SEPTEMBER

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
Advertisements

Oklahoma Governor Says She Can’t Stop Glossip’s Execution


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin does not have the power to commute the death sentence of Richard Glossip, her office said in response to criticism by activist actress Susan Sarandon.
Glossip is scheduled to die on Sept. 16 for hiring a man to murder his employer, Bary Allan Van Treese, in 1997. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.
Sarandon, who has campaigned against the death penalty for years, called Fallin a “horrible person” for refusing to intervene.
“Richard’s case is so typical. Bad representation, 2 trials that were ridiculous, no physical evidence,” Sarandon told the British news group Sky News on Thursday.
“He’s put there by a snitch who actually did kill the person, and then the snitch has life and this guy is being put to death on the 16th. Once a mistake has been made within a judicial system, people just do not want to admit that mistake has been made and it becomes impossible to readdress them. And the only thing now that is going to give him a chance to survive is public opinion – is public embarrassment.” Sarandon urged people to write Fallin to stop the execution.
She called the Glossip case “a perfect example of what’s wrong with the death penalty, and so of course I’m hoping that some kind of exposure will give him the opportunity to maybe get his sentence at least commuted, because he’s clearly innocent, and on top of that the guy who actually killed the person is in a minimum security prison for the rest of his life.”
Fallin’s spokesman Alex Weintz responded to Sarandon and several media inquiries on Twitter, saying Fallin does not have the ability to grant Glossip clemency.
“The limit of her legal ability to intervene is to grant a 60 day stay,” Weintz tweeted Thursday. “The gov[ernor] can only grant clemency [to] inmates who have been recommended clemency by the Pardon and Parole Board. Glossip’s request was unanimously denied … To say Glossip has had his day in court is an understatement. He has been pursuing the same arguments publicly and in court for 20 years. He was convicted of murder in court twice and sentenced to death twice by 2 juries (24 total jurors unanimous in their verdict).”
Even if Fallin could grant clemency, doing so would “unilaterally overturn” the judgments of jurors and several courts, including the 10th Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court, Weintz said.
“Glossip’s execution is going forward because he is (a) guilty and (b) has exhausted his legal options,” he said. “Final thought: there are multiple victims here, none of them Glossip. A man beaten to death, wife without a husband, 5 kids with no dad.”
Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
Sarandon won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1995 for her portrayal of anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking.” Prejean also has called for Glossip’s exoneration.
Glossip and 3 other death row inmates sued Oklahoma last year, claiming its use of midazolam – the 1st drug in a new 3-drug replacement protocol – fails to render a person insensate to pain, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
States have been forced to seek replacement execution drugs from compounding pharmacies after anti-death penalty opponents persuaded large drug manufacturers to stop making lethal injection drugs. Oklahoma’s previous protocol required pentobarbital to knock the inmate unconscious, vecuronium to stop breathing and potassium chloride to stop the heart.
Glossip’s lawsuit was filed after the botched execution of murderer Clayton Lockett, 38, in April 2014. He was declared unconscious after being injected with midazolam, but breathed heavily, writhed, clenched his teeth and strained to lift his head off a pillow 3 minutes later. Blinds separating a viewing gallery and the death chamber were lowered and Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton ordered the execution stopped. It took Lockett 43 minutes to die of a heart attack.
In a 5-4 ruling on June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the new execution protocol. Oklahoma quickly rescheduled four executions. The Supreme Court said the inmates failed “to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain.”
Source: Courthouse News, August 8, 2015

 

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 – CLEVE FOSTER 6.p.m. Fourth Execution Date EXECUTED 6:43 p.m.


Foster expressed love to his family and to God.

“When I close my eyes, I’ll be with the father,” he said. “God is everything. He’s my life. Tonight I’ll be with him.”

Foster also addressed the family members of the victims, saying, “I don’t know what you’re going to be feeling tonight. I pray we’ll all meet in heaven.”

September 25, 2012 

cleve foster execution

Cleve Foster has been hours away from execution on death row in Texas only to win a reprieve at the last minute, two times in just the past year and a half.

