LOUISIANA Execution

Executions on hold for at least a year as Louisiana sorts out death penalty method


June 24, 2015

Executions in Louisiana are on hold for at least a year because the state doesn’t have the drugs needed to put inmates to death, according to a court filing and a lawyer for a convicted child-killer.
Lawyers for Christopher Sepulvado and the state Department of Corrections were supposed to be in federal court Thursday to schedule a trial on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s method of execution.
Instead, a federal judge on Tuesday delayed the trial and Sepulvado’s execution – as well as 4 others on death row – until July 2016 as Louisiana tries to figure out how it can carry out the death penalty.
This is the 2nd time in a year that the state has asked to delay the trial.
States around the country have struggled to execute prisoners because of shortages of lethal injection drugs. In a few cases, it’s taken an unusually long time for inmates to die from new drug combinations.
In the motion to delay the hearing, Department of Corrections attorney James Hilburn wrote that “it would be a waste of resources and time to litigate this matter at present” because the facts in the case are changing. He wrote that he expects those issues to be “more settled” by July 2016.
Hilburn declined to elaborate on the reasons for the delay.
Louisiana’s current death-penalty protocol calls for a mix of hydromorphone and midazolam, the same drugs used last summer during an Arizona execution that took nearly 2 hours to complete. Louisiana’s last known supplies of the drugs expired earlier this year.
Mercedes Montagnes, a lawyer for Sepulvado, said the state “came to us after they were unable to locate any legal source for lethal injection drugs and asked for another year to come up with a new method of execution or source of drugs.”
Sepulvado, who was convicted of beating his stepson with a screwdriver and then submerging his body in scalding water, has delayed his execution several times in the past 2 years.
In his lawsuit, he argues that the state’s execution method violates his constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
As part of that lawsuit, Sepulvado has sought to learn the exact procedure Louisiana will use to put him to death. The state has fought such disclosures in court and in response to public-records requests filed by The Lens.
Meanwhile, Louisiana corrections officials have gotten more creative in getting their hands on execution drugs and have considered new ways to carry out the death penalty.
In January 2014, as Sepulvado’s last execution date approached, the Louisiana Department of Corrections turned to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for one of the 2 drugs it needed to execute him.
According to a hospital spokesman, the state lied to the Lake Charles pharmacist, saying the hydromorphone was for “a medical patient” rather than a prisoner on death row.
“At no time was Memorial told the drug would be used for an execution,” spokesman Matt Felder said at the time.
The state considered getting another drug from an out-of-state compounding pharmacy not licensed in Louisiana, which would have been illegal.
In 2014, the Legislature considered reinstating electrocution. It’s been outlawed since 1991.
At the request of Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc, the bill was changed to drop electrocution and instead conceal details about executions, including the source of execution drugs. It was never passed.
Other states, including Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma, have passed such secrecy laws.
In February, Louisiana corrections officials asked legislators to allow them to use nitrogen, which has never been tried in the U.S. No bill was introduced.
Death-penalty opponents have responded to drawn-out executions around the country by calling execution methods “experimental.”
Last year, a prisoner in Oklahoma tried to rise from the gurney after his injections began. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of that state’s execution method.
That execution used midazolam, 1 of the 2 drugs called for by Louisiana. It prompted Louisiana officials to say they would reconsider the drug.
The state has not said what method it would use instead.
“Obviously whatever plan the state comes up with will have to be evaluated by the court for its constitutionality,” Montagnes said.
Other death-row inmates who won stays of execution with Tuesday’s ruling are:
–Jesse Hoffman, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for kidnapping, raping and fatally shooting Covington resident Mary “Molly” Elliot in 1996
–Bobby Hampton, who was convicted of robbing a liquor store in Shreveport and causing the death of employee Philip Russel Coleman in 1995
–Nathaniel Code, a Shreveport man convicted of four killings between 1984 and 1987
–Kevan Brumfield, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the 1993 murder of Baton Rouge police officer Betty Smothers
Of the 5, only Sepulvado has been given an execution date.
Lawyers are set to meet July 11, 2016, to set a new trial date in his lawsuit.
Source: The Lens, June 24, 2015

 

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LOUISIANA – Child killer’s formal death sentencing set May 28 – Brian Horn


april 9, 2014

MANSFIELD — Recently convicted child killer Brian Horn will be formally sentenced to death at 9 a.m. May 28.

