyer,
wrote in her petition seeking a Supreme Court reprieve and review.
Jurors never heard about his unstable childhood, a father with drug and
alcohol problems, a mother with psychiatric problems and his own
psychiatric treatment and medication to control his behavior and anger,
State lawyers opposed the request, saying Hudson's petition presented no
reasons for justices to review his case and failed to show any of his
constitutional rights were violated.
Hudson had been on parole for only about 6 months after serving less than
7 years of a 20-year term for check forgery when he was arrested for the
murder. He's had 2 other paroles and at least 8 convictions, including 1
for a 1987 murder in Dallas for which he took a plea bargain while he
already was imprisoned.
Hudson did not testify at his capital murder trial and court records show
he'd asked his lawyers not to call any witnesses. At the punishment phase,
defense lawyers again called no witnesses while prosecutors called a
fingerprint technician to introduce evidence of Hudson's earlier
convictions and a jail employee who said Hudson had exposed himself and
masturbated in front of her while he was awaiting trial.
Hudson, who declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared,
told police when he was arrested that he'd lost control.
"I loved Edith," he said in a written statement confession. "I am sorry
for what has happened and have told the truth about the incident."
Evidence showed Hudson called Kendrick on the phone and became upset when
he heard another man's voice in the background. Armed with a knife, he
went to her apartment in Mesquite and kicked in the door, yelling that he
was going to kill both of them and started swinging the knife. The other
Kendrick's 8-year-old son got between his mother and Hudson and was
A witness outside in a parking lot saw Kendrick crash from the apartment
to a balcony with Hudson grabbing her by the hair, then raising his arm as
high as he could as he stabbed her 6 to 8 times. 3 wounds went to her
heart and records showed any one of them would have killed her.
Kendrick's wounded son called 911 and identified Hudson as the attacker.
Police found Hudson at a nearby convenience store. They also found in his
pocket a ladies' watch and blood-spattered money, identified as missing
from Kendrick's purse.
Kendrick's son required several operations to repair scars from his
"What an unbelieveable horror story," Rod Rohrich, a Dallas surgeon who
treated the boy and last saw him about 2 years ago, said this week. "We
fixed his scar. It had restricted his range of motion in his neck. ... I
think it looks almost normal but, of course, there were the psychological
Hudson becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death this year and
the 423rd overall since Texas resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
He becomes the 184th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas since
Rick Perry became governor in 2001.
Hudson's lethal injection was the last scheduled for this year in Texas,
which has averaged 26 executions a year over the past decade. This year's
total, while accounting for about half of the executions throughout the
country, is down in part because of a de facto moratorium on the death
penalty nationwide until Supreme Court earlier this year upheld lethal
injection as a proper method.
At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to die next year, including 6 in
Hudson becomes the 35th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1134th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Man admits role in weekend killing, HPD says
A southeast Houston man was charged with capital murder today in the
slaying of a man whose body was discovered under a bridge, authorities
A person searching for a lost dog on Sunday found the body Daniel Dwayne
Wheeler, in the grass beneath a bridge near East Orem and Mykawa, police
Wheeler, 31, had been shot multiple times, detectives said. His wife told
police he was last seen Nov. 14 at a restaurant at West Oaks Mall.
Police identified David Van Collins, 24, as the prime suspect. He was
arrested Wednesday and has acknowledged having a role in the slaying,
Collins also has given a statement about participating in an unrelated
armed robbery on Nov. 11 at the location where Wheeler's body was found,
Collins remains in the Harris County Jail without bail on the capital
murder charge. He also was charged with aggravated robbery, for which bail
was set at $50,000.
Police have not disclosed the suspected motive for Wheeler's slaying or
whether they believe that anyone else was involved.
(source: The Houston Chronicle)
Jim Mattox, a former Texas attorney general who also served in Congress
and battled Ann Richardsin a vicious primary campaign for governor, has
died. He was 65.
Mattox, a bare-knuckled political brawler while the state was still
fiercely Democratic, died at his Dripping Springs home, his sister, Janice
Mattox, said Thursday. She did not know the cause of death.
As attorney general, Mattox was head of the agency that fought efforts to
spare condemned inmates from death. In late 1983, he showed up in
Huntsville to be on hand for a midnight execution, the 2nd lethal
injection ever carried out in Texas.
An angry crowd threatened to get out of control when Mattox announced that
the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a delay. Security was tightened and the
public was never again allowed to get near the doors of the prison in the
hours preceding an execution.
