JUNE

Missouri – Richard Strong Execution – June 9, 2015


June 10,2015

Missouri murderer Richard Strong was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night after authorities turned aside a last-minute plea from his daughter, who was only months old when Strong killed her mother and 2-year-old half-sister.

Strong, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:58 p.m. at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri, according to the state Department of Corrections.

He ate a last meal of fried chicken, a cheeseburger and donuts, and asked forgiveness, according to the department.

His last words were: “Jehovah-jireh, you’re my provider. Your grace is sufficient for me. Forgive me for my sin. Abba-Abba, take my soul in your hands.”

Gov. Jay Nixon focused on Strong’s victims in a statement, acknowledging “there have been many lives deeply affected by these crimes.”

Petrina Thomas, whose niece was the toddler Strong killed, witnessed the execution and said in a statement she read to reporters that her family “was so glad that it is finally over.” (Read her full statement below.)

The execution was carried out after an unsuccessful plea for clemency from his daughter, who was a baby in 2000 when Strong murdered her mother and her half-sister. Last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and to Nixon also failed.

Strong was sentenced to death in 2003 for fatally stabbing his 23-year-old girlfriend, Eva Washington, and her daughter from a previous relationship, Zandrea Thomas, in their suburban St. Louis apartment. He left Alyshia Strong, his baby with Washington, unharmed.

Alyshia Strong, now 14, said she has forgiven her father and pleaded for clemency in the days before his execution.

“I understand that my father needs to face consequences and to pay for what he did, but I do not think it is right for me to lose my father as part of the punishment,” Alyshia Strong wrote in her clemency petition.

She wrote that she frequently visits her dad in prison, and said his advice led her to behave better in school.

“My father told me that I should stay clear of the drama at school, and stay focused on the books, not the people. I listened to my father’s advice, and I can honestly say that I had less drama in my school year than I would have if I had not listened to my father,” she wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 against issuing a stay that would have postponed Tuesday’s execution. Strong’s attorney, Jennifer Herndon, argued that Strong was mentally ill. She said both Strong and Washington suffered from mental illness and argued frequently, according to The Associated Press.

“He just snapped,” Herndon said. “It was just sort of a powder keg waiting to explode. It wasn’t a healthy relationship.”

Nixon declined to halt the lethal injection, saying in a statement that the fatal stabbing of the mother and daughter was “very brutal.”

Strong is the fourth person to be executed in Missouri this year, and the 16th in the U.S.

Petrina Thomas, Zandrea Thomas’ aunt, read this statement during a press briefing following the execution, according to the Department of Corrections:

On behalf of the Thomas family, we would like to thank the state of Missouri for finally providing our family with closure of the horrific death of my niece and her mom. For 14 years, we have impatiently waited for this day to come. It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree; the wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. The reality is we will grieve forever. We will not get over the loss of our loved ones, and we will learn to live with it. We will heal, and we will rebuild around the loss that we have suffered. We will never be the same again. He had a chance to watch his daughter grow up and laugh and smile with her. We never got a chance to see her first day of school, graduations, or watch her go on prom. My brother will never get a chance to walk his daughter down the aisle for her wedding day. Human life has dignity at any age. Nothing can justify the shedding of innocent blood or the taking of lives. You must take 100 percent responsibility for your choices and your actions, and pay with your own life. Revelation 21:4 reads: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We are at peace now and so glad that it is finally over. Thank you

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Upcoming Executions 2015



Month State Inmate
June
5 PA Hubert Michael – STAYED
9 MO Richard Strong – EXECUTED
18 AL Robin Myers – STAYED
18 TX Gregory Russeau EXECUTED 6.49 PM
23 TN Charles Wright – STAYED
July
14 MO David Zink
15 OH Alva Cambell, Jr. – STAYED*
15 OH Warren K. Henness – STAYED
August
12 TX Daniel Lopez
18 TN David Miller – STAYED
26 TX Bernardo Tercero
September
17 OH Angelo Fears – STAYED*
17 OH William Montgomery – STAYED
October
6 TN Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman – STAYED
6 TX Juan Garcia
November
17 OH Cleveland R. Jackson – STAYED*
17 OH Robert Van Hook – STAYED^
17 TN Nicholas Sutton – STAYED

 

CLEMENCY: Oklahoma Board Recommends Mercy for Inmate Facing Execution


UPDATE: Gov. Mary Fallin refused to grant clemency to Davis. On June 6, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Brian Darrell Davis, who is facing execution on June 25. The board voted 4-1 to recommend that Davis’s death sentence be commuted to life in prison without  parole. The parole board recommended clemency after Davis took responsibility for the crime and apologized to the family of the victim. “A weight lifted off of all of us,” said his mother, Yvonne Davis. “Brian does deserve a second chance.” Davis was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s mother. The recommendation now goes to Governor Mary Fallin, who can approve or reject the vote. The governor also has the authority to grant a 30-day stay in order to consider the case further.

ARIZONA – Samuel Villegas Lopez – Executed 10:37 a.m June 27 2012


June 27, 2012 Source :

Samuel Lopez, who stabbed a Phoenix woman to death in 1986, was executed today at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence, three days before his 50th birthday.

Lopez had no last words.

No members of Lopez’s family were present, witnesses said. Eight members of the family of Estefana Holmes, his victim, spoke with reporters after the execution.

Victor Arguijo, Holmes’s brother, who traveled with other family members from Fort Worth, Texas, said, “We are not here to seek vengeance nor to avenge, but to seek justice for our family. This execution today will not bring our beloved Tefo back, but hopefully will bring closure.”

