NOVEMBER

UPCOMING EXECUTIONS 2015, UPDATE


UPTADE AUGUST 29, 2015

Month State Inmate
August
13 TX Tracy Beatty – STAYED
18 TN David Miller – STAYED
26 TX Bernardo Tercero (foreign national) STAYED
27 MS Richard Jordan (date requested by Atty. Gen.; not final) EXECUTION HALTED
27 PA Maurice Patterson – STAY LIKELY
28 PA Hector Morales- STAY LIKELY
September
1 MO Roderick Nunley EXECUTED 9:09 PM
2 TX Joe Garza STAYED
3 PA Herbert Blakeney- STAY LIKELY
16 OK Richard Glossip
17 OH Angelo Fears – STAYED*
17 OH William Montgomery – STAYED^
29 TX Perry Williams
October
6 MO Kimber Edwards
6 TN Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman – STAYED
6 TX Juan Garcia
7 OK Benjamin Cole
14 TX Licho Escamilla
28 OK John Grant
28 TX Christopher Wilkins
November
3 TX Julius Murphy
10 TX
Gilmar Guevara
17 OH Cleveland R. Jackson – STAYED*
17 OH Robert Van Hook – STAYED^
17 TN Nicholas Sutton – STAYED
18 TX Raphael Holiday
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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

 

TEXAS – EXECUTION TODAY – PRESTON HUGHES – EXECUTED 7.52 p.m


The condemned prisoner’s mother sobbed and wailed as she witnessed the lethal injection. Hughes’ sister was at her side.

“You know I’m innocent and I love you both,” Hughes, 46, said as his mother cried loudly.

“Please continue to fight for my innocence even though I’m gone.

“Give everybody my love.”

He took several deep breaths and then stopped moving. His mother, seated in a chair near the death chamber window, cried out: “My baby … I haven’t touched my child in 23 years.”

Hughes was pronounced dead at 7:52 p.m. local time, 15 minutes after the lethal drug began flowing into his arms. No one representing his victims witnessed the punishment.

Hughes became the 15th Texas prisoner executed this year and the second in as many nights.

http://www.theprovince.com

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop tonight’s scheduled execution

November 16, 2012 http://www.austinchronicle.com

 

At press time, the state was readying to carry out the Nov. 15 execution of Preston Hughes III, set to become the 15th inmate executed this year and the 492nd inmate executed since reinstatement of the death penalty. Hughes was sentenced to death for the 1988 double murder of 15-year-old LaShandra Charles and her 3-year-old cousin, Marcell Taylor, who were found stabbed to death on a weed-choked trail behind a Fuddruckers in far West Houston (see “Framing the Guilty?,” Nov. 2). Although Charles’ carotid artery and jugular were severed, the first HPD detective arriving at the scene later claimed that Charles was awake and able to talk – and to tell him that she knew her attacker, whose name was Preston. Police quickly moved to a nearby apartment complex, where they found Hughes. Police say they found evidence in his apartment that matched the crime, including a pair of fashion glasses that Charles had been known to wear as an accessory.

Hughes’ appeals have been unsuccessful despite a plethora of evidence that suggests either that he is the wrong man, or that he was framed by police despite being guilty: Evidence records reflect that police logged evidence into custody several hours before they had permission to search Hughes’ apartment. Notably, the glasses that police considered a direct link between Charles and Hughes were not on the evidence list; Hughes’ attorney and supporters believe they were planted in the apartment some time in the hours after Charles was discovered. Moreover, when asked by the Chronicle this fall to review the autopsy evidence, Tarrant County Deputy Medical Examiner Lloyd White concluded that it would have been medically impossible for Charles to have been conscious and talking after sustaining such a fatal injury.

Hughes‘ attorney Pat McCann has filed several recent appeals – including one that raises the question of police having planted evidence – each of which has been denied. Meanwhile, California-based blogger John Allen, known online as the Skeptical Juror (www.skepticaljuror.com), has helped Hughes to file a flurry of pro se writs; each of those also has been denied, clearing the way for Hughes’ execution this evening, Thursday, Nov. 15.

‘I never killed anyone’: Death Row inmate scheduled to die Thursday offers medical proof police lied about key evidence


November 13,2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk

A death row inmate set to die Thursday is pinning his final hopes on convincing people that his victim’s dying words never happened.

When police found La Shandra Charles bleeding from neck wounds in a west Houston filed in 1988, they claimed she whispered the name of her assailant, ‘Preston,’ before dying. 

That evidence, along with the police assertion that the girl said her attacker lived nearby, were key bits of evidence in convicting Preston Hughes 11, a New York-born warehouse worker.

But Hughes attorney now says it would be medically impossible for the girl to tell police anything about her attacker and he’s got medical testimony to prove it, the Houston Chronicle reports.

