[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----ORE., USA, S.DAK., CONN., N.C.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Fri Oct 12 18:52:22 CDT 2012
State Supreme Court orders fourth sentencing trial for serial killer Dayton
The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday vacated the death penalty for Oregon's
most prolific serial killer, sending his case back to Clackamas County Circuit
Court for a 4th sentencing trial.
Dayton Leroy Rogers, dubbed the "Molalla forest killer," was found guilty in
1989 of torturing and killing six women, then dumping their mutilated bodies in
the woods south of Molalla. He has been on -- and off -- death row ever since,
while his attorneys have filed a series of appeals.
The latest state high court ruling does not mean Rogers will go free; his
aggravated murder convictions still stand. But it does mean that Clackamas
County prosecutors will launch another long, expensive "sentencing phase" to
ask a new jury to give Rogers the death penalty. Rogers' 3rd sentencing in 2006
lasted seven weeks, and his defense cost taxpayers more than $450,000.
If the jury declines to impose the death penalty, Rogers will serve life in
prison, the only other sentence for an aggravated murder conviction.
Regardless of the outcome, this latest appeal is not likely to be the last,
because a death penalty, under Oregon law, triggers several automatic appeals
intended to expose any legal errors.
Rogers, 59, formerly of Canby, will remain in the Oregon State Penitentiary
until all appeals are exhausted.
In its ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court said Clackamas County Circuit Judge
Ronald D. Thom erred when he ordered certain "juror anonymity" procedures that
precluded Rogers and his defense attorneys from learning the identities of
potential jurors, undercutting their ability to help pick an impartial jury.
The state's high court also said Thom erred when he admitted testimony during
the penalty phase about a homosexual relationship Rogers had as a teenager.
Gregory D. Horner, Clackamas County chief deputy district attorney, said the
prosecutors still are analyzing the high court's opinion and have not yet
decided how they will respond.
"Basically, we're shocked by the court's opinion," he said. "It's extremely
Rogers' case continues to haunt witnesses and their families, who now face the
prospect of reliving the horrific stories heard during the first three
During the Molalla forest murders trial, Rogers emerged as a man with 2 faces.
At an unimposing 5 feet 9, with thinning hair, he seemed every bit the quiet
lawnmower repairman known to neighbors and acquaintances.
However, prosecutors revealed that Rogers, who already had a history of violent
sex crimes in Lane County, had a much darker side. Jurors heard graphic stories
of how Rogers picked up street prostitutes and drove them to secluded spots off
old logging roads in the Mount Hood National Forest. Evidence showed that he
hog-tied, slashed, stabbed and tortured his victims. He even sawed off some of
the victims' feet.
Rogers' case unfolded in an unusual way.
In 1987, Rogers was arrested in the stabbing death of a Portland prostitute
whose nude body was found behind an Oak Grove restaurant. Shortly afterward, he
was named the prime suspect in the death of six prostitutes whose decomposed
bodies had been found in the woods near Molalla.
Before forensics ruled it out, authorities initially suspected Rogers was the
notorious Green River killer, a man later identified as a Seattle-area man who
killed dozens of prostitutes and dumped their bodies at remote locations in
Washington and Oregon.
At Rogers' 1st murder trial, his attorneys maintained he killed the Oak Grove
stabbing victim in self-defense. However, prosecutors said he killed the young
woman for a sexual thrill. He was convicted by a Clackamas County Circuit Court
jury and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1989, the "Molalla forest murders" trial followed. Eleven former prostitutes
testified that they earlier had accompanied Rogers on "dates" that started with
vodka and orange juice -- "screwdrivers" in cocktail parlance -- before the
encounters turned scary. Dozens of miniature vodka bottles were found at the
sites where the bodies were dumped. Hairs and jewelry from the victims were
found in the wood stove at Rogers' repair shop in Woodburn.
The jury deliberated just 6 hours before convicting him. After a sentencing
trial, the jury returned a death-penalty verdict, this time deliberating for 17
The trial advanced Rogers' tally to a total 7 murder convictions.
