[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----ILL., OKLA., USA, PENN., WYO.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Oct 15 17:52:14 CDT 2008
Damm eligible for death penalty
Convicted of murder, David Damm moved slower and stiffer Tuesday as jurors
decided if his murder case should take one step closer to the death
Damm, who was found guilty Thursday of arranging Donnisha Hill's death in
2006, briefly talked to his mother in the courtroom following the
half-hour eligibility hearing Tuesday.
He smiled, and his eyes lit up as they conversed.
A Jo Daviess County sheriff's deputy then motioned Damm to the door, and
he was led to a wheelchair waiting just outside the courtroom.
Jurors returned about an hour later, ruling the case met the criteria for
the death penalty based on the murder-for-hire allegation.
Another required criteria, that Damm was 18 or older at the time of the
crime, wasn't disputed by the defense.
Damm turns 61 on Nov. 1.
Damm wasn't in the courtroom Tuesday morning for the jury's eligibility
decision because he was headed to Freeport for a medical treatment.
Prosecutor Richard Schwind of the Illinois Attorney General's Office
argued that the case met the criteria for capital punishment based on 3
factors --- because Hill was killed as part of a financial agreement
between Damm and the killer, to keep her from testifying in a sexual abuse
case and because she aided the state in a criminal investigation.
Waterloo police were focusing on Damm in a molestation probe in October
2006, and Hill said he had encounters with her in his office and at his
home. She also gave her mother a semen-stained paper towel.
"The evidence was getting closer and closer and closer," Schwind told
jurors. "He couldn't talk her out of it. He couldn't get her to lie ...
The best way to prevent somebody is to kill them."
The day after Waterloo detectives told Damm that Hill was sticking to her
story and DNA tests were months away, Damm called his friend Bruce Burt.
Burt, who testified for the state as part of a plea agreement that kept
him off death row, said Damm agreed to give him $5,000 and a car to make
the girl disappear.
Burt said he beat her to death with a hammer and cut her neck outside
Damm told jurors he hired Burt to help Hill run away, not kill her. The
defense suggested Burt killed the girl when she resisted Burts sexual
advances after they left Waterloo.
Mark Lyon, who is representing Damm, told jurors he had "not one whisper
of complaint or criticism" regarding the guilty verdict.
But Lyon asked jurors to carefully consider their task.
He noted it was possible jurors may have convicted Damm of murder using a
"felony murder" theory. Under that, jurors could have decided that Damm
hadn't planned to kill Hill, but he was taking part in the crime of
kidnapping, and she died as a result of that offense.
"I don't know if that was part of your considerations or not," Lyon said.
A little more than an hour later, jurors had their answer. They found Damm
eligible for a death sentence under the murder for hire provision --- -
that Damm procured another to commit the slaying for money or something of
They didn't find the case eligible under the other 2 criteria --- - that
the killing was carried out to keep her from testifying or because she had
The jury did have a question about those 2 factors during their
All that was needed to move the case to the next level was a finding on
one of the criteria.
(source: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)
AG seeks execution date for Tulsa killer
Attorney General Drew Edmondson on Tuesday asked the Oklahoma Court of
Criminal Appeals to set an execution date for Tulsa County death-row
inmate Darwin Demond Brown, 31.
Brown was convicted of the February 1995 murder of Richard Kevin Yost, 30,
during a robbery at a convenience store in the 200 block of North Garnett
Edmondson's request came after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Brown's final
(source: Tulsa World)
Respect life essay: We should join to end the death penalty
(For Respect Life Month in October, The Catholic Messenger solicited
essays from high-school students on a pro-life issue. The Messenger will
print 1 essay from each grade level weekly through the end of the month.)
According to the Catholic tradition and my belief, capital punishment is
wrong. I think it is my duty to do my best to follow the Ten Commandments.
One of the Ten Commandments says, "Thall shall not kill." Therefore, the
death penalty goes against the Catholic and Christian beliefs.
There are many people who have been killed by capital punishment. Some of
these people were actually innocent. This is just one of the flaws of
using the death penalty. With our court system, it is one person's word
against anothers supported by physical evidence. The judges and jury of
the court are human beings, just as God made us. Humans make mistakes.
These kinds of mistakes have cost people their lives.
Many people think the use of the death penalty as an option for punishment
will decrease crimes, especially murders. A recent survey of former and
present presidents of the country's top academic criminological societies
has shown that this is not the case. States that have capital punishment
actually have a higher rate of murders compared to the states with no
death penalty. The same is true for Europe and Canada. They do not have
the death penalty and still have lower murder rates than the United
In other words, these studies have shown that the death penalty does not
deter criminals from committing the crime. If someone has his mind set on
committing a crime, not much will stop him, even the threat of death. Most
of the criminals dont plan on getting caught.
