Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

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Penalty in USA

Information about individuals executed 2000

    Michael D. Clagett, 39, 2000-07-06, Virgina

A man who killed 4 people in a Virginia Beach bar in 1994 died in the state's electric chair Thursday.
Michael D. Clagett, 39, was the 2nd inmate sent to the electric chair since Virginia gave death row inmates a choice between electrocution and lethal injection in 1995.
Clagett was convicted of shooting the owner of the Witchduck Inn, 2 employees and a customer. Each was shot once in the head.
Clagett's girlfriend, who had been fired from her job as a waitress at the tavern before the killings, also was convicted and is serving 5 life sentences. Among those killed was her replacement, Karen Sue Rounds, 31.
Also killed were Lam Van Son, 41, the bar owner; Wendel G. "J.R." Parrish Jr., 32, a cook; and Abdelaziz Gren, 34, a patron.
In a final statement before his execution, a weeping Clagett apologized to the victim's families.
He had written to Son's widow, the couple's 11-year-old son and other victims' relatives asking for forgiveness. The boy had been asleep in a room at the inn when the killings occurred.
Son's widow said the letters only convinced her that execution was just.
Clagett's mother, Iris Etter, said she understands the contempt people have for her son, but she said: "I'd like for people to know that he is not the murderer they think he is. Michael has found peace and he knows what he's done."
Clagett becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia and the 77th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.
Only Texas, with 223 executions, also since 1982, has executed more condemned prisoners than Virginia.
Clagett becomes the 52rd condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in the USA and the 651st overall since America resumed executions on Jan. 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Orien Cecil Joiner, 2000-07-12,Texas

Former long-haul trucker Orien Cecil Joiner went quietly to his death Wednesday, proclaiming his innocence while insisting he was ready to die.
"My work on earth is done," Joiner said before receiving a lethal injection for the fatal slashing and stabbing of 2 Lubbock women who lived in an apartment next to him in December 1986.
Joiner's statement lasted less than 2 minutes.
He spoke matter-of-factly and nodded and smiled at a friend.
"As I've said since the very first thing, I am innocent of this crime," he said. "And God knows I'm innocent, and the poor people that was murdered knows I am innocent. And when I get to heaven, I'll be meeting you and we'll all talk."
Joiner, 50, said he felt sorry for the family of the victims, but that someday the real killer would be caught and another execution would have to take place.
"If it takes my death to make them feel happy, then I will bless them. I don't have hard feelings toward anyone because the Lord feels that it is my time to come home to him," he said.
The lethal drugs were administered at 6:11 p.m. Joiner was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. While being injected, he mouthed "I love you" to someone. Then he gasped, coughed and closed his eyes.
Joiner had called police the week before Christmas 1986 to tell them he discovered the bloody bodies of waitresses Carole Huckabee, 26, and Eva Marie DeForest, 29, after seeing 2 men flee the women's apartment and escape over a backyard fence.
Authorities, however, determined it was Joiner who was responsible for the carnage.
Both victims were bound with duct tape. DeForest was stabbed 41 times, her throat was cut and the broken knife blade was left sticking out of her chest. Huckabee, her roommate, had her face and neck slashed plus 4 stab wounds to her chest. Both were raped during or after the fatal attacks.
Prosecutors produced a witness, a neighbor, who testified he saw Joiner near the victims' apartment with blood on his shirt and dripping from his hand. Tests of blood stains on Joiner's shirt matched the blood types of both women.
"The state doesn't have to prove motive, but obviously the sexual aspect looms large in that regard," former Lubbock County District Attorney Travis Ware, who prosecuted Joiner, said this week. "Presumably they were objects of his fancy."
Joiner, in a recent death row interview, said he spotted the bloody bodies when he looked through a window, put his fist through the window to get the door open, then called police.
He said blood on his shoes, which prosecutors used against him at his trial, got there when he and a police officer walked through the apartment.
"I'm very sorry for their families, along with my family, thinking I did something I didn't," he said.
Police investigating Joiner's report that 2 men ran from the victims' apartment could find no footprints in the muddy ground where Joiner said he saw the men hop a fence.
The punishment drew far less attention than the execution last month of convicted killer Gary Graham. Graham's claims of innocence and an unfair trial focused attention on Texas as the nation's most active execution state and the support of the death penalty by Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
"(Graham) had a lot of important people backing him and he was black," Joiner, who is white and was known in prison as O.C., said. "He was in the cell next door to me. He told me: 'If I wasn't black, O.C., I wouldn't be getting all this publicity.'"
Asked if that troubled him, Joiner replied: "At first, it did... I don't mind dying, if that's what the Lord wants, but I want my innocence proven. If not for my belief in the Lord, I'd be a nut case. But I'm happy as a lark. I know where I'm going."
Joiner, who grew up in Macon, Ga., said he moved his small trucking business from North Carolina to Texas to take advantage of Texas' lower taxes.
"Greed brought me to Texas," he said.
Four weeks before the killings, Joiner was hospitalized for emotional problems. Evidence showed 3 days before the murders, he held his estranged wife hostage at knifepoint and assaulted her. Prosecutors also showed the jury he had an explosive temper and an affinity for knives.
Joiner becomes the 25th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 224th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
Joiner becomes the 137th condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who was inaugurated in Jan. 1995.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Gregg Francis Braun, 39, 2000-07-20, Oklahoma

A man who killed 5 people during a 1989 spree across 4 states was executed by injection early Thursday for murdering a 31-year-old woman in her parents' floral shop.
Gregg Francis Braun, 39, received the death penalty for shooting and killing Gwendolyn Sue Miller, 31, in Ardmore.
"I can't forgive him tonight," said Miller's husband, Dusty, who came to the prison Wednesday with their 3 children. "Maybe I can sometime down the line."
Three days before Mrs. Miller's slaying, Braun, a 28-year-old college graduate with a degree in criminal justice went to a Garden City, Kan., convenience store to rob it. He killed the clerk out of fear she could identify him and went to another store and killed another employee.
The bodies of Barbara Kochendorfer and Mary Rains were found on a rural road. They left 8 young children.
On July 20, 1989, Braun shot E.P. "Pete" Spurrier while robbing a Pampa, Texas, photo development store. He killed Geraldine Valdez three days later at a Springer, N.M., convenience store, telling a deputy "it wasn't as good as shooting craps in Vegas, but it was all right."
Braun received life sentences for the murders in Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.
Braun's father, Lelyn Braun, a prominent Garden City lawyer at the time of the murders, blamed cocaine and other drugs for making Braun go "completely bonkers."
"He's very beautiful, God-fearing, prepared to meet his creator," Braun said, describing his son now. "He's found peace with God."
Braun becomes the 10th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma and the 29th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Juan Soria, 33, 200-07-26, Texas

A convicted killer who compared his death to surgery was executed Wednesday for the abduction and slaying of a Fort Worth teen-ager 15 years ago.
"I guess we'll see everyone after this surgery is performed," Juan Soria said at the conclusion of his final statement. "It is finished."
The lethal drugs were administered, and Soria was pronounced dead 7 minutes later.
Soria, 33, condemned for the death of Allen Bolden, was covered with a sheet up to his chest in the death chamber. A towel covered his arms. Prison officials said he had numerous self-inflicted cuts.
He spoke slowly and barely audibly for several minutes, mentioning "Allah" and "love" before his voice rose while he made the statement about surgery. He never made eye contact with the father of his victim, who watched through a window nearby.
His punishment drew none of the attention that was focused on last month's lethal injection of Gary Graham, whose claims of innocence and an unfair trial spotlighted Texas as the nation's most active execution state and the support of the death penalty by Gov. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Soria's attorneys did not seek a reprieve from Bush, who could have issued a one-time 30-day halt to an execution. The U.S. Supreme Court refused Tuesday to reconsider his case and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles earlier voted 18-0 against clemency for Soria.
Bolden, 17, was leaving the Fort Worth Boys Club, where he worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, when Soria and Mike Lagunas, then 18, asked for a ride in his father's Oldsmobile Toronado.
When they all were in the car, Lagunas pulled a gun and threatened to kill Bolden if he didn't cooperate.
According to court documents, Bolden was ordered to drive to a secluded area under a bridge in north Fort Worth where he was taken from the car.
After Lagunas hit Bolden in the head with a rock, knocking him to the ground, Soria told police that at Lagunas' urging, he "bent down and stabbed the guy twice in the soft spot at the back of the head."
The knife severed Bolden's spinal cord and killed the nationally ranked swimmer who had earned a scholarship to Texas Christian University and planned to be a sports doctor.
Soria, a 9th-grade dropout, and Lagunas went back to the Boys Club, picked up 2 more friends, robbed an ice cream truck for gas money and headed for Del Rio, some 400 miles to the southwest, where Soria once had lived and where he hoped to sell the car for $5,000.
2 days later Soria was stopped for speeding near Del Rio and police determined car had been reported stolen. Soria confessed to the killing and told authorities where they could find Bolden's body.
Lagunas is serving a 45-year prison term for aggravated kidnapping.
Soria got the death sentence.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994 reduced Soria's sentence to life, saying the trial jury had insufficient evidence to decide one of the questions required for a death sentence: that Soria was a continuing threat to society. Prosecutors, however, appealed the ruling and 2 years later the court reinstated the death sentence.
In June, Soria attacked a 78-year-old volunteer prison chaplain, nearly severing the man's hand. The minister, William Westbrook of Livingston, is recovering.
"If there's any blessing at all, at least now jurors will know what they did was the correct and appropriate thing to do," Edward Bolden, whose son was murdered, said.
Soria in recent weeks repeatedly tried to kill himself.
Soria was born in Stanton County, Kan., but his family spent time in Michigan, Del Rio, and Minnesota before settling in Fort Worth, where Soria gained a reputation as a troublemaker. He and 3 other boys once were arrested for trying to break into a Methodist church and damaging a valuable stained glass window.
Soria becomes the 26th comdemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 225th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
Soria becomes the 138th condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George Bush, who took office in January 1995.
(sources: Associated Press)

     Brian Keith Roberson, 36, 2000-08-09, Texas

Brian Keith Roberson, condemned for the 1986 stabbing deaths of an elderly couple who lived across the street from him in Dallas, died after receiving a lethal injection.
Roberson, smiling from the execution chamber, lashed out at family members and police officers who testified against him at his trial.
"You ain't got what you want," he said.
Roberson stabbed James Boots, 79, and his wife, Lillian, 75, while robbing their home. Roberson said he was "juiced up" on PCP and liquor.
Roberson becomes the 27th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 226th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
Roberson becomes the 139th condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in Jan. 1985.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Oliver Cruz, 33, 2000-08-09, Texas

