SOUTH DAKOTA – Death penalty called incentive for Robert

 October 20,2012

The lawyer for a man executed this week says the death penalty created an incentive for his client to murder corrections officer Ronald “R.J.” Johnson.

Mark Kadi, who represented 50-year-old Eric Robert in the capital case, wrote a letter to the Argus Leader saying his client devised an escape plan that involved murder to ensure a death sentence in the event his escape failed.

“The availability of the death penalty encouraged rather than discouraged Robert to commit this crime,” Kadi wrote. “I know this because Eric told me so.”

After the murder in April 2011, Robert quickly pleaded guilty and insisted the judge issue a death penalty, then strongly objected to a mandatory Supreme Court review, which delayed his execution. He wrote a letter to Attorney General Marty Jackley earlier this month encouraging revisions to state law to guarantee a speedy death for a death row inmate who was not fighting it.

Jackley, who prosecuted the case, rejects the notion that Johnson’s murder was anything but a failed, “poorly executed” escape attempt.

He also said the death penalty will protect corrections officers from an inmate who had promised to kill again.

Robert was executed by lethal injection Monday.

Kadi: Failed overdose before escape try

Kadi, who watched the execution, said in his letter that Robert felt “hopeless” behind bars, and that the inmate had attempted suicide by drug overdose before the escape attempt with fellow inmate Rodney Berget.

Robert was serving an 80-year sentence for kidnapping and failed to secure a sentence reduction.

Robert viewed a life sentence as being identical to a death sentence with the exception that the latter had a set date. Robert believed he needed to get out, one way or the other,” Kadi wrote.

Kadi’s letter says Robert had time to read the state’s death penalty statute and understood that killing a law enforcement officer in an act of escape would satisfy several of the aggravating factors that would justify an escape attempt.

Johnson was not afforded the additional protection the Legislature hoped to provide when adding those provisions to its death penalty statutes, Kadi wrote.

 Read the letter From Eric Robert to Attorney General Marty Jackley

Read the letter From Eric Robert’s Attorney, Mark Kadi

These factors, intended to be a shield, now served to target those the law protects in accordance with their important service to the public,” Kadi said. “The Legislature never intended these factors to be used in such a manner.”

Escape was only goal, Jackley says

Jackley rejects the notion that Robert and Berget’s crime was a suicidal act. Both men had escape histories, he said, and he contends escape alone was the goal.

“All the evidence in the case points to this being a poorly planned, poorly executed escape attempt,” Jackley said.

The attorney general also took issue with the notion that the death penalty does not provide a deterrent, particularly in Robert’s case. Robert said he would kill again if he weren’t executed.

“I can’t say if the death penalty will deter others from committing crimes in the future, but it deterred Eric Robert from committing any other crimes,” Jackley said.

Removing danger to prison staff

Future dangerousness framed key portions of Jackley’s argument for a death sentence in both Robert and Berget’s pre-sentence hearings. Berget also was sentenced to death for the crime.

Associate Warden Troy Ponto testified at Berget’s hearing that inmates segregated from the rest of the population can pose dangers during their daily interactions with officers.

Maximum security inmates are guarded by three officers any time their door is open.

“When we bring out inmates out of their cell, whether it be for a walk-through for medical, inmates have attempted to head-butt staff, punching them, kicking them,” Ponto said.

“We have good policies in place, but there is a risk when we take some of these guys out.”

Certain situations present further potential for violence. An inmate on a hunger strike would require additional interaction with medical staff, for example.

Robert and Berget both went on a hunger strike at the Minnehaha County Jail in the months after the murder of Johnson.

Ponto also said inmates are evaluated every 90 days to determine whether they should stay in segregation.

Johnson’s murder prompted a tightening of security measures at the prison. Lynette Johnson, Ron Johnson’s widow, said after Robert’s execution Monday night that “more needs to be done” to protect the officers at the penitentiary.

Speedy executions such as Robert’s rare

Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said the idea of an inmate committing a crime to earn a death sentence is highly unusual but not unheard of.

“Some believe that (serial killer) Ted Bundy deliberately went to Florida and committed murders because that was the state that was most likely to execute him,” Dieter said. “He was offered a plea bargain sparing his life, but he turned it down.”

