Discussion:
death penalty news----TEXAS, PENN., MD., FLA., OHIO, ARK.
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Rick Halperin
2017-10-24 13:29:00 UTC
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Oct. 24



TEXAS:

Capital case goes to trial: Tracy could face death if convicted in slaying



Opening statements and testimony are expected to begin this morning in the
capital murder trial of a Texas prison inmate accused in the July 2015 death of
a correctional officer at the Barry Telford Unit of the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice.

The fate of 39-year-old Billy Joel Tracy lies in the hands of 12 Bowie County
citizens. If the 7 men and 5 women on Tracy's jury find him guilty of capital
murder in the July 15, 2015, beating death of Timothy Davison, 47, they will
then be tasked with deciding if he should receive the death penalty or a
sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

At a pretrial hearing last week, 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart said he
expects the guilt-or-innocence phase of Tracy's trial to take about a week.

Commencement of the punishment phase of trial has been tentatively scheduled
for Nov. 1, in the event Tracy is convicted.

Davison, an officer with less than a year on the job, was escorting Tracy back
to his cell in administrative segregation when the inmate slipped his left hand
free of its cuff and attacked. When Davison was on the ground, Tracy allegedly
grabbed his metal tray slot bar and used it to pummell him. The attack was
captured from multiple angles on video surveillance. Davison was pronounced
dead the same morning at a Texarkana hospital.

Tracy has voiced his objections to being held at the Telford Unit during his
trial. The next closest TDCJ unit to New Boston is several hours away, making
it impractical to house him elsewhere. Personnel from TDCJ will be present in
the courtroom, dressed in street clothes so as not to give the appearance to
the jury that Tracy is an especially dangerous man. Tracy also will be dressed
in street clothes rather than prison garb. Beneath his clothing, Tracy is
expected to wear a locking leg brace and a device capable of delivering an
electric shock.

Tracy has been behind bars for more than 1/2 his life.

In 1995, he was sentenced to a 3-year term for retaliation in Tarrant County,
Texas. Three years later, Tracy was sentenced to life with parole possible,
plus 20 years for burglary, aggravated assault and assault on a public servant
in Rockwall County, Texas. In 2005, Tracy received an additional 45-year term
for stabbing a guard with a homemade weapon at a TDCJ unit in Amarillo, Texas.
Tracy was sentenced to 10 years in 2009 for attacking a guard at a TDCJ unit in
Abilene, Texas.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp has filed notice of her intent to call
a long list of witnesses who are expected to provide first-hand accounts of
Tracy's violent past.

The last time a death sentence was sought in Bowie County was in 2004, when
Stephon Lavelle Walter was tried for the 2003 Labor Day weekend murders of 3
employees of Outback Steakhouse in Texarkana, 1 of whom was in her 3rd
trimester of pregnancy. A Collin County jury declined to sentence Walter to
death, opting for a sentence of life instead, after a change of venue was
granted in the case. At that time, Texas law did not include life without
parole as a possible sentence for capital murder, as it does today. Walter, 25
at the time of the murders and now 38, will be eligible for parole Sept. 4,
2043, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The last time a death sentence was pronounced in Bowie County was in March
2001. James Scott Porter was already serving time for murder when he killed a
fellow inmate at the Telford Unit with a shank and a rock in May 2000. He was
executed Jan. 4, 2005.

The month before Porter was sentenced to die, a Bowie County jury sentenced
Deon James Tumblin to death for the June 2000 murder of a 75-year-old woman.

Tumblin hanged himself in his cell on death row in 2004. Lee Andrew Taylor was
sentenced to death by a Bowie County jury in 2000 for the 1999 murder of a
fellow inmate at the Telford Unit where he was serving time for aggravated
robbery. He was executed June 16, 2011.

Tracy is represented by Mount Pleasant lawyer Mac Cobb and Texarkana lawyer
Jeff Harrelson. Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards is assisting Crisp
with the state's prosecution.

