[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----PENN., OHIO, OKLA., FLA.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Feb 20 22:12:16 CST 2012
Judge keeps death penalty on table in Allentown slaying----Uriah O'Carroll is
accused of gunning down Marcus Eggleston in July.
An Allentown man charged with killing a foe over a paternity dispute and
shooting the rival's mother failed to convince a Lehigh County judge to prevent
prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.
Judge Maria L. Dantos ruled this month that Uriah O'Carroll, 19, must face all
charges he's been slapped with and also could be put to death if convicted of
O'Carroll is charged with homicide for the July 19 killing of 20-year-old
Marcus Eggleston outside a College Street, Allentown home. He's charged with
attempted homicide and aggravated assault for allegedly grazing Eggleston's
mother, 42-year-old Sandy Lynn Falwell, in the head with a bullet.
O'Carroll is also charged with 7 counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly
putting 7 people in danger of being shot.
O'Carroll's attorney, public defender Richard Webster, argued in court
documents that 5 of the reckless endangerment charges should be dismissed
because 5 of the alleged victims did not testify at a preliminary hearing and
there was no evidence they were "placed in danger of death or serious bodily
injury" by O'Carroll.
Webster also asked Dantos to prevent prosecutors from seeking the death
penalty, saying there was no evidence that anyone besides Eggleston was placed
"at grave risk of death" as required under the aggravating circumstance
authorities have cited in their reason to seek the death penalty.
"To allow the within matter to proceed as a capital case violates defendant's
constitutional rights to due process based on the added time and expense
necessary to research and present mitigation evidence as well as the additional
time for individual jury selection," Webster argued.
Dantos shot down the requests, saying evidence shows O'Carroll allegedly shot
Falwell in the head and five bullet strikes were found to the outside of the
house and one was found inside the home — all near where people were standing.
Dantos said that evidence supports the allegation that O'Carroll placed all
seven people "in danger of death or serious bodily injury," thus providing
enough evidence for the reckless endangerment charges and the aggravated
circumstances needed for prosecutors to seek death.
The shootings occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. in an alley between N. Fourth
and N. Fifth streets, outside 124 N. College St., police said. Emergency crews
performed CPR on Eggleston, but he died on the way to the hospital.
Falwell previously testified she was grazed by a bullet on the top of her head,
which she said severed an artery. She said she spent four days in the hospital
because of the wound.
She testified she has known O'Carroll for about a year because of issues her
son had with him over a woman, Raven Vining. Both men believed themselves to be
the father of her child.
She said that on July 19 she got a call from a friend who lives at the College
Street home asking her to get her son because he was possibly going to fight
with O'Carroll. She arrived at 10:30 p.m. and talked to her friend and others
for about an hour.
For some "unexplainable" reason, her son walked out of the house at 11:30 p.m.
and she followed him out, she testified. Once she got outside, she saw
O'Carroll was about 10 feet away from her son when he pulled a gun out of his
waistband and shot him in the chest, she testified. O'Carroll then turned the
gun on her and fired, knocking her back into the home, Falwell said.
(source: Morning Call)
Capital punishment argument rages in Ohio----The debate over the death penalty
law is heating up as the state is about to try its second capital case in a
The debate over Ohio's death penalty laws is heating up, just as Butler County
is about to try its second capital case in less than a year.
What police say was a random act of violence ended the life of an elderly
Middletown man last May. The suspect in his slaying, Victor Gantt, faces a
possible death sentence when his trial begins Tuesday.
In the past 5 years, Butler County has had 8 cases that qualified for the death
penalty. Most recently, a jury spared Hector Alvarenga-Retana's life after his
murder trial last November. He was convicted of killing of 2 rival gang
members. Warren County hasn't had a death penalty case since 2008, after Michel
Veillette murdered his family in Mason. He committed suicide in jail before the
case went to trial.
Gantt is accused of beating 75-year-old Leroy Jones to death with an ax. Police
said Gantt broke through a glass door, attacked Jones and then trashed his
Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress says because the slaying occurred while Gantt
was allegedly robbing and burglarizing Jones, the case qualifies as a capital
Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser declined to comment on the Gantt case.
Ohio has become a focal point because one of the senior members of the Supreme
Court, Justice Paul Pfeifer - who helped draft the 1st constitutional death
penalty laws in the state - has publicly opposed the death penalty. Now
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has asked the justice to recuse himself
in all death penalty cases and any case from his jurisdiction. Pfeifer has made
comments about the large number of death row inmates that hail from Hamilton
(source: Associated Press)
Prisons chief says Okla. needs execution options
Oklahoma is running out of a drug it uses to execute inmates, leaving the state
looking at options to put people to death for capital crimes.