Oliver Cruz was put to death in Texas this evening, hours after the Supreme Court refused to block his execution, for raping and killing a young woman in his hometown of San Antonio more than a decade ago.
Mr. Cruz, 33, was given a lethal injection in the state prison at Huntsville. In a recent interview with The New York Times, he accepted responsibility for his crime, which he said he committed while drunk and on LSD.
"I'm not going to use this as an excuse for what happened," he said.
Mr. Cruz's fate was intensely debated in recent weeks because of his mental condition. His I.Q. had been described as 64 or 76 or 83, depending on when he was tested and by whom, but prosecutors and defense lawyers alike agreed that he was of borderline intelligence, and perhaps was mentally retarded.
The defense argued that it was wrong to execute him because of his mental condition. The prosecution argued that he was smart enough to know what he was doing, and that he was highly dangerous.
Of the 38 states that have capital punishment, 13 have laws prohibiting the execution of someone who is mentally retarded. Federal law bars the execution of people convicted in federal courts. Texas lawmakers have debated similar legislation but have not acted on it.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 18 to 0 to deny Mr. Cruz clemency. The vote was no surprise; since Gov. George W. Bush took office in 1995, the panel has rejected all but 1 of 74 clemency requests from death row inmates.
This morning, the Supreme Court voted, 6 to 3, to deny a stay of execution, with Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissenting.
The high court's decision was not unexpected, since the justices rarely intervene at the 11th hour, and it was issued without comment, as is customary. That left Mr. Cruz's fate in the hands of Lt. Gov. Rick Perry, sitting in for the campaigning Governor Bush.
Under Texas law, the state's chief executive can grant only a 1-time 30-day delay of execution. The American Bar Association and the European Union called on Governor Bush to stop the execution, but he declined. His spokeswoman, Linda Edwards, said last week that Mr. Bush believes it is up to the jury to weigh the evidence about a defendant's mental capabilities, and whether a death sentence is appropriate.
Because Mr. Bush is seeking the presidency, and because of the protests from Europe, where capital punishment has virtually disappeared in recent years, Mr. Cruz was in the spotlight longer than many death row inmates.
In 1988, Mr. Cruz and another man abducted Kelly Donovan, who was 24 and stationed at an Air Force base in San Antonio. She was raped repeatedly, then stabbed to death. The other suspect accepted a plea bargain and got a 65-year sentence (with the possibility of parole after a quarter of that) in return for testifying against Mr. Cruz.
Mr. Cruz's lawyers argued that it was unfair for the other defendant to get a break at Mr. Cruz's expense.
Mr. Cruz's execution overshadowed that of Brian Roberson, 36, who was put to death earlier tonight for the 1986 robbery-slayings of an elderly couple who lived across the street from him in Dallas. The double execution, the result of bureaucratic coincidence, was the 1st in Texas in 3 years.
For all the attention it got, Mr. Cruz's case was like all capital punishment cases in one respect. At the heart of it was a terrible deed that could not be undone. Whatever Mr. Cruz's mental condition, he understood that much. "I know I was wrong," he said in the recent interview.
"There's nothing I can do to change it, bring that person back."
Cruz becomes the 28th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 226th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
And Cruz becomes the 140th condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in January 1995.
(sources: New York Times & Rick Halperin)


Representatives of the European Union to the United States Tuesday appealed by letter to Governor George W. Bush to show compassion by commuting today's scheduled execution of Oliver Cruz, in keeping with internationally agreed standards of human rights and on the grounds of the inmate's mental retardation.

The EU is opposed to the death penalty in all cases. The EU considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.

The appeal reads:

"We, as the representatives of the Presidency of the European Union, France, together with the next president, Sweden, and the European Commission wish to convey to you an urgent humanitarian appeal by the EU on behalf of Mr. Oliver Cruz. We make this request pursuant to the European Union's policy of seeking a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which we have long renounced in Europe.

The execution of Mr. Cruz, a U.S. citizen, is scheduled to be carried out by Texas State authorities on August 9, 2000. Mr. Cruz is considered by many experts to have deficient mental capacity and is considered mentally retarded, as stated by expert witnesses at his trial. We urge you to demonstrate compassion with regard to this case.

While Mr. Cruz has admitted his guilt for the crime, it is our opinion that his execution would additionally violate the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1989/64 of 24 May 1989 on the implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. This resolution recommends that United Nations Member States eliminate the death penalty for persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely limited mental competence, whether at the stage of sentence or execution. The EU considers that the execution of Mr. Cruz would be contrary to these generally accepted human rights norms.

The European Union respectfully urges you to commute Mr. Cruz's sentence to any other such penalty compatible with international law."

(source: Amnesty International)

     George Kent Wallace, 59, 2000-08-10, Oklahoma

Dressed in dark clothes, toting handcuffs and ankle shackles, and flashing a mail-order badge, George Kent Wallace terrorized a strip of the Arkansas-Oklahoma border a decade ago and left 2 teenage boys dead.
Dressed in the light-blue garb of an inmate and covered from the waist by a thin blanket, Wallace succumbed to the executioner's needle Thursday night.
Wallace declined to offer any last words, merely mouthing "I love you" to 1 of his witnesses. He was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m.
Immediately after he was declared dead, one of his victims' family members exulted with a clap and a few quick words.
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" came a woman's voice from behind the darkened glass of the viewing room.
Wallace, 59, murdered William Von Eric Domer, 15, and Mark Anthony McLaughlin, 14, at a rural location near Pocola in eastern Oklahoma. Both victims had been beaten, then shot. While in prison, Wallace also confessed to 2 murders in North Carolina.
Domer's body was discovered Feb. 22, 1987, in a pond near Pocola in LeFlore County. He had been kidnapped a few miles away in Fort Smith, Ark., on Feb. 17.
McLaughlin's body was found Nov. 12, 1990, in the same pond. He had been reported missing from Van Buren, Ark., earlier that day.
After being arrested Dec. 9, 1990, for a similar abduction in which the intended victim managed to escape, Wallace confessed to the murders of the boys.
Wallace, who posed as a police officer in order to abduct his victims, received a death sentence for each murder. 9 members of the 2 boys' families attended Thursday's execution. Ross Alan Ferguson, whose escape led to Wallace's capture, also witnessed the executions, along with his wife and father.
"It has been a long time coming," Ferguson said. "I'm here to honor Eric and Mark. That's why I'm here.
"I want him executed for what he did to them -- not me."
Since his conviction, Wallace confessed to two murders in North Carolina, authorities said. In 1996, Wallace confessed to the 1976 murder of Jeffrey Lee Foster and the 1982 murder of Thomas Stewart Reed, said Allen Gentry, Forsyth County, N.C., assistant sheriff.
Wallace was the 1st inmate to be executed at 9 p.m. Since reinstating the death penalty, executions in Oklahoma had taken place immediately after midnight on the date scheduled. The early hour had been used as a means to ensure that executions were carried out on the proscribed day.
Earlier this year, the Department of Corrections announced that it would be moving executions to the evening of the day they were scheduled.
"We believe it will meet the needs of the victims' families better, so they're not forced to make long drives home so early in the morning afterward," Massie said. "It'll be closer to a normal workday for staff."
Wallace becomes the 11th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma the the 30th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990. 3 women and 135 men remain on the state's death row.
(sources: The Tulsa World and Rick Halperin)

     John Satterwhite, 53, 2000-08-16, Texas

A man who fatally shot a convenience store clerk worried about his victim's family in the moments before he was executed by injection Wednesday evening.
"What I want to say is I have remorse and I'm really sorry about what happened to that family," John Satterwhite, 53, said in a telephone call to The Associated Press less than an hour before he was strapped to the Texas death chamber gurney for killing Mary Francis Davis, 54.
Satterwhite declined to make a final statement in the death chamber and was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m.
Prison officials generally allow an inmate a few final calls to relatives preceding an execution, but a call to the media from a prisoner is unprecedented.
"I wanted them to know that I hope my remorse does them good. But would it help them any? No," Satterwhite said in the phone call.
Satterwhite already had been arrested 8 times and had served a prison term for burglary and robbery by assault when he was charged with the March 12, 1979, killing of Davis, 54, after walking into the Lone Star Ice and Food Store in San Antonio under the guise of buying a pack of cigarettes and a soft drink -- a 79-cent purchase.
Davis was found seated on a toilet, a bullet through each temple.
"I wouldn't say I'm totally innocent," Satterwhite said from death row. "I'm guilty of some things."
Asked about the shooting, he replied: "There's a possibility I could be the person that did it. ... I can't say I did or didn't."
Satterwhite becomes the 29th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 228th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982; 3 more executions are set in Texas for this month, and 11 more are set in the state before the end of the year. If they are all carried out, Texas would break its record of 37 executions in a single year, set in 1997.
Satterwhite becomes the 141st condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in January 1995.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Richard Wayne Jones, 40, 2000-08-22, Texas

Proclaiming his innocence to the end, convicted killer Richard Wayne Jones was executed Tuesday evening for abducting and fatally stabbing a Tarrant County woman 14 years ago, then burning her body. Jones acknowledged setting fire to slain Tammy Livingston, 27, of Hurst, but said he wasn't responsible for the 17 stab wounds that killed her.
"I want the victim's family to know I didn't commit this crime," Jones said while strapped to the death chamber gurney.
"I didn't kill your loved one," he said while members of his victims family watched from a window a few feet away.
He criticized prosecutors for convicting an innocent man, adding, "I hope you can live with it."
Then he turned to his own relatives and friends who watched from another window and thanked them for their support and expressed his love. "Y'all stay strong," he said.
Then he turned toward the warden and said "Warden, take me home." He gasped twice, let out a slight grunt and was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m. CDT, seven minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing.
Jones, with a criminal past that included theft, burglary and robbery convictions and a parole violation that returned him to prison, was on parole for about 4 1/2 months when he was arrested for killing Livingston Feb. 19, 1986.
"My past haunted me," Jones said in a recent death row interview.
"That's what hurt most."
Jones confessed to the slaying in a statement he signed for police, then later testified at his trial in Fort Worth that he did so only to keep police from accusing his then-pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend of the crime. His girlfriend was arrested after trying to cash a check belonging to the murder victim. She said she got the check from Jones.
Jones blamed the murder on his sister and her friend who were looking for money for drugs and said she came to him asking that he help get rid of the body.
"They told me 2 people were killed and to help them to destroy the victims," Jones said.
In exchange, he received the checks, credit cards and some of the victim's other possessions for getting some gasoline and setting fire to the woman's body in a field.
"It bothered me," he said. "It was stupid. I was naive. And it was something I shouldn't have done."
Firefighters responding to a call about a grass fire discovered Livingston's remains. When her husband reported her missing from a shopping trip, she was identified as the victim.
Jones' sister, who was on probation for a drug conviction at the time of the murder, has denied any role in the slaying. Her friend at the time is in a federal prison on an unrelated conviction.
Besides his confession, Jones' fingerprint was found inside the victim's car, an eyewitness in the store parking lot from where Livingston was taken identified Jones as the woman's abductor and clothing worn by Jones that night had blood spots that matched her blood type.
"Nothing he's raising now hasn't been raised before," Robert Gill, who was one of the prosecutors at Jones' trial, said. "He raised the same theory during the trial. It didn't hold water then and it doesn't hold any water now."
Jones' attorneys wanted DNA testing, which would take at least several weeks, on cigarette butts and hair recovered from Livingston's car and the crime scene to bolster their claims of innocence.
"He had access in mid 1990s when DNA testing was available," said Gill, now a judge in Fort Worth. "He had access to all the evidence and apparently they chose to not do the DNA testing at that time.
"Of course it's right at the last minute. He doesn't ask for DNA testing 5 years ago or 3 years ago. It's at the time of the execution date he asks for DNA testing. All of a sudden we have this claim. This is just an abuse of the system."
Although Jones' attorneys made late appeals to the courts, the parole board and to Gov. George W. Bush's office for a reprieve, the case failed to attract the widespread attention and prolonged notoriety of condemned killer Gary Graham, whose claims of innocence and an unfair trial drew attention to Texas as the nation's most active execution state and Bush's support of capital punishment as the Republican presidential nominee.
With the Jones case, "I think, you're going to find that some of the DNA evidence he's talking about will not necessarily relate directly to the evidence with which he was charged," Bush said Tuesday while campaigning in Illinois and Missouri.
When asked whether DNA evidence could clear Jones, Bush said that should be left to the courts.
Despite contentions of a number of inmates, Bush has said he's confident none of the condemned prisoners executed during his 5 1/2 years in office was innocent.
Jones becomes the 30th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 229th overall since the state resumed capital punishmenton Dec. 7, 1982.
Jones becomes the 141st condemned inmate to be put to death under the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in January 1995.
And Jones becomes the 61st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 659th overall since America resumed executions on Jan. 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