Gary Gilmore, the first person executed following the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, volunteered for execution and was hanged three months from his sentence.

Robert’s explicit statement about his wish to die makes the case stand out, Dieter said.

The speed of Robert’s execution stands out as well. Of the 32 executions in the U.S. this year, Robert’s is the only one that happened within a year of the sentence. The next-shortest delay was six years.

The average wait time so far is 17 years.

Robert’s body was claimed by his family, Department of Corrections spokesman Michael Winder said.



PENNSYLVANIA – Johnson sentenced to death in murder of wildlife conservation officer

October 9,  2012

An Adams County man has been sentenced to death for the murder of a law enforcement officer, Thursday, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The death penalty verdict carries an automatic appeal. Earlier in the week, Christopher L. Johnson, 29, of Carroll Valley, was found guilty of first degree murder in the Nov. 11, 2010 shooting death of Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove, 31, a Waynesboro native. The case against Johnson was heard by a 12-member jury composed of Lancaster County residents, who were chosen for the trial that was held in Adams County Court. The change of venire was granted due to pretrial publicity. That jury deliberated for about 30 minutes.

The penalty phase of trial began Tuesday afternoon and ended Thursday night when the jurors returned their recommendation for the death penalty. To find the death penalty was warranted, the jurors had to determine that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. One of those circumstances was Johnson’s previous felony conviction.

Throughout the trial, which began the previous week, the prosecution painted a detailed picture of the shootout that led to Grove’s death. Officer Grove stopped a pickup truck, operated by Johnson, on Schriver Road, near Red Rock Road, in Freedom Township, Adams County. Grove was investigating a deer poaching incident., in connection with a poaching incident. Johnson had told police he fired at Grove because he did not want to go back to prison for illegally possessing a .45 caliber handgun when he was stopped.

At 10:32 p.m., that night, Officer Grove notified county dispatch that he had spotted a vehicle that was illegally using a spotlight to see deer. He also reported to county that he heard shots. Officer Grove pulled the pickup truck occupied by Johnson and another man and ordered them out of the vehicle. Grove then ordered Johnson to come to him.

Johnson was also wounded during the ensuing gun battle. On his way for treatment at York Hospital, Johnson told a state trooper who was accompanying him that he had been carrying the gun in his waistband. He said that when Officer Grove attempted to handcuff him, he drew the pistol and the shooting began. Officer Grove was shot four times.

A bullet fired by Officer Grove hit Johnson in the hip. Johnson fled the scene but was arrested and taken into custody the next day. A total of 15 shell casings fire from Johnson’s weapon were recovered at the scene. The fact that Johnson had to reload the pistol was another aggravating factor the jury considered in rendering its decision. Officer Grove fired 10 shots, from his .357-caliber Glock revolver.

The jury also found Johnson guilty of weapons offenses and game-law violations. That was another of the aggravating factors reviewed by the jury.

Grove can also appeal the conviction. Johnson has been committed to the State Correctional Institute at Rockview. Before a death sentence warrant can be signed by the governor, all of Grove’s appeals must be exhausted.

Death row inmate cites brain damage while seeking new trial for killing 6-year-old Mo. girl- Johnny Johnson

September 19, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A man sentenced to death for murdering a 6-year-old he abducted from her father’s St. Louis County home sought a new trial Wednesday, claiming his attorneys should have pursued a defense that he suffered from brain damage.

Johnny Johnson has admitted that he killed Cassandra “Casey” Williamson in July 2002, though attorneys at his trial said mental illness made him incapable of acting with “cool reflection” and he thus shouldn’t have been eligible for the death penalty.

During appeal arguments Wednesday to the state Supreme Court, a new attorney for Johnson argued that his trial attorneys were negligent for not hiring a neuropsychologist who could have testified that Johnson suffered from brain damage in addition to his mental illnesses. Johnson is seeking a new trial, or at least a new sentencing hearing.

“The jury heard only half the story — the mental disease. There was nothing about the mental defect,” said Bob Lundt, an attorney in the St. Louis public defender’s office who is representing Johnson.

