DELAWARE EXECUTIONS

BREAKING NEWS – Court lifts stay on Johnson’s execution – Executed 2:55 a.m


SMYRNA, Del. — A convicted Delaware killer who waived his right to further appeals and sought to speed his execution was put to death by lethal injection early Friday after a flurry of court filings spurred by federal public defenders seeking to spare his life.

Shannon Johnson was pronounced dead at 2:55 a.m., just minutes before the 3 a.m. deadline for his execution.
Johnson’s last meal was chicken lo mein, carrots, cake, wheat bread and iced tea – the same meal that all other prisoners had – he did not have a special request.
According to a Department of Corrections spokesman, Johnson spent his last few days sleeping, eating, reading, writing letters, watching TV, and speaking with his attorney.
Johnson was already strapped to a gurney when witness were led into the execution chamber.
 
“Loyalty is important. Without loyalty you have nothing. Death before dishonor,” he said when asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement. Johnson then uttered a few words in Arabic before he closed his eyes and the first of three chemicals began flowing through his veins.
As the sedative pentobarbital was administered, Johnson’s breathing became labored and his chest heaved several times. A few seconds later, he was motionless and showed no more signs of movement. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.

source : http://www.delawareonline.com

WILMINGTON — The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on Shannon Johnson’s execution tonight, clearing the way for the lethal injection to take place between midnight and 3 a.m.

The three-judge panel, in a decision handed down just after 5 p.m., wrote that the fact that Johnson himself joined in the appeal filed by Delaware prosecutors seeking to lift the hold on the execution “speaks volumes about the case.”

“From the time of Johnson’s penalty phase to this very day, Johnson has consistently indicated his wish to proceed with his state-ordered execution,” wrote Judge Thomas Hardiman on behalf of the panel.

“[Johnson] has informed every court he has been before and every lawyer involved in his proceedings that he wishes to waive all further … challenges and proceed to execution,” Hardiman wrote.

It is possible the Delaware Federal Defender’s Office – which won a stay from U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet on Wednesday — may now turn to the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and re-impose the stay. Federal defenders, however, were not immediately available for comment.

Johnson’s attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said her client, was “very pleased with the ruling and hopes there are no further appeals.”

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office declined comment on the ruling.

Department of Correction officials had been proceeding as if the execution were going to happen tonight and indicated it will go forward as scheduled between midnight and 3 a.m.

DELAWARE – Shannon Jonhson execution Delayed


april 19 source : http://www.delawareonline.com

WILMINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday indefinitely delayed Friday’s scheduled execution of convicted killer Shannon M. Johnson, saying he needed more time to “digest” a massive legal filing by the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office, which is seeking to stop the lethal injection.

Johnson, 28, waived all his remaining appeals to speed his execution and was declared competent to waive those legal rights by Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady last month.

However, federal defenders acting on behalf of Johnson’s sister, Lakeisha Ford, argue that Johnson is not competent due to mental illness and substandard intelligence and a state court competency review was flawed.

Johnson was convicted in 2008 of the murder of 25-year-old Cameron Hamlin. Hamlin’s father, Vandrick, was in the courtroom Wednesday and seemed taken aback by the turn of events.

Afterward, he was briefly speechless before saying that he was disappointed by U.S. District Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet’s ruling to stay Johnson’s execution.

State prosecutors and Johnson’s court-appointed attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, also seemed stunned by the ruling and objected to the delay. Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace described the lengthy brief filed by public defenders on Friday — six days before the execution — as a ploy designed “to ensure they get a stay.”

“It is Mr. Johnson’s view that he has been accorded all constitutional due process,” Aaronson told Sleet.

Wallace told Sleet that the state would appeal the issue to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeal seeking to reinstate Johnson’s Friday execution was filed with the Philadelphia-based appeals court several hours later. The 30-page motion to vacate the stay of execution filed with the appeals court mirrors the brief state prosecutors filed with Sleet on Monday, opposing the federal defender’s petition. It concludes that Sleet lacked jurisdiction to issue a stay because the state court’s finding that Johnson is competent was reasonable.

read full article : click here

Delaware – Shannon M. Johnson execution – april 20, 2012 – EXECUTED


Shannon M. Johnson Mug Shot

Shannon M. Johnson
DOB: 11/18/1983
Race: Black Gender: Male
Offense: Murder 1st
Sentenced to Death: 09/05/2008
Date of Offense: 09/24/2006

Update april 17, sourcehttp://www.wboc.com

WILMINGTON,  The attorney for a Delaware death row inmate facing execution this week is asking a federal judge to reject an attempt by the convicted killer’s estranged sister to stop the execution.

Shannon M. Johnson has waived his right to further appeals of his conviction and death sentence and faces death by lethal injection early Friday.

But federal public defenders are trying for the second time to intervene in the case without Johnson’s consent.

They are arguing on behalf of Johnson’s sister that he is mentally incompetent and should not be executed.

