[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS, PENN., ARK., N.C., GA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Oct 11 11:59:26 CDT 2008
TEXAS----numerous impending executions
12 Texas inmates face execution in next 6 weeks
The crowd on A-Wing A-Section at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Polunsky Unit is about to get thinned.
A dozen condemned inmates in the so-called "death watch" cells on Texas
death row are set for lethal injection over the next 6 weeks.
2 are scheduled for this week. 2 next week. And 2 more the week after
that. Then 6 more in November, adding to Texas' standing as the nation's
most active death penalty state.
"It's just the way of Texas," Alvin Kelly, who on Tuesday is the 1st of
the 12 set to die, said last week from a tiny visiting cage at the prison.
"Will crime stop? Will my death stop what's going on in everyday society?"
asked Kevin Watts, scheduled to die 2 days later. "They're just killing
When the U.S. Supreme Court last year informally halted executions around
the country to examine the constitutionality of lethal injection
procedures, the de facto moratorium didn't stop capital murder appeals
moving through the courts. For many of the inmates now with dates, their
convictions and sentences were upheld either before or during the hiatus.
The Supreme Court's 7-2 decision in April holding that injection was not
unconstitutionally cruel allowed executions to resume, and 9 have been
carried out in Texas already this year, the most in the nation.
Now a flurry of those cases that were upheld is reaching the legal and
Kelly, unlike some of his fellow prisoners, said he's looking forward to
dying, although he insists evidence was manipulated and he's innocent of
fatally shooting Devin Morgan, a 22-month-old child, in East Texas in
1984. The toddler's parents, Jerry and Brenda Morgan, were gunned down at
the same time.
"I've diligently served the Lord here," said Kelly, 57, who already was
convicted of another murder and in prison when he was charged in the Gregg
County case. "It's time for me to go home. I'm ready. I embrace it.
"I'm tired of being here," said Kelly, who's been on death row since 1991.
"This is not life."
The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to review his case and Kelly's
lawyer said he was not optimistic the execution could be stopped.
"I don't want a stay," Kelly said. insisting he posed no problems to
officers taking him to the death chamber in Huntsville "unless they're
going to bring me back."
Watts, 27, set to die Thursday, was convicted of the execution-style
shootings of 3 people during a robbery at a San Antonio restaurant in
"I've never said I was innocent," Watts said. "I said I was guilty from
Watts, however, contended jurors in his case never were allowed to hear
anything good about him, and instead only were told of his history of
violence and drug abuse.
When he returned earlier this year to Bexar County to appear before a
judge and receive his execution date, he exploded in court with an
"I might have screwed myself," he said. "But I never had a chance to speak
for myself, how I was railroaded, how I had an inadequate attorney, how
this is not about justice.
"But there's no hate in my heart. I understand there are consequences to
Evidence showed Watts ordered 3 people at the Sam Won Garden restaurant in
San Antonio to their knees at gunpoint, then shot each in the back of
their heads. Killed were Hak Po Kim, 30, son of the Korean restaurant's
owner, and 2 cooks, Yuan Tzu Banks, 52, and Chae Sun Shook, 59. In
addition, Kim's wife was abducted, tortured and raped, but survived to
testify against Watts.
Other inmates set to die this month include:
Joseph Ries, 29, on Oct. 21, convicted of breaking into a rural home in
Hopkins County in northeast Texas, fatally shooting the man who was
sleeping there and driving off in his car. Ries was 19 at the time of the
slaying of 64-year-old Robert Ratliff.
Bobby Wayne Woods, 42, on Oct. 23, convicted of the 1997 murder of Sarah
Patterson, the 11-year-old daughter of his ex-girlfriend. The child and
her 9-year-old brother were abducted from their home in Granbury, about 25
miles southwest of Fort Worth. She died after her throat was slashed. Her
brother, Cody, was choked into unconsciousness but survived.
Eric Nenno, 47, on Oct. 28, convicted of the 1995 rape and strangling of a
7-year-old neighbor girl, Nicole Benton, in Hockley, about 30 miles
northwest of Houston. 2 days after she disappeared, the girl's body was
found in the attic of Nenno's home.
