MISSISSIPPI – UPDATE – Mississippi Supreme Court refuses Brawner reprieve


June 12, 2012 Source : http://www.commercialappeal.com

JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a request to stay today’s execution of a Southaven man convicted of killing his 3-year-old daughter, his former wife and her parents.

The court’s decision on Monday capped a round of legal briefs filed in the case of 34-year-old Jan Michael Brawner, who is scheduled to die by injection at 6 tonight.

Brawner’s lawyer said he would file a petition this morning with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brawner was sentenced to death for the April 25, 2001, shooting deaths of his daughter, Paige; his former wife, Barbara Craft; and her parents, Carl and Jane Craft. Brawner killed them in their Tate County home, stole about $300 and used his former mother-in-law’s wedding ring to propose to his girlfriend the same day, according to court records.

Brawner admitted to the killings. During the sentencing phase of his trial, he declined to have anyone testify on his behalf with mitigating testimony, which could have been used to sway jurors to spare his life.

“As far as life, I don’t feel that I deserve to live,” Brawner testified at the time.

Subsequent lawyers have argued that Brawner’s trial attorney did a poor job by not calling such mitigating witnesses as his mother and a psychiatrist, who could have testified about things that had happened to him in life.

Brawner’s lawyer, David Calder, had argued earlier Monday in a court filing that his client could be the first person executed in the U.S. on a tie vote of judges. The Mississippi Supreme Court voted 4-4 last week to deny a rehearing in the case. Justice Ann Lamar didn’t vote. She was district attorney in Tate County when the slayings occurred. By the time of the trial in April 2002, she was a Circuit Court judge, though she didn’t preside over the trial.

In court procedures, a tie vote usually means an earlier ruling stands.

Calder asked the justices to suspend court rules that prohibit people from asking a second time for a rehearing and to issue a stay of execution.

The court voted 4-3 against the motion to suspend the rules and against a stay of execution. Lamar and Chief Justice Bill Waller didn’t vote this time. A court spokeswoman said Waller was unable to attend Monday’s conference of justices. Waller voted to deny the rehearing last time.

Brawner went to his former in-laws’ home after learning his former wife planned to stop him from seeing their child. He gave conflicting statements to police and during testimony, saying at times he wanted to borrow money and at other times that he was going to rob his father-in-law.

Court records said he was waiting at the Crafts’ home when his former wife arrived with her mother and the child. After becoming agitated, he went to his car and got a rifle he had stolen from the house earlier in the day. He shot the former mother-in-law first, then his ex-wife. His daughter, Paige, watched the killings, court records said.

“After Brawner determined that Paige would be able to identify him, and in his words, he ‘was just bent on killing,’ he went back into the bedroom and shot his daughter twice, killing her,” court records say. He shot and killed Carl Craft when he got home from work and stole his wallet and the ring.

June 6, 2012 Source : http://www.clarionledger.com

A death row inmate is asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to stay his execution scheduled for next Tuesday and grant him a new hearing.

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in a 4-4 earlier this week not to allow a rehearing on previous arguments in the case of Jan Michael Brawner. Justice Ann Lamar didn’t participate.

In court procedures, a tie vote usually means an earlier ruling stands. However, Brawner’s lawyers argue there’s precedent in Mississippi that says a tie vote in death penalty cases should favor the condemned inmate.

Brawner claims his previous appeals lawyer didn’t do a good job and he wants an oral hearing on the matter.

Brawner, now 34, was convicted of the 2001 killings of his 3-year-old daughter, ex-wife and former father-in-law and mother-in-law Tate County.

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June 6, 2012 Source : http://www.fox40tv.com

JACKSON, Miss.  – The Mississippi Supreme Court won’t reconsider an appeal from an inmate scheduled for execution June 12.

Jan Michael Brawner argued his legal case suffered because of ineffective assistance by Bob Ryan, former head of the state office meant to handle post-conviction appeals for people sentenced to death.

Brawner, now 34, was convicted of the 2001 killings of his 3-year-old daughter, ex-wife and former father-in-law and mother-in-law the Tate County community of Sarah.

According to trial testimony, Brawner went to his former in-laws’ home after learning his former wife planned to stop him from seeing their child; he also had no money and contemplated robbing his former in-laws. Brawner admitted to the killings at trial and told a prosecutor he deserved death.

Justices ruled 4-4 Tuesday not to reconsider Brawner’s appeal.

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