There are only a few prisoners on Texas Death Row that I personally know.
Ricky Jones was one of them. Ricky was executed by the State of Texas on August 22, 2000, despite strong claims of innocence. His lawyers asked the state for time to conduct DNA testing that they believed would prove Ricky's innocence, but the authorities, intent on having the execution proceed without a hitch, denied their request. It would not have taken long to run these tests. I have never understood why Texas seems so intent on executing people rather than saving their lives.
I came to know Ricky because some of his friends from Italy who believed in his innocence asked if we could videotape an interview of him which they would use to raise money for his legal defense. The interview was done at the Ellis Unit Death Row in Huntsville, Texas, by Ray Hill of the KPFT Prison Program. My son, Richard, who is good with a videocamera, taped the interview.
I traveled to Ft. Worth a couple of times with our Italian friends, Arianna and Biagio, to meet Ricky's lawyer and family. His lawyer, William Harris, expressed his belief that Ricky was innocent of the murder which put him on death row. The evidence in the case pointed to the boyfriend of Ricky's sister.
I wrote and visited Ricky a number of times over the years. He appreciated the friendship and always expressed thanks for the help that people were giving him, particularly his European supporters. He always maintained his innocence.
Friends who visited Ricky a few days prior to his execution noted how pale and drawn he looked. This was undoubtedly due in part to the stress of his pending execution. However, I suspect it was also due to the solitary confinement conditions at the Terrell Unit where the death row prisoners are now housed.
Prisoners are kept in tiny 9X5 foot cells for 23 hours a day. They are no longer allowed to recreate together during their one hour out of the cell.
The work program that existed at the Ellis Unit has been eliminated. The arts and crafts program has been curtailed. Church services are no longer allowed. There are no TVs. These conditions of isolation cause mental problems and would certainly be considered cruel and unusual punishment by any society that dared to call itself "civilized".
A few hours before the execution, Ricky's family and friends visited with him via telephone from the Hospitality House in Huntsville. I really did not want to talk to him because I didn't know what to say. (What do you say to a man who is about to be executed?)
In spite of his innocence, we had failed to save his life. However, I summoned up my courage and talked to him for a few minutes. I told Ricky that I admired his courage under the worst of circumstances and would be praying for him. I also vowed to him that we would continue our fight against the death penalty in Texas. In a voice of quiet despair, Ricky expressed thanks for my friendship and for doing what we could to help him.
Ricky's execution was witnessed by four of his close supporters from Europe. His last words were "I want the victim's family to know that I didn't commit this crime. I didn't kill your loved one. Sharon Wilson, y'all convicted an innocent man and you know it. There are some lawyers hired that are gonna prove that, and I hope you can live with it. To my family and loved ones, I love you. Thank you for supporting me. Y'all stay strong. Warden, bring it on...."
The rest of us stood outside the prison to honor Ricky's life and to protest what was happening inside the prison walls. The pain was excruciating for all of us, but particularly for Ricky's friends from Europe.
Following the execution, a number of us went to the Huntsville Funeral Home where we understood we could touch Ricky's body and say goodbye to him.
No one, including close family members, had been able to touch Ricky while he was in prison because contact visits are not allowed. This holds true even on the day of execution. Personally, I consider this extreme cruelty on the part of the prison system.
However, when we arrived at the funeral home, the proprietor refused to show us Ricky's body, saying that he did not have the "authority" to do so.
This obstruction by the proprietor of the funeral home meant that some of Ricky's friends from Europe who could not attend the funeral in Ft. Worth would never see him again. In my opinion, this was part of the disrespect of families and friends of prisoners which is so common in the prison system.
Ricky, we say goodbye to you for now, but we want you to know that you did not die in vain. Your death, like those before and after you, will help bring down this evil system of executions which has such a grasp on Texas.
We will remember you, our brother.
Dave Atwood, President
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

(This essay is dedicated to Ricky Jones and his supporters in Europe: Arianna Ballotta and Biagio Santoro, Wendy and Jakob Schmid, Michela and Carlo Mancini, and Marianne Zimmer.)

     David Earl Gibbs, 39, 2000-08-23, Texas

Asking for forgiveness, convicted killer David Earl Gibbs was executed in the Texas death chamber Wednesday evening for raping and slitting the throat of a Conroe woman, slain along with her roommate 15 years ago.
"I have wronged you and your family, and for that I am truly sorry," Gibbs said to Mickey Bryant, the brother of one of his victims, who stood a few feet away as Gibbs awaited the lethal drugs.
"I forgive and I have been forgiven. Death is but a brief moments' slumber and a short journey home. I'll see you when you get there."
Then he looked at the warden and said, "I am done, Warden."
As the drugs began taking effect, he made 2 guttural gasps and then stopped moving. 7 minutes later at 6:18 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors described Gibbs a cold, cunning killer who smoked a cigarette over one of the bodies. Police called the rampage one of the worst crimes in Conroe's history.
Marietta Bryant, 29, and her roommate, Carol Ackland, 46, were killed in similar fashion July 1, 1985. Gibbs, 39, was condemned for the Bryant murder and was not tried for Ackland's death.
Both women had been released recently from hospitals after treatment for mental health and emotional problems.
Court documents describe Bryant of having the maturity of an adolescent.
They lived in the same apartment complex as Gibbs, who worked as a nursing aide with mentally ill people.
While on death row, Gibbs pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and picked up an additional 20-year sentence for killing another condemned murderer.
The women's caseworker, concerned after they had not reported for their jobs on a highway litter cleanup crew, went to their apartment and discovered the bodies nearly 2 weeks after they had been killed.
Gibbs was arrested after police searched his apartment and found a pack of cigarettes that matched the brand of a cigarette butt found at the murder scene. His fingerprints also were found at the victims' apartment and a radio belonging to one of the dead women was discovered at the home of Gibbs' girlfriend.
After his arrest, he gave police a statement acknowledging barging into the apartment, getting into an argument and forcing Ackland to have sex with him.
"While I was having sex with her, I cut her throat," he wrote. "I don't know why I did it."
Then he killed Bryant, he said, and ransacked the place to make it look like a burglary had occurred.
"This is a blow to everything I believe in," Gibbs, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks leading up to his execution date, said in an interview with The Associated Press several years ago. "I don't believe in hitting women. But for me to turn around and rape and murder two women ... The point is I did it.
"We can blame it on my past, but that doesn't take away what I did," said Gibbs, who described himself as a "country gentleman."
After his release from a Michigan prison in 1980 on a 2-year sentence for auto theft, the 10th-grade dropout from Florida was sentenced the following year in Texas for robbery and theft in Galveston County. He was freed after serving less than 3 years of a 5-year term.
In the prison slaying, death row inmate Calvin Williams was strangled with a rope in a recreation yard in 1990.
At least 8 other prisoners have execution dates through the end of the year, including Jeffrey Caldwell, set to die Aug. 30 for the 1988 hammer slayings of his father, mother and sister at their home in Dallas. If all 9, including Gibbs, are put to death, the number of executions this year would top the record 37 that were carried in 1997.
Gibbs becomes the 31st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 230th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
Gibbs becomes the 142nd condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in January 1995.
And Gibbs becomes the 62nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 660th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Dan Patrick Hauser, 30, 2000-08-25, Florida

A man who said he murdered a woman to satisfy an urge to kill died by lethal injection Friday, a day after a stay of execution was lifted.
Dan Patrick Hauser, 30, was condemned for the New Year's Day 1995 murder of Melanie Rodrigues, 21, who worked in a Destin convenience store, and at Sammy's, a nightspot, in Fort Walton Beach.
Hauser was pronounced dead at 6:08 p.m., said Elizabeth Hirst, spokeswoman for Gov. Jeb Bush. She said there were no complications.
Hauser, who fired his attorney and fought attempts to spare his life, had received a 3-day reprieve Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle stayed his execution. The judge was asked to consider evidence that Hauser was incapable of making a rational decision to drop his appeals because he has suffered from a mental disorder since his teens.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta lifted the stay Thursday afternoon and the state rescheduled the execution for 6 p.m. Friday.
Hauser was arrested in Reno, Nevada, on Feb. 10, 1995, and confessed to the killing. He told investigators he decided to satisfy an urge to kill.
In his confession, Hauser expressed disappointment that he didn't experience the "rush" he anticipated when he slowly strangled Rodrigues. He did say he was pleased "to watch the fear in her eyes" and that he felt no remorse.
Authorities believe Hauser arrived in Okaloosa County on Friday, Dec. 31, 1994, and rented a room at the Edgewater Apartments in Fort Walton Beach.
Rodrigues left work at Sammy's and met Hauser, who apparently lured her back to his room.
On Jan. 3, 1995, deputies found her car in the motel's parking lot, and her partially nude body was found in his room, hidden under a mattress.
rison officials said Hauser didn't want a special final meal and so his meal of Asian food on Tuesday was his last. Since then, Hauser has eaten only candy bars and crackers, said Department of Corrections spokesman C.J. Drake.
On Monday, Circuit Judge Thomas Remington agreed with Hauser he was competent to represent himself and drop all appeals.
"I fully understand everything that's going on," Hauser told Remington in a conference call.
Death-penalty opponents have characterized Hauser's execution as "assisted suicide."
Since executions resumed in 1979, Hauser is the second Florida inmate to fight attempts to spare him. In 1993, Michael Alan Durocher was executed after fighting attempts to block his death. Durocher, 33, pleaded guilty to the slaying of his baby son, his girlfriend, and her young daughter in Clay County.
Hauser becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Florida and the 49th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979. 5 executions in 1 year are the most since 1984 when 12 men died in Florida's electric chair. All 5 this year have been by lethal injection. Hauser becomes the 63rd condemend inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 661st overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Sun Sentinel & Rick Halperin)

     Gary Lee Roll, 48, 2000-08-30, Missouri

Gary Lee Roll, who killed 3 members of a Cape Girardeau family during a robbery, was executed early Wednesday.
Roll, 48, died at 12:07 a.m., after the 1st of 3 lethal drugs was pumped into his veins at Potosi Correctional Center.
Roll and his attorney, Michael Shipley, had filed a clemency request with Carnahan, but did not pursue court appeals.
Roll said in an interview that constant pain caused by a botched oral surgery 18 years ago led him to a life of drugs and, eventually, to murder.
"It affected my life so much," Roll said. "It changed me."
Roll was convicted of killing Sherry Scheper, 47, and her 2 sons, Randy, 17, and Curtis, 22, in their Cape Girardeau home during a robbery in August 1992. Police said Roll and 2 teen-age accomplices -- all high on alcohol, marijuana and LSD -- set out to steal money and drugs.
According to court records, Roll knocked on the door, displayed a badge and identified himself as a police officer. Inside the house, Roll ordered Randy and Sherry Scheper to lie face-down on the carpet. Fearing the family could identify him, Roll shot Randy Scheper in the head and beat Sherry Scheper to death with the gun. In another room, one of the accomplices fatally stabbed Curtis Scheper with a hunting knife.
"It was one of the more horrible crimes we've had," Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle said.
The men then left with 12 plastic sandwich-sized bags full of marijuana and $214 in cash.
Roll wrapped the murder weapons and a box of ammunition in a package, then had his teen-age son bury them in the woods behind their house.
The murder went unsolved for several weeks. However, one of the accomplices began to fear that Roll might harm him, too. So he wore a tape recorder during a conversation with Roll. On the tape, Roll admitted to the crime, saying he killed the Schepers because "they knew everybody ... and I figured then they know me ..."
The accomplice gave the tape to a friend, who turned it over to police.
Roll and the teens were arrested in November 1992. Roll later pleaded guilty to all 3 murders.
Roll said he hoped the victims' family could forgive him because he didn't believe they could find peace until they did.
"If I thought there was something I could say, I would say anything. But I don't think there is," he said.
Roll graduated in the middle of the pack at Cape Girardeau Central High School in 1969, though his IQ was measured at a rather high 125. He went to college at Southeast Missouri State, dropping out just 10 hours short of graduation, and went to work at the family heating and air conditioning business.
In the middle of his college career, he volunteered for the Army. An Army oral surgeon extracted 6 impacted teeth, exposing a nerve in Roll's lower mouth. The pain, he said, never went away. Roll sued the U.S. government when the Veteran's Administration refused to give him medication he said he needed for the chronic pain.
Court documents showed that Roll claimed he became hooked on LSD because it was the one drug he found that could at least partially relieve the pain.
Roll becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri and the 44th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989.
Roll becomes the 64th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 662nd overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Jeffrey Caldwell, 37, 2000-08-30, Texas
A paroled burglar was executed Wednesday for beating and stabbing his parents and sister to death with a hammer and butcher knife 12 years ago.
In a lengthy final statement, Jeffrey Caldwell expressed love for his family, including 2 brothers who had testified against him. "I can forgive you all but you must ask for forgiveness from God," Caldwell said. "I leave now to join my parents and my only sister."
Caldwell's lawyers had argued that he was incompetent to stand trial.
He had told police who interviewed him after the bodies were found that his parents, Henry and Gwendolyn Caldwell, and his 19-year-old sister, Kimberly, had run into his knife during an argument in their Dallas home.
In his statement to police, he said he had been arguing with his father over money and was upset because his father would give money to his sister but not to him.
Caldwell had previous convictions for burglary and robbery and had been on parole for about 4 months when the killings occurred.
Years later, in an interview on death row, Caldwell blamed the fatal attacks on a Jamaican mob angry because he had stolen some of their drugs. On Wednesday, he again declared he was innocent.
Prosecutors said Caldwell's brothers had helped persuade them to seek the death penalty. The two testified during the punishment phase of the trial saying they believed Caldwell would be a continuing threat to society.
One of the brothers, Henry Caldwell III, told The Dallas Morning News earlier this week: "I don't want my brother to die. But nevertheless, he committed a wrong. He has to face judgment for this."
Caldwell becomes the 32nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 231st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982.
Caldwell becomes the 143rd condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who took office in January 1995.
And Caldwell becomes the 65th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 663rd overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Russel W. Burket, 32, 2000-08-30, Virginia