‘It is simply not medically feasible that this young woman, particularly given the fact that one’s heart rate accelerates during stress, and thus blood loss occurs more rapidly, could have spoken to the officers as they claimed,’ wrote Dr. Robert White, Dr. Robert White, who was chief medical examiner in Nueces County before joining the Fort Worth forensics department.

Defense attorney Pat McCann said it would take roughly 13 minutes for police to reach Charles after she was injured, a time frame that does not allow her to be conscious by the time authorities found her with the wounds she sustained.

Assistant District Attorney Lynn Hardaway has brushed aside McCann’s argument: ‘That’s obviously this guy’s opinion.’

Hardaway further noted that in the original police report an unnamed medical technician is supposed to have heard the dying girl’s accusation.

But the technician never testified. 

A state pardons board is to review Hughe’s request to have his sentence commuted Tuesday.

Hughes, 46, was convicted of the murders of both Charles and her cousin, Marcel Taylor, 3, who was also stabbed.

At the time of his arrest, Hughes was on probation for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, though he maintained innocence in that crime as well.

After his in the 1988 case, he offered two confessions to police but they contained contradictory statements.

In an interview at the time, he said the police didn’t type what he said.

He claimed that on the night of the murder he met with friends for drinks.

When he returned home he took his dog for a walk, crossing the field where the children were murdered.

He then went back to his apartment where he stayed until police knocked on his door.

‘I didn’t hear or see anything,’ he said. ‘I never killed anyone.

TEXAS – EXECUTION – Ramon Hernandez, November 14, 2012 EXECUTED 6.38 p.m


Ramon Torres Hernandez, 39, was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m., 26 minutes after the lethal dose was administered. His lawyers had filed an appeal earlier Wednesday, but it was denied, paving the way for his execution for the murder of Rosia Maria Rosado in 2001.

Hernandez turned his head and addressed his brother, Daniel Hernandez, after the warden asked him if he had a final statement.
“Did I ever tell you, you have Dad’s eyes? I have noticed that in the last couple of days,” Ramon Hernandez said. “I’m sorry for putting you through all of this. Tell everyone I love them. It was good seeing the kids. I love them all, tell mom, everybody. I am very sorry for all the pain.”
 His brother, standing close to the glass and crying said: “I love you.”
Because Texas no longer allows inmates to order special last meals, Hernandez ate the same food as everyone else in his unitBecause Texas no longer allows inmates to order special last meals, Hernandez ate the same food as everyone else in his unit

Final confession sought from death row murderer

since then, prosecutors have also tied Ramón Hernandez, 39, to the murders of two young girls and say he could be responsible for even more killings.

But Rico Valdez, who serves as the appellate division chief for the Bexar County District Attorneys Office, fears Hernandez may take the answers to those unsolved murders to the grave since prosecutors are nearly out of time. It is the eleventh hour for Bexar County prosecutors seeking a confession on at least two more murders from Hernandez and they are doing everything they can in the next 24-hours to get him to talk.

“We’re still hopeful in the hours that we have left that we’ll have that opportunity, but there are no guarantees,” explained Valdez.

Valdez has been working to get a confession from Hernandez on two unsolved murders ever since the DA’s office first learned about the cases.

According to Valdez, “Jennifer Taylor and Laura Gamez, they disappeared or they were last seen in November 9, 1994 and their bodies were discovered April 15, 1995 the next year.”

The young girls’ bodies were discovered on a ranch belonging to Hernandez’ uncle in Bandera County one year after they were killed.

“Unfortunately, because the bodies had been exposed to the elements we weren’t able to obtain any DNA linking Hernandez directly to the crime.”

But he added Hernandez’ style of killings from the murder and rape of Rosado from 2001 and two young cousins: Sarah Gonzales and Priscilla Almarez in 1994 matches the murders of Taylor and Gamez.

The DA’s office was able to obtain indictments for Hernandez in the killings of those two cousins dating back to 1994. The deaths of Taylor and Gamez are still considered unsolved.

The DA’s office has once again reached out to Hernandez through his attorney in recent days to get answers in those unsolved cases. He has declined speaking to them again. However, prosecutors remain optimistic that he will change his mind.

November 13, 2012 http://www.mysanantonio.com

Ramon Hernandez stands as jurors enter the courtroom for his trial in the death of Rosa Maria Rosado on  October 1, 2002. Photo: ROBERT MCLEROY, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Ramon Hernandez is set to be executed Wednesday for the 2001 abduction, rape and killing of Rosa Maria Rosado.Rosa Maria Rosado, 37 was found dead in a shallow grave near UTSA Boulevard and Loop 1604. / SA

But the man prosecutors have called a serial rapist and murderer is known to have other victims.

