Author: Claim Your Innocence

Claim your innocence is a blog for all news from Death row, I am against innocent people who are in death row, too many innocents have been executed, but I decided to talk about death row in general. but trying to highlight the case of obvious innocence, or if they have too many doubts and contradictions.

Man convicted of killing 6 in Texas gets death penalty


November  17,2017

A man was sentenced to death Wednesday for a rampage that left six people dead at a remote East Texas campsite.

A Brazos County jury deliberated about 45 minutes before deciding William Hudson, 35, of Tennessee Colony, should face execution. The same jury found him guilty last week on three counts of capital murder in the 2015 shooting and beating deaths of 77-year-old Carl Johnson, 40-year-old Hannah Johnson, 45-year-old Thomas Kamp, 23-year-old Nathan Kamp, 21-year-old Austin Kamp and 6-year-old Kade Johnson.

The verdict on a punishment comes exactly two years after Hudson’s arrest, which was on Nov. 15, 2015.

Evidence showed the victims were part of a blended family that gathered for a weekend together to camp on property in Tennessee Colony, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) southeast of Dallas. They had recently bought the land from Hudson’s family. Prosecutors said Hudson resented the sale.

Cynthia Johnson, the wife of Carl Johnson, was able to hide and survived the rampage.

The Eagle of Bryan-College Station reported that Cynthia Johnson testified that she heard Hudson fatally beat her husband and her daughter, Hannah, inside a recreational vehicle. She hid until dawn the next morning, retrieved a cellphone dropped by her daughter and called police.

Four victims were found in a pond.

Defense witnesses testified that Hudson suffered brain damage from multiple seizures, two car accidents and extreme alcohol abuse, and had been emotionally and sometimes physically abused by his father.

“William Hudson was created, he wasn’t born that way,” Stephen Evans, one of Hudson’s attorneys, said.

Prosecution experts said Hudson had a personality disorder and not a mental illness.

“This is just who he is,” special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said. “This is a man who is not gonna change. That ought to scare you.”

The case had been moved from Anderson County to Bryan, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) to the southwest to avoid potential jury bias.

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ARIZONA – Cost of death penalty case keeps climbing


November  17,2017

The cost of a Bullhead City murder suspect’s death penalty case could exceed more than $1 million by the time it goes to trial.

Justin James Rector, 29, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a dead body for the Sept. 2, 2014, death of 8-year-old Isabella Grogan-Cannella.

The total cost for Rector’s defense including the 2017-18 fiscal year is now $582,579. That dates to the 2014-15 fiscal year. The cost includes $409,822 for all of Rector’s defense attorneys and $172,007 for investigative services for the last four fiscal years, indigent defense services director Blake Schritter said.

So far, this current fiscal year, his attorney fees are $31,056 and the investigative services are  $20,415. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, his attorney bill was $199,290 and the investigative services cost $129,777. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, attorney fees were $121,725 and the investigative services were $13,578, Schritter added.

Rector’s next hearing before Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen is scheduled for today. Vacated several times, Rector’s trial has not been scheduled and the length of the trial is not known but could last a month or longer.

Quinn Jolly made his first appearance as first chair on Rector’s death penalty murder case in September. Julia Cassels, who was assigned to the case in July 2016, is the second counsel in the murder case. Two death penalty qualified attorneys are required in a capital murder case.

Rector’s previous attorney took the case in March 2015 but withdrew in July. The public defender’s office withdrew from the case in March 2015.

PHOENIX – John Allen gets death penalty in murder of 10-year-old girl


November 16,2017

Jurors in Maricopa County Superior Court deliberated for only a few hours before deciding that John Allen should get the death penalty.

The jury previously determined that Ame Deal’s death was especially cruel or heinous.

Allen, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder and child abuse on Nov. 8.

His 28-year-old wife, Sammantha Allen, was a cousin of Deal’s and was convicted of murder in the girl’s death in June. She’s now the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

Prosecutors said the couple forced Ame into the small, plastic box as punishment for stealing ice pops. They went to sleep and the girl was found dead the next morning.