A man who killed a Virginia Beach woman and her 5-year-old daughter was executed Wednesday night after Gov. Jim Gilmore denied a request for clemency.
Russel W. Burket, 32, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m.
Burket, asked if he had a final statement, shook his head and said nothing.
Burket's execution originally was set for June 21, but the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay 75 minutes before he was scheduled to die. 8 days later, the court refused to hear his appeal.
Anthony A. Protogyrou, Burket's lawyer, sent Gilmore a letter Monday seeking clemency. Protogyrou said Burket is mentally disabled and wasn't thinking correctly when he pleaded guilty to the crime in 1994.
"That was when he was still seeing monsters in his cell," Protogyrou said in a telephone interview.
Burket's lawyers also asked for a retest a blue washcloth that was found at the crime scene containing traces of semen. Previous testing matched DNA from the semen to about 8 % of all white men, including Burket and his brother, Lester Burket Jr.
Lester Burket was questioned by police about the 1993 slaying but was never charged.
Gilmore said further DNA testing was unnecessary, given the previous testing, Russel Burket's continuing admission of guilt and "his insistence that no one else was involved."
Protogyrou said the 2 brothers, along with their mother and father, met for about 4 hours earlier Wednesday.
The Rev. Bobby West, a Roanoke minister who has been counseling Burket, said the condemned man was in a "good frame of mind" and understood what was about to happen.
"There's nothing else to do to prepare," said West. "He has repented all his sins."
West said Burket was relieved when Gilmore denied the clemency request.
"That's what I wanted," he quoted Burket as saying.
Burket's parents had visited with their son twice a day since he was moved from Sussex I state prison to Greensville Correctional Center on Saturday.
Burket was convicted in 1994 of using a rusty crowbar to crush the skulls of his next door neighbor, Katherine Tafelski, and her daughter, Ashley. He also sexually assaulted Katherine Tafelski with the metal bar.
Before his original execution date was postponed, Burket opted for the electric chair over lethal injection because it was "his way of ending a life he hasn't wanted," Protogyrou said in June. Burket has attempted suicide several times, Protogyrou said.
"Now he's having the state do what he's always tried to do," Protogyrou said.
Former Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Humphreys, who prosecuted Burket, never thought Burket was mentally ill.
"I always thought he was pretty cagey for someone who's supposed to be substandard,'' Humphreys, now a judge, said in a 1998 interview.
Burket becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia and the 78th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. Only Texas, with 231 executions, has put more condemned inmates to death in the USA since the re-legalization of the death penalty on July 2, 1976.
Burket becomes the 66th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 664th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    George "Baby" Harris, 41, 2000-09-13, Missouri

George "Baby" Harris was executed early Wednesday for killing another man inside a Kansas City crack house in a dispute over machine guns.
Harris, 41, died at 12:06 a.m., 4 minutes after the 1st of 3 lethal drugs was administered at the Potosi Correctional Center. The execution occurred about an hour and a half after Gov. Mel Carnahan refused a clemency request. The U.S. Supreme Court also refused to halt the execution on Tuesday.
Harris was convicted of the 1989 killing Stanley "Hank" Willoughby.
Harris, a self-proclaimed professional gambler, had won a large amount of money playing an illegal game of craps on March 11, 1989. Another man at the game needed money and offered to pawn 2 machine guns to Harris for $500.
Harris, concerned the weapons would be stolen from his trunk, gave them to Willoughby for safe keeping. Willoughby took the guns to the crack house, where other men hid them in bushes in the backyard.
When Harris tried to retrieve the guns, Willoughby told him he didn't know where they were. As Willoughby searched for the guns in the backyard, Harris, believing Willoughby was trying to steal the weapons, told another man he planned to kill Willoughby, according to testimony at Harris' trial.
The 2 men later argued inside the house and Harris shot Willoughby in the face and throat with a .41-caliber Magnum revolver. Willoughby staggered to a nearby house and died a short time later. Harris escaped for 4 days before he was caught for an armed robbery in Columbia. Police then realized Harris was being sought for the Kansas City killing.
Harris gave another version of the shooting. He said that during an argument, Willoughby began to move toward him and reached for a gun.
"This ain't no 1st-degree murder," Harris said. "1st-degree murder you've got to plan. I didn't plan nothing. I shot the man in self- defense."
Attorney General Jay Nixon disagreed.
"The jury didn't believe him," Nixon said. "Shooting somebody in the throat from point-blank range is not an accident."
Harris had been in trouble a number of times -- he was convicted of 5 felonies prior to the shooting. On 4 other occasions he was charged with armed robbery, but was not convicted.
"The police were having me arrested every month, every month, for no reason," Harris said. "They'd dismiss the case and they'd pick me right back up."
In the appeals and clemency petition, Harris' lawyer, Gardiner Davis, claimed witnesses from inside the crack house could have testified that Harris shot Willoughby in self-defense, but the original trial attorney failed to call them. Those witnesses are still willing to testify on Harris' behalf, Davis said.
Harris' father, Edward Harris, 66, who earns $1,900 a month from a retirement fund, told the Kansas City Star he spent $40,000 on his son's legal fees. With interest, he owes $66,000 on a loan after mortgaging his home.
Edward Harris said he feels for Minnie Willoughby, Hank Willoughby's mother.
"I imagine she feels like we do about our son," Edward Harris said. "She misses him. We sure do miss ours. When young men and young girls make mistakes, it hurts 2 families." Harris becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, and the 45th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990. Harris becomes the 2nd condemned inmate in the state to be put to death in the last 2 weeks; Gary Lee Roll was executed Aug. 30 for killing 3 members of a Cape Girardeau family in 1992.
Harris becomes the 67th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 665th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)

     Derek Barnabei, 33, 2000-09-14, Virginia

Derek Barnabei was executed Thursday night for the rape and murder of a college girl he dated.
Hours earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court twice refused to grant a stay in the case that was closely followed in Italy.
Barnabei, 33, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center for the 1993 slaying of Sarah J. Wisnosky, a 17-year-old Old Dominion University freshman.
He was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
"I am truly innocent of this crime," Barnabei said in a final statement. "Eventually, the truth will come out." Afterwards, he told his mother and brother he loved them, cited a passage from the Bible and thanked several people who had taken an interest in his case.
Barnabei was brought into the execution chamber at 8:54 p.m. He glared at Virginia corrections director Ron Angelone, who was on a red telephone linked to Gov. Jim Gilmore's office. Barnabei wore a blue shirt, dungarees, white socks and blue shower slippers.
The Rev. Jim Gallagher, a Roman Catholic priest, spoke to Barnabei briefly in the execution chamber and then entered the witness booth, where he whispered prayers throughout the execution.
The lethal chemicals began flowing into Barnabei's left arm at 9:02 p.m. Barnabei continued talking until his lip movement suddenly stopped a few seconds later.
Barnabei had his final meal at 5:06 p.m., but prison officials, at Barnabei's request, declined to reveal what he ate.
No family members of the victim attended the execution, corrections officials said.
About 25 death penalty opponents conducted a candlelight vigil outside the rural prison's main gate as the execution hour approached.
Barnabei repeatedly said he was innocent. The case was closely followed in Italy because he is Italian-American and that country opposes the death penalty.
In an interview Wednesday, Barnabei said: "I don't want to die and it's unjust that I die. If this is what God wants, then so be it. I accept it.
Who am I to question the ultimate design?"
Barnabei's spiritual adviser, the Rev. Bob West, met with Barnabei for about 90 minutes Thursday and said the condemned man was "ready to die."
"He's at peace, in great spirits," West said.
Craig Barnabei, Derek Barnabei's brother, described him as "remarkably calm and at peace with himself."
At a final family meeting at the prison, Barnabei told his brother and mother Jane to "to go on with our lives and fight," Craig Barnabei said.
"I hope this is not for nothing," Craig Barnabei quoted his brother as saying. "I hope people take a hard look at my case."
Barnabei also wanted his body cremated, but his mother talked him out of it, his brother said.
About 2 hours before the execution, Barnabei wrote out a will by hand. Andy Protogyrou, one of Barnabei's attorneys, declined to identify Barnabei's beneficiaries.
Earlier Thursday, Barnabei's lawyers filed a clemency petition with Gov. Jim Gilmore, even though the governor had said Monday that he would not grant clemency because new DNA testing confirmed Barnabei was guilty.
"Serious doubts still surround this case," lawyer Seth A. Tucker said in the petition filed Wednesday. He argued that Barnabei should not be executed while a state police investigation continues into a temporary disappearance of evidence in the case.
"It would do a disservice not only to Derek Barnabei, but also to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to continue with an execution when there is still no conclusion as to who moved the evidence, what they did with it, and why," Tucker wrote.
Gilmore said Thursday that he is sure nobody tampered with the evidence that was tested -- Wisnosky's fingernail clippings, which were in a sealed envelope that had not been opened.
He also said plenty of other evidence was considered at trial and in Barnabei's appeals.
"We can't retry cases in the governor's office," Gilmore told reporters.
The Supreme Court's denial of two stay requests followed rulings against Barnabei by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond. The courts dismissed defense arguments that the state tampered with evidence and that more DNA testing should be done because some evidence disappeared from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 at the Norfolk Circuit Court clerk's office.
Barnabei had asked for DNA tests on some of that evidence -- genetic material on Wisnosky's fingernail clippings -- in effort to prove someone else committed the crime. Instead, the DNA tests matched Barnabei.
Wisnosky was last seen alive in Barnabei's room in a house he shared with other young men in Norfolk. Her nude and beaten body was found floating in the Lafayette River.
Barnabei becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia and the 79th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. Only Texas has put more condemned inmates (231) to death since the death penalty was re-legalized in the USA on July 2, 1976.
Barnabei becomes the 68th condemned inmate to be put to death in America this year and the 666th overall since executions were resumed on January 17, 1977.
(sources: The Virginian-Pilot & Rick Halperin)

