july

TEXAS – UPCOMING EXECUTION JULY 16 – Clifton Williams at 6 p.m EXECUTION HALTED !


JULY 16. 2015

The Texas Court of Appeals has halted the execution of a death row inmate just hours before he was set to be killed.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Texas Court of Appeals has halted the execution of death row inmate Clifton Lamar Williams on Thursday just hours before he was set to be killed.

“This is a subsequent application for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to the provisions of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.071 § 5 and a motion for a stay of execution,” the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas order read on Thursday.

The Court of Appeals said that it approved William’s appeal application, which is now returned to a trial court for a review on its merits before a final decision is determined.

In a brief order, the court agreed to return the case to the trial court in Tyler to review an appeal from Williams’ attorneys. They want to examine whether incorrect FBI statistics regarding DNA probabilities in population estimates cited by witnesses could have affected the outcome of Williams’ trial.

“We need time to look at this,” said Seth Kretzer, one of Williams’ lawyers. “No way we can investigate this in five hours.

“It requires some time, and the CCA saw that.”

 

July 10, 2015

East Texan Clifton Williams heads to the gurney next Thursday, July 16, after nine years spent on death row for the murder of Cecelia Schneider.

Williams, 31, was 21 years old at the time of Schneider’s murder, July 9, 2005. Court records show that he broke into the 93-year-old’s Tyler home, stabbed, strangled, and beat her, then laid her body on her bed and set her bed on fire. He left Schneider’s house with her car and her purse, which contained $40. He argued at trial that his friend, Jamarist Paxton, forced him to break into the house with him, and coerced him into cutting his hand so as to leave his DNA on-scene. But police weren’t able to find any evidence that would substantiate Williams’ claims about accomplices, and Paxton denied involvement. In Oct. 2006, Williams was found guilty of capital murder (in addition to a number of other offenses) and sentenced to death.

Williams’ attorneys have argued in state and federal petitions for relief (as well as a petition for a Certificate of Appealability) that Williams suffers from a wide range of mental illnesses, including paranoid schizophrenia, with which he was diagnosed when he was 20. They have tried to argue that his mother suffered from mental illness, and that Williams had trouble functioning from an early age. They also claim Williams was the victim of incompetent counsel, as attorneys at trial failed both to establish Williams as the victim of mental illness and to mitigate his standing as a future danger to society. Most notably, his petitions for relief note, trial counsel erred by stating their intent to establish mental illness before Williams received a court-ordered psych exam, giving prosecutors the ability to refute counsel’s claims without any established medical standing.

Last September, attorneys Seth Kretzer and James Volberding presented Williams’ case to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes that the Justices would hear Williams’ mental illness claims. Specifically, records note, they wanted to prove that one ruling – ex parte Briseño, which lays out three basic conditions to determine competence – blocks Williams from arguing mental retardation on the basis ofAtkins v. Virginia (which placed a categorical ban on executing the mentally ill, and was previously rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals). The Supreme Court denied that petition in early April, however, without comment or explanation. Williams’ attorneys do not plan to file any last-minute appeals.

Williams will be the 10th Texan executed this year, and 528th since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976. However, his execution coincides with emerging reports that indicate the number of Texans being sent to death row has now significantly decreased. In fact, jurors around the state have yet to sentence anyone to death in 2015. The last person to receive such a sentence was former Kauf­man County attorney Eric Williams (no relation), who shot and killed Chief Assistant District AttorneyMark Hasse on Jan. 31, 2013, before killing County D.A. Michael McLelland and his wife Cynthia two months later. He was sentenced to death last Dec­em­ber. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the state has made it to July without issuing a new death sentence.

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.

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Missouri: July 14, scheduled execution of David Zink EXECUTED 7:41 PM


Zinks last meal was a cheeseburger, french fries, cheesecake and a soft drink, official said.

In a final statement, Zink said:

“I can’t imagine the pain and anguish one experiences when they learn that someone has killed a loved one, and I offer my sincerest apology to Amanda Morton’s family and friends for my actions. I hope my execution brings them the peace and satisfaction they seek.

