[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----ARK., KAN., MISS., CALIF., VA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Oct 30 17:06:44 CDT 2008
2 Charged In Slaying Of Pine Bluff Couple
Authorities have filed capital murder charges against 2 people for the
August slaying of a couple whose bodies were found in their burning home.
20-year-old James Jordan III of Grady, and 20-year-old Jeremy Dewayne
Gipson of Pine Bluff, are also charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated
burglary, arson and theft.
Killed were 79-year-old Cleophas Boyd and 76-year-old Minnie Boyd. They
were found in late August as their home burned.
Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty.
Prosecutors say the 2 used a baseball bat to beat the Boyds and then stole
the couple's car. Jordan and Gipson are being held without bond at the
Jefferson County Jail. They were arrested a few days after the murder but
prosecutors waited until Tuesday to formally charge them.
(source: Associated Press)
Defense Seeks to Move Murder Trial Out of Reno Co.
Defense attorneys want a change of venue in the death penalty case of a
Kansas man charged with sexually assaulting and killing an 85-year-old
Lawyers in the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit filed a motion this week
asking District Court to move the trial of 44-year-old Marvin Gifford Jr.
of McPherson out of Reno County. A hearing on the request is scheduled for
Gifford is charged with sexually assaulting Pearl Arthaud on May 18 in her
assisted-living apartment in Buhler. He's also accused of sexually
assaulting 2 other elderly women in Reno County in April.
Gifford's attorneys also want the court to suppress statements Gifford
made to investigators on June 3, the day of his arrest.
Gifford's trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 20.
(source: Associated Press)
Teens accused in Moss Point slaying will avoid the death penalty due to
All 5 suspects arrested in connection with last week's fatal shooting of a
Hattiesburg man will appear in Moss Point City Court at 9 a.m. Tuesday,
police Chief Sheila Smallman said.
Moss Point Detective Sgt. Joycelyn Craig said no more arrests are expected
in the case. "We think we've got everyone involved," she said.
Darwin Wells Jr., 15, confessed to killing Michael David Porter during an
attempted robbery Oct. 23 at the Conoco convenience store near the corner
of Grierson Street and Miss. 63 in Moss Point, Craig said.
Telvin James Benjamin, 14; Terry Hye Jr., 15; and Alonzo Kelly, 17, were
All 4 teens are charged with capital murder for their roles in Porter's
death and will be tried as adults.
Capital murder in Mississippi usually carries the death penalty as a
possible sentence, but because of their ages, all 4 will face life in
prison without possibility of parole if convicted.
The U.S. Supreme Court on March 1, 2005, voted 5-4 to forbid the execution
of offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were
"When a juvenile offender commits a heinous crime, the state can exact
forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the state cannot
extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of
his own humanity," the order stated.
The fifth suspect Melody Jones, 39, of Moss Point was arrested Tuesday
and charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder. Craig said
Jones' nephew, Hye, told her about the shooting incident, and she told the
boy, "don't worry about it."
If convicted, Jones could face up to 5 years in the state penitentiary.
Porter, 44, and his wife, Linda, were on their way to their grandson's
football game between Gautier High and Forrest County Agricultural High
School when they missed their exit and turned off on Miss. 63 to ask for
directions, Craig said.
According to Craig, the teenage suspects attempted to rob Porter, who
struggled with them while trying to flee. As the Porters were driving off,
Wells fired at their black 2001 Mercedes, Craig said. A bullet pierced the
driver's-side window and hit Porter in his side. He was pronounced dead at
Singing River Hospital.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said the teenagers would remain in
lockdown at the Adult Dentition Center until their initial hearing because
they are charged with a capital offense.
CALIFORNIA----new death sentence
Man Gets Death Sentence For Killing 2 Women, Teen
In Torrance, a man who murdered 2 women and a teenage girl in their homes,
raped 2 of the victims and sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl was
sentenced to death Thursday.
