california executions

TEXAS – Execution Jose Villegas – April 16, 6 pm- EXECUTED 7.04 PM


“I would like to remind my children once again I love them,” Villegas said when asked if he had a statement before being put to death. “Everything is OK. I love you all, and I love my children. I am at peace.”

High court refuses to stop execution in Texas

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt the scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing three members of a Corpus Christi family.

The high court, on a 5-4 vote, rejected arguments from attorneys for Jose Villegas who said the 39-year-old is mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.

The ruling came Wednesday about 30 minutes after a six-hour window opened for Villegas’ lethal injection for the fatal stabbings 13 years ago of his ex-girlfriend, her 3-year-old son and her mother.

Villegas’ lawyers contended testing in February showed he had an IQ of 59, below the IQ of 70 that courts have embraced as a threshold for mental impairment. State attorneys disputed the test result and called it a late attempt to delay the punishment.

 

As usual, Execution Watch will air, starting at 6pm and have an taped interview with Jose,

Execution Watch with Ray Hill
can be heard on KPFT 90.1 FM,
in Galveston at 89.5 and Livingston at 90.3,
as well as on the net here
from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT
on any day Texas executes a prisoner.

April 16 update

Execution Watch with Ray Hill
can be heard on KPFT 90.1 FM,
in Galveston at 89.5 and Livingston at 90.3,
as well as on the net here
from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT
on any day Texas executes a prisoner.

April 15, 2014

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Jose Villegas was out on bond for a sexual assault charge and was supposed to go on trial in Corpus Christi for punching a woman in the face on the same day 13 years ago that he stabbed ex-girlfriend, her son and her mother to death.

The former cook, dishwasher and laborer was arrested after a police chase and charged with capital murder for the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Erida Salazar, her 3-year-old son, Jacob, and her mother, Alma Perez, 51.

Villegas, 38, was set for lethal injection Wednesday for the slayings. He would be the seventh Texas inmate executed this year and the fifth in as many weeks in the nation’s most active death penalty state.

His attorneys argue that the punishment should be put off so they have additional time to investigate evidence they’ve recently found that Villegas is mentally impaired and ineligible for execution. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused Monday to halt the punishment and lawyers for Villegas said they would take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Salazar’s father, returning home Jan. 22, 2001, from jury duty, found the bloody body of his wife and had a neighbor call police. He then went back inside to find his daughter, 23, and grandson also dead. Court documents show Salazar was stabbed 32 times, her son 19 times and mother 35 times. A television and car also were taken from the home.

Police spotted Salazar’s car with Villegas behind the wheel and he led them on a chase that ended when he bailed out on foot. When he was caught, officers found three bags of cocaine inside his baseball cap.

Testimony at his 2002 capital murder trial showed Villegas told police he pawned the stolen television for $75, used the money immediately to buy cocaine and hoped to commit suicide by overdosing.

“We had a confession, DNA, witnesses who saw him leaving the house afterward,” Mark Skurka, the Nueces County district attorney who prosecuted the case, said. “He killed the mom first, then his girlfriend, then the baby.”

Jurors deliberated less than 20 minutes before convicting him.

Villegas had multiple previous arrests, including burglary, making terroristic threats to kill a woman, assaults and two counts of indecency with a child for exposing himself and fondling the daughter of the woman he was accused of punching in the face. Records showed he had spent at least 200 days in jail and four years on probation.

Defense attorneys at his trial acknowledged Villegas committed the slayings but said they were not intentional and he was mentally ill. A defense psychiatrist blamed his behavior on uncontrollable rages caused by “intermittent explosive disorder.”

“Punishment was the only issue,” Grant Jones, one of Villegas’ trial lawyers, recalled this week. “I’ve been trying criminal cases over 40 years and I’d say in about 80 percent of the cases, mental health is a factor to one degree or another.”

Relatives said Salazar’s mother had urged her to leave Villegas when she learned of the sex charges against him.

Villegas would be the third Texas inmate executed with a new stock of pentobarbital from a provider corrections officials have refused to identify, citing the possibility of threats of violence against the supplier. The Supreme Court has upheld that stance.

Texas and other death penalty states have been scrambling for substitute drugs or new sources for drugs for lethal injections after major drugmakers — many based in Europe where death penalty opposition is strong — stopped selling to state corrections agencies.

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Howell vs Florida – Supreme court Opinion february 20, 2014


Supreme Court of Florida
____________
No. SC14-167
____________
PAUL AUGUSTUS HOWELL
                          Appellant,
vs.
STATE OF FLORIDA,
Appellee.

[February 20, 2014

PER CURIAM.
Paul Augustus Howell is a prisoner under sentence of death for whom a death warrant has been signed and execution set for February 26, 2014. Howell was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death when the bomb he constructed, for the specific purpose of killing a witness, instead detonated and killed a Florida Highway PatrolTrooper.Howell v. State, 707  So. 2d 674, 683 (Fla. 1998) (affirming Howell’s convictions and death sentence on direct appeal).
Howell now appeals the denial of his amended third successive motion for postconviction relief, filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851, in which he challenges the Florida lethal injection protocol as applied to him.
Read the full opinion : click here

California’s longest-serving death row inmate spared execution – Douglas Stankewitz,


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

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) – A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence of California’s longest serving death row inmate, a 54-year-old Mono Indian man convicted in 1978 for killing a woman during a drug- and alcohol-fueled carjacking.

Douglas Stankewitz, who has spent 34 years awaiting execution, will be re-sentenced to life without the possibility of parole unless prosecutors decide within 90 days to retry the penalty phase of his trial, which would consider punishment only, not guilt or innocence.

The decision late on Monday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals comes just a week before Californians vote on a referendum to abolish the death penalty in the state.

A federal judge halted all California executions in 2006, saying a three-drug lethal injection protocol risked causing inmates too much pain and suffering before death. California revised its protocol, but executions have not resumed.

An appeals court panel, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that Stankewitz received ineffective legal counsel during the penalty phase of his murder trial, when he was sentenced to die.

His lawyer, they wrote, failed to investigate and present evidence “including evidence of his deprived and abusive upbringing, potential mental illness, long history of substance abuse and use of substantial quantities of drugs leading up to the murder.”

In a recent interview with Reuters inside San Quentin State Prison, Stankewitz called the death penalty “a joke,” and described how long delays in the appeals process, coupled with ineffective counsel, had led to him spending more than three decades waiting to die.

“They can’t kill me because the system is messed up so bad,” Stankewitz told Reuters during that interview.

Stankewitz suffered alcohol exposure in the womb, was removed from his home at age 6 after his mother beat him and bounced between foster care facilities where he was severely troubled and abused, court documents show.

He was 19 when he and a group of friends carjacked Theresa Graybeal, 22, from a K-Mart parking lot in Modesto and drove across California’s rural heartland to Fresno, roughly 100 miles away. There, Graybeal was shot and killed.

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