[Deathpenalty] [SPAM] death penalty news----N.Y., ALA., N.C., OHIO, FLA.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Apr 10 10:02:32 CDT 2012
(see attachment announcement)
ALABAMA----stay of impending execution
Ala. court delays scheduled execution for Grayson
The scheduled Thursday execution of Alabama death row inmate Cary Dale Grayson
has been delayed by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The Alabama Department of Corrections said the Supreme Court had stopped the
execution Monday. Officials with the Alabama Attorney General's office could
not be reached for comment on whether the state would appeal the decision. Last
month the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the scheduled execution of
death row inmate Tommy Arthur after his attorneys challenged a change that had
been made to the drugs used in Alabama executions.
Grayson was 2 of 4 teenagers convicted for the 1994 torture and murder of Vicki
Lynn DeBlieux, who was hitchhiking on Interstate 59. She was beaten and her
body was thrown off a cliff and later mutilated.
(source: Associated Press)
Inmate charged with capital murder undergoes mental testing
Witnesses gave expert testimony Monday at the Atkins hearing for a St. Clair
Correctional Facility inmate charged with two counts of capital murder.
3 witnesses testified before St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Phil Seay
regarding the mental status of Taurus Carroll, 34, and additional testimony
will resume at 9 a.m. today.
Carroll is charged with the Sept. 14, 2009, capital murder of Michael Turner,
24, who was serving a 3-year sentence from Montgomery County for robbery and
conspiracy to commit robbery.
St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said any criminal defendant in
Alabama who alleges they are mentally retarded must have an Atkins hearing to
determine whether or not they are eligible for the death penalty.
Minor said the Code of Alabama defines mental retardation as “a person with
significant sub-average general intellectual functioning resulting in or
associated with concurrent impairments in adaptive behavior and manifested
during the developmental period.”
Minor said to meet that definition, the defendant first must show significant
sub-average intellectual functioning—an IQ of 70 or below. 2nd, the defendant
must show significant or substantial deficits in adaptive behavior. 3rd, those
problems must have manifested themselves during the developmental period,
before age 18. In order to be classified as mentally retarded under Atkins in
Alabama, all 3 of those criteria must be met.
Minor said an individual found by the court to be mentally retarded cannot
receive a sentence of death under U.S. and Alabama law.
Susan Wardell, a mitigation specialist, testified as an expert about the social
history she compiled based on records and interviews with Carroll and members
of his family.
“I met with Taurus Carroll for 5 hours face-to-face,” she said. “I interviewed
9 family members, all older, many who lived with him and were able to provide a
view of Taurus from an adult standpoint.”
Wardell said she learned from Carroll that he had great difficulty in school,
that his mother was an alcoholic who drank while she was pregnant with him,
that he grew up without a father figure and that he was abused.
“Any of these risk factors in a person’s life, none of which he has control
over, create a toxic environment,” she said.
Wardell said adaptive behavior is the activities of daily living, whether you
have the skills to care for yourself, such as cooking a meal or figuring out
which bus to take to reach a destination.
Wardell testified she believes Carroll has significant deficit in adaptive
functioning behavior, and that it manifested prior to age 18.
Minor asked Wardell if she did not want to see Carroll receive the death
“No, I don’t want to see him get the death penalty, but I’m not going to lie,”
she said. “I do this so the jury can know about the whole person.”
Wardell testified Carroll could show goal-oriented behavior, but that based on
testimony of family members he was always a follower and never a leader.
She said her research and interviews were indicative of someone who has mild
Dr. Robert Shaffer, a clinical psychologist who testified as an expert in
clinical psychology, said Carroll’s recent IQ test resulted in an IQ of 71 and
that a 70-75 range is the maximum range eligible to qualify for Atkins due to a
five-point margin of error with the test.
Shaffer testified he performed a number of neuropsychological tests on Carroll,
but did not reissue an IQ test due to the practice effect where individuals
score better every time they take a test.
Shaffer testified that the Flynn effect, which accounts for the gradual
increase in average intelligence in the general population of about 0.3 IQ
points per year after a test is standardized, would decrease Carroll’s IQ test
score by 1.5 points, because Carroll took the IQ test five years after it was
“An IQ score of 69.5 gives the true measurement of comparison,” he said.
Shaffer testified that in his opinion, Carroll consistently falls in the range
of mildly mentally retarded and that it manifested prior to age 18.
