Parole board

Former Virginia death row inmate granted parole


November  21,  2017

A Virginia death row inmate who had his sentence commuted to life in prison more than two decades ago has been granted parole.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Virginia State Parole Board on Monday approved Joseph Giarratano for release.

Board chairwoman Adrianne Bennett says it may take a month before Giarratano, one of the state’s best-known inmates, is freed.

Giarratano was convicted of the 1979 rape and capital murder of 15-year-old Michelle Kline and the killing of her mother, 44-year-old Toni Kline, in Norfolk.

In 1991, two days before his scheduled execution, Gov. L. Douglas Wilder commuted his sentence after questions were raised about his guilt.

Members of the victims’ family couldn’t be reached by the newspaper for comment.

CONNECTICUT ABOLISHES JUVENILE LIFE-WITHOUT-PAROLE SENTENCES


Last week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB 796, which abolished life-without-parole sentences for all children.

The new law requires judges to consider both the hallmark features of adolescence as well as the scientific differences between child and adult offenders whenever children are sentenced in adult court for serious crimes. Furthermore, the law establishes special parole eligibility for children, ensuring review after serving no more than 30 years, and specifying youth-related factors for the parole board to consider.

The bill provides earlier parole eligibility for more than 200 individuals who are currently serving sentences for offenses committed while they were children.

Connecticut joins a growing number of states that have abolished the practice of sentencing children to die in prison. Nevada,Vermont, Hawaii, West Virginia, Delaware, Wyoming, and Texas also recently eliminated death-in-prison sentences for children.

Arthur Tyler, slated to die May 28 in controversial capital case, asks Ohio for mercy


April 18, 2014

Arthur Tyler, who has been on Ohio’s death row 3 decades for the murder of a produce vendor during a robbery in Cleveland, has asked the Ohio Parole Board to commute his sentence to life in prison with a chance of parole.
The parole board will hold a clemency hearing April 24 to hear Tyler’s pleas. The board will make a recommendation to Gov. John Kasich, who will ultimately decide Tyler’s fate.
He is scheduled to be executed May 28.
Tyler’s case has been controversial because he was 1 of 2 people convicted in the killing of Sanders Leach, but the only one sentenced to die. And there are questions as to who actually pulled the trigger.
Tyler’s co-defendant, Leroy Head, confessed almost immediately. Head admitted to police, family and friends that he shot Leach in a struggle for the gun during the March 1983 robbery attempt, according to court records.
He signed a confession, but later changed his story, telling prosecutors that Tyler fired the gun.
Tyler was convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to die. Head pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to prison. He was released in 2008.
Tyler’s lawyers, in a brief filed with the parole board, said Tyler recognizes he shares responsibility for Leach’s death. But they urge clemency be granted, commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment with parole eligibility.
“Ideally, Arthur Tyler should be granted parole and released from prison for time served, they wrote. “As we will demonstrate, Arthur Tyler did not shoot Mr. Leach. Head falsely testified against Mr. Tyler in order to save himself from the death penalty.”
Source: Cleveland.com,

Oklahoma – Upcoming execution – Brian Darell Davis june 25, 2013 – EXECUTED 6:25 PM


June 14, 2013

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has chosen not to follow the recommendation of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.The Board recommended that death row inmate Brian Davis have his sentence commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Governor Fallin has decided that the execution will proceed as scheduled.

June 7, 2013

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to recommend that death row inmate Brian Davis have his sentence commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.The Board’s recommendation now goes to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for approval or rejection.Governor Fallin can also grant up to two, 30-day temporary stay of executions in order to review the case before making her final decision.

May 7, 2013

Brian Darrell Davis is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on June 25, 2013, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.Thirty-nine-year-old Brian is convicted of raping and killing 52-year-old Josephine “Jody” Sanford on November 4, 2001, at his Ponca City, Oklahoma, apartment.Brian has spent the past ten years living on Oklahoma’s death row.

Brian Davis returned home from a night out with friends at a local club in the early hours of November 4, 2001.Davis discovered that his girlfriend, Stacey Sanford, and their three-year-old daughter were missing.Davis, concerned, called Stacey’s mother, Jody Sanford, to see if she knew where they were.Jody told Davis that she did not know.Ten to fifteen minutes later, Davis called Jody again, asking if she would go find them.When Jody was unable to locate them, she went to Davis’s apartment.