He told the Supreme Court that Johnson suffered three head injuries as a child and two more as an adolescent. Lundt said those made it difficult for Johnson to deliberate about his actions.

But under questioning from the judges, Lundt said no brain scan could show the injury and no scientific evidence could specifically say such brain injuries cause people to commit murder.

Assistant Attorney General Shaun Mackelprang argued that Johnson’s trial attorneys made a logical and strategic decision in focusing on the mental illness as a defense. He said neurological tests conducted on Johnson after his conviction were subjective and Johnson could have intentionally performed poorly in hopes of winning a new trial.

Among those watching the Supreme Court arguments were Casey’s mother, aunt, grandmother and several other relatives or family friends.

Della Steele, who said she was Casey’s great-aunt, said she also had watched Johnson’s original trial and believes he is mentally ill. But she said she still believes he made a choice to kill Casey and should bear the consequences.

“Him being executed is not going to bring Casey back, but what it can do is protect the children of our society — to make sure he never has access to a child again,” Steele said.

Johnson, who was 24 at the time of the crime, admitted he took Casey on a piggyback ride from the home where he had been staying as a transient guest for a few days and then crushed her heard with bricks and rocks after she resisted his attempts to rape her. The killing happened at the ruins of an old glass factory in the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park.

Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, kidnapping and attempted rape. In addition to the death sentence, he received three consecutive life prison terms.

Since Casey’s death, her family has undertaken various initiatives in her memory, including a safety fair for parents and children and fundraisers for college scholarships. Steele said the family’s goal is to raise enough money to give a scholarship to each of the graduating members of what would have been Casey’s senior class from Valley Park in 2014.

Tennesse – Memphis man released after 27 years in prison

June 12, 2012  Source :

A former death row inmate who won a new trial in the 1983 murder of a Memphis grocer has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time he already has served.

Erskine Leroy Johnson, 54, was released Friday morning after serving 26 years, 11 months and five days for the shooting death of Joe Belenchia during a holdup on Oct. 2, 1983, at the Food Rite Grocery at 2803 Lamar.

“He is overjoyed at being out,” said Gerald Skahan, chief capital-case attorney in the Public Defenders Office. “He is looking forward to enjoying the rest of his life and spending it helping others.”

He said Johnson has always maintained his innocence, but entered an Alford plea, also called a best-interests plea, so he could get out of prison and avoid putting his family through a trial.

He was released Friday morning from the Shelby County Jail after entering his plea this week in Criminal Court.

Johnson was on death row from Jan. 26, 1995, to Nov. 15, 2004, but was re-sentenced to life in prison after the state Supreme Court ruled prosecutors did not give the defense a police report showing the defendant could not have fired a shot that wounded a customer in the store.

Then last December the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals awarded Johnson a new trial, ruling that newly discovered evidence raised by the defense may have caused the jury to reach a different verdict.

The court found that new evidence indicating close relationships among several of the state’s witnesses, if true, could have been viewed as a motive to protect other possible suspects and could have weakened the witnesses’ credibility before the jury.

Johnson said that around the time of the murder he was in St. Louis at a birthday party for his mother.

Prosecutors said Johnson’s palm print was found on the getaway car and that one witness told the jury that Johnson had confessed to “a cold-blooded” shooting in Memphis.

Deputy Dist. Atty. John Campbell said the state offered the settlement because the case was nearly 30 years old and Johnson already had served nearly 27 years in prison. A life sentence under laws in effect at the time of the murder was at least 25 years.

Campbell said prison officials had called Johnson “an exemplary prisoner” and that the state parole board had granted his release scheduled for June 11.


BREAKING NEWS – Court lifts stay on Johnson’s execution – Executed 2:55 a.m

SMYRNA, Del. — A convicted Delaware killer who waived his right to further appeals and sought to speed his execution was put to death by lethal injection early Friday after a flurry of court filings spurred by federal public defenders seeking to spare his life.

