[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----OHIO, ARIZ., CALIF.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sun Feb 26 13:01:10 CST 2012
A killer’s words----Charles Lorraine writes his life story on death row
Ohio death row inmate Charles ''Chucky'' Lorraine called the elderly Warren
couple he befriended and then murdered in 1986 ''the 2 nicest people you would
ever want to meet.''
''But that night this happened, I was at a friend's house and they was getting
high, smoking weed and drinking, and they were shooting drugs that was new to
me. I never been around or saw anybody ever do that before,'' Lorraine wrote
last May 15 when he reduced his life story to 17 typewritten pages.
He titled it ''Where I Went Wrong and How I Got to Where I am Today.''
Lorraine, 45, who has spent the last 25 years in prison awaiting execution,
forwarded the autobiography to members of the Ohio Parole Board when he was
preparing to present his case for clemency in November.
The hearing was recorded on video and viewed by Trumbull County Prosecutor
Dennis Watkins, who successfully argued against clemency on Dec. 13 before the
execution was halted by a federal judge, who declared the state was not
following its own protocol for carrying out the death penalty.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear any arguments, leaving the case in the
federal appellate court, where arguments are scheduled well into the summer.
In Watkins' copy of the inmate's life story, the prosecutor who put him on
death row after a capital murder trial made at least 11 notes in the margin of
what he called lies, or at least claims by Lorraine that have never came to
light in the last 25 years. The prosecutor calls the document self-serving and
one of the final attempts to have his death penalty set aside.
After reading the document, Watkins was quick to point out that Lorraine's
account of ''shooting up drugs'' before the murders was never substantiated by
any of the friends he was in contact with immediately before or after the
murders of Raymond Montgomery, 77, and his wife, Doris, 80.
''Lorraine clearly knew what he was doing. He bought drinks for friends at the
Olympic (Inn) and even stole a car after he killed the Montgomerys,'' Watkins
The prosecutor said Lorraine's recollection of putting on rubber gloves after
he was inside the Montgomerys' home doesn't fit with his confession to police,
when he admitted that he put the gloves on before entering the house, a clearer
indication of intent to kill.
Watkins also says that instead of Lorraine's account of being scared the
morning after the murder, Lorraine was actually trying to pawn Mrs.
Montgomery's diamond wedding ring and having breakfast at Denny's Restaurant.
Watkins also said that although Lorraine doesn't offer any explanation for why
he murdered, he can refer to trial testimony from a relative of the defendant
who pointed out 2 days before the murder and while they were playing bingo that
the next time he is locked up it would be for killing someone.
Lorraine starts his story from his earliest recollections when he was 6 or 7
''I can hear my mom and dad fighting over him wanting more pills and her
telling him she has no more. She says we have no money either and back and
forth they argue until both are tired and they stop talking.
''Growing up we weren't the kind of family that said 'you be careful when you
leave' or 'we love you' or give hugs or anything like that. I guess I just knew
they loved me in their own kind of way without having to say it.''
Lorraine explores what he remembers as good times visiting relatives in West
Virginia, smoking cigars, chewing tobacco and drinking beer. He talks about
getting drunk at age 7 and his parents laughing at him.
He talks about an older brother teaching him how to prostitute himself by
entering parked cars with homosexual men at age 12 and earning $40.
''He said have you ever come down here before. I said no and he reached over
and started touching me and he was unzipping my pants and I went and stopped
his hands. He said don't worry I'm not going to hurt you, trust me...''
Lorraine said he learned how to endear himself to his father by stealing pills
for him and continues describing his life of juvenile crime, including stealing
his first car at age 15.
At age 16 and when his 14-year-old girlfriend, Rhonda, becomes pregnant, he
talks about both of them getting permission from their parents to get married
and living in the basement of the home where his girlfriend's mother lived.
Lorraine points out later that his son developed spinal meningitis, a condition
that would handicap him the rest of his life. Lorraine said his son died at age
But it was when his young wife became pregnant again with a daughter that she
was able to convince a judge to delay her husband's three-to15-year sentence
until after the birth. The sentence was for taking part in three burglaries and
stealing the purse of an elderly woman. The sentence never took place as
It was during that period that Lorraine murdered Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery,
stabbing them repeatedly inside their Haymaker Avenue N.W. home - a home he was
familiar wife while performing yard work and shoveling snow for the couple.
''I don't know what made me think about killing anybody. But I just remember
going to a friend's house and getting some gloves from his garage. They were
rubber gloves and a big butcher knife from a kitchen set he had and I asked him
if he would drop me off somewhere and I showed him where I wanted to go and he
took me there and he left.''