The death penalty is not the only way to punish criminals. There are many
alternatives for punishing criminals. Some people even say that lifetime
imprisonment is a worse punishment than death because it does not give the
criminal an easy way out. Trained professionals understand how to deal
with people who commit crimes. For example, rehabilitation can be used to
improve the persons lifestyle. Prison makes the criminal reflect on his or
her choices and gives the person time to think about how to change his or
her ways. A dead person cannot change. An important choice such as this
cannot be reversed.
The cost of using capital punishment is many times more than supporting
life in prison. According to the Urban Institute in Maryland, a single
death penalty case costs $3 million, 3 times the cost of normal cases. The
California Commission for the Fair Administration of Justice calculates
the cost of its current system to be $137 million per year. The commission
estimated the cost for a system without the death penalty to be $11.5
As a nation, we should work together to abandon the death penalty. There
are several other options that would be more effective. I believe it is
our duty as citizens to fight for the rights of not only ourselves but of
our fellow Americans. Death is not the answer!
(source: Catholic Messenger----Ariana Aquilani is a 10th-grader at Prince
of Peace College Preparatory and member of Prince of Peace Parish, both in
May sentenced to die
For the 3rd time in his life, Freeman May Thursday heard a jury determine
he should die for the 1982 stabbing death of Kathy Lynn Fair.
The jury of 6 men and 6 women deliberated for about 4 hours Thursday
before returning to Judge John C. Tylwalk's courtroom with their unanimous
decision. The panel had to decide whether the 51-year-old May should be
executed or spend the rest of his life in state prison for Fair's murder.
In March 1991, May was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to die
for killing the 22-year-old Lancaster woman. That death sentence was
overturned by a state appeals court, and he received a 2nd sentencing
trial in 1995. That sentence was also overturned.
After Thursday's verdict was announced, Tylwalk formally sentenced May to
die, and told him that he could appeal his sentence. Under state law,
May's sentence will be automatically reviewed by the state Supreme Court.
May showed no outward reaction when the verdict was read. He had nothing
to say before he was sentenced.
District Attorney David Arnold said the jury's verdict was appropriate in
this case. He said this is the 3rd jury to decide that May should die for
the murder of Fair.
"From my perspective, Freeman May should have been executed a long time
ago," Arnold said.
He said he hoped the next round of appeals can be concluded quickly.
Defense attorney John Kelsey said he was "very disappointed" by the jurys
"I thought that we presented an overwhelmingly powerful case of the abuse
that this man dealt with as a child, and we had some very convincing
experts who could explain the issues in such a way that the jury should
have been able to understand," the defense attorney said.
He said an appeal will be filed of May's latest death sentence.
(source: Lebanon Daily News)
Accused triple-murderer facing death penalty
Prosecutors today announced that they will seek the death penalty against
a Scranton man accused of killing 3 people at a South Scranton home in
Randal Rushing, 25, was unemotional at a hearing this afternoon in front
of Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo, where District Attorney Andy
Jarbola announced the office's decision to pursue the death penalty.
Rushing is facing more than 16 criminal counts, including 3 counts each of
1st- and 3rd-degree murder.
Police were called to a home at 1604 S. Irving Ave. at about 7 a.m. July
17. There, they discovered the bodies of Justin Berrios, 20, and brothers
Dustin Hintz, 22, and Leslie Collier, 16. 4 others including Mr. Rushings
former girlfriend Samantha Hintz, 19, and the 2-year-old son she had with
Mr. Berrios were found uninjured when police arrived.
(source: Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice)
Moorcroft woman faces possible death sentence
A Moorcroft woman accused of killing her husband has been bound over to
Sandie Rena Akers is charged with 1st-degree murder and faces a possible
She was bound over Tuesday after Circuit Judge Fred R. Dollison heard
evidence from both the prosecution and the defense. At the end of the
preliminary hearing, Dollison ruled there was enough evidence for the case
In July, Michael Akers was found dead near the front seat of the couple's
Chevrolet motor home, his body wrapped in a tan blanket.
An autopsy showed he was stabbed 6 times in his chest, side and back and
had several cuts on his neck. One was a deep gash that cut his carotid
artery and it was believed to be the fatal blow.
Akers, 49, claims she killed her husband in self-defense, telling police
the stabbing happened during an early morning struggle. Akers went to the
police station with her pastor Robert Smoot and confessed to the killing.
She had a small scrape on the bridge of her nose and a bruise under her
left eye, according to court documents.
Crook County prosecutor Brian Wells said his office hasnt decided whether
to pursue the death penalty.
(source: Gillette News Record)
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