I also have to apologize to the second set of victims, my family and friends, that had the unfortunate circumstance of developing emotions which will now cause them pain and suffering upon my execution. I kept my promise to fight this case for their benefit, and although unsuccessful to prevent the execution, we have been successful in exposing some serious flaws that offend the basic concept of the American Justice System.

For those who remain on death row, understand that everyone is going to die. Statistically speaking, we have a much easier death than most, so I encourage you to embrace it and celebrate our true liberation before society figures it out and condemns us to life without parole and we too will die a lingering death.”

7:50 p.m.

A Missouri inmate who killed a 19-year-old woman after sexually attacking her and tying her to a cemetery tree has been executed.

Fifty-five-year-old David Zink was put to death by injection Tuesday at a state prison south of St. Louis after the U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Jay Nixon declined to intervene.

Zink was a paroled sex offender in 2001 when he abducted Amanda Morton after hitting her car on an Interstate 44 exit ramp a mile from her home. He told investigators he feared his drunken fender-bender could violate his parole and send him back to prison.

Jurors convicted Zink in 2004 and recommended a death sentence.

Corrections Department spokesman Mike O’Connell said Zink was pronounced dead at 7:41 p.m.

———

7 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to block the scheduled execution of a Missouri inmate who killed a 19-year-old woman in 2001 after sexually attacking her and tying her to a cemetery tree.

The nation’s high court on Tuesday declined 55-year-old David Zink’s request to intervene. His lethal injection is set for later Tuesday. Gov. Jay Nixon also denied Zink’s request for clemency.

Zink was a paroled sex offender in 2001 when he abducted Amanda Morton after hitting her car on an Interstate 44 exit ramp a mile from her home. He told investigators he feared his drunken fender-bender could violate his parole and send him back to prison.

Jurors convicted Zink in 2004 and recommended a death sentence.

———

6:50 p.m.

Missouri’s governor has cleared the way for the scheduled execution of an inmate who killed a 19-year-old woman in 2001 after sexually attacking her and tying her to a cemetery tree.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday denied 55-year-old David Zink’s request for clemency and refused to block the execution scheduled for later Tuesday at a prison south of St. Louis.

Zink was a paroled sex offender in 2001 when he abducted Amanda Morton after hitting her car on an Interstate 44 exit ramp a mile from her home. He told investigators he feared his drunken fender-bender could violate his parole and send him back to prison.

Jurors convicted Zink in 2004 and recommended a death sentence. Nixon called the acts “brutal and horrifying” and said his denial of clemency upholds the jury’s decision.

———

11:30 a.m.

A Missouri inmate’s hopes of avoiding a scheduled execution for a 2001 killing are now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court and the governor.

A three-judge panel with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined without comment David Zink’s claims that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

The St. Louis-based court on Monday rejected Zink’s challenge of the drug process used in lethal injections.

The nation’s high court is still weighing Zink’s case, and Gov. Jay Nixon is reviewing Zink’s clemency request.

Zink is scheduled to be put to death at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the killing of a 19-year-old Amanda Morton.

12:01 a.m.

A Missouri inmate is hoping federal appellate courts or the state’s governor spare him from his scheduled execution for the 2001 killing of a 19-year-old woman he abducted.

Fifty-five-year-old David Zink has 11th-hour appeals with the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and a clemency request also was in Gov. Jay Nixon’s hands.

The Missouri Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday.

Zink was out on parole after serving 20 years in Texas on rape, abduction and escape charges when he abducted Amanda Morton after hitting her car from behind on a freeway ramp a mile from her Strafford home.

Zink later tied her to a cemetery tree in western Missouri, then snapped her neck before severing her spinal cord.

“The horror and fear 19-year-old Amanda Morton must have felt after being kidnapped by David Zink that July night is truly unimaginable,” Attorney General Chris Koster made the following statement following the execution. “David Zink callously took a young woman’s life, and it is fitting he pay by losing his own.”

Jurors in western Missouri’s St. Clair County deliberated 90 minutes in 2004 before convicting Zink and recommending a death sentence for the killing of Amanda Morton. Authorities said Zink abducted her after hitting her car from behind on an Interstate 44 exit ramp a mile from her Strafford home. Morton was driving home after visiting a friend.