Lorraine writes about getting inside the Montgomery house on the premise that
he left a necklace inside the place. Mrs. Montgomery, who was confined to a bed
in the living room, motioned for him to come in. Lorraine told Mr. Montgomery,
whom he called ''Red,'' that he thinks the necklace was lost upstairs.
When Mr. Montgomery and Lorraine went upstairs, Lorraine admits: ''I came up
behind him and put the gloves on and pulled out the knife and grabbed him
around the head and I just kept sticking him in the throat with the knife. I
don't know how many times I did it but I felt his body go limp.''
''His wife heard the hit to the floor and yelled out, 'What's going on up
there.' I yelled back, 'Nothing, something fell off the dresser.'
''So I went downstairs and I forget that I still had the gloves on and I put
the knife in the back of my pants. I walked to the top of her bed behind her
and I took my hand and held her head down and I pulled out the knife and
stabbed her in the throat several times.
''I wish people could understand that this night it was different than any
other night because I didn't feel anything like compassion or sorrow for what I
was doing. What I was doing, it didn't bother me at all,'' Lorraine wrote.
He blames alcohol and drugs with clouding his memory about buying drinks for
friends at the nearby Olympic Inn and then going back to the murder scene where
he and a friend burglarized the home again.
Lorraine only touches briefly on the confession that he gave to Warren
Detective Bill Seese and on a subsequent capital murder trial.
He recalls in his story friends that he's made while living on Ohio's death
After he was convicted and sentenced to die, he was admitted to a receiving
prison, where he said he met up with Richard Cooey, a death row inmate from the
Akron area who was convicted of murdering 2 college students after playing Good
Samaritan before kidnapping, raping and murdering the pair.
Cooey, nearly the same age as Lorraine, waged a last-minute battle to have his
execution set aside by arguing that he was too obese to die.
The 5-foot-7, 267-pound Cooey was executed Oct. 14, 2008.
But Lorraine said it was the Feb. 3, 2004, execution of John Glenn Roe that hit
him the hardest.
Roe had murdered a 21-year-old woman in 1984 when she was on her way to pick up
her 9-month-old child. She was kidnapped and shot to death before Roe took her
car and money and then used the information to try to get out of serving time
on other crimes he had committed.
Lorraine said he shared a cell with Roe until the state did away with
''doubling up'' in death row cells.
''It was a lot of fun. We played chess every day and dominos and we cooked,''
The morning Roe was executed, Lorraine said, ''It hit me hard. I missed him so
much. Inmates on death row become like brothers to you and when they get
executed, it's like losing a brother. I kind of pulled back a lot from talking
to a lot of people after that. I didn't come out for recreation so much
anymore, mainly just when I needed to call and talk to my mom and dad. Then I
would lock right back up.''
His wife, who has remained in the area, divorced him soon after he went to
prison and she remarried about 15 years ago. And his daughter also has remained
in Warren and has since given birth to her own daughter - Lorraine's
granddaughter who is now 5. Lorraine's former wife declined to be identified
for the story.
Lorraine said he started writing to a girlfriend of Roe's after his execution
and through her, he met and became friends with a pastor who helped him turn to
Lorraine writes that religion has helped him though the death of both his
parents and his son, all of them passing while he has been behind bars.
He urges youngsters to ''turn to the Lord'' rather than making the mistakes he
''Man, I wish I would have stayed in school. I could have been anything but I
chose drugs and having fun. My mom and dad died of a broken heart. Out of 6
kids, not one ever finished school. I think about it every day.
''I don't know what else to say. I wish I could find the right words that would
reach you so that you and others can understand how easy it is to throw away
your life,'' Lorraine wrote, apparently as a way of advising youth.
(source: Tribune Chronicle)
Execution to conclude shocking Arizona murder case
Robert Moormann, the notorious killer scheduled for execution Wednesday, could
be a character in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
He's a pudgy, bald man with oversize eyeglasses who speaks with a childish
affectation in a croaking old man's voice. He is 63 years old and looks a
decade older, yet his prison mates, his attorneys and the mental-health
professionals who have evaluated him say he has the reasoning and judgment of a
On Jan. 12, 1984, while on a furlough from prison, Moormann tied his
74-year-old mother to a bed in the Blue Mist Motel in Florence, beat her and
then suffocated her with a pillow. Then, he meticulously cut her body into
pieces and distributed the parts to garbage cans behind local businesses.
The crime-scene photos are ghastly: Maude's head being lifted out of a garbage
bag, her feet lying on a table like cobbler's forms, her bones in a bloody box.
