UPCOMING EXECUTIONS 2012

US – UPCOMING EXECUTIONS – DECEMBER 2012


November 17, 2012 

Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

December
12.04.12 George Ochoa Oklahoma  executed
12.11.2012 Roy Ward Indiana Stay likely
 12.11.2012 Manuel Pardo Florida  executed
 12.12.2012 Rigoberto Avila  Texas Changed to 4/10/2013
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‘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

TEXAS – Execution – Donnie Lee Roberts – 31/10/2012 – EXECUTED 6.39 p.m


“I’m really sorry. I never meant to cause you all so much pain,” Roberts said to Bowen’s father, who was seated in a chair close to a glass window in the death chamber viewing area. “I hope you can go on with your life.

“I loved your daughter. I hope to God he lets me see her in heaven so I can apologize to her and see her and tell her.”

Roberts also asked two of his friends who watched through another window to tell his own daughter he loved her.

He repeated that he was sorry and took several deep breaths as the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect. He snored briefly before slipping into unconsciousness, and was pronounced dead 23 minutes later.

Last Meal: Same shit salad being fed to every other thug on the row that day

October 30, 2012  http://www.beaumontenterprise.com

This handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Donnie Roberts. Roberts, a Louisiana parole violator, is set to die Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, for killing his girlfriend Vicki Bowen at her home in Lake Livingston, Texas, in October 2003. Photo:  Texas Department Of Public Safety / AP

HUNTSVILLE, Texas  — Donnie Lee Roberts, convicted in his girlfriend’s 2003 slaying, was taken from his death row cell Wednesday and moved to the Texas prison where executions are carried out, one of the final steps before his scheduled lethal injection.

After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Roberts’ case earlier this week, no additional appeals were filed to try to block his execution, which will be the 12th this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state.

Roberts, now 41, is being put to death for fatally shooting Vicki Bowen and taking items from her East Texas home to sell or trade to support his drug habit. At the time of his arrest for the October 2003 killing, Roberts had violated his probation for a robbery conviction in Louisiana by fleeing to Texas after dropping out of a drug treatment program.

Authorities said he apparently met Bowen, 44, a dental assistant, at a bar and moved in with her at her home on Lake Livingston, about 75 miles northeast of Houston. Their relationship soured because Roberts wasn’t working and was abusing drugs and alcohol, investigators said, and he shot Bowen after she refused his demand for money.

Roberts was arrested at a suspected crack house in Livingston when a truck missing from Bowen’s home was spotted there the same day Bowen’s body was discovered.

“He was cooperative and confessed several times,” District Attorney Lee Hon said. “He was saying he wanted the death penalty.”

Roberts told authorities he made several trips from the house where Bowen was shot, collecting property that he took into town to sell and trade for crack.

He also surprised detectives by confessing to the shotgun death of a man a decade earlier in Natchitoches Parish, La. Louisiana authorities initially believed the victim, Al Crow, had died of asphyxiation in a fire at the camper trailer where he was living but reopened the case following Roberts’ disclosure, found shotgun pellets and determined it was a homicide.

Roberts was charged with murder but not tried for Crow’s death.

Stephen Taylor, one of Roberts’ lawyers at his Texas capital murder trial, said the confessions complicated his trial defense.

“It’s almost like somebody saying he was a serial killer, that he’s killed before and he killed again,” Taylor said. “It’s one thing to say you have the right to remain silent. Use it!

“It’s always sad for someone to lose his life, especially for something so stupid.”

Bowen didn’t show up for work on Oct. 16, 2003, and a co-worker who went to check on her found her body wrapped in a blanket and lying in a pool of blood. A medical examiner determined Bowen was killed with two gunshots to her head.

Roberts took the witness stand and tried to blame Bowen for the gunfire, saying he was acting in self-defense by grabbing a .22-caliber rifle after seeing her reach down inside a couch to locate a pistol that was kept there.

“The jury obviously disagreed,” Hon said.