Gregory Wright, 42, on Oct. 30. Wright, who was homeless, was convicted of
taking part in the 1997 fatal stabbing of Donna Duncan Vick, at her home
in DeSoto, about 15 miles south of Dallas. Duncan, a 52-year-old widow,
regularly ministered to the homeless and had given Wright food, shelter
Besides the 6 more set to die in the 1st 3 weeks of November, at least 6
other inmates already have execution dates for early in 2009.
(source: Associated Press)
Victim's sister forgives killer
Lisa Fair finally got the chance yesterday to say what she has been
wanting to tell Freeman May, the man convicted of killing her sister 26
"I've learned the power of forgiveness," the pastor from Cincinnati, Ohio,
told jurors who will decide next week whether the 51-year-old May will die
by lethal injection or spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Lisa Fair told the jury that she forgave May for the stabbing death of her
"I feel my sister would have forgiven him," she said. That was what her
sister believed, Lisa Fair said. Lisa and Kathy lived together in a
Lancaster apartment at the time of Kathys disappearance on Sept. 4, 1982.
She said her sister's murder had torn apart her family, but they all had
the same experience after her death.
"The miracle of it was every one of us turned to God," Lisa said.
Roger and Marie George, Fair's parents, and a sister, Cynthia Rubendall,
all testified for the prosecution Thursday. The district attorney's office
is seeking the death penalty against May, formerly of Narvon. 2 other
death sentences May received after his 1991 1st-degree murder conviction
were overturned by the courts.
Kathy Fair's remains were found in 1988 in a wooded area of South Lebanon
Township. Several months after Fair disappeared, May stabbed 2 young women
and raped 1 of them in the same wooded area where Fair's remains would be
found. He was convicted and sentenced for those crimes.
In other testimony yesterday, defense witness Phyllis Pautrat, a
psychotherapist from Philadelphia, testified that May had adjusted well to
life in prison. She completed an evaluation of May for the sentencing
While waiting for trail on charges related to the stabbing of 2 women and
raping 1 of them, May earned a GED while in Lebanon County prison, Pautrat
said. Between 1983 and 1988 when he was in the general population of the
State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, he received a number of
certificates for completing courses in prison and was involved in raising
money for Big Brothers by participating in a run-a-thon inside prison
walls, she said.
But during cross-examination by District Attorney David Arnold, she
conceded that she was personally opposed to the death penalty, but, she
said, that did not affect her evaluation of May.
May's trial resumes Monday.
(source: Lebanon Daily News)
Motion claims death penalty statute unfair - Defendant in UA student
slaying wants death penalty off the table
A Fayetteville man should not face the death penalty for the stabbing
death of his 24-year old exgirlfriend, according to a motion filed by his
Zachariah Marcyniuk, 29, is charged with capital murder and burglary. He
is accused of fatally stabbing Katharine "Katie"Wood on March 9. Wood was
a senior English major at the University of Arkansas.
Fayetteville attorney W. H. Taylor argued in the motion to prohibit the
death penalty on constitutional grounds that the defendant is doomed to
death if the jury finds just 1 aggravating factor. The jury must also find
him guilty if mitigating circumstances do not outweigh aggravating
"Under such circumstances, the Arkansas capital murder scheme becomes a
mandatory death sentence. As such, it does not let a jury show mercy upon
a particular defendant despite whatever finding are made," the motion
The law does not provide any definition or procedure to differentiate
between capital murder and the lesser charge of 1st-degree, which does not
carry the death sentence, according to the motion.
The death penalty is justified in this case because the "defendant
committed the murder in an especially cruel and depraved manner, "
according to an earlier motion filed by 4 th Judicial District Prosecutor
Marcyniuk has a violent history.
Marcyniuk pleaded guilty in July 2005 to aggravated assault and was
sentenced to 2 years of probation. He was accused in that case of holding
a gun to his head and threatening to commit suicide while driving 70 mph
as he held his girlfriend against her will in the vehicle.
That same girlfriend filed three orders of protection against Marcyniuk
during 2005, according to court records, before he eventually found
another girlfriend and apparently left her alone.
He is being held without bail in the Washington County Detention Center on
charges of capital murder and residential burglary.
If convicted of capital murder, Marcyniuk faces either life in prison
without parole or the death penalty. He could get between five and 20
years in prison and a fine of up to $ 15, 000 on the burglary charge.
The case is set for trial on Dec. 8.