Lopez’s final meal consisted of one red chili con carne, one green chili con carne, Spanish rice, a jalapeño, an avocado, cottage cheese, French fries, a Coke, vanilla ice cream and pineapple.

The execution procedure began shortly before 10 a.m., as a group of six prison medical team members inserted intravenous catheters into Lopez’s arms. Lopez chatted with them and winced slightly, as government representatives, media, attorneys and Holmes’s family members watched on closed-circuit TV. Then prison officials opened the curtains between the death chamber and the witness area. The execution began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:37 a.m., taking more than twice as long as recent prior executions.

Lopez blinked, yawned, breathed rapidly, then his mouth dropped open, witnesses said.

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment his appeal for a stay. One aspect of Lopez’s death marked a departure from prior recent executions in Arizona, including three earlier this year, after extended legal disputes. For the first time, the Department of Corrections allowed witnesses to watch, via close-circuit cameras, as executioners inserted the intravenous catheters that deliver the fatal drug, pentobarbital, into the condemned man.

Previously, the department only allowed the curtain between observers and the inmate to be pulled back after the catheters were in place. Where and how the catheters were inserted in earlier executions led to legal accusations that the department was engaging in cruel and unusual punishment. Corrections officials have said that problems finding suitable veins in the condemned man’s arms or legs have forced them to insert catheters into the groin area.

As in past executions, Lopez was told by officials that his microphone would be cut off if he said anything offensive. In March, as convicted murder Robert Towery was being executed, officials refused his requests to speak with his attorney as medical staff repeatedly stuck him without being able to find a vein, eventually using his groin area. Towery communicated with his attorney by code during his last words.

Defense attorneys in Arizona have repeatedly brought these issues to court; the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that no part of an execution should be shielded from media witnesses.

Lopez was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Holmes in her apartment in central Phoenix in 1986. He stabbed the grandmother and seamstress more than 23 times and slashed her throat with her own kitchen knives after a fierce struggle. A few days later, while being interviewed by police investigating an unrelated sexual-assault incident, Lopez mentioned details of Holmes’ murder that hadn’t been released to the public, police said. His attorneys, on appeal of his 1987 conviction and death sentence, argued that those details had been common knowledge in the neighborhood.

Lopez’s attorney, Kelley Henry, an assistant federal public defender, criticized the execution and said Lopez was denied due process. “This broken process began at trial where untrained attorneys failed to raise crucial evidence about Sammy’s horrific and abusive family history. It continued up until this week as the courts refused to hear the merits of Sammy’s claims because of procedural barriers,” she said.

Lopez’s attorneys had sought stays in both state and federal courts. In state court, they argued that he couldn’t get a fair hearing before Arizona’s Board of Executive Clemency, and that a majority of the five members had been improperly appointed as political cronies of Gov. Jan Brewer. In federal court, they argued that state courts hadn’t adequately considered factors that should have mitigated against a death sentence for Lopez, such as his brutal upbringing and a mental impairment caused by his childhood abuse of inhalants and other drugs.

On May 15, Arizona’s Supreme Court stayed his execution, originally set for that day, to allow a lower court to consider the argument that new clemency board members hadn’t received all the training required by state law. But last Friday, the court turned down his attorneys’ request for a second stay of execution, after a lower court ruled that there had been enough time for the training to be completed.

Also last Friday, Arizona’s Board of Executive Clemency denied Lopez’s bid for a commutation to life without parole. More than a dozen members of Holmes’ extended family spoke at the board hearing in favor of his execution.

A small group of protesters braved the heat Wednesday to demonstrate against the death penalty, but were kept away from the prison by state troopers.

MISSISSIPPI – Gary Carl Simmons – Execution june 20 – Last Hours EXECUTED 6:16 p.m


Last Statement

“I’ve been blessed to be loved by some good people, by some amazing people. I thank them for their support. Let’s get it on so these people can go home. That’s it,” Simmons said as he lay strapped on a gurney in the execution chamber moments before the procedure was carried out.

Once the drugs began flowing, Simmons took a few deep breaths and yawned before going motionless.

————————————————-

June 20, 2012 Execution of Gary Carl Simmons 7:00 p.m. News Briefing

Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) today conducted the mandated execution of state inmate Gary Carl Simmons. Inmate Simmons was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps said during a press conference following the execution that the evening signified the close of the Gary Carl Simmons case. Simmons was sentenced to death in 1997 for the crime of capital murder of Jeffery Wolfe in Jackson County, Miss.
“For the third time this month, the cause of justice has been championed. The State of Mississippi – Department of Corrections has carried out the mandated execution of death row inmate Gary Carl Simmons,” said MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps. “Through the course of nearly 16 years, death row inmate Gary Carl Simmons was afforded his day in court and in the finality, his conviction was upheld.”
“I ask that you join me in prayer for the family of Jeffery Wolfe. The entire MDOC family hopes you may now embark on the process of healing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you as you continue life’s journey,” said Epps.
Epps concluded his comments by commending Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Emmitt Sparkman, Parchman Penitentiary Superintendent Earnest Lee, Mississippi State Penitentiary security staff and the entire staff of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for their professionalism during the process.