Whether or not you support the death penalty, Cleve Foster’s case is one that really seems to foreground the practice’s brutality. Twice Foster has been moments away from being put to death, and twice, he has been spared and placed back on death row as the slow wheels of justice grind in his execution.

Supreme Court refuses 4th stay for Texas execution

TEXAS – EXECUTION ROBERT WAYNE HARRIS 6 p.m. Executed 6.43 p.m


From the Attorney General of Texas

Media Advisory: Robert W. Harris scheduled for execution

DALLAS – Pursuant to a court order by the 282nd District Court in Dallas County, Robert Wayne Harris is scheduled for execution after 6 p.m. on September 20, 2012.

In 2000, a Dallas County jury convicted Harris of capital murder for killing Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler during the same criminal transaction.

FACTS OF THE CASE

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, citing the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal’s description of the facts, described the murder of Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler as follows:

[Harris] worked at Mi-T-Fine Car Wash for ten months prior to the offense. An armored car picked up cash receipts from the car wash every day except Sunday. Therefore, [Harris] knew that on Monday morning, the safe would contain cash receipts from the weekend and the cash register would contain $200-$300 for making change. On Wednesday, March 15, 2000, [Harris engaged in sexual misconduct] in front of a female customer. The customer reported the incident to a manager, and a cashier called the police. [Harris] was arrested and fired.

On Sunday, March 19[th], [Harris] spent the day with his friend, Junior Herrera, who sold cars. Herrera was driving a demonstrator car from the lot. Although [Harris] owned his own vehicle, he borrowed Herrera’s that evening. He then went to the home of friend Billy Brooks, who contacted his step-son, Deon Bell, to lend [Harris] a pistol.

On Monday, March 20[th], [Harris] returned to the car wash in the borrowed car at 7:15 a.m., before it opened for business. [Harris] forced the manager, Dennis Lee, assistant manager, Agustin Villaseñor, and cashier, Rhoda Wheeler, into the office. He instructed Wheeler to open the safe, which contained the cash receipts from the weekend. Wheeler complied and gave him the cash. [Harris] then forced all three victims to the floor and shot each of them in the back of the head at close range. He also slit Lee’s throat.

Before [Harris] could leave, three other employees arrived for work unaware of the danger. [Harris] forced them to kneel on the floor of the lobby area and shot each of them in the back of the head from close range. One of the victims survived with permanent disabilities. Shortly thereafter, a seventh employee, Jason Shields, arrived. Shields noticed the three bodies in the lobby and saw [Harris] standing near the cash register. After a brief exchange in which [Harris] claimed to have discovered the crime scene, pointed out the bodies of the other victims, and pulled a knife from a nearby bookshelf, Shields became nervous and told [Harris] he needed to step outside for fresh air. Shields hurried to a nearby doughnut shop to call authorities. [Harris] followed Shields to the doughnut shop, also spoke to the 911 operator, then fled the scene.

[Harris] returned the vehicle to Herrera and told him that he had discovered some bodies at the car wash. [Harris] then took a taxi to Brooks’s house. At Brooks’s house, [Harris] separated the money from the other objects and disposed of the metal lock boxes, a knife, a crowbar, and pieces of a cell phone in a wooded area. [Harris] purchased new clothing, checked into a motel, and sent Brooks to purchase a gold cross necklace for him. Later that afternoon, [Harris] drove to the home of another friend and remained there until the following morning, when he was arrested. Testimony also showed that [Harris] had planned to drive to Florida on Tuesday and kill an old girlfriend.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 10, 2000, a Dallas County grand jury indicted Harris for murdering Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler.

On September 29, 2000, a Dallas County jury found Harris guilty of murdering Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler. After the jury recommended capital punishment, the court sentenced Harris to death by lethal injection.

On February 12, 2003, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Harris’s conviction and sentence.

On October 6, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court denied writ of certiorari.

On July 1, 2002, Harris sought to appeal his conviction and sentence by seeking an application for a state writ of habeas corpus with the state trial court.