But Johnson’s lawyer says in a letter to the court that she spoke with Johnson on Monday, and that he remains committed to proceeding with his execution.

Johnson was sentenced to death in 2008 for the September 2006 murder of a man who he found sitting in a car with Johnson’s former girlfriend. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

march 14, 2012  sourcehttp://www.necn.com

Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady ordered the April execution of Shannon Johnson after Johnson waived his right to a requirement that an execution be held no sooner than 90 days from the sentencing date.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Cameron Hamlin, 25, who was shot after Johnson found him sitting in a car with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend near downtown Wilmington. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

After the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in 2009, Johnson said he did not want to pursue any further appeals.

“The court system has prevailed here and we can start having closure here in the Hamlin family,” Vandrick Hamlin, the victim’s father, said after Wednesday’s brief sentencing hearing.

“I think the judge sent a message out to the thugs and killers that you will not get away with murder here in the city of Wilmington.”

After Johnson sought to waive all further appeals following the state Supreme Court’s decision, federal public defenders tried to intervene in his case without his consent, arguing that Johnson was incompetent because he was mentally disabled. After Brady refused to allow them to participate in a state court competency hearing, they defied her order to turn over their files on Johnson to state prosecutors and Johnson’s state court attorneys.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Sleet last year ordered the federal public defenders to turn over their files to state prosecutors and defense attorneys. He also voided their appointments to represent Johnson, declaring that they had misled the federal court into believing that they were acting with his knowledge and consent.

In a ruling last month in which she cited reports from several mental health experts, Brady declared that Johnson was not mentally disabled, was mentally competent to waive his right to further appeals, and that he understood the legal consequences of that decision.

Johnson’s defense attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said after Wednesday’s hearing that he has been “steadfast” in his opposition to all further appeals.

“He fervently hopes no zealot files state or federal proceedings to override his competent decision,” she said.

The Facts  source : sentencing decision court (pdf)

Shannon Johnson, had a relationship with Lakeisha Truitt, from which was born a son. Ms. Truitt attempted to end the relationship on multiple occasions, because the Defendant was violent and unfaithful, and testified that she had not had a steady relationship with the Defendant for several years preceding the events that give rise to the charges in this matter. She did, however, continue to see the Defendant on some basis, including, but not limited to, effecting visitation with his son. From all appearances, Ms. Truitt had tried to move on with her life. She was a single mom, was employed, had purchased a home, and just prior to the initial incident in this case, began seeing another young man, Cameron Hamlin. By all accounts, Mr. Hamlin was a solid and sober individual, who had an interest in music, and was caring and thoughtful of his family. On September 24, 2006, Mr. Hamlin spent the night at Ms. Truitt’s home, and in the morning, was in the process of taking Ms. Truitt to her grandmother’s, where her son spent the night, and then was going to take his mother to church. The Defendant accosted the couple at a stop sign in his vehicle, and after some words were spoken, took out a gun and fired into Mr. Hamlin’s vehicle, killing him. Truitt was not injured in this incident. She ran to her grandmother’s, where she called the police, and reported the incident. Due to concern for her safety, she was advised not to go to her home until the Defendant was apprehended, but on November 10, 2006, she decided to go to her home and retrieve clothes for her son. On the way, she encountered one Rima Stewart, and had a brief conversation with her. As she was leaving her home, after having been there only a short time, the Defendant ran toward her car, brandishing a firearm, and fired several times, striking Ms. Truitt. To this day, a portion of one bullet remains lodged in her chest. The Defendant was later apprehended, and has been incarcerated since his arrest.

Statutory Aggravating Circumstance


The State alleged that the Defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use of, or threat of, force or violence upon another person, in this case, Rape in the Fourth Degree. To prove the Defendant’s prior conviction of the offense of Rape in the Fourth Degree, the State called the victim of that offense, Quana Thomas.Ms. Thomas testified that she had known the Defendant since she was of elementary school age, and that she saw him one day in the neighborhood and began talking with him regarding an incident involving a mutual friend, entering the Defendant’s car at some point in the conversation. During the conversation, the Defendant started the car, locked the doors and began to drive away. Ms. Thomas asked him where he was going, and asked to be let out of the car. The Defendant told her he had to take care of something and it would not take that long. He drove to an area near the Wilmington Hospital, at which time he stopped the car and began trying to kiss Ms. Thomas, who pushed him off her. She was 18, and seven to eight months pregnant at the time. Eventually he was able to pull her pants down and engage in vaginal intercourse with her. He told her the baby she was carrying should have been his. He then took her back to the neighborhood, and left her there. The Defendant was charged with Rape in the Second Degree and later entered a plea of guilty to a charge of Rape in the Fourth Degree. A certified copy of the
plea agreement was introduced as an exhibit.