June 20, 2012 Scheduled Execution of Gary Carl Simmons 4:45 p.m. News Briefing
_________________________________________________________________________________
Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) today briefed members of the news media of death row Inmate Gary Carl Simmons’ activities from 2:00 p.m. to approximately 4:45 p.m., including telephone calls and visits.
Inmate Simmons’ Collect Telephone Calls
Today, Wednesday, June 20, 2012
None
Update to Inmate Simmons’ Visits
Family visitors, Belinda Simmons Bowen (sister) and Anthony Bowen (brother-in-law) arrived at Unit 17 at 1:30 pm and left at 3:00 p.m.
Attorney Harvey Barton visited with inmate Simmons from 3:00 p.m. until 3:22 p.m.
His spiritual advisor, David Lowery, visited with inmate Simmons from 3:22 p.m. until 4:00pm.
Activities of Inmate Simmons:
Inmate Simmons has eaten at least half of his last meal. He has sampled everything except one bag of chips and is still eating.
Inmate Simmons does want to take a shower.
He does not want a sedative.
Inmate Simmons remains under observation. Officers have observed Inmate Simmons as being slightly more upbeat since visiting with his spiritual advisor.

June 20, 2012 Scheduled Execution of Gary Carl Simmons 2:00 p.m. News Briefing
______________________________________________________________________
Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) will hold three news briefings today related to events surrounding the Wednesday, June 20, 2012 scheduled execution of death row Inmate Gary Carl Simmons, MDOC #R1943. The following is an  update on Inmate Simmons’ recent visits and telephone calls, activities, last meal to be served, and the official list of execution witnesses.
Approved visitation list:
 Belinda Simmons Bowen (sister)
 Anthony Bowen (brother-in-law)
 Harvey Barton (attorney)
 Scott Johnson (attorney)
 David Lowery (spiritual advisor)
 Father Tim Murphy (MDOC Chaplain)

Visits with Inmate Gary Carl Simmons
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Harvey Barton (attorney)
Visits today, thus far:
None

Activities of Simmons
Inmate Simmons was transferred from Unit 29 to Unit 17 on Monday at 6:00 p.m.
This morning, at Unit 17, for breakfast at 5:36 a.m. inmate Simmons was offered 1
serving of scrambled eggs, 1 slice of ham, 1 serving of Frosty Flakes cereal, 1 biscuit,
4 packs of sugar, 2 boxes of milk and 1 cup of coffee. He ate the serving of eggs, and
drank 2 boxes of milk and the coffee.
Inmate Simmons was offered lunch today at 10:54 a.m., which included 1 meatloaf
patty, 4 ounces of rice, 4 ounces of salad with dressing, 2 pieces of cornbread, 3
ounces of gravy, and 1 cup of punch. He ate all of the salad with dressing, half of the
meatloaf patty and drank half of the punch.
Inmate Simmons has access to a telephone to place unlimited collect calls to persons
on his approved telephone list. He will have access today, June 20th until 5:00 p.m.
Approved Telephone List
 Cheryl Bullied (friend)
 Lori Lucus (ex-wife)
 Robert Taylor (uncle)
 Glen Swartzfager (attorney)
 Kathleen Blackmon (sister)
Inmate Simmons’ Collect Telephone Calls
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
One phone call to Glen Swartzfager (attorney)
Today, June 20, 2012
Two phone calls to Kathleen Blackmon (sister)
According to the MDOC correctional officers that are posted outside his cell, Inmate Simmons is observed to be in a somber mood and is not talkative.
Simmons’ Remains
Inmate Simmons has requested that his body be released to Belinda Bowen (sister) via Legacy Funeral Services, Denver, Colorado.
Last Meal
Inmate Simmons requested the following as his last meal: one Pizza Hut medium super supreme deep dish (thin crust if available) pizza, double portion: tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions, jalapeño pepper slices and pepperoni. Regular portion: 3 cheeses, olives, bell peppers, tomato, garlic and Italian sausage. Ten (8oz) packs of parmesan cheese, ten (8oz)
packs of Ranch dressing, One (16oz) family size bag of Doritos nacho cheese chips, 8oz jalapeño nacho cheese, 4oz sliced jalapeño peppers, 2 large strawberry milkshakes, two (20oz) cherry Cokes, one super-sized order McDonald’s French fries (extra ketchup and mayonnaise) and two pints strawberry ice cream (any brand)

Execution Witnesses
Spiritual Advisor(s) for the condemned Inmate Simmons requested his spiritual advisors,
David Lowery and Father Tim Murphy, witness the execution.
Attorney(s) for the condemned Harvey Barton and Scott Johnson.
Member(s) of the condemned’s family Inmate Simmons’ family member, Belinda Simmons
Bowen (sister), will witness the execution.
Member(s) of the victims’ family Paskiel Wolfe (father of Jeffery Wolfe) and Linda
Wolfe (step-mother of Jeffery Wolfe) will witness the execution.
Sheriffs Sheriff James Haywood, Sunflower County
Sheriff Mike Byrd, Jackson County

Members of the Media

Margaret Baker
Sun Herald
Biloxi, MS
Brittany Davis
Enterprise-Tocsin
Indianola, MS
Holbrook “Bert” Mohr
Associated Press
Jackson, MS
Doug Walker Wineki
WLOX – TV
Biloxi, MS

Arizona death-row inmate wants his execution delayed until state has new governor – Samuel Villegas Lopez


Update, June 22 Source : http://www.azcentral.com

Arizona’s Board of Executive Clemency voted 4-0 Friday not to recommend clemency or a reprieve for convicted murderer Samuel Lopez, who is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.

Also on Friday, Arizona’s Supreme Court denied a request by Lopez’s attorneys for a stay of execution, leaving a pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court as his last chance for a reprieve.