Defense attorneys Dennis Rushing and Don Hamlin rested their case, and the
state called its 1st witness, Dr. Susan Ford, director of Psychological &
Behavioral Services for the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
Ford, who testified as an expert on mental retardation, said she administered
an oral test that differs from an IQ test in that the comparison group for the
oral test is people who have mental retardation.
“The average scores of this test are not average of the general population,”
Ford said if a person scores average on the test, it indicates that person is
“In the 10 domains (each of which is scored either extremely low, below
average, average, above average or superior), he scored superior in 5 and above
average in 5,” she said. “No scores warrant a mental retardation
Ford said during the test, she asked Carroll follow-up questions to verify the
levels of abilities he claimed to have.
“He held a job in the prison kitchen or bakery,” she said. “He used a big mixer
in the kitchen and explained how to turn it on and what ingredients he used to
make biscuits. A lot of times people won’t lie, but they will feel they can do
more than they really can. I wanted to make sure I didn’t ask him just yes or
Ford testified most mentally retarded people she knew would be unable to pass a
GED, which Carroll failed the 1st time and passed the second time.
“A mentally retarded person might pass some parts of it (the GED) orally, but
it requires a higher learning to pass the whole test,” she said.
Ford said although Carroll indicated he was in learning disability reading
classes in school, he attended regular classes in math.
“Mentally retarded people tend to function equally across the board,” she said.
“But someone with a learning disability would have highs and lows in different
areas. And on a GED or IQ test, they might score lower than they are actually
capable. Someone who is brilliant might have a learning disability.”
Ford testified the Flynn effect is not recommended by the American
Psychological Association, and that the margin of error with the IQ test could
mean Carroll functions at a level higher than the 71 score.
Carroll is currently serving life without the possibility of parole stemming
from a 1998 capital murder conviction in Jefferson County.
He was removed from the general inmate population in September 2009 after
Turner was stabbed to death.
According to the first count of the indictment Carroll “did intentionally cause
the death of Michael Darrell Turner by stabbing him with a prison made knife,”
and that Carroll caused that death after having been convicted of another
murder within the last 20 years.
The 2nd count of the indictment, also for capital murder, stated Carroll
intentionally caused Turner’s death while under the sentence of life in prison.
(source: The Daily Home)
Taft murder case is rare capital trial
It has been 2 years since a murder that shocked Raleigh; a seemingly random
beating of a state school board member.
Monday, jury selection began in the trial of Jason Williford. Police say he
raped and killed 62-year-old Kathy Taft as she was recovering from surgery at a
friend's house in Raleigh in March of 2010.
One of the big breaks in the case, was a DNA link between a cigarette at the
scene and Williford. His attorneys unsuccessfully tried to get that piece of
evidence thrown out.
The murder of Taft lingers in the minds of family and friends like Pat Dunn, a
former Greenville mayor who knew Taft well.
"Whether it's the death penalty or life in prison without parole, this is what
you don't want this person to be out on the street ever with the opportunity to
do this again," said Dunn.
The quest for justice includes the possibility of the death penalty. For the
1st time in 2 years in Wake County, there will be a capital murder trial.
Wake County District Attorney Colin Willoughby said the state is going for
capital punishment because of "the brutality and the fact that someone was in
their home and were randomly selected for violence."
He knows it's a tough and expensive fight.
"It takes a tremendous commitment of resources on the defense and prosecutors
side," Willoughby said. "We try to be selective and look at only those few
cases that we think really warrant this type of commitment of resources."
Though people might think that the death penalty would save taxpayer dollars by
taking the criminals out of the prison system, a two-year study out of Duke
University found the opposite was true. Death penalty cases actually cost a lot
more public money.
"I found that the extra cost to the taxpayers was about $11 million a year,"
said Philip Cook, a professor of public policy and economics. His research
looked at more than a thousand murder cases, and found extra costs in death
penalty cases. For example, the suspect gets two state-appointed lawyers
instead of one.
Cook said, "There are extra costs at every step along the way."
He says jury selections and trials take longer. And despite the extra costs, a
death sentence is rarely the outcome.
"I found of every 25 cases that were selected by the DA for capital
prosecution, only one resulted in a death sentence," said Cook. Death penalty
convicts also have more chances to appeal.
North Carolina's last execution was a man named Samuel Flippen, who was
convicted in Forsyth County (which includes Winston-Salem). He was put to death
by lethal injection on Aug. 18, 2006.