(source: Northwest Arkansas Times)
Lawyer challenges Ark. law on death sentence
A lawyer for a man accused of killing a student at the University of
Arkansas at Fayetteville is challenging the constitutionality of laws
setting out capital murder and the death penalty.
Zachariah Marcyniuk is to stand trial in December for the March 9 stabbing
death of his ex-girlfriend, Katharine Wood of Greenbrier. An English
major, Wood was found dead in her apartment off campus.
Marcyniuk has been charged with capital murder, which carries a penalty of
death or life in prison without parole. His lawyer, W.H. Taylor, says
Marcyniuk would be doomed to death if the jury finds him guilty and finds
just 1 aggravating factor. Taylor says the Arkansas capital murder scheme
does not let a jury show mercy for a defendant and amounts to a mandatory
death sentence. He also says the law does not provide anything to
differentiate between capital murder and the lesser charge of 1st-degree
Prosecutor John Threet has said the death penalty is justified in
Marcyniuk's case because the "defendant committed the murder in an
especially cruel and depraved manner."
(source: Associated Press)
DA to decide on seeking death penalty
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall plans to announce Oct. 28
whether he'll pursue the death penalty against six young men accused of
murdering 20-year-old Josh Bailey.
Authorities say Matt Johnson, 21, shot Bailey in the head with a 9 mm
pistol after the group had begun to dig a shallow grave. In addition to
Johnson, Brian Minton, 18, Jacob Maxwell, 18, Jack Johnson II, 19, Ryan
Ladar, Davis Lee, 20, and Brandon Greene, 26, are being held without bail
on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Woodall also plans to announce Oct. 28 whether he'll pursue the death
penalty against Kenneth White, 40, who is accused of shooting 20-year-old
Ebony Robinson, who was 8 months pregnant with his child, and Randall
Standifer, 50, charged with killing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend on
In Chatham County, Barbara Clark, 42, avoided a capital trial this week by
pleading guilty to two counts of 1st-degree murder and submitting to two
consecutive life sentences for the beating deaths of 2 elderly women.
Already Woodall's office is pursuing capital cases against Demario
Atwater, accused of shooting Eve Carson, UNC-Chapel Hill student body
president; Bobby Person, accused of stabbing his mother to death in
Chatham County; and Louis Wilson, accused of raping and killing Tracy
Baldwin after she confronted him about stolen money.
Atwater's alleged accomplice, Laurence Lovette, cannot receive the death
penalty because he was younger than 18 when Carson was killed.
The Orange-Chatham judicial district has not sent anyone to death row
since 1973, and no crime in those counties has been punished by death
(source: News & Observer)
Start of Jolly death penalty trial likely to be delayed
It's unlikely that the case of a Macon man charged with fatally shooting a
Bibb County deputy in 2006 will go to trial as scheduled in January,
according to the Bibb County District Attorney's Office.
Damon Jolly, 22, appeared in Bibb County Superior Court for the 1st time
Friday morning since being reindicted in the death of deputy Joseph
Jolly could face the death penalty if convicted of shooting Whitehead as
the deputy helped serve a no-knock warrant March 23, 2006.
Jolly was reindicted Sept. 23 by a Bibb County grand jury in a 34-count
indictment including drug and firearm offenses.
Assistant district attorney Kim Schwartz said the prosecution has filed a
motion to adopt the record from the previous indictment, but some pretrial
issues will have to be reargued before the court.
She said it's not unusual for a case to be reindicted as an investigation
"We reached the point where we thought it was appropriate," Schwartz said
of the timing of the new indictment.
Jolly was previously scheduled to stand trial in Savannah, with jury
selection beginning Jan. 12, 2009.
Jolly's attorneys requested that the case be tried outside Bibb County
because of pretrial publicity.
Antron Fair, 24, also was named in the new indictment, but is being tried
separately from Jolly. Fair also could face the death penalty if convicted
in connection with Whitehead's killing.
2 other men, 23-year-old Thomas Porter and 31-year-old Hassan Shirell
Harclerode, also are charged with murder in the case because of their
alleged participation in drug activity, but are not facing the death
Phone messages left for Jolly's attorney, Jeffrey Grube, were not returned
A date for Jolly's arraignment under the new indictment has not yet been
(source: Macon Telegraph)
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