Shannon Johnson was pronounced dead at 2:55 a.m., just minutes before the 3 a.m. deadline for his execution.
Johnson’s last meal was chicken lo mein, carrots, cake, wheat bread and iced tea – the same meal that all other prisoners had – he did not have a special request.
According to a Department of Corrections spokesman, Johnson spent his last few days sleeping, eating, reading, writing letters, watching TV, and speaking with his attorney.
Johnson was already strapped to a gurney when witness were led into the execution chamber.
“Loyalty is important. Without loyalty you have nothing. Death before dishonor,” he said when asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement. Johnson then uttered a few words in Arabic before he closed his eyes and the first of three chemicals began flowing through his veins.
As the sedative pentobarbital was administered, Johnson’s breathing became labored and his chest heaved several times. A few seconds later, he was motionless and showed no more signs of movement. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.

source :

WILMINGTON — The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on Shannon Johnson’s execution tonight, clearing the way for the lethal injection to take place between midnight and 3 a.m.

The three-judge panel, in a decision handed down just after 5 p.m., wrote that the fact that Johnson himself joined in the appeal filed by Delaware prosecutors seeking to lift the hold on the execution “speaks volumes about the case.”

“From the time of Johnson’s penalty phase to this very day, Johnson has consistently indicated his wish to proceed with his state-ordered execution,” wrote Judge Thomas Hardiman on behalf of the panel.

“[Johnson] has informed every court he has been before and every lawyer involved in his proceedings that he wishes to waive all further … challenges and proceed to execution,” Hardiman wrote.

It is possible the Delaware Federal Defender’s Office – which won a stay from U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet on Wednesday — may now turn to the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and re-impose the stay. Federal defenders, however, were not immediately available for comment.

Johnson’s attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said her client, was “very pleased with the ruling and hopes there are no further appeals.”

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office declined comment on the ruling.

Department of Correction officials had been proceeding as if the execution were going to happen tonight and indicated it will go forward as scheduled between midnight and 3 a.m.

DELAWARE – Shannon Jonhson execution Delayed

april 19 source :

WILMINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday indefinitely delayed Friday’s scheduled execution of convicted killer Shannon M. Johnson, saying he needed more time to “digest” a massive legal filing by the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office, which is seeking to stop the lethal injection.

Johnson, 28, waived all his remaining appeals to speed his execution and was declared competent to waive those legal rights by Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady last month.

However, federal defenders acting on behalf of Johnson’s sister, Lakeisha Ford, argue that Johnson is not competent due to mental illness and substandard intelligence and a state court competency review was flawed.

Johnson was convicted in 2008 of the murder of 25-year-old Cameron Hamlin. Hamlin’s father, Vandrick, was in the courtroom Wednesday and seemed taken aback by the turn of events.

Afterward, he was briefly speechless before saying that he was disappointed by U.S. District Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet’s ruling to stay Johnson’s execution.

State prosecutors and Johnson’s court-appointed attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, also seemed stunned by the ruling and objected to the delay. Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace described the lengthy brief filed by public defenders on Friday — six days before the execution — as a ploy designed “to ensure they get a stay.”

“It is Mr. Johnson’s view that he has been accorded all constitutional due process,” Aaronson told Sleet.

Wallace told Sleet that the state would appeal the issue to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeal seeking to reinstate Johnson’s Friday execution was filed with the Philadelphia-based appeals court several hours later. The 30-page motion to vacate the stay of execution filed with the appeals court mirrors the brief state prosecutors filed with Sleet on Monday, opposing the federal defender’s petition. It concludes that Sleet lacked jurisdiction to issue a stay because the state court’s finding that Johnson is competent was reasonable.

read full article : click here

S.D. Supreme Court denies Eric Robert’s request for quick execution in guard’s murder

april 12, 2012 source :

The South Dakota Supreme Court has denied a death row inmate’s request for a quick execution.

Eric Robert, 49, filed a motion to vacate with the court earlier this year after the justices stayed his May execution. The court issued the stay in order to complete the sentence review mandated by South Dakota law in all death penalty cases.

Robert was sentenced to die by lethal injection in October for the murder of corrections officer Ron “R.J.” Johnson, which took place one year ago today.