(source: Texarkana Gazette)








PENNSYLVANIA:

Pennsylvania prosecutors see positive in death penalty study



The association of Pennsylvania prosecutors said Monday it sees some positives
in a new report that found death sentences are more common when the victim is
white and less common when the victim is black.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association released a statement noting
researchers found the death penalty is not disproportionately targeted against
black or Hispanic defendants, a conclusion prosecutors described as a
vindication of their evenhandedness in applying it.

"For so long, those who have sought to abolish the death penalty have argued
that the race of the defendant plays the critical role in decisions about who
gets the death penalty," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams,
president of the prosecutors' group. "This report squarely debunks that
theory."

Penn State professor Jeff Ulmer, one of the lead researchers, said the
prosecutors are "factually accurate" concerning the 197-page study's finding
regarding the races of defendants, but he said the report did not delve into
whatever role race may play in decisions to arrest, charge and convict people
of 1st-degree murder.

"We did in fact find disparities by race of victim and great differences in the
prosecutorial and court decision-making between counties, along with a finding
that type of defense attorney matters in some ways," Ulmer said.

The study found no "overall pattern of disparity" by prosecutors in seeking the
death penalty against black or Hispanic defendants. It found black and Hispanic
defendants who killed white victims were not more likely than a typical
defendant to get a death sentence.

The study, by Penn State's Justice Center for Research and produced for the
state's Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness , also
found the prosecution of death penalty cases varies widely among counties.

The district attorneys' association said that may reflect the state's
commonwealth form of government and emphasis on local decision making.

"District attorneys have to follow the rule of law and the rules governing
(the) death penalty are among the strictest," the association said. "However,
prosecutorial discretion does still have a role, and ultimately that discretion
is accountable to the voters during each election."

The Penn State researchers found that a white victim raises the odds of a death
sentence by 8 % and a black victim lowers it by 6 %. It drew from records over
an 11-year period.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf imposed a moratorium on the death penalty shorting
after taking office in 2015, citing concerns about what he described as a
"flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings
as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive."

There are 157 men on Pennsylvania's death row, but only 3 people have been
executed in the state's recent history. All 3 had voluntarily relinquished
their appeals.

Wolf said his moratorium will remain until he reads the results of a
Senate-commissioned study of capital punishment, a review that may include
findings from the new Penn State-produced study.

(source: Associated Press)

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

After weekend killing, homicide tally in Northampton County equals all of 2016



There have been 7 homicides in Northampton County during the first 10 months of
2017, as many as there were in all of 2016.

The 7th homicide happened Saturday night, according to authorities. State
police said Dennis Maurice Long, 52, of Lower Mount Bethel shot and killed his
stepson, 26-year-old Ryan Craig Boomer.

After a night of drinking at their trailer home along Upper Little Creek Road,
the 2 men fought, according to state police. Long said they struggled with a
rifle, which fired, killing Boomer.

The previous 6 homicides include a police-shooting, vengeful lovers, a family
dispute and a still mysterious death at a nursing home that was recently ruled
a homicide.

According to police and court records:

About a week before Teayahe Glover was shot to death on a Bethlehem street
corner, her boyfriend had been shot and seriously injured during a fight at a
house party. Glover, 19, was shot and killed on Feb. 8 about a block from Sioux
and Sassafras streets where she collapsed and died.

Dekota Baptiste, 24, could face the death penalty if convicted of shooting
37-year-old Terrance R. Ferguson to death on Feb. 23 in the parking lot of an
auto parts store in Palmer Township. Authorities said Baptiste put others at
risk when he emptied his gun into Ferguson's car. Investigators said Baptiste
had threatened to shoot Ferguson earlier that day in a text message to his
ex-girlfriend. She was in the car at the time of the shooting.