Evidence at trial showed Roberts had a record for battery while being held in jail in Fulton County, Ga., that he’d threatened his wife to give him money for drugs, and that he demanded a single-person cell in Polk County when he was jailed for Bowen’s murder or there would be another killing.

His robbery conviction in Louisiana was for a Mother’s Day 2001 convenience store holdup in Baton Rouge, La., where the knife-wielding Roberts threatened to slice the throat of the female clerk.

“He was a bad dude, pretty violent,” Hon said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit, where the state’s male death row is housed, has been Roberts’ home since his capital murder conviction in 2004. The unit is just outside Livingston and not far from where Bowen was killed.

On Wednesday, Roberts was moved about 45 miles west to the Huntsville Unit prison, where he is to be executed.

Three more Texas prisoners are set to die in November, including one next week.

SOUTH DAKOTA – EXECUTION DONALD MOELLER, 10/30/2012 EXECUTED 10.24 P.M


Before being given a lethal injection at a South Dakota penitentiary, Moeller, 60, was asked if he had any last words.

‘No sir,’ he said, then added: ‘They’re my fan club?’

Donald Moeller, 60, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls, marking South Dakota’s second execution this month in an unusual surge for a state that has carried out just two other death sentences since 1913. He was pronounced dead at 10:24 p.m.

last meal Tuesday of scrambled eggs, link sausage, tater tots and drip coffee.

OCTOBER 30,2012 http://www.chicagotribune.com

This frame grab provided by KELO-TV shows convicted killer Donald Moeller during a court appearance in Sioux Falls, S.D., Wednesday, July 18, 2012.  Ronal Moeller  Taken: Becky O'Connell was in the fourth grade when she set out to walk a few blocks from home to buy sugar to make lemonade, but never returnedBecky O’Connell

(Reuters) – A man convicted of raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl after kidnapping her from a convenience store in 1990 is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday night in South Dakota, the state’s second execution this month.

Donald Moeller, 60, who had declared his innocence and fought for two decades to prevent his execution, admitted during a court hearing in early October that he had committed the crime and stopped appeals that would further delay his death sentence from being carried out.

His execution is scheduled for 10 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday at the state prison in Sioux Falls.

According to court records, Moeller abducted Becky O’Connell from a Sioux Falls convenience store where she had gone to buy candy and repeatedly raped and stabbed her. Her body was found in a wooded area the next morning with extensive knife wounds.

Moeller was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in 1992, but was granted a new trial after the state Supreme Court ruled that testimony of previous attempted sexual assaults on three other people should not have been permitted.

Moeller was convicted and sentenced to death again in 1997. He continued appeals until recent weeks but at a federal court hearing in early October he admitted the crimes.

“If the rape and murder of Rebecca O’Connell does not deserve the death penalty, then I guess nothing does,” Moeller told the judge, according to court records.

Executions have been rare in South Dakota. Before this year, the state had put to death only two inmates since 1913. On Oct 15, it executed Eric Robert on October 15 for the killing of prison guard Ron Johnson during a failed escape attempt.

If Moeller’s lethal injection is carried out on Tuesday, he will be the 34th inmate executed in the United States in 2012, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

TEXAS – A Death Row Struggle Between Advocates and Lawyers – Preston Hughes III


October 25, 2012 Texas Tribune

LIVINGSTON — Preston Hughes III, a death row inmate, is 46 but seems much older, with white hair, thick glasses and a quiet, slow voice that rises only when the subject of his lawyer comes up.

Mr. Hughes, convicted in 1989 of fatally stabbing two young people, has tried multiple times to dismiss his court-appointed lawyer, Patrick McCann. He said that Mr. McCann, who has been his lawyer for 14 years, had not raised his claims of innocence and is “helping the state cover this up.”

Mr. McCann says he cannot comment on why he will not pursue these claims, which were not introduced in Mr. Hughes’s original trial. But Texas and federal law set a high burden of proof for new claims of “actual innocence” so late in the judicial process, a bar that Mr. McCann said was “almost impossible” to meet.