Defense attorney Robert Reinhardt had argued that John Allen, a father of four young children, did not intend for the girl to die and that the other adults in the home created the abusive environment.

But County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Thursday that the Allens “received the only proportionate penalty that could rightly be imposed for the torture and pain they put Ame through. Ame deserved so much more from the adults responsible for her care.”

Ame’s death was the culmination of a shocking history of abuse at the hands of relatives who were charged with caring for her.

Authorities said the girl was forced to eat dog feces, crush aluminum cans barefoot, consume hot sauce and get in the storage box on other occasions.

She also was kicked in the face, beaten with a wooden paddle and forcibly dunked after being thrown in a cold swimming pool, according to police investigators.

Adults at the home originally claimed Ame hid during a late-night game of hide-and-seek and wasn’t found until hours later.

Three other relatives are in prison serving sentences for abusing Ame.

David Deal, who is listed as the girl’s father on her birth certificate, is serving a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse.

Ame’s legal guardian at the time of her death was her aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, who is serving a 24-year prison sentence for a child abuse conviction. Ame’s grandmother, Judith Deal, is serving 10 years for child abuse.

Authorities said Ame’s mother left the family years earlier after suffering abuse from relatives and moved to Kansas without her daughter.

Ohio Halts Execution of Physically Debilitated Prisoner After It Cannot Find Vein for Intravenous Line


November  15

Having failed to find a suitable vein in which to set an intravenous execution line, Ohio called off the scheduled November 15 execution of gravely ill and physically debilitated death-row prisoner, Alva Campbell . After execution personnel failed in four attempts to find a vein for the IV line, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr stopped the execution and Governor John Kasich granted Campbell a temporary reprieve. Kasich rescheduled Campbell’s execution for June 5, 2019. The execution was delayed for nearly an hour as executioners assessed Campbell’s veins, and then witnesses watched for another half hour as prison personnel used an ultraviolet light to probe Campbell’s arm for a vein, sticking him twice in the right arm, once in the left arm, and once in the left leg. Columbus Dispatch reporter Marty Schladen, a media witness to the execution, reported that, when he was stuck in the leg, “Campbell threw his head back and appeared to cry out in pain.” Campbell’s lead lawyer, assistant federal public defender David Stebbins said, “We had warned them for months that they were going to have this problem.” In court documents seeking to stay his execution, Campbell’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued that a combination of severe medical ailments and physical disabilities made it inappropriate for him to be executed. These afflictions include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory failure, prostate cancer, and severe pneumonia, and Campbell relies on a colostomy bag that hangs outside his body, needs oxygen treatments four times a day, and requires a walker for even limited mobility. Following the reprieve, Stebbins questioned whether the state would be able to successfully execute Campbell. “He’s 69 years old and has all kinds of illnesses and his veins are a mess,” he said. “They’re just not going to get any better.” “This type of state-sponsored torture is not acceptable,” said ACLU of Ohio senior policy director Mike Brickner. “This marks the fifth botched execution for Ohio in recent years, and the second time the state could not complete an execution. This is not justice,” he said, “and this is not humane.” In the past eleven years, Ohio has also botched the executions of Joseph L. ClarkChristopher Newton, Romell Broom, and Dennis McGuire. In a video posted on the website of the Columbus Dispatch, reporter Marty Schladen, who was scheduled to witness the execution, said “I don’t think anything that happened today would make anybody sanguine about the death penalty in Ohio right now.”