Rosado, whose body was found in a shallow grave near Loop 1604 and UTSA Boulevard, was the first of five victims authorities connected to Hernandez or named him as suspect. It was his only conviction.

The single mom, 37, was snatched from a bus stop near Highway 90 and Military Drive. She was bound with tape, had her head covered and was driven to a Culebra Road motel, where she was killed.

By the time Hernandez was linked to Rosado’s homicide, the families of Sarah Gonzales, 13, and Priscilla Almares, 12, had been searching seven years for answers in the young cousins’ killings.

This is a composite image of Sarah Beth Gonzales (left) and her cousin Priscilla Almares (right) before they were murdered in 1994. Gonzales was 13 and Almares was 12 at the time of the murders. The man responsible for the murders, Ramon Hernandez, is scheduled to be executed on November 14, 2012. Hernandez, however, is being executed for murdering and raping another woman, Rosa Maria Rosado, 37, in 1994. This image was provided by Sarah Beth Gonzales' father, John Gonzales. Photo: JOHN DAVENPORT, San Antonio Express-News / © San Antonio Express-News

“I can’t explain the feeling; I can’t explain the hurt,” said John Gonzales, father of Sarah and uncle to Priscilla. “Unless you walk in my shoes, you just can’t imagine it. You’re kind of numb. There’s disbelief it happened.”

For Gonzales, there also was disbelief that police had found his daughter’s killer. But after they told him about DNA evidence that linked Hernandez to the crime, he finally could stop searching.

Hernandez also is the main suspect in a 1995 Bandera County case involving two teens reported missing about a month before Sarah and Priscilla.

At the time of all of the homicides, Hernandez was on parole for breaking into a house and allegedly raping a woman.

While Hernandez wasn’t convicted in the killings of Sarah and Priscilla, Gonzales said justice was done because authorities announced they closed the case using DNA.

Gonzalez said no one from their family planned to witness the execution.

Hernandez, 41, declined to comment. His attorney, Robin Norris, requested a commutation of Hernandez’s sentence to life without parole, arguing that his client was a party to the crime but didn’t rape or kill Rosado.

Norris pointed to Hernandez’s co-defendant, Santos Minjarez, as the main culprit.

Minjarez also was sentenced to death in a separate trial. He died of natural causes in Jan. 2012 before his execution was set.

Hernandez was afraid of Minjarez and he also was withdrawing from addictive medication prescribed as part of his parole, Norris said.

The medication was to treat anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders that developed after Hernandez watched his father get shot in front of him, he added. That made Hernandez more susceptible to Minjarez’s suggestions, Norris said.

“Clearly he’s responsible in some measure for this,” Norris said. “But in the past, the governor has commuted a sentence if the person didn’t commit the offense by his own person.”

The status of the commutation request wasn’t available. Both Hernandez and Minjarez pointed to each other as the murderer in their separate trials, according to previous stories. Prosecutors pointed to Sarah and Priscilla’s cases to show a pattern.

“They were like sisters,” Gonzales said. “They disappeared together. They found them together and we buried them together.”

The two girls last were seen on Timbercreek Drive the evening of Dec. 16, 1994. They were expected at their church for caroling, Gonzales said. Their bodies were discovered in Rodriguez Park the next day.

At least the girls were found quickly, Gonzales said.

That wasn’t the case with Laura Gamez and Jennifer Taylor, both 15 when reported missing two days apart in November 1994, previous reports state. Their bodies weren’t found until April, 1995, according to previous stories.

After San Antonio police linked Hernandez to Rosado, Sarah and Priscilla, Bandera County authorities revealed he was the prime suspect in the deaths of Laura and Jennifer.

An autopsy couldn’t determine rape, but they had been strangled, a previous report states.

The Express-News was unable to find the families of either teen.

Bexar County First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said recently that investigators still hoped to talk to Hernandez about the unsolved cases.

Whether Rosado’s family planned to attend the execution wasn’t known. Rosado’s sister declined to comment. Attempts to reach Rosado’s daughter weren’t successful.

She was 14 when her mom was killed and the first to report her missing after Rosado failed to come home from a night shift at a telemarketing firm April 1, 2001, court documents said.

“Mom, please call and let me know you are OK,” read a sign she posted in her neighborhood, a previous report said. “I miss you, please come home. Love Patricia.”

Hernandez’s girlfriend Asel Abdygapparova led police to Rosado’s body five days after she was abducted.

Then 26 and a University of Texas at San Antonio exchange student from Kazakhstan, Abdygapparova was pregnant with Hernandez’s child, who would be born after her arrest.

She was with Hernandez and Minjarez when Minjarez spotted Rosado as a possible robbery victim, previous stories said.

They grabbed her from the bus stop and took her to the motel, she told police. She left to buy a shovel and bleach while Rosado was raped.

Police first considered Abdygapparova a witness but later arrested her. Prosecutors wanted the death penalty.