Mattox continued to travel to Huntsville and was a fixture at executions
in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.
(source: Associated Press)
Readers speak out on repealing death penalty in Md.
The Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment's recommendation that
Maryland abolish the death penalty was a foregone conclusion ("Repeal of
death penalty urged," Nov. 13). The committee membership was weighted
heavily in favor of those, like state Sen. Jamie Raskin, who vocally
oppose capital punishment.
But Mr. Raskin's description of the death penalty as a "system infected
with racial disparity and arbitrariness" is inaccurate. There is no
"system," as every death penalty case has different facts and is decided
in different counties with a different combination of state's attorneys,
judges and juries.
Further, opponents once argued for the abolition of the death penalty on
the basis that the racial disparity existed among those executed. But
after Maryland executed John Frederick Thanos and Steven Howard Oken, they
now focus heavily on the skin color of the victims to prove this alleged
disparity. But, of course, the Baltimore state's attorney's office has had
many opportunities to seek the death penalty in cases involving minority
victims but has chosen not to do so.
Darren Margolis, Cockeysville
The governor is now prepared to sign legislation to abolish the death
penalty. But while I am not sold on the idea that the death penalty is a
deterrent to crime, I do believe it has its place.
There are cases so heinous that the death penalty should be an option. One
such situation is the murder of a correctional officer. If we abolish the
death penalty, what would we do as a society with a prisoner who is given
a life sentence but murders a correctional officer while serving that
sentence? Give him another life sentence and hope he doesn't do it again?
I guess that's what we will do if Gov. Martin O'Malley has anything to say
about it. If that happens, we can chalk up another win for the bad guys
and their defense attorneys serving in the state legislature.
Jerry Charles, Westminster
"Repeal of death penalty urged" (Nov. 13) notes that Gov. Martin O'Malley,
as a Catholic, is an ardent opponent of the death penalty.
What does Mr. O'Malley's Catholicism have to do with his opposition to
executing a few lowlifes, when he is an ardent supporter of the right to
abortion, which kills thousands of innocents?
This is just another example of Mr. O'Malley's hypocrisy.
Dan Beres, Perry Hall
The editorial "A needed debate" (Nov. 14) suggests debate is needed on the
very important issue of repealing the death penalty. I agree.
Indeed, I'd like to see several public debates held with representation
from both sides discussing the pros and cons of the death penalty.
These debates should be held periodically until the next election. The
question of keeping or doing away with the death penalty should then be
voted on by the citizens of Maryland.
Rick Schimpf, Pasadena
I thank the majority of the members of the Maryland Commission on Capital
Punishment for recommending repeal of the death penalty. It will be
repealed eventually - and our state will finally catch up with the rest of
the civilized world, which long ago recognized the hypocrisy of killing to
show that killing is wrong.
Legitimate studies have shown racism and geography are factors in
determining who receives the death penalty. For example, all 5 current
inmates on Maryland's death row are accused of murdering white people. And
throughout the country, the poor populate death row, as poverty is
debilitating and destructive. Those who favor capital punishment claim it
deters killing, but studies have long dismissed such a notion.
In 2009, let us repeal the law that allows the state to take someone's
life. Then those now speaking out against the death penalty can devote our
efforts to alleviating poverty.
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore
(source: Letters to the Editor, Baltimore Sun)
Pa. Court Upholds Death For Racial Shooting Spree Killer
In Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty
for a man convicted in a racial shooting spree that left 6 people dead.
The court's ruling Thursday means that Richard Baumhammers will remain on
Baumhammers, who is white, went on a rampage in suburban Pittsburgh on
April 28, 2000. He shot his Jewish neighbor, 2 Indian men, 2 men of Asian
descent and a black man.
He was sentenced to death for 5 of the murders. The 6th victim, who had
been left paralyzed, died last year of complications from pneumonia.
Baumhammers' attorney argued in March that jurors should have heard more
evidence in his criminal trial about his mental illness.
(source: Associated Press)
One defendant in Florence murders won't face death penalty
A convicted drug dealer charged with murdering 3 women at a Florence hair
salon is not eligible for the death penalty, a federal judge ruled this
Lincoln C. Benavides, 33, has denied killing the women - Brenda Patch,
Cynthia Paulus and Dorothy Harris - whose throats were slit on Nov. 6,
2001, in Harris' Hair Gallery in Florence.
Brian Weber, 31, is a co-defendant in the case and remains eligible for
capital punishment. He also has pleaded innocent to the charges.