Mr. Hughes, who says he did not commit the murders, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 15. He says all of his lawyers have failed him. “They just want to do things on their own,” he said recently from death row in Livingston.

While Mr. McCann is suing the state over lethal injection procedures, arguing that prison officials would be “experimenting” on his client, a handful of advocates are publicizing what they believe is new evidence of Mr. Hughes’s innocence.

The advocates, who do not have legal training, are campaigning for Mr. Hughes’s exoneration and supporting his efforts to have Mr. McCann fired.

The issue of advocates’ doubting the work of lawyers is common in death penalty cases, especially as an execution date nears.

“Once the lawyers do the spadework, a lot of people want to come in,” said Jeff Blackburn, a lawyer who runs the Innocence Project of Texas, “and they don’t understand that we’re limited with the art of the possible here.” He called Mr. McCann a “great lawyer.”

The official facts of the crime, on their face, pointed directly to Mr. Hughes. On the night of Sept. 26, 1988, Shandra Charles, 15, and her cousin Marcell Taylor, 3, were fatallystabbed in a Houston field. A police sergeant reported that before she died, Ms. Charles identified the name “Preston” and said, “He tried to rape me.”

Detectives located Mr. Hughes in a nearby apartment complex. Investigators found evidence of blood on his clothing and a knife in his apartment, as well as Ms. Charles’s eyeglasses on his couch. Mr. Hughes, who said the glasses were planted, confessed to the murder during the investigation but then denied involvement during the trial. No biological evidence tied him directly to the crime.

Convicted and sentenced to death in 1989, Mr. Hughes had multiple appeals rejected. Then, this year, several unlikely advocates became interested.

John Allen, 64, a retired engineer in California, writes a blog called The Skeptical Juror. With the help of Barbara Lunsford, an accountant in Corpus Christi, and Ward Larkin, an activist from Houston, he has spent nine months and more than 100,000 words delvinginto the forensic and legal details of Mr. Hughes’s case. None of the three are affiliated with an official organization, and while Mr. Allen has written about other convictions in the past, he said he had stopped looking at other cases for now.

After reviewing documents related to the trial, appeals and evidence, he deduced that Ms. Charles must have lost brain function within two minutes, and she could not have told the police the name of her attacker. “This is a seemingly overwhelming case” of innocence, Mr. Allen said, adding that he also believed that the victim’s glasses were planted in the apartment, based on his review of crime scene photographs.

In September, Mr. McCann said he had never heard of Mr. Allen’s investigation. This week, he said Mr. Allen “sounds like a very sincere man who is attempting to right a wrong.”

“Like in fantasy football,” he said, “I think lots of people are happy to offer thought without skin in the game.”

As for Mr. Hughes’s petitions to have him replaced, Mr. McCann said he thought they were the product of desperation. “When a person is drowning,” he said, “they sometimes try to fight the guy holding a life preserver.”

Mr. McCann agreed that Ms. Charles would have “been unconscious in a matter of seconds based on the blood loss,” and so she could not have said Mr. Hughes’s name to the police. Despite being troubled by this evidence, he is not filing a claim of innocence.

“I find myself in an odd position,” he said, “because I’m ethically bound not to advance a claim I think is false.”

Mr. Allen learned about the case while investigating the work of James Bolding, the head of blood analysis for the Houston Police Department’s crime lab at the time, who testified at Mr. Hughes’s 1989 trial. Mr. Bolding tested for blood on Mr. Hughes’s knife while he was in the courtroom. Mr. Hughes said the blood came from a rabbit he had killed months before.

Judge George Godwin said at the time that he found the “cavalier attitude and lackadaisical attitude of doing tests right while we’ve got a jury waiting to come in and hear testimony unacceptable.” He nevertheless ruled that the testimony was permissible.

Mr. Hughes said he trusted Mr. Allen more than his lawyer, Mr. McCann. In September, Mr. Hughes filed a petition to have Mr. McCann replaced, and a court rejected it.