She feared Hernandez and was under control, she said during testimony in her defense. Jurors sentenced her to life in prison but an appeals court overturned that decision in 2007. She’s still in Bexar County Jail awaiting a new trial.

Her attorney didn’t return calls for an interview request.

Gonzales takes no comfort in Hernandez’s execution. It took many years of praying to forgive Hernandez and to tame the anger he felt.

“It festers inside of you; it eats you up and can totally destroy you” he said.

He and knows the pain Hernandez’s mother will feel. He does not wish that on anyone, he said.

“I did tell his mom that one day she would walk in my shoes,” Gonzales said. “I said to her when he did go to prison she would have the opportunity to write him or go visit him. Now for me, for my family, when we want to go see (Sarah and Priscilla), we can’t physically see them. We go anyway. … They are just shells now. Their spirits are in Heaven.”

OHIO – EXECUTION – Brett Hartman 11/13/2012 EXECUTED 10.34 a.m


 Brett Hartman

November 13, 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Today, he calmly accepted his death.

‘I’m good, let’s roll,’ he said in his final words.

He then smiled in the direction of his sister and repeatedly gave her, a friend and his attorney a ‘thumbs up’ with his left hand.

‘This is not going to defeat me,’ Hartman then said to warden Donald Morgan, who didn’t respond.

The effect of the single dose of pentobarbital did not seem as immediate as in other executions at the state prison in Lucasville, in southern Ohio.

Four minutes after Hartman first appeared to be reacting to it as his abdomen began to rise and fall, his abdomen rose and fell again, he coughed and his head shifted rhythmically for a few moments.

His sister, Diane Morretti, dabbed at her eyes during the process. The warden declared Hartman’s time of death as 10:34am.

Both Hartman’s attorney, David Stebbins, and prisons system spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said the gap between Hartman’s movements was not out of the ordinary.

Hartman claimed he did not kill Snipes, but found mutilated body and panicked, trying to clean up the mess before calling 911. It was a claim rejected by numerous courts over the years.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal by Hartman yesterday.

Hartman’s last meal, which in Ohio is called a special meal, consisted of steak with sauteed mushrooms, fried shrimp, Macaroni & Cheese, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, Rainforest Crunch cereal, cans of Pepsi and Dr Pepper, and a bowl of Honey-Comb cereal, a prison spokesman told MailOnline.

Hartman is the 49th inmate put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.

Murdered: Ms Snipes had been stabbed 138 times. Her throat had been cut and her hands were cut off in the gruesome murder in her home  Ms Snipes

November 10, 2012 http://www.ohio.com

Three years ago, the condemned killer from Akron came within a week of being executed by the state of Ohio. Just last year, he came within three weeks of being executed.

While prosecutors continue to block his efforts for additional DNA testing, only the U.S. Supreme Court stands between Hartmann and his execution Tuesday in Lucasville. Hartmann contends he is innocent of the brutal slaying of Highland Square resident Winda Snipes in 1997 and his attorneys plan to continue his fight for testing of evidence until the final hours.

Prosecutors have long argued that Hartmann, 38, has already been granted his wish with additional DNA testing that only confirmed the “clear and convincing evidence of his guilt.” They say the 11th-hour appeals by Hartmann are only designed to delay his death.

Hartmann’s attorneys, Michael Benza and David Stebbins, say the courts have failed to take the testing further and examine key pieces of evidence.

Prosecutors originally sent many of the items to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state’s forensic crime lab, but the evidence has either never been tested or never revealed, Benza said.

The items include bloody fingerprint on an electric clock in which the cord was cut and used to kill Snipes. There is also a bloody fingerprint on a chair.

The defense wants the untested prints compared to Hartmann as well as Snipes’ ex-boyfriend. They’ve been seeking the tests for years, but the state will not cooperate.

“If Brett’s not a match to the bloody fingerprints, then that’s pretty good evidence that someone other than Brett committed this crime,” Benza said.

Some fingerprints that were apparently tested, he said, were never linked to Hartmann. Other items were sent for testing. What those items were, however, were never disclosed to defense attorneys, he said.

“That’s what I find really most disturbing,” Benza said. “The prosecutors wanted it tested at trial, yet we get no answers from anybody on why there were not tested.”

Details of slaying

Snipes, 46, was found dead in her South Highland Avenue apartment. Her body was bound at the ankles, her torso stabbed more than 130 times, her neck slashed and her hands severed and missing.

Hartmann, who had a casual sexual relationship with Snipes, contends he had been with her about 14 hours earlier during a sexual encounter, but did not kill her.

It was Hartmann, then 23, who reported finding Snipes’ body. He told police he went to her apartment, discovered her mutilated body and panicked, fearing police would pin the murder on him. He cleaned up evidence of his previous visit — cigarette butts, beer cans and his T-shirt, which he said was left behind in his haste to leave Snipes after their sexual encounter.

