Alvaro Calambro, 25, - 99-4-5 - Nevada
In Carson City, authorities rejected pleas by the Philippine
government Monday and executed a Filipino man convicted of killing
2 U-Haul employees with a hammer and crowbar during a 1994 robbery.
Alvaro Calambro, 25, had refused to file his own appeal.
Philippine officials argued that the execution would violate the Vienna Convention treaty because they weren't immediately notified of
Calambro's arrest in 1994, leaving him with inadequate legal representation.
Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa said the U.S. Supreme Court has
made clear that a foreign national imprisoned in the United States must raise alleged treaty violations in a timely manner, and that didn't happen in Calambro's case.
Calambro and Duc Huynh were convicted of killing Peggy Crawford and
Keith Christopher during a $2,400 robbery at the U-Haul business.
Both were beaten to death with a tire iron and hammer.
Huynh also got a death sentence, but hanged himself at Ely State Prison.
Calambro becomes the 1st condemned prisoner to executed in Nevada this
year and the 8th condemned prisoner to be executed in the state since
capital punishment was resumed there on Oct. 22, 1979.
1 woman and 83 men remain on Nevada's death row.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)
Marion Albert Pruett, 49, 99-04-12, Arkansas
In Varner, man convicted of killing 5 people who dubbed himself a
"mad-dog killer" was executed by lethal injection Monday for the
1981 slaying of a convenience store clerk.
Marion Albert Pruett, 49, was condemned for the Oct. 12, 1981, shooting death of Fort Smith convenience store clerk Bobbie Jean Robertson.
Ms. Robertson was killed in a weeklong streak of terror that led Pruett to dub himself a "mad-dog killer." Earlier in 1981, Pruett killed his wife in New Mexico and a Mississippi bank loan officer. 4 days after Ms. Robertson's death, Pruett killed 2 convenience store workers in Colorado.
He received life sentences for the 4 killings outside Arkansas, but
got the death sentence for his conviction in the state. Pruett, who
robbed the convenience stores before killing their clerks, said at his New Mexico trial that he was driven by a $4,000 a week cocaine habit.
A federal judge set aside Pruett's Arkansas conviction in 1997, saying pretrial publicity prevented him from receiving a fair trial. The 8th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the conviction and death
sentence last year, saying Pruett helped generate some of the publicity by implicating himself in various crimes and giving himself his "mad-dog" nickname.
Pruett was in the federal witness-protection program when he killed the 5 people in 1981. While serving time in Georgia for bank robbery, he testified against another inmate in the slaying of his cellmate and was released in 1979 and placed in the protection program. He later said he committed the murder.
Pruett's common-law wife, Pamela Sue Barker, was bludgeoned with a
hammer and her body set afire; the others were shot.
Pruett becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death in Arkansas
this year, and the 19th overall since the state resumed executions on
June 18, 1990.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Carl Hamilton Chichester, 99-04-3, Virginia
In Jarratt, a man convicted of fatally shooting a pizza shop manager
during a 1991 robbery was executed Tuesday night after Gov. Jim
Gilmore rejected clemency and the Supreme Court denied a final appeal.
Carl Hamilton Chichester was put to death by injection at the
Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
"I love my wife and my children,'' Chichester said when asked for a
Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said Chichester was
muttering "4-letter words" as he was led into the death chamber.
After the tubes that would carry deadly chemicals into his body were
inserted in his arms, "he actually thanked the (execution) team,"
No relatives of the victim witnessed the execution.
Chichester, 36, went to death row in 1993 after a Prince William County jury convicted him of killing 30-year-old Timothy Rigney.
Chichester, a Washington, D.C. man who was living in a Manassas hotel at the time of the murder, was convicted of robbing the Manassas pizza shop where Rigney was manager and shooting Rigney when the victim failed to open a cash register.
Chichester's accomplice, Sheldon Maurice McDowell, also was convicted of the slaying and sentenced to 71 years in prison.
In his clemency petition and his appeal, Chichester maintained that 2
witnesses to the Aug. 16, 1991, robbery said McDowell shot Rigney.
2 of 4 witnesses originally said McDowell fired the shot, the
petition said. By the time of Chichester's 1993 trial, one of the
witnesses was not sure who fired the shot, and the 2nd witness could
not be located. The other 2 witnesses testified Chichester killed
In a response sent to the Supreme Court, the Virginia attorney general's office said lower courts ruled that even if the other witness had been found, the weight of the evidence would have pointed to Chichester as the triggerman.
The Supreme Court rejected Chichester's final appeal 7-2 Tuesday, with
Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting.
Less than 2 hours before the execution, Gilmore denied clemency, noting that the verdict and sentence had been upheld on multiple appeals.
Chichester becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death in
Virginia this year and the 64th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on August 10, 1982.
Only Texas has put to death more inmates (173) than Virginia.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
The Journal, 99-04-14:
At 9 p.m. Sheletta Jackson's sobs rose above the drone of traffic on
Grant Avenue in Manassas as her friend Carl Hamilton Chichester died
in a prison miles away.
"The papers said he was a killer, but I look at him as a person with a kind heart," said Jackson, a longtime friend of Chichester.
"Now he's gone," Jackson said. "Who's going to be our best friend now?"
Jackson and Chichester's cousin, Sharia Chichester, joined 10 others gathered for a silent candlelight vigil around the "Peace Pole" at the corner of Lee and Grant avenues in Manassas. "May Peace Prevail on Earth," is printed on the pole in 8 languages and illustrated with sign language diagrams.
Before the vigil, 2 tulips were planted around the pole: One for Chichester and one for his victim, Timothy Rigney, 30, of Lake Ridge.
"We aren't vigiling alone," said Jeff Haydon of Manassas. "We have friends and neighbors across the state in Jarratt and in Richmond....
Unfortunately we're gathering a week from now and the week after that.
We'll still gather as long as the state puts people to death."
Pastor Jeff Carter of Manassas Church of the Brethren said he attended the vigil "to support the victim as well as those that are executed, to let it be known that vengeance is not a way of solving things."
Carter said he knows Rigney's cousins, who attend his church.
"It makes it more significant," he said. "Knowing the family of the victim makes it much more real and tangible."
The small group stood in a circle around the pole, shielding their flames from the brisk night wind. They silently prayed for 9minutes, the average amount of time for lethal injections, then they turned toward the street.
Chichester was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
"We back each other up and we show our candles to the world," explained Jeff Haydon.
Jackson and Sharia Chichester arrived late and stood outside the circle before Haydon motioned for them to join the group. Tears streamed down two women's' faces throughout the brief vigil, and at one point Jackson sat sobbing at the base of a nearby statue while a woman from the group went to console her.
Later Jackson said she spoke with Carl Chichester by telephone and described him as feeling "happy" and "high-spirited."
Sharia Chichester declined to comment other than to say, "It's going to be OK."
The group Virginians Against the Death Penalty began organizing vigils at the Manassas corner in July 1997.
"We really have progressively been growing," said Sharon Haydon, who also attended a vigil earlier in the day in Richmond. "I'm starting to feel more positive."
She said the Manassas vigil, and similar ones held across the state, help humanize the people being executed.
"They're made out to be really, really horrible people," Sharon Haydon said. "When you put it all together and realize they're just like everybody else, you put a face to a name and it's a different story."
Tuesday's vigil was a first for Julie Dawes of Annandale, who says she firmly opposes the death penalty.
"I can't live in a state where I think injustice is prevailing without protesting it," Dawes said. "I find it hard to live with so I'm hoping
we won't have to. I'm hoping we'll make a difference. I'm hoping
politicians will start to realize not everyone is so blood-thirsty that they want to see people executed. It's a killing machine."
"For me it's personal," said Patty Lapihuska of Nokesville. "It's
something I can do to protest the death penalty and hopefully to get
people to think about what the state is doing."
Jeff Haydon said the group's ultimate goal is to convince the government to stop executions.
"I don't believe man has the right to take another's life," he said. "That's up to God....The state does not kill this person in my name is what I'm stating. I do not believe that's the state's right."
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4-13-99:
Carl Hamilton Chichester waited Tuesday to see whether Gov. Jim Gilmore would intervene to halt his execution for the 1991 murder of a pizza shop manager.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Chichester's appeal 7-2 on Tuesday, with Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting. The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the condemned killer's request that it review a 3-judge panel's ruling affirming the death sentence.
Chichester had a clemency petition before Gilmore.
Chichester was to be executed by lethal injection at 9 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. He would be the 5th person put to death in Virginia this year.
2 law professors urged Gilmore to spare Chichester. In an affidavit sent to the governor Monday, Harvard University law professor Alan M. Dershowitz said an appellate brief filed by Chichester's former attorneys
was "incompetent, ineffective and unprofessional."
John M. Copacino, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at Georgetown
University, wrote to the governor that Chichester "would have been no
worse off had no brief at all been filed in the case."
Chichester, 36, went to death row in 1993 after a Prince William County jury convicted him of killing 30-year-old Timothy Rigney.
Chichester was living in a Manassas hotel at the time of the murder. He was convicted of robbing a Manassas pizza shop and shooting Rigney when the manager failed to open a cash register.
Chichester's accomplice, Sheldon Maurice McDowell, also was convicted of murder and sentenced to 71 years in prison.
In his clemency petition and his appeal, Chichester maintained that two witnesses to the Aug. 16, 1991, robbery said McDowell shot Rigney.
2 of 4 witnesses originally said McDowell fired the shot, the petition said. By the time of Chichester's 1993 trial, one of the witnesses was not sure who fired the shot, and the 2nd witness could not be located. The other 2 witnesses testified Chichester killed Rigney.
In a response sent to the Supreme Court, the Virginia attorney general's office said lower courts ruled that even if the other two witnesses had been found, the weight of the evidence would have pointed to Chichester as the triggerman.
Roy Ramsey Jr., 45, 99-04-14, Missourri
In Potosi, Roy Ramsey Jr. was executed early Wednesday for killing a
western Missouri couple during a robbery at their home.
Ramsey was pronounced dead at 12:04 a.m., just 3 minutes after the
state administered the 1st of 3 lethal drugs at Potosi Correction
Center in southeast Missouri.
As the procedure began, Ramsey raised his head and looked toward the
room where his friends and clergy were watching and mouthed a few words. He then laid his head down. He coughed and his chest heaved as the 1st drug was injected. Ramsey then closed his eyes for good.
Ramsey's last words were: "Tell everybody I love them. Tell the governor that I understand, and that I am not mad at him. In the future, it ain't going to hurt him to spare some of the people."