In an order signed Monday, U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy agreed
with defense lawyers who argued that a grand jury indictment does not
accuse Benavides of personally and directly killing the victims. Instead,
the indictment alleges that Benavides "counseled, commanded, induced or
procured the killings of the victims, and such killings resulted."
The indictment charging Weber, however, explicitly lists intentional acts
leading to the triple homicide, which shook communities up and down the
In order to find Benavides eligible for the death penalty, the state had
to prove at least 1 of the following:
- That Benavides purposely killed the women.
- That he purposely inflicted serious bodily injury resulting in death.
- That he purposely engaged in conduct to create "grave risk" of death.
The men, both convicted drug dealers, were charged with a 15-count
indictment in April, with prosecutors alleging the murders were related to
a drug ring run by Benavides between 1999 and 2001.
Court records describe Benavides as the leader of a drug distribution ring
that sold methamphetamine in Idaho and western Montana. Weber was a
lower-level distributor, records state, but also an enforcer for
Benavides, beating up other dealers who didn't pay on time.
Benavides has been housed at the Ravalli County jail in Hamilton, while
Weber remains jailed in Missoula on a federal hold.
The trial is set to begin March 1, 2010, at the Russell Smith Courthouse
(source: The Missoulian)
Moratorium Proposed Again for Capital Punishment
Death penalty opponents will try again to impose a moratorium on capital
punishment in Missouri.
Some 300 groups have signed petitions calling for a moratorium until a
study determines whether the death penalty is imposed fairly. It also
seeks to answer questions like how much does the death penalty cost
"An investigation of Missouri's death penalty system could help ensure
that it is not prejudiced or biased toward certain individuals." explains
Bishop John Gaydos, Jefferson City Diocese.
Nationwide, about 130 death row inmates have been exonerated by DNA and
other new evidence including 3 in Missouri.
(source: Ozarks First)
No justice in spending a fortune on execution
The state is spending millions of dollars in an effort to execute Michael
Addison, the admitted killer of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.
Prosecutors should have stopped long ago, and accepted Addison's offer to
plead guilty to capital murder in exchange for a sentence of life in
prison with no chance of parole. Briggs's death was a great tragedy that
killing Addison will do nothing to remedy. Few experts believe that
capital punishment serves as a deterrent to murder. Spending millions more
in an effort to put Addison to death would compound that tragedy.
Since New Hampshire has the death penalty, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte
is obligated to seek it when there's strong evidence that a capital
offense has been committed. But she also has the option of accepting
offers to plead guilty to capital murder in exchange for a life sentence.
According to records unsealed by the court on Tuesday, Addison agreed to
such a deal last spring, but Ayotte declined to accept it. Since then, a
fortune has been spent to try and sentence him.
At a hearing earlier this week, jurors found Addison eligible for the
death penalty. They'll now spend weeks listening to evidence that bears on
whether he should be executed. If they vote yes, the sentence will
certainly be appealed in a process that will cost millions more. Since the
state hasn't executed anyone in so long, there's no way of estimating how
much the bill will be. The process will drag on for many years.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a study of all the
executions carried out nationally between 1977 and 2006 found that the
average time between sentencing and execution was 10.5 years. That average
increases every year. Some inmates have been on death row for two or three
decades while awaiting execution. That's an expense that raises costs
drastically and puts to lie the argument that it's cheaper to execute
inmates rather than incarcerate them for life.
Delays will frustrate everyone, but none more than the family of Addison's
victim and Briggs's fellow officers. They're unlikely to feel like justice
has been served if, 10 or 15 years from now, Addison is killed.
According to Richard Dieter, the center's executive director, it typically
costs $3 million to carry out one execution. That cost, we suspect, will
be much higher in New Hampshire because, to the state's credit, it has one
of the nation's best public defender programs. John "Jay" Brooks, the
millionaire recently convicted of murder for hire, was also found to be
eligible for the death penalty, but he was shown mercy and got a life
sentence. Brooks paid for his own defense, but as in most capital cases
taxpayers are paying both to prosecute and to defend Addison.
In many states, the vast sums spent on capital murder cases rob the
judicial system of resources desperately needed to provide timely justice
in other cases. Generally, programs that defend the indigent are hit the
hardest. The attorney general's office says that won't be true here. But
that doesn't mean that no one will suffer because of the wasted millions.
Who knows what services people won't get in order to pursue a
state-sanctioned killing, or whose jobs will be cut?