Lisa Menzo Santoro, 47, was shot and killed on March 3 in her Palmer Township
home by a former paramour. Leonard Moser, 45, later killed himself after his
vehicle was stopped by police in New Jersey. The court had ordered Moser to
stay away from Santoro and Santoro had contacted police multiple times about
Moser, but none of those calls led to an arrest.

Daniel C. Scanlan, 84, died on April 4 at Arden Courts of Old Orchard in
Bethlehem Township. It was not until October that the coroner's office ruled
Scanlan's death a homicide due to "complications of blunt head force trauma."
Details have not been released, but authorities in Northampton County are
investigating the death.

2 state troopers were justified in shooting and killing Anthony P. Ardo in
Lower Mount Bethel on May 20, according to a county grand jury. Ardo, 47, had
threatened to blow himself up and was lighting a fuse to a firework around his
neck at the time, officials said. Police believed he was wearing an explosive
device.

Joseph F. Mullner Jr., 64, was shot on Oct. 4 alongside his wife outside their
home on Longacre Drive in Lehigh Township. Mullner's wife survived the shooting
and is recovering, police said. Mullner's cousin, John Michael Hann, 61, was
identified as the shooter and arrested hours later after a roadside standoff
with police in Bethlehem Township.

State records indicate there were 7 homicides in 2016 in Northampton County.

(source: The Morning Call)








MARYLAND:

Harford Co. Senator To Introduce Legislation To Reinstate Death Penalty In Md.



A state senator from the county where 3 granite business employees were shot
and killed last week, allegedly by a coworker, wants to reinstate the death
penalty in Maryland.

Senator Robert G. Cassilly, a Republican of Harford County, says he wants
lethal injection to be a possible punishment for certain crimes - including the
murder of 2 or more people as part of a single incident, serial murders,
murders of law enforcement officials, the murder of a witness to certain kinds
of crimes, a murder that occurs during a rape or sex offense and murder during
the commission of a hate crime.

Cassilly says he wants the method of execution to be lethal injection with a
mixture of heroin and fentanyl.

(source: WJZ news)

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

'Put heroin and fentanyl in death penalty lethal injections,' says US
politician



An American politician wants to bring back the death penalty in his home state
and is proposing the lethal injection be filled with heroin and fentanyl, the
synthetic opioid at the heart of a US drugs death epidemic.

The last execution in Maryland was in 1993 and death sentences were officially
outlawed in 2013, but Republican Senator Robert G. Cassilly thinks that should
change in the wake of a mass shooting on 18 October.

Multiple felon Raddee Prince, 37, is accused of killing three co-workers and
wounding 2 others at a kitchen surfaces manufacturer in Delaware. He faces a
slew of charges including first-degree murder and if convicted will be jailed
for life without parole.

"It's just outrageous that we as citizens of the state of Maryland are
unable... to extract appropriate justice for such a heinous act," Cassilly
said, at a press conference on 23 October.

"There's got to be a penalty that says, 'Look, you've killed; now it can
actually get a whole lot worse from this because we will hold your life over
your head'," he added, as reported by Patch.com.

Cassilly then explained that objections to lethal injections on grounds of pain
could be dismissed if convicts were given heroin and fentanyl in high doses. He
argued that opioid users' willingness to chase more hits even after they had
come close to death proved that the injections "obviously must not be too
painful".

Opioids are respiratory inhibitors that block the brain from telling the body
to breathe. When taken in high doses users effectively forget how to breathe.
Fentanyl is so powerful - 100 times stronger than heroin - that just a few
grains can kill a person. The increased prevalence of fentanyl-laced heroin has
been a significant factor in the US opioid crisis.

Maryland State Attorney Joseph Cassilly - the Senator's brother - claimed that
lethal injections composed of opioids would send a strong message to drug users
in the state, saying: "That's a point to be taken about how deadly that
combination is."

In September, the state of Nevada announced plans to use fentanyl in lethal
injections following a trend of pharmaceutical companies refusing to sell
traditional execution drugs, such as midazolam and hydromorphone, to prisons.