Ramsey, 45, was condemned to die for the Nov. 20, 1988, killing of
Garnett and Betty Ledford at their home in Grandview, near Kansas City.
His fate was sealed at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday when Gov. Mel Carnahan refused a clemency request from Ramsey's attorney, J.R. Hobbs of Kansas City.
Hobbs also failed to get a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court, after an appeals court and the state Supreme Court denied requests for a stay.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said he had no doubt about Ramsey's guilt or whether he deserved to be executed.
"He's a brutal double murderer who has attempted to slow down and
manipulate the system for years," said Nixon. "The killing of senior
citizens in their own homes - execution style in their own bedrooms -
is an example of the cruel and cold-blooded murders for which the death penalty should clearly be an option."
Ramsey spent most of Tuesday meeting with a brother, a cousin and 2
spiritual advisors, the Rev. Paul Jones of Kansas City and the Rev.
Larry Rice of St. Louis.
Ramsey's death sentence was not a surprise to the people who know his
Kansas City family. 9 of Ramsey's 10 brothers have prison records for
crimes ranging from robbery to murder. 6 currently are in prison,
Ramsey said Tuesday in a phone interview from his holding cell.
3 of Ramsey's brothers are in prison for murder, said Pat Peters,
the Jackson County prosecuting attorney who handled the Ledford case.
Ramsey, the only family member sentenced to death, blamed himself for his family's problems. As the 2nd oldest, he taught his brothers to steal, a skill he learned during high school.
"He was raised in a poisonous environment and carried that poison on
into society," said the attorney general.
Ramsey also was quick to pin the blame on police that "harassed us quite a bit," he said. "We are flies in a spiderwall. The more we try to get out, the deeper we get in."
Peters said this case was not about police harassment, but about the death of 2 innocent people.
Ramsey denied any involvement in the murders, blaming the shootings on
his younger brother, Billy, and Billy's former girlfriend, Angela Ray.
Ramsey said he was selling drugs the day of the murders.
But according to court records, Ray drove Ramsey and his younger
brother, Billy, to the Ledford home. When they arrived, Ray waited in the car, while the two brothers walked to the front door. Roy flashed a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic at Ledford, who then let them into his home.
Once inside, the Ledfords were forced to open their safe. Billy Ramsey testified that he ransacked the house while Roy Ramsey took Ledford, 65, and his wife, 63, into a back bedroom, where he fatally shot them at close range.
The couple's son-in-law found the bodies the next day.
Ramsey said he forgave Billy for testifying against him.
"What he did was wrong," Ramsey said. "I'd die for all my brothers. I love him, even now. It was bad what he did. I don't support what he did, testifying against me, lying and killing those 2 old people, he was wrong. But when it's said and done, I love my brother."
For his testimony, Billy Ramsey's 1st-degree murder charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder. He is serving a 25-year sentence out of state.
Ramsey becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, and the 36th overall since the state resumed executions on Jan. 6, 1989.
Missouri ranks 4th in the numbers of condemned prison put to death
since 1976, trailing only Texas (173), Virginia (64) and Florida (43).
(sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)
Arthur Ray Jenkins III, 29, 99-04-20 - Virginia
A Front Royal man who murdered his uncle and another man in Warren
County was executed Tuesday night after Gov. Jim Gilmore denied his
request for clemency.
Arthur Ray Jenkins III was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
"Forgive me for my sins," Jenkins said when asked for a final statement.
He cried out several times as prison officials inserted needles that
would carry the lethal chemicals into his body.
Outside the prison, a handful of death penalty opponents lined the road with candles lit at their feet as the execution hour approached.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Jenkins' final appeal.
Jenkins, 29, was convicted of capital murder in the Oct. 12, 1990,
slayings of his uncle, Floyd Jenkins, 72, and Lee H. Brinklow, 69.
According to a court summary of the case, Arthur Jenkins and a younger
brother, Kevin Frame, had been drinking when they went to a house
shared by Jenkins' uncle and Brinklow.
An argument ensued, and the younger Jenkins took a .22-caliber rifle
from a bedroom and shot his uncle and Brinklow, then repeatedly stabbed the uncle. Jenkins then broke into his aunt's bedroom and stole money and other items.
In his appeals, Jenkins' attorneys admitted he killed the men. But,
they say, he was mentally ill after years of physical and sexual abuse.
According to his lawyers, Jenkins was neglected, beaten and sexually
abused as a child. He then spent a decade in juvenile institutions. He
was judged to be mentally ill and placed on anti-psychotic medication
when he was 13.
When he was 16, Jenkins was returned to the custody of his parents.
But they didn't want him in the house, so he lived in a tent and was
frequently seen begging for food around Front Royal. Soon after, he was arrested for breaking into a gas station.
He was sentenced to 7 years for burglary and grand larceny and was
sent to adult prison at age 16. He received anti-psychotic medications
In 1989, he was transferred to the Washington County jail for his own
protection after he told authorities about a prison slaying. While there he was cut off from his medication and, according to his appeal,
suffered "outrageous physical and mental abuse'' at the hands of the chief jailer.
The appeal accuses the jailer, Robert A. Clenenden Jr., of giving
inmates alcohol, marijuana and pills in exchange for sexual favors. Clenenden, who later served jail time on unrelated embezzlement charges, denied the sex and drug claims.
Jenkins was released from the jail on Sept. 6, 1990 without supervision or medication, said Jenkins' lawyers, Charles F. Witthoefft and Ian J. Wilson. He had been out of jail 36 days when he committed the 2 murders.
The jury never got to hear of the alleged abuse suffered by Jenkins in
jail. A federal appeals court ruled that evidence of the abuse could not be raised because it was not introduced earlier in the appeals process.
The Virginia attorney general's office said Jenkins' criminal record is unchanged by the new abuse claims.
"Jenkins is a violent, predatory killer," said David Botkins, the
attorney general's spokesman. "Jenkins admits his guilt, but
continues to try and manipulate the system."
Gilmore, in denying clemency, said the slayings of the two elderly men
were "excruciatingly brutal" and that Jenkins, while on death row, had assaulted guards and was found with a razor blade fashioned into a
Jenkins becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia, and the 65th overall since Virginia resumed executions on August 10, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)
David J. Lawrie, 37, 99-04-23, Delaware
Convicted murderer David J. Lawrie was executed early this morning.
The killer of 4 was declared dead by lethal injection at 12:17 a.m.
at Delaware Correctional Center.
Lawrie, 37, admitted killing his estranged wife Michelle, 2 daughters
and another child in a home in the Dover suburb Rodney Village on the
morning of August 6, 1992.
James B. Clark, who was put to death on April 19, 1996, was the last to be executed in the state.
Before Lawrie, Delaware had executed 8 people since 1992 - 7 by
chemical injection and 1, Billy Bailey in January 1996, by hanging.
There are currently 19 people sentenced to death in Delaware.
Lawrie had been on death row since his 1993 conviction in the murders
of his wife, 2 of their children, 4-year-old Fawn and 2-year-old
Tabitha, and a friend's child, 3-year-old Charles Humbertson.
Lawrie, who said he had been high on drugs prior to the killing, set the house on fire by lighting gasoline he had poured on the floor. He then stabbed his wife in the chest as she cowered in a back bedroom with the 3 children.
A last-ditch effort to hold off the execution failed when the U.S.
Supreme Court denied a request for an appeal earlier this week.
Lawrie's attorney, Gary F. Traynor, said the high court refused requests for a stay of execution and a review of the case.
Lawrie told his attorneys not to take the case before the Delaware Board of Pardons.
Gov. Thomas R. Carper chose not to intervene because he has not in any
other executions since he took office, according to his spokesman,
According to comments from friends, in the days prior to the execution
Lawrie had "come to terms with it."
"He knows what he did is wrong and he knows his time is coming," said
Ronald Sharp, best man at the wedding of David and Michelle Lawrie.
It took almost 7 years to bring to a close a chapter that began in a
rage of fire and smoke in a modest home south of Dover.
There had been no doubt about his guilt in the case since witnesses and investigators testified in court to what Lawrie had admitted.
"I guess he just loved her too much and wasn't going to let her go," Mr. Sharp said earlier this week.
"In my 25 years of fire investigations, this was the worst I have ever
investigated," said deputy fire marshal Robert J. Montgomery. "It is a case I will never forget."
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty staged a rally in front
of Legislative Hall Thursday as the final hours of David J. Lawrie's
life ticked away.
Essentially the same group gathered later at the Delaware Correctional
Center for a candlelight vigil outside the execution trailer where
Lawrie was to die.
More than 75 protesters gathered Thursday night at the Smyrna Rest Stop to be escorted by State Police to a vigil adjacent to the prison.
At approximately 11 p.m., the group was taken to within 800 feet of the execution trailer, where it stood vigil in an area cordoned off by snow fences.
State police and prison guards stood watch as the group lit candles and raised placards as midnight neared.
The protesters pulled a large brass bell on a trailer to the site.
"The bell is our symbol," said Kevin O'Connell, a leading anti-death
penalty advocate in the state.
"We use it for a number of reasons - for the victims of violent crimes, for the condemned, the family members of the condemned and the family members of the victims. For us, it is a symbol of truth."
Mr. O'Connell coordinated the night gathering.
He asked participants to sign a moratorium asking the state to adopt the position taken by the American Bar Association, which called last year for a nationwide moratorium on the death penalty.
"We're getting a cross-section of people from Delaware (to sign)," said Mr. O'Connell.
3 clergy members - Fr. Barry Langley, a Franciscan friar from
Wilmington; Rev. Richard Reissmann, pastor of St. John's Holy Angels
Church in Wilmington; and Brother Stephen Strausbaugh, former Catholic
chaplain at DCC - took part in the night vigil.
Some protesters offered comments during the afternoon rally. Others
paraded in front of the building. They carried placards reading "Abolish the death penalty", "Execute justice, not people" and "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind (Gandhi)."
A handful of passers-by stopped to listen. A few smartly dressed
legislative aides paused briefly before hurrying up the steps into the
One lone pro-death penalty advocate circled around and around the
building in a pickup truck with a sign reading, "I support De. death
For the most part, the demonstrators spoke to themselves.
Dover resident Anne Coleman said the United States is the only
industrial nation in the western world to still have the death penalty.
"One of these days the United States is going to wake up and find its
trading partners in Europe are pulling out," Ms. Coleman said. "This is one of the states that still executes mentally-retarded people. Shame, shame on Delaware. Healing cannot occur by putting violence into its place."