District Judge Robert Burgess set the sentencing date Wednesday. It falls a few days after the 45-day window he initially envisioned Saturday after a jury voted unanimously to sentence Horn to death.

Even though the sentence is a given because of the jury vote, Burgess said he is required by the Louisiana Supreme Court to prepare a uniform capital sentence report. It likely will be dozens of pages in length to give a comprehensive overview of Horn and aspects of his trial.

For example, the report will include information such as the makeup of Horn’s family, his education level, any expert witnesses who testified at the penalty phase, work history, criminal history, details of the crime and victim, acknowledgment of the defense counsel and their years of experience and general information about the trial, including jury selection.

Also added will be a listing of previous first-degree murder cases, not restricted to capital cases, on dockets of the 42nd Judicial District, formerly the 11th Judicial District.

“It is a lot of work. It not only includes the name of the case but the facts of the case,” Burgess said.

Additionally, the sentencing order requires the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ Division of Probation and Parole to perform a complete capital sentence investigation report, with that information attached to Burgess’ report.

Horn, 37, of Keachi was convicted April 2 of first-degree murder in the March 30, 2010 death of Justin M. Bloxom, 12, of Stonewall. The twice-convicted sex offender used text messages, portraying himself as a teenage girl, to lure Bloxom away from a friend’s home.

Horn picked up Bloxom in his Action Taxi cab. He ran out of gas on U.S. Highway 171 near Stonewall’s southern limits. And that’s where he smothered Bloxom to death, leaving his body in a small depression of water across the highway fence row.

Horn’s defense team conceded his guilt from the start. However, they contended Bloxom’s death was accidental so they asked for a lesser sentence – one that would have sent Horn to prison for life.

The jury of East Baton Rouge Parish residents took less than an hour to convict Horn after listening to three and a half days of testimony. That moved the trial into the penalty phase, and after two and a half days of additional testimony, the same jury again was again on the same page in deciding Horn should die for the crime.

During the penalty phase, members of Bloxom’s family were able to express to the jury how devastating his death has been for them. At the sentencing, family members will be able to address Horn directly.

Us – EXECUTIONS 2014 (UPDATE)


Last updated on March 20, 2014
(Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals.)

 

 

Month

State

Inmate

March

 

 

19

OH

Gregory Lott – Stayed

20

FL

Robert Henry EXECUTED

20

OK

Clayton Lockett – EXECUTED (APRIL 29)

26

MO

Jeffrey Ferguson EXECUTED

26

MS

Charles Crawford Stayed as execution date had not been affirmed by state court.

27

OK

Charles Warner – Update – stay was lifted and rescheduled for April 29.

27

TX

Anthony Doyle EXECUTED

27

MS

Michelle Byrom STAYED

April

 

 

3

TX

Tommy Sells EXECUTED

9

TX

Ramiro Hernandez (Foreign National) EXECUTED

16

TX

Jose Villegas EXECUTED

16

PA

Stephen Edmiston – STAYED

22

TN

Nikolus Johnson STAYED

23

FL

Robert Hendrix EXECUTED

May

 

 

13

TX

Robert Campbell

21

TX

Robert Pruett

28

OH

Arthur Tyler

29

TX

Edgardo Cubas (Foreign National) – STAYED

August

 

 

6

OH

William Montgomery

October

 

 

7

TN

Billy Irick

15

OH

Raymond Tibbetts

November

 

 

26

IN

William Gibson – STAY LIKELY

December

 

 

9

TN

Ed Zagorski

LOUSIANA – Upcoming execution Christopher Sepulvado-February 5,2014 STAYED


UPDATE FEBRUARY 3. 2014  from Helen Prejean
We’ve just received the news that Christopher Sepulvado’s execution will not proceed on Wednesday. Instead, a trial on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s hastily change execution protocol will take place on April 7. The vigil scheduled for tomorrow has also been cancelled. This is good news, at least for the moment, and more great work by the lawyers.
SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA

NO. 93-KA-2692
FACTS
On Thursday, March 5, 1992, defendant married the victim’s mother, Yvonne. The next day,Friday, the victim came home from school, having defecated in his pants. Yvonne spanked him and refused to give him supper. Defendant returned home from work at approximately 9:00 p.m. That night, the victim was not allowed to change his clothes and was made to sleep on a trunk at the foot of his bed. On Saturday, the victim was not allowed to eat and was again made to sleep on the trunk in his soiled clothes.
At around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, defendant and the victim were in the bathroom, preparing to attend church services. Defendant instructed the victim to wash out his soiled underwear in the toilet and then take a bath. When the victim hesitated to do so,defendant hit him over the head with the handle of a screwdriver several times with enough force to render him unconscious.
There after, the victim was immersed in the bathtub which was filled with scalding hot water.
Approximately three hours later, at around 1:50 p.m.,defendant and his wife brought the victim to the emergency room at the hospital. At that time the victim was not breathing, had no pulse, and probably had been dead for approximately thirty to sixty minutes. All attempts to revive the victim were futile. The cause of death was attributed to the scald burns covering 60% of the victim’s body, primarily on his backside. There were third degree burns over 58% of the body and second degree burns on the remaining 2%.
The scalding was so severe that the victim’s skin had been burned away. In addition to the burns, medical examination revealed that the victim had been severely beaten. The victim’s
scalp had separated from his skull due to hemorrhaging and bruising. Also, there were deep bruises on the victim’s buttocks.
full opinion click here

UPCOMING – Executions – AUGUST 2012


July 18, 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.

August

08.01.12

Marcus Druery

Texas

 Stayed  
08.03.12

Michael Tisius

Missouri

Stay likely  
08.07.12

Wilson Marvin

Texas

 Executed   6:27 p.m
08.08.12

Daniel Wayne Cook

Arizona

 Executed  11:03 a.m
08/14/2012

 Michael Edward Hooper

Oklahoma

 Executed   6:14 p.m
08/15/2102

Jason Reeves

Louisania

 Stayed
08/22/2012

John Balentine

Texas

 Stayed  

LOUISIANA – Todd Wessinger – Execution May 9 – Stayed


april 25 source : http://www.ktbs.com

BATON ROUGE, La. –

A federal judge in Baton Rouge has granted a temporary stay of execution for a man convicted in the 1995 slaying of two workers at a now-closed restaurant.
The Advocate reports Todd Wessinger was scheduled to be executed May 9 but U.S. District Judge James Brady granted the stay while he reviews arguments presented Wednesday by his attorneys, who asked for a permanent stay of the death penalty order.
Brady did not say when he would rule on the request.
Wessinger, a former dishwasher at a now-closed Calendar’s restaurant, was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for fatally shooting 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwell on Nov. 19, 1995

LOUISIANA – Todd Wessinger – execution may 9, 2012 STAYED


Update 25 april source : http://www.ktbs.com

BATON ROUGE, La.

A federal judge in Baton Rouge has granted a temporary stay of execution for a man convicted in the 1995 slaying of two workers at a now-closed restaurant.
The Advocate reports Todd Wessinger was scheduled to be executed May 9 but U.S. District Judge James Brady granted the stay while he reviews arguments presented Wednesday by his attorneys, who asked for a permanent stay of the death penalty order.
Brady did not say when he would rule on the request.
Wessinger, a former dishwasher at a now-closed Calendar’s restaurant, was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for fatally shooting 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwell on Nov. 19, 1995.

 

acts from The Supreme court Louisiana

This case arises from the murder of two employees of Calendar’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge on Sunday, November 19, 1995, at approximately 9:30 a.m. The evidence shows that defendant, a former employee at Calendar’s, rode his bicycle tothe restaurant that morning armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol. Mike Armentor, a bartender at the restaurant, saw defendant just outside of the restaurant, and they exchanged greetings. Immediately after entering the restaurant through a rear door, defendant shot Armentor twice inthe back. Although Armentor sustained severe abdominal injuries, he survived. Defendant then tried to shoot Alvin Ricks, a dishwasher, in the head, but the gun would not fire. As Ricks ran out of the restaurant, defendant attempted to shoot him in the leg, but the gun misfired. As he was running across the street to call 911, Ricks told Willie Grigsby, another employee of the restaurant who escaped the restaurant without being seen by defendant, that he had seen the perpetrator, and the perpetrator was Todd. Ricks also told the 911 operator that the perpetrator was Todd.

Stephanie Guzzardo, the manager on duty that morning, heard the commotion and called 911. Before she could speak to the operator, defendant entered the office, armed with the gun.  After a short exchange with Guzzardo, in which she begged for her life, defendant, after telling her to “shut up,” shot her through the heart. Guzzardo died approximately thirty seconds after being shot. Defendant then removed approximately $7000 from the office. Defendant next found David Breakwell, a cook at the restaurant who had been hiding in a cooler, and shot him as he begged for his life. Defendant then left the restaurant on his bicycle. EMS personnel arrived at the scene shortly there after, and Breakwell died en route to the hospital.