On June 3, 2004, the trial court detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that Harris’s application be denied.

On September 15, 2004, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the trial court’s findings and conclusions and denied habeas relief.

On September 14, 2005, Harris filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

On September 10, 2008, the district court ordered an evidentiary hearing set for January 5, 2009 on Harris’s mental retardation claim.

On December 3, 2008, Harris asked for a continuance, and the hearing was reset for March 19, 2009.

On March 5, 2009, Harris asked for another continuance, and the district court rescheduled the evidentiary hearing for May 12, 2009.

On May 7, 2009, Harris moved to cancel the evidentiary hearing and requested permission to instead supplement the record with documents, which was granted.

On November 13, 2009 the court ordered an independent evaluation of Harris to be performed by a court-appointed expert.

On February 8, 2010, the court appointed Dr. Paul Andrews to conduct a psychological evaluation of Harris.

On March 24, 2011, the district court denied Harris’s habeas petition and refused to issue a Certificate of Appealability (COA).

On April 21, 2011, Harris filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment in the district court.

On April 25, 2011 the district court denied Harris’s motion.

On March 15, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Harris’s application for issuance of a COA.

On June 25, 2012, Harris filed a petition for writ of certiorari and stay of execution in the U.S. Supreme Court which is still pending.

On August 27, 2012, Harris filed a successive petition for writ of habeas corpus in the 282nd District Court.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.

During the penalty phase of Harris’s trial, jurors learned that Harris had previously been convicted of three burglaries and evading arrest. He had also been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. A court revoked his probation for absconding from a residential treatment program, and he spent the next eight years in prison. In prison, Harris resided mostly in administrative segregation due to several violations and aggressive behavior. He attended the Program for the Aggressive Mentally Ill Offender, but the incidents continued. The program ultimately discharged him for non-compliance. Fifteen prison personnel testified regarding Harris’s behavioral problems during his incarceration, which included setting fire to his cell, threatening to kill prison personnel, assaulting prison personnel and other inmates, dealing drugs, refusing to follow orders, and engaging in sexual misconduct.

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us.

OHIO – EXECUTION – DONALD PALMER 09/20/2012 10 a.m Last hours EXECUTED 10:35 a.m


“I want you to know I’ve carried you in my heart for years and years,” Palmer told six women in the room who are the widows, daughters and a niece of the men he killed. “I’m so sorry for what I took from you …I hope your pain and hurt die with me today.”

Update : Inmate calm, emotional as execution nears (9 a.m current time Ohio)

Palmer spent his last evening visiting with his son and daughter. He spent about two hours with them between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

He also visited with his ex-wife, Tammy Palmer, and his Pastor, Ernie Sanders.

A prison spokesman describes another meeting with his children at about 7:35 p.m. as “very emotional.”

For his final meal on Wednesday night, Palmer requested chipped ham, Velveeta cheese, 12 ounces of Helman’s mayonnaise, two sliced fresh tomatoes, one loaf of wheat bread, one bag of ranch Doritos, two large bags of peanut M&Ms, one quart of hazelnut ice cream, one piece of plain cheesecake and six 20 ounce bottles of Coke. He was served the meal at 8:05 p.m.

Prison officials say for the rest of the night,Palmer watched television and read, and at 11:57 p.m., he returned the two packs of M&Ms.

Palmer reportedly slept less than 30 minutes Wednesday night, spending most of his time reading, writing notes and watching television.

His last phone call was received at 4:41 a.m.

Palmer was also offered a breakfast on Thursday morning of apple juice, grits, boiled eggs, margarine, white break, milk, coffee and sugar, which he declined.

He had another visit with his kids between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., a prison spokesperson said they read the Bible and sang together.

At 7:40 a.m. his ex-wife Tammy and Chaplain Lyle Orr began a visit. He received Communion at 7:51 a.m.