Jeanne Wilhelm lives in Luther Towers in Dover.
"God is the creator of life and God alone is responsible for taking
life," she said. "That is a judgment I would not want on my
Ms. Wilhelm said Delaware calls itself the First State because it was
the 1st to "sign a Constitution guaranteeing human rights." But with a death penalty still on the books, "how do those 2 fit together?" she
Camden attorney Sandra Dean carried a sign reading "Abolish the death
penalty." Ms. Dean works as a public defender in Kent County.
"I represented David Lawrie in Family Court the day before the murders, so I've followed this case more closely than some others," Ms. Dean said. "It was a completely unremarkable hearing, like many others. I remember his wife asked for him not to go to jail. She just wanted him to leave her alone."
According to court records, Lawrie and his estranged wife had a
confrontation in which he threatened to kill her. She had him arrested
for terroristic threatening and offensive touching. He pleaded guilty to terroristic threatening in Family Court on Aug. 5, 1992, and was
released with orders to have no contact with his wife.
A day later, Michelle Lawrie and 3 young children were dead.
Ms. Dean said she remains firmly against Delaware's capital punishment
law. She also said she's not the only member of the legal community with that view.
"I think there's a sad lack of people from the bar and clergy here
today," she said. "Those are the groups that should be out here."
Jonathan Pearson, acting deputy director for Amnesty International's
mid-Atlantic region office in Washington, D.C., added his support. He
said his organization stands firmly against capital punishment in any
"Tonight, the state of Delaware is going to continue the cycle of
violence," he said. "Tonight the state of Delaware is going to continue the cycle of killing, and tonight the state of Delaware is going to continue the cycle of premeditated killing. . . . There are hundreds of thousands of other people who share your beliefs. Keep fighting."
Donald Goldsborough, 28, of Smyrna, stopped his truck with the pro-death penalty sign to talk with a reporter.
"I think it's a good deterrent, for one thing," he said. "It's not
full payment, but when somebody is found guilty of murder, it's part of a way to pay. I believe God would have the state penalize people who commit murder that way."
Mr. Goldsborough said he became interested in the Lawrie case because
his brother-in-law used to work for the family of one of the victims.
Was he surprised to hear Lawrie stabbed 3 prison guards late Wednesday?
"Just a little bit, but then again, no," he said. "Anybody capable of
committing the crime he committed could do that too, so I guess it's not too surprising."
(source for both: Delaware News)
Ralph Davis, 61, 99-04-28 - Missouri
A 61-year-old man who killed his estranged wife was executed by
injection early Wednesday, the oldest Missouri inmate put to death
since capital punishment was reinstated in 1977.
Previously, the oldest inmate executed since Missouri resumed the
death penalty in 1989 was Emmett Nave, who was 55 when he was put to
death in 1996.
Ralph Davis was convicted of killing his wife, Susan, in part on the
strength of DNA evidence. The body of the 35-year-old woman was never
His last words, in a written statement, were to his son and daughter-in-law: "My body is gone but my spirit is with you. I'm just
going to sleep. Love you. Dad."
Mrs. Davis disappeared in 1986 after leaving her job at Westinghouse
Electric Corp. in Columbia. 3 weeks earlier, she had filed assault
charges against her husband. She claimed he was abusive and had once
held a gun to her head.
On the same day she vanished, prosecutors said, Davis bought a .12-gauge
shotgun from a sporting goods store. Davis told police he didn't know
what had become of his wife. He claimed she abused drugs and speculated
that she had run away with another man, perhaps to Texas.
Investigators lacked solid evidence until 1988, when they found the woman's car in Davis' storage locker near Jefferson City. Shotgun pellets had blasted through the driver's side window. Bone fragments, blood and human tissue were found inside. The investigators were looking for her
1986 Ford Escort since Davis had failed to keep up with payments.
A medical examiner determined there was so much blood it could only have
resulted from a fatal wound. DNA evidence showed that Mrs. Davis was the
In appeals to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme
Court, and in a clemency request to Carnahan, Davis claimed bad lawyers
put him in his predicament.
Davis was originally charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of
his wife. The 1st-degree murder charge was filed only after Davis'
original lawyer filed for a continuance in the original case.
Prosecutors had warned that if the continuance was filed, they would
upgrade the charge to 1st-degree murder.
"What lawyer would put his client at risk like that?" Davis asked.
Susan Davis' mother and brother have said that if Davis admitted to the
crime, and said where he hid her body, they would consider joining in
a clemency request.
"Why should I do that when I didn't do anything?" Davis said in an
interview with The Associated Press.
Robert Davis, the couple's 21-year-old son, was reunited Monday with his
father for the 1st time since Robert and his sister, now 17, were taken
away following the arrest of Ralph Davis in 1988.
"I love him," Robert Davis told the AP. "He is my last living parent.
Despite the fact of what he's accused of, he's still my dad."
Davis' attorney, Elizabeth Carlyle, said he suffers from a disorder that
causes him to block out traumatic events. Even if he committed the
crime, he wouldn't remember it, she said.
Ralph Davis, then a Columbia insurance agent, told police he didn't know
what had become of his wife. He claimed she abused drugs and speculated
that she had run away with another man, perhaps to Texas.
Prior to the national moratorium on the death penalty, Allen Lambis, 73,
died in the gas chamber in Jefferson City in 1944 for a murder in
Mississippi County. John Williamson, 63, was executed in 1939 for a
murder in Ste. Genevieve County.
Davis becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year
in Missouri, and the 37th overall since the state resumed capital
punishment on Jan. 6, 1989.
Missouri has never executed more than 6 men in a year. That total could
be matched by the end of May. Jessie Lee Wise is scheduled to die by
injection May 26 for beating a woman to death with a pipe wrench in
suburban St. Louis in 1988.
Darrell Mease was scheduled for execution in February for killing the
paraplegic grandson of his former drug partner. But Carnahan commuted
Mease's sentence to life in prison after a personal request from Pope
John Paul II during the pope's January visit to St. Louis.
Foust, 26, 99-04-28, Texas
Self-described cold-blooded and remorseless killer Aaron Christopher
Foust was executed Wednesday night for robbing and strangling a Fort
Worth hospital executive almost 2 years ago.
Foust, 26, was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., 6 minutes after the lethal
drugs were released into his arms. He had demanded that no appeals be
filed on his behalf, clearing the way for the 10th execution this year
"Adios, amigos," Foust said in a brief final statement. "I'll see
ya'll on the other side. That's it. I'm ready, ready when ya'll are."
As the drugs took effect, Foust took 1 deep breath and 2 short breaths.
Then he stopped moving.
Foust, a former welder and carpenter who dealt drugs on the side, was a
week away from entering the Army when the May 18, 1997 murder occurred
at the Fort Worth apartment of David Ward, 43.
In a death row interview last week, Foust said he felt no remorse.
"Sometimes I wish I did kind of feel something," he said. "The bottom
line is, if I was the type to feel remorseful, I wouldn't have done this
in the first place. It takes a good deal of determination to put a man
in a chokehold and choke the life out of him."
Ward was a British citizen who came to Fort Worth in 1975 to work as a
nurse at John Peter Smith Hospital. He moved up the hospital hierarchy,
eventually becoming a vice president in 1995. He was active in the
battle against AIDS and was instrumental in establishing a public-private
organization, "Healing Wings," that has raised millions of dollars for
AIDS patients in Tarrant County.
He was about to leave on a month-long vacation to England when Foust and
an accomplice arrived at his home to collect what Foust said was a $500
debt. When Ward balked, he was killed.
"I didn't like the guy," Foust said last week. "Mostly it was his
attitude. He had a real arrogant, snobbish kind of attitude. Here's a
guy whose got a damn good job, education. He's got this attitude he's
better than me. It seems like to me he's worse than me. He thought he
"The situation with Mr. Ward, it was just business. He entered into a
contract with me. Obviously, I couldn't take him to court."
Ward's brother, Michael, came to Texas from England to watch Foust die.
Asked last week what he might say to the victim's brother, Foust replied:
"What's to say?" he added. "I don't know them. If I felt sorry for
what I did, I would say so. But I don't."
Foust and Jamal Brown, 23, who still is awaiting trial, fled with Ward's
cash, credit cards and his BMW. They were caught five days later trying
to use Ward's credit card at an Arlington restaurant.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Alan Levy, who prosecuted
Foust, said he wasn't surprised with Foust's attitude.
"He doesn't show any remorse because he's never had any," Levy said.
Foust, whose muscular build and long hair earned him the nickname
"Conan" among his friends, said he arrived on death row 11 months
ago figuring it would take years for his appeals to be exhausted and his
punishment to be carried out.
"Soon as I got here, I found out I could drop my appeals," he said.
"So I wrote a letter to my attorney and the judge."
Foust's time on death row - just shy of one year - would be the
second-shortest among the 173 condemned killers who preceded him to the
Texas death chamber. Joe Gonzales, another execution volunteer, received
lethal injection in 1996 only 252 days after arriving on death row. The
average prison time before execution is about 10 years.
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life without a woman," Foust
said. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life being told what to do,
not having any freedom. I'm guilty. I did it."
Foust becomes the 10th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas
this year, and the 174th overall since the state resumed executions on
Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Eric Christopher Payne, 26, 99-04-28, Virginia
In Jarratt, a Virginia man convicted of sexually assaulting and
killing 2 women with a hammer in 1997 was executed by lethal injection
in a state prison on Wednesday, a prison spokesman said.
Eric Christopher Payne, 26, confessed to murdering the women and beating
another woman and her son in a series of attacks 6 months after he was
released from prison. He refused to file appeals or seek clemency to
delay his execution.
"I love you Margie. We will be together again," Payne said to his wife
just before he was injected with a dose of lethal chemicals in the
Greensville state prison in Jarratt, about 55 miles from the state
capital Richmond. He died at 9:04 p.m. EDT.
Payne was the 1st of 2 death row inmates set to die in as many days.
According to prosecutors, Payne admitted to the June 1997 bludgeoning
and attempted rape of Ruth Parham, a 61-year old cleaning woman, in Hanover
County. 6 days later, he raped, beat to death and robbed Sally Fazio, 57, in nearby Richmond.
Hours earlier, Payne had attacked Ridley Fleck and her 8-year-old son,
Dean, who suffered extensive head wounds when he beat them with the
22-ounce hammer outside a Richmond movie theater.