Police found Morton’s Chevrolet Cavalier abandoned on the ramp with the keys in the ignition, the engine running and the headlights and hazard lights on. Her purse, credit card and medication were found inside the vehicle.

Just months before the slaying, Zink had been released from a Texas prison after serving 20 years on rape, abduction and escape charges. Fearing that his drunken fender-bender with Morton could violate his parole and send him back to prison, Zink initially abducted Morton, taking her to a motel. That site’s manager later saw a televised news report about Morton’s disappearance, recognized her as the woman who had checked in with Zink, and gave investigators Zink’s name and license plate number from motel registration.

Zink, after being arrested at his parents’ home, led authorities to Morton’s buried body in a cemetery, confessing matter-of-factly and at times laughing on videotape that he had tied her to a tree there and told her to look up. When the bewildered Morton begrudgingly glanced skyward, Zink said, he snapped her neck.

Worried that Morton might regain consciousness, Zink admitted, he used a knife to sever her spinal cord at the neck and covered her body with leaves before retrieving from his home a shovel he used to bury her.

“If I think that you’re going to pose a threat to my freedom, it is set in my mind I want to eliminate you,” Zink says in his videotaped confession.

An autopsy later showed that Morton had eight broken ribs and 50 to 100 blunt-force injuries. Morton also had been sexually assaulted, with DNA evidence linked to Zink found on her body.

Missouri has executed five men this year and 16 since November 2013. Only Texas has executed more inmates over that span

Execution date moved for El Paso man convicted of killing boy -Rigoberto “Robert” Avila Jr.


June 24, 2013 elpasotimes.com

 

The execution date for an El Paso man convicted in the 2000 death of his then-girlfriend’s 19-month-old son has been rescheduled again.

The request was made by his attorneys who wanted more time to explore the possibility he may be innocent.

Rigoberto “Robert” Avila Jr., 40, has been on Texas’ death row since 2001 after his capital murder conviction in the Feb. 29, 2000, death of Nicolas Macias.

In 2001, a state district court jury sentenced Avila to death after convicting him in Nicolas’ death. Prosecutors had alleged Avila fatally beat Nicolas while Avila was baby-sitting Nicolas and his sibling.

At the time, Avila was dating the children’s mother, who was attending classes when Nicolas was injured. Nicolas’ mother, Marcelina Macias, has declined interview requests from the El Paso Times.

Avila was initially scheduled to be executed on Dec. 12 — which happened to be the Catholic Church’s feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe — but was rescheduled for April 10. After defense attorneys asked for more time to explore scientific evidence in the case, Avila‘s execution was rescheduled again for July 10.

Cathryn Crawford and Kathryn Kase, attorneys with the Texas Defender Service who are representing Avila in his appeals, requested that Avila’s July 10 execution date be withdrawn to allow them to explore the possibility Avila may be innocent, based on a scientific study that Nicolas was injured by a sibling.

District Attorney Jaime



Esparza did not oppose the request, which was granted by 41st District Judge Anna Perez last week. Perez also scheduled a new execution date in January 2014.

Avila’s attorneys commended Esparza for not opposing their request for more time. Esparza declined to comment on the request, but said he allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Avila based on Nicolas’ brutal death. At the time, jurors did not have the option of sentencing Avila to life in prison without parole.

According to testimony by two medical experts at Avila’s trial, Nicolas had severe internal injuries, including a severed pancreas, that were caused by the same amount of force seen in high-speed traffic crashes. They also testified Nicolas’ injuries could not have been caused by an accident.

One witness, pediatric surgeon Dr. George Raschbaum, testified the only way a 4-year-old child could have caused Nicolas’ injuries was if he had jumped on Nicolas from a height of 20 feet.

During an El Paso Times editorial board meeting last week, Crawford said testing by their defense expert indicates Nicolas’ injuries could have been caused by a 4-year-old child jumping from a height of 16 to 24 inches. The bed in the bedroom Nicolas and his sibling were playing in was 18 inches high.