Mr. McCann plans to follow the case to the end. In September, he sued the Texas prison system, saying that by using a single drug for the execution, as a result of a recent policy change, officials would be experimenting on his client. The Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’ highest criminal court, has ordered the civil court overseeing the case not to stay Mr. Hughes’s execution.

Mr. McCann does not know when the court will rule. “The unfortunate timing of this is it’s before a contested election,” he said.

Murray Newman, a Houston defense lawyer, said he believed Mr. McCann was doing his best and cared about Mr. Hughes. “He works so hard on these cases. It’s like losing a family member,” Mr. Newman said.

From death row, Mr. Hughes sees it differently, as he plays basketball during his hour of recreation every day, eats food he calls “pitiful” and learns about court decisions from a small, black radio.

 

“We don’t like each other,” he said of Mr. McCann. “I don’t feel somebody who doesn’t like me is going to do anything for me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPCOMING EXECUTIONS – NOVEMBER 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.

NOVEMBER 16 , 2012  

November    
11.06.12 Garry Allen Oklahoma  EXECUTED  6.10 p.m
11.08.12 Mario Swain Texas  EXECUTED  6.39 p.m
11/08.2012 Hubert Michael Pennsylvania STAY                                                                                                                      
11/13/2012 Brett Hartman Ohio EXECUTED  10.34 a.m 
11/14/2012 Ramon Hernandez Texas EXECUTED  6.38 p.m
11/15/2012 Preston hughes Texas  EXECUTED  7.52 p.m

Federal appeals court denies insanity plea for Okla. death row inmate – GARRY ALLEN THOMAS- EXECUTED 6.10 P.M


October 18, 2012

 A federal appeals court has refused to halt the execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate who claims he is insane. 

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the ruling Thursday in the case of 56-year-old Garry Thomas Allen.

Allen is scheduled for lethal injection Nov. 6. Allen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the November 1986 shooting death of his fiancee, 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, outside a children’s day care center in Oklahoma City.

Last month, a federal judge rejected Allen’s request for a hearing on his claim that he is mentally incompetent and ineligible for the death penalty. Allen’s defense attorney, Randy Bauman of the Federal Public Defender’s Office, declined to comment on the appellate court’s decision.

  • Garry T. Allen  Execution Date: February 16, 2012 – Stay Issued Until March 17, 2012 , again delayed  april 12 STAYED

BACKGROUND

I write here the summary of this case, march to april 2012 if u dont know this case 

Summary of Offense:

Allen pleaded guilty in the 1986 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Gail Titsworth in Oklahoma County. He was convicted in 1987. Titsworth had broken off the relationship with Allen three days before the killing and had sought a protective order. She was picking up her two sons at a child-care center when Allen shot her four times. He then struggled with a police officer and was shot in the head. Allen spent months in mental hospitals after his arrest to be treated for depression and his head injury. He was deemed competent at a 1987 hearing but won a new competency hearing in 1997 after the Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma’s competency standards were too high. In the subsequent hearing, Allen was again ruled competent.

april 11, 2012 BREAKING NEWS 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A federal judge in Oklahoma City has stayed the execution of an inmate who was diagnosed with schizophrenia but found sane by a jury that considered whether he was eligible for the death penalty.

Fifty-six-year-old Garry Allen is scheduled to die by injection on Thursday. Allen pleaded guilty to capital murder after being shot in the head during his November 1986 arrest. He killed 24-year-old Gail Titsworth, with whom he had children, outside a daycare where she had picked up her sons days after she moved away from Allen. An officer shot Allen after he tried to shoot the officer.

In 2005, the state Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to commute Allen’s sentence to life in prison, but Gov. Mary Fallin had decided to allow the execution to proceed.

april 10, 2012 source http://muskogeephoenix.com

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Members of an anti-death penalty group said Monday they have little hope that Gov. Mary Fallin will commute the death sentence of an Oklahoma inmate scheduled to be executed Thursday.

Three members of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty met with Fallin’s general counsel, Steve Mullins, to urge the governor to reverse her decision to deny clemency for Garry Thomas Allen, 56.