During Payne's sentencing hearing, a psychologist testified he suffered
from sexual disorders stemming in part from a life spent largely in
foster homes and institutions. His father shot his mother to death and
then hanged himself when Payne was 4 months old.
Payne also never received counseling recommended while he was in prison
serving a 6-year sentence on drug charges.
"He was bound to lose, you know. He never had a chance from the
beginning," attorney Carolyn Grady said. "He really kind of got the
shaft all along from the system."
Payne married his wife, Margaret Dalton Payne, while in prison serving
time on the drug charge.
Payne becomes the 7th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Virginia, and the 66th overall since the state resumed capital
punishment on Aug. 10, 1982.
(sources: Reuters & Rick Halperin)
Ronald Dale Yeatts, 38, 99-04-29, Virginia
In Jarratt, a man who robbed and killed an elderly widow was executed
Thursday night after Gov. Jim Gilmore denied clemency and the Supreme
Court turned down a final appeal and stay request.
Ronald Dale Yeatts was put to death by injection at the Greensville
Correctional Center in Jarratt. He was pronounced dead at 9:03 p.m.,
said Warden David Garraghty.
Yeatts made no final statement.
Yeatts' execution marked the 1st time since 1945 that Virginia has
executed 2 inmates on consecutive days, although the state has executed
2 or more inmates on the same day several times.
On Wednesday night, Eric Payne was put to death for killing 2 women
during a spree of hammer beatings in the Richmond area in 1997.
The Rev. Bob West, Yeatts' minister, said, "The hardest thing for him
(Yeatts) was to see a good friend go last night."
Earlier Thursday, Yeatts visited with his parents, sister, ex-wife and
Yeatts, 38, of Blairs in rural Pittsylvania County, was sentenced to
death for the September 1989 murder and robbery of Ringgold widow Ruby
Meeks Dodson. Ms. Dodson, 70, was stabbed to death and her throat was
Yeatts and an accomplice who named him as the killer, Charles Michael
Vernon, went to Ms. Dodson's remote farm house looking for drug money,
according to court records.
Vernon, a self-described cocaine addict, and Yeatts, who had a record of
burglaries, pretended to have car trouble and asked for glasses of
Once inside, they ransacked Ms. Dodson's home and took $1,400 from her.
A neighbor found her dead on her kitchen floor.
Vernon is serving 2 life sentences at Greensville for his role in the
crime. Because he was sentenced before the Virginia legislature
abolished parole for violent offenders, Vernon will be eligible for parole in 2002.
Yeatts has maintained his innocence. But his attorney, Gerald T. Zerkin
of Richmond, admitted in the clemency plea to Gilmore that Yeatts was
Nonetheless, Zerkin wrote, Yeatts' jury should have been told Yeatts
would not be eligible for parole for 30 years if they gave him a life
Gilmore, a law-and-order Republican who is a former attorney general and
commonwealth's attorney, noted that Yeatts' conviction and sentence were
upheld on multiple appeals. Gilmore has not granted a clemency petition
in a death penalty case since he took office in January 1998.
The Supreme Court voted 7-2 against stopping the execution, with Justices
John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg voting in the minority.
Yeatts becomes the 8th condemned inmate to be put to death in Virginia
this year, and the 67th overall since the state resumed capital
punishment in 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Manuel Pina Babbitt, 50, 99-05-04, California
At San Quentin, Manuel Pina Babbitt, a decorated Vietnam veteran who murdered a Sacramento grandmother, was put to death by lethal injection early this morning, one day after turning 50 on death row.
Prison officials said the injection was delayed until they received word that the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected without comment the condemned man's eleventh-hour request for a stay of execution.
The execution took place at 12:29 a.m., 28 minutes later than scheduled. He was pronounced dead at 12:37 a.m. His last words, told to Warden Jeanne Woodford at around mindnight, were "I forgive you all."
The condemned man was strapped and handcuffed to a gurney with his arms out; intravenous lines injected him with a cocktail of chemicals. At one point during the somber proceeding, his body bucked several times, his chest straining against the straps.
Laura Thompson, Schendel's granddaughter, looked away at that point. In a statement after the execution, she said, "It is our hope that this conclusion will bring a sense of closure to our family. We know that nothing will bring Leah Schendel back to us, but we feel that we have done everything in our power to see that justice was done in her name."
Babbitt was sentenced to death for the 1980 murder and attempted rape of 78-year-old Leah Schendel--an attack he said he did not remember because it came during a post-traumatic stress flashback.
Babbitt spent his final hours in seclusion, reading poetry and meditating instead of speaking with a spiritual advisor, according to his attorney, Charles E. Patterson.
Patterson described Babbitt as "completely peaceful."
16 family members and friends had filed into the massive prison throughout the day to visit the condemned man for the last time.
As night fell and the execution neared, various members of the Babbitt entourage gathered near the prison gates, including childhood friend Patricia Tavares, who had traveled from Massachusetts, where "we don't have the death penalty and I'm proud of it," she said.
Gesturing from her wheelchair at the gathered family, Tavares said that "when you see these people, you're seeing Manny. Manny's not leaving us. . . . Manny just wants to go out in dignity, and that's all we want--privacy and dignity."
As the time ticked away, Babbitt's legal options narrowed. Late Monday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request to take his case to federal court, said state Public Defender Jessie Morris. With less than 2 hours to go before the execution, Babbitt's attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier in the day, the state Supreme Court had denied a request that Babbitt's execution be stayed while a hearing is held to decide whether the condemned man should have a new trial based on evidence his lawyers say has recently surfaced.
In a tersely worded ruling, Chief Justice Ronald M. George called defense arguments about racism in jury selection and excessive drinking by Babbitt's 1st attorney "untimely" and "repetitious." Only two of the seven justices voted for a stay of execution; one did not participate in the ruling.
Babbitt spent his day visiting with friends and family, waiting for word on court rulings, taking telephone calls and fasting. Instead of eating the traditional last meal, his attorneys said, he has asked that the money instead be donated to feed homeless veterans.
Beverly Lopes, Babbitt's 5th-grade teacher, who traveled from Massachusetts to support Babbitt's family, said she spent 5 hours with him and "he's doing very well.
"I told him I was honored to be his teacher," she recounted. "I blessed him on his birthday. . . . I told him to 'hold your head up high and face the world, so when I go back to my classroom, I will go and hold my head up high.' "
Scores of protesters, mostly demonstrating against the death penalty, had gathered at the gates of San Quentin as the execution neared, including a small group of men who walk 25 miles from San Francisco each time an execution is scheduled.
Babbitt "served our country well," said 65-year-old Lyle Grosjean of Santa Cruz, a Korean War-era veteran and one of the so-called "walkers."
"The least we can do is not kill him," Grosjean said.
Wearing a Purple Heart he earned during the Vietnam War, Larry Yepez brought his Marine dress uniform to the prison, hoping to leave it behind on the barricades "for Manny," he said.
Yepez said he, too, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and believes that the country "turned its back" on soldiers like himself and Babbitt. The execution, he figures, is just another cold shoulder to Vietnam veterans.
A minority of voices in the crowd showed up to express support for the death penalty in general and Babbitt's execution in particular, calling capital punishment "American justice."
"Half those people in there should die," said Kristine McClymonds, 20, of Petaluma, as she stood in front of the prison gates. Said her companion Aaron, who refused to give a last name, "It's not about vengeance. It's about what's right."
Earlier, Patterson described the condemned man as resigned to his fate and wanting "to die with dignity." He said Babbitt viewed the execution as God's way of calling him home.
While on death row, Babbitt was able to get to sleep "by listening to his heart beat," Patterson said. "He tries to catch that last heartbeat before falling asleep. He believes that if he is executed, he will again listen to that last heartbeat."
Babbitt's execution made 1999 only the 2nd year since then that California has killed 2 men. Jaturun Siripongs, 43, of Garden Grove, was executed in February for a double murder he committed in 1981.
California has the most crowded death row in the nation, with 536 inmates waiting to die, and the pace of executions is increasing. Opponents of the death penalty expect at least 1 or 2 more executions in California before the millennium.
Late Friday, after Gov. Gray Davis denied Babbitt's clemency petition, the condemned man's attorneys asked the state Supreme Court for a stay of execution and a hearing on a new trial. Patterson argued in the legal filing that his client did not get a fair trial in 1982 because of the "racial animus and alcohol-induced ineptitude" of his attorney at the time.
Recently uncovered evidence shows that Babbitt's trial attorney routinely drank 3 or 4 double vodkas at lunch during the trial, Patterson alleged in court documents. He described blacks in derogatory terms and did not object when prosecutors excused the only African Americans from the jury pool, the documents show.
Don Schendel, the dead woman's son, decried what he called the defense's "raising the race card" at this late date, more than 18 years after Schendel was killed in her Sacramento home.
"I don't remember anyone speaking about the color of a person throughout this whole ordeal," Schendel said. "It's all subterfuge. It's a shame."
In the days and hours before Babbitt's execution, Lance Lindsey, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, a nonprofit organization opposed to capital punishment, received an unusual number of calls from veterans and law enforcement officials supporting Babbitt, who claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his Vietnam War experience. Babbitt served at the siege of Khe Sanh, one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
"They're not the usual suspects that are always against the death penalty," said Lindsey, who planned to lead a vigil outside San Quentin Monday night in protest of the execution.
On a foggy night just before Christmas in 1980, Manuel Babbitt was walking home along a Sacramento street after a day spent drinking and smoking marijuana. When he paused at an intersection, he said he saw the headlights of cars coming down a hill. They looked to him like the lights on enemy aircraft in Khe Sanh.
"I don't know how I made it across," he said in a clemency tape presented to Davis. "The next thing I remember was waking up on a lawn somewhere in Sacramento on one of those streets. That's all I remember of that night."
Babbitt sliced through the screen door of Leah Schendel's small apartment with a knife and beat her so brutally that he shattered her dentures. She died of a heart attack as a result of the assault.
Babbitt becomes the 7th condemned prisoner - and the 1st African American - to be executed in the death chamber at San Quentin State Prison since California resumed executions in 1992.
(sources: Los Angeles & Rick Halperin)
After Laura Thompson watched her grandmother's killer die early Tuesday inside San Quentin's converted gas chamber, she sounded steadfast and sure that her years-long fight for the execution had been just.
"Crime is not pleasant," Thompson said. "We cannot expect that justice will always be pleasant."