Witnesses to the 10 a.m. execution include these members of the victims families: Tiffany Nameth, the widow of Charles Sponhaltz; Tiffany Sponhaltz-Pugh, the daughter of Charles Sponhaltz; Charlene Farkas, the daughter of Charles Sponhaltz; Valerie Vargo-Jolliffe, the widow of Stephen Vargo; and Dee Roy, a friend of Valerie.

The brother of Charles Sponhaltz, Frank, was originally scheduled to witness, but will not be there. Donna Cottage, a niece of Charles Sponhaltz will attend instead.

Palmer requested that his Pastor, Ernie Sandors; his spiritual advisor, Lyle Orr; and his attorney, David Stebbins all witness the execution, as well.

september 20, 2012 http://www.news-register.net

Donald Palmer, 43, was moved from death row in Chillicothe to the single-cell death house in Lucasville for his scheduled execution by lethal injection today. His lawyer, David Stebbins of Columbus, said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to file any other appeals and expects the execution to proceed.

“He has always accepted responsibility for this and wants the families of his victims to have justice,” Stebbins, who plans to be among the witnesses, said.

TEXAS – CLEVE FOSTER – Execution scheduled september 25, 2012 EXECUTED 6.43 p.m.


Cleve Foster, one of the more controversial death row inmates,  is currently up for execution on September 25 in Texas. I say controversial because there are plenty of people who believe Foster is innocent of the crime he’s on death row for.

Foster even has his own website Cleve Foster – Innocent on TX Death Row.

He was found guilty and sentenced to death for the February 13, 2002 abduction, rape,  and murder of 28-year-old Nyanuer “Mary” Pal in Tarrant County, Texas. His partner in crime was Sheldon Ward, who was also sentenced to death. He’s since died of a brain tumor, so one less monster to worry about. One of the main reasons, besides the presence of Foster’s semen in Pal, is that there is substantial proof that these two men committed a similar crime in December 2001 against Rachel Urnosky. The gun used in that murder was also used in Pal’s murder. Both men were convicted of Urnosky’s murder, but never tried. The jurors in Foster’s trial never got to hear about Rachel Urnosky. What are the odds that this man is innocent when he’s linked to TWO similar crimes? Will he receive a fourth stay of execution?

Update septembre 24, 2012

What Cleve Foster remembers most about his recent brushes with death is the steel door, the last one condemned Texas inmates typically walk through before their execution.

‘You can’t take your eyes off that door,’ he says.

But twice over the past year and a half, Foster has come within moments of being escorted through the door, only to be told the U.S. Supreme Court had halted his scheduled punishment.

On Tuesday, Foster, 48, is scheduled for yet another trip to the death house for participating in the abduction and murder of a 30-year-old Sudanese woman, Nyaneur Pal, a decade ago near Fort Worth.

It takes just under an hour to drive west from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit, where the state’s male death-row inmates are housed, to the Huntsville Unit, where condemned Texas prisoners have been put to death for nearly a century. The last 485 have been by lethal injection; the first 361, from 1924 through 1964, from the electric chair.

On execution day, the condemned inmate waits, usually for about four hours, in a tiny cell a few steps from the steel door to the death chamber.

Foster, a former Army recruiter known to his death row colleagues as ‘Sarge,’ denies his role in the murder. Prosecutors say DNA ties him to the killing and that he gave contradictory stories when questioned about Pal’s death.

‘I did not do it,’ he insisted recently from a tiny visiting cage outside death row.

Appeals again were pending in the courts, focusing on what his lawyers argued was poor legal help both at his 2004 trial in Fort Worth and by attorneys early in the appeals process. Similar appeals resulted in the three previous reprieves the courts subsequently have lifted, but his lawyers argue his case should get another look because the legal landscape has changed in death penalty cases.

‘I don’t want to sound vain, but I have confidence in my attorney and confidence in my God,’ he said. ‘I can win either way.’

Pal’s relatives haven’t spoken publicly about their experiences of going to the prison to watch Foster die, only to be told the punishment has been delayed. An uncle previously on the witness list didn’t return a phone call Friday from The Associated Press.

Foster, however, shared his thoughts of going through the mechanics of facing execution in Texas – and living to talk about it.