Lopez was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Estefana Holmes in central Phoenix in 1986. After a “terrible and prolonged struggle,” Lopez raped and sodomized her, stabbed her more than 23 times in the chest and head, and slashed her throat, according to court records.

The board’s vote followed impassioned pleas both for and against his execution.

“He didn’t just murder Essie, he murdered our family,” said Denise Evans, Holmes’s daughter-in-law, saying that her devastated husband drank himself to death after her killing.

More than a dozen members of Holmes’s family testified, most describing how the murders continue to affect them, and saying the execution would bring them closure.

“Why should he be allowed more time on this earth than our sister?” asked Sarah Arguijo Bryant.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Kelley Henry expressed her condolences, but told the board that because of poor lawyering, no court had heard the full story of Lopez’s poor and brutal upbringing, or of how his childhood abuse of various substances, as an escape, had left him mentally impaired. Neuropsychiatrist George Wood, describing that upbringing in clinical detail, said Lopez and his siblings essentially were brought up as “feral children.” He noted that two of Lopez’s brothers also faced the death penalty for their own crimes.

That background and impairment should have mitigated his sentence to life without parole, Henry said. Inevitably, when the death penalty is imposed “it’s not for the worst crime, it’s for the worst lawyer,” she said.

State prosecutors had provided the board members with color photos of Holmes and the murder scene. Board member Mel Thomas said he reviewed them closely before the hearing. “I tell you now, when I did this at home, I cried,” he said.

Lopez, who is being held at the Eyman state prison, did not take part in the hearing. He previously had been scheduled for execution May 15, but won a delay after the Arizona Supreme Court agreed that three new members of the clemency board hadn’t had adequate training when they first considered his bid for clemency last month. When Gov. Jan Brewer replaced three of the five board members, including the chairman, in April, the departing members said they had been ousted because she was unhappy with their votes to recommend clemency in certain cases.

Henry had sought another stay, arguing that the new members couldn’t give Lopez a fair hearing because they were improperly appointed and biased against him; but Friday the state supreme court denied her motion without comment. The U.S. Supreme Court had not acted Friday on a separate request for a stay filed by Lopez’s attorneys

June 20, 2012 Source :

PHOENIX — Attorneys for a death-row inmate set to be put to death in Arizona next week want the execution delayed until the state has a new governor, arguing in a Tuesday filing that Gov. Jan Brewer appointed “political cronies” to a clemency board in an unconstitutional, closed-door process.

In their filing in the Arizona Supreme Court, defense attorneys for death-row inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez argue that he can’t receive a fair hearing with the state’s clemency board, often an inmate’s last chance for mercy before an execution.

Brewer overhauled the board in April, a move that her spokesman Matt Benson said at the time was designed to “bring fresh insight and fresh blood” to the board.“The Arizona Supreme Court has already found these allegations to be without merit. The latest filing is more of the same,” Benson said in statement Tuesday evening. “Governor Brewer appropriately nominated qualified individuals to the Board of Executive Clemency, including a Democrat, and they were properly confirmed by the Arizona Senate. The governor and the Board of Executive Clemency have the right to defend themselves when named in a lawsuit in which spurious and sanctionable allegations are asserted.”

In their filing, Lopez’s attorneys argued that the new board members are “political cronies” appointed to ensure that they never vote for executions to be delayed or overturned.

The attorneys also argue that the selection committee for the new board members questioned potential members about how they would vote on controversial or high-profile cases in interviews that were closed to the public in violation of open-meetings laws.

“While the Governor may be free to appoint her political cronies to Arizona boards and commissions, and while political patronage may be an accepted part of Arizona government, the law at least requires that those actions be known to the public,” the filing said.

“Offensive to any reasonable notion of fairness, this denial of access to the clemency process would not have occurred in the sunlight of public scrutiny,” they wrote. “Mr. Lopez must now plead for mercy before a board constituted of a majority of members selected by that process.”

Lopez’s clemency hearing is set for Friday.

His attorneys also argue that statements made by Benson and newly appointed board Chairman Jesse Hernandez to reporters display clear bias against Lopez and a prejudgment of his request for mercy.

For instance, Benson told The Associated Press last month that defense attorneys were “attempting to further delay justice for the heinous crimes committed by their client 25 years ago.”

“Throwing together a host of trumped-up charges against a citizen board does not change that fact,” he said.

Hernandez has told the AP that the attorneys were “grandstanding” in filing a lawsuit against Brewer and the board in Maricopa County Superior Court over the new board members.

Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Arizona Supreme Court already delayed Lopez’s execution once, on May 15, to give the new clemency board members time to undergo four weeks of training before they held a hearing about Lopez’s fate.

The court granted the delay on the grounds that Lopez was denied a fair chance for clemency because a majority of the board members had not undergone the training. The court rescheduled the May 16 execution for June 27.

Lopez faces a lethal injection at a state prison in Florence for the 1986 murder of Estefana Holmes. The Phoenix woman was raped, robbed and stabbed in what authorities described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.

MISSISSIPPI – Gary Carl Simmons – Execution June 20 – Update EXECUTED 6:16 p.m


Last Statement

“I’ve been blessed to be loved by some good people, by some amazing people. I thank them for their support. Let’s get it on so these people can go home. That’s it,” Simmons said as he lay strapped on a gurney in the execution chamber moments before the procedure was carried out.