Meanwhile, the remains of another young woman found in the woods never were
identified. Although police suspected Rogers, he was not charged in her death.
Even if Rogers is resentenced to death by lethal injection, it may not happen.
Gov. John Kitzhaber has declared a moratorium on executions while he is in
Dayton Leroy Rogers has been in & out of court for 40 years
Dayton Leroy Rogers has spent the past four decades in and out of courtrooms,
including three jury trials to determine his sentence in the 1987 Molalla
1972: Pleads guilty, at age 18, to 2nd-degree assault in Lane County Circuit
Court for telling a 15-year-old Eugene girl to close her eyes, then plunging a
knife into her belly.
1973: Found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect after striking two
Lane County girls with a soft-drink bottle. Released from the Oregon State
Hospital in 1974.
1976: Acquitted in May of 1st-degree rape in Clackamas County. Acquitted in
August on a new rape charge in Marion County; convicted in the Marion County
case of coercion after hogtying 2 teenage hitchhikers in the back of his car.
1988: Convicted in Clackamas County and later sentenced to life in prison for
the torture and stabbing death of Jennifer Lisa Smith of Portland outside an
Oak Grove restaurant.
1989: Convicted and sentenced to death in Clackamas County Circuit Court for
killing 6 women in what were known as the Molalla forest murders.
1992: Wins a 2nd penalty trial when the Oregon Supreme Court overturns his
death sentence, based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said defendants in
capital cases can offer evidence that might persuade the jury to sentence them
to prison rather than death.
1994: Sentenced a 2nd time to death for the Molalla forest murders.
2000: Wins a 3rd penalty trial in Clackamas County when the Oregon Supreme
Court overturns his 1994 death sentence, saying that the judge should have let
the jury consider sentencing him to life without the possibility of parole, an
option that did not exist in his 1st trial.
2006: A 3rd Clackamas County jury sentences Rogers to death.
2012: Oregon State Supreme Court vacates death sentence, orders resentencing in
Clackamas County Circuit Court.
(source: The Oregonian)
9/11 mastermind loses appeal to delay Monday hearing
The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks has lost an
appeal citing rats and mold as a reason to delay his court appearance on
Monday, a defense lawyer said. Judge James Pohl's decision was still sealed on
Thursday, 3 days before the hearing in question, but lawyer James Connell said
he had received word by mid-afternoon.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's "emergency motion to delay October hearings - due to
defence offices deemed unsafe due to the presence of hazardous mold, rodents
and rodent feces - was denied," announced Connell, defence lawyer for 1 of the
5 men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The new series of preliminary hearings for the 5 men is scheduled to begin on
Monday at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The hearings had already been postponed so that the defendants could observe
the holy month of Ramazan and were then pushed back a day when a derailed
freight train in the US state of Maryland caused an Internet outage at the
base. They were delayed once more due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
This time, it was Mohammed's lawyers who had asked for the delay, saying the
offices they were provided were "not habitable due to extensive, ongoing and
serious health hazards presented by exposure to hazardous mold, airborne
particulates, rodents, rodent feces and other significant matters."
According to their request, filed in early October, the decaying body of a dead
rat was removed from the ceiling on September 25, and, the month before,
several large rats were removed, causing rat feces to drop into the workspace.
The defense team said the uneasy work conditions left them unable to adequately
prepare for the hearing.
Soon after their motion was filed, Pohl said he was astonished these offices
had been designated for the lawyers when a team of air quality and mold
inspectors had recommended they not be used.
He ordered the offices to be repaired or another "decent workspace" be
As a result, the vents and the offices were cleaned, disinfected and
re-inspected by a Guantanamo hospital team, which re-authorised them to be
used, a base spokesman said.
Mohammed is awaiting trial along with his Pakistani nephew Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali,
also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi of Saudi Arabia and
Yemenis Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash.
The 5 men face the death penalty if convicted for their roles in the 2001
attacks by al Qaeda militants in which hijacked planes were used to strike New
York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,976 people.