The process shifts into high gear at noon on the scheduled execution day when a four-hour-long visit with friends or relatives ends at the Polunsky Unit outside Livingston.

‘That last visit, that’s the only thing that bothers me,’ he said. ‘The 12 o’clock-hour hits. A dozen or so guards come to escort you.’

By Foster’s count, it’s 111 steps to the prison gate and an area known as the box cage. That’s where he’s secured to a chair for electronic scrutiny to detect whether he has any metal objects hidden on his body.

It’s the legacy of inmate Ponchai Wilkerson. Wilkerson, asked by the warden if he had a final statement after he was strapped to the death chamber gurney for execution in 2000, defiantly spit out a handcuff key he’d concealed in his mouth.

You’re in handcuffs, you’re chained at the ankles, they give you cloth shoes and you have to shuffle to keep them on,’ he said.

As he waddles the 111 steps, he gets acknowledgement from fellow prisoners who tap on the glass of their cells.

At the prison gate, armed officers stand by as he’s put in a van and secured to a seat for the roughly 45-mile trip to Huntsville that he says feels like a ’90-mph drive.’ There are no side windows in the back of the van where Foster, accompanied by four officers, rides to the oldest prison in Texas. Only the back doors have windows.

‘It’s like stepping back in time, dungeons and dragons,’ he said of entering through two gates at the back of the Huntsville Unit, more commonly known as the Walls Unit because of its 20-foot-high red brick walls.

Prison officials then hustle him into the cell area adjacent to the death chamber.

‘Going inside, it’s a little spooky. You can tell it’s been there a while,’ he said. ‘Everything’s polished, but still it’s real old. You look down the row. History just screams at you.

‘It’s almost like `Hotel California,” he said, referring to the song by The Eagles. ‘You can check out anytime, but you can’t leave.’

Both times he’s been there, most recently last September, he’s been treated ‘like a human being,’ Foster said. Officers look at him but don’t smile, he said.

At one point, he saw someone walk by with a bulging envelope that he assumed contained the lethal injection drugs.

At 4 p.m., during his first trip to the death house in January 2011, he was served a final meal. He’d asked for several items, including chicken.

‘It tasted so good,’ he said. ‘It actually had seasoning on it.’

Two hours later, at the start of a six-hour window when his execution could be carried out, he received the Supreme Court reprieve.

Since then, inmates no longer get to make a final meal request. Procedures were changed after a state lawmaker complained that condemned inmates were taking advantage of the opportunity and that murder victims never get that chance.

Foster was looking forward to nachos and chicken, the same food served to other inmates the day last year that he made his second trip to the death house, but he never received it. Instead, his attorney tearfully brought him news of another Supreme Court reprieve just before dinner time.

He asked for a doggie bag but was refused. He was put back in the van and returned to death row.

‘I’ve already told the chaplain: Take the phone off the hook before 4 o’clock,’ he said, anticipating his next trip Tuesday. ‘I want to get that last meal.’

TEXAS – ROBERT WAYNE HARRIS – Execution scheduled September 20, 2012 EXECUTED 6:43 p.m


Harris expressed love to his brother and three friends who were watching through a window.

“I’m going home. I’m going home,” Harris said. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. God bless, and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers.”

Picture of Offender

last meal: the same meal as all the other inmates.

No. 11-70016.United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

The CCA summarized the facts of Harris’s crime in its opinion on direct appeal:

[Harris] worked at Mi-T-Fine Car Wash for ten months prior to the offense. An armored car picked up cash receipts from the car wash every day except Sunday.

Therefore, [Harris] knew that on Monday morning, the safe would contain cash receipts from the weekend and the cash register would contain $200-$300 for making change.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2000, [Harris] masturbated in front of a female customer. The customer reported the incident to a manager, and a cashier called the police. [Harris] was arrested and fired.