June 19, 2012 Source : http://www.clarionledger.com

Attorneys for a former butcher convicted of dismembering a man over a drug debt and raping a woman he locked in a metal box have asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to stop Wednesday’s planned execution.

Gary Carl Simmons Jr. is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at 6 p.m. CDT for the 1996 killing of Jeffery Wolfe, whose body was found in pieces in a Jackson County bayou. Simmons also was convicted of kidnapping and raping Wolfe’s friend and sentenced to life on those charges.

Simmons lawyers said in a motion Tuesday that recent mental exams show he has long-term substance abuse problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and “mild executive-level brain dysfunction.” They also argue that his previous lawyers didn’t do a good job.

The attorney general’s office has argued in the past that Simmons’ sanity “is not in question.”

Simmons’ current attorneys say his trial lawyers didn’t explore mental health problems for sentencing purposes and the issue wasn’t properly raised by previous appeal lawyers.

The motion filed Tuesday said that until recently, Simmons “had never undergone a mental health evaluation for the purposes of developing mitigating evidence.”
Simmons’ previous appeals have been rejected by Mississippi courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the Mississippi Supreme Court set Simmons’ execution date on June 5, the justices also gave him permission to get two mental health exams. Simmons’ lawyers later asked for a two-week delay of the execution, saying more time was needed for the tests and to file appeals based on those results. The court declined that request in a 6-2 decision on June 14.

Court records say that Simmons planned the death and dismemberment of a drug dealer because he didn’t have the money to pay him for marijuana.

Wolfe and his female friend went to Simmons’ house in Jackson County on Aug. 12, 1996, to collect the debt estimated at up to $20,000. Timothy Milano, Wolfe’s former brother-in-law, shot Wolfe numerous times with a .22 caliber rifle inside Simmons’ home, according to court records.

read the full article : click here 

June 13, 2012 Source : http://www2.wkrg.com

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi attorney general’s office says a death row inmate’s recent request for mental health testing is meant only to delay his execution, scheduled for Tuesday.

Gary Carl Simmons‘ lawyers have asked the Mississippi Supreme Court stay his execution because they say more time is needed for two mental health evaluations and an appeal based on their results.

On June 5, the court set the execution date for Simmons, but granted his requests for evaluations by a forensic psychologist and a neuropsychologist.

The Mississippi attorney general’s office argued Wednesday the request for mental evaluations is a delay tactic and the court should rescind the order and deny a stay.

The 49-year-old was convicted of shooting and dismembering Jeffrey Wolfe in August 1996 in Pascagoula.

MISSISSIPPI – GARY CARL SIMMONS, JR.- Execution – June 20, 2012 6:00 p.m EXECUTED 6:16 p.m


Last Statement

“I’ve been blessed to be loved by some good people, by some amazing people. I thank them for their support. Let’s get it on so these people can go home. That’s it,” Simmons said as he lay strapped on a gurney in the execution chamber moments before the procedure was carried out.

Gary Carl Simmons Jr.

Source : Mississippi Court NO. 97-DP-01550-SCT

FACTS
In the early morning hours of August 11, 1996, Jeffery Wolfe and Charlene Brooke Leaser drove from Houston, Texas, to Jackson County, Mississippi. They had only known each other a few weeks. Wolfe asked Leaser to accompany him on a trip to the Gulf Coast to “pick up some money” from some friends that were in his debt. Leaser later learned that the debt accrued some weeks earlier from a transaction involving drugs. While on the Gulf Coast, Wolfe also planned to buy new wheel rims and tires for his vehicleand then return through New Orleans with Leaser for a short vacation. Wolfe left Houston with twelve hundred dollars in his wallet. Leaser had approximately two hundred dollars in her purse.
Upon their arrival on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, they checked into the King’s Inn Hotel. Wolfe and Leaser fell asleep. Wolfe awoke early and left Leaser at the Hotel to meet Sonny Milano, Timothy Milano’s brother, who worked at a local tire store. Apparently, they met a few weeks earlier while Wolfe was on the Coast conducting his illicit business deal. Later that afternoon, Wolfe and Sonny returned to the hotel room to pick up Leaser for dinner. Sonny Milano left to get his girlfriend and the four met in Wolfe and Leaser’s room at the hotel. They all took Wolfe’s white Honda Civic to Shoney’s where they dined together

Sonny Milano testified that during dinner, Wolfe asked if Sonny planned to go to Simmons’ house that evening. Sonny Milano, over loud protests from his girlfriend, decided to go to Simmons’ house, arriving there late that evening after dropping her off. When he arrived, Simmons and Sonny’s brother, Milano, were the only two at the house. Simmons asked Sonny if he had seen Wolfe and Sonny told him that they ate dinner together. Simmons asked Sonny to get in touch with Wolfe. Sonny contacted Wolfe at his hotel room and told Wolfe that he was at Simmons’s house. Wolfe was pleasantly surprised to hear that Sonny was there, since Sonny’s girlfriend was opposed to his going. Wolfe told Sonny that he would be there in a minute.

Sonny conveyed this information to Simmons, who less than one minute later, approached Sonny as he talked to Milano and asked him to leave the house. Sonny testified that he did not find this unusual because “that’s just Gary.” Sonny left without explanation, with Wolfe on his way.
After dinner, as the couples parted ways, Wolfe and Leaser returned to their hotel where they relaxed before leaving to meet Wolfe’s debtors. They drove out to Simmons’s house but found no one home. After leaving the house to pick up cigarettes and a beverage, Wolfe and Leaser returned to the hotel. To pass the time, the two then went to Wal-Mart, and again tried to meet Simmons at his house. Still, no one was home. By this time it was nearly 10 in the evening, August 12, 1996. Again, they returned to the hotel. Near midnight, Wolfe received a phone call while Leaser stood outside smoking a cigarette. Wolfe hung up the phone, gathered Leaser, and left the hotel headed toward Simmons’s house.