(source: Dawn News)
Governor Daugaard won't stop upcoming executions
Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Thursday that he will not step in to spare the lives
of Eric Robert and Donald Moeller, an announcement clearing the way for their
"The death penalty is the law in South Dakota, and I support it," Daugaard
said. "The state has a solemn responsibility to carry out this penalty in the
rare cases where it is applied."
The governor would have authority to intervene as the final step in a unique
sequence of safeguards that apply to capital punishment in South Dakota. Each
case requires a judgment of guilt in court, a separate court proceeding to
impose the death sentence, an automatic review by the state Supreme Court and
the governor having the option to lessen the sentence.
Daugaard said he had no reason to alter the decision of the courts. He
commented by email from his office in Pierre.
"The decision to impose the death penalty is made through the criminal justice
system, and in the pending cases I have no reason to substitute a different
judgment," he said. "State law allows me to conduct my own investigation, and I
have done that with cooperation from the attorney general. Barring an
unforeseen circumstance, I will not intervene to prevent or delay the death
penalty sentence from being carried out."
Robert, 50, is scheduled to die next week for his role in murdering corrections
officer Ronald "R.J." Johnson, 63, in April 2011 at the South Dakota State
Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.
Moeller, 60, is scheduled to die the week of Oct. 28 for the kidnapping, rape
and murder of Rebecca O'Connell, a 9-year-old Sioux Falls girl, in 1990.
Daugaard declined through an aide to answer additional questions.
His announcement came the same day the state's 2 Roman Catholic bishops, the
Rev. Paul Swain in Sioux Falls and the Rev. Robert Gruss in Rapid City, urged
that the sentences be changed to life imprisonment and that the state repeal
its death penalty law.
The bishops, who represent about 150,000 Catholics in South Dakota, said the
state has an obligation to hold violent criminals accountable.
(source: The Argus Leader)
Cheshire home invader wants to be executed
Steven Hayes, the notorious killer who sits on death row for the 2007 slayings
of a Cheshire woman and her two daughters, wants to waive his appeals and
proceed to his execution, a path that serial killer Michael Ross took before
being put to death in 2005.
In a letter to the Hartford Courant, Hayes, 49, said he is the subject of
"cruel and unusual punishment" by prison staff at Northern Correctional
Institution in Somers, treatment he claims has "been escalating" since March
"I was willing to live with the intense grief from my past actions, and I still
am willing," Hayes wrote in the letter, dated Sept. 29, 2012. "However, I
cannot live with the intense tourcher (sic), torment, harassment, and the
resulting psychological trauma dished out by the Dept. of Corr. staff here at
Northern. I was sentenced to death, not sentenced to tourcher (sic) and
punitive treatment until death," he wrote to the Courant.
Hayes said he would be making "a formal announcement" about his decision to go
to "the death chamber" during "the 2nd week of October," but he did not say how
he would announce it.
Michael Courtney, head of the state Public Defender's Office capital defense
unit, which is handling Hayes' appeal, declined to discuss any recent
discussions he and other attorneys have had with Hayes.
"It's not uncommon for death-row inmates who are held in isolation with little
or no connection to the outside world or independent mental-health treatment to
deteriorate to the point of considering volunteering for execution," Courtney
In Connecticut, the appeals process involves an automatic sentence review by
the state Supreme Court, so Hayes' decision would not impact the initial
appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, Hayes could then forgo the usual
progression of state habeas corpus motions and federal appeals that occur
before a convict is put to death.
With those appeals in place, legal experts have said it could easily be 20
years or longer before Hayes is executed.
What Hayes wrote in the Sept. 29 letter conflicts with what he told the Courant
earlier this year. In a prison interview, Hayes said he promised one of his
defense attorneys, Thomas J. Ullmann, that he would not waive his appeals and
Ullmann confirmed the conversation, telling the Courant in July: "He has made a
commitment to me that he will not pull a Michael Ross."