Allen’s attorneys contend he was mentally impaired when he killed 24-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, the mother of his two children, on Nov. 21, 1986, in Oklahoma City. They say he had been self-medicating for an underlying mental illness, and that his mental condition had worsened.

Coalition board member James T. Rowan said the group does not expect Fallin to change her mind about clemency. He said Mullins indicated during the meeting that Allen’s clemency request “was a close case.”

“I’m satisfied that the governor has gone through an exhausting process,” Rowan said.

A spokesman for Fallin, Alex Weintz, confirmed the group met with Mullins and discussed Allen’s case. Weintz said Fallin appreciated their input but that there was no change in the status of the case.

“The execution is still scheduled for Thursday,” Weintz said.

Fallin denied clemency for Allen on March 13, but the coalition asked her to reconsider based on the state Pardon and Parole Board’s 4-1 recommendation in 2005 that Allen’s death penalty on a first-degree murder conviction be commuted to like in prison.

“That is a very exceptional factor,” said Rex Friend, another coalition board member.

Allen was shot in the face during a struggle with police after Titsworth’s shooting death and his attorneys said he was not competent to enter a blind plea of guilty to the murder charge.

Former Gov. Brad Henry never acted on the board’s 2005 clemency recommendation for Allen because a Pittsburg County judge issued a stay of execution after a prison psychological exam determined Allen had developed mental problems on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and the gunshot wound.

A 12-member jury was impaneled in 2008 to determine Allen’s sanity. Jurors rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

Friend said Fallin went through a long and detailed process that included meetings with prosecution and defense attorneys in the case before she made her decision to deny the Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation. Rowan said Allen’s execution could still be blocked if prison officials believe he is not mentally competent.

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April 6, 2012 source :http://www.therepublic.com

OKLAHOMA CITY — As activists prepare to argue for clemency for a man scheduled to die next week, a death penalty expert said a blind guilty plea such as Garry Allen’s is unusual in Oklahomacapital murder cases.

Allen’s attorneys have argued that he was mentally impaired when he entered a blind guilty plea to a capital murder charge. Allen was shot in the head during his 1986 arrest, and he had a history of mental illness and alcohol abuse prior to the killing.

Activists on Monday plan to ask legal counsel for Gov. Mary Fallin to consider clemency for the 56-year-old man, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday.

Considering Allen’s apparent combination of mental illness and alcohol abuse, he shouldn’t have entered a blind guilty plea — a plea done in front of a judge without a deal — especially in a state where the death penalty is popular, said defense attorney James Rowan, a death penalty expert who does not represent Allen.

Allen has testified that he pleaded guilty to spare his family and his victim’s family from the ordeal of a trial.

His lawyers had argued he was not sane and therefore shouldn’t be executed, but in 2008, a jury said he was sane enough for the death penalty.

A personality test in Allen’s court file shows his “probable diagnosis is Schizophrenic Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder in a Paranoid Personality.” Allen, who had a history of substance abuse, had also testified that before the day of the killing, he got drunk whenever he could. Two hours after the killing, Allen’s blood-alcohol level was .27— more than three times the legal limit.

Considering Allen’s apparent combination of mental illness and alcohol abuse, he shouldn’t have entered a blind guilty plea — a plea done in front of a judge without a deal — especially in a state where the death penalty is popular, said defense attorney James Rowan, a death penalty expert who does not represent Allen.

Attorney Charles Hoffman, another expert on death penalty cases, said a blind guilty plea could be the result of the defendant’s insistence, “bad or lazy lawyering” or a strategy to argue the defendant acknowledged guilt when a conviction is sure to happen.

“Although entering a blind guilty plea in a death penalty case may sound like a very dumb thing to do, it really all depends on the facts of the case,” Hoffman said.

In the 42 capital murder cases that Rowan has tried, only two defendants entered blind guilty pleas — once because Rowan was “young and didn’t know any better.” In the other case, in 1989, a man killed five people in a multi-state spree, including a woman in an Ardmore, Okla., flower shop.