About two hours after finding the body, Hartmann said, he made a series of 911 calls in an attempt to report Snipes’ death anonymously. He was later arrested when his bloody shirt and a watch belonging to Snipes were found in his bedroom. His semen was also found in Snipes’ body.

Years later, a federal judge ordered additional DNA testing from Snipes’ body. The DNA was linked to Hartmann. But defense attorneys counter that Hartmann had already acknowledged having sex with Snipes before her death. They want specific evidence tested before the execution goes forward.

Clock evidence

The clock has been an intriguing untested item since the slaying in September 1997. It was found inside Snipes’ apartment stopped at 4:40. The cord was cut and used to strangle Snipes, who had been seen alive at 4:30 p.m.

Defense attorneys believe the clock stopped around the time of the murder. Phone records suggest Hartmann was at his home at 4:50 p.m.

In past appeals, defense attorneys say a former jail inmate lied at Hartmann’s original trial and the ex-con’s attorney, Tom Adgate, would confirm it — if he was granted immunity from attorney-client privacy violations.

They also allege that Snipes had an abusive boyfriend with a violent history who was never fully investigated by Akron police, lacked an alibi and likely saw Hartmann and Snipes together just before the killing.

Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh declined to comment Friday through a spokeswoman, preferring to wait until after Tuesday’s scheduled execution. In 2009, a federal appellate court granted a stay a week before Hartmann was to die. In 2011, an unofficial moratorium by Gov. John Kasich sparred Hartmann for another year.

Walsh and state attorneys have consistently maintained Hartmann’s guilt and say he has already had his chance at DNA testing.

The Supreme Court, Benza said, has granted three stays of execution in the past month to grant evidence testing to condemned inmates

OHIO- Death-row inmate denied clemency, Brett Hartman


NOVEMBER 9, 2012 http://www.vindy.com

Gov. John Kasich has denied clemency to the death row inmate facing execution next week for the brutal murder of an Akron woman 15 years ago.

Barring last-minute court intervention, Brett Hartman will be put to death Tuesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Kasich’s decision was in line with the unanimous recommendation of the state parole board, which last month, for the third time in recent years, said Hartman deserved the death penalty for the crime.

Hartman was convicted of murdering 46-year-old Winda Snipes in September 1997, stabbing her more than 130 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands. The latter never were found.

Evidence used in the conviction included DNA taken from Snipes’ body, fingerprints at the scene and a bloody T-shirt and woman’s watch found at Hartman’s apartment.

Additionally, a cellmate and former co-worker testified that Hartman had made incriminating comments.

But Hartman, who admitted having sexual relations with the victim hours before her death, has maintained his innocence, saying fingerprints and hair found at the crime scene and phone records prove he did not commit murder.

“My heart goes out to [Snipes’ family],” Hartman told the Statehouse Bureau of Dix Newspapers and The Vindicator during a death row interview last month. “I know losing anyone, especially family, is a very traumatizing experience. I recently lost my mom and my sister. And no one in the world deserves to lose a relative or anyone the way that Winda was taken, and my heart goes out to them. But I didn’t do it.”

But the parole board and Kasich were not swayed by his claims of innocence.

“The overwhelming evidence presented during trial clearly established that Hartman is guilty of this crime,” the parole board wrote. “Hartman shows no remorse and continues to claim his innocence despite the evidence indicating his guilt.”

PENNSYLVANIA- EXECUTION TODAY 11/08/2012, Hubert Michael Jr. STAYED


NOVEMBER 8, 2012 http://www.yorkdispatch.com

Just hours before his scheduled execution Thursday, death-row inmate Hubert Lester Michael Jr. was granted a stay of execution.

His attorneys filed two last-minute appeals with the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, one of which resulted in the stay.

York County District Attorney Tom Kearney expressed disappointment with the ruling, saying the time to execute Michael is “long overdue.”

“This case has been up and down the legal ladder for 20 years,” he said. “There needs to be some finality, in the interests of justice. It’s about time the decision of this community is carried forth.”

Michael is represented by the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia. His attorneys have declined interviews, but released a statement

Trista Eng

Thursday afternoon from Helen Marino, chief of the office’s capital habeas unit:

“On behalf of Hubert Michael, we are extremely pleased that the federal Court of Appeals has granted (him) a stay of execution. Mr. Michael has suffered from debilitating mental conditions throughout his life. Mr. Michael has compelling legal claims in his case which have never been reviewed by any court. The Court of Appeals recognized that there are complicated issues involved in this case that should be carefully considered.”

Last stop: Kearney has said the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was Michael’s last chance to avoid being put to death for the 1993 kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Trista Eng of the Dillsburg area.