Defendant was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder. Testimony adduced at trial established that defendant had asked one of his friends to commit the robbery with him, and that he planned to leave no witnesses to the crime. Several people also testified that they had seen the defendant with large sums of money after the crime. The murderweapon was subsequently discovered, along with a pair of gloves worn during the crime, at an abandoned house across the street from defendant’s residence. One of defendant’s friends testified that defendant had asked him to remove the murder weapon from the abandoned house.
Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Breakwell and Guzzardo and sentenced to death. The jury found three aggravating circumstances:

(1) that defendant was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated burglary orarmed robbery;

(2) that defendant knowingly created a risk of death or great bodily harm to more
than one person; and

(3) the offense was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner.

read full opinion

Update april 12, 2012  source :http://www.therepublic.com

Attorneys for convicted killer Todd Wessinger, who is scheduled to be executed May 9 for the 1995 slaying of two workers at a now-closed Baton Rouge restaurant, has asked a federal judge to reconsider his recent denial of a new trial or sentencing.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/HDLBlg ) Todd Wessinger’s attorneys also asked that his execution be stayed.

Wessinger’s attorneys want U.S. District Judge James Brady to hold an evidentiary hearing on Wessinger’s federal constitutional claims. The attorneys argued that Brady issued his ruling Feb. 22 without ever holding such a hearing.

Wessinger, a former dishwasher at the restaurant, was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for fatally shooting 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwel on Nov. 19, 1995.

“This Court’s actions throughout these proceedings led Mr. Wessinger to believe that evidentiary hearings would take place,” Wessinger’s current attorneys — Danalynn Recer, of The Gulf Region Advocacy Center in Houston; Soren Gisleson, of New Orleans; and federal public defender Rebecca Hudsmith, of Lafayette — contend in court filings.

Those attorneys electronically filed a motion Tuesday in federal court in Baton Rouge to alter or amend Brady’s judgment. A supporting memorandum was electronically filed Wednesday.

In February, Brady rejected a dozen claims raised by the Wessinger, 44, including allegation that his trial attorneys provided ineffective assistance during jury selection and the guilt and penalty phases of his 1997 trial in Baton Rouge.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Wednesday he believes the judge’s decision “was sound and based on the facts presented by the record.”

“It seems that the defense is arguing that everyone involved in this case did something wrong, including the defense lawyers, experts and the court — that is everyone but the defendant, who committed a particularly brutal murder,” Moore stated.

“I hope that the execution date will remain intact although I anticipate more filings on behalf of the defendant to upset the carrying out of the jury’s verdict,” he added.

Brady, who described the state’s evidence against Wessinger in the guilt phase as “overwhelming,” said in his ruling that Wessinger faults his attorneys’ penalty phase preparation for not probing further into his childhood and upbringing.

Wessinger contends such an investigation would have led to evidence of a physically and mentally abusive childhood, possible mental defects and an alienation from society that led him to believe he did not belong.

Brady ruled that Wessinger is not attacking the quality or thoroughness of the investigation but “does not like the way his story was spun for the jury.”

“This is a clear factual error inconsistent with the record which must be revisited,” Wessinger’s attorneys argue in their memorandum.

“At penalty phase, trial counsel generally painted a rosy picture of Mr. Wessinger as ‘a caring and present father, a brother who cared for his handicapped sister growing up, and a hard worker from a stable family.’ Because trial counsel had not hired a mitigation specialist nor conducted any independent life history investigation, the presentation was an incomplete and inaccurate view of Mr. Wessinger,” his current attorneys maintain.

“It is not the case, as this court suggests, that trial counsel conducted the investigation and made strategic choices about what to present,” Wessinger’s attorneys add.

Upcoming – Executions – May 2012


Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

May

5/1/2012

Michael Selsor

Oklahoma

       Executed  6:06 p.m

5/2/2012

Anthony Bartee

Texas

           Stay

5/9/2012

Todd Wessinger

Louisiana

           Stay

5.13.2012

Eric Robert

South Dakota

           Stay

5/16/2012

Steven Staley

Texas

STAY

5/16/2012

Samuel Villegas Lopez

Arizona

            STAY  june 27