Stays of Execution 2017



Date of Scheduled Execution State Prisoner Reason for Stay
January
11 OH Anthony Kirkland Stay granted by Ohio Supreme Court on October 16, 2014 “pending disposition of available state remedies …. It is further ordered that this stay shall remain in effect until exhaustion of all state post-conviction proceedings, including any appeals.”
12 OH James Hanna Reprieve granted by Gov. John Kasich because Ohio did not have execution drugs.^^
12 OH Ronald Phillips Stay granted by magistrate judge in U.S. District Court on December 19, 2016 to permit litigation of challenge to Ohio lethal injection protocol; on December 21, 2016, governor then rescheduledexecution for February 15, 2017.
23 OR Gary Haugen Reprieve in place, Gov. John Kitzhaber imposed a moratorium on all executions in Oregon. Current Gov. Kate Brown has requested a report on the status of the death penalty and indicated the report will inform future policy decisions.
25 TX Kosoul Chanthakoummane Execution date rescheduled to July 19, 2017.
February
2 TX John Ramirez Stay granted by U.S. District Court on January 31, 2017 to permit new counsel to file a petition seeking clemency for Ramirez. On February 1, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit deniedthe Texas Attorney General’s motion to vacate the District Court’s stay order.
7 TX Tilon Lashon Carter Stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on February 3, 2017 on a 5-4 vote. The Court ruled that Texas had failed to timely serve the death warrant upon the Texas Office of Capital and Forensic Writs.
15 OH Ronald Phillips Stay granted by U.S. District Court magistrate judge on January 26, 2017 as part of preliminary injunction order declaring Ohio’s execution protocol unconstitutional. Then rescheduled for May 10, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
19 OH Ramond Tibbetts Stay granted by U.S. District Court magistrate judge on December 19, 2016 to permit litigation of challenge to Ohio lethal injection protocol; on December 21, 2016, Gov. John Kasich rescheduledexecution for April 12, 2017.
March
2 PA Wayne Smith Stay granted by U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on January 25, 2017 to provide Smith to vindicate his right to pursue state and federal post-conviction challenges to his conviction and sentence that are available to all criminal defendants.
3 PA Richard Poplawski Stay granted by the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on February 17, 2017 to provide Poplawski the opportunity to pursue state post-conviction challenges to his conviction and sentence that are available to all criminal defendants.
4 PA Aric Woodard Stay granted by the York County Court of Common Pleas on February 9, 2017 to provide Woodard the opportunity to pursue state post-conviction challenges to his conviction and sentence that are available to all criminal defendants.
6 PA Patrick Haney Stay granted by U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on February 8, 2017 to provide Haney the opportunity to pursue state and federal post-conviction challenges to his conviction and sentence that are available to all criminal defendants.
15 OH Gary Otte Stay granted by U.S. District Court magistrate judge on January 26, 2017 as part of preliminary injunction order declaring Ohio’s execution protocol unconstitutional. Then rescheduled for June 13, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
22 OH Jeremiah Jackson Stay granted by Ohio Supreme Court until exhaustion of all state post-conviction proceedings.
April
12 OH Ramond Tibbetts Stay granted by U.S. District Court magistrate judge on January 26, 2017 as part of preliminary injunction order declaring Ohio’s execution protocol unconstitutional. Then rescheduled for July 26, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
12 TX Paul Storey Stay granted by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
17 AR Bruce Ward Stay granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court on April 14 to permit counsel to litigate whether Ward is mentally competent to be executed. Temporary restraining order granted by Pulaski County court on April 14 in litigation brought by pharmaceutical company seeking to bar Arkansas from using vecuronium bromide in scheduled execution. Restraining order lifted by Arkansas Supreme Court. Stay granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court on April 17 pending decision by the United States Supreme Court in McWilliams v. Dunn on questions concerning the right to an independent mental health expert that may affect the resolution of similar issues in Ward’s case.
17 AR Don Davis Temporary restraining order granted by Pulaski County court on April 14 in litigation brought by pharmaceutical company seeking to bar Arkansas from using vecuronium bromide in scheduled execution. Restraining order lifted by Arkansas Supreme Court. Stay granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court on April 17 pending decision by the United States Supreme Court in McWilliams v. Dunn on questions concerning the right to an independent mental health expert that may affect the resolution of similar issues in Davis’s case.
20 AR Stacey Johnson Temporary restraining order granted by Pulaski County court on April 14 in litigation brought by pharmaceutical company seeking to bar Arkansas from using vecuronium bromide in scheduled execution. Restraining order lifted by Arkansas Supreme Court. Stay issued by Arkansas Supreme Court on April 19 to allow hearing on postconviction DNA testing.
25 VA Ivan Teleguz Death sentence commuted by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on April 20 to life in prison, with no chance for parole.
27 AR Jason McGehee Preliminary inunction granted by U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas staying McGehee’s execution until Arkansas Parole Board complies with 30-day period for public comment on its 6-1 recommendation for clemency and Gov. Asa Hutchinson decides whether to issue clemency.