The next morning, shortly after 9 am, Stacey returned to the apartment and found her mother dead.Stacey immediately called the police who began investigating.Meanwhile, Davis, while driving Jody’s van, was involved in a single car accident and seriously injured when he was ejected through the front windshield.Davis was arrested and his blood alcohol level was determined to be .09 percent.Davis was transferred to a Wichita hospital for treatment.

What happened from the time Jody arrived to the time that Stacey found her is unclear, as Davis made several conflicting statements of the events that transpired.In his initial statement, given the day of the accident, Davis remembered Jody arriving at the apartment, but nothing after that until he woke up after the accident.Two days later, Davis was again interviewed by the police.Davis initially repeated that he did not remember, however, during questioning, his memory seemed to improve.

Davis said that Jody came over and the two began to talk about religion and his relationship with Stacey.Davis, angry, informed Jody that he was not committed to Stacey.The two began to argue.According to Davis, Jody stood up and continued to “lecture” him.Davis got angrier, accused her of being “in his face” and told her to “back up,” pushing her backwards.Jody then grabbed a knife and cut Davis’s thumb.Davis hit her on chin, likely causing a fracture to her jawbone, and grabbed at the knife.During the struggle for the knife, Davis was cut.Davis eventually got possession of the knife and told Jody to get back, stabbing her in the stomach.Davis and Jody wrestled down the hallway, resulting in Jody being stabbed in the leg.

The two ended up in the bedroom, where Davis told Jody to stop and put the knife down.Jody agreed, if Davis would let her go.When Davis let her go, she ran towards the knife, but Davis grabbed it first, stabbing her in the left side.Jody then told Davis she could not breathe.Davis instructed her to lie down and wrapped her up in a blanket, saying it was to keep her from bleeding to death.Davis said he heard her stop breathing, but then fell asleep.When Davis woke up, he claims he panicked and fled in Jody’s van so he could figure out what to do.

One of the detectives interviewing Davis, showed him evidence that Jody had been chocked and/or strangled.Davis admitted it may have happened while they were wrestling.Davis adamantly denied having sex with her.

In the months that followed, Davis told three different stories to Stacey.First, he claimed he thought Jody was an intruder.Later, he told her a story similar to the one he told the detectives.After DNA testing showed that Davis had sexual intercourse with Jody, Davis told Stacey, that Jody came over and was upset about her husband’s infidelity.Davis claims he tried to comfort her and the two ended up having sexual intercourse.After the encounter, Davis claims he was struck on the back of the head by Jody and events unfolded from there.

A trial, Davis told yet another version, similar to the last story he had told Stacey, but with more details.Davis also maintained that he did not intend to kill Jody; he was just trying to defend himself.

This was not Davis’s first encounter with the police.In 1995, Davis was twice convicted of rape.Also in 1995, he was convicted of unlawful possession of cocaine.He was released after serving two years.

OHIO- Death-row inmate denied clemency, Brett Hartman


NOVEMBER 9, 2012 http://www.vindy.com

Gov. John Kasich has denied clemency to the death row inmate facing execution next week for the brutal murder of an Akron woman 15 years ago.

Barring last-minute court intervention, Brett Hartman will be put to death Tuesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Kasich’s decision was in line with the unanimous recommendation of the state parole board, which last month, for the third time in recent years, said Hartman deserved the death penalty for the crime.

Hartman was convicted of murdering 46-year-old Winda Snipes in September 1997, stabbing her more than 130 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands. The latter never were found.

Evidence used in the conviction included DNA taken from Snipes’ body, fingerprints at the scene and a bloody T-shirt and woman’s watch found at Hartman’s apartment.

Additionally, a cellmate and former co-worker testified that Hartman had made incriminating comments.

But Hartman, who admitted having sexual relations with the victim hours before her death, has maintained his innocence, saying fingerprints and hair found at the crime scene and phone records prove he did not commit murder.

“My heart goes out to [Snipes’ family],” Hartman told the Statehouse Bureau of Dix Newspapers and The Vindicator during a death row interview last month. “I know losing anyone, especially family, is a very traumatizing experience. I recently lost my mom and my sister. And no one in the world deserves to lose a relative or anyone the way that Winda was taken, and my heart goes out to them. But I didn’t do it.”

But the parole board and Kasich were not swayed by his claims of innocence.

“The overwhelming evidence presented during trial clearly established that Hartman is guilty of this crime,” the parole board wrote. “Hartman shows no remorse and continues to claim his innocence despite the evidence indicating his guilt.”