Rowan knew the case would be hard to win and decided to plead to the judge.

“It would almost be malpractice now to do it,” Rowan said. “Even if the defendant wanted to enter a guilty plea, I think you’d be almost incompetent to do that.”

In 2005, the Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to recommend life without parole instead of execution for Allen, but Fallin has decided to proceed with the execution.

Fallin has said she and her legal team gave Allen’s case a thorough review, and she has no plans to change her decision.

Allen shot 42-year-old Lawanna Titsworth four days after she moved out of the home where she lived with Allen and their two sons, according to court documents. Titsworth and Allen had fought in the week before the shooting and he had tried to convince her to live with him again.

An officer in the area responded to a 911 call. Allen grabbed his gun and struggled with the officer, according to court documents. Allen tried to make the officer shoot himself by squeezing the officer’s finger on the trigger, but the officer got control of the gun and shot Allen in the face.

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March 14,2012

OKLAHOMA CITY

Governor Mary Fallin has denied clemency for Garry Thomas Allen, an Oklahoma death row inmate who killed the mother of his two children in 1986.

On February 9, 2012, Governor Fallin granted a stay of execution of thirty days from February 16, 2012, the date of the scheduled execution of Allen, in order for this office to thoroughly evaluate the recommendation of clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.

The Governor met with the Federal Public Defender’s office, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office and the victim’s family about this case.

The Executive Order, Fallin states, “Having thoroughly reviewed the arguments and evidence presented in this case, I have determined that clemency should be denied, and that the sentence of death shall be carried out.”

The Governor has granted an additional twenty-six day stay thereby scheduling the execution on Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Allen was convicted for killing 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth on November 21, 1986, in Oklahoma City.

Read the full Executive Order HERE.

Article 5/4/08

Death row inmate deemed sane

A Pittsburg County jury has determined that a death row inmate is sane enough to be executed, but it’s uncertain when the punishment will be carried out.

On a 9 to 3 vote, a panel of 11 men and one woman rejected Garry Thomas Allen‘s argument that he shouldn’t be put to death for the fatal shooting of Lawanna Titsworth because he had become insane while in prison.

An Oklahoma County jury convicted the 52-year-old Allen of first-degree murder for gunning down in November 1986 outside an Oklahoma City daycare center. Titsworth had moved out of the home she shared with Allen and their 2 sons 4 days before her death.

According to court documents, the 2 were arguing when Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a revolver and shot her twice in the chest.

Titsworth got to her feet and ran toward the center, but Allen shoved her down some steps and shot her in the back twice.

An Oklahoma City police officer responding to the call tussled with Allen before shooting him in the face.

Prosecutors are now considering what to do next.

Okla. court dismisses death row inmate’s appeal

A condemned Oklahoma inmate who insists he is insane lost a legal challenge Thursday when an appeals court determined there is no procedure under state law to contest a jury’s finding that he is sane enough to be executed.

The Court of Criminal Appeals handed down the decision against Garry Thomas Allen, 55, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the Nov. 21, 1986, shooting death of 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, the mother of Allen’s two children.

A district judge in Pittsburg County issued a stay one day before Allen scheduled execution in 2005 after a psychological examination at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary indicated Allen had developed mental problems while confined on death row. The U.S. Constitution forbids the execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.

According to state legal guidelines, a 12-member jury was impaneled in 2008 to determine Allen’s sanity. Jurors rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

Allen appealed, but in a six-page decision the appeals court concluded the appeal was not authorized by law and that there is no procedure to appeal a finding that a person facing execution is sane.

The decision, written by Vice Presiding Judge David Lewis of Lawton, says there is no federally mandated right to an appeal in Allen’s case and that the state Constitution does not mandate an appeal. In addition, the Legislature has not created a statutory appeal process for sanity proceedings, the appellate court said.

“It is, however, clear what the procedure should be when a person facing execution is found either insane or sane after a jury trial, and that procedure does not include an appeal to this court,” the ruling states.