May
10 OH Alva Campbell, Jr. Execution rescheduled for September 13, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
10 OH Ronald R. Phillips Execution rescheduled for July 26, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
17 OH Donald Ketterer Stay granted by Ohio Supreme Court until exhaustion of all state post-conviction proceedings.
16 TX Tilon Carter Stay granted by Texas Court of Criminal Appealson May 12 to permit the court to consider claim that new evidence shows that Carter’s conviction was a product of scientifically erroneous and false forensic testimony that the victim had been smothered.
24 TX Juan Castillo Execution rescheduled for September 7, 2017.
June
13 OH William Montgomery Execution rescheduled for October 18, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
13 OH Gary Otte Execution rescheduled for September 13, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
28 TX Steven Long Execution rescheduled for August 30, 2017.
July
19 OH Mark Pickens Stay granted by Ohio Supreme Court until exhaustion of all state post-conviction proceedings.
19 TX Kosoul Chanthakoummane Stay granted by Texas Court of Criminal Appealson June 7, 2017, to review claims of discredited forensic science.
26 OH Robert Van Hook Execution rescheduled for November 15, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
26 OH Raymond Tibbetts Execution rescheduled for October 18, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
August
15 PA Omar Shariff Cash Stay granted by U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on June 28, 2017 to provide Cash the opportunity to pursue state and federal post-conviction challenges to his conviction and sentence that are available to all criminal defendants.
22 MO Marcellus Williams Stay granted by Governor Greitens on August 22, 2017. The Governor appointed a Gubernatorial Board of Inquiry to further consider Marcellus Williams’ request for executive clemency.
30 TX Steven Long Stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on August 21, 2017 to permit Long to re-litigate his claim of intellectual disability under Moore v. Texas. The Texas courts had previously denied his claim, applying the “Briseno factors” that were declared unconstitutional in Moore.
September
7 TX Juan Castillo On August 30, 2017, the Bexar County District Court granted the Bexar County District Attorney’s motion to withdraw Juan Castillo’s execution date. The request was made after Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster for 30 Texas counties because of Hurricane Harvey. The court also issued an order setting a new execution date for December 14, 2017.
13 OH Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl Stay granted by the Ohio Supreme Court on May 4, 2016 on motion to vacate execution date and to reopen direct appeal. Execution rescheduled for April 17, 2019 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
13 OH Alva Campbell, Jr. Execution rescheduled for November 15, 2017 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
26 GA Keith Tharpe Stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court on September 26, 2017 “pending the disposition of [Tharpe’s] petition for a writ of certiorari” seeking review of a decision by the 11th Circuit denying him an appeal of his habeas corpus claim that his death sentence was unconstitutionally tainted by the participation of a racially biased juror.
October
5 AL Jeffrey Borden Injunction granted by U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on September 29 staying Borden’s execution through October 19, 2017, but vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 4. Stay grantedby U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on October 5, 2017
18 OH Melvin Bonnell Rescheduled for April 11, 2018 by Gov. John Kasich on February 10, 2017.*
18 OH William Montgomery Rescheduled for January 3, 2018 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
18 OH Raymond Tibbetts Rescheduled for February 13, 2018 by Gov. John Kasich on September 1, 2017.^
18 TX Anthony Shore 90-day stay of execution granted by Harris County trial court to permit prosecutors to investigate claim that Shore was colluding with another death-row prisoner to confess to the murder in that case. Execution rescheduled for January 18, 2018.
19 AL Torrey McNabb Injunction granted by U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on October 16, 2017 astaying McNabb’s execution, and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on October 18. Injunction vacated by U.S. Supreme Court on October 19, 2017 and stay lifted. EXECUTED.
26 TX Clifton Lee Young Stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on October 18, 2017 and evidentiary hearing ordered on Young’s claim that newly discovered evidence (gunshot residue on the gloves of the prosecution’s key witness and affidavits of four prisoners that this witness had bragged about committing the killing and framing Young) shows that his conviction and sentence were obtained with false or perjured testimony.
November
9 AR Jack Greene Stay granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court on November 7, 2017 on petition raising issue related to Arkansas procedures for determining competency to be executed.
14 NV Scott Dozier Stay granted by the Clark County District Court on November 9, 2017 to permit the prosecution to appeal its ruling barring the use of a paralytic drug in Nevada’s execution protocol.
15 OH Alva Campbell Gov. John Kasich called off the execution on November 15, 2017 after personnel of the Ohio Department of Corrections failed five times to find a suitable vein to insert an intravenous execution line.
15 OH Robert Van Hook Rescheduled for February 13, 2018 by Gov. John Kasich on May 1, 2017.**
16 TX Larry Swearingen Stay granted by trial court on October 27 because of clerk’s error in serving notice of execution.