Robert’s lawyers argued that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to stay an execution where no appeal has been filed. The inmate has not appealed his sentence or asked for clemency from Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

The high court rejected the notion that it doesn’t have the statutory authority to stay a sentence. The justices ruled unanimously that a sentence review is required, and that a stay can be issued as a part of that process.

“While it is true that this proceeding was not initiated by Robert filing a notice of appeal, it is an exercise of this court’s appellate jurisdiction to review the decision of a lower court – a proceeding upon appeal,” Chief Justice David Gilbertson wrote.

Robert and another inmate, 49-year-old Rodney Berget, attacked Johnson from behind with a metal pipe at the South Dakota State Penitentiary’s prison industries building. Johnson, who was filling in for an ill co-worker on his 63rd birthday, was the lone officer on duty that morning.

After beating him to death, Robert put on Johnson’s uniform and Berget climbed into a box atop a wheeled cart.

The inmates were captured as Robert tried to wheel the cart through the prison’s west gate.

Both men have been sentenced to die for the murder.

A third inmate, 47-year-old Michael Nordman, was given a life sentence for his role in the crime. Nordman, who worked in the prison industries building, traded the plastic wrap and pipe for a prison knife.

A dedication ceremony is planned in Sioux Falls today for the prison’s staff training center, which will be renamed in Johnson’s honor.

Delaware – Shannon M. Johnson execution – april 20, 2012 – EXECUTED

Shannon M. Johnson Mug Shot

Shannon M. Johnson
DOB: 11/18/1983
Race: Black Gender: Male
Offense: Murder 1st
Sentenced to Death: 09/05/2008
Date of Offense: 09/24/2006

Update april 17, source

WILMINGTON,  The attorney for a Delaware death row inmate facing execution this week is asking a federal judge to reject an attempt by the convicted killer’s estranged sister to stop the execution.

Shannon M. Johnson has waived his right to further appeals of his conviction and death sentence and faces death by lethal injection early Friday.

But federal public defenders are trying for the second time to intervene in the case without Johnson’s consent.

They are arguing on behalf of Johnson’s sister that he is mentally incompetent and should not be executed.

But Johnson’s lawyer says in a letter to the court that she spoke with Johnson on Monday, and that he remains committed to proceeding with his execution.

Johnson was sentenced to death in 2008 for the September 2006 murder of a man who he found sitting in a car with Johnson’s former girlfriend. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

march 14, 2012  source

Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady ordered the April execution of Shannon Johnson after Johnson waived his right to a requirement that an execution be held no sooner than 90 days from the sentencing date.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Cameron Hamlin, 25, who was shot after Johnson found him sitting in a car with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend near downtown Wilmington. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

After the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in 2009, Johnson said he did not want to pursue any further appeals.

“The court system has prevailed here and we can start having closure here in the Hamlin family,” Vandrick Hamlin, the victim’s father, said after Wednesday’s brief sentencing hearing.

“I think the judge sent a message out to the thugs and killers that you will not get away with murder here in the city of Wilmington.”

After Johnson sought to waive all further appeals following the state Supreme Court’s decision, federal public defenders tried to intervene in his case without his consent, arguing that Johnson was incompetent because he was mentally disabled. After Brady refused to allow them to participate in a state court competency hearing, they defied her order to turn over their files on Johnson to state prosecutors and Johnson’s state court attorneys.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Sleet last year ordered the federal public defenders to turn over their files to state prosecutors and defense attorneys. He also voided their appointments to represent Johnson, declaring that they had misled the federal court into believing that they were acting with his knowledge and consent.

In a ruling last month in which she cited reports from several mental health experts, Brady declared that Johnson was not mentally disabled, was mentally competent to waive his right to further appeals, and that he understood the legal consequences of that decision.

Johnson’s defense attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said after Wednesday’s hearing that he has been “steadfast” in his opposition to all further appeals.

“He fervently hopes no zealot files state or federal proceedings to override his competent decision,” she said.

