[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----UTAH, GA., N.C., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Nov 23 18:38:52 CST 2008
Man Escapes Death Penalty In Decades-Old Murde----Griffin Sentenced To
Life In Prison
Jury recommends life in prison without parole for Glenn Howard Griffin in
the 1984 beating death of convenience store clerk Bradley Newell Perry The
man who murdered a convenience store clerk in Brigham City back in 1984
will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of
"He's where he needs to be and we're satisfied with the deal," said Newell
Perry who is the victim's father.
In 1984, Brad Perry was working the graveyard shift at convenience store
when he was brutally murdered during a robbery.
The case was cold for more than 2 decades. Then 3 years ago DNA testing
linked Griffin to blood found on a dollar bill, which police say he gave
as change to 2 men while pretending to be an attendant at a gas pump just
after the killing.
After 2 hours of deliberations, a jury voted unanimously to send Griffin
to prison for life. They could have given him the death sentence. The
victim's family says the jury made the right decision.
"We all feel as a family that that's what we wanted justice and mercy and
we got both," said Brad's mother Claudia Perry.
"In all reality this decision would have been what brad would have voted
for if he had been there. It's brad's verdict," said Brad's brother Lee
Perry who happens to be a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol.
"It was a very violent death for a very peaceful person he would have done
anything for anybody," said Brad's sister Valerie Odenthal.
First District Court Judge Ben Hadfield will formally sentence Griffin on
(source: KUTV News)
Federal appeals court to hear Troy Davis case Dec. 9
The federal appeals court in Atlanta will hear arguments Dec. 9 on whether
death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis can continue to challenge his
conviction in the killing of a Savannah police officer, a state official
Russ Willard, spokesman for the Attorney Generals Office, said a 3-judge
panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on
whether Davis can file a 2nd federal challenge to his conviction.
The 11th Circuit issued a stay of execution 3 days before Davis, 40, was
scheduled to die Oct. 27 for the 1989 murder of Officer Mark MacPhail.
It was the 3rd time since July 2007 that Davis has been spared the death
penalty by a late court decision.
Defense lawyers have tried to win a new hearing for Davis since several
witnesses who identified him as the killer came forward and changed their
testimony, saying that another man shot MacPhail.
The officer was working off-duty as a security guard at a bus station when
he rushed to help a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped at a nearby
parking lot. The 27-year-old was shot twice when he approached Davis and 2
Davis lawyers say new evidence proves their client was a victim of
Prosecutors have said the case is closed. In court hearings, they said
some of the affidavits repeat what a jury trial already has heard, while
others are irrelevant because they came from witnesses who never
District Attorney Spencer Lawton also said he doubts the new testimony
meets the legal standards for a new trial. And while the recantations may
seem persuasive to some, Lawton said, "to others of us it invites a
suggestion of manipulation, making it very difficult to believe."
Davis was set to be executed in July 2007, but Georgia's pardons board
postponed the execution less than 24 hours before it was to be carried
Over the next few months, a divided Georgia Supreme Court twice rejected
Davis' request for a new trial, and the pardons board turned down another
bid for clemency after considering the case again.
Then, 2 hours before his scheduled Sept. 23 execution, the Supreme Court
issued a stay. A few weeks later, the high court cleared the way for the
execution when it decided not to give Davis another hearing.
Widow of Nichols victim took gun into courthouse; Candee Wilhelm says she
forgot pistol was in her purse
The widow of the one of Brian Nichols' murder victims brought a gun with
her to Nichols' murder trial Tuesday.
Candee Wilhelm carried the gun past the security screeners on the 1st
floor of the Atlanta Municipal Courthouse, where the Nichols trial is
being conducted, according to a person with direct knowledge of the event.
Sheriff's deputies discovered the .380-caliber pistol during a 2nd
security screening outside the courtroom. Wilhelm told investigators that
she had forgotten the pistol was in her purse. She was not arrested.
After Nichols escaped custody at the Fulton County Courthouse and killed 3
people there on March 11, 2005, he killed Wilhelm's husband, David
Wilhelm, at the house the Wilhelms were building in Buckhead.
Superior Court Spokesman Don Plummer announced Wednesday that a gun had
been found on Tuesday on a woman entering the trial security area. He said
on Nov. 13 a razor had been found on a man in the same security area.
Plummer said the names would not be released until District Attorney Paul
Howard's office made a decision on whether to charge either the man or the
woman for violating a state law about bringing weapons into a public
The man was Mark Nichols, Brian Nichols' brother, according to a person
who has read the sheriff department's reports on the incidents.