Executions Scheduled for 2018


Executions Scheduled for 2018


Month State Prisoner
January
3 OH John Stumpf — RESCHEDULED
3 OH William Montgomery — RESCHEDULED
18 TX Anthony Shore
30 TX William Rayford
February
1 TX John Battaglia
13 OH Warren K. Henness — RESCHEDULED
13 OH Robert Van Hook — RESCHEDULED
13 OH Raymond Tibbetts
22 TX Thomas Whitaker
March
14 OH Douglas Coley — RESCHEDULED
14 OH Warren K. Henness — RESCHEDULED
27 TX Rosendo Rodriguez
April
11 OH Melvin Bonnell — RESCHEDULED
11 OH William Montgomery
May
30 OH Stanley Fitzpatrick — RESCHEDULED
June
27 OH Angelo Fears — RESCHEDULED
July
18 OH Robert Van Hook
August
1 OH David A. Sneed — RESCHEDULED
September
13 OH Cleveland R. Jackson
October
10 OH James Derrick O’Neal — RESCHEDULED
November
14 OH John David Stumpf — RESCHEDULED

Supremacist convicted of killing 3 at Kansas Jewish sites


The man who admitted killing 3 people at 2 suburban Kansas City Jewish sites gave jurors a Nazi salute Monday after they convicted him of murder and other charges for the shootings, which he said would allow him to “die a martyr.”
It took the jury of 7 men and 5 women just over 2 hours to find Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. guilty of 1 count of capital murder, 3 counts of attempted murder and assault and weapons charges.
After the verdict was announced, Miller, 74, of Aurora, Missouri, said: “The fat lady just sang” and he raised his right arm in the Nazi salute. As jurors were filing out of the courtroom later, he told them: “You probably won’t sleep tonight.”
The judge reminded Miller that the same jury will decide his sentence. He could get the death penalty. The sentencing proceedings were expected to begin Tuesday.
During the prosecution’s closing, District Attorney Steve Howe cited a “mountain of evidence” against Miller, who is charged with capital murder in the April 2014 shootings at 2 Jewish sites in Overland Park, Kansas. Although he has admitted to killing the three people, he has pleaded not guilty, saying it was his duty to stop genocide against the white race. None of the victims was Jewish.
“He wants to be the one who decides who lives and dies,” Howe said of Miller.
The Passover eve shootings killed William Corporon, 69, and Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and Terri LaManno, 53, at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center.
During his closing, Miller said he had been “floating on a cloud” since the killings. Earlier, he objected when Howe alleged he wanted to kill as many people as possible. Miller interjected: “I wanted to kill Jews, not people.”
Miller, who also was known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., urged jurors to “show great courage” and find him not guilty.
“You have the power in your hands to inspire the world,” he said. “You can become a man or woman your forefathers will be proud of for your bravery.”
The proceedings were marked with frequent outbursts from Miller, who objected repeatedly while jurors were out of the courtroom during discussions about what instructions should guide deliberations. At one point, he said, “I object to everything on the grounds of George Washington, our founding father.”
The objections became so heated that Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan temporarily ejected Miller from the courtroom when Miller said he didn’t respect the process and used an anti-Semitic comment to criticize the court system. Ryan told Miller that if there were further outbursts, he would permanently eject him or declare a mistrial.
Miller groused before finally agreeing, “I will take it under advisement and try to improve.”
Miller is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.
Source: Associated Press, Sept. 1, 2015