The Facts  source : sentencing decision court (pdf)

Shannon Johnson, had a relationship with Lakeisha Truitt, from which was born a son. Ms. Truitt attempted to end the relationship on multiple occasions, because the Defendant was violent and unfaithful, and testified that she had not had a steady relationship with the Defendant for several years preceding the events that give rise to the charges in this matter. She did, however, continue to see the Defendant on some basis, including, but not limited to, effecting visitation with his son. From all appearances, Ms. Truitt had tried to move on with her life. She was a single mom, was employed, had purchased a home, and just prior to the initial incident in this case, began seeing another young man, Cameron Hamlin. By all accounts, Mr. Hamlin was a solid and sober individual, who had an interest in music, and was caring and thoughtful of his family. On September 24, 2006, Mr. Hamlin spent the night at Ms. Truitt’s home, and in the morning, was in the process of taking Ms. Truitt to her grandmother’s, where her son spent the night, and then was going to take his mother to church. The Defendant accosted the couple at a stop sign in his vehicle, and after some words were spoken, took out a gun and fired into Mr. Hamlin’s vehicle, killing him. Truitt was not injured in this incident. She ran to her grandmother’s, where she called the police, and reported the incident. Due to concern for her safety, she was advised not to go to her home until the Defendant was apprehended, but on November 10, 2006, she decided to go to her home and retrieve clothes for her son. On the way, she encountered one Rima Stewart, and had a brief conversation with her. As she was leaving her home, after having been there only a short time, the Defendant ran toward her car, brandishing a firearm, and fired several times, striking Ms. Truitt. To this day, a portion of one bullet remains lodged in her chest. The Defendant was later apprehended, and has been incarcerated since his arrest.

Statutory Aggravating Circumstance

The State alleged that the Defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use of, or threat of, force or violence upon another person, in this case, Rape in the Fourth Degree. To prove the Defendant’s prior conviction of the offense of Rape in the Fourth Degree, the State called the victim of that offense, Quana Thomas.Ms. Thomas testified that she had known the Defendant since she was of elementary school age, and that she saw him one day in the neighborhood and began talking with him regarding an incident involving a mutual friend, entering the Defendant’s car at some point in the conversation. During the conversation, the Defendant started the car, locked the doors and began to drive away. Ms. Thomas asked him where he was going, and asked to be let out of the car. The Defendant told her he had to take care of something and it would not take that long. He drove to an area near the Wilmington Hospital, at which time he stopped the car and began trying to kiss Ms. Thomas, who pushed him off her. She was 18, and seven to eight months pregnant at the time. Eventually he was able to pull her pants down and engage in vaginal intercourse with her. He told her the baby she was carrying should have been his. He then took her back to the neighborhood, and left her there. The Defendant was charged with Rape in the Second Degree and later entered a plea of guilty to a charge of Rape in the Fourth Degree. A certified copy of the
plea agreement was introduced as an exhibit.

September 5, 2008 Sentenced to death  read here

Convicted Killer Shannon Johnson Sentenced to Death Wilmington, DE – Today, Attorney General Beau Biden announced that Shannon M. Johnson, age 24 of Wilmington, was sentenced today by Judge M. Jane Brady to death by lethal injection plus 95 years
in prison.“Shannon Johnson is a threat to society. His conviction and today’s sentence ensures that justice will be served,” stated Attorney General Joseph R. Biden, III. “Victim and witness testimony was critically important to securing this conviction and I want to thank them for having the courage to come forward. Without their testimony a very dangerous person could be on the street.”
On September 24, 2006, Johnson shot and killed Cameron Hamlin in the City of Wilmington. On November 10, 2006, Johnson approached a car in Wilmington, driven by Lakeisha Truitt. He fired a gun at the car, smashed the driver’s side window, dragged her from the car, shot her, and fled the scene. Truitt was taken to the hospital, where she recovered. Johnson was arrested by Wilmington
Police on November 15, 2006. Johnson was convicted in New Castle County Superior Cour.

Feb 26, 2010 source :

WILMINGTON — Death row inmate Shannon M. Johnson appeared in court Thursday to demand an end to all his appeals to speed his execution date.