But her words, contained in a statement she dictated to the Associated Press shortly after she watched Leah Schendel's killer put to death by lethal injection, did not appear to match her reactions to what she saw inside the chamber viewing room where 50-year-old Manuel Pina Babbitt died.
At times, she could not bring herself to look at the man she had fought so hard to see executed, especially when his body involuntarily convulsed as the lethal drugs hit his system.
Sometimes, Thompson looked down at the floor, other times she gazed off into space with a hard, blank look on her face.
A few feet away, through the thick glass of the chamber, Babbitt was dying for the 1980 murder of Thompson's 78-year-old grandmother in her south Sacramento home.
But the closure that Thompson and other relatives said they sought through witnessing the execution appeared elusive, at least early Tuesday.
Perhaps it would come later, with time, Thompson said afterward, but it was clear that it was not there early Tuesday.
One Schendel relative stood at the back of the chamber softly crying. Another held hands with a fellow witness. The prosecutor who sent Babbitt to death row -- Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Kit Cleland -- sat hunched over in a chair, staring down at the floor and never appearing to look at Babbitt.
And Thompson, the most vocal of those working to see that the death sentence was carried out, appeared pained and uncomfortable as she watched it happen before her.
As the troubled former Marine died, his guilt-wracked older brother watched from a corner, smiling wanly several times.
Hours after watching the execution, William Babbitt gathered his thoughts at a Half Moon Bay hideaway -- and let them fly.
"I'm at peace," said William Babbitt on Tuesday. "I pray that the Schendel family is."
But any peace he feels is tinged with bitterness stretching back years. William Babbitt turned his brother into police for Schendel's murder after, he says, he was assured that his younger brother would get help -- not execution.
While police interrogated his brother, who was barefoot, William Babbitt recalled asking for socks for his younger brother.
"I was so grateful for those socks. That's the only benefit I got for turning in my beloved brother," Babbitt said.
If Manuel Babbitt, a former Vietnam veteran, tortured by postwar mental disorders, had been kept safely in a mental hospital, if he had gotten the help he needed, he and Leah Schendel would not have died the way they did, William Babbitt said Tuesday afternoon.
"My brother died as a result of state-sanctioned murder, and history will come to realize that fact," said Babbitt, who plans to spend time away from his Sacramento home following the execution.
Unlike some on death row who spend their last days in near solitude, Manuel Babbitt was never far from familiar faces. Family and friends came in swarms, swelling to as many as two dozen in one day, said Vernell Crittendon, spokesman for San Quentin State Prison.
"He was completely calm," said Chuck Patterson, an attorney for Babbitt, who kept company with him in his last hours and witnessed his execution.
It was family and friends, not Manuel Babbitt, who urged last-minute legal appeals, Patterson said.
When his time came, Manuel Babbitt himself never appeared to open his eyes, never looked around at the witnesses gathered to see him die or to bid him farewell.
Instead, he issued his last words through the warden: "I forgive all of you."
Babbitt's was the 7th California execution to take place since 1992 and one of the more unusual ones in many ways.
Unlike the 6 men who went before him, Babbitt chose no last meal, deciding instead to continue the fast he had begun several days ago as it became evident his execution would go through as scheduled.
When he was led to the death chamber, Babbitt was restrained with narrow handcuffs, instead of the wider leather restraints, to make it easier to find a vein in his wrist, if one was needed, Crittendon said.
Unlike the four previous lethal-injection executions conducted inside San Quentin, Babbitt's body appeared to react as the three powerful drugs entered his bloodstream. He yawned heavily, apparently as the heavy dose of tranquilizer hit him, then convulsed as the other 2 drugs -- one to stop his breathing, another to stop his heart -- were administered. He was pronounced dead within 8 minutes at 12:37 a.m.
Manuel Babbitt had been scheduled to die at one minute after midnight, but even the half-hour delay was unusual in the manner in which it occurred.
In past executions, prison officials have rushed to conduct their "ritual" as soon as court rulings are handed down. The very timing of them -- 12:01 a.m. -- gives them as much time as possible to fight off court appeals during the life of the 24-hour death warrants.
This time was different, however.
Shortly after 11 p.m., the state Department of Corrections said it had decided to voluntarily push back the procedure until the U.S. Supreme Court was given one last chance to review the case.
Even after the high court declined to intervene, there was a slow-paced, almost leisurely progression toward the end.
Now that it is over, William Babbitt said he will take his brother's body back to Massachusetts and bury him next to their father, who died when the 2 were teenagers.
(Sam Stanton was one of 14 media witnesses to the execution. M.S. Enkoji reported from inside San Quentin)
(source: Sacramento Bee)
Jose De La Cruz, 31, 99-05-04, Texas
A parolee who blamed his criminal behavior on inhaling spray paint fumes was executed Tuesday for stabbing and robbing a disabled Corpus Christi man almost a dozen years ago.
Jose De La Cruz, who turned 31 last week, was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m., 9 minutes after the lethal injection was started.
De La Cruz declined to make a final statement. As the drugs took effect, he took one deep breath and grunted three times before he stopped breathing.
De La Cruz was on parole for burglary when he killed 24-year-old Domingo Rosas, the boyfriend of a cousin. De La Cruz had been released from prison after serving less than 4 months of a 5-year sentence.
De La Cruz, who had an appeal rejected by a federal appeals court more than a year ago, asked that no additional legal maneuvers be taken on his behalf.
"I've already made amends with myself," he said in a recent death row interview. "I'm at total peace with my case. I'm not innocent. That man had every right to live just like I did."
De La Cruz, who was 19 at the time, had been visiting at Rosas' home and drinking with the victim a few evenings before the slaying. He returned early June 1, 1987 and used a knife to kill Rosas and steal a television, video recorder and stereo, which he sold later in the day for about $80.
Authorities said the victim's neck also was broken and it appeared the attack began while he was in his wheelchair.
Rosas had been disabled since the age of 3 when a television antenna pierced his face and entered his brain, leaving him partially paralyzed and mentally impaired.
When he was arrested that night for public intoxication, De La Cruz was carrying the victim's driver's license and credit cards, told officers he was Rosas and eventually was released. He was arrested two days after the killing when he went to Rosas' bank and tried to withdraw money. By that time, authorities knew Rosas had been murdered.
De La Cruz initially denied any involvement in the murder but led detectives to people who bought the stolen items from him. Blood stains on his clothing also matched the blood of the victim.
"There are some cases where there perhaps is a struggle," Nueces County District Attorney Carlos Valdez said. "In this case, there was absolutely no justification for the killing. The victim was in a wheelchair and couldn't even defend himself."
"You could say I was stupid," De La Cruz said in an interview 2 weeks ago. "It's sad it took this.
"I had many opportunities to reform but never took them. I've made a hard struggle to educate myself. I was belligerent, hostile. But since I've come here, I've calmed down a lot. I have grown."
De La Cruz said his addiction to inhaling spray paint, beginning at age 10, got him high and allowed him to fantasize.
"It was mind-altering," he said.
De la Cruz becomes the 11th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 175th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Robert Wayne Vickers, 41, 99-05-04, Arizona
In Florence, Robert Wayne Vickers, Arizona's longest-serving death row inmate, was executed by injection today for killing a fellow prisoner in 1982.
Vickers lifted his head from the gurney, smiled and nodded at relatives, including his aunt and cousin.
"Hello, everybody," he said. "See you later."
Moments later he mouthed "time to go" to family members.
Deadly chemicals began flowing into his veins at 3:03 p.m. and he was pronounced dead 2 minutes later.
Vickers, 41, of Phoenix, was sentenced to prison at 18 for grand theft. In 1979 he strangled his cellmate, Frank Ponciano, with a bedsheet because he didn't wake him for lunch and because he drank Vickers' Kool-Aid.
Vickers carved "Bonzai," a misspelling of a Japanese war cry, in the victim's back with a sharpened toothbrush, earning him the nickname "Bonzai Bob." Vickers received the death penalty, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.
Vickers was executed for killing fellow death row inmate Wilmar "Buster" Holsinger in 1982.
Vickers, released from his cell to perform porter duties, had shown Holsinger a photo of his 10-year-old niece. Vickers became enraged after Holsinger made a vulgar remark about the girl and tossed a flaming cup of hair tonic and toilet paper into Holsinger's cell, igniting a flash fire.
Vickers is the only Arizona inmate sentenced to death for the murder of a fellow inmate.
Vickers' attorneys claimed Vickers suffered from mental problems dating to a boyhood spent in foster homes where he was sexually molested and beaten. They also claimed the attack on Holsinger was not premeditated and did not deserve the death penalty.
Prosecutors called Vickers "shockingly evil." He was double-jointed and could escape from any handcuffs, and he once crawled through ventilation ducts to the prison roof before he was recaptured.
The slightly built Vickers was a macho braggart who threatened to carve the name of the judge who overturned his original death sentence into his next victim. Several officers and inmates were stabbed, shot or assaulted with some of the dozens of makeshift weapons he crafted from everyday items like toothbrushes and typewriter parts.
Vickers eventually became so dangerous that he was housed alone in a 4-cell block reserved for the most violent prisoners.
Vickers becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death in Arizona this year, the most since 5 prisoners were gassed in 1943. It was the 17th execution in the state since they were resumed there on April 6, 1992.
(sources: The Arizona Republic & Rick Halperin)
Clydell Coleman, 62, 99-05-05, Texas
In Huntsville, a 62-year-old cocaine addict whose lengthy criminal career began when he was 18 was executed Wednesday night for beating a Waco woman with a hammer and then strangling her during a burglary.
Clydell Coleman was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m., 8 minutes after an executioner started the flow of lethal drugs into his hands.
Coleman declined to make a final statement while strapped to the death chamber gurney.
As the injection was started, Coleman nodded toward his spiritual advisor, who watched through a window a few feet away, and glanced toward 5 members of his victim's family in another adjacent witness room. Then he closed his eyes tightly and took 2 quick breaths before he stopped moving.
Coleman was the oldest person executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1982, the 2nd convicted killer put to death in the state in as many days and the 12th this year.
He was among the nation's oldest convicted killers executed. A 66-year- old Florida convict was put to death in 1984, and an Arkansas murderer was executed in 1995 at age 64.
Coleman, who worked as a janitor, was condemned for the Feb. 24, 1989, murder of 87-year-old Leetisha Joe at her Waco home. Coleman grew up in a house across the street.
Trial testimony showed Coleman and a female companion entered the house through a back door. When they unexpectedly found Ms. Joe at home, Coleman covered her head with a blanket, hit her repeatedly with a hammer and then strangled her with her own stocking.