Despite the decision, it remains unclear when Allen’s execution will be carried out. Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Dianne Clay said attorneys plan to evaluate the decision before asking the appeals court to schedule a new execution date for Allen.

Allen’s attorney, Kristi Christopher of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

An Oklahoma County jury sentenced Allen to death for shooting Titsworth in the parking lot of the Oklahoma City daycare center. She had moved out of the home she shared with Allen and their two sons four days earlier.

Court documents indicated the two were arguing when Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a revolver and shot Titsworth twice in the chest. Titsworth ran with a center employee toward the building, but Allen pushed the worker away, shoved Titsworth down some steps and shot her twice in the back at close range, records show.

A police officer responding to a 911 call tussled with Allen before shooting him in the face, according to court documents. Allen was hospitalized for about two months for treatment of injuries to his face, left eye and brain.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2…#ixzz1fzv2kDVK

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The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has set a Feb. 16 execution date for a death row inmate who claims he is insane.

The court set the date Thursday for 55-year-old Garry Thomas Allen. Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested the date on Dec. 28 after a stay of execution for Allen was lifted by a Pittsburg County judge.

Allen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the Nov. 21, 1986, shooting death of 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth. But Allen’s 2005 execution was stayed when prison officials reported he had developed mental problems on death row.

A 12-member jury was impaneled in 2008 to determine Allen’s sanity. Jurors rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/stor…oma-Execution/

Garry Allen has epilepsy, which has apparently worsened during his time on death row. He has frequent seizures and doctors have said that he is so confused for periods after these seizures that he would not understand thereality of or reason for his impending execution. In 1993, Garry Allen’s IQ was measured at 111, above average. By 1999, it had dropped to 75.Doctors have reportedly put this down to his ongoing epileptic seizures combined with head injuries.

After having been presented with such evidence at a clemency hearing on 20 April 2005, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended by four votes to one that Governor Brad Henry commute Garry Allen’s death sentence to life imprisonment. An Assistant Attorney General, pursuing the executionfor the state, was quoted as saying that he believed that Garry Allen was faking his mental impairments: ”It is easier to act stupider than you are. It’s impossible to act smarter than you are. This guy now knows, play up my seizures, play down my IQ.”

http://www.mail-archive.com/deathpen…/msg02623.html

Governor considering death-row inmate’s case

A death-row inmate originally scheduled to be executed Thursday night will instead be put to death March 17 if the governor’s legal team decides against commuting the man’s sentence to life in prison.

Gov. Mary Fallin issued a 30-day stay last week to give her legal team more time to consider a 2005 clemency recommendation from the state Pardon and Parole Board for 55-year-old Garry Thomas Allen.

Allen had been scheduled to die for the 1986 murder of the mother of his two children. His attorneys have argued that he was mentally impaired when he killed 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth.

Allen’s current lawyer, Randy Bauman, declined to comment on the stay Thursday. Currie Ballard, a member of the pardon and parole board, said he could not comment on death-row cases.

http://www.kswo.com/story/16952220/g…w-inmates-case

Convicted killer Garry Thomas Allen will be executed April 12 after Gov. Mary Fallin issued an additional 26-day stay on Tuesday

Allen was set to be executed Saturday after the first 30-day stay expired for his case.

On Feb. 9, Gov. Fallin granted a 30-day stay of execution from the originally scheduled date of Feb. 16, in order to evaluate the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation of clemency.

The governor met with the Federal Public Defender’s office, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office and the victim’s family to review Allen’s case, and after examining the arguments and evidence presented, determined that clemency should be denied, and that the sentence of death shall be carried out, according to spokesman Alex Weintz.

Allen was sentenced to death for the 1986 murder of the mother of his two children, 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth.

Allen’s attorneys have argued that he was mentally impaired when he killed Titsworth in Oklahoma City. They said he had been self-medicating for an underlying mental illness, which had gotten worse. A police officer shot Allen in the face during a struggle after Allen shot his wife.