The Third Circuit granted the stay based on Michael’s appeal of Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III.

Jones declined to stay the execution, writing:

“This court is disinclined to exercise its reservoir of discretion simply because the petitioner has now changed his mind. … The case law simply doesn’t support such a result.

“Indeed, to grant the relief requested by the petitioner would make the case a monumental example of the seeminly endless and oft-criticized federal habeas practice. Over 19 years after the heinous murder the petitioner has admitted committing, it is time to draw this affair to a close.”

The Third Circuit issued the stay because it wants to know why Jones granted Michael a “certificate of appealability” when he refused to grant Michael a stay and refused to reopen Michael’s habeas corpus appeal proceedings, according to Kearney.

The Third Circuit also noted parties should be prepared to litigate all their issues at one time.

No clemency: Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, the state Board of Pardons unanimously denied Michael’s request for clemency.

Kearney said the time has come to execute Michael.

“If a sentence is to mean anything, then it must be carried out.” he said. “If it’s the will of the community, we need to follow through, or else it’s meaningless.”

13 years: Michael, 56, formerly of Lemoyne, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Thursday.

He would have been the first murderer put to death in Pennsylvania in 13 years, and the fourth inmate executed since 1972, when the state reinstituted the death penalty.

It’s the third death warrant Pennsylvania governors have signed for Michael. The first two were in 1996 and 2004. Both times, his execution was stayed pending further appeal.

For years, Michael maintained he wanted to die, but he changed his mind in 2004, just days before his scheduled execution.

Attorneys with the Federal Community Defenders Organization in Philadelphia have argued he was not mentally competent when he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Oct. 11, 1994, and didn’t challenge his death sentence.

Mental-health issues: Court filings indicate Michael suffered from mental-health issues while he was held in Graterford state prison, but that those issues improved when he was transferred to Greene state prison.

Now that his mental health has improved, Michael is fighting his death sentence.

Second denial: On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane also refused to grant Michael a stay of execution.

She is presiding over Chester v. Beard, a lawsuit filed six years ago on behalf of a number of Pennsylvania’s death-row inmates. It claims the state’s method in obtaining the drugs used for lethal injection is unconstitutional.

While Chester v. Beard remains active, Kane made a specific ruling in Michael’s case, denying his request for a stay.

Michael’s attorneys appealed both rulings to the Third Circuit, which denied a stay of execution for Michael in the Chester v. Beard class-action lawsuit.

The background: Michael told his former defense attorney, chief public defender Bruce Blocher, he went to the Franklin Township home of Eng and her mother to answer an advertisement about a chair for sale.

He told Blocher that when Eng answered the door in a Hardee’s uniform, he made the decision to force her to have sex with him. While there, he stole some electrical cords from the house, the attorney previously testified.

Michael stopped to offer Eng a ride as she was walking along Route 15 to her job at the Dillsburg Hardee’s on July 12, 1993. She accepted, and Michael kidnapped her.

At some point during the ride, Michael stopped the car and used the electrical cords to tie up Eng, then drove her to state game lands in Warrington Township, according to Blocher.

Raped: He raped her, put a bag over her head and shot her three times, Blocher has said, then hid her body in a wooded area.

Blocher revealed details of Michael’s confession to him when called to the stand during a 1997 appeals hearing in the case.

Michael fled the state 10 days after killing Eng. At the time, he was free on bail for a Lancaster County rape charge.

Captured: He was captured July 27, 1993, in Utah, at which point police found the murder weapon in the car he was using, officials said.

He was charged with Eng’s homicide in late August 1993, after her body was found by his family members after Michael confessed the murder to his brother.

In November 1993, Michael escaped from Lancaster County Prison but was captured in New Orleans in March 1994, according to the Department of Corrections.

He was later sentenced to 10 to 20 years for the Lancaster County rape, according to court records.

TEXAS – EXECUTION TODAY 11/08/12 – Mario Swain EXECUTED 6.39 pm


Mario Swain, 33, was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 6.39 pm (0039 GMT Friday), according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. When asked by a warden if he had a final statement before his punishment, the condemned prisoner shook his head, closed his eyes and took several barely audible breaths.

No family members or friends of Nixon were at the execution. Swain also had no relatives among the witnesses.

November 8,2012

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A man who was sentenced to die in the fatal beating, stabbing and strangling of an East Texas call center supervisor a decade ago displayed a pattern of obsession and violence that a former district attorney said indicated the potential of a serial killer.

Mario Swain has since lost state and federal appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to review his case. Swain, 33, is scheduled for execution Thursday.

Worried friends alerted police when Lola Nixon didn’t show up for dinner two nights after Christmas in 2002. Officers discovered signs of forced entry at her home near Dallas — and blood throughout — but no sign of the 46-year-old woman. A neighbor said he saw a truck parked outside the night she went missing, and police traced that vehicle to a man who said his grandson, Swain, had borrowed it.