The proposals, first reported by The Marshall Project, are intended for the
execution of murderer Scott Raymond Dozier later in November. He will be
injected with a cocktail of fentanyl, Valium and cisatracurium.

Joel B. Zivot, an Emory University anesthesiologist was critical of the
thinking behind the combination. He said: "This is not actually science. It's
not actually medicine. It is a grotesque impersonation of those things."

(source: ibtimes.co.uk)








FLORIDA:

Suppression issue in Columbia County death penalty case



Attorneys for a Florida man accused of gunning down a Columbia County resident
in a church parking lot contend the circumstances of Daniel Robinson's arrest
and questioning requires the suppression of physical evidence and his
statement. It's a contention the prosecution says lack merit.

It will be up to Judge John Flythe to decide which side is correct. A hearing
has not been set.

Robinson is accused of killing William "Bill" Davitte, 55, the night of Aug.
14, 2014, in the parking lot of Marvin United Methodist Church. If a Columbia
County Superior Court jury finds him guilty of murder, the prosecutor intends
to seek a sentence of death.

District Attorney Natalie Paine responded Friday to the defense team's
suppression motions, writing that Robinson's arrest was lawful and that his
statement was given voluntarily. The Florida Highway Patrol and Jacksonville
Police Department were looking for Davitte's 2010 Nissan Murano because the
driver was suspected of being involved in Davitte's killing, which took place
around 10:30 p.m. An officer spotted the vehicle and gave chase but lost sight
of it.

The car was later found abandoned and officers set up a search perimeter.
Around 4 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2014, a Jacksonville police officer spotted a black
man in a white T-shirt, which was the description given by the trooper who
tried to stop the vehicle earlier, inside the perimeter.

Defense attorneys Adam Levin and Erin Wallace contend the vague description may
have given the officer the right to briefly stop and question Robinson, but it
did not rise to the level that the officer took - pulling his gun, ordering
Robinson to the ground, threatening to shoot him, searching him, handcuffing
him, and putting him in his patrol car.

The prosecutor countered that the officer also saw what he believed to be blood
on Robinson's clothing and book bag, increasing the need to verify Robinson's
identity. The officer put him in a patrol car and drove him to a nearby
residence to check Robinson's contention that he had just left that house. The
officer determined that was a lie, according to Paine's brief.

About 12 hours after his arrest, 2 Columbia County sheriff's investigators
arrived in Jacksonville to question Robinson. They read Robinson his rights,
which included the right to remain silent and to end the interview at any time.
Robinson then launched a profanity-laced tirade at them. The investigators left
the room and a Jacksonville detective went in and started asking Robinson
questions, both sides agree.

The defense's brief contends Robinson clearly indicated to the officers that he
was invoking his right to remain silent, which means officers must stop the
questioning. The Columbia County officers understood what Robinson meant
because they left the room, and the Jacksonville detective failed to honor
Robinson's right to terminate the interrogation.

The prosecution contends Robinson???s statements were not a clear invocation of
the right to remain silent and end the interview, and that after Robinson began
talking he asked for the Columbia County investigators to return to the room.

(source: Augusta Chronicle)

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

Judge to weigh death penalty for man who killed wife, 5 children



The Collier County man who pleaded guilty to murdering his entire family faced
a judge for one of the last time Monday.

Mesac Damas admitted to murdering his wife and 5 children in Naples in 2009.

"Something was taken from our family that day," said Mackindy Dieu, the brother
of Damas's wife. "Not just my sister and her children, but our hope and
happiness of what our family used to look like was gone."

Damas slit the throats of his wife, Guerline, and 5 kids: Mizach, Maven,
Marven, Morgan, and Megan at their home. The youngest child was just
19-months-old.

Damas used a filet knife that the prosecutors showed in court Monday. The knife
is bent from the murders.

"I saw each of their smiling faces flash before my eyes knowing that I would
never hold them again, play with them or see them grow up and create their own
lives," Dieu said.