Ross decided to waive his appeals in 2004 and, after a protracted legal battle,
died by lethal injection in May 2005. Ross was the first person executed in
Connecticut since 1960. He had spent 18 years on death row.
Word of Hayes' decision to seek execution comes at a time when questions loom
about whether those on death row should still face execution in light of the
repeal last April of the death penalty.
Though state legislators abolished capital punishment for future offenses,
Hayes and the other nine men on death row and those with pending death-eligible
cases still face execution. The state Supreme Court has agreed to consider the
constitutionality of the death penalty for the condemned inmates in light of
the repeal. Those arguments will be made at a later date.
Hayes could not be reached for comment Thursday. Brian Garnett, a Department of
Correction spokesman, said a disciplinary report resulted in Hayes losing
prison visits for 30 days.
When asked about Hayes' claims, Garnett said, "The Department of Correction
provides for safe, secure and humane supervision of the offenders in our
Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky broke into the Cheshire home of the Petit family
in July 2007. Dr. William Petit Jr. was beaten with a baseball bat and left to
die in the basement.
Hayes raped and strangled Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit. Their daughters,
Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, died of smoke inhalation after they were doused
with gasoline and the house was set on fire. Petit managed to escape.
Both Hayes and Komisarjevsky, 32, were convicted and sentenced to death for the
killings in widely publicized trials.
During jury selection at Hayes' trial, prison officials found him unconscious
in his cell. His attorneys said Hayes tried to overdose on prescription
In trial testimony, Hayes told officials he had tried to kill himself numerous
times by slashing his wrists, crashing a car into a wall and tying clothes
around his neck. He told the Courant during the prison interview that an
elaborate confession he made in letters about killing 17 women was another bid
to kill himself.
Hayes explained that by writing from prison about the bogus killing spree, he
hoped that authorities would seize his letters and notify police. His plan was
to trade information for food -- he wanted police to buy his story and grant
his request for soda, a pepperoni pizza and a dozen oysters with hot sauce.
He is deathly allergic to oysters.
"I planned to eat them and have them find me dead in my cell the next morning,"
Hayes told the Courant.
(source: Connecticut Post)
Statements of victims' families show anger at Racial Justice Act hearing
Keep the death penalty racially fair, lawyers for 3 death-row inmates told a
Cumberland County judge Thursday.
Don't forget the killers' victims, implored family members speaking on behalf
of 5 people who were shot to death in 3 of the Fayetteville community's most
horrific murder cases.
The state's 2nd Racial Justice Act evidentiary hearing ended Thursday with
tears and anger among some in an audience of about 80 people during closing
arguments from the lawyers and impact statements from the victims' relatives.
Since Oct. 1, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks has heard eight
days of evidence and testimony at this hearing. He is expected to rule in
November or December whether to commute the death sentences of Christina
Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine to life in prison without parole.
The hearing has focused on whether prosecutors illegally and, because of
racism, blocked blacks from serving on juries.
The hearing drew numerous uniformed law enforcement officers; three of the
murder victims were lawmen killed in the line of duty. Members of Augustine's
family attended every day, but it appeared no one from Golphin or Walters'
family attended. Both Golphin and Walters waived their right to appear during
Walters, an American Indian, led a gang that kidnapped 3 women at random in
1998 and shot them. Two died, and one survived eight gunshot wounds. The women
who died were white; the survivor is black.
Golphin and his brother killed a state trooper and a Cumberland County deputy
during a traffic stop in 1997. The Golphins are black; the lawmen were white.
Augustine was convicted for the murder of a Fayetteville police officer in a
shooting in 2001. Augustine is black, as was the slain officer.
Justice calls for the 3 convicted murderers to be removed from death row, said
defense lawyers Cassandra Stubbs and James Ferguson II in their closing
"This whole exercise offers all of us in the criminal justice system an
opportunity for growth, a challenge for growth," Ferguson said. "And I say 'a
challenge for growth' because we're growing now from an era that was once
characterized by slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, discrimination and racial
bias, and it is difficult to emerge from that. It's difficult to make that
Ferguson and Stubbs recapped statistics that said that blacks were peremptorily
struck by prosecutors from serving in Walters', Augustine's and Golphin's
murder trials at far higher rates than whites.