Swain gave several confessions, and said his friends had beaten Nixon while burgling her home. But those friends all had credible alibis.

Eventually he led detectives to Nixon’s body, in the backseat of an abandoned vehicle at a remote site in Gregg County. She had been beaten with a tire iron, stabbed and strangled.

“Unless you knew where you were going, you wouldn’t get there,” Lance Larison, a prosecutor at Swain’s 2004 trial, said.

Evidence indicates Nixon fiercely resisted the attack and that Swain left her bleeding in her bathtub before throwing her in the back of her BMW and driving her to the site where she was found. He then returned to her house and tried to clean up.

The tire iron was recovered from a trash container where Swain said he had thrown it. Prosecutors said Swain used Nixon’s credit cards and that he gave a piece of her jewelry to a friend.

Nixon’s blood was found on Swain’s clothing in the truck, along with her car keys and garage door opener.

At trial, prosecutors presented evidence and witnesses that showed a pattern of crimes: Swain gathered information about women he wanted to rob, then attacked them, forcing them to inhale the anesthetic halothane and hitting them over the head with a wrench or shooting them with a stun gun.

“Not only did he stalk, he started making physical assaults,” Larison said.

“Girlfriends told us he loved to watch detective shows, crime science shows, that he was fascinated by them,” he said. “He would keep lists of women’s cars and certain license plates.”

He was “a serial killer in training,” the prosecutor said.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court rejected Swain’s appeal that argued his confessions to the slaying should not have been allowed at trial, that his lawyers were deficient and that there was a problem in jury selection. The U.S. Supreme Court three weeks ago refused to review Swain’s case. And last week the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused an appeal challenging an investigator’s trial testimony.

Nixon was unmarried and lived alone. She had been a supervisor at a telephone call center in Longview where Swain once worked.

Swain declined from death row to speak with reporters as his execution date neared.

His lethal injection would be the 13th this year in Texas, where two more executions are set for next week.

OKLAHOMA – EXECUTION, GARRY ALLEN 11/06/2012, EXECUTED 6.10 P.M


November 6, 2012 http://mcalesternews.com

March 7, 2012 dead
Oklahoma death row inmate Garry Thomas Allen, 56, was executed this evening in the death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

Witnessing the execution were two media representatives, two of Allen’s attorneys, the victim’s sister-in-law, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Justin Jones and several Department of Corrections employees.

At 5:58 p.m., Jones gave the go-ahead for the execution procedure to begin and the blinds between the witness area and the execution chamber were raised.

Allen raised his head from the execution gurney and looked into the witness room. His eyes wandered until they landed on familiar faces. When he saw his attorneys he said, “Hi.” And they lifted their hands and waved at him.

Allen then began to talk. He rambled unintelligibly about Obama and Romney. Allen’s garbled speech about the presidential race coincided with a loud banging noise as the other inmates in H-Unit said their good-byes.

“Obama won two out of three counties. It’s going to be a very close race,” Allen said just before Oklahoma State Penitentiary Deputy Warden Art Lightle asked him if he had a last statement.

Allen looked at Lightle and asked, “Huh?” Then he continued in his garbled speech and then again raised his head and said, “Hi,” to his attorneys. Allen’s unintelligible ramblings continued. He spoke about Obama and Jesus.

I hope that more realize Jesus is the son of God — the only son of God. Jesus is the one and only savior,” Allen said. This statement was followed by more unintelligible ramblings.

Lightle told Allen that his two minutes were coming to an end. Allen turned his head to look at Lightle and asked, “What?” Then he continued his garbled speech.

One of Allen’s attorneys began to get teary eyed and she leaned down and placed her head in her hands. At 6:02 p.m., when she sat back up, and as Allen’s unintelligible talking continued, Lightle said, “Let the execution begin.”

Allen again turned his head and looked at Lightle and asked, “Huh?”

Then he lifted his head and looked at the witnesses, fixing his eyes on his attorneys. “Hi,” he said to them again. And again they both lifted their hands and waved at him.

His garbled speech continued until the concoction of execution drugs apparently affected his system. He turned and lifted his head one last time and looked at Lightle. He made a loud, strained grunting sound and laid his head back down on the gurney.

At 6:07 p.m., the attending physician checked Allen’s vital signs and said something about a pulse. The physician rubbed Allen’s chest and then stepped away as Allen’s attorney wiped a tear from her cheek.

The physician stepped back to Allen’s body minutes later, checked his vital signs and pronounced Allen’s death at 6:10 p.m.

The victim’s family submitted the following written statement following Allen’s execution:

“Our beloved Gail — daughter, sister and mother of two young boys was taken from our family tragically and senselessly due to domestic violence.