Nichols' mother, Claritha Nichols, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
that her son's having the razor was accidental. It was the 1st day he had
come to the trial and he had an extra blade for his barber's razor in his
pocket. Mark Nichols is a barber in Fort Lauderdale.
"They took and threw it away," Claritha Nichols. "It was very innocent."
The Nichols death-penalty trial was moved to the Atlanta Municipal Court
because 3 of the killings took place at the Fulton Courthouse.
The jury convicted Nichols on the 4 murders and assorted other crimes on
Nov. 7. Jurors are now hearing evidence on whether to sentence Nichols' to
(source for both: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Judge's widow testifies at death penalty hearing
Officer's daughter: "He didn't deserve to die. He did not do anything
"I hope the love of my life did not suffer," judge's wife says
Judge's daughter feels as "heartbroken and as lonely" as day father was
Nichols could be sentenced to the death penalty
Relatives and friends of a judge and court reporter killed in a 2005
shooting at Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse took the stand Thursday in
the penalty phase of the gunman's trial.
Claudia Barnes testified about losing her husband, the judge who was shot
by Brian Nichols.
Some wept as they spoke of how the deaths have affected their lives and of
their continued struggles with sadness, fear and anger.
Claudia Barnes, widow of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland
Barnes, recalled asking permission to hold her husband's hand one last
time before his body was cremated.
"He and I held hands constantly for 13 years," she said.
She remembered running her hands over the judge's face -- over the temple,
where the bullet fired by escaped prisoner Brian Gene Nichols entered his
head -- and over the judge's beard, which she always kept trimmed.
"I hope the love of my life did not suffer," Claudia Barnes said softly,
reading from prepared notes.
"My faith in God has allowed me to remain sane. ... At times, it almost
seems too much for me, but I try to do the best that I can." She said her
life with the judge "was not long enough."
Nichols, 36, was convicted this month of 54 counts including capital
He overpowered Fulton County Deputy Cynthia Hall on March 11, 2005, as he
was being led into Barnes' courtroom to face a 2nd trial on rape charges.
Nichols then took Hall's gun from a lockbox and fatally shot three people
at the courthouse: Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann Brandau and Fulton
County Deputy Sgt. Hoyt Teasley, who attempted to apprehend him outside
Nichols was also convicted of killing David Wilhelm, a federal customs
agent, hours later at Wilhelm's home in the Buckhead section of Atlanta.
Jurors heard victim impact statements Thursday as part of Nichols' penalty
phase, in which they will decide whether he will receive the death penalty
sought by prosecutors.
Courthouse shooter guilty of murder, faces death
As relatives of his victims spoke, Nichols appeared somber, with his eyes
downcast, but showed no further emotion.
"Nothing anybody does will bring my daddy back," said an emotional Kiley
Barnes, the judge's daughter.
She said her father raised her from age 2 and "made it his life's work to
conquer becoming a single parent."
She recalled her father asking her to bring him her Barbie doll and show
him how to create pigtails on either side of her head, and said the judge
once literally gave the shirt off his back to a man at a Christmas party
after the man complimented him on it.
She said her father shared his passion for the law with her, and she
remembered how proud he was at her college graduation, as she was one step
closer to becoming a lawyer.
Kiley Barnes said she was hoping that after Nichols' conviction, she would
feel better because justice had been done.
"Instead, I feel as heartbroken and as lonely as I did on March 11, 2005,"
Brandau's daughter, Christina Scholte Greenway, was an 18-year-old college
freshman at the time of the shootings. She told jurors her mother could
not attend her graduation from college or nursing school or her wedding
"My husband never got a chance to meet my mother," she said. "I know in my
heart that she would have loved him. ... I walked down the aisle wearing
Brandau's sister, Trudy Brandau, said she lost the only remaining member
of her immediate family. The two sisters had grown close after the deaths
of another sister and both parents, she said. "Julie's death changed
everything in my life."
Candee Wilhelm told jurors about her husband's death and how she was
"ripped in two" when he was killed.
"David was simply the most wonderful person I will ever know," she said.
Both she and sister-in-law Allison Wilhelm spoke of Russell, Wilhelm's
mentally challenged brother, who was especially close to him. David
Wilhelm planned to become his guardian when his parents grew too old to
care for him, Allison Wilhelm said.
Candee Wilhelm said she was adopted, and her husband helped her through
the difficult process of locating her birth mother. The woman died in
2006, she said, but "in a way, she was a gift from David."