The cost of executing Addison is hardly the sole reason the death penalty
should be abolished. But in a year when every state dollar is precious,
the impact of that cost will no doubt be dramatic.
(source: Editorial, Concord Monitor)
Spare him, Addison's lawyers ask again
Lawyers for convicted capital murderer Michael Addison are again asking he
be spared the death penalty for killing Manchester police officer Michael
Briggs. Their motion was filed before the penalty phase of his trial,
which begins tomorrow.
Another motion from the state Attorney General's Office asks the court to
allow statements by Addison's now-deceased mother, saying he threatened
her. The statements are in police reports.
Also, jurors will hear Addison, 28, offered to plead guilty to capital
murder this spring in exchange for a life-in-prison-without-parole
sentence -- avoiding the death penalty -- but Attorney General Kelly
Ayotte rejected the proposed deal.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire ruled jurors
would be able to hear details of the proposed plea agreement because it
has bearing on Addison's character. The proposed plea arrangement had been
sealed until the jury found he was eligible for the death penalty Monday.
McGuire made a number of rulings Tuesday before the penalty phase begins
and jurors decide whether Addison spends the rest of his life in prison or
if he becomes New Hampshire's first death row inmate in nearly 70 years.
McGuire denied motions to allow Addison's attorneys to compare his
possible death sentence with sentences given other convicted murderers, to
limit evidence pertaining to Addison's "future dangerousness" and to
eliminate victim impact statements.
McGuire has not officially ruled on a defense motion seeking to limit the
number of Addison's crime victims who could testify and what they may say,
but has indicated she will reject the challenge, according to documents
filed by the state.
The state contends it will call only Briggs' widow, 1 of his 2 sons, his
parents and 1 of his 3 sisters to give testimony to the jury.
"The state does not intend to present victim impact testimony from any of
Michael Briggs' many friends, co-workers or extended family."
The case continues today when jurors hear instructions from McGuire. The
jury returns tomorrow for the penalty phase.
In a motion filed Tuesday at Hillsborough County Superior Court North,
Addison's attorneys say the state failed to prove Addison "purposely
killed" Briggs and, therefore, the death penalty should not be imposed.
His attorneys earlier this year challenged the state's death penalty
statute, saying it was unconstitutional, outdated and the state had failed
to establish an administrative procedure for carrying it out.
On Monday, Addison was found guilty of 3 aggravating factors listed in the
proceedings for capital murder cases:
--Addison did purposely inflict serious bodily injury resulting in his
-- Addison did purposely engage in conduct which he knew would create a
"grave risk of death."
--Addison did so purposely to avoid or prevent his arrest.
But the jury found the state did not prove that Addison "purposely" killed
Briggs. A motion filed yesterday afternoon seeks to prohibit prosecutors
from saying in court that Addison had purpose in killing Briggs or a
similar phrase such as "cold-blooded killing."
Defense attorneys have said Addison was merely reckless when he spun
around and shot Briggs in the head in an alley on Oct. 16, 2006, but did
not kill the officer on purpose.
In making the motion, Addison's attorney referred to the capital murder
case of John Brooks, recently convicted and sentenced to life in prison
"A man who committed a purposeful, premeditated and deliberate capital
murder less than ten miles from Manchester did not receive a death
sentence," they wrote.
However, Addison will not be able to make the same case to jurors because
McGuire barred attorneys from comparing his case to other homicide
In her order, McGuire says comparing murder sentences risks confusing and
misleading the jury, as each sentence should reflect the circumstances of
State law requires mandatory review of capital cases by the Supreme Court,
she notes, and the high court's examination of a sentence's
proportionality "serves as a check on the discretion of the jury."
McGuire denied a defense motion to eliminate victim impact statements from
the penalty phase, noting it is inconsistent with lawmakers' strong
support for crime victims.
She notes victim statements are considered in all other criminal
"It would make little sense to prohibit the sentencing body from
considering such statements in capital cases, where the impact on the
victim's family may be great," she wrote.
(source: Union Leader)
Jury to hear instructions on penalty phase of Addison case
The jury that convicted Michael Addison of capital murder and determined
he was eligible for the death penalty returns to court today to hear
instructions from the judge on the next phase of the case.
On Friday, jurors will start the final task of sentencing Addison to death
or life in prison without the possibility of parole in the fatal shooting
of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs.
They will hear testimony as they consider their decision. They will be
hearing from Addison during the sentencing phase.
(source: WHDH News)
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