Day: June 8, 2012

CALIFORNIA – S.C. Upholds Death Sentence for Man Who Burned Woman to Death


june 8, 2012 Source : http://www.metnews.com/

The state Supreme Court yesterday unanimously upheld the death sentence for a man who killed his son’s mother by setting her afire in a Fontana pizza parlor parking lot.

The justices rejected claims by Howard Larcell Streeter that the trial judge abused his discretion by admitting evidence that may have had a significant emotional impact on the jury, including a tape of the victim screaming in pain for 20 minutes on her way to the hospital where she died.

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Bob Krug sentenced Streeter to death in 1999 for the 1997 murder of Yolanda Buttler, 39.  Witnesses testified that Streeter sat in the parking lot waiting for Buttler, who was bringing their son to visit with him in the pizza parlor; her two older children were with her as well.

The two had recently ended a five-year relationship, which members of Buttler’s family said was violent. Buttler had recently obtained a restraining order against Streeter, who had been unsuccessfully seeking reconciliation.

After Buttler emerged from her car, witnesses said, Streeter poured gasoline over her from a can and dragged her back toward his car, from which he obtained a lighter and set the victim ablaze. Bystanders doused the fire with water and blankets, but the burns were so severe that paramedics could not locate a vein to administer pain medication.

Died in Hospital

Buttler succumbed to her wounds after 10 days in the hospital. Streeter, who was pursued by a bystander as he tried to leave the scene and was eventually arrested, was charged with first degree murder with special circumstances of lying in wait and torture.

Streeter admitted killed Buttler. But he denied that he planned the murder, saying he acted because he was distraught over the breakup and losing the opportunity to be with his son, and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

A jury found him guilty and found both special-circumstance allegations to be true, but deadlocked as to penalty. A new jury was empaneled and voted to impose the death penalty.

On appeal, the defense argued that Krug should not have allowed the jury to hear the 20-minute tape. Given its offer to stipulate to the cause and manner of death, the defense contended, the admission of the tape was more prejudicial than probative.

Highly Probative

Justice Ming Chin, however, wrote for the high court that the tape was highly probative of whether Streeter intentionally caused the victim extreme pain, an element of the torture special circumstance to which the defense did not stipulate.

“In any event, the prosecution may not be compelled to accept a stipulation where the effect would be to deprive the state’s case of its persuasiveness and forcefulness,” Chin wrote, concluding that the evidence was no more sensational than was necessary to demonstrate what had occurred.

Chin went on to say that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to find that Buttler’s murder arose from a premeditated plan to cause her extreme pain and not from an“an unplanned, impulsive explosion of violence resulting from a fight that spun out of control” as the defense contended.

“Given defendant’s prior physical abuse of Yolanda, his attempts to control her by preventing communication with her family, his anger with Yolanda for leaving him and taking his child, and concealing her whereabouts, and the repeated threats against Yolanda’s family, the jury could have reasonably concluded that when defendant intentionally set Yolanda on fire as he had planned, he intended to cause Yolanda extreme pain and suffering as punishment or for revenge,” Chin wrote.

Flight Considered

Jurors could also consider the fact that he fled the scene, rather than attempting to help put the flames out, conduct more consistent with murderous intent than sudden rage, Chin said.

The justice agreed with the defense that Krug committed error when he instructed the jury that it could consider the defendant’s prior misdemeanor conviction for shooting into an occupied dwelling as an aggravating factor under Penal Code Sec. 190.3(c). But the error was certainly harmless, he said.

While Sec. 190.3(c) only applies to felony convictions, the jury was entitled to consider the underlying violent criminal conduct as an aggravating factor under Sec. 190.3(b), Chin explained. “The danger that the jury would assign significant additional aggravating weight to the fact of conviction was minimal,” the jurist said.

The case is People v. Streeter, 12 S.O.S. 2772.

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George Zimmerman’s Old Cell Phone Number Given To Junior Guy In Orlando; Death Threats Begin


June 8, 2012  Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

The moment Junior Alexander Guy activated his very first cell phone, calls started rolling in.

He was threatened, harassed and accused of murder at all hours of the day and night, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

“You deserve to die,” the callers would say. “You murderer!”

Turns out that T-Mobile had given Guy the cell phone number formerly used by George Zimmerman — the man who in February shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida.