(source: NBC News)
Faith Leaders Want Mercy For Ohio Death Row Inmate
More than 200 religious leaders are asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to spare a man
scheduled for execution next week for fatally stabbing a 15-year-old boy during
a farmhouse burglary.
Ohioans to Stop Executions and People of Faith Against the Death Penalty say
they submitted a Monday letter to Kasich on behalf of about 230 faith leaders.
They ask that the sentence of 49-year-old Mark Wiles be commuted to life in
prison without parole.
The Ohio parole board has recommended against clemency.
Wiles' attorney says he's remorseful and has accepted responsibility for his
actions in the 1985 slaying in Portage County.
The April 18 execution would be Ohio's 1st in 6 months after a federal judge
ruled the state narrowly demonstrated it's serious about following its lethal
(source: WLKY News)
Guilty plea expected in threat case----Ex-death-row inmate accused of
retaliating against Putnam Co. judge
Former Ohio death-row inmate Kenneth Richey is to plead guilty Friday to a
charge related to threatening a Putnam County judge who was a prosecutor on the
1986 case that landed him on death row.
Richey, 47, of Tupelo, Miss., is expected to enter a guilty plea to an
unspecified felony that could land him in prison for "no more than" 3 years,
said Todd Schroeder, an assistant Putnam County prosecutor. Sentencing is set
for May 7.
Richey was indicted in January by a Putnam County grand jury on charges of
retaliation and violating a protection order. Authorities say he left a
threatening message for Judge Randall Basinger on the clerk of court's
answering machine on New Year's Eve. Both charges are third-degree felonies
that carry a possible penalty of 6 months to 3 years in prison.
Mr. Schroeder said he did not want to release details of the proposed plea
agreement with Richey. "Things can change," he said. "If Mr. Richey were to
change his mind, I don't want to suggest to the public what he may have been
willing to acknowledge."
Gregory Meyers, an attorney with the Ohio Public Defender's Office who is
representing Richey, could not be reached for comment.
Richey was convicted in 1987 of setting a fire at a Columbus Grove, Ohio,
apartment that killed 2-year-old Cynthia Collins. He was sentenced to death,
but in 2008 -- after 2 decades on death row -- a federal appeals court
overturned Richey's conviction because of problems with the arson evidence that
led to his conviction.
The court ordered a new trial in Putnam County, but Richey pleaded no contest
and was convicted of attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment,
and breaking and entering. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, given credit
for time served, and released.
As part of Richey's 2008 sentence, a civil protection order was imposed that
prohibited him from contacting Judge Basinger and 20 other individuals
associated with his case. Richey, who had been diagnosed with anti-social
personality disorder, had made repeated threats over the years, including a
threat to "cut the throat" of Judge Basinger, who was an assistant county
prosecutor when the case began in 1986.
In the most recent charges that brought him back to Putnam County, Richey
allegedly left a message for Judge Basinger saying, "I am in Ohio. I'm coming
to get you."
The 2008 protection order was to remain in effect for five years "or until Jan.
7, 2013" unless modified or dismissed by the court. Mr. Schroeder declined to
say if he would ask for the protection order to be extended but said the order
would "be included in our discussion on Friday."
Richey, a dual U.S. and Scottish citizen who returned for a time to his native
Scotland in 2008, is being held in the Putnam County jail.
(source: Toledo Blade)
Relatives of victims happy to see David Alan Gore’s execution day is almost
With the long-awaited execution of serial killer David Alan Gore now just 2
days away, the reality of what’s about to take place is sinking in for those
making the trip to Starke.
Jeanne Elliott says her stress level has gone up considerably since Feb. 28,
the day Gov. Rick Scott signed Gore’s death warrant.
That’s not the case with her ex-husband, Carl Elliott.
“The closer it gets, the better I feel,” he said.
Their 17-year-old daughter, Lynn Elliott, was the last of Gore and cousin Fred
Waterfield’s 6 murder victims. Gore shot her to death on July 26, 1983.
Almost 29 years later, the moment Carl and Jeanne — now 81 and 69, respectively
— have been waiting for is now in sight. They both plan on being in the front
row for Thursday’s execution. They want to see Gore, who will be strapped on a
gurney, carted into the execution chamber and given the lethal injection. Once
that happens, he should be pronounced dead within 10 minutes.