Upon arriving at the house, they found Simmons sitting on the front porch. The three began talking, and Simmons offered them some marijuana. Leaser and Simmons smoked a marijuana cigarette, but Wolfe refrained. Milano drove up as they finished the marijuana. Simmons was related to the Milanos by marriage; Simmons married their sister, Lori, but that marriage ended in divorce. Simmons offered his guests a beer, and all four adjourned to the kitchen and living room area. Simmons walked into the kitchen to get a beer while Leaser sat down at a table in the living room to roll another marijuana cigarette.

Leaser heard Wolfe and Milano chatting in the doorway separating the kitchen and living room. Wolfe mentioned the money he was owed. Apparently, Simmons and Milano owed Wolfe between twelve and twenty thousand dollars. They did not have the money, nor did they have the drugs. Simmons returned from the kitchen while Wolfe and Milano discussed this predicament. Leaser testified that she heard gunshots and saw Wolfe fall to the ground. Immediately there after, Simmons grabbed Leaser and ordered her not to look in the direction of Wolfe’s body. Leaser noticed Milano standing directly behind Wolfe holding what was later identified as State’s exhibit 29, a .22 caliber rifle.

Simmons took her to a back bedroom of the house and forced her to lie face down on the floor. He placed himself on top of her and began questioning her, asking whether she or Wolfe were law enforcement officers, whether Wolfe had any drugs with him, and who knew they were in Mississippi. She became understandably hysterical and simply responded that she did not know anything, as she and Wolfe had only become acquainted a few weeks ago. After Simmons finished questioning Leaser, he tied her hands behind her back, bound them to her feet with some rope, and locked her in a metal box with dimensions similar to a large footlocker near his bedroom, telling her he was “on a time frame” that he could not “mess up.”

Leaser managed to untie her hands and feet and began kicking the top of the box unsuccessfully trying to get out. Leaser continued kicking the top of the box until Simmons returned. He removed her from the box, stripped her nude, tied her up again and returned her to the box. Again, Leaser managed to free herself from the knotted ropes, but remained unable to get the top off of the metal box holding her. After some length of time had passed, Simmons returned to the box and took Leaser out. Simmons was undressed. He again forced her to lie face down on the floor of the bedroom. Leaser was in the middle of her menstrual cycle, so Simmons forced her to remove her tampon. He then raped her, telling her that her life depended on how well she performed sexually. Leaser testified that she thought he was holding a pistol to the back of her head during the assault.
Afterward, Simmons asked Milano if he would like to rape her as well; Milano declined. Simmons then took Leaser to the bathroom, allowed her to clean up with an athletic sock; and yet again, tied her up and locked her in the box.

While Leaser was secured in the box, Simmons and Milano went about their plan to dispose of Wolfe’s body. Simmons, by trade, was a butcher in a meat market. Simmons’s co-worker, Charles Jenkins, testified that during the preceding workweek, Simmons sharpened all of his knives and took them home from work for the weekend. Jenkins testified that this was rather unusual because everyone normally leaves their knives at work. Apparently, the only time that Jenkins could remember anyone taking their knives home was before leaving on an extended vacation or quitting the job. Simmons took those knives and began dismembering Wolfe in the bathtub. After gutting him and severing his head and limbs, Simmons, with Milano’s help, began distributing Wolfe’s remains into the bayou that ran behind Simmons’s property using a boat Simmons borrowed from neighbor Donald Taylor only hours before. Alligators were known to inhabit the area. The bayou had a running current that eventually, through tributaries, fed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Leaser, still locked in the box, again untied herself. Simmons returned to the box smoking marijuana and offered some to Leaser. She accepted. After sharing the marijuana cigarette, Simmons locked Leaser in the box with a blanket, where she fell asleep. She awoke to the sound of the telephone ringing. When no one answered it, Leaser reasoned that the house was empty. She mustered all of her energy and began banging on the top of the box. The lid popped off and Leaser managed to get out of the house. On her wayout of the door, she grabbed a bag with some of her clothes and belongings in it. She then partially dressed herself. Leaser ran to a neighbor’s house and convinced the neighbor to call the police. Upon their arrival, Leaser recounted the events of the previous twenty-four hours.

Many different law enforcement agencies were involved in investigating the scene of the crime. Leaser told police officers that Wolfe was inside, had been shot, and that she had been raped. Once the police arrived, they began to secure the area and investigate Leaser’s claims. Moss Point police officers Lee Merrill and Richard Cushman entered the house with Leaser to determine if a crime had, in fact, beencommitted and if so, whether other victims were still in the house. Once the police officers saw blood and other evidence of violent crimes, they left the house and secured a search warrant.

After obtaining a search warrant, the police called the Mississippi Crime Lab, and they entered the house to gather evidence. From inside the house, they collected portions of fingernails from a wastebasketa used condom, and two used tampons, among other things. The local police department also recovered a Marlin model # 60 .22 caliber rifle, eight empty .22 caliber shell casings, and Wolfe and Leaser’s personal items originally left in their hotel room.

