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death penalty news----OHIO, NEB., MINN., CALIF., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-06-03 12:48:54 UTC
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June 3



OHIO:

Sheriff reopens 2009 investigation into death of Bogle suspect's girlfriend


Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton said Friday he has reopened an
investigation into the 2009 death of a girlfriend of Daniel Myers, who in a
separate case was arrested and charged this week in the murder of Heather
Bogle.

Leigh Ann Sluder, 37, who was living in the same trailer park as Myers, was
found dead in her mobile home at Emerald Estates in Green Creek Township on
Feb. 28, 2009.

Myers called the sheriff's office that night and said Sluder had shot herself
and that he had found her dead in the bedroom.

Sluder's death was ruled a suicide.

Bogle family 'thrilled' with arrest; judge denies bond for murder suspect

A Sandusky County Sheriff's report, obtained Friday by The News-Messenger
through a public records request, revealed that Sluder had been found on her
bed with a gunshot wound through her chest and a rifle lying on the bed beside
her.

The report states that Myers told deputies Sluder suffered from mild
depression.

On Thursday Myers, 48, was arrested in Bogle's April 2015 slaying. He was
charged with felony counts of aggravated murder - which could result in the
death penalty - kidnapping, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

During Myers' initial court appearance in Sandusky County Court #1 in Clyde,
Judge John Kolesar denied bond, deeming Myers a threat to the community.

Myers is being held in the Sandusky County Jail and has a hearing scheduled for
Thursday.

According to Sandusky County Clerk of Courts' records, Myers previously had
been arrested on separate occasions for child endangerment, domestic violence
and assault.

The domestic violence charge against Myers was dismissed in 2001. He pleaded no
contest to an assault charge in May 2004 and served jail time from September
through November 2004, according to court records.

Bogle, a 28-year-old single mother, was murdered in April 2015. She had been
shot twice in the back.

Myers, Sluder and Bogle all worked at the Whirlpool plant in Clyde, Sandusky
County's largest employer.

(source: The News-Messenger)






NEBRASKA:

Judge gives death row inmate Lotter's attorneys new deadline


A federal judge has given attorneys for an inmate on Nebraska's death row 6
months more to represent him but pressed them during a phone conference Friday
about moving forward with whatever their next step will be.

John Lotter, who was convicted in the killing that inspired the 1999 movie
"Boys Don't Cry," could be the 1st of the 11 men now on death row in the state
to be executed, once he has exhausted his appeals.

In February, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf denied Lotter's latest
federal petition challenging his murder conviction, likening it to a hail Mary
pass.

His attorneys, Rebecca Woodman and Jessica Sutton of the Death Penalty
Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, had asked Kopf to stay the case so
they could raise issues over the state's method for determining death sentences
in state court.

Kopf refused and denied Lotter's habeas petition, in part because the attorneys
hadn't gotten permission from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to file it,
as required.

Lotter is appealing the order and also has a case pending in state court.

On Friday, Kopf asked Woodman if the next step was an application for clemency.

Woodman called clemency a fail-safe in the criminal justice system for those
under a sentence of death and said it usually isn't sought until all other
remedies have been exhausted and the state has sought a death warrant.

Kopf asked how long this was going to go on, pointing out the attorneys were
appointed in 2014.

"I realize there have been intervening events," the judge said, alluding to
Nebraska lawmakers voting in 2015 to repeal the death penalty, only to have it
later reinstated by voters. "But I've got to move this matter along."

Woodman said she believes other remedies remain available to Lotter.

"This is not specifically a clemency issue. It's a legal issue," she said.

When Kopf sought elaboration, Sutton, her co-counsel, mentioned cases raised in
April in Arkansas, where 4 executions were stayed.

Kopf said he didn't doubt that once an execution date is set - and the method
of execution understood - that there may be subsequent actions that they may
wish to challenge.

"The drug protocol and on and on," he said.

Kopf asked James Smith, solicitor general of the Nebraska Attorney General's
office, if the state presently was in a position to execute Lotter.

"Does it have the wherewithal to do that, the drugs or whatever it is you
need?" the judge asked.

Smith said the state could not proceed with the execution because to get an
execution warrant it has to certify to the Nebraska Supreme Court that there
are no proceedings pending in any court.

"Procedurally we could not pursue a warrant while those cases are pending," he
said.

If the Eighth Circuit affirms Kopf's decision and if Lotter loses the state
case, then Smith would ask Scott Frakes, the director of the Nebraska
Department of Correctional Services, if the prison was prepared to carry out an
execution, Smith said.

In the end, Kopf set a new date in 6 months for the attorneys to update him.

Lotter was sentenced to death for his role in the 1993 killings of Brandon
Teena and 2 witnesses, Lisa Lambert and Philip DeVine, at a rural Humboldt
farmhouse.

(source: Lincoln JournalStar)






MINNESOTA:

Dakota Elders Will Oversee Dismantling, Burning of 'Scaffold'----Sculpture
tainted Dakota 38 memory, but Dakota elders say this is a teaching moment

A day before what was to have been the celebrated grand re-opening of the
Minneapolis Scuplture Garden, Dakota elders will oversee the dismantling of a
painfully controversial piece of artwork held within it that ignited onsite
protests and a flood of social media criticism.