    Ricky Nolen McGinn, 43, 2000-09-27, Texas

Condemned killer Ricky McGinn, spared earlier this year in an unprecedented reprieve by Gov. George. W. Bush, was executed Wednesday for raping and fatally bludgeoning his 12-year-old stepdaughter.
McGinn, 43, insisted he was innocent of the 1993 killing of Stephanie Flanary and said additional DNA tests on hair and semen evidence would prove his case. Only minutes from execution June 1, McGinn won a 30-day reprieve from Bush so new tests could be conducted.
In a final statement, McGinn said, "Tell everybody I said hi, that I love them, and I will see them on the other side, OK? And now I just pray that if there is anything against me that God takes it home. I don't want nobody to be mad at nobody. I don't want nobody to be bitter. Keep clean hearts and I will see y'all on the other side."
He smiled to his family, many of whom were sobbing, and then sputtered as the drugs began taking effect. There was no reaction from family members of the victim.
He groaned slightly and then his eyes closed. McGinn was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. CDT, 8 minutes after the lethal drugs began taking effect.
McGinn, 43, insisted he was innocent of the 1993 killing of Stephanie Flanary and said additional DNA tests on hair and semen evidence would prove his case. Only minutes from execution June 1, McGinn won a 30-day reprieve from Bush so new tests could be conducted.
It marked the 1st time Bush had used his authority as Texas governor to issue a 30-day reprieve to a condemned killer and was viewed as an example of his compassionate conservatism, a theme of his Republican presidential campaign.
When test results announced last month confirmed McGinn's guilt, his execution was reset for Wednesday.
McGinn, while contending the evidence was planted or tainted, said in the days before his execution he was ready to die.
"This place is getting to me," he said in a recent death row interview. "For a lot of the guards, since all this has come down, it's like I'm a dog with a mange. They stick you in one of those holes back there."
The new DNA tests vindicated Brown County authorities who said McGinn killed his stepdaughter May 22, 1993, and dumped her body in a culvert where it was found 3 days later.
"Certainly it helps to have that reconfirmed in even stronger terms," Brown County District Attorney Lee Haney, who prosecuted McGinn, said. "I think everyone involved in the case right now is just looking for a sense of closure."
Haney said McGinn's contentions that evidence was planted or tampered with were unfounded.
"He already had that claim lined up before this all started," Haney said.
McGinn's wife had left her daughter in his care while she left for the day. McGinn said the girl got sick after they drank beer together and dozed off, then went for a walk after waking up. She never returned.
Blood evidence tied him to her rape and slaying. A jury also heard from three other sexual assault victims, including one who said she was attacked by him when she was a preschooler. Brown County authorities also believe McGinn committed a 2nd murder, killing a 19-year-old woman in 1992, and was being investigated for a 3rd slaying.
Bush has said the reprieve and subsequent tests demonstrated safeguards in the Texas justice system, which like the governor, has been criticized by capital punishment opponents for being home to the nation's most active death chamber.
Bush, contending no innocent person has been put to death in Texas on his watch, also has rebuffed calls from those against the death penalty to follow the example of fellow Republican and pro-death penalty Gov. George Ryan, who halted all executions earlier this year in Illinois after questions were raised about capital convictions in that state.
Since McGinn's June 1 reprieve, 13 Texas prisoners were executed, among them Gary Graham, whose loud claims of innocence and an unfair trial drew hundreds of protesters and media to Huntsville. The Graham execution focused even more attention on Bush's support for the death penalty and on the state's capital punishment record.
While death penalty opponents warned Bush's presidential campaign would be haunted by the Graham case and the state's frequent executions, it has not happened.
McGinn becomes the 33rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 232nd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982.
McGinn becomes the 69th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in America and the 667th overall since executions resumed in the USA on January 17, 1977.
And McGinn becomes the 145th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas since Gov. George W. Bush took office in January 1995. At least 7 more condemned inmates are set to be put to death in Texas before the end of the year, including one next week, on Oct. 4.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Bobby Lee Ramdass, 29, 2000-10-10, Virgina

A man convicted of killing a convenience store clerk during a 1992 robbery was executed Tuesday night, nearly a year after the Supreme Court halted his scheduled execution so it could hear his appeal.
Bobby Lee Ramdass, 29, was condemned for the killing of Mohammad Kayani during a robbery of the store in Fairfax County. Ramdass was executed by injection.
According to testimony at his trial, Ramdass screamed at Kayani to open the store' s safe " or I'll blow your ... head off." He then shot Kayani and laughed as he stood over the body.
Gov. Jim Gilmore, in a statement denying clemency, noted that after Ramdass shot Kayani he tried to shoot customers in the store who were lying on the floor during the robbery but his gun wouldn't fire.
Ramdass was 3 hours from execution on Nov. 23, 1999, when the Supreme Court issued a stay to hear his appeal. The appeal contended the trial judge should have informed the jury that Ramdass would never be eligible for parole if sentenced to life in prison, and the court later rejected it.
4 of the jurors who recommended the death penalty said they would have called for life in prison had they known Ramdass could not be paroled.
Tuesday, when asked for a final statement before his execution, Ramdass said: "Redskins are going to the Super Bowl," and then laughed. His wife, who he married a week ago, visited him before the execution.
Ramdass becomes the 7th condemned inmate to be executed this year in Virginia and the 80th condemned inmate overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Jeffrey Dillingham, 27, 2000-11-01, Texas

Jeffrey Dillingham, smiling, winking and blowing kisses at relatives, went to his death Wednesday for fatally beating a Fort Worth woman in a murder-for-hire scheme he thought would get him $1 million from the victim's stepdaughter.
"I would just like to apologize to the victims of the family for what I did," he said in a final statement. "I take full responsibility for that poor woman's death and for the pain and suffering I inflicted on Mr. Koslow."
Dillingham, 27, confessed to police as the murder plot unraveled some 2 weeks after Caren Koslow was slashed and beaten to death with a metal pry bar in an attack at her home. Her husband, Jack, was beaten and left for dead but survived.
Dillingham, in his last comments, recited a prayer in which he thanked God and his parents.
"Thank you heavenly father for getting me off of death row and for bringing me home out of prison," he said.
Looking toward family members, he repeatedly mouthed, "I love you all, you all take care."
Then he smiled and winked before grunting and gasping as the drugs took effect. He died at 6:28 p.m., 8 minutes after the lethal dose was administered.
Dillingham's father, his father's fiancee and his stepfather were led in prayer during the execution by 2 spiritual advisers.
No one was present from the victim's family. Outside, about a dozen demonstrators held candles during a steady downpour.
The bloodshed occurred 6 days after Dillingham, who worked in a video store, turned 19.
An accomplice, Brian Salter, and his girlfriend, Kristi Koslow, the murder victim's stepdaughter, both received life prison terms. Dillingham rejected a plea bargain and a jury sentenced him to death.
On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected requests for commutation, a pardon and a reprieve. Dillingham's lawyers had argued it was unfair that his 2 accomplices received life terms and he got death.
Salter, also 19 at the time, testified against Kristi Koslow, who then was 17. They both are eligible for parole in about 27 years.
Testimony showed she wanted her father and stepmother dead because she didn't get along with them after her father remarried. She also believed she would inherit as much as $12 million and she had promised $1 million to Dillingham.
"Dillingham did not even know the victim," recalled Robert Mayfield, one of the prosecutors in the case. "But it didn't matter to him. He was going to get a million dollars. That was the key point. What I argued to the jury is that he did a cost-effective analysis, and stepping over 2 bodies was nothing."
In the early hours of March 12, 1992, according to testimony, the men arrived with a drawing of the 4,000-square-foot house and codes to disable an alarm system - both provided by Kristi Koslow. They broke through a door, went to an upstairs bedroom and ordered the couple to the floor. Jack Koslow tried to load a shotgun he kept in a nearby closet.
Jurors heard how the man and woman were attacked and how the intruders left with $120 and Jack Koslow's wallet. Blows to Caren Koslow broke her skull and jaw. The slashing of her neck nearly decapitated her.
Dillingham gave his bloody clothing and the weapon to a friend who cracked under the pressure of knowing about the slaying and told police, said Mayfield, now a Johnson County judge.
At his trial, Dillingham wept nonstop.
"I believe the jury interpreted that as 'poor pitiful me' rather than any compassion for his victim," Mayfield said.
The Koslows were active in Fort Worth society and the arts. Jack Koslow is remarried and still lives in Fort Worth, where he is involved in the business community and plays golf. Besides a scar across his throat, he has no lingering injuries from the attack, according to some of his friends.
He has since sold the 2-story brick house with large shutters, trimmed hedges and a brick sidewalk. Few people in the upscale neighborhood where the murder took place wanted to discuss the case.
"There's a part of the westside community that's close, in some respects almost family-like," said Bill Meadows, a former city councilman who lives in the area. "You can appreciate the depth of the tragedy because you were close to the (Koslows) and cared about them. But people are ready to move on and get it behind them."
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Kevin Dean Young, 32, 2000-11-03, South Carolina

A man twice sentenced to die for robbing and killing a principal on the steps of an elementary school was executed by lethal injection Friday after the governor and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down last-ditch appeals.
Kevin Dean Young, 32, and 2 other men were convicted of taking $67 from Dennis Hepler, 35, as he walked out of school in August 1988.
Young's lawyers conceded he shot Helper, but said another man may have fired the fatal shot. Young said he fell backward and shot Hepler after the principal threw his wallet and swung at him.
Gov. Jim Hodges refused Friday to commute the death sentence. Later in the day, the Supreme Court, unanimously and without comment, denied a stay of execution.
Young's attorney read a final statement: "If I said I was sorry, few if any would believe me, so I am not going dwell on that issue. I asked God, Allah, to forgive me, not man."
Young was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to death, but the state Supreme Court returned the case to trial court for new sentencing. In 1993, another jury sentenced him to die.
In his latest appeal, Young said among other things that his lawyers should have challenged the makeup of the 2nd jury pool, which was 91% white. Young is black; Hepler was white.
Co-defendant William Henry Bell, who also faces execution, has an appeal pending before the state Supreme Court. The 3rd man, John Glenn, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was denied parole last month.
Young becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be executed this year in South Carolina, and the 25th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1985.
Young becomes the 72nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 670th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