Near the rear of the property, a small “jon boat” was spotted near the water. Officers Magee and Graff investigated and requested that Officer Cushman join them. Near the boat they found four five gallon white buckets, one green plastic barrel, a one gallon bottle of Clorox bleach, a brush, a knife, and a bushhook. The brush and bushhook appeared to be covered in blood. An aluminum boat paddle was covered in bloody finger prints. In the boat, the officers discovered a piece of flesh. The local coroner called Dr. Paul McGarry to help with the investigation. Outside the house, but still on or very near Simmons’s property, Dr. McGarry found the rest of Wolfe’s body. Dr. McGarry testified that he and a group of police officers floated approximately two hundred yards down the bayou over which they found various parts of the skin, muscle, chest, abdominal walls, penis and testicles, lungs, heart, intestines, liver, as well as fingers and toes from a young human white male.

Dr. McGarry testified that the body parts had been cut sharply and with precision into block like sections of tissue. Most of the bones had been separated. Of the flesh he found and examined, several pieces had bullet holes in them. One portion of the chest had five bullet holes in it while another portion revealed one bullet hole. Some of the internal organs, the heart and lungs specifically, also had bullet holes in them. The left lung had a bullet lodged in it. Dr. McGarry testified that these gunshot wounds were the cause of death.
A further search of the area revealed Wolfe’s severed head, upper chest portion, and pelvic area sans reproductive organs. Over two days of searching, they found, on the first day, eighty-five pounds of human remains the largest of which was seventeen inches in diameter. The following day, they collected forty-one pounds of similar pieces, with the largest piece measuring nineteen inches. Some pieces found later were large enough to have identifiable tatoos. All of the flesh was identified as belonging to Wolfe.
Simmons left his house after dismembering and disposing of Wolfe. He drove to Mobile, Alabama, where he made a videotape for his ex-wife and children. Throughout the video recording, Simmons spoke to his family in the most general terms about what he had done, although he never specifically admitted committing any crimes. Simmons mailed the video cassette to his wife and drove back to the Coast. Upon arriving at his house, Simmons noticed that Leaser had escaped. He immediately left again and went to see his friend Dennis Guess.
Guess testified that while they were conversing, Simmons volunteered that he had just “whacked a drug dealer,…deboned him, cut him up in little pieces, and put him in the bayou.” Simmons told Guess that he used a butcher knife and bolt cutters to accomplish the task. Simmons also told Guess that he had a girl in a box and planned to “train her” and “keep her around as a sex toy,” but confessed that she had escaped. The conversation then turned to what realistic options Simmons had left. Simmons, after further discourse with Guess on this subject, decided against fleeing the jurisdiction or committing suicide. He eventually decided to turn himself in to the authorities.

MISSISSIPPI – Michael Brawner Execution – Last Hours EXECUTED 6:18 P.M


final statement, Brawner said he wished to apologize to the victims’ family, adding he could not change what he had done. “Maybe this will bring you a little peace. Thank you,” 

June 12, 2012 Execution of Jan Michael Brawner 7:00 p.m. News Briefing

Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) today conducted the mandated execution of state inmate Jan Michael Brawner. Inmate Brawner was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps said during a press conference following the execution that the evening signified the close of the Jan Michael Brawner case. Brawner was sentenced to death in April 2002 for the crimes of capital murder of Candice Paige Brawner, Barbara Faye Brawner, Martha Jane Craft and Carl Albert Craftin Tate County, Miss.“The State of Mississippi – Department of Corrections has today carried out a court order. It is our agency’s role to see that the order of the court is carried out with dignity and decorum. That, ladies and gentlemen, has been done.” said MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps. “Through the course of 11 years, death row inmate Jan Michael Brawner was afforded his day in court and in the finality, his conviction was upheld all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“I ask that you join me in prayer for the family of Candice Paige Brawner, Barbara Faye Brawner, Martha Jane Craft and Carl Albert Craft. The entire MDOC family hopes you may now embark on the process of healing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you as you continue life’s journey,” said Epps.
Epps concluded his comments by commending Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Emmitt Sparkman,
Parchman Penitentiary Superintendent Earnest Lee, Mississippi State Penitentiary security staff and the entire
staff of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for their professionalism during the process.

June 12, 2012 Scheduled Execution of Jan Michael Brawner
4:45 p.m. News Briefing
___________________________________________________________________________________
Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) today briefed
members of the news media of death row Inmate Jan Michael Brawner’s activities from 2:00 p.m. to approximately 4:45 p.m., including telephone calls and visits.

Inmate Brawner’s Collect Telephone Calls
 Today, Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Four phone calls to Louwlynn Williams (attorney)

Update to Inmate Brawner’s Visits
 He had no family visitors
 Attorneys David Calder and Laurence Komp visited with Inmate Brawner from 3:00p.m. until 3:25 p.m.
 His spiritual advisors, Father Marvin Edwards (MDOC Chaplain) and Father Todd Pittman (spiritual advisor), visited with the inmate from 3:15 to 4:00pm. They left Unit 17 at 4:00 p.m.

Activities of Inmate Brawner:
 Inmate Brawner ate all of his last meal except a small portion of the salad.
 Inmate Brawner does not want to take a shower.
 He has requested a sedative. (Diazepam 5 mg)
 Inmate Brawner remains under observation. Officers have observed Inmate Brawnerto be in a good mood and talkative

The United States Supreme Court has denied Jan Michael Brawner’s certiorari petition and application for stay of execution.