September 5, 2008 Sentenced to death  read here

Convicted Killer Shannon Johnson Sentenced to Death Wilmington, DE – Today, Attorney General Beau Biden announced that Shannon M. Johnson, age 24 of Wilmington, was sentenced today by Judge M. Jane Brady to death by lethal injection plus 95 years
in prison.“Shannon Johnson is a threat to society. His conviction and today’s sentence ensures that justice will be served,” stated Attorney General Joseph R. Biden, III. “Victim and witness testimony was critically important to securing this conviction and I want to thank them for having the courage to come forward. Without their testimony a very dangerous person could be on the street.”
On September 24, 2006, Johnson shot and killed Cameron Hamlin in the City of Wilmington. On November 10, 2006, Johnson approached a car in Wilmington, driven by Lakeisha Truitt. He fired a gun at the car, smashed the driver’s side window, dragged her from the car, shot her, and fled the scene. Truitt was taken to the hospital, where she recovered. Johnson was arrested by Wilmington
Police on November 15, 2006. Johnson was convicted in New Castle County Superior Cour.

Feb 26, 2010 source : http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20100226/NEWS01/2260348

WILMINGTON — Death row inmate Shannon M. Johnson appeared in court Thursday to demand an end to all his appeals to speed his execution date.

This follows a pattern that Johnson, 26, set after his 2008 trial when he told the judge, after he was convicted of the murder of
Cameron Hamlin, that he was not seeking mercy and wanted to be sentenced immediately — without a penalty hearing — even if that
meant the death penalty.Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit Thursday, Johnson told Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady in a calm and cool tone that he wanted to waive any further appeals. He also wanted Brady to instruct the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office to drop the appeals it filed on his behalf in U.S. District Court and with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Johnson said attorneys with that office ignored his explicit instructions against filing appeals and asked Brady to prevent attorneys from that office from contacting him again.

Johnson said he told federal defenders, “I’d rather not waste your time” and that they should instead work on other cases. But he said
the attorney “then did everything I asked her not to do.”

Julie Brain, Johnson’s federal defender, declined to comment Thursday.
Johnson was not asked and did not explain why he was ending his appeals.

His attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, declined to comment on Johnson’s reasons, stating that to do so would violate attorney-
client privilege.

At that same hearing, Johnson’s other appellate attorney, James J. Haley Jr., asked Brady for permission to withdraw from the case,
stating in a motion that Johnson’s desire “to be executed as soon as possible” conflicted with his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.

Johnson said he did not object to Haley’s departure, and Brady dismissed him from the case.

Johnson, however, said he wanted Aaronson to continue to represent him, although he acknowledged that Aaronson too had advised him against ending his appeals.

Brady told Johnson that before she can accept his waiver, she must have him evaluated by a psychologist to make sure he is competent and that he fully understands the ramifications of his decision.

She said it will take about 60 days for a doctor to perform the evaluation and file a report, followed by an additional 30 days for
state prosecutors to respond to that report.

While this process could speed up Johnson’s execution by as much as a decade, Brady told Johnson the court would not act hastily.

“This will not be a fast process,” she said, and will not result in an execution being set next week or next month. “This is to make sure
you have time to reflect and that you are certain about your decision.”

Johnson was convicted two years ago of the Sept. 24, 2006, slaying of Cameron Hamlin. According to police and testimony, Johnson shot Hamlin after he found him sitting in a car in Wilmington with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, who was also the mother of a child with
Johnson.

The ex-girlfriend escaped and was the only witness against Johnson in the homicide. Several weeks later, in November, Johnson tried to kill her by shooting her as she was getting into a car. She survived, and Johnson also was convicted of that shooting.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts, Johnson told the judge he wanted to be sentenced immediately, didn’t want to go through a
penalty hearing and would no longer cooperate with his attorneys. “I don’t need your mercy, the court’s mercy, none of that,” he told
Brady in March 2008. “If you want to sentence me to death … then let that be the case. All that other stuff, like, all that’s irrelevant.”

Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace said after Thursday’s hearing that this is not the first time a death row inmate has waived his
appeals to hasten his date with the executioner.

No. 09-8949      *** CAPITAL CASE ***
Title:
Shannon Johnson, Petitioner
v.
Delaware
Docketed: February 4, 2010
Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Delaware
  Case Nos.: (434, 2008; 489, 2008)
  Decision Date: November 4, 2009
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feb 2 2010 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due March 8, 2010)
Mar 10 2010 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including June 7, 2010.
Apr 23 2010 Brief of respondent Delaware in opposition filed.
May 3 2010 Reply of petitioner Shannon Johnson filed.
May 5 2010 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of May 20, 2010.
May 24 2010 Petition DENIED.

~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Julie Brain Chief, Capital Habeas Unit (302) 442-6545
Delaware Federal Public Defender
800 King Street
Suite 200
Wilmington, DE  19801
Julie Brain @fd.org
Party name: Shannon Johnson
Attorneys for Respondent:
Paul R. Wallace Chief of Appeals (302) 577-8500
    Counsel of Record Criminal Division
Delaware Department of Justice
820 N. French Street, 7th Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
Paul.Wallace@state.de.us
Party name: Delaware