More shocking: Moormann, his lawyers and mental-health evaluators say the
murder came after years of abuse in which Maude Moormann made her adoptive son
perform sex acts and even arranged his prison furloughs to that end.
The prosecution, on the other hand, said that the crime was premeditated and
that Moormann was looking to take over his mother's considerable assets.
Moormann was found guilty of 1st-degree murder in 1985, and a judge
subsequently sentenced him to death. After 28 years, that sentence is about to
be carried out.
Barring any last-minute legal miracles, Moormann will be executed Wednesday at
the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. The state's last execution was in
July 2011, when Thomas West, 52, died by lethal injection.
By every account, Moormann's life has been a nightmare.
He was born Bobby Conger in Tucson on June 4, 1948, to a 15-year-old girl who
drank heavily and engaged in prostitution, according to court records and
testimony at Moormann's clemency hearing. The baby's father abandoned his new
family, and the mother died in an accident at age 17, so baby Bobby went to
live with his maternal grandparents until he was put up for adoption because of
his grandfather's alcohol abuse.
After stays in foster homes, he was adopted by a Flagstaff couple, Henry and
Roberta Maude Moormann, when he was 2 and a half. Henry Moormann owned a
taxicab company, and after he died, his wife remained single and raised their
adopted son Robert, and, according to testimony at the clemency hearing, forced
him to engage in sexual acts with her.
Moormann was classified as mentally retarded while in public school and
attended special-education classes. His 1st stay in a state mental hospital
occurred when he was 13 after he accidentally shot his mother. During his
clemency hearing, Moormann said he was hiding a .22-caliber rifle in his bed.
His mother came into his room and sat on the bed, and when he pulled the gun
out to show her, it discharged.
After Moormann graduated high school, he attended barber college, but did not
work as a barber. Instead, he worked menial U.S. Forest Service jobs and bused
He had his 1st run-in with the law in January 1972, when he kidnapped an
8-year-old neighbor and family friend and tried to drive her to Las Vegas in
his mother's car. He had wanted to kidnap and rape the girl's mother, but lost
his nerve and took the girl instead, according to court testimony.
They spent 2 nights in motels along the way, Moormann forcing the girl to
perform sex acts. Then, when Moormann got the car stuck near Temple Bar, he and
the girl hitchhiked the rest of the way to Las Vegas. A car picked them up near
Hoover Dam and drove them to a police station.
Moormann was convicted of kidnapping -- he claimed it occurred because he had
stopped taking medication -- and he was sentenced to 9 years to life in prison.
He was paroled in January 1979, but was returned to prison 10 months later
because he could not abide by the terms of parole.
In 1984, prisoners at state prisons could apply for 72-hour compassionate
furloughs to meet with relatives or for conjugal visits. Maude Moormann came
down from Flagstaff and the 2 stayed in Room 22 of the Blue Mist Motel, across
the street from the prison complex in Florence. It was the 3rd furlough they'd
On the 2nd evening of the furlough, Moormann came to a local pizzeria and asked
the owner if he could dump some cow guts in the garbage cans behind the
restaurant. The owner said no, and because he worked at the prison and
recognized Moormann, he called police, who paid Moormann a visit.
Moormann first said that his mother was ill and later said she had recovered
and gone to visit friends.
They also discovered that Moormann had told other business owners that he'd
wanted to dump some rotting hamburger meat and that he had given a prison
employee a box full of spoiled "dog bones," saying there wasn't room for them
in the motel dumpster.
The prison employee dutifully picked them up some time after midnight.
Investigators eventually recovered Maude's dismembered body from several
garbage cans. The "dog bones" were also Maude's.
Moormann confessed to police as he was sitting in the backseat of a squad car.
He told police that he had "dissected" his mother while he was in the nude and
that he had lost one of her fingers for a while, then flushed it down the
toilet when he found it.
Before his trial, Moormann told a court-ordered psychologist that he had been
having an affair with his mother for years and that on the night of the murder,
she had asked him to perform sex acts. During one of them, he put a pillow over
her face to quiet her. He claimed he had accidentally killed her.
He meticulously dismembered her and put her body parts in garbage bags or
The jury disregarded his insanity defense and found Moormann guilty of
1st-degree murder. He was sentenced to death.
During Friday's clemency hearing, Moormann said he no longer remembered details
of the murder other than touching his mother's breasts while she was tied to a
bed and later carrying her body to the bathroom.
"I remember she was tied up, but I don't remember doing it," he said. "I just
remember seeing my hands doing things."
Moormann has lived quietly in prison, but his health has deteriorated.