“For over 25 years we have waited for justice to be served and for this sentence to be carried out.

“We are thankful to close the book on this chapter today, but we will never stop grieving the loss of Gail.

“It has been an emotional roller coaster for our family and one we have endured far too long.

“Gail’s memory will continue to live on through the lives of her now grown sons and her grandchildren.”

This was not the first time Allen was scheduled for execution. In April, officials at the OSP conducted normal execution day procedures while waiting to find out about approval or disapproval of an appeal filed with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

A stay was issued for Allen one day before his scheduled execution on April 12.

“A federal judge stayed Garry Allen’s execution,” said OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw in April. U.S. District Judge David L. Russell issued the stay, ruling that Allen’s claims that he is insane and ineligible for the death penalty should be reviewed. Allen had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and his attorneys argued his mental state deteriorated on death row.

“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a notice of appeal to the stay of execution,” Crenshaw said in April. If the appeal to the stay of execution was granted, officials at OSP had “measures in place to carry out the execution according to court orders.” However, Pruitt’s appeal was not granted at that time.

Allen was also set for execution on Feb. 16, but Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin granted a 30-day stay of execution for the condemned man. She said the stay was issued so her legal team could have more time to consider a 2005 recommendation by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to commute his sentence to life.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the arguments and evidence presented in this case, I have determined that clemency should be denied in this case, and that the sentence of death be carried out,” Fallin wrote in an executive order filed March 13.

The 30-day stay would have set Allen’s execution for March 17, but that date was moved to April 12, before being stayed yet again.

Allen received his death sentence for the 1986 murder of his 24-year-old wife, Lawanna Gail Titsworth. The McAlester News-Capital reported in May of 2008 that Allen’s conviction and death sentence came after he gunned down Titsworth four days after she moved out of their home with their two sons, who were 6 and 2 at the time.

Allen was first scheduled to be executed May 19, 2005. A stay of execution was granted by Judge Thomas Bartheld one day before his scheduled execution. The Associated Press reported Allen’s mental competency was in question after a psychological exam at OSP indicated he had developed mental problems while confined on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and being shot in the face.

The U.S. Supreme Court and state law prohibit execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.

On May 1, 2008, a Pittsburg County jury decided, on split decision, that Allen is “sane to be executed.” For more than three years since, numerous court motions and legal arguments have been heard in the case.

On Dec. 28, Bartheld signed a legal order vacating Allen’s stay of execution, stating “the court … having reviewed the pleadings, finds that the issue of the sanity of Garry Thomas Allen for execution has been resolved…”

On Nov. 21, 1986, reports indicate Allen went to his children’s daycare center in Oklahoma City when his wife, Titsworth, was scheduled to pick them up. Titsworth had gone to the parking lot when Allen confronted her, according to court records. As Titsworth opened the door to her truck, Allen shut the door and prevented her from entering, court documents state.

As the two argued, Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a revolver and shot Titsworth twice in the chest.

“It is unclear whether Titsworth was holding her youngest son at the time of the shooting or had picked him up immediately thereafter,” documents filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals state.

After Allen shot Titsworth, she begged him not to shoot her again and fell to the ground. Allen then asked Titsworth if she was all right and lifted up her blouse, apparently attempting to examine her injuries.

“At the time of the shooting, some of the daycare employees were in the parking lot and several of the children were in a van parked a few feet from Titsworth’s truck,” court documents state.

“After the shooting, Titsworth managed to get up and start running toward the building along with a daycare center employee.”

As they headed up the steps leading to the front door, Allen pushed the daycare employee through the door and shoved Titsworth down on the steps, where he shot her twice in the back at close range.

Oklahoma City police officer Mike Taylor responded to a 911 call within minutes and a witness pointed to an alley where Allen was hiding. Taylor spotted Allen in the alley, pulled his revolver and ordered him to stop and remain still.

Although Allen initially complied with the order, he turned and began walking away. When Taylor reached out to place a hand on him, Allen quickly turned and grabbed the policeman’s gun.

During a struggle, Allen gained partial control of the gun and “attempted to make officer Taylor shoot himself by applying pressure to Taylor’s finger which was still on the trigger,” court documents state.

As the struggle continued, Taylor regained control of the gun and shot Allen in the face, according to court records.

Allen was hospitalized for approximately two months for injuries to his face, left eye and brain. Afterwards, he entered a blind plea — meaning no plea bargain agreement had been reached — to first-degree murder and other charges on Nov. 10, 1987.

An Oklahoma County judge subsequently sentenced Allen to death. The appeals court later ordered a second sentence hearing, which also resulted in the death sentence.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Correction’s website, at http://www.doc.state.ok.us, Allen had been incarcerated at OSP since Dec. 23, 1987, and was housed on death row in the prison’s H-Unit.