The point of Monday's hearing was for each side to try and convince the judge
to side with them when it comes to punishment. The state wants the death
penalty while the defense attorneys hope for life in prison.

Defense attorneys brought an expert on religion and Haiti into court who
testified that Damas believes he was possessed through voodoo when he committed
the crime. The expert went to Haiti to meet with Damas's family members and to
see where he grew up. She said voodoo was a big part of his childhood.

"He becomes increasingly paranoid over time that he's under demonic attack,"
said expert Dr. Elizabeth McAlister.

Damas's former brother in law did not comment on the sentence that he wants to
see, instead choosing to use the time to remember his older sister and 5 nieces
and nephews.

"I don't want my sister's legacy to be a domestic violence statistic," said
Dieu. "I want people to know who she was to me and my family; and what she
could've been to this community."

The judge will take everything that happened into consideration as she decides
Damas sentence. Damas will be back in court on Friday to find out how this case
will end.

(source: NBC News)








OHIO:

Joseph Thomas' lawyers urge court not to reconsider Mentor-on-the-Lake death
penalty case reversal



The Ohio Supreme Court must deny the Lake County prosecutor's request to
reconsider its decision to reverse Joseph Thomas' convictions in a
Mentor-on-the-Lake death penalty case, according to Thomas' appellate lawyers.

The former Perry Township man was found guilty in 2012 for the 2010 rape and
murder of Annie McSween, 49, of Mentor.

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Richard L. Collins Jr. chose to adopt the jury's
recommendation of death rather than downgrade the sentence to life in prison.

In a 4-3 vote earlier this month, the Supreme Court overturned the death
sentence and ordered a new trial be scheduled for Thomas.

The Lake County Prosecutor's Office then filed a motion for reconsideration,
arguing that the high court's majority neglected to fully analyze the issues,
confused legal standards and failed to use its own law rather than
"cherry-picking cases from outside Ohio" to make its decision.

Now, Timothy F. Sweeney, 1 of Thomas' appellate lawyers, is arguing that the
state's request for reconsideration is groundless.

"... The Court carefully considered all the facts and arguments over a period
of years and concluded that based on the lack of 'overwhelming independent
evidence of guilt' a new trial is necessary 'to prevent a manifest miscarriage
of justice.' Nothing in the state's motion to reconsider refutes the majority's
careful analysis and conclusion," Sweeney stated in his Oct. 20 opposition to
the state's motion for reconsideration.

McSween's body was found on Nov. 26, 2010, in a wooded area outside of Mario's
Lakeway Lounge on Andrews Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake, where she worked as a
bartender. She was strangled and stabbed multiple times in the neck and back on
Black Friday. The power lines to the bar had been cut, and McSween and 2 other
women had their tires slashed.

Thomas has maintained his innocence and claimed he had no motivation to commit
the crime.

Although Thomas had frequently been seen carrying a blue pocketknife before
that night, it was not recovered during the criminal investigation. At trial,
prosecutors introduced 5 other knives Thomas owned, describing them as "full
Rambo combat knives."

Justice Terrence O'Donnell wrote the court's lead opinion, which determined the
trial court committed plain error by admitting those 5 knives that prosecutors
knew were not used in the crime into evidence. The majority found a reasonable
probability that the error affected the outcome of the trial, and that reversal
was necessary to prevent a manifest miscarriage of justice.

"The state claims that the Court has ignored Ohio cases on this evidentiary
issue, in favor of cases from other jurisdictions. That is a false and unfair
accusation," Sweeney said in his motion.

The 3 dissenting justices found the prosecution presented substantial evidence
to support the jury's verdict independent of the admitted knife evidence.

(source: The News-Herald)

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

2nd person pleads guilty in Hamilton retaliation shooting



Zachary Harris, 1 of 4 people charged in a Hamilton retaliation shooting that
killed 2 people, has admitted guilt in to avoid the death penalty.