After 12 years on South Carolina's death row for killing an Anderson County school principal, Kevin Dean Young died Friday at 6:18 p.m. from lethal injection.
It was the 1st execution in the Palmetto State this year.
His attorney read a brief statement before the execution occurred.
Young along with 2 other men were convicted for the robbery and killing of Dennis Hepler, a 35-year-old principal of West Franklin Elementary School near downtown Anderson on Aug. 31, 1988.
Hepler had stayed late at the school to get it ready for opening for the school year. After Hepler handed over his wallet, he was fatally shot.
Marilyn Alexander remembers the Wednesday night, 12 years ago, when she learned by phone her only brother, an elementary school principal, had been shot to death outside his Anderson school. Robbers took $67 from him and fired 2 shots, 1 into his head, another into his back.
Alexander, a church secretary, was at the prison, but did not want to see the execution as it occurred Friday.
"I will feel that justice has been done," she said in an interview earlier this week.
Through the years, Alexander has awakened crying in the night, she said. Nightmares of her brother's murder track her sleep. Alone, she cared for their dying mother. "But the hardest part," she said, "remains dealing with those Wednesday night fears that something bad is going to happen to another family member."
The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the latest of Young's appeals, which raised questions about the qualifications and potential conflicts of interest of some of his appeals lawyers.
Young's request for clemency from Gov. Jim Hodges was rejected.
Young is the 1st inmate executed since David Rocheville of Duncan was put to death last December.
Daniel Westbrook, one of Young's lawyers, read a brief statement in which Young asked God, Allah to forgive him.
Also convicted in connection with Hepler's death were William Henry Bell, who is on death row with appeals still pending; John Glenn, convicted of armed robbery and accessory and sentenced to 35 years and Arthur Ray Jones, who drove the 3 men away from the shooting scene. Jones pleaded guilty to an accessory charge and was sentenced to 10 years, with all but 7 1/2 months suspended.
Glenn told police the 3 men were searching for someone to rob. He later testified before a jury that they were drunk but never planned anything.
Whatever their intentions, Bell and Young surprised Hepler as he left the West Franklin Elementary School about 10 p.m., court testimony shows. They demanded his wallet. Hepler flipped it to the men, police said, and the men shot him. The men used the money later to buy cocaine, police said.
Hepler left behind a wife, and 3 young daughters, who are now teen- agers. Mrs. Hepler died in 1993 from breast cancer.
"In effect, he orphaned those girls," Doug Kessel, Hepler's brother-in-law, said of Young. "They've had to grow up without parents."
Kessel, who lives in Montgomery, Ala. and is married to the sister of Hepler's wife, was among the witnesses to the execution.
Kessel said Hepler's daughters, who are being raised by an aunt and grandmother, have mixed feelings.
"They really kind of wanted to be there but didn't," he said.
But Kessel had no such qualms. For years, the 42-year-old auto repairman has traveled back and forth to attend Young's 2 trials and many court hearings.
"I'm ready for it to be over with," he said.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the 2 executioners sent 3 drugs into Young's arms. The 1st, Pentothal, rendered Young unconscious. A dose of procuronium bromide, a muscle relaxer, followed, causing Young to stop breathing.
Finally, potassium chloride was injected, stopping his heart.
In Anderson, the school where Hepler was shot has since been closed and turned into a community center. City officials wrote about Hepler's death and how the community came together to create the center in their successful application for designation as an All-American City.
Hepler has not been forgotten. A park was named in his honor in 1992. His memory also lives in the hearts of his former church softball teammates, who wore his name and number on their sleeves for years after his death and begin each season by remembering him in prayer.
(source: The Greenville News)

    Donald Miller, 36, 2000-11-08, Arizona

A man convicted of killing an 18-year-old woman after she asked his friend for $50 per month child support was executed by injection Wednesday.
It was the 1st of 2 executions scheduled one day after the election. A man convicted of killing his grandmother and uncle was to be put to death in Pennsylvania.
Both men declined appeals.
Donald Miller, 36, was convicted in Arizona of shooting Jennifer Geuder at the request of his friend, Jose Anthony Luna, the father of Geuder's then-1-year-old son.
The 2 took Geuder to a drive-in movie on June 12, 1992, and afterward stopped to pick up Miller's gun. Later that night, Miller shot Geuder once in the back of the head. She didn't die, and they took her into the desert east of Tucson where Miller shot her 5 more times. Her body was found the following day.
Luna pleaded guilty to 1st-degree murder and is serving 39 years to life in prison. Miller was convicted.
Miller declined to pursue federal appeals, saying he would rather die than continue to live in prison. A public defender won a last minute stay late Tuesday after an appeals court said there was evidence Miller might not be competent. But that stay was lifted after the state Attorney General's office appealed.
Miller still had an option to stop the execution until the last minute if he reconsidered appealing, corrections officials said Wednesday.
Miller becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death in Arizona this year and the 22nd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992. Miller becomes the 73rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 671st overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
The execution of Arizona inmate Don Jay Miller #102442, has been carried out at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence by lethal injection. A stay of execution that had been granted earlier in the day, was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The lethal injection procedure on Miller began at 3:37 p.m. (MST). Miller was pronounced dead at 3:41 p.m.
Miller's last words were addressed to his mother, a friend, and a relative of his victim.
"First of all, Mom, I love you. Sorry to put you through all of this. I'm sorry, but I needed to," he said. "Richard, it was good to know you. Take care of my Mom."
Miller then addressed the younger brother of victim Jennifer Gueder who was in the execution witness room. "Matthew, I think that's you. I apologize because I didn't take the bullet for your sister, because I understand that you missed the Little League Championship game. You can't go back to play the game your team won."
He then said, "Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, forgive them for they know not what they do. Although I walk through the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.
Mom, I love you. That's it."
(source: Arizona Department of Corrections)

    Michael Earl Sexton, 34, 2000-11-09, North Carolina

North Carolina executed a death-row prisoner early Thursday for the 1990 rape and murder of a Wake County hospital counselor.
Michael Earl Sexton, 34, was pronounced dead at 2:34 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at Raleigh's Central Prison, said Tracy Little, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction.
Sexton died about 8 hours after Gov. Jim Hunt and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected pleas from Sexton's lawyers to stop his execution. Hunt said Wednesday evening that the evidence showed that Sexton was guilty of the crimes.
The full Supreme Court rejected two petitions for a stay of execution filed on Sexton's behalf. There was no dissent.
Hunt, who has granted executive clemency only once in his 16 years as governor, met last week with prosecutors, the victim's family, Sexton's attorney and death penalty opponents.
Sexton spent his last day visiting with half brother David Sheppard and his godmother, Myrtle Sheppard, in the death watch area at Central Prison in Raleigh. Crews' parents, husband and brother asked to watch Sexton die.
"Mr. Sexton acted with premeditation in ending the life of a woman who had done nothing to deserve her fate, and who had devoted her life to helping others in need, especially children who had been abused and mistreated," Hunt said.
Hunt said his review of the case left him "absolutely certain that there is no question here concerning the guilt of the convicted individual, or of his mental capacity."
Death penalty opponents said they were disappointed with the governor's action because of a growing public sentiment to halt executions while the fairness of the death penalty is studied. A legislative study commission looking into capital punishment already had asked Hunt to stop Sexton's execution.
"Some of the most important political leaders in North Carolina urged Gov. Hunt to not grant clemency, but simply delay this execution while our state's lawmakers review the evident problems with the death penalty," said Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty.
About 100 people protested Sexton's death outside Central Prison early Thursday in a vigil leading up to the execution.
Dear said studies show a racial bias against blacks in administration of the death penalty and the number of people on death row.
Dear said Sexton had one black on his jury.
"There is evidence of institutional racism and what Gov. Hunt is saying is I don't care," Dear said. "The system is broken and it is not fair."
Sexton becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in North Carolina and the 16th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1985. 2 more executions are scheduled in the state this year.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Miguel Flores, 31, 2000-11-09, Texas

A Mexican-born killer was executed by injection Thursday amid protests from foreign countries that say he was denied his right under an international treaty to contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest.
About 5 hours before Miguel Flores was strapped to a chamber gurney for the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, denied his request for a reprieve.
Earlier this week, both the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to halt the execution.
Flores, 31, was condemned to die for abducting, raping and stabbing to death 20-year-old Angela Marie Tyson as she left her summer job at a video store in 1989.
When Flores was arrested, he was not allowed to contact the Mexican consulate as called for under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, his backers argued.
"We firmly believe that timely assistance from the Mexican consulate would have meant the difference between life and death for Miguel Flores," attorney Richard Ellis said.
Roy Carper, who prosecuted Flores, countered: "There's no dispute that wasn't done. But Mr. Flores claimed to be a U.S. citizen, and that would knock out anything the Mexican government has to do about it."
The Mexican government wrote Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution. The French and Swedish ambassadors to the United States, as well as the European Union, made similar pleas to Gov. George W. Bush and the parole board.
The State Department has said that even if there was a failure to inform Flores, it is not sufficient cause to overturn the sentence.
U.S. courts have denied similar claims in other cases where such a violation of international law is alleged. At least 2 other Mexicans and 1 Canadian in recent years have been put to death in Texas.
Flores was born in Juarez, Mexico, but raised across the Rio Grande in El Paso, where he graduated from high school.
Flores' supporters also criticized testimony from a psychiatrist who concluded Flores would be a danger to society one factor a jury considers in deciding on the death penalty without meeting the defendant.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Stacey Lawton, 31, 2000-11-14, Texas

An inmate convicted of killing a man during a Christmas Eve burglary was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday as Texas neared a U.S. record for the number of executions by a state in a year.
Stacey Lawton, 31, was pronounced dead after a fatal mix of chemicals was injected into his arms at the state prison in Huntsville, 75 miles north of Houston.
Lawton repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, saying, "I didn't kill anybody. I don't want you to look at me like I'm a killer....I know how it looked, but I didn't do it."
Lawton was sentenced to die for murdering Dennis Price in Tyler, Texas, on Dec. 24, 1992.
Lawton, a Dallas native, was on parole in 1992 after serving only 7 months of a 10-year term for delivery of cocaine when he and 2 others went on a crime spree in the Tyler area, breaking into as many as 16 vehicles.
Price had gone out to confront Lawton and 2 other men as they broke into his truck to burglarize it. Lawton allegedly shot Price in the chest with a shotgun he had stolen in an earlier burglary.
To the end, Lawton denied he was the triggerman.
One of his accomplices, Karlos Fields, got a life sentence in the case, while the other was a 14-year-old juvenile who testified against him.
Lawton becomes the 36th condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 235th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982. And Lawton becomes the 148th condemned prisoner to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George Bush, who assumed office in January of 1995.
(sources: Associated Press, Reuters and Rick Halperin)

     James W. Chambers, 48, 2000-11-15, Missouri

As his tearful wife wailed from across a glass window, James W. Chambers was executed earlier today at the Potosi Correctional Center for murdering a man outside a tavern in Arnold in 1982.
Darlene Chambers witnessed the execution from a room adjacent to the death chamber. Comforted by relatives and a Methodist bishop, she wept loudly and banged her fist against the glass.
Chambers spoke a few words to her and gazed at her until the first drug rendered him unconscious. He was pronounced dead at 12:05 a.m.
Chambers, 48, was executed by injection for the shooting death of Jerry Lee Oestricker outside the old Country Club Lounge on May 29, 1982. 3 juries concluded that Chambers went to the tavern looking for Oestricker, dared him to come outside to settle a fight and then shot him in the chest.
He received a death sentence all 3 times, but the 1st 2 convictions were reversed for courtroom errors. His final conviction in 1991 was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chambers was turned down twice Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gov. Roger Wilson announced at 10:35 p.m. that he would not intervene.
Chambers said he killed Oestricker in self-defense.
On Monday, Darlene Chambers, of north St. Louis County, went to Wilson's office to plead for her husband's life. Chambers' lawyers asked Wilson to reduce the sentence to life in prison.
Members of Oestricker's family witnessed the execution from an adjacent room.
"Our mother, who is dead, always wanted to be there, and this is the only way for us to carry out her wishes," said Jessica Coplin of Herculaneum, one of Oestricker's sisters. "It has been more than 18 years, and we want some closure."
On the day of the murder, Chambers was on weekend leave from St. Mary's Honor Center in St. Louis, where he was serving the final year of a sentence for shooting and wounding a man outside a tavern in Antonia in 1973.
While the Chambers family awaited word Tuesday from Wilson's office, 2 courts turned him down. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final bid to reconsider the case, and U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith of Kansas City dismissed a lawsuit by Chambers' lawyers and the Missouri Catholic Conference that claimed the governor did not follow procedure in considering clemency.
At 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Supreme Court backed Judge Smith, ending Chambers' chances in court.
Members of Oestricker's family who witnessed the execution could not be seen either by reporters or Darlene Chambers. While the drugs were being administered a male voice in the victim's area shouted: "Now you know how it feels." Several other voices from that area told him to keep quiet.
Chambers becomes the 5th condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Missouri and the 46th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989.
(sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)