“It is very clear that physically, this is a very possible scenario,” Crawford said. “We’re hoping to present the evidence to the court to determine if the jury had heard this, would they have possibly found him not guilty. That’s all we’re asking for.”

Crawford and Kase stopped short of saying Avila is innocent, but said they are exploring the possibility Nicolas was fatally injured by his 4-year-old sibling, who was mimicking wrestling moves both had seen on pay-per-view a few days earlier.

According to preliminary biomechanical testing conducted by a defense expert, Crawford and Kase said, it is possible Nicolas could have suffered his injuries after his sibling leaped from a bed onto the boy, who was lying on the floor.

However, the biomechanical testing was not available to Avila’s defense attorneys at the time of his 2001 trial, and according to Senate Bill 344, a state law that will take effect Sept. 1, a defendant is entitled to a court hearing based on “relevant scientific evidence” not available at the time of the defendant’s trial.

Crawford said she and Kase are also looking into the possibility that Avila unknowingly signed a confession where he admitted to hitting Nicolas.

Avila had initially told then-El Paso police homicide Detective Tony Tabullo that Nicolas and his sibling were playing in a bedroom while Avila was watching television in a different room when Nicolas’ sibling told Avila the boy was not breathing.

Crawford said in the first statement, Avila initialed each paragraph indicating he had read them. She said Avila’s first statement was consistent with what he told police and paramedics at the scene and what Nicolas’ sibling described during an initial interview with a police investigator.

During the early morning hours of March 1, 2000, while Avila was still at police headquarters, Tabullo learned of a bruise on Nicolas’ abdomen that paramedics interpreted as a shoe mark, Crawford said.

Crawford said Tabullo, who retired from the police department in 2003, had Avila sign a second statement that said Avila confessed to beating Nicolas. Avila signed the second statement because he trusted it was the same as the first.

Kase and Crawford also noted Avila had no previous criminal or violent history and was a Navy veteran.

Crawford and Kase said they expect to file more extensive documents once the new law becomes effective in September. Kase said Avila’s case will very likely be the first case heard under the new law.

 

US – UPCOMING EXECUTIONS JULY


July
10 TX Rigoberto Avila   Execution moved 2014
16 TX John Quintanilla EXECUTED
18 TX Vaughn Ross Executed
25 AL Andrew Lackey
31 TX Douglas Feldman

OHIO – JOHN ELEY – EXECUTION JULY 26, 2012 COMMUTED


UPDATE :

July 11, 2012

On July 10, Ohio Governor John Kasich (pictured) granted clemency to death row inmate John Eley, who was scheduled to be executed on July 26.  Eley’s sentence was reduced to life in prison without parole. The governor said he based his decision on evidence that Eley acted under the direction of another person, and that his mental capacity was limited, saying, “Without those factors it is doubtful that Eley would have committed this crime.” The prosecutor in the case and one of the judges who sentenced Eley to death called for mercy. The Ohio Parole Board voted 5-3 against recommending clemency.  Those who voted for clemency said that Eley’s crime was not one of the “worst of the worst,” and that similar crimes rarely receive death sentences. This is the third death-row clemency granted by Gov. Kasich, including two issued in 2

The Ohio Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:

During the early afternoon of August 26, 1986, Eley was visiting Melvin Green at the home of Green’s girlfriend in Youngstown. Accordingto Eley, he and Green were just sitting around when Green suggested that they go down to the “Arab store.” Eley and Green left the house and proceeded down a path through the woods leading to the Sinjil Market.
Along the way, Green showed Eley a “Black Snub nose gun,” and told Eley he “was going to take the Arab off.” Since the proprietor of the store, Ihsan Aydah, knew Green’s face, Eley agreed to go in alone and rob the store while Green waited outside.
Eley entered the store and told Aydah to put his hands up and to turn and face the wall. Green had told Eley that Aydah had a gun under the store counter, so when Aydah lowered his hands and went under the counter, Eley fired a shot. Eley claimed that he aimed at Aydah’s shoulder. However, the shot hit Aydah on the right side of his head, approximately four inches above the earlobe. Aydah died the next day of shock and hemorrhage due to a gunshot wound to the head.Just before Eley fired the gun, Green entered the store. After the shot, Green ran behind the counter and got into the cash register. He took Aydah’s wallet while Aydah lay wounded on the floor. As the two left the store, Green gave Eley a brown paper bag with the money and wallet. According to Eley, they went up the street, “got to the path and run up the woods.”. . .