He had a major stroke in 2007. Last September, Moormann was rushed to the
hospital for an emergency appendectomy, and doctors discovered that he had
several blocked arteries in his heart. In November, he returned to the hospital
for a quintuple bypass.
On Feb. 16, he was again rushed to the hospital after complaining of abdominal
pain and becoming unresponsive in a prison infirmary. Arizona Department of
Corrections officials refused to comment on his condition.
He had recovered sufficiently by Friday to speak at his clemency hearing.
(source: Arizona Republic)
Can We Kill the Death Penalty?
In November the SAFE California Act initiative will give state voters the
chance to end the death penalty here. Since much bigger minds than mine have
taken a look at exactly what having a death penalty is doing for California,
let’s begin with a few of things they have already observed.
Capital cases can often drain as much as $1 million from counties. Then more
state and federal money can and will be spent on special incarceration and on
appeals. If those appeals produce a retrial, counties foot the bill all over
The death penalty, in looking for greater justice for victims, instead often
creates situations in which the survivors and victim’s families must continue
to actively participate in a nightmare. Years – sometimes decades – after a
crime has been committed, appeals can force families to face killers and
would-be killers again in court and produce yet another guilty verdict with the
punishment of reliving the suffering inflicted on the innocent.
Since California voted to reinstate the death penalty in 1978 with the Briggs
initiative, the state has spent an estimated $4 billion to execute 13 people.
SAFE would end the death penalty and allocate $100 million over 3 years to
solve murders and rapes in California. SAFE’s sponsors argue that 46 % of
murders and 54 % of rapes go unsolved every year and the resources created
would be spent solving those crimes and not supporting a “broken” death
In a Feb. 12 Los Angeles Times editorial Ron Briggs, son of former State
Senator John Briggs, said that while his family had run a grassroots campaign
to pass the Briggs initiative in 1978 they were now united in endorsing the
SAFE act. From that editorial: “We thought our 1978 initiative created a system
to support victims’ families. It didn’t. The only people benefiting today are
the lawyers who handle expensive appeals and the criminals who are able to keep
their cases alive interminably. The Briggs death penalty law in California
simply does not work.”
All that comes before the often emotional feelings we might have individually
about the death penalty. I know I get emotional when I hear yet another story
of justice finally realized by means of DNA or just plain hard work on the part
of advocates for those unjustly sentenced and finally released after having
spent years in prison. Those pushing SAFE argue that since 139 people
nationally have been freed from death row after they were found to be innocent,
the chance that innocent people are sometime being executed remains
SAFE would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the
possibility of parole and would require inmates to work and pay restitution to
the victims compensation fund. So we might agree that the elephant still in the
room on this is whether we feel that’s enough.
It can become even more difficult to wrestle with this if one takes a wide view
and pulls in such things as the trend in gun carry laws, with 49 states now
allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public. My home state
of Wisconsin recently passed a carry law and during some Christmas shopping I
was surrealistically struck by the number by stores with signs asserting that
guns were not allowed inside. Guns don’t really argue one way or another about
the death penalty; they simply allow individuals to administer it at their
discretion. If California joins New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and recently
Illinois in repealing the death penalty, could we soon be a nation asserting
that its citizens make split-second life and death decisions on the street that
are at least as good as the ones we spend months deliberating in our courts
with a jury of our peers?
Perhaps fortunately, the strongest arguments for the Safe act have more to do
with bringing sense and practicality to the administration of justice than they
do with unwieldy arguments about how and when we invoke our basic humanity. In
that same LA Times editorial Ron Briggs remembers his Dad’s fondness for saying
“Facts are stubborn things.” Without even touching on any moral conundrums,
Briggs unemotionally explains that “The ineffective legal beast created by
California’s death penalty laws costs taxpayers more than $100 million annually
and ties up the lives of prosecutors and victims who could be moving on to
After writing his superb book about Utah killer Gary Gilmore, “The
Executioner’s Song,” author Norman Mailer said that he wasn’t sure the justice
system needed the death penalty but he thought that perhaps we needed it: That
we needed to know it was in place, waiting there for those who richly deserved
it and that maybe its purpose was to give us that comfort. Whatever comfort it
might provide, the administration of it in California has reached “WTF?”
dimensions of cost in resources and human energy. California now has 700
prisoners on death row, more than twice that of Texas. There may ultimately be
greater cruelty to a sentence of life without parole, but maybe we should first
demonstrate the good sense to simultaneously stop both the hemorrhaging of
resources and the nagging suspicion that we might execute an innocent person…
by giving SAFE a long and thoughtful look.
(source: Opinion, Steve Stajich, Columnist, Santa Monica Mirror)
More information about the DeathPenalty