On Sunday, March 19[th], [Harris] spent the day with his friend, Junior Herrera, who sold cars. Herrera was driving a demonstrator car from the lot. Although [Harris] owned his own vehicle, he borrowed Herrera’s that evening. He then went to the home of friend Billy Brooks, who contacted his step-son, Deon Bell, to lend [Harris] a pistol.

On Monday, March 20[th], [Harris] returned to the car wash in the borrowed car at 7:15 a.m., before it opened for business. [Harris] forced the manager, Dennis Lee, assistant manager, Agustin Villaseñor, and cashier, Rhoda Wheeler, into the office. He instructed Wheeler to open the safe, which contained the cash receipts from the weekend. Wheeler complied and gave him the cash. [Harris] then forced all three victims to the floor and shot each of them in the back of the head at close range. He also slit Lee’s throat.

Before [Harris] could leave, three other employees arrived for work unaware of the danger. [Harris] forced them to kneel on the floor of the lobby area and shot each of them in the back of the head from close range. One of the victims survived with permanent disabilities. Shortly there after, a seventh employee, Jason Shields, arrived. Shields noticed the three bodies in the lobby and saw [Harris] standing near the cash register. After a brief exchange in which [Harris] claimed to have discovered the crime scene, pointed out the bodies of the other victims, and pulled a knife from a nearby bookshelf, Shields became nervous and told [Harris] he needed to step outside for fresh air. Shields hurried to a nearby doughnut shop to call authorities. [Harris] followed Shields to the doughnut shop, also spoke to the 911 operator, then fled the scene.

[Harris] returned the vehicle to Herrera and told him that he had discovered some bodies at the car wash. [Harris] then took a taxi to Brooks’s house. At Brooks’s house, he separated the money from the other objects and disposed of the metal lock boxes, a knife, a crowbar, and pieces of a cell phone in a wooded area. [Harris] purchased new clothing, checked into a motel, and sent Brooks to purchase a gold cross necklace for him. Later that afternoon, [Harris] drove to the home of another friend and remained there until the following morning, when he was arrested. Testimony also showed that [Harris] had planned to drive to Florida on Tuesday and kill an old girlfriend

To View the Opinion information, click on the Folder icons. ( from Texas Court)

View Case View Opinion Case Number Date Issued Disposition Opinion Type
View case WR-59,925-02 View Opinion for Case WR-59,925-02 WR-59,925-02 9/5/2012 DISMISS/ORD Other
View case WR-59,925-02 View Opinion for Case WR-59,925-02 WR-59,925-02 9/5/2012 DENIED/ORD Other
View case PD-1019-06 View Opinion for Case PD-1019-06 PD-1019-06 10/17/2007 AFFCOA Original
View case PD-1047-06 View Opinion for Case PD-1047-06 PD-1047-06 10/17/2007 AFFCOA Original
View case AP-75,151 View Opinion for Case AP-75,151 AP-75,151 11/9/2005 RELIEFDENIED Original
View case AP-75,151 View Opinion for Case AP-75,151 AP-75,151 11/9/2005 RELIEFDENIED Concurring
View case WR-59,925-01 View Opinion for Case WR-59,925-01 WR-59,925-01 9/15/2004 HCRDEN/ORDER Original
View case AP-73,787 View Opinion for Case AP-73,787 AP-73,787 5/5/2004 AFFIRM Original

OHIO – Palmer Says, ‘I deserve to die’ – execution scheduled september 20, 2012 at 10 a.m EXECUTED 10.35 A.m.


Update september 19, 2012 http://woub.org

A condemned Ohio man is set to be moved from the state’s death row in Chillicothe to the site of his Thursday execution in Lucasville.

State officials are expected to move Donald Palmer to death row on Wednesday, the day before he is set to be executed by lethal injection for a crime committed 23 years ago.

The 43-year-old was convicted of aggravated murder for fatally shooting two strangers along a Belmont County road on May 8, 1989.
Palmer’s attorney says he hadn’t planned on filing any other appeals and expected the execution to proceed.
Palmer also decided not to request mercy from the Ohio Parole Board, which can recommend clemency for a condemned inmate to the governor.
Including Palmer, 10 Ohio inmates are scheduled for execution through March 2014.