Prosecutors Say Shannon Miles Shot Texas Deputy 15 Times


August 31, 2015 (nyt)

HOUSTON — The man charged with killing a sheriff’s deputy at a suburban gas station Friday emptied his 15-round handgun into the back and the back of the head of the deputy, as witnesses watched in horror and surveillance cameras captured the shooting, prosecutors said Monday.

The man, Shannon Jaruay Miles, 30, walked into a courtroom crowded with sheriff’s deputies and police officers for his first court appearance here Monday morning. Mr. Miles said nothing as the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, described to a judge what the authorities have called an unprovoked attack. The deputy, Darren H. Goforth, 47, had pulled into a Chevron gas station about 8:30 p.m. Friday when Mr. Miles approached him from behind and opened fire, the authorities said.

After the hearing, Ms. Anderson said Mr. Miles was cooperating with investigators but said they were still trying to establish a motive, even though prosecutors do not have to prove one under Texas law. Law enforcement officials have said it appeared Deputy Goforth was targeted because he was wearing a uniform.

After a weekend of denouncing a “dangerous national rhetoric” aimed at the police, officials have been hesitant to comment further and to explain how it might have influenced Mr. Miles. The Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman, said Saturday, referring to the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”

Asked Monday whether anti-police sentiment had anything to do with the case, Ms. Anderson replied: “I have no idea whether it does or not. But you know what — I want to accentuate the positive here.” She spoke of a Saturday vigil and a Sunday prayer walk that drew over 1,000 people to the gas station each day.

“This crime is not going to divide us,” Ms. Anderson said. “This crime is going to unite us. People of all races were out there. That’s what’s important here.”

Mr. Miles, who graduated in 2003 from a high school near the gas station, Cypress Falls, and played on the football team there, did not have to enter a plea at the probable-cause hearing. His arraignment was set for Oct. 5.

Anthony Osso, one of Mr. Miles’s court-appointed lawyers, said: “I just ask people to keep an open mind. It’s really easy to pass judgment and rush to judgment on it.”

In 2012, Mr. Miles was arrested in Austin on allegations of assaulting and seriously injuring a man at the Salvation Army shelter where he had been staying, the authorities said. He was accused of punching and kicking the man in a dispute over which television program to watch, and he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, officials said.

Mr. Miles was sent to a state mental hospital after an evaluation found him mentally incompetent to stand trial, said Joe Frederick, the Travis County assistant district attorney in the case. After a six-month stay, Mr. Miles was found competent to face prosecution, but the case was dismissed in 2013 when officials were unable to find the victim.

Ms. Anderson said investigators had found 15 .40-caliber Aguila shell casings near Deputy Goforth’s body. A witness said he had pulled up to the gas station with his children, and he heard gunshots, Ms. Anderson said. The witness saw a black man with a bald head standing over the deputy and shooting, and he saw the man flee in a red Ford truck with an extended cab.

The gas station’s surveillance camera video showed the truck had a trailer hitch on the back and a white cooler in the bed. A search for the vehicle led investigators to Mr. Miles’s home.

In Mr. Miles’s garage, investigators found a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, Aguila cartridges and a white cooler, Ms. Anderson said. Tests on the pistol showed it matched the gun that fired the shell casings left at the scene, she said.