The state gave potential witnesses to the execution a DVD to watch, preparing
them for what might happen Thursday. They were warned, for example, Gore may
make a final statement — or he might not.
“The (DVD) sort of prepared you emotionally,” Carl said.
Carl and Jeanne will be joined in the execution viewing area by several
relatives and a close friend.
Their son, Jason Elliott, has not decided whether he will witness the
execution. He will give his uncles and cousins 1st opportunity, should seating
Jason, who lives in Orlando, will drive his parents to Starke.
“I’m looking forward to it for my parents,” he said. “It’s great that it’s
happening, but more so for them.”
Lee Martin also plans to witness the execution. She is the mother of Regan
Martin, who was abducted with Lynn Elliott but survived the ordeal.
Regan Martin, now 43, is married with two kids and living in Georgia. “I know
that I am not going to witness the execution. I really don’t want to see his
face again,” Regan Martin said. “My husband will be going in my place and of
course my mother will be there.
“There are a lot of people from my past that I would like to see — to support
some and to let others know that I am OK and doing well, but I also value my
privacy. I may go and stay in the background, in the waiting area. I’m not sure
Gore and Waterfield killed 4 girls and 2 women in the early 1980s.
Gore was sentenced to death for the Elliott murder. Waterfield is serving life
without parole at the Okeechobee Correctional Institution for the deaths of 2
14-year-old girls, Barbara Ann Byer and Angel LaVallee.
Members of both the Byer and LaVallee families plan to witness the execution.
“I just think I should be there,” said Barbara Ann’s father, Mike Byer, who
lives in North Carolina. “We really owe it to (Barbara Ann) to see it through.”
DAVID ALAN GORE EXECUTION
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Florida State Prison in Starke
Why: Sentenced to death in 1984 for the 1st-degree murder of Lynn Elliott
Mike said he made the decision to attend after reading “The Serial Killer
Whisperer.” Pete Earley’s book — which includes graphic letters from Gore — was
published in January.
“The book just kind of made me sick,” he said.
Nancy Byer will join her husband of 46 years as a witness.
“I want to see it finalized — done with,” she said. “This execution needs to
happen. It needs to happen for so many people. … We’re all left with this
Gerri LaVallee says she often thinks of her late husband, Dick, and the
stepdaughter she never knew (Angel).
“He and Angel are constantly with me,” she said. “I wake up at night thinking
Her husband was never the same after Angel was killed, she said. He died in
1997 at age 57.
“My husband should be by my side for this,” she said.
It’s a shame Gore has outlived some family members of the victims.
For Judy Kay Daley, who was Gore’s 3rd victim, Hildie Tripson is planning to
witness Gore’s execution.Hildie’s husband, Mark, is a cousin to Mike Daley,
Judy Kay’s husband.
“I don’t know how it works in heaven, but I feel comfortable doing this for
Kay,” Hildie said.
Some people against the death penalty asked Hildie why she would want to be a
She tells them: “Don’t you think Kay was against dying the way she died? She
didn’t have a choice at that moment.”
Mike Daley, who lives in California, said he will be unable to make another
cross-country trip to attend the execution. He and his brother were in Florida
just last month.
“I don’t need to be there,” he said. “He’ll be just as dead when it’s over.”
Meanwhile, Barbara Ann Byer’s father, Mike, isn’t a death penalty advocate by
any means, but he believes executing Gore is the right thing to do.
“It’s just something that needs to be done,” he said. “I don’t take pleasure in
it. It’s just something that needs to be done.”
Will the execution bring closure to the victims’ families?
Jeanne Elliott described it this way:
“I don’t know if you’d say it’s closure, but it’s a weight that comes off you.”
A tremendous weight, for sure.
(source: TC Palm)
Detective Details Work in 1981 Slayings As Killer Awaits Death Penalty----Tom
White still frustrated by case of condemned David Alan Gore
Detective Tom White knew David Alan Gore was a killer well before he murdered
his 4th, 5th and 6th victims. He just had a hard time proving it.
But he came close — frustratingly close.
White was with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office when Judy Kay Daley
disappeared in July 1981. Gore, who is set to be executed Thursday for
murdering his final victim, soon became his prime suspect. He later suspected
Gore was tied to the disappearance of a Taiwanese woman and her daughter, and
his gut told him their bodies were buried in the orange grove where Gore
worked. He spent a week digging before giving up.