This follows a pattern that Johnson, 26, set after his 2008 trial when he told the judge, after he was convicted of the murder of
Cameron Hamlin, that he was not seeking mercy and wanted to be sentenced immediately — without a penalty hearing — even if that
meant the death penalty.Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit Thursday, Johnson told Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady in a calm and cool tone that he wanted to waive any further appeals. He also wanted Brady to instruct the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office to drop the appeals it filed on his behalf in U.S. District Court and with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Johnson said attorneys with that office ignored his explicit instructions against filing appeals and asked Brady to prevent attorneys from that office from contacting him again.

Johnson said he told federal defenders, “I’d rather not waste your time” and that they should instead work on other cases. But he said
the attorney “then did everything I asked her not to do.”

Julie Brain, Johnson’s federal defender, declined to comment Thursday.
Johnson was not asked and did not explain why he was ending his appeals.

His attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, declined to comment on Johnson’s reasons, stating that to do so would violate attorney-
client privilege.

At that same hearing, Johnson’s other appellate attorney, James J. Haley Jr., asked Brady for permission to withdraw from the case,
stating in a motion that Johnson’s desire “to be executed as soon as possible” conflicted with his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.

Johnson said he did not object to Haley’s departure, and Brady dismissed him from the case.

Johnson, however, said he wanted Aaronson to continue to represent him, although he acknowledged that Aaronson too had advised him against ending his appeals.

Brady told Johnson that before she can accept his waiver, she must have him evaluated by a psychologist to make sure he is competent and that he fully understands the ramifications of his decision.

She said it will take about 60 days for a doctor to perform the evaluation and file a report, followed by an additional 30 days for
state prosecutors to respond to that report.

While this process could speed up Johnson’s execution by as much as a decade, Brady told Johnson the court would not act hastily.

“This will not be a fast process,” she said, and will not result in an execution being set next week or next month. “This is to make sure
you have time to reflect and that you are certain about your decision.”

Johnson was convicted two years ago of the Sept. 24, 2006, slaying of Cameron Hamlin. According to police and testimony, Johnson shot Hamlin after he found him sitting in a car in Wilmington with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, who was also the mother of a child with

The ex-girlfriend escaped and was the only witness against Johnson in the homicide. Several weeks later, in November, Johnson tried to kill her by shooting her as she was getting into a car. She survived, and Johnson also was convicted of that shooting.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts, Johnson told the judge he wanted to be sentenced immediately, didn’t want to go through a
penalty hearing and would no longer cooperate with his attorneys. “I don’t need your mercy, the court’s mercy, none of that,” he told
Brady in March 2008. “If you want to sentence me to death … then let that be the case. All that other stuff, like, all that’s irrelevant.”

Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace said after Thursday’s hearing that this is not the first time a death row inmate has waived his
appeals to hasten his date with the executioner.

No. 09-8949      *** CAPITAL CASE ***
Shannon Johnson, Petitioner
Docketed: February 4, 2010
Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Delaware
  Case Nos.: (434, 2008; 489, 2008)
  Decision Date: November 4, 2009
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feb 2 2010 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due March 8, 2010)
Mar 10 2010 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including June 7, 2010.
Apr 23 2010 Brief of respondent Delaware in opposition filed.
May 3 2010 Reply of petitioner Shannon Johnson filed.
May 5 2010 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of May 20, 2010.
May 24 2010 Petition DENIED.

~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Julie Brain Chief, Capital Habeas Unit (302) 442-6545
Delaware Federal Public Defender
800 King Street
Suite 200
Wilmington, DE  19801
Julie Brain
Party name: Shannon Johnson
Attorneys for Respondent:
Paul R. Wallace Chief of Appeals (302) 577-8500
    Counsel of Record Criminal Division
Delaware Department of Justice
820 N. French Street, 7th Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
Party name: Delaware

DELAWARE- Execution date set for Delaware Inmate – Shannon Johnson

march 14

A Delaware death row inmate who has waived his right to all further appeals of his conviction and death sentence has been sentenced to die by lethal injection.

A Superior Court judge set an April 20 execution date for Shannon Johnson during a brief hearing Wednesday. Johnson waived his right to a requirement that the execution be held no sooner than 90 days from the sentencing date.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of a man whom he found sitting in a car with Johnson’s former girlfriend. He later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

After the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence, Johnson said he did not want to pursue any further appeals.

source :

case click here