Several days after the murder, Eley was arrested by Youngstown police at the residence of his cousin’s girlfriend, Carlotta Skinner. After his arrest, Eley told police that he and Green had split the money taken in the robbery, which was around $700. However, Eley later gave the money back to Green “because he said it was all on him and he had to get out.”
. . .
[After being arrested, i]n his voluntary statement Eley admitted that he and Green had robbed the Sinjil Market, and that he shot Aydah. [The arresting officer] testified that Eley did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the interview and was “very calm” and “passive.” The grand jury indicted Eley on one count of aggravated murder
with a specification that the murder was committed during, or immediately after, the commission of an aggravated robbery
According to an affidavit of trial counsel, before trial Eley refused to accept various plea offers that were conditioned on Eley’s testimony against Green, including an offer of a voluntary manslaughter charge with a six-year sentence. that Eley was the principal offender. This count also carried a firearm specification. In addition, Eley was indicted on one count of aggravated robbery (R.C. 2911.01[A][1] and [2]) and one count of conspiracy (R.C.2923.01[A]). Each count carried a firearm specification.
In May 1987, Eley waived his right to a jury trial and opted for a trial before a three-judge panel. Eley pled not guilty to the charges against him, there by withdrawing a prior plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. . . .
Trial was held before a three-judge panel on May 11–12, 1987, but the defense chose not to present any evidence. The panel found Eleyguilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, the felony-murder capital specification, and two of the three firearm specifications, but no guilty of conspiracy. During the mitigation hearing, several family members testified
on Eley’s behalf. Eley’s mother, Cecilia Joseph, divorced Eley’s father when Eley was seven or eight years old, and stated that Eley had “not much” of a relationship with his father. Joseph testified that on Christmas night 1964, her second husband had been drinking and began choking her and her daughter. At that time, Eley stabbed the second husband with a knife in order to stop him. Joseph testified that Eley dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, but later entered the Job Corps and learned to be a welder. Eley sent money home to his mother during this time, and gave her money to help her finish paying for nursing school. Joseph stated that while Eley has had problems with drugs and alcohol, he is a better person when he is not under the influence. She characterized Eley as “church oriented,” and believed he had been “born again.”
Eley’s sister, Susan Laury, testified that Eley had helped the family financially while he was in the Job Corps, and that Eley is normally a “quiet, sweet, gentle person that wouldn’t hurt anybody.”Dr. Douglas Darnall, a clinical psychologist, found Eley to be of borderline intelligence, and ranked him in the twelfth percentile on theWechsler Adult Intelligence Test. According to Darnall, Eley has a history of chronic alcohol and polysubstance abuse, but exhibited “no evidence of psychosis or major defective disorder.” In addition, Darnall testified that Eley understands the difference between right and wrong. Darnall found Eley to be remorseful, but Eley never mentioned that he felt remorse for the victim. However, two police officers who witnessed Eley’s confession testified that Eley was remorseful before he made that statement. Eley made a short unsworn statement at the mitigation phase that consisted of several biblical quotations from the Book of Romans.

After deliberation, the panel unanimously found that the aggravating circumstance outweighed the mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt, and sentenced Eley to death. Upon appeal, the courtof appeals affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.

UPCOMING – Executions – JULY 2012


Update July 18, 2012

Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

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

July

07/18/2012

Yakomon Hearn

Texas

 Executed   6:37 p.m 

07/18/2012

Warren Hill

Georgia

Stayed (rescheduled for 7/23)  STAYED

07/24/2012

Darien Houser

Pennsylvania

STAYED

07/25/2012

John Koehler

Pennsylvania

STAYED

07/26/2012

Willie Clayton

Pennsylvania

STAYED

07/26/2012

John Eley

Ohio

 COMMUTED