In the Execution Business, Missouri Is Surging


Defense lawyers call it a crisis; the state says it’s just doing its job.
Since Texas carried out the country’s 1st lethal injection in 1982, the state has performed far more executions than any other state. To date, 528 men and women have been put to death in Texas, more than the total in the next 8 states combined.
But viewed from a slightly different angle, Texas has lost its place as the epicenter of the American death penalty, at least for the moment.
Since November 2013, when Missouri began performing executions at a rate of almost 1 per month, the state has outstripped Texas in terms of the execution rate per capita. In 2014, both states executed 10 people, but Texas has more than 4 times the population of Missouri. This year, the difference is not quite as stark (Texas: 10, Missouri: 5) but Missouri still ranks number 1. The state that has become the center of so many conversations about criminal justice through the courts and cops of Ferguson is now the center of one more.
Why?
The politicians, judges and prosecutors who keep the system running at full steam simply say the death penalty is a good thing and the pace of executions is a sign that nothing is gumming up the pipes of justice. Defense attorneys are more eager to talk about the reasons for the current situation. They tend to use the word “crisis.”
The Drugs
The most important reason for the rise in Missouri’s rate of execution is also the most mysterious. As other states have dealt with a nationwide shortage in lethal-injection drugs by turning to new and experimental combinations – leading to grisly botched executions (Dennis McGuire in Ohio, Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, and Joseph Wood in Arizona) and lawsuits that have slowed down the pace of executions – Missouri has managed to get a steady supply of pentobarbital, a common execution drug.
Like their counterparts in all death-penalty states, Missouri officials are pushing in court to keep the source of their pentobarbital a secret. Texas has also exclusively used pentobarbital for executions in recent years, but has struggled to find a compounding pharmacy that will produce it. In Missouri, corrections officials had also struggled, but now have managed to stockpile the drug.
“We’re the only state in the union with no trouble getting pentobarbital,” says Cheryl Pilate, a Kansas City attorney who has represented death-row inmates. The pentobarbital made by small, generally unregulated compounding pharmacies – the choice in Texas – does not have a long shelf-life, leading Pilate and her colleagues to wonder whether Missouri officials are getting the drug from a veterinary supplier (the drug is often used to euthanize animals) or a manufacturer from overseas. Attorney General Chris Koster recently said in a court filing, quoted by BuzzFeed, that “Missouri uses pentobarbital as the lethal chemical in its execution process, but does not admit nor deny the chemical now used is compounded as opposed to manufactured.”
The Governor and the Attorney General
Attorney General Koster, as well as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, are both Democrats and both outspoken supporters of the death penalty. Nixon himself was the attorney general before Koster, so both have overseen the state’s side in fighting the appeals of death-row inmates, pushing them along toward execution. Koster has suggested that the state set up a laboratory to make its own supply of lethal-injection drugs.
Nixon has the power to commute death sentences to life in prison, but he has done so once in his 6 1/2 years as governor, and he provided no explanation for why. Many political commentators have speculated that Nixon and Koster, as Democrats in a primarily conservative state – where the electoral votes went to Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election – use executions to establish their tough-on-crime bonafides. “As a Democrat in public office, you would lose a lot of votes by not being enthusiastically in support of the death penalty,” says Joseph Luby, an attorney with the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic in Kansas City.
Nixon and Koster’s support for the death penalty fits a historical pattern of death-penalty support among blue governors in red states. In the 1990s, Texas Governor Ann Richards never commuted a death sentence and Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton famously flew home from the presidential campaign trail to preside over an execution of a man missing part of his brain. (Nixon had his own similar case earlier this year.) At the same time, Republicans in states near Missouri – Governor John Kasich in Ohio and former Governor Mike Huckabee in Arkansas – have regularly granted clemency to death-row inmates.
Nixon’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the politics of the death penalty, while Koster’s press secretary, Nanci Gonder, replied that he “has consistently supported the death penalty for the most serious murder convictions” and “1 of the duties of the Attorney General is to ensure that legal punishments for violating Missouri’s criminal laws are carried out.”
The Courts
Sean O’Brien, a professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, spent much of his career defending death-row inmates and recalled a case in which the judges at the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against the prosecution. In 2003, the court ruled in favor of a man who committed a murder before turning 18, a decision that was later ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court and became the basis for a nationwide ban on the execution of juveniles.
Missouri Supreme Court judges are appointed by the governor, and in 2013 Governor Nixon selected Judge Mary Russell to be chief justice, overseeing the setting of execution dates. Her court set up the 1-a-month schedule in November of that year. When she stepped down in July this year, she told several reporters that the pace of executions picked up because they had been on hold during the lethal-injection drug shortage. Once the state had the drugs, she said, “there were a number of people who had been backlogged whose appeals were exhausted.”
“It’s required by law that the Supreme Court shall set execution dates,” she added. “It’s not that we agree or disagree with the death penalty.”
The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which has final say over death cases in Missouri, rarely stops executions, according to O’Brien, the law professor. “We’ve got a situation where all 3” – the governor, attorney general, and supreme court – “are lickety-split gung-ho on this, and the federal courts aren’t stopping them.”
The Defense Bar
During a short phone interview last week, the Missouri capital-defense attorneys Cheryl Pilate and Lindsay Runnels used the words “crisis,” “disaster,” “horrific” and “overwhelming” as they described their “extremely small and embattled defense bar.” They see their cohort’s rushed work and missed deadlines and paltry resources as signs of broader problems with public defense in the state. Missouri was ranked 49th by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association in per-capita spending on indigent defense in 2009.
My colleague Ken Armstrong has chronicled the experience of one overburdened defense lawyer who dealt with the executions of 2 clients over 2 months at the end of 2013. In a March 2015 letter to the Missouri Supreme Court, members of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Assessment Team wrote, “The current pace of executions is preventing counsel for the condemned from performing competently.”
“You live in a perpetual state of tension,” Pilate said, “thinking your client could be next.”
This state of affairs may not last. A pending lawsuit over the secrecy of the lethal injection drugs might force the state to divulge its source, allowing for more litigation that could lead to a slow-down. The Missouri Supreme Court will soon have a new chief justice. A future Republican governor or attorney general could follow the lead of Kasich or Huckabee. The defense bar may get more help from national anti-death penalty groups now that the state is ground zero. For now, though, as the death penalty declines nationally, Missouri is headed in the other direction.
Source: themarshallproject.org, August 31, 2015