When Zimmerman’s 911 tape was released, so was his number: 407-435-2400. Zimmerman got rid of the number and it was given to 49-year-old Guy, who got his first cell phone on May 7, Newscore reported.

Guy received about 70 threatening calls between the 7th and the 16th, when he turned the phone over to a lawyer and demanded compensation from T-Mobile. But the cell company refused, saying that Guy was provided with a new number and credit toward his bill.

T-Mobile then retired Zimmerman’s old cell phone number so nobody else would be threatened.

Zimmerman, 28, was charged with murder after he shot and killed 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed during the Feb. 26 incident. He claims the shooting was in self defense and pleaded not guilty. His bond was recently revoked and he has returned to jail.

The killing of Martin sparked a national uproar over Zimmerman, the responsibilities of a neighborhood watch volunteer, and race.

FLORIDA – UCI and FSP Death Row Raiford – New Housing rules


June 8, 2012 Source : http://www.dc.state.fl.us/

New Housing Rules

In addition to Florida Administrative Code (FAC) Chapter 33 and FDC Procedures you will be expected to comply with these instructions. Failure to comply may result in the loss/suspension of privileges and/or disciplinary action. Your acknowledgement and compliance with these instructions will be an indication of positive adjustment and a benefit to you. Should you have any questions: contact a staff member within your unit for clarification. FAC Chapter 33 and FDC Procedures are available for checkout in each unit. Items checked out must be returned on the same shift as issued. Inmates will be responsible for lost or damaged items they have checked out.

1) Inmates will follow all orders given by an employee at any given time.

2) Inmates are to conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly manner at all times. There will be no yelling or loud talking from cell to cell, out of windows to inmates or staff. Additionally there will be no talking during counts of after lights out. Inmates are not permitted to yell to staff members to gain their attention unless there is true emergency.

3) Inmates are not permitted to talk or in any way attempt to communicate with other inmates while being escorted outside of their cells. This includes, but not limited to – showers/haircut, recreation, hearings, callouts/appointments and work/education assignments.

4) Inmates are not permitted to communicate or attempt to communicate to anyone outside of the housing unit to include those times when inmates are escorted outside the unit to participate in outdoor recreation, work details or call-outs/appointments. Any form of unauthorized communication to others (staff, visitors, or inmates) outside the unit in any manner is strictly prohibited.

5) You are required to wear a Class B uniform from 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday. The class B uniform consists of a tee shirt, blue pants or personal shorts (if you currently possess them). Anytime an inmate departs their cell they are to be dressed in Class A uniform, including approved footwear, unless directed otherwise by staff.

6) Bunks will be made each morning at 8:00am, excluding weekends and holidays, with a 6 (six) inch white collar and will remain in this fashion until 5:00pm. Anytime an inmate departs his/her cell on weekends or holidays the bunk will be made before departing the cell.

7) Inmates are to remain quiet when any staff member enters the wing. When a staff member passes by your cell, you may address staff at that time.

8) Inmates are not permitted to stand on toilets, bunks or sinks.

9) Mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows/pillow cases and towels will not be placed on the floor at any time.

10) Inmates will perform scheduled cleaning of their cells as directed by staff and will be responsible for keeping cells clean and orderly at all times. Inmates will not write on, or in any manner deface cell walls, windows, floors, ceilings, doors/bars or any fixtures. No items are to be attached or affixed to any area within the cells. Towels and washcloths may be hung to dry on the wall hooks, provided for that purpose in each cell.

11) Inmates are not permitted to throw any trash out of their cells. Trash will be collected during scheduled cell cleaning and after the completion of each meal.

12) All state property will be returned in the same condition as when issued.

13) Inmates are not to pass any item from cell to cell or to any other inmate to include personal/or state property. The manufacture, possession or use of a rope or “fishing line” is prohibited.

14) All property will be stored in your locker or other approved storage location. All personal property in excess of what can be kept in the locker must be disposed of according to proper regulations.

15) All inmates are to come to the cell door and receive their food tray at meal times. The trays are to remain inside the cell until collected at the completion of each meal. Food items or trays will not be passed between cells. No food items, food trays, utensils, containers or condiments (except those items purchased from the canteen) will be stored in the cells at any time. Any issue with the meal being served will be addressed to the officer supervising the feeding of the meal and not inmate orderlies.