Torrance Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold handed down the jury's
recommendation that Barry Wendell Mosley, now 49, be put to death for his
Mosley was convicted of 3 counts of 1st-degree murder for the April 17,
1999, killings of Shirley Austin, 54, and her 17-year-old daughter, Bessie
Carter, and the June 7, 2000, slaying of Adrienne Reed, 29.
All 3 were strangled, and Reed and the teenager were raped.
Jurors also convicted Mosley of 1 count each of attempted murder and
aggravated sexual assault involving Reed's then-8-year-old daughter, and
found him guilty of residential burglary charges involving the 2 homes.
The jury found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during
a rape, murder during a sodomy, murder during a burglary and multiple
(source: CBS News)
Prosecutors Drop 1988 Case Against Condemned Man
Faced with prosecuting a man who already has 3 death sentences, Arlington
County prosecutors yesterday dismissed a capital murder indictment against
Alfredo R. Prieto, although they reserved the right to re-charge him if he
successfully appeals his convictions.
Prieto, 42, was convicted in Fairfax County in March of killing Warren H.
Fulton III and Rachael A. Raver, whom he also raped as she lay dying, in a
vacant lot near Reston in December 1988. Not long after killing them,
Prieto moved to California, where in September 1990 he raped and murdered
15-year-old Yvette Woodruff.
But before the Fairfax slayings, another similar homicide occurred in
Arlington in May 1988. Veronica "Tina" Jefferson was found raped and
murdered behind McKinley Elementary School. She was shot to death, as were
the other 3 victims.
For many years, the killings of Jefferson, Raver and Fulton were unsolved.
And even after DNA technology showed that the same person killed them all,
there was no suspect.
Meanwhile, Prieto had been arrested days after the Woodruff slaying in
1990, and he was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992. He was placed
on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
Prieto's DNA, however, was not entered into a national data bank until
years later. When Fairfax cold case detectives routinely submitted their
DNA from the three unsolved Northern Virginia cases in 2005, it matched
Watching Prieto's appeals slog through the California justice system,
then-Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. and Arlington
Commonwealth's Attorney Richard E. Trodden elected to indict Prieto for
the slayings in Virginia and extradite him. Fairfax decided to try him
Arlington prosecutors had been moving forward with a trial set for March.
Yesterday, Arlington Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos
asked Chief Arlington Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman Jr. to dismiss
the case against Prieto without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled.
Defense attorney Jason S. Rucker did not object, and Newman dismissed the
Jefferson's mother, Velda Jefferson of Lawton, Okla., said she
"wholeheartedly" supported the decision. Jefferson had attended two
lengthy trials in Fairfax -- the first a mistrial, the second a conviction
and death sentence -- and said: "I'd rather not go through it again. He's
guilty. I know he's guilty. We can only kill him one time. I don't want to
sit there and look at him all that time."
A death penalty trial is expensive, particularly when the state must pay
for the defense's legal fees, expert testimony and witness transportation
and housing. Seeking a fourth death sentence for Prieto "just doesn't
justify the expense," Stamos said.
Rucker, appointed by the Arlington court along with his father, Denman A.
Rucker, to represent Prieto, attended some of the Fairfax trial, had been
preparing for the Arlington trial and had been cleared to hire expert
witnesses. He did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Jefferson, 24, was an Oklahoma native who had moved to Northern Virginia 2
years before her death to work as an accountant at the CIA. But she was
homesick, her parents told The Washington Post in 2001, and was due to
travel home to Lawton later in May 1988 to discuss returning there.
The jury in the 2nd Fairfax trial heard detailed testimony about
Jefferson's slaying in the sentencing phase, and Velda Jefferson testified
about the impact of her daughter's killing.
Shortly after his sentencing in May, Prieto was moved to the Arlington
jail, and proceedings started there. Stamos said attempts to reach a plea
agreement with Prieto were unsuccessful.
Prieto is also a suspect in a fifth slaying, the September 1989 death of
Manuel F. Sermeno in Prince William County, prosecutors said. He has not
been charged in that case.
(source: Washington Post)
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