Under the law, the state could try to find a substitute drug. If an appellate
court finds an injection of lethal chemicals unconstitutional, Oklahoma's
default option is electrocution, but the state prisons chief said Monday he
doesn't believe courts would permit that. The firing squad is the other option
allowed under the law.
Oklahoma has 4 doses remaining of pentobarbital, an anesthetic drug that
manufacturers have objected to selling for use in executions, Department of
Corrections Director Justin Jones said. Two executions are set for next month,
and it's not clear what Oklahoma would do if it exhausts its supply.
"The manufacturers don't want to sell it for that use," Jones told The
Associated Press. "I think you're going to see that for decades to come."
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center,
said other anesthetic drugs exist. During executions, pentobarbital causes the
person to lose consciousness, then vecuronium bromide stops the breathing, and
potassium chloride stops the heart.
"If pentobarbital has to be substituted for, that may well be possible," Dieter
said. "It is probably not as likely the state would say go back to
electrocution or firing squad."
The Oklahoman reported Monday on the shortage.
Last year, Oklahoma passed a law that allows people to be executed using "drug
or drugs," instead of naming which drugs can be used.
Jones said that, for multiple reasons, electrocution is likely not an option.
The attorney general and corrections agency have asked legislators to ban
electrocution, and the state's unwired electric chair — "a piece of antiquated
machinery" — is in a museum at the Department of Corrections, Jones said.
"Our preference would be to continue to access that particular anesthesia
(pentobarbital)," Jones said.
State Rep. Randy Terrill said the 1st option should be to find an alternative
"The bigger issue is this private European pharmacy wanting to play with public
safety policy," Terrill said.
Terrill said another option would be to restrict pharmaceutical companies from
selling other drugs in Oklahoma if they refuse to sell drugs for use in
Lethal injection in Oklahoma began in 1990. The state used a different drug,
sodium thiopental, in a 3-drug combination, but a shortage of execution drugs
hit the United States in 2010. Hospira Inc., the Lake Forest, Ill.-based
manufacturer of sodium thiopental, announced it would stop producing the drug
because authorities in Italy wanted to ensure the drug from its plant there
would not be used in executions.
Oklahoma switched to using pentobarbital. Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., which
produces pentobarbital, objected and asked Oklahoma to stop using the drug in
executions. Prison officials said last year no changes were planned.
Garry T. Allen was scheduled for execution last Thursday, but he was granted a
30-day stay and is now due to die March 17. Fallin's legal team is considering
a clemency recommendation from the state Pardon and Parole Board.
Timothy Stemple is scheduled to die March 15.
Since 1915, the state executed 3 women and 177 men, according to the Department
of Corrections. The majority, 97 people, were executed by lethal injection. 82
people were killed by electrocution and one by hanging. The last time a person
was executed by firing squad was in 2010 in Utah, according to the Death
Penalty Information Center. The last electrocution was in 2010 in Virginia.
Veteran defense attorney James Rowan, a board member of the Oklahoma Coalition
to Abolish the Death Penalty, welcomed the news of the shortage as "wonderful."
However, Rowan said, "I'm sure they will find something equally lethal to take
(source: Associated Press)
Death or life? Penalty phase of Patrick Wharen's trial under way
A phase of trial that will determine if Patrick Wharen Sr. will spend his life
in prison or face a death sentence in a 2008 double-homicide began this
A jury found Wharen Sr., 41, guilty of 2 counts of 1st-degree premeditated
murder on Thursday. The same jury will determine Wharen Sr.’s fate in the 2nd
phase of trial, which is expected to last 2 days.
Prosecutors are asking jurors to choose the death penalty.
Wharen Sr. killed his estranged wife, Kelly Wharen, 34, and a 19-year-old man,
Jonathon Vuick. Wharen Sr. apparently suspected his wife and Vuick were having
an affair, but his wife claimed Vuick was the fiancé of a daughter she’d given
up for adoption years ago.
The night of April 4, 2008, Wharen Sr. went to the Frontenac home his wife
shared with Vuick. An argument involving his daughter and his wife followed.
Defense attorneys said the confrontation pushed Wharen Sr. over the edge.
Prosecutors maintained he went to the home to kill his wife and Vuick.
Wharen Sr. shot his wife once before his son, Patrick Wharen Jr., 15 at the
time, tried to stop him. They struggled and the 45-caliber gun fired, wounding
both father and son.
Wharen Sr. continued to the home, where he fired 7 shots through the front
door, hitting Vuick 6 times. He pursued his wife, who fled into the home, and
shot her again several times, killing her.
(source: Associated Press)
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