Largest Dutch pension fund exits Mylan over death penalty concerns


The Dutch public employees’ pension fund, the world’s third largest, has sold all its shares in pharmaceuticals maker Mylan after it emerged that one of the company’s products is in stock at a U.S. prison where death sentences are carried out.
The move comes amid increasing pressure from European countries over continuing use of capital punishment in the United States.
European companies are barred from selling drugs for use in executions, forcing states that still impose the death penalty to scrabble for alternative substances, some of which have led to widely publicized and gruesome botched executions.
The move by ABP, which had $416 billion in assets in 2014 according to consultancy Towers Watson, is thought to have been followed by other Dutch pension funds. The Netherlands has the world’s largest pool of pension assets per capita, worth $1.2 trillion in 2012.
Harmen Geers, a spokesman for ABP, said the decision came after a nine-month dialog with the company failed to achieve a satisfactory result.
“As the Dutch government and Dutch society as a whole renounced the death penalty a long time ago, we do not want Dutch pension money to be involved in that,” he said.
The U.S.-based but Dutch-registered company has a declaration on its website saying its products are not designed or intended for use in executions, but Geers said Mylan could do more to police their use.
The U.S. state of Virginia confirmed in response to a freedom of information request in July that it held stocks of Rocuronium Bromide, a Mylan-made drug that can be used to kill people.
Geers said it was this information that led to the decision to sell its Mylan holdings in full. “We thought we have only one step left to show our disapproval,” he said.
ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, held 9 million euros ($10 million) in the company before the divestment, down from 25 million euros last year when it first approached Mylan with its concerns.
Calls to Mylan were not immediately returned.
– Contact Mylan
Source: Reuters, August 31, 2015