At an afternoon press conference Wednesday, May 31, it was announced in the
Star Tribune that on Friday, June 2, Dakota elders will oversee the dismantling
of a 2-story artwork called "Scaffold," a recreation of multiple historic
gallows including that on which 38 Dakota men were hanged in an 1862 mass
execution in Mankato, Minnesota. A Native-owned construction company is
donating it services to begin taking it apart Friday afternoon; the dismantling
will take about f4 days.

At a later time, the structure will be reassembled and burned in the Fort
Snelling area.

That's exactly what former Lower Sioux tribal chairman and documentary
filmmaker Sheldon P. Wolfchild envisioned. He is 1 of the dozen elders who met
for 3 hours on May 31 with representatives of the Walker Art Center, the city
government, the Parks and Recreation Board, "Scaffold" artist Sam Durant and
mediator Stephanie Hope Smith.

"If it was up to me," Wolfchild said, "I would like to see when that's taken
down, that it's re-put up by Fort Snelling, then have a ceremony to remember
those who were hung ... then burn that structure in effigy to make a
statement."

The point of burning the remade gallows near Fort Snelling would be significant
because that is where hundreds of Dakota people were held prisoner after the
2-month long violence near Mankato and New Ulm in 1862, followed by forced
removal down the Mississippi River and eventually back up and into South
Dakota, separating many communities from their ancestral lands. For Wolfchild,
the fort holds particular pain because it is where his ancestor, Medicine
Bottle, was hanged along with Little Six; they are the 2 killed after the mass
execution and remembered as the Dakota 38 + 2.

Both artist Durant and Walker Executive Director Olga Viso have apologized for
the pain caused by the controversial display of the 2-story artwork,
commissioned in 2012 for an art festival in Germany. At the press conference,
Durant further apologized and has committed not to create the gallows again,
according to the Star Tribune, which quoted him as saying: "I've done
historical and archival research, but I had not met with the people who have
been living with this history for 500 years. That was a powerful and moving
experience. I just want to apologize for the trauma and suffering that my work
has caused in the community. I would say that what we have come together here
and negotiated is a path forward and hopefully a path of healing, especially
for the Dakota community, and also for building bridges between mainstream,
white, Euro-American society and the Native American indigenous communities
nationally and on this continent."

"Scaffold" was to be 1 of 18 new pieces added to the Minneapolis Sculpture
Garden, an 11-acre joint effort between the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis
Parks & Recreation Board within the 19-acre Walker campus. The sculpture garden
was to have a grand re-opening Saturday, June 3 to unveil the new works but
that has been delayed until June 10.

(source: indiancountrymedianetwork.com)






CALIFORNIA:

Son pleads not guilty in father's death at Rancho Santa Fe mansion


A man pleaded not guilty Friday to the murder and torture of his father in
Rancho Santa Fe, a case which prosecutors said could lead to the death penalty
if he is convicted. Leighton Dorey III, 71, was beaten and choked Tuesday at
his home on La Brisa. His wife found his body in a back room. Deputy District
Attorney Paul Greenwood said Dorey III suffered facial, spinal and neck
fractures in "a savage attack."

On Wednesday, members of the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested
the victim's son, 39-year-old Leighton Dorey IV, near the town of Idyllwild in
Riverside County.

Dorey IV had been living in Europe for the past 4 years. He and his father had
a contentious relationship, according to Greenwood.

A judge ordered Dorey IV to be held without bail, pending a June 15 preliminary
hearing.

(source: KGTV news)






USA:

Death penalty isn't justice


I have had the disappointment of reading multiple letters spurning Reps. Annie
Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter for their votes against H.R. 115, the "Thin Blue
Line Act."

These letters have hinged on the idea that justice for slain law enforcement
officers and other first responders demands prosecution even more vigorous than
for the murder of private citizens. Are we not all equal under the law as we
are before the eyes of God?

Of course we are not. Minority defendants, particularly African Americans, are
far more likely to be sentenced to death than white defendants. This disparity
is even wider when the victim is white.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, blacks convicted of murder
are far more likely than their white counterparts to later be found innocent.

Although only 15 % of murders committed by black people involve a white victim,
over 30 % of blacks exonerated for murder were initially convicted of killing a
white person. The "Thin Blue Line Act" would only serve to further cement this
unequal dispensation of justice - which would drive a wedge between law
enforcement and the communities they serve, and make everyone less safe.

Federal and state judges, attorneys general, law enforcement officers and
private citizens alike are nothing more than human beings. All are subject to
the human flaws of implicit bias, outright prejudice, imperfect memory,
shortsightedness and fear. That is why I trust no man or state to preside over
death.

The death penalty is not an instrument of justice.