She remembered looking at her husband's body in the funeral home. "As I
stood there looking at this handsome man, bruised and battered from his
murder, I remember thinking, 'This isn't my husband.' I touched his hand,
his arm, his leg. David wasn't there anymore. I touched his hair. It was
the only thing that really seemed familiar and real to me."
Teasley's widow, Deborah, told jurors she had thought of the courthouse as
a "safe haven" for her husband.
"I hate to think that he was dying outside on the street," she said of her
husband. "But the truth is, he was."
She said her husband "was and still is our hero. He was the love of my
life, my husband and my friend."
Deona Teasley said she was in the 3rd grade when her father died.
"Why did someone do this to such a good person?" she asked. "He didn't
deserve to die. He did not do anything wrong. ... We meant the world to
him, and he meant the world to us."
Death penalty to be sought in '06 killing
Prosecutors will ask jurors in Forsyth Superior Court this morning to
decide on the death penalty for a man convicted of robbing and killing a
cab driver in 2006.
Testimony finished yesterday in second phase of the trial of James Ray
Little III. On Monday, jurors convicted Little, 22, of first-degree
murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon in the
slaying of cab driver Bira Gueye, 47, on Oct. 5, 2006.
After final arguments this morning, jurors are expected to begin
deliberating. If they do not agree on the death penalty, Little will serve
life in prison.
(source: WInston-Salem Journal)
Triple-slaying suspect could face death penalty
The fired high-tech engineer accused of murdering 3 executives at a Santa
Clara semiconductor company could face the death penalty if convicted,
prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jing Hua Wu, 47, allegedly shot his former co-workers to death Friday,
just hours after he was fired from SiPort for what the company said was
At his 1st appearance in Santa Clara County Superior Court since being
arrested Saturday, Wu was shackled at the wrists and ankles. His head was
bowed as he shuffled into the courtroom.
During the brief proceeding for arraignment, the Mountain View father of
three quietly conferred with his attorneys from the public defender's
office. The only word audible to spectators was "yes," when he was asked
to confirm that the court had his correct name and date of birth.
He did not enter a plea and was ordered to return to court Dec. 18. Judge
Jerome Nadler ordered him held without bail.
The shootings killed SiPort chief executive Sid Agrawal, 56; human
resources manager Marilyn Lewis, 67; and vice president of operations
Brian Pugh, 47. All 3 victims were found in Agrawal's office and died at
A funeral was held Wednesday for Agrawal in Fremont. A memorial service
for Lewis has been scheduled for today in San Jose, and a celebration of
Pugh's life is set for Friday in Los Altos.
Wu had worked for SiPort for 2 1/2 years as an engineer in testing and
Witnesses told police they saw Wu return to SiPort's office on Scott
Boulevard within hours after he was fired Friday. After hearing gunshots,
the witnesses saw Wu with a handgun, according to documents filed with the
court by Santa Clara police investigators.
Wu was arrested the next day after police spotted him walking through a
parking lot in Mountain View. Investigators said they had found a 9mm
handgun in a rental car that Wu was driving, which was parked nearby. They
believe it was the gun used in the killings.
Wu has been charged with 3 counts of first-degree murder, 3 related gun
counts and one special circumstances count for allegedly killing multiple
people. If convicted, he faces life in prison without possibility of
parole or the death penalty.
"We have not made a decision as to whether to seek the death penalty. That
is a decision that will take many months," Deputy District Attorney Jeff
Rosen said outside the courtroom.
In addition, he said, "we haven't had any discussions at this point about
what the victims wish in terms of punishment of the defendant. We're
giving them time to grieve."
One of Wu's attorneys, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ogul, said he had
met briefly with his client before arraignment. "All we can tell you is
that he's very sad and distraught about the situation," Ogul said.
Karen Cai, who said she was a longtime friend of Wu's, sat in the
courtroom during his arraignment and later spoke with reporters. Through a
translator, she said in Mandarin that she and other friends were "very
shocked" by the allegations.
Wu, she said, "is very shy, a very nice person and very good to his family
and his friends."
Wu and his wife own 19 houses and vacant lots around the country worth
more than $2.4 million, according to public documents reviewed by The
Chronicle. Asked why his client needed free representation by a public
defender, Ogul said, "All we know is that right now he's been unable to
retain counsel, so he has to have somebody for today. We'll see what
develops over time."
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
More information about the DeathPenalty