The 2 fled with the woman's television, a clock radio, sheets, a cooler, fan and ladder. The fingerprints of Coleman's accomplice, Yolanda Phillips, were found at the home. She was arrested and implicated Coleman, telling authorities they both were high on cocaine and needed to steal items to sell so they could support their drug habits.
McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest said Coleman's crime was made for the death penalty.
"All murders are uncalled for, but there are certain murders that really meet the description," he said. "To take advantage of an old person and then take her property and kill her is an unbelievable act of gratuitous violence."
A witness at his trial said Coleman had bragged of robbing the same woman of $4,000 less than a year earlier and that he talked of planning to rob her again once she had a chance to rebuild her savings.
"Since the day of the sentencing, it's been on my mind," Ms. Joe's son, 73-year-old Arthur Joe of Dallas, told the Waco Tribune-Herald, adding he thought the more than 9 years Coleman spent on death row awaiting execution was appropriate.
"I wouldn't have wanted it to be the next day," he said of the punishment. "I wanted extensive time for him to suffer for what he did to my mother."
Coleman 1st served prison time in 1954 when he was given 5 years for a McLennan County burglary. He was paroled after 19 months. 2 years later, he was convicted in Dallas of another burglary, serving 28 months of a 5-year sentence.
He was back in prison in 1966, again for burglary in Dallas. He was released after serving 3 years of a 6-year sentence. In July 1974, he got 15 years for a McLennan County burglary and was paroled 6 years later. He also was accused, but not tried, for a burglary similar to the Joe case, where an 88-year-old woman was robbed after she had a blanket thrown over her head.
Ms. Phillips, 40, plea-bargained for a 30-year prison term in exchange for her testimony. Her criminal record has at least 15 convictions, including 9 for prostitution. She could be paroled in 2004.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Edward Lee Harper Jr., 50, 99-05-25, Kentucky
In Eddyville, Edward Lee Harper Jr., who said he preferred death to the
slow torture of life in prison, was executed Tuesday for the murders of
his adoptive parents.
Harper, 50, died in the death chamber at the Kentucky State Penitentiary
at 7:28 p.m. CDT, becoming Kentucky's 1st death-row inmate to be
executed by injection.
Harper was supposed to have a needle inserted in each arm. But the
execution team couldn't find an acceptable vein in his left arm, so the
needle was inserted into a vein on the top of his left hand.
Despite Harper's desire to die, public defenders had tried legal
maneuvers to stay the execution.
On Monday, a 3-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied a request by the state Department of Public Advocacy, which sought a stay of execution against Harper's wishes.
On Tuesday, the appeals court denied a request by the public defenders
for a new hearing before a full judicial panel, and the U.S. Supreme
Court late Tuesday denied an application for stay of execution. The
application was filed with Justice John Paul Stevens, who referred it to
the full court. There was no dissent. The court also denied a separate
Carol Czirr, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said
Harper spent the morning and the early afternoon visiting with his 27-year-old son, Ben Sheehan of Louisville. Sheehan was required to leave about 2:45 p.m.
"Both of them were quite emotional as they were saying their goodbyes,"
Harper gave Sheehan a chain with a cross, a religious book, 17
photographs and a written prayer.
After his son left, Harper met with prison psychologist Ken Thomas until
about 3 p.m. The inmate spent much of the day with his spiritual adviser, lay minister Paul Stevens of Dawson Springs, who was to remain with Harper until the end.
Harper asked both his son and Stevens to witness his execution and
requested that his body be cremated. The ashes will be buried in a
cemetery at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Eddyville.
Harper's last words were a statement to his son.
"I love you and I'll be waiting for you on the other side. I'll be
waiting for you, boy," Harper said. "That's all I have to say."
The last death-row inmate in Kentucky to be executed was Harold McQueen,
who was the 163rd person to die in the state's electric chair since it
was built in 1911. McQueen, 44, was convicted of shooting and killing a
Richmond convenience-store clerk in January 1980 and electrocuted on
July 1, 1997. Before McQueen, the commonwealth had not executed a prisoner in 35 years.
McQueen's execution triggered a debate among Kentucky lawmakers about
the humanity of the electric chair. On March 31, 1998, Gov. Paul Patton
signed into law a bill making lethal injection the required method of
The law allows death-row inmates already convicted when it took effect
to choose their method of execution: electrocution or, Harper's preference, injection.
An area outside the prison was opened to demonstrators and about a dozen
stood vigil as the hour of execution approached.
The prison was locked down at 6:30 a.m., a standard security measure
prior to an execution. All inmates remained locked in their cells during
the entire day except at meal time, when they were led under close watch
to the dining room.
The lockdown was expected to end Wednesday morning, Czirr said.
Harper was sentenced to death for murdering his parents, Alice and
Edward Lee Harper Sr., who had adopted him as an infant. After entering his parents' home in the early morning hours of Feb. 19, 1982, he shot them both with a .38-caliber handgun while they were in bed.
Harper, who had been laid off from his job as a machinist in December
1981, stood to inherit an $86,541 insurance policy on his father's life.
Harper testified at his trial that his father had asked him to shoot him
and his wife because she was mentally ill and the elder Harper couldn't
bear to put her in an institution.
Harper had said once before, in 1985, that he wanted to die, but changed
his mind a year later after a court-appointed lawyer mistakenly told him
that he could be freed in 12 to 15 years.
Last Sept. 3, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld his conviction; the U.S.
Supreme Court refused to hear Harper's case on April 5. Gov. Paul Patton
signed his death warrant on April 20 and set the execution date.
Harper was awakened at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday for a breakfast. He skipped
lunch. His last meal was at 3:15 p.m.
He was moved on May 19 from his cell in the death-row housing unit where
he had lived since his imprisonment on Dec. 6, 1982, into a cell about
60 feet from the death chamber. At least 2 prison guards were posted
outside his cell around the clock to monitor his movements.
In his new surroundings, Harper had access to a television, radio,
telephone and reading materials, Czirr said.
(sources: Kentucky Herald-Leader & Rick Halperin)
Jessie Lee Wise, 46, 99-05-26, Missouri
The 1st murder got him 12 years. The 2nd got him death.
Early Wednesday, Missouri executed twice-convicted murderer Jessie Lee
Wise by lethal injection, prison officials said.
Wise, 46, died at 12:54 a.m. CDT, according to prison spokesman Tim
Kniest. The execution was delayed nearly an hour while prison officials
waited for final court rulings on a flurry of appeals made by Wise's
attorney and the final go-ahead from Governor Mel Carnahan, said Kniest.
8 family members of Wise's 2 victims attended the execution, said
In his 1st murder conviction, Wise was found guilty of the 1971 killing
of a 39-year-old plastering contractor, Ralph Gianino, and he was
sentenced to life in prison. Wise was paroled in 1984.
But the promise of redemption eluded Wise, and the 2nd murder conviction,
for the 1988 killing of 49-year-old Geraldine McDonald, paved the way to
Missouri's execution chamber.
Prosecutors said Wise bludgeoned McDonald and robbed her apartment after
she refused to give him money. At the time, Wise was working as a
maintenance man at the condominium where McDonald lived.
Police found McDonald's car and credit cards in Wise's possession, along
with a pawn ticket that led to her jewelry.
Though Wise initially confessed to the murder, he later proclaimed that
he found McDonald dead and only robbed her apartment.
After dining on his last meal of steak and shrimp, Wise directed a final
statement to The Rev. Carole Mehl of Kansas City, who he befriended
three years ago: "Carole, I love you. Remember me," he said.
Wise becomes the 6th condemned person to be executed in Missouri this
year, and the 38th overall in the state since executions were resumed
there in 1989. Only Texas, Virginina and Florida have carried out more
executions than Missouri since the resumption of capital punishment.
Another execution is scheduled for June, as 84 convicts sit on
Missouri's death row.
(sources: Reuters & Rick Halperin)
William Hamilton Little, 38, 99-06-01, Texas
In Huntsville, a ninth-grade dropout who worked as a roofer was executed
Tuesday night for the rape, stabbing and strangling of a Liberty County
woman more than 15 years ago.
William Hamilton Little, 38, was condemned for the Dec. 3, 1983 murder
of 23-year-old Marilyn Peter at her home in a rural area near Cleveland,
about 30 miles northeast of Houston.
Five of Ms. Peter's friends and relatives watched through a death
chamber window as he was put to death.
``Although we feel that nothing can justify the loss of our loved one,
we are grateful in knowing that William Little will never be able to kill
and destroy another innocent life,'' her family said in a prepared
Little was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal
dose began flowing, officials said.
The inmate had no formal final statement, but told prison officials
before the drugs were administered that he didn't want to cause any problems.
``I've been jealous of people who preceded me, they got to go home and I
had to remain,'' he said.
After declining to make a formal statement, Little closed his eyes, took
a couple of deep breaths and gasped.
The U.S. Supreme Court two weeks ago refused to review his case, upholding
rulings of other federal courts and clearing the way for the lethal injection, the 13th of the year in Texas.
Authorities said the woman had been raped, stabbed more than 19 times, then raped again after she was dead. Her body was found later in the day by two workmen who were supposed to install a clothes dryer at her home.
The workmen entered after they spotted blood on a door jamb and heard a
child crying. Inside they discovered the victim's 2-year-old son on a
kitchen counter. The child was not injured but the room was covered with
blood and Ms. Peter's ravaged body was on the floor in the living room.
``It was a very gory situation,'' Liberty County District Attorney Mike
Little, who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday. ``No question in my mind,
I think this is one of the cases the death penalty is made for.
``Certainly in my opinion and in the jury's opinion, he earned the death
penalty and he deserves what he gets,'' added Little, who is not related
to the prisoner.
Witnesses remembered William Little drinking and smoking marijuana the
night before the murder, pulling a knife and trying to start fights and
bragging about scalping and dismembering people.
A witness identified Little as a man spotted in the doorway of Ms.
Peter's home the night of the slaying. Police found blood-stained jeans and towels at his home.
``There was a handprint on the inside of the door of her residence in
blood that we were able to match up to his hand,'' the prosecutor said. ``The bloody handprint on the door was certainly pretty powerful evidence.''
In a confession, Little told authorities he knew the victim because she
had sold him marijuana. About two pounds of the illegal drug were found at
her home by police. He also told police he killed Ms. Peter but contended
the sex was consensual.