     Tony Chambers, 32, 2000-11-15, Texas

Tony Chambers was executed Wednesday night for the abduction, rape and strangulation of an 11-year-old Tyler girl.
He was convicted in the murder of Carenthia Marie Bailey, who disappeared after attending a middle school basketball game 10 years ago in Tyler.
Chambers was seen leaving the basketball game with the girl Nov. 19, 1990. Her body was found 2 days later in a wooded area near Tyler's Dogan Middle School.
On it were some 20 etchings carved into her stomach. Prosecutors said Chambers carved those marks in her body, using a scalpel and protractor.
In a brief statement, he expressed love to his family and his friends present.
"Mom, I just want y'all to know that I love you," he said. "No matter what in life, I want you to stay strong."
He did not acknowledge the presence of the mother of his victim, who watched through a window a few feet away. As the drugs were to about to be administered, however, he addressed his father. "Dad, I want you to stay strong."
He coughed 6 times, then sputtered once, the breathed a long sigh. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., 6 minutes after the drugs began flowing into his arms.
"Governor Bush just killed my son," said his mother, Ida Cheatham.
The inmate declined to be interviewed by reporters in the weeks leading up to his execution. However, when police informed him the girl's body had been found in 1990, he told officers, "I didn't mean to hurt her."
Chambers, born in Pageland County, S.C., had no prior prison record but testimony at his trial showed a history of arrests for public intoxication, burglary and assault. His former girlfriend testified that after they broke up, he would throw rocks at her house, ripped out the phone lines and tossed a Molotov cocktail through a window.
He became a suspect in the Smith County slaying after two of the people who saw him leave the game with the girl confronted him when she failed to return home. He responded with a vulgarity about her and fled, then called police to tell them the witnesses were trying to harm him.
"He made some remark that he was being chased by her cousins," said Ed Marty, an assistant district attorney in Smith County. "He eventually confessed to police... He gave 6 different confessions, including insisting on taking police officers to the scene to hunt for the scalpel and protractor."
In his confessions, he said he raped the girl, tied her to a tree with her shoelaces, then choked her for about 3 minutes before untying her and then carving on her stomach. Authorities said his description of the carvings contained details only the killer would know.
"I think of him taking a young girl out into the woods, raping her, choking her and then carving her with a scalpel and a protractor," Marty said. "Man, you talk about a dull instrument," he said of the D-shaped tool used by schoolchildren to learn how to measure angles.
Chambers, who told authorities he carried the scalpel for protection, later recanted his statements and unsuccessfully blamed the slaying on an acquaintance.
On Tuesday night, another inmate condemned from Smith County, Stacey Lawton, 31, was put to death for fatally shooting Dennis Price, a Tyler-area man, while trying to break into Price's truck in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas Eve 1992.
The consecutive lethal injections for inmates from the same county were considered coincidental. Lawton's punishment had been set for 6 weeks ago but a judge gave him a reprieve so he could have more time to plead for clemency.
On Thursday night, Johnny Paul Penry, a mentally retarded inmate, was set to die for the 1979 rape-slaying of Pamela Moseley Carpenter, a Livingston housewife.
Chambers becomes the 149th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas during the tenure of Governor George Bush, who assumed office in January 1995.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

     Dwayne L. Weeks, 2000-11-17, Delaware

Dwayne L. Weeks was put to death early today at the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna for the 1992 murders of his estranged wife and a male friend.
According to Department of Correction spokesman Jim Hutchison, Weeks was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 12:10 a.m.
The execution followed a frantic series of last-minute appeals launched on behalf of the condemned man by his defense team.
The final effort failed at about 7 p.m. Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to act on an application from Weeks that his death sentence was unconstitutional, said Todd W. Hallidy, a spokesman for the state Department of Justice.
At the same time, the high court lifted a stay of execution granted Wednesday by the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
Although there were also appeals from death penalty opponents to Gov. Thomas R. Carper, the governor did not intercede after the state Board of Pardons voted last week against recommending a commutation to life in prison. Weeks died after being strapped to a gurney and wheeled into DCC's new execution chamber. An intravenous bag and tubing was inserted into his arm and the flow of lethal substances began, administered by a DOC executioner in an adjoining room.
Witnesses for the victims and the condemned man's family observed through windows from an opposite room, separated by a stub wall.
Representatives of the media, as well as 10 official witnesses selected by DOC, were also present.
According to DOC spokeswoman Elizabeth S. Welch, the official witnesses were Howard Wilson, representing the Violent Crimes Compensation Board; Delaware State Police Sgt. John R. Evans, Smyrna Police Chief Richard Baldwin, Martin W. Johnson III of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council, and deputy attorneys general Marsha Epstein and Cynthia Kelsey.
4 state lawmakers rounded out the official witness list; Sen. James T. Vaughn Sr., D-Smyrna; Rep. Bruce C. Ennis, D-Smyrna; Rep. George R. "Bobby" Quillen, R-Harrington; and Clifford G. "Biff" Lee, R-Laurel.
Alternate witnesses, Mrs. Welch said, were DOC staffers Joyce A. Talley and Linda A. Riddagh.
In his final 24 hours, Weeks spent his time sleeping, eating, watching television, reading and visiting with members of his family, Ms. Welch said.
Weeks pleaded guilty in 1993 to 1st-degree murder in the deaths of Gwendolyn Weeks, 27, and Craig Williams, 33, a friend who was with Mrs. Weeks in her Bear apartment at the time.
Police said Weeks and another man, Arthur Govan, broke down the door to the residence as Mrs. Weeks was placing a desperate 911 call for help. Mr. Williams and Mrs. Weeks were each shot in the head as they huddled together on the living room floor.
Police said Mrs. Weeks was shot twice in the head. Mr. Williams was shot 3 times in the head, as well as in his arm and chest. The arm wound, authorities said, came as he raised his arm in an attempt to defend himself.
Govan was convicted of 1st-degree murder in a jury trial and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors said Weeks masterminded the killings, roped Govan into the scheme and even offered to pay him for being an accomplice.
Weeks becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Delaware and the 11th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992.
(sources: Newszap & Rick Halperin)

    Garry Miller, ,2000-12-05, Texas

Texas prison officials conducted a record 38th execution Tuesday evening, putting condemned killer Garry Dean Miller to death for the rape-slaying of a 7-year-old West Texas girl.
In a last statement, Miller turned to his victim's mother Marjorie Howlett and said, "Maggie I am sorry. I always wanted to tell you, but I just didn't know how. I have been praying for y'all. I hope that y'all find the peace that y'all have been wanting," he said as Howlett sobbed quietly.
Then he prayed, asking God for peace and thanking the Lord for his family, for "my brothers on the row" and for his spiritual family.
"Be merciful to me a sinner," he added after asking for mercy for those who were "actively involved with the taking of my life."
Then he looked at Warden Jim Willett and said, "All right warden, I am ready to go home."
He took a deep breath then gasped slightly and stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead 12 minutes later, at 6:23 p.m. CST.
His execution topped the previous record of 37 set 3 years ago.
Miller wasn't likely to hold the record long. 2 more executions were set for the next 2 nights, with a convicted cop killer scheduled to die Wednesday and the convicted murderer of a liquor store owner set for lethal injection Thursday.
Their punishments would close out the state's record execution tally at 40, 5 more than last year. At least 7 condemned killers already have execution dates set for 2001, 3 of them in January.
According to the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, the Texas total is the highest in a state since 1862 when 39 Native Americans were hanged on a single day in Minnesota. Those executions, however, were carried out by the military and not the state, the records indicate.
Miller, 33, a former bartender and laborer, was convicted and sentenced to die for the death of April Marie Wilson, who was raped, choked and fatally bludgeoned on the tailgate of a pickup truck, then had her body dragged by hangers through clumps of prickly pear cactus before it was left in some brush in a cotton field in Jones County, northwest of Abilene.
"I've got no mercy for this guy," Jones County District Attorney Gary Brown said. "Too bad they can't draw and quarter him. Too bad they can't put him up here on the sand and skin him for a couple of days and let him be tortured like she was and cut that sucker up and stuff it down his throat and let him choke on it to death.
"That's my attitude. It might not be a Christian one, but there's no reason for this stuff, for what he did to her."
Miller was believed to have been drinking heavily when he returned to his girlfriend's house in Merkel, about 15 miles west of Abilene, in the early morning hours of Nov. 11, 1988. April Wilson was the girlfriend's cousin, was staying at her house and was asleep on a couch when Miller arrived.
In a confession to authorities, Miller said he woke up the girl and asked if she wanted to go for a ride. In the Jones County cotton field, he raped her on the pickup tailgate, then choked her and hit her with an object he picked up from the ground.
When Miller's girlfriend awoke the next morning and April was gone, police were notified and a search began with Miller among the participants. Quail hunters aware of the missing girl called police after they found blood-spattered items that included children's clothing, a blanket and a Raggedy Ann doll. Her body then was discovered. Miller was tied to her death and blood evidence from the tailgate was used against him.
Miller, who declined repeated requests for interviews with reporters, ordered his attorneys to not pursue appeals once the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case.
No clemency request was made to Gov. George W. Bush, who had authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve. Only once in his nearly 6 years in office has Bush used the power to stop an execution and that inmate subsequently was put to death. At one time Miller had worked with young people at a Methodist Church-run camp near Merkel. He also had taken community college courses in law enforcement.
"Apparently he had ambition," said Jack Willingham, the now-retired district attorney who prosecuted Miller. "He missed it by a little.
Willingham described Miller as a "nice appearing young man" who had no previous criminal record and who cooperated with authorities.
"I would think there could be a lot more to him," he said. "I don't know why he kidnapped this little girl... She was the prettiest little thing, just a pretty little girl."
Willingham said while testifying at his trial, Miller "started puckering up, tearing up, putting on some emotion.
"I walked up and shook my finger at him and told him to dry that up... I said it's time for the needle."
On Wednesday, Daniel Joe Hittle, 50, was set to die for the 1989 shooting death of a Garland police officer, 1 of at least 7 people believed slain by the Minnesota man.
The following night, Claude Howard Jones, 60, was scheduled for injection for the 1989 robbery and shooting death of a San Jacinto County liquor store owner.
And Miller becomes the 150th condemened inmate to be put to death during the tenure of GOvernor George Bush, who assumed office in January 1995.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Daniel Hittle, 2000-12-06, Texas

A Minnesota parolee convicted of 3 murders, including the killings of his adoptive parents, and accused of 4 other slayings in Dallas during a shooting spree 11 years ago was executed this evening for the death of a policeman.
Prosecutors used words like "scary" and "evil" to describe condemned murderer Daniel Joe Hittle, 50, whose execution was the second of 3 scheduled for this week and the 39th this year in Texas, adding to the state's record total for the year.
"Sant ag ib Singh," Hittle said in a last statement. "That's it."
Prison officials said Hittle belonged to a religious sect that followed the teachings of Singh, the name of an Indian religious teacher who advocated love and nonviolence.
Hittle then nodded, smiled and winked at his spiritual adviser, the only person he selected to watch him die. As the drugs began taking effect, he sputtered and exhaled slightly. 9 minutes later he was pronounced dead, at 6:20 p.m. CST.
On Tuesday night, Garry Dean Miller, 33, received lethal injection for raping and murdering a 7-year-old West Texas girl a dozen years ago. On Thursday, convicted killer Claude Jones was set to die for fatally shooting a San Jacinto County liquor store owner during a robbery.
According to Michael Radelet, chairman of sociology at the University of Florida and the keeper of a database on U.S. executions, the Texas total this year is the most carried out by a state in American history.
The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center said Hittle's death would lift the Texas total to equal the highest in a state since 1862 when 39 Native Americans were hanged on a single day in Minnesota. Those executions, however, were carried out by the military and not the state, the records indicate.
Hittle, whose appeals were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, made no clemency request to Gov. George W. Bush, who had authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve. Only once in his nearly 6 years in office has Bush used the power to stop an execution and that inmate subsequently was put to death.
Hittle, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks before his execution, was condemned for gunning down Gerald Walker, a Garland police officer who had pulled over Hittle for speeding the night of Nov. 15, 1989.
Walker, the 1st Garland officer to be killed in the line of duty, was 1 of 5 people Hittle was accused of killing that night. Among the 4 others was a 4-year-old girl.
Among the witnesses was Walker's widow, Beckie, and Jimmie George, a fellow Garland police officer.
Beckie Walker released a statement thanking state and local authorities for their support.
George said Hittle's execution would not bring back his friend.
"However, the death of Daniel Hittle will guarantee that no police officer will ever face the danger of dealing with him again," he added. "Therefore, the state of Texas will be a safer place in which to live and work."
Hittle was tried only for the death of Walker, 48, a 17-year veteran of the suburban Dallas police force.
He already was on parole from Minnesota, freed in 1984 after serving 11 years of a 30-year term for killing his adoptive parents. Authorities said the Staples, Minn., couple was fatally stabbed when Hittle became enraged because he believed their dog scratched his truck.
"Obviously a very violent vicious human being," said Dallas Assistant District Attorney Toby Shook, one of the prosecutors in the police slaying case.
"A poster boy for the death penalty," added Andy Beach, another of the prosecutors. "He is the classic sociopath."
Court documents show he had a long-simmering feud with Mary Goss, described as his drug dealer, and was thrown out of her East Dallas home where there was a party that night. Some three months earlier, Goss, 39, had him arrested for slashing her tires.
Testimony showed Hittle returned home, had an argument with his wife and was seen leaving his home carrying a long-barrel gun. 10 minutes later, Walker stopped Hittle's red pickup truck for speeding and was shot in the chest at close range.
Hittle went to the Goss house, where he kicked in the door and opened fire. Killed were Goss; Richard Cook Jr., 36; Raymond Gregg, 19; and Goss' daughter, Christy Condon, 4.
Evidence showed the child was killed with different type of ammunition, meaning he had to reload his 20-gauge shotgun to kill the girl.
What Hittle didn't know was Walker had radioed the license plate number of his truck. Police spotted him near his home and after a short chase, he wrecked the truck and then began shooting at them. He surrendered after he ran out of ammunition.
His shotgun was linked to all 5 murders.
Testimony at his trial showed he repeatedly beat his wives and threatened and beat their children and abused and killed animals.
Records also showed while imprisoned in Minnesota he had numerous violations, including drug possession, inciting a riot and arson.
And Hittle becomes the 151st condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who assumed office in January 1995.
(sources: Houston Chronicle & Rick Halperin)