June 12, 2012 Scheduled Execution of Jan Michael Brawner
2:00 p.m. News Briefing
__________________________________________________________________________________
Parchman, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) will hold three news
briefings today related to events surrounding the Tuesday, June 12, 2012 scheduled
execution of death row Inmate Jan Michael Brawner, MDOC #R3430. The following is an
update on Inmate Brawner’s recent visits and telephone calls, activities, last meal to be
served, and the official list of execution witnesses.
Approved visitation list:
Brian Peyto (friend)
Louwlynn Williams (attorney)
David Calder (attorney)
Laurence Komp (attorney)
Father Marvin Edwards (MDOC Chaplain)
Father Todd Pittman (spiritual advisor)
Davey Hammons (MDOC chaplain)
Visits with Inmate Jan Michael Brawner

Monday, June 11, 2012
 David Calder (attorney)
 Laurence Komp (attorney)
 Davey Hammons (MDOC Chaplain)
Visits today, thus far:
 Davey Hammons (MDOC Chaplain)

Activities of Brawner
 Inmate Brawner was transferred from Unit 29 to Unit 17 on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
 This morning, at Unit 17, Inmate Brawner was offered breakfast. He ate one serving of
grits, 1 cinnamon roll, 2 boxes of milk. He did not eat the two boiled eggs or the one cup of
coffee that were also offered.
 Inmate Brawner was offered lunch today. He ate two slices of turkey ham, squash and
tomatoes, a salad, white bread, and one 10-ounce cup of punch. He did not eat the turnip
greens or sliced peaches that were also offered.
 Inmate Brawner has access to a telephone to place unlimited collect calls to persons
on his approved telephone list. He will have access today, June 12th until 5:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. News Briefing – Scheduled Execution of Jan Michael Brawner

June 12, 2012
Approved Telephone List
Brian Peyto (friend)
Louwlynn Williams (attorney)
Laurence Komp (attorney)
David Calder (attorney)
Linda Conn (friend)
Denise Richards (friend)
Ruby Havard (friend)
Vermell Williams (friend)
Daphne Lee (friend)
Jill Rider (friend)

Inmate Brawner’s Collect Telephone Calls

 Monday, June 11, 2012
Two phone calls to Louwlynn Williams (attorney)
One phone call to Brian Peyto (friend)
Today, June 12, 2012
Thus far today:
Two phone calls to Louwlynn Williams (attorney)
According to the MDOC correctional officers that are posted outside his cell, Inmate
Brawner is observed to be very talkative and in a good mood. He discussed the crimes that he was convicted of.Brawner’s Remains
Inmate Brawner has requested that his body be released to Mississippi Mortuary Service, in Pearl, MS.

Last Meal
Inmate Brawner requested the following as his last meal: One DiGiorno Italian Style Favorites Chicken Parmesan pizza, One DiGiorno Italian Style Favorites Meat Trio pizza, a small salad (lettuce, pickles, black olives, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese with Ranch dressing), small bottle Tabasco sauce, ½ gallon brewed iced sweet tea and 1 pint Breyers Blast Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.
Execution Witnesses
Spiritual Advisor(s) for the condemned Inmate Brawner requested Father Marvin Edwards and Father Todd Pittman witness the execution.
Member(s) of the condemned’s family Inmate Brawner requested no family member witness the execution.
Attorney(s) for the condemned David Calder (attorney), and Laurence Komp (attorney)
Member(s) of the victims’ family David Wayne Craft (uncle of Candice Paige Brawner, brother of Barbara Faye Brawner, son of Martha Jane Craft and Carl Albert Craft)
Sheriffs Sheriff James Haywood, Sunflower County
Sheriff Brad Lance, Tate County
District Attorney John Champion, 17thCircuit Court District (Tate County)
Chuck Poe, Former Investigator, Tate County Hwy Patrol
Members of the Media Holbrook “Burt” Mohr Associated Press Jackson, MS
Chiyoko Nakamoto Fuji TV Network New York, NY / Japan
Daniel Cherry
MS Public Broadcasting
Jackson, MS
Candace McCowan
WREG TV 3
Memphis, TN
##

Mississippi Supreme Court sets execution date for Gary Carl Simmons Jr.- June 20


June 5, 2012 source : http://www.therepublic.com

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court set a June 20 execution date Tuesday for 49-year-old Gary Carl Simmons Jr.

The court set the date and granted Simmons’ request for in-person contact visits with a forensic psychologist and a neuropsychologist for the purpose of conducting mental health evaluations. His attorneys had argued that the mental evaluation was necessary because Simmons may have post-traumatic stress disorder or other illnesses and had suffered from abuse as a child.

Simmons was convicted for shooting and dismembering Jeffrey Wolfe, who was killed in August 1996 after going to Simmons’ Pascagoula home to collect on a drug debt.

Timothy Milano, Simmons’ co-defendant and the person authorities said shot Wolfe, was convicted on the same charges and sentenced to life in prison.

Simmons worked as a grocery store butcher when he and Milano were charged with killing Wolfe. Police said the pair kidnapped Wolfe and his female friend and later assaulted the woman and locked her in a box. Police later found parts of Wolfe’s dismembered body at Simmons’ house, in the yard and in a nearby bayou.

Simmons also argued his original lawyers were ineffective at trial and that he never later had lawyers good enough to point out shortcomings.

In addition, he argued his legal cause suffered in part because of ineffective assistance by Bob Ryan, formerly head of the state office meant to handle post-conviction appeals for people sentenced to death.

The state’s high court, however, denied Simmons’ request to challenge the performance of prior post-conviction counsel.