More than 2 years later, after Gore was arrested for killing 17-year-old Lynn
Elliott, Gore took authorities to the same spot. White watched while 2 drums
containing chopped-up body parts were unearthed just feet from where he stopped
digging. Now, almost 29 years later, White's voice is still tinged with
frustration as he thinks about how close he came to solving 3 slayings before
Gore went on to kill 3 other girls.
"They were like 5 or 6 feet away, inside the drums," White said about the
remains of 17-year-old Ying Hua Ling and her mother, 48-year-old Hsiang Huang
Ling, who disappeared in February 1981. "I couldn't believe it."
White, now 67 and a former Vero Beach mayor, grimaced and shook his head,
searching for the words to describe how he felt when his instincts proved
"I just … I totally … I, I was just so … If I just went …," White stopped and
started. "If I just did this. If I just went over a little bit more."
He let out a big sigh.
White kept his eye on Gore, or at least tried to, after he began investigating
the disappearance of Daley, a 35-year-old woman visiting from California. She
disappeared from Round Island Beach, where someone had disabled the car she was
using. Someone called Daley's relatives and said she was having car trouble and
wouldn't be able to pick up her teenage daughters from another beach about 15
White received a tip that Gore was seen at Round Island Beach that afternoon.
"So I checked with David and said, ‘What were you doing around Round Island?'
He said, ‘I was going to check the tides. I wanted to see what the tide was
doing.' I said, ‘You work in a grove,'?" White recalled.
Then he received another tip that Gore was at a pay phone with blood on his
shirt about the same time Daley's relatives received the call about her car
"David became my prime suspect. Because now this became too much of a
coincidence," White said.
The shirt had been washed, so the blood evidence was gone, but investigators
found two hairs in a bracket holding a two-way radio in Gore's truck. White
called Daley's husband in California, and he shipped White his wife's
hairbrush. Daley's hair matched the two strands found in Gore's vehicle.
"I took that to the assistant state attorney and they said, ‘Without a body and
without more evidence, we're not issuing a warrant for David," White said.
White remained convinced Gore was responsible, but the man got a lawyer and
stopped talking to investigators.
Bob Stone, who was the state attorney at the time, remembered Gore's being a
"Everybody that I talked to in law enforcement, they thought he did it," Stone
said. "No way to prove it."
Gore was arrested days later after he was found in the backseat of a Vero Beach
police officer's wife's car. He was shirtless and had a cocktail in one hand
and a gun in the other. He also had handcuffs, rope and a police scanner. Gore
was sentenced to 5 years in prison, though he was paroled and served only about
1½ years. White tried talking to him about the Daley case while he was in
prison, but he refused.
So White interviewed Gore's wife. She told him they got into a fight earlier
that year when the family dog pulled two bras that weren't hers out of the back
of his truck. Gore drove her to the orange grove, started up a backhoe, put the
shovel onto the ground and stopped. He sat there for a while, then shut the
machine off and drove her home.
"It gave me the impression that because his wife saw the bras, he was thinking
in the back of his mind, that he was going to kill his wife. And she's
convinced of that, too, that he was going to kill her that day and put her in
the ground. And for some reason, he changed his mind," White said, adding that
the bras she described sounded like the sizes the Lings would have worn.
He thought there were bodies in the grove, so he and another officer, along
with inmates from the county jail, dug a trench 6 feet deep and about 100 feet
long. They found nothing. But even after Gore was released from prison, he
remained under White's surveillance.
"I just had a feeling that he was going to do it again," White said.
However, Gore's mother complained to then-Gov. Bob Graham's office, and a
supervisor told White to leave Gore alone.
White said he argued: "You know he's guilty. We've got to find out - he's going
to slip up."
"No. You're ordered to stay away," White was told.
A message left on Graham's cellphone asking to talk about the case wasn't
Again, White's instincts proved correct. Shortly after being released from
prison, Gore kidnapped, raped and murdered 14-year-old Orlando girls Barbara
Ann Byer and Angelica Lavallee in May 1983. Then in July, he kidnapped and
raped Elliott and her 14-year-old friend.
Elliott tried to escape, running naked from Gore's parents' house with her
hands tied behind her back. Gore ran naked after her and shot her dead in the
driveway. A boy riding his bike witnessed the killing and went home and told
his mother, who called 911. Gore was captured and the 14-year-old rescued. Gore
ultimately admitted to and was convicted of all 6 murders.
(source: Associated Press)
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