16) Death Row inmates will be allowed to possess and use “smokeless tobacco” products. They will not be allowed to possess any other type of tobacco.

17) All inmates are required to comply with Chapter 33-602-101, FAC to include maintaining hair and fingernails as outlined. Inmates will also shower and shave three times a week (unless exempt by medical pass) Showers are limited to ten (10) minutes maximum. Clippers will be used for shaving.

18) Inmates will proceed directly to the showers from their cells and return directly to their cell upon completion unless directed otherwise. You are permitted to take the following items to the shower: clean clothing, shower slides, towel, washcloth, and hygiene products.

19) Issuance and exchange of health and comfort items will be on a predetermined schedule within each unit.

20) You are not permitted to take anything (i.e. towels, books, papers, canteen items, etc) to the outdoor recreation yards. Inmates are permitted to talk to other inmates in the outdoor recreation areas if conversation can be conducted without loud talking or yelling. Inmates participating in outdoor recreation are not permitted to talk to inmates inside the housing unit or areas outside of the recreation area. Inmates will be permitted to remove outer shirt once inside the recreation yard, but t-shirts must be worn. Shorts may be worn while on the recreation yards.

21) Inmates are required to respond to health care staff during daily rounds, sick call, and weekly mental health rounds. Prior to health care staff entering the individual housing unit an officer will announce “Health care staff is now conducting rounds” If these rounds are after 5:00pm inmates will dress in at least Class “B” uniform until health care staff departs the housing unit.

22) Inmates with medical, mental health or dental non-emergencies will notify medical staff while making daily rounds; mental health staff during weekly rounds or submit an “inmate request” DC6-236. Over the counter medication may be requested from Close Management staff as needed.

23) Cells will be inspected for damage prior to your placement. Any noted deficiency will be listed on the “Cell Inspection” DC6-221 form and you will sign the form acknowledging your agreement with the inspection. Inmates will be held accountable for any deficiencies not previously noted on the DC6-221 during routine inspections or upon release.

24) In the event it becomes necessary to evacuate the housing unit inmates will follow all directions issued by staff and move from their assigned cells to the pre-designated assembly area in a quiet and orderly manner. Inmates will not attempt to retrieve any personal property prior to departure unless directed by staff.

German drug company faces involvement in US executions


June 8, 2012 Source : http://www.reprieve.org.uk

A German drug company, Fresenius Kabi, may become the prime supplier of execution drugsto US death rows following the move by the State of Missouri to use propofol in lethal injections last month.

The switch to propofol, which was announced by Missouri prison on the 17th May, is a response to the unavailability of the previously used execution drugs, sodium thiopental and pentobarbital. Other States, also unable to procure the old execution drugs, are now likely to follow suit.

Propofol, a widely used anaesthetic agent, is manufactured by two companies in the US: German pharmaceutical company, Fresenius Kabi (under the tradename, Diprivan), and Hospira. Ongoing problems at Hospira’s plant mean that Fresenius Kabi has been the principle supplier of the drug to the US for over 18 months.

Missouri was forced to change its protocol following action by European pharmaceutical manufacturer, Lundbeck, and the European Commission to prevent the use of European medicines in executions.

Reprieve is in dialogue with the CEO of Fresenius Kabi, Rainer Baule, on this issue. Reprieve worked closely with Lundbeck on the distribution controls put in place to prevent the use of Lundbeck’s pentobarbital in executions and propose that Fresenius Kabi take similar steps to prevent the use of their medicines in lethal injections in the US.

Reprieve is also in contact with the German government on this issue. The German government is vigorously opposed to capital punishment and has previously refused an official request from US authorities for sodium thiopental for use in executions.

Following the protocol change, Missouri DOC requested that execution dates be set for nine death row prisoners.

Maya Foa, Head of Reprieve’s Lethal Injection Project, says: “This is an extremely disturbing development for any pharmaceutical company, but particularly one based in Europe. Fresenius Kabi’s motto is ‘Caring For Life’; it would be disastrous for the company if involvement in executions were to make a mockery of this noble commitment.

No one wants to see German drugs used to execute people. Fortunately for Fresenius, there are simple and effective ways that the company could prevent prisons from using their drugs in executions. Fresenius must act quickly, however, otherwise they risk becoming the primary facilitator of capital punishment in the USA.”