``The autopsy revealed it was a rape beyond any question,'' the district
Little had a history of drug use and of using a knife in burglaries, was
on probation at the time of his arrest for involuntary manslaughter and had been ordered to a halfway house for drug rehabilitation but refused to
He was one of two men who confessed to the crime but an indictment
against the second man was dropped after it was determined he was mentally
incompetent. During Little's appeals, a federal judge ordered DNA
testing which eliminated the second man as a suspect but confirmed the
likelihood that Little was the killer.
In one of the more extensive final meal requests by a condemned Texas
inmate, Little asked for 15 slices of cheese, three fried eggs, three
slices of buttered toast, two hamburger patties with cheese, half a
tomato, one sliced onion, french fries with salad dressing, a half pound of crispy fried bacon, one quart of chocolate milk and one pint of fresh strawberries.
Scotty Lee Moore, 42, 99-06-03, Oklahoma
Oklahoma County killer Scotty Lee Moore was pronounced dead early
Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary following a flurry of failed
He was convicted of the 1983 murder of Alex Fernandez, 42, a desk clerk
at Oklahoma City's Airline Motel. Fernandez had fired Moore a month before
"Scotty Lee Moore took the life of Alex Fernandez more than 15 years
ago," Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Wednesday. "His death
sentence has been upheld by all courts. It is time he receives his
punishment. My thoughts are with the family of Alex Fernandez."
Fernandez was found face down on the floor in a pool of blood with five
bullets in the back of his head.
He was survived by his wife and two sons, to whom he sent money in
Pakistan. None of his family witnessed the execution.
Moore's appeals challenged the objectivity of the Oklahoma Pardon and
Parole Board, which on May 18 denied clemency in a 4-1 vote, said Bill
Humes, assistant Oklahoma attorney general.
Another appeal alleged that the conditions of Moore's confinement and
ineffective assistance on behalf of his attorney violated international
treaties, Humes said. Yet another appeal alleged errors in sentencing
instructions and that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals had acted
Moore's statutory appeals ended in March, when Edmondson asked the
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date.
Shortly after 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, the last appeal was denied by the
U.S. Supreme Court, an Edmondson spokesman said.
Although Moore had not requested any witnesses for his execution, four
family members from out of state and his attorney were on his visitation
list for Wednesday, said Lee Mann, Oklahoma State Penitentiary
Moore did not request a last meal, Mann said. He was offered a meal from
the prison's dinner menu, including hamburgers, french fries, fruit and
peanut butter cake.
Outside the penitentiary gates, a prayer vigil began about 10:30 p.m. A
small group of people, each holding a single candle, joined in a circle
and softly sang "For You Are My God," based on Psalm 16.
Page Dunbar, 12, of Stillwater was among them. "We shouldn't kill people
for killing people," she said. "All should have a chance to live and
make up for it."
Michael Johns of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
stood a few feet away, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Sean Sellers, an Oklahoma County killer who was put to death Feb. 4.
Johns has known Moore for about seven years, describing him as a very
giving person who is concerned that the fight against human rights
"He's a very constructive prisoner," Johns said. "He doesn't buy into
the negative stuff. He's into resolving conflict. This is a pretty wasteful execution. He could do a lot of good if he was kept in the system."
On the other side of a roadblock stood about a dozen people who support the death penalty, some wearing T-shirts with pictures of murder victims.
One was Judy Busch of Oklahoma City, whose granddaughter, Katherine Ann
Busch, 7, was killed Feb. 19, 1990, in Yukon. Busch said she was present
to represent Fernandez, adding that the inmates get a lot of publicity.
"The other side will never understand until they have a homicide in
their family," she said.
Moore's execution attracted much less attention and controversy than
those of some of his predecessors, such as Sellers, whose friends put his
confession, poetry and journal onto an Internet Web site and continue to
correspond through a chat room.
Edmondson's office expects the pace of executions to pick up following
recent changes in laws governing appeals.
Moore was the 16th inmate put to death in Oklahoma since the state
reinstated the death penalty in 1977. He was the 99th person on record
put to death at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Osage County killer Norman Lee Newsted, whose execution is set for July
8, will be the 100th inmate put to death. He was sentenced to die for the
1984 murder of Lawrence Donnell Buckley, a cab driver who picked him up at
the Tulsa airport.
(source: Tulsa World)
Bruce Kilgore, 99-06-16, Arizona
Michael Poland, 99-06-16, Montana
Michael Poland was executed by injection Wednesday, more than 2 decades after he and his brother posed as highway patrolmen, robbed an armored car and killed its 2 guards.
Asked if he had any last words, Poland said he was hungry.
"I'd like to know if you're going to bring me lunch afterward," Poland
said. "I'm really hungry. I can't think of anything else."
Poland's lawyers had unsuccessfully tried to convince courts that Poland
did not understand he was going to die and was therefore mentally
incompetent to be executed.
Poland raised his head several times to look at the window into the witness chamber as his death warrant was being read. He mouthed the words, "I love you," to 2 of his sons and a daughter-in-law who witnessed the execution.
Poland's chest heaved several times as the lethal dose of medications
began flowing at 3:12 p.m. He puffed out his cheeks twice before being
declared dead at 3:14 p.m.
He was the 6th person executed in Arizona this year, a record. The
largest previous 1-year total was 5 executions in 1943.
Poland's attorneys had claimed the 59-year-old was mentally incompetent
to be executed because 3 psychiatrists diagnosed him as delusional.
One of Poland's attorneys, Dale Baich, said Poland believed he had the
power to influence people and to stop his execution by a force of his
But a Pinal County judge ruled last week that Poland, even if he was
delusional, was still aware that he was being executed and why, meeting
the legal standard for mental competence. The ruling was upheld on
Poland and his younger brother, Patrick, were sentenced to die for robbing an armored van of $300,000, before killing guards Cecil Newkirk and Russell Dempsey by wrapping them in canvas bags and dumping them into
Both guards' widows wrote to the clemency board, which rejected Poland's
plea for a commutation or reprieve on Tuesday, to say the Polands should
not be spared.
"They planned and executed the death of 2 very precious human beings. They deprived them of a full life and also cheated me of many happy years with my husband I still love so very much," Lola Newkirk wrote.
Lola Newkirk witnessed the execution with 16 other relatives of the
victims. Dempsey's widow, Jane, did not attend.
The Poland brothers were dressed in fake law-enforcement uniforms and
driving a rented car outfitted with emergency lights when they pulled
over Newkirk and Dempsey on May 24, 1977. They were driving a Purolator
Inc. armored van from Phoenix to banks in northern Arizona along
The Polands overpowered the guards before snatching nearly $300,000 in
cash and coins. They drove Newkirk and Dempsey 250 miles from the
robbery site to Lake Mead, where they wrapped the guards in custom-made canvas bags weighted with rocks and dropped them to a watery death.
The guards' bodies were found weeks later floating on the Nevada side of
the reservoir, which forms a portion of the Nevada-Arizona border.
Police found the Polands on a spending spree back in their hometown of
Prescott after checking the registration of a truck that had been pulled
from the sand by a tow truck near the site of the guards' deaths. They
were arrested nearly a year after Newkirk and Dempsey disappeared.
The Polands were sentenced to 100 years in prison on federal kidnapping
and robbery charges in 1979. They were convicted of 1st-degree murder
twice, in 1979 and in 1982. Their 1st convictions were overturned on
Patrick Poland could be executed as early as this year but no date has been set.
Joseph Stanley Faulder, 61, 99-06-17, Texas
Convicted killer Joseph Stanley Faulder became the 1st Canadian in
almost a half-century to be executed in the United States Thursday
Faulder, 61, was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., 6 minutes after the flow
of lethal drugs began. He coughed twice, let out 2 gasps and then
Faulder nodded to his lawyer, Sandra Babcock, as she walked into the
death chamber. Ms., Babcock stood right against the glass and asked
Faulder, "You O.K.?" He didn't respond.
When the warden asked Faulder whether he had any last words, Faulder
shook his head and said, "No statements."
Faulder, 61, didn't deny killing 75-year-old Inez Phillips during a
burglary of her East Texas home in 1975. But attorneys for the former
auto mechanic from Jasper, Alberta, argued his conviction was tainted
because he never was told after his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from Canadian authorities as allowed under international law.
The Canadian government filed documents in Faulder's appeals protesting
his treatment and won the backing of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright in calling for a reprieve. The federal courts, however,
rejected Faulder's appeals and state officials, including Gov. George W. Bush, refused other requests that could have blocked the execution.
The Supreme Court late Thursday afternoon denied another request for a
reprieve, clearing the way for the execution. Faulder's attorneys,
asking the punishment be stopped, cited a 200-year-old law that allows foreign citizens to sue American officials if they have been harmed by breaches of treaties.
"There is no new evidence that questions the jury's verdict that he is
guilty of this crime," Bush said, refusing to issue a one-time 30-day
In December, the high court halted Faulder's scheduled execution about
30 minutes before he could have received lethal injection. In January, the justices rejected his appeal, lifted their reprieve and state officials
set the new execution date for Thursday.
It was his 10th execution date.
"I'm at peace with my maker," Faulder told prison officials Thursday as
he was moved from death row to a holding cell adjacent to the death
chamber. "I'm ready to go."
He refused repeated requests in recent months for interviews with
"12 jurors have spoken by convicting Mr. Faulder and sentencing him
to death," Attorney General John Cornyn said. "10 different courts and
more than 38 judges have reviewed a total of 17 appeals, each time
rejecting his appeal and affirming the capital murder conviction."
Faulder would be oldest of the 178 inmates executed in Texas since the
state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. The total is the
highest in the United States.
Faulder's case attracted much media attention in Canada, a country that
outlawed capital punishment in 1976. In Canada, convicted murderers can
be sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole until at least
25 years are served. The last execution of a Canadian in the United
States was in the early 1950s.
Faulder was being held in Colorado in 1977 on unrelated charges when he
was charged with the murder 2 years earlier of Mrs. Phillips at her
home in Gladewater, about 115 miles east of Dallas.
His attorneys contended Canadian authorities should have been told of
his murder arrest and detention under terms of the Vienna Convention on
Consular Relations. Also under that treaty, Texas authorities should
have informed Faulder of his right to contact the Canadian government for
help, his attorneys said.