September 16, 2012 http://www.theintelligencer.net

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Donald “Duke” Palmer’s worldly possessions include a television, a radio, hot pot, a lamp and a fan.

He will spend much of this week giving those items to his fellow death row inmates. Palmer is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

During a death row interview last week at Ohio’s Chillicothe Correctional Institution, Palmer, a Martins Ferry native who murdered Charles Sponhaltz and Steven Vargo along Belmont 2 near the Jefferson County line on May 8, 1989, offered regrets for the murders but said he’s ready to die.

“I killed Mr. Sponhaltz and I killed Mr. Vargo and I deserve to die for it,” Palmer, 47, said.

He talked at length during the hour-long interview about his victims and their loved ones but asked that his apologies not be published until after his death.

“I don’t want (my apologies) to be cheapened or be seen as a ploy to somehow stop what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m not trying to forgive my way out of this. I’m not.”

Palmer said he did not ask for clemency because he does not want to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“I mean, either way is a death sentence in prison,” he said. “I don’t want to sit around and wait for forever to come down. I’m just at the end of this. I’m tired. I want it to be known that it’s OK that I am being executed.”

Palmer said he has known his execution date for 14 months.

Asked how he is dealing with knowing the exact date and time he is going to die, Palmer said, “I’ve been dealing with it since day one. I didn’t know that I had more than five years coming. Then 10 years went by. And then 15 years went by. And then 20 years. … By the time 20 years go by, I was ready to die. I’m just ready.”

While confirming that Ohio is not putting an innocent man to death, Palmer said “No” when asked if he received a fair trial.

He said he appealed for a new trial in an effort to get to the truth about what happened.

“They didn’t convict me of the truth,” he said.

“Now, like I said, I killed these two guys. So I know that I deserve to die for this. But, they didn’t convict me of the truth. They convicted me of innuendo. They convicted me of things that didn’t happen. They put on evidence of things that just weren’t true.”

Palmer’s recollection of May 8, 1989, the day of the murders, goes like this: he awoke that morning in Columbus, Ohio, with “the shakes” due to his cocaine addiction. He went to a liquor store with his co-defendant, Eddie Hill, where they purchased a bottle of whiskey. Palmer said he drank 80 to 90 percent of that bottle during the day.

The two drove to Belmont County and eventually made their way to Belmont 2, near the Jefferson County line. There, they encountered Sponhaltz when Hill’s vehicle struck the rear the Sponhaltz’s vehicle.

Hill and Sponhaltz exited their respective vehicles, followed by Palmer who had a gun in his hand. Palmer said he attempted to punch Sponhaltz when the gun went off, striking Sponhaltz in the head. He then shot Sponhaltz once more in the head, killing him.

“Everything happened in a panic and fear and in bad, bad judgment, bad decisions, drunken judgment. I’m an addict, I’m afraid and I’m drunk. And it was just, you know, anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong and I made all the wrong decisions,” Palmer recalled.

Vargo appeared a few minutes later, stopping to see if the men needed help. Palmer also shot him twice in the head.

“Vargo died because he showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Palmer said.

Asked about his lifestyle at the time, Palmer said, “I was a punk, and I was an addict. I was … a broken person. I was messed up because of my divorce. … That’s why I tried to commit suicide on Feb. 6, 1989. … That was my identity. Father. Husband. I got married the week after I turned 18 at the First Christian Church in Martins Ferry. And, this was my life. …

“I didn’t put God first in my life. And I know that’s why my life didn’t work out for me. But when I got divorced it broke me. I ran around and tried to fill a hole inside of me. Everything. Drugs. Sex. Running around. Fast cars. Motorcycles. Living in Florida on the beach and sailing. You name it, I did it. I had no fear of doing anything. And I was living fast and loose and, I don’t know, God wasn’t around then. Not in my life anyway.”

Palmer said he sometimes questions why he lived while Sponhaltz and Vargo died.