Harris, 25, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Monday morning to 2 counts of
aggravated murder minutes before his 2-week trial was scheduled to being in
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens' courtroom.

In exchange for the plea, Harris will receive a sentence of life in prison
without the possibility of parole.

Harris is convicted of the drive-by shooting deaths of Orlando Gilbert and Todd
Berus in August 2016.

Before entering the plea, Harris said he was dissatisfied with the attorneys
appointed to him and disagreed with motions that had been denied by the judge.
Those denied motions were to suppress his confession to Hamilton police,
continue the trial, and that he was not mentally fit to be given the death
penalty.

"With all due respect, I feel the court is being just a little bit bias against
me due to I am not from around here and what have you, your honor," Harris
said. He added there has been "so much delay" for psychological evaluations and
his defense was not able to form a "defense."

Stephens said he understood it was Harris's right to object to his decisions.

"I take no offense at that," Stephens told Harris. The judge also pointed out
every time Harris has been in court, he asked if he was satisfied with his
attorneys and he indicated that he was.

Tim McKenna, 1 of Harris' 2 attorneys, said "Judge just to clarify, he objects
to the rulings. We are prepared to go forward."

A string of violence in the summer of 2106 began with a shootout at Doubles Bar
in the city's west side that killed 1 person and wounded 7 others. That
shooting sparked retaliation violence on the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, that
left Gilbert and Berus dead.

According to prosecutors, Michael Grevious II, one of the men involved in the
Doubles shootout, hired Harris to kill Gilbert for $5,000.

Then on that afternoon in August 2016, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by
Melinda Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Gilbert and
Berus. Tony Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire with an
AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court documents.

Patete, 23, of Newark, is charged with 2 counts of aggravated murder. He is
scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 4.

Grevious, charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault for the Doubles
shootout, will be the last to stand trial on Feb. 26.

Gibby pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with an agreed to sentence of 30
years to life. She will not be formally sentenced until February.

(source: The Journal-News)

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

Brother could face death penalty in Warren County woman's killing



The adoptive brother of a South Lebanon woman beaten to death on Sept. 15 at
her home has been indicted on 8 charges, including her murder, and could face
the death penalty.

Christopher Kirby, 38, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated
robbery, murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering
with evidence.

"The grand jury further found probable cause that two capital specifications
were satisfied, specifically (1) Kirby committed the aggravated murder of Debra
Power as part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful attempt to kill 2
persons, and (2) Kirby was the principal offender in the aggravated murder of
Debra Power while committing the offense of aggravated robbery. Therefore,
Kirby could face the death penalty if he is convicted on the aggravated murder
count, and either of the 2 capital specifications," according to a press
release issued by Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

His wife, Jacqueline Kirby, 30, is charged with tampering with evidence,
receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards.

Deborah Power, 63, of South Lebanon was pronounced dead from head injuries
Sept. 15 at her home in South Lebanon. Newcomer Funeral Home in Dayton is
handling the arrangements.

Her husband, Ronnie Power, was also badly beaten in the attack, Warren County
Prosecutor David Fornshell said in September.

Both of the Powers were beaten "in the head with a blunt force object,"
Fornshell added.

The Kirbys were living with the Powers. Christopher Kirby was Deborah Power's
adoptive brother, according to Fornshell.

The Kirbys are accused of beating the Powers during a robbery undertaken to
steal property the Kirbys could use to buy heroin, according to Fornshell.

The couple is suspected of using Ronnie Power's truck to get to West Chester
Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for head injuries he allegedly
received from them and forming the basis for the attempted murder charges.

Power's 1994 Dodge Ram was found in the parking lot of West Chester Hospital on
Sept. 16, the day after the Kirbys are suspected of beating the Powers during
the robbery at the house at 59 W. Broadway in South Lebanon.

An 8-year-old boy reportedly called 911.

Deborah Power was found under a blanket on Sept. 15 and "cold to the touch with
blood underneath" by sheriff's deputies called to a home just before midnight,
according to a search warrant.