``We continue to regret the long delay between the time Mr. Faulder was
arrested and when Canadian consulate officials learned of the case," a
State Department spokesman, who asked that he not be identified by name,
said Thursday. "But under our system, we've exhausted all of our
possibilities and recognize that the final decision is in the hands of
Odis Hill, the former Gregg County district attorney who prosecuted
Faulder, said while authorities knew of Faulder's ties to Canada because
he spent at least 2 prison terms there, it was at Faulder's insistence
Canadian authorities were kept in the dark.
"He has had every legal resource that any individual could ever ask for
or enjoy under our Constitution," Hill said.
When arrested, Faulder was carrying a Colorado driver's license and had
applied for a Texas license. It wasn't until 15 years later that his
family, who believed he was long dead, and the Canadian government
discovered he was alive.
Trial testimony revealed how Faulder and his girlfriend, Lynda McCann,
barged into Mrs. Phillips' house July 8, 1975.
Faulder ordered Mrs. Phillips to surrender the combination to a floor
safe. While Faulder worked on the safe, Ms. McCann, carrying Faulder's
gun, and Mrs. Phillips struggled over the weapon and it discharged.
Faulder became enraged over the gunfire and also that he found the safe
empty. He ordered Ms. McCann from the room. A maid found Mrs. Phillips'
body the next morning. A 6 1/2-inch butcher knife was embedded in her
chest. Her arms were tied and tape covered her mouth. Ms. McCann later
testified against Faulder.
"Too often we lose sight of the horrific circumstances of the crime and
the tragic plight of the victims and their families," Cornyn said.
Faulder's first conviction was thrown out by an appeals court which
found his confession was improperly obtained. He was retried, convicted and condemned again in 1981.
Faulder becomes the 14th condemned inmate to be put to death this year
in Texas, and the 178th overall since Texas resumed executions on Dec.
Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, made a last-minute appeal to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to block the Texas execution of a Canadian national scheduled for Thursday.
"I urge you to use your influence with a view to stopping the execution
and initiating a thorough review of this case," Robinson, the former
president of Ireland, wrote.
"The loss of life resulting from the execution of death sentence is
irreparable," she said, adding that the legal process was fraught with
The United States is the only western democracy to retain the death
Barring a reprieve from Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Canadian Stanley
Faulder, on death row since 1996, was scheduled to die by lethal
injection at the state prison in Huntsville shortly at 7 p.m. EDT (2300
GMT) on Thursday.
A 61-year-old native of Jasper, Alberta, Faulder was convicted of the
December 1975 murder of an elderly widow, Inez Phillips, during a
botched robbery at her home in Gladewater, Texas, 120 miles (190 km) east of Dallas.
Robinson, in her letter, said Texas violated Faulder's right to Canadian
consular services under international law and obtained a confession from
him without a lawyer present.
"I have received reports alleging several irregularities in Mr. Faulder's trial and appeals process, among these being the fact that he was not informed of his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to seek assistance from his consulate after his arrest," she said.
Canadian authorities were unaware of Faulder's situation until 1992 when
his lawyer contacted the Ottawa government, Robinson added.
"It is further reported that immediately after his arrest Mr. Faulder
was interrogated for four days during which time he was denied access to
legal counsel," she said. "It appears that after these 4 days he was
also made to sign a confession without the presence of a lawyer."
The U.S. federal government has had little success in getting executions
stayed on grounds of international law in similar cases despite the
Vienna treaty that allows foreigners to seek consular services, a
provision used frequently by American citizens in trouble abroad.
In Texas, one lower court 2 years ago refused to allow the extradition
of a Rwandan indicted for participating in the 1994 genocide in his
country by a U.N. war crimes tribunal the United States had helped to
Brian Keith Baldwin, 40, 99-06-18, Alabama
One of 2 men convicted of kidnapping, torturing and killing a 16-year-old girl after they escaped from a North Carolina prison camp was executed in the electric chair early Friday.
Brian K. Baldwin, 40, was pronounced dead at 12:29 a.m. His accomplice,
Edward Horsley, was executed in 1996.
The man black leaders and human-rights advocates described as a victim
of racial injustice spoke to the warden before he died, softly saying "it's OK."
Baldwin and Horsley fled a North Carolina prison camp in March 1977,
minutes before they abducted Naomi Rolon, who was on the way to visit
her father in a hospital. She was choked, stabbed and sexually assaulted
before being driven to Alabama, prosecutors said.
Miss Rolon was eventually killed with a hatchet. Prosecutors said
Baldwin admitted striking the fatal blow, but later said Horsley wielded the hatchet.
Defense attorneys, along with former President Jimmy Carter, Coretta
Scott King and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Baldwin
was a victim of racism in the judicial system. Among other things, they
said the black inmate, accused in the slaying of a white girl, was
convicted by an all-white jury in which potential black jurors were
eliminated by prosecutors.
"There is no doubt that racial prejudice was a factor in both his trial
and his death sentence," Carter wrote to Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Siegelman said he was "deeply troubled" by some aspects of the case but
declined to grant clemency.
Defense lawyers also claimed that Baldwin was beaten into confessing in
a county and state dominated by white law officers.
Nathaniel Manzie, the only black deputy in neighboring Wilcox County in
1977, recently said in a sworn statement that white officers beat Baldwin
to get him to confess. But Manzie, now 75 and in a Selma nursing home,
told a judge Monday he did not witness a beating.
Baldwin becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death in Alabama
this year, and the 18th overall since the state resumed executions in
Defense attorneys for a death row inmate facing a Friday execution
looked to the courts for a delay Wednesday, claiming the case against Brian Keith Baldwin -- a black convicted in the murder of a North Carolina
white girl -- was tainted by racism.
Gov. Don Siegelman denied Baldwin's request for clemency, although he
said he was "deeply troubled" by some parts of the case. Siegelman even
traveled to Selma last Friday to meet with a former deputy who had given
a sworn statement that Baldwin was beaten into a confession, but the
deputy recanted that allegation.
Baldwin was convicted by an all-white Monroe County jury of capital
murder in the March 1977 slaying of 16-year-old Naomi Rolon of Hudson,
N.C. He is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Friday in Alabama's electric
chair at Holman Prison near Atmore.
Prosecutors said Baldwin and Edward Horsley, while fleeing prison in
North Carolina, abducted Miss Rolon, choked and stabbed her, sexually
assaulted her and stuffed her in the trunk of her car before driving her
to rural Monroe County in south Alabama.
The girl was eventually killed by a hatchet blow to the neck. Prosecutors
have said Baldwin confessed to striking the hatchet blow, but later said
Horsley wielded the hatchet. Horsley was executed in 1996.
Atlanta-based defense attorney Michael McIntyre said Baldwin was never
charged with any sexual offense against Miss Rolon, despite prosecutors'
allegations, and "his case was totally infected with racial discrimination and racial prejudice."
"If what had occurred in his trial in 1977 occurred today, no court
would find it constitutional," McIntyre said.
Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw, however, said Baldwin is being
punished for Miss Rolon's death, not for his race.
"No matter if he was white or black, he would be punished," Crenshaw
Siegelman, in a Tuesday letter, said he was "deeply troubled by some of
the matters raised," but "this matter does not rise to a level that
"It is clear to me that Mr. Baldwin participated willingly in this
gruesome murder, and that he possessed the requisite intent to kill,"
the governor said.
Retired Mobile County Circuit Judge Braxton Kittrell on Tuesday refused
to block the execution of Baldwin, 40, originally from Charlotte, N.C.
Kittrell heard Baldwin's appeal Monday, including hearing telephone
testimony from former sheriff's deputy Nathaniel Manzie.
Defense attorneys said Manzie, now 75 and in a Selma nursing home, said
in a signed affidavit and a videotaped deposition that he witnessed
authorities beating Baldwin in an attempt to get Baldwin to confess. But
Manzie -- the only black Monroe County sheriff's deputy at the time of
Baldwin's arrest -- told Kittrell on Monday he did not personally
witness the beating.
Manzie was judged unfit to travel Monday after he grew upset upon learning authorities were sent to take him to court, McIntyre said. "He was really in no state to give the testimony that he gave at the time," he said, adding that the judge should have met with Manzie in Selma.
Crenshaw accused the defense of filing false affidavits concerning
Manzie's testimony. He said Manzie told Siegelman the same thing he told
Kittrell on Monday -- that he didn't see Baldwin being beaten.
McIntyre said a statement saying Baldwin wasn't present when Miss Rolon
was killed and didn't know the murder was taking place was verified by a
handwriting expert as having been written by Horsley. The 1985 statement
was given to a 3rd party and wasn't made available to Baldwin until
after Horsley's execution, he said.
Crenshaw said Horsley never attempted to exonerate Baldwin before his
"Baldwin has confessed to this," he said. "Baldwin led police to the body. If he wasn't there ... how would he know (where the body was)?"
Baldwin's capital murder case has taken 22 years, Crenshaw said, because
appeals worked their way through 10 courts. Also, he said, Baldwin took
his case to the U.S. Supreme Court on direct appeal, which delayed the
(source: Associated Press)
Robert Walls, 33, 99-06-30, Missouri
A man convicted in the 1985 slaying of an elderly man whose bound and
beaten body was found stuffed in a freezer was executed by injection
Robert Walls, 33, was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m.
"I'm sorry for the victim's family," he said before the drugs were
injected. "I love my family and will miss them. I hold nothing on
anybody over this. Goodbye."
Walls was convicted of killing 88-year-old Fred Harmon after walking away from a halfway house where he was serving a burglary sentence.
He and 2 men he met at the halfway house Tommy Thomas and Terry Wilson
went to the victim's home to rob him. Harmon was bound with neckties,
dragged to the kitchen and shoved into a freezer. The men shut the lid
and piled a TV, a chair and other heavy objects on top.
They took $100 and Harmon's car and took off for California, where they
were eventually arrested.
An autopsy determined that Harmon died of head injuries, suffocation and
Walls said he was interested only in stealing money and Harmon's car.
"My goal was never to kill this man," he said. "I told them, `Don't do
it. Leave him alone.'"
Wilson, 33, was convicted of 2nd-degree murder and is serving a life
term in prison. Thomas, 31, is serving a life sentence after pleading
guilty to 1st-degree murder, robbery and burglary.
Walls becomes the 8th condemned inmate to be put to death this year
in Missouri, and the 40th overall since the state resumed capital
punishment in 1989.
Missouri trails only Texas (178), Virginia (67) and Florida (43) in
the number of executions carried out since the death penalty was
re-legalized on July 2, 1976.
Walls also becomes the 53rd condemned inmate to be put to death this
year in the USA, and the 553rd overall since America resumed
executions on Jan. 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)