Prosecutors' notes from jury selection sometimes delineated that some jurors
were black. Other notes specified the neighborhoods where the jurors lived,
which Stubbs contended signals whether a person is white or black. "This is
just a proxy for race," she said.
A prosecutor at a murder trial in 1998 wrote a disparaging comment about
someone in notes she made during jury selection. This prosecutor testified this
week that she was criticizing the defendant.
Ferguson contended that the context of the comment makes it clear that the
prosecutor's insult was directed at the judge after the judge stopped her from
excusing a black juror. The judge ruled that she had illegally used race to
excuse the juror.
Assistant District Attorneys Rob Thompson, Mike Silver and Jonathan Perry said
there is no substance to the defendants' claims.
A study claiming local and statewide patterns of racism in jury selection is
fundamentally flawed, Perry said. One of the authors "forced race into the
model as a parameter or a variable to be discussed and analyzed from the very
start," he said.
"I've got adjectives about their study," Thompson said. "Desperate. Illogical.
Overreaching. Assuming. Nonsensical. Slanderous. Incomplete. Wholly
unconvincing. Insulting. Offensive. McCarthyist."
Prosecutors articulated valid race-neutral reasons for striking jurors, Silver
said. "The state is not using race as a significant factor to strike, use
peremptory challenges to strike jurors. Instead, the defense, instead of taking
the totality of the circumstances, focuses on one thing: They say 'race.' They
identify them as 'black.' Therefore, they can use race."
After closing arguments, Judge Weeks gave relatives of the murder victims an
opportunity to speak.
Olivia and Roy Turner, the parents of slain Fayetteville Police Officer Roy
Turner Jr., had Thompson read a letter to the judge. Augustine was convicted of
The bullet that killed Turner wasn't guided by color, they said, "nor did it
matter to you that race of the police officer. Whether black, white, Hispanic
or other, that officer would have died by your hand on that night."
Any jury of any racial composition would have sentenced Augustine to death,
Augustine did not appear to show emotion or respond as the letter was read.
Kevin Hathcock, son of murdered Deputy David Hathcock, said he is sad that his
children never got to meet their grandfather. "I write letters to my father,
knowing he can't get them. But I take them to the grave site," Hathcock said.
Golphin and his brother killed David Hathcock and State Trooper Ed Lowry.
Walters was the leader of a gang that kidnapped and killed Tracy Lambert of
Hope Mills and Susan Moore of Fayetteville. Dixie Lowry Davis, Ed Lowry's
widow, spoke on their behalf.
"My heart breaks for the Lambert and Moore families, whose daughters were
killed as they begged for their life," Davis said. "Gang members executed them
as part of an initiation. Their murders chosen at random, for fun. They killed
them for fun." Then the gang members argued about who would get to keep the
women's clothing, she said.
"If these people don't deserve the death penalty, then nobody should deserve
it," Davis said.
Al Lowry has carried his anger for the 15 years since the Golphins killed his
brother Ed Lowry.
"The state of North Carolina has not fulfilled an obligation of following
through with the death penalty," Lowry said.
This hearing is not about racism, Lowry said. "We're banning the death penalty
and hiding behind the skirts of racism," he said.
Kevin Golphin has come off death row because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Lowry expects the same for Tilmon Golphin because of this hearing. "I feel like
your decision's made up since day one," he told Weeks.
Weeks in April granted the state's 1st Racial Justice Act relief to Marcus
Reymond Robinson of Fayetteville, a black man who killed a white teen in a
robbery. Robinson was taken off death row based on statistical data of racism
in his trial and in the local and state court systems.
Since that ruling, the Racial Justice Act was revised to require additional,
Weeks is evaluating Golphin, Walters and Augustine's claims under both the
original law and the revised law. An appellate court is expected to determine
later which version applies to them.
(source: Fayetteville Observer)
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