The pardon and parole board voted 4-1 in 2005 to recommend commuting Allen’s sentence to life in prison. But before then-Gov. Brad Henry had a chance to act on the recommendation, a Pittsburg County judge issued a stay after a prison psychological exam determined Allen had developed mental problems on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and his gunshot wound.

A 12-member jury was impaneled in 2008 to determine Allen’s sanity. Jurors rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/artic…_0_Convic58229

These two men were both 19 when they were sentenced to death


Anthony Cardell Haynes

Anthony Haynes claimed he didn’t know that Kent Kincaid was a Houston police sergeant when he shot him in the head back in 1998. Kincaid was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle when Haynes drove by; something cracked Kincaid’s windshield, and he reportedly thought Haynes had thrown something at him. He followed Haynes, and when the 19-year-old stopped his car, Kincaid approached him. Kincaid said he was a police officer, but Haynes later said he didn’t know whether to believe him. When Kincaid reached behind his back, presumably for a badge, Haynes pulled out a .25-caliber gun and shot him.

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes

Haynes blamed the tragedy in part on drugs and falling in with a bad crowd of people who reportedly made a game out of shooting at the windshields of passing cars and then robbing the drivers after they stopped. As it happened, the crack in Kincaid’s windshield was made by a bullet. Jurors in Haynes’ case deliberated for three days before sentencing the teen to death.

That sentence was overturned, however, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Haynes’ defense that an unusual jury-selection setup in Haynes’ case had denied his right to equal protection under law. Indeed, two different judges presided over Haynes’ jury selection; one heard prosecutors interview individual jurors, and a second heard the lawyers’ arguments for striking from service the potential jurors. As it turned out, the state used its power to strike all but one of the black potential jurors, arguing that it was not their race that excluded them (which would be illegal), but their “demeanor.” But Haynes’ appeal attorney argued that the judge who allowed those strikes had not actually witnessed the jurors’ questioning and thus could not actually have seen whether their demeanor would be a basis on which to have them struck. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately disagreed with the 5th Circuit, ruling that there was no rule that would require a judge to “personally observe” the juror questioning when deciding whether a juror is lawfully struck from service.

Haynes is scheduled for execution today, Oct. 18. STAYED

Bobby Lee Hines

Hines

Hines

Bobby Lee Hines was also just 19 when he was sentenced to death for the robbery and strangling of 26-year-old Michelle Haupt in her Dallas apartment. Now, 20 years later, he’s scheduled to die for that crime on Oct. 24. But his attorney, Lydia Brandt, argues that Hines’ execution should, once again, be stayed while the courts consider whether his lawyers have done enough to save his life.

Hines was convicted of the 1991 murder of Haupt, who was stabbed repeatedly with an ice pick and strangled with a cord inside her apartment. Hines had been staying next door with the apartment complex’s maintenance man. Police found items from Haupt’s apartment, including packs of cigarettes and a bowl of pennies, under a couch where Hines had been sleeping.

Hines’ first date with death was stayed in 2003, while the courts considered a claim that he was mentally retarded and thus ineligible for execution. Although Hines had a diagnosed learning disability and was considered emotionally disturbed, the courts ruled that he didn’t meet the criteria for relief. His execution date was reset for June 2012, but was stayed again so that further DNA testing could be performed. The DNA evidence confirmed Hines’ guilt and once again his execution was back on.

Now, Brandt is again seeking a stay, arguing that Hines’ case has been plagued by ineffective assistance of counsel. Brandt’s latest appeal, filed Oct. 10 with the Court of Criminal Appeals, argues that none of Hines’ defense attorneys ever investigated his background for mitigating evidence that could have swayed a jury to sentence him to life in prison. Hines had a “nightmarish” childhood that featured chronic abuse by his racist, alcoholic father, and later by foster parents, and was profoundly affected by his mother’s decision to abandon him as a young child. But the jury never heard anything of Hines’ troubled background. The question now before the CCA is whether the prior counsel’s failings can create an avenue for reconsidering Hines’ punishment. Brandt believes it should: “Fundamental rules of equity will not suffer a right to be without a remedy,” reads the appeal