ELIAS HOWE

Concord

(source: Letter to the Editor, Concord Monitor)

**************

The Story of the Last U.S. Execution Before a Nationwide Moratorium Took Effect
50 Years Ago


When Arkansas recently made news for carrying out a spate of executions within
a brief time span, that was the 1st time the state had used the death penalty
for more than a decade. But that's not the 1st time a state has taken break
from executions. In fact, there was a nationwide moratorium in the late 1960s
that lasted into the 1970s. It started 50 years ago Friday after the execution
of Louis Jose Monge, who was executed using gas in a Colorado State Prison in
Canon City for having murdered his wife and 3 of his 10 children in 1963.

TIME described the scene of the execution in the June 9, 1967, issue:

Monge, for his part, was calm enough. When it was clear that he would not
receive a 3rd stay of execution, he handed over his possessions, including his
pet parakeet, to 2 of his surviving sons, signed papers giving the corneas of
his eyes to a blind boy in Buena Vista. Then, after a short walk to the
changing room on the 3rd floor, he stripped to his shorts - condemned men must
wear as little as possible so that cyanide will not cling to their clothes and
endanger guards - and walked into the gas chamber. 5 seconds after a pound of
cyanide eggs had been dropped into the vat of acid beneath his chair, he was
unconscious. 16 minutes later he was pronounced dead.

TIME reported that the state's 77th execution took place amid a nationwide
movement against capital punishment, which eventually helped contribute to an
unofficial moratorium on executions.

In the May 17, 1971, issue, TIME reported that 650 other condemned prisoners
had accumulated on death row nationwide, awaiting word from the Supreme Court
on the constitutionality of the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court
officially imposed a moratorium in 1972, ruling in Furman v. Georgia that the
"freakish," "arbitrary" and "capricious" way in which capital punishment was
imposed violated the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishment" clause.

But, obviously, that was not the end of capital punishment in the United
States.

The ruling prompted 34 states to rewrite their death penalty laws to conform
with the court's guidelines. Most of trials for crimes at that level started
being done in 2 stages, a guilt stage and a sentencing stage, so guilty people
could have a chance to get a life sentence in prison instead of being sentenced
to death. New laws also limited crimes that could be punishable to death to
homicide; before the Furman decision, even robberies could be punishable with
death.

In 1977, almost exactly 10 years after Monge, Gary Gilmore became the 1st
person executed in the U.S. in the post-Furman era. The 1st person
involuntarily executed in the U.S. after 1967 - that is, the 1st person who had
exhausted all chance of appeal, which Gilmore had not - would be 30-year-old
John Spenkelink, who was electrocuted on May 25, 1979, at a Florida state
prison for murdering a hitchhiker. "Spenkelink's death intensified the national
debate that has long raged over whether capital punishment deters crime and
should be retained or is a cruel and unfair form of revenge that ought to be
abolished," TIME reported on Jun. 4, 1979. "Sociologists have never
definitively answered the question, but the views of the American public,
aroused by violent crime, seem clear: polls show that nearly 2/3 of the people
favor capital punishment."

In the post-Furman period, however, fewer death penalty sentences were handed
out overall. By the case's 25th anniversary, it was observed that only 467
inmates had been executed between 1990 and 1999, compared to the 1667 executed
in the "peak period" of executions between 1930 and 1939, according to the
Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment.

Today, the death penalty is authorized in 31 states, but questions about
whether it is cruel and unusual punishment are still abound, most recently with
regards to the methods of execution, in light of episodes involving botched
lethal injections, a drug supply shortage and a push to use up drugs before
their expiration dates.

(source: TIME Magazine)

***************************

Jury seated in Con-ui capital murder trial


After a month-long jury selection process for the capital murder trial of
accused federal corrections officer killer Jessie Con-ui, the jury was seated
and sworn in Friday morning.

Con-ui, who pleaded guilty to murder in a 2002 gang-initiation killing in
Arizona, allegedly struck again when he beat and stabbed Nanticoke native Eric
J. Williams inside U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Wayne County in 2013 because he
was angry over a cell search, prosecutors say.

A jury of 8 women and 4 men was seated and sworn in following an extensive
selection process that began April 24 and saw hundreds interviewed by attorneys
about their views on the causes of crime and their stance on the death penalty.
6 alternates were also selected.

The jury is expected to be shown the prison surveillance video that prosecutors
say captured the killing during the trial's guilt phase. Prosecutors say the
video shows the attack was premeditated, not a sudden lashing out brought on by
mistreatment at the prison as defense attorneys argue.

Should the jury find Con-ui guilty of 1st-degree murder of a U.S. corrections
officer and related offenses, the trial would move to a penalty phase where the
same panel will decide whether he deserves to live or die. A sentence of life
in prison is imposed if the jury does not unanimously agree on the death
penalty.

Con-ui, 40, was expected to begin serving a life sentence at Canaan following
an 11-year sentence for a 2005 drug conviction.

Williams, 34, is the 1st federal prison employee to be killed in the line of
duty since 2008 and 24th since 1901, state records show.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin 9:30 a.m. Monday in the federal
courthouse.

(source: timesleader.com)


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