“If I had died, Sponhaltz and Vargo wouldn’t have been killed just a few months later,” he said, referring to his failed suicide attempt. “So it made me question why would God do that? Why would he let me live and these two die to go all the way to this point? But I did find an answer to the question. And the answer was because I didn’t put God first in my life. … People don’t understand when I say it but I thank God for death row. For putting me here. Because if he didn’t put me here, I would have died in my sins. … But now, I know that I’m saved. I know that I’m going to be fine. Every single one of us has a date.”

Palmer said he is a graduate of Martins Ferry High School. He said he worked for a time in construction in Charlotte County, Fla.

As for  Hill,Palmer filed an affidavit with the Ohio Parole Board maintaining that Hill didn’t have anything to do with the murders of Vargo and Sponhaltz. Hill currently is serving lengthy prison sentences for his role in the murders.

Hill “didn’t kill anybody. He couldn’t have stopped me from killing anybody. He didn’t know that I was going to kill anybody. He wrecked the car. He was drinking and driving and wrecked the car. That’s the only crime he committed before the murders,” Palmer said. “I shot Sponhaltz. Eddie ran and jumped down over the side of the road. Didn’t even see Vargo get shot. But, he got 30 to life on Vargo and only 15 to life on Sponhaltz. … I feel really bad that I got this man doing a life sentence.”

Aside from the possessions he will give to fellow inmates, Palmer said he has a few treasured items.

“The only things that mean anything to me are my pictures of my kids and my artwork and my Bibles. That’s it,” he said.

Palmer also said he misses his hometown of Martins Ferry, where he spent his childhood.

“I loved Martins Ferry,” he said. “I loved waking up every morning right across from Nickles Bakery and smelling that bread baking. I could see the Ohio River every morning. I’d see the northern tip of the Island. You could literally walk right down over the hill and go fishing. Every day, I’d sit there and look at Wheeling.

“I miss those things. I remember the train bridge before it was gone. I used to walk across it. Go play on it. Jump off of it. Do all kind of weird things. It’s like Tom Sawyer but not quite, you know. … But I miss that place. That is home to me.”

Palmer said executions should be more public.

“If you have a law on the books, especially when it comes to punishment, if this is what you agree to, as citizens you need to take responsibility for what’s being done in your name,” he said. “I’m not saying there should be public executions. I’m saying that it should be more open. The public should know that it’s being done in their name. They should know that their representatives are the ones who are killing. My blood is on their hands.

“I think the death penalty should be on the ballot every year because if you’re going to kill people, you need to take responsibility for what’s being done. Period. Show me where it’s a deterrent. It’s going to deter me from ever doing it again. But, how is that going to deter the 24-year-old punk that’s out there now?”

Asked what he would say to death penalty protesters who may be outside of the prison during his execution, he said, “Nothing. They’re going to have to work that out for themselves.”

Palmer said there is some irony in his execution date because his mother died on the same date in 2003.

“I’m going to be executed the same date as my mom died,” he said. “My clemency hearing (Aug. 16, 2012) was the same date my son died, Aug. 16, 2005.”

Palmer will be moved from death row in Chillicothe to Lucasville 24 hours before his scheduled execution.

He will visit with his son and daughter on the night prior to the execution but he does not want them to witness it. His attorney, pastor and a penal chaplain will serve as witnesses in his behalf.

As the interview concluded, Palmer offered these final words: “I apologize and I hope that when it comes time for them to find peace that they will seek the Lord Jesus because there is peace there.”

UPCOMING – EXECUTIONS – SEPTEMBER 2012


Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

Pennsylvania execution dates and stays are generally not listed because the state routinely sets execution dates before all appeals have been exhausted.

September
09/15/2012

Rodney Berget

South Dakota

 Stayed
09/13/2012

Michael Travaglia

Pennsylvania

 Stayed

09/20/2012

Donald Palmer

Ohio

 Executed   10.35 a.m

09/20/2012

09/25/2012

Robert Harris

Cleve Foster

Texas

Texas

 ExecutedExecuted   06.43 p.m.

6.43 p.m