They remained in the Warren County Jail, awaiting their arraignment in Warren
County Common Pleas Court.

(source: Dayton Daily News)

********

South Lebanon man could face death penalty in sister's killing----Christopher
Kirby indicted on 9 counts



A South Lebanon man could face the death penalty in connection with his
sister's death.

Christopher G. Kirby killed his sister, Debra K. Power, at their home Sept. 15,
Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

A grand jury indicted him on 9 counts: aggravated murder, murder, aggravated
robbery, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

Sheriff's deputies had been called to help South Lebanon police with a man who
was bleeding, sheriff's Lt. John Faine said. Investigators found Power's body
during a search of the home, he said.

Blood was found in several rooms, according to a search warrant. The body was
covered with a blanket and was cold to the touch.

Power's husband, Ronnie L. Power, was seriously injured. A grand jury found
probable cause that Kirby intended to kill them both, Fornshell said.

Kirby was indicted on counts of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery
and felonious assault for Ronnie Power's injuries.

He lashed out during his during a video hearing last month:

The grand jury also indicted Kirby's wife, Jaqueline R. Kirby, on counts of
tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards.

Both should be arraigned this week in Warren County Common Pleas Court,
Fornshell said.

(source: WCPO news)








ARKANSAS:

Coalition seeks changes to the system, abolishment of death penalty



A coalition is advocating for Arkansas to abolish the death penalty.

Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty hosted a town hall meeting Oct.
23 to stand up for what they say is right.

Furonda Brassfield, executive director of the coalition said something needs to
be done to change the system.

"We need to consider how we treat them in our criminal justice system and
executing them is definitely not the way that we want to go," she said.

Brassfield said Jack Greene, who is set to be executed by the state Nov. 9, is
severely mentally ill.

"I knew what I was doing to him and I couldn't stand what I was doing to him
but I put the gun to his head and I killed him," said Greene at his last
clemency hearing.

According to Brassfield, Jack Greene believes that his attorneys are conspiring
against him.

"He thinks they're tricking him so they can do experiments on him. Anything
that he says should be looked at in his diagnosis and the mental illnesses that
the is suffering," she said.

Brassfield said if they can educate others about mental health maybe they could
change the course of how the justice system handles it.

"We want to treat that illness rather than throwing everyone away in jail and
letting jail be the catch off for mental illness," she said.

As for Greene, a couple of weeks is all that sit between him and his fate.

"Killing me will do one thing for sure and that is putting an end to the
torture I've endured for 13 years," Greene said at his clemency hearing.

As for the victims' families, they want justice and peace of mind.

At Greene's clemency hearing, they expressed concerns that he could escape if
he was transferred to another facility.

The clemency board did not recommend clemency, but Governor Hutchinson has the
final say.

(source: KTHV-TV news)

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

Urgent Action

MENTAL COMPETENCE IN DOUBT AS EXECUTION SET

Jack Greene, aged 62, is scheduled to be executed in Arkansas on 9 November.
His lawyers assert his execution would be unconstitutional because he has a
psychotic disorder preventing him from having a rational understanding of his
punishment.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Calling for the execution of Jack Greene to be halted and his death sentence
commuted;

* Noting the expert evidence that Jack Greene's serious mental disability
prevents him from having a rational understanding of his punishment, which
would render his execution unconstitutional.

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of
forwarding this one!

Contact below official by 9 November, 2017:

Governor of the State of Arkansas

The Honorable Asa Hutchinson

State Capitol, Suite 250, 500 Woodlane St

Little Rock, AR 72201

USA

Fax: +1 501 682 3597

Email: http://governor.arkansas.gov/contact-info/ (if you live outside the U.S.
please use this address: AIUSA, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001);

or ***@governor.arkansas.gov (asking for email to be forwarded to governor)

Salutation: Dear Governor

(source: Amnesty International USA)
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