Split Ohio Parole Board rejects clemency for condemned killer of convenience store owner


June 20, 2012  Source : http://www.therepublic.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The prosecutor who charged John Eley with a capital crime and a judge who sentenced him to death both want the killer of a Youngstown convenience store owner spared, saying he doesn’t deserve a death sentence.

Their unusual support was not enough to sway the Ohio Parole Board, which voted 5-3 Wednesday in a rare split decision to recommend against clemency for Eley.

Eley, 63, is scheduled to die July 26 for the 1986 killing of store owner Ihsan Aydah. Gov. John Kasich has the final say on mercy.

Eley refused to testify against his alleged conspirator, Melvin Green, in exchange for a deal that would have removed the death penalty. Green, who was acquitted in a separate trial, was considered the mastermind of the crime by investigators.

Opposition to Eley’s execution from the prosecutor and the judge, as well as the detective who investigated the crime, don’t outweigh the nature of the crime, according to the five board members who rejected clemency.

The supporters’ assertions “do not outweigh the fact that Eley took the gun from Green, entered the store with the intent to rob the victim, knew that the victim had a gun and might try to use it, and then shot him in the head,” the board said.

The board also rejected claims by Eley’s lawyers that he is mentally ill and mentally disabled.

It’s not unusual for judges or prosecutors to change their mind about individual cases or the death penalty itself, but on-the-record testimony on behalf of a condemned inmate is relatively rare.

The three board members who supported Eley’s plea for mercy say he is not the “worst of the worst” killers, and argue that many similar convenience store robbers who committed more serious crimes escaped death sentences.

They also said the crime wouldn’t have happened without Green. And they argued that Eley was a victim of a game of bluff by prosecutors as they threatened him with a death sentence to force his testimony against Green.

“The prosecutors ‘played a bluff’ all the way to the end, and when Eley did not cooperate, they were stuck with the death penalty conviction,” the three dissenting members said.

Former Mahoning County prosecutor Gary Van Brocklin told the board that Green set up the entire robbery. Former Mahoning County judge Peter Economus — now a federal judge — said if defense attorneys had presented more reasons why Eley should have been spared, he wouldn’t have voted in favor of a death sentence.

Clemency “should be granted for Mr. Eley in this case,” Economus wrote to both the parole board and Kasich on June 7.

“Frankly, I am surprised that his death sentence was not modified by the courts who have reviewed this case over the years.”

Board members opposed to clemency rejected Economus’ argument, saying several courts have previously ruled that factors that could have been presented to the jury about Eley but weren’t — such as the effect of a head injury in earlier life on his behavior — wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

Green, 54, is in prison and scheduled for release in October on charges he illegally carried a concealed weapon, had a gun in a car and possession of drugs. But he also faces the possibility of additional time for violating parole on a prior aggravated robbery conviction, according to state prison records. Those charges are unrelated to the Eley case.

GEORGIA – Daniel Greene’s Execution – COMMUTED


april 17, 2012 sourcehttp://www.13wmaz.com

Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles stayed the execution of former Taylor County H.S. football star Daniel Greene up to 90 days “to allow for additional time to examine the substance of claims offered by Greene’s representatives” at a clemency hearing on Tuesday.

Greene was scheduled to be executed Thursday night.

A news release said the parole board may lift the stay at any time and grant clemency — commuting the death sentence to life or life without parole — or deny clemency.

Greene was convicted of fatally stabbing his former classmate Bernard Walker, 20, during a 1991 convenience-store robbery in Taylor County. A store clerk was also stabbed but survived.

Greene confessed to police, but later said he didn’t remember committing the crime. He said an acquaintance had given him a cigarette earlier that day that may have been laced with a mind-altering drug.

Greene was convicted of malice murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault at trial in December 1992.

Determinate Sentences for IPP Prisoners


IPP is inhumane, against human rights and breaches Human Rights Act 1998 Article 3 Prohibition of Torture – No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
IPP stands for Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection – What this actually means is if you were to go to court and receive a 2 year sentence, 3 years, 4 years, etc….. with IPP you could be imprisoned for up to 99 years.At the moment it is still up to the prisoner to prove that they are safe for release which is what makes it impossible as you cannot prove you are safe to release as you are in prison.It is then up to a parole board to decide if they feel you are ready to be released back in to society, so prisoners and their families do not know IF or WHEN they will EVER be released, this in itself is mental TORTURE, DEGRADING & INHUMANE.There are currently over 3,200 prisoners that are over their tariff which is costing £41,000 each year for each prisoner to remain in prison.
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