    Christopher Goins, 2000-12-06, Virginia

A man who killed 5 members of his girlfriend's family was executed last night, hours after the Supreme Court and Gov. James S. Gilmore III declined to intervene.
Christopher Goins, who fatally shot the parents and three of the siblings of his pregnant 14-year-old girlfriend in the family's Richmond apartment, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m., said Corrections Department spokesman Larry Traylor.
As Goins was brought into the death chamber, he said, "Look, we've got an audience." In his final statement, Goins said, "There's no God but Allah."
Trial testimony indicated that Goins, who turned 27 Tuesday, had threatened to kill Tamika Jones and her family because he was upset that she was pregnant by him. Jones and her 18-month-old sister were shot but survived the 1994 massacre. Jones lost her unborn baby in the shooting.
Goins was convicted of the murders of James Nathaniel Randolph Jr., 34; Daphne Jones, 29; and 3 of Daphne Jones's 4 children: Nicole, 9; David, 4; and Robert, 3.
He was sentenced to die for the capital murder of Robert Jones and received 4 life terms and 73 years for the other crimes.
"I just want him off this Earth," Tamika Jones, now 20 and living in California, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch before the execution. "I just want him away from here so he can go to God and let God deal with it."
Among those witnessing the execution were Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks, who prosecuted Goins, and Detective C.T. Woody, the lead investigator in the case.
Hicks said afterward that Goins "died showing no remorse."
The execution was witnessed by members of the victims' family, including Tamika Jones. About 15 death penalty opponents protested in a field near the prison.
Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 to deny Goins's appeal and request for a stay of execution. In his appeal, Goins said another man was in the apartment with him and killed the family.
Gilmore denied a request for clemency about two hours before the execution.
The execution was the eighth in Virginia this year and the 81st in the state since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976.
(source: Washington Post)

    Edward Castro, 50,2000-12-07, Florida

An inmate who dropped all his legal appeals and fired his state-hired lawyers was executed by lethal injection Thursday at Florida State Prison.
Edward Castro, 50, was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m., according to Gov. Jeb Bush's office.
Castro was condemned for the choking and stabbing death of 56-year-old Austin Carter Scott, who was lured to Castro's efficiency apartment in Ocala by the promise of Old Milwaukee beer.
Castro confessed to Scott's murder and to the fatal stabbing of a St. Petersburg man. A week before Scott death, George Hill, an interior decorator, was found bound and gagged. Castro was sentenced to life for Hill's slaying.
Castro fired his appellate attorneys 3 years ago and said at a hearing last month he did not want any appeals filed.
He was considered for clemency in September. In the weeks prior to that review, he sent a number of letters to the clemency board expressing his desire to waive any review of his sentence.
A warrant was signed for his execution on Nov.14.
Castro had final visits Thursday with family members, a Gainesville lawyer and religious representatives, and ate a final meal.
Meanwhile, a 2nd inmate who had been facing execution Friday for the kidnapping and slaying of a teacher in Bradenton received a stay Thursday from the Florida Supreme Court.
Minutes before hearing arguments in the presidential case, the court postponed the execution of Robert Dewey Glock II until Jan. 10 to give it time to review a last-minute appeal filed by his attorney. He and another man murdered a Bradenton school teacher in 1983.
Castro's scheduled death came almost three months after Dan Patrick Hauser was executed after dropping his appeals. Hauser, 30, was executed Aug. 25 for the 1995 murder of Melanie Rodriques, a waitress and dancer in Destin.
Unlike the Hauser case, where the judge appointed a lawyer to represent him, Castro told a judge he did not want any backup representation.
Castro told authorities he began choking Scott before pulling a knife from his sock.
"I remember looking at his face, and it was purple. I told him, "Hey man, you've lost. Dig it?' That's when I started stabbing him.'
In all, Castro stabbed Scott 8 times in the chest. Scott also had 3 defensive wounds on his arms. The medical examiner said the thrusts penetrated Scott's lungs and his chest cavity filled with blood. He died within minutes.
Glock, 39, is scheduled to die for the Aug 16, 1983 murder of Sharilyn Ritchie, whom he and Carl Puiatti kidnapped from a Bradenton shopping mall. The pair forced Ritchie, 34, back into her car and drove away. They took $50 from her and coerced her into cashing a $100 check. They abandoned her in an orange grove and took her car and wedding ring.
But after driving away, they decided she should be killed. They drove back and shot her 3 times.
Terri Backhus, an attorney representing Glock asked for a stay of execution while she reviews 91,000 pages of New Jersey documents she said could show Glock was illegally detained in 1983 because he looks Italian.
Backhus wrote in her motion that troopers were taught that drivers of Italian descent were more likely to be involved in organized crime.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Claude Howard Jones, , 2000-12-07, Texas

Career criminal and convicted murderer Claude Howard Jones was executed Thursday night, the 40th and last Texas inmate to be put to death in a record year for executions in the state.
Jones looked at 5 members of his victim's family and spoke directly to them, saying, "I hope this can bring some closure to y'all. I'm sorry for your loss."
Then he looked toward another window and said "Hey, I love y'all."
Jones looked at the warden and said "Let's go." He gasped twice, sputtered, gasped 2 more times and then exhaled. He was pronounced dead at 6:42, 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began taking effect.
"Although the grief will never end, we thank God tonight for this time, that has brought to a close this part of the dreadful deed brought upon our lives, 11 years and 23 days ago, that took the life of our loved one," the victim's family said in a statement.
The execution was delayed by about 30 minutes because of difficulties finding a vein in either arm to insert the drugs. Authorities ended up using a vein in his left leg.
Jones, 60, condemned for the 1989 shooting death of a liquor store owner near Point Blank in San Jacinto County, was the 3rd inmate to receive lethal injection in Texas in as many nights.
The total for 2000 topped the previous state record, set in 1997, by 3 and added to Texas' distinction this year as the most active state for capital punishment in American history.
Jones' appeals were rejected in October by the U.S. Supreme Court but the inmate Thursday filed, and later asked to withdraw, an 11th-hour state court plea seeking DNA testing of evidence. He made no clemency request to Gov. George W. Bush, who had authority to grant him a 1-time 30-day reprieve.
Only once in his nearly 6 years in office has Bush used the power to stop an execution and that inmate eventually was put to death.
Jones, with nearly a dozen convictions and a prison record that stretched over more than 40 years, was condemned for the Nov. 14, 1989 fatal shooting of Allen Hilzendager, 37, at a rural liquor store about 70 miles north of Houston and not far from the prison that now houses death row inmates.
Witnesses and evidence showed Jones walked into the store, asked for a bottle of whiskey and shot Hilzendager while the store owner's back was turned, then shot the man 2 more times, including once while the victim's hands were raised. Then he grabbed $900 from a cash register, unknowingly missing some $7,000 in cash bags nearby, and jumped into a pickup truck to join 2 companions.
"He did not need to kill," Scott Rosekrans, the district attorney in San Jacinto County, said this week. "It was really kind of senseless."
3 days later, Jones held up a suburban Houston bank, getting more than $14,000 while his partners again waited outside. They used the loot for a weekend trip to Las Vegas. Nearly 3 weeks after that, Jones was arrested in Fort Myers, Fla., and charged with robbery and bank robbery there.
A single strand of Jones' hair was found at the murder scene and one of Jones' partners made a plea agreement to testify against him. Another accomplice led authorities to the Trinity River where the murder weapon was recovered. One accomplice, Kerry Dixon Jr., received a 60-year prison term. The other, Timothy Jordan, got 10 years.
"It's my personal belief that if (Jones) ever was paroled, there's a likelihood he would kill again and try to fine tune his robberies so as not to leave any witnesses," said Bill Burnett, who was one of the prosecutors in the case and now teaches criminal justice at Angelina College.
Jones, a Harris County native who refused to speak with reporters in the weeks leading up to his execution, 1st was convicted of robbery and imprisoned in 1959. Among his other multiple prison sentences was time in Kansas for robbery, murder and assault. While locked up there, he was convicted of killing a fellow inmate by throwing gasoline on him and setting him on fire. By 1984, however, he was out on parole despite a life term, records show.
"One of our arguments was ... he had demonstrated his dangerousness even in the prison environment," Burnett said.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    David Dewayne Johnson, 37, 2000-12-19, Arizona

David Dewayne Johnson, the man who killed a night watchman during a 1989 robbery at Little Rock Crate and Basket Co., was executed Tuesday night.
Asked if he had any last words, Johnson, 37, kept his eyes closed and gave a near-imperceptible shake of his head. He was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal cocktail was administered.
Johnson was sentenced to death in November 1990 for the slaying of 67-year-old Leon Brown, whose battered body was found in a pool of blood near the security office at 7 a.m. on Sept. 2, 1989.
Brown had 2 sons, both of whom live out of state. Neither attended the execution.
T he retiree, who worked as a security guard on weekends, was last seen talking to Johnson at 6 p.m. the night he was killed.
Witnesses said Johnson came in and asked Brown if he could use a telephone to call someone to help haul his 1981 Oldsmobile out of a ditch nearby.
Brown never made his 7 p.m. rounds, according to the company time clock.
Coworkers describe Brown as a congenial man who always went out of his way to help people.
"Brown was always real friendly, you know what I mean?" Lawrence Sloan, a fellow guard, said shortly after Brown's death. Sloan once warned Brown that his good nature "was going to get him in trouble," he said.
Johnson was arrested 5 hours after Brown's body was discovered. Stolen goods were later found at his girlfriend's house, according to testimony from his trial.
The attorneys that handled Johnson's appeals contended that the lawyer who represented him during his capital murder trial was incompetent and ill-prepared. The courts rejected these arguments, and a recent request for clemency was denied.
uesday's execution was Arkansas' second this year and the 23rd since the state resumed executions in 1990. Christina Riggs, sentenced to die for killing her 2 young children, was put to death on May 2.
(source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)