Discussion:
death penalty news----TEXAS, PENN., N.C., FLA., MO., OKLA.
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-23 12:57:40 UTC
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August 23



TEXAS:

Reginald Kimbro, Man Accused in Two North Texas Assaults, Murders, Faces 2nd
Capital Murder Charge----Officials have not said when trials in Dallas, Tarrant
counties will begin



Reginald Gerard Kimbro, the man accused of sexually assaulting and murdering 2
North Texas women and raping a 3rd, has been indicted on a 2nd capital murder
charge.

Kimbro, 24, is accused of killing both 36-year-old Megan Getrum, of Plano, and
22-year-old Molly Matheson, a former college girlfriend who lived in Fort
Worth, within days of each other.

Matheson's body was found in her Fort Worth garage apartment by her mother on
April 10. Detectives learned Matheson and Kimbro previously dated in 2014 while
both were students at the University of Arkansas.

In an interview with detectives 4 days after Matheson's death, Kimbro told
police he and Molly were no longer dating but had kept in touch. He admitted to
being at her apartment the night she died but said he left after a few hours
and had nothing to do with her death.

That same day, April 14, was the last time anyone saw Getrum alive. She is
believed to have disappeared from the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, not
far from where she lived. Getrum's body was found in Lake Ray Hubbard April 15,
but not identified until days later after her family reported her missing.

Authorities said an autopsy report revealed Getrum's death was the result of a
"blunt injury" to the back of her neck. She had also been strangled and
sexually assaulted. An arrest warrant indicated that detectives found Kimbro's
DNA on Getrum's body during an autopsy. Authorities said they matched it with
his DNA found earlier on the body of Matheson, who had also been sexually
assaulted.

Given that the 2 deaths occurred in 2 different counties, they are being
prosecuted separately by 2 different district attorneys. Tarrant County
District Attorney Sharen Wilson announced Aug. 10 she was seeking the death
penalty in the Matheson capital murder case while Dallas County District
Attorney Faith Johnson is seeking either the death penalty or a life sentence
in the the Getrum case, whose body was found in Dallas County.

"We continue to pray for Megan Getrum's family. We also continue to pray for
the family of Molly Matheson of Fort Worth, as Reginald Kimbro is also being
charged with Capital Murder in connection to her death. We believe that justice
will be served in both of these cases," Johnson said Tuesday.

With a charge of capital murder, a guilty verdict automatically carries a death
sentence or mandatory life in prison without parole.

Kimbro was twice before accused of sexual assault, though no charges were filed
in either case. The f1st assault allegedly took place in September 2012 where a
woman reported Kimbro sexually assaulted her in Plano. Kimbro was never
arrested in this case and the arrest warrant affidavit does not say why
prosecutors declined to pursue the case.

The 2nd assault allegedly took place in March 2014 at a resort on South Padre
Island. In that incident, Kimbro claimed the sex was consensual and the charges
were dismissed. However, in June 2017, the Cameron County District Attorney
indicted Kimbro on an aggravated sexual assault charge from the 2014 incident.
Officials did not say why, now, they were pursuing the case.

In both cases, police said Kimbro knew the women and strangled them during the
assault. While Kimbro's connection to Matheson is clear, investigators have not
said if Kimbro knew Getrum.

Kimbro is currently being held at the Tarrant County Lon Evans Correction
Center on a $2.1 million bond. Officials have not said when they expect the
trials to begin.

Online jail records do not indicate an attorney for him.

(source: nbcdfw.com)








PENNSYLVANIA:

Pa. high court orders new death penalty hearing in '84 murder of Germantown
deacon



In a case that reignited scrutiny of Pennsylvania's death penalty and the
workings of the state's highest court, an evenly divided Pennsylvania Supreme
Court has ordered a new death penalty hearing for Terrance Williams, convicted
and condemned in the 1984 slaying of Germantown church deacon Amos Norwood.

Just 4 of the 7 justices participated in Tuesday's decision and, under court
rules, the stalemate automatically affirmed a Philadelphia judge's 2012 ruling
that Williams deserved a new jury to decide whether he should be sentenced to
death or to life in prison without parole.

2 justices - Christine Donohue and David N. Wecht - favored a new sentencing
hearing, and 2 - Sallie Updyke Mundy and former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court
Judge Kevin M. Dougherty - supported reinstating Williams' death sentence. The
3 remaining justices - Thomas G. Saylor, Max Baer, and Debra McCloskey Todd -
recused themselves because they were part of the unanimous 2014 Supreme Court
decision that reinstated Williams's death sentence.

That decision was reversed in 2016 by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision
that held that Ronald D. Castille, then chief justice of Pennsylvania's high
court, should never have participated in the case because he oversaw the
prosecution in Williams' 1986 trial when he was Philadelphia's district
attorney.

Former District Attorney Seth Williams, who pleaded guilty in June to a federal
bribery count and is in prison awaiting sentencing, strongly supported Terrance
Williams' death sentence, and the prosecutor's office had tried to persuade the
Pennsylvania justices to reaffirm their 2014 decision.

The case now returns to Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who almost
5 years ago spared Williams from imminent execution when she ruled that the
city prosecutor withheld information - Norwood allegedly sexually abused the
teen - that might have persuaded the jury to spare Williams' life.

Cameron Kline, spokesman for District Attorney Kelley B. Hodge, on Tuesday
referred to the "unique procedural posture of the case," with just 2 of 7
justices backing a new death-penalty hearing.

"We are reviewing the case and will determine how to proceed," Kline said.

Meanwhile, Shawn Nolan, Williams' lawyer and the head of the death penalty unit
at the federal defender's office in Philadelphia, said in a statement: "We are
thankful that the ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds Judge
Sarmina's well-reasoned decision that vacated Mr. Williams' death sentence."

Nolan said he hopes the District Attorney's Office will finally drop its
pursuit of the death penalty and "agree that they should never have sought
death against a teenager who killed his sexual abuser."

Williams came within a month of a 2nd scheduled execution on March 4, 2015, but
Gov. Wolf imposed a moratorium on executions until after he receives the report
of a legislative task force studying the future of capital punishment.
Pennsylvania's death penalty has been used just 3 times since it was reinstated
in 1978.

Williams, now 51, was an 18-year-old Cheyney University football standout when
he was arrested in 1984 and charged with murdering Norwood. At the time, city
prosecutors alleged that Williams bludgeoned the 56-year-old man to death in a
West Oak Lane cemetery, then set his corpse on fire during a robbery.

At trial, Williams testified that he was innocent and had never met Norwood.
Later, as his case moved into a secondary appeal under the state Post
Conviction Relief Act, Williams admitted the killing but said it was motivated
by 5 years of sexual abuse by Norwood.

Williams' appeal was supported a group of lawyers and former judges, child
advocates, and religious figures - including Norwood's widow - who urged that
his life be spared for a crime committed 3 months after he turned 18, then the
minimum age for someone to be sentenced to death in the United States.

Williams' petition also included 5 members of the Philadelphia jury that
condemned him to death, saying they would have opted for life in prison had
they heard the mitigating evidence about his childhood of sexual abuse by a
neighbor, a teacher, and Norwood himself.

(source: philly.com)








NORTH CAROLINA:

DA plans to pursue death penalty after Stroupe indicted for murder



District Attorney Greg Newman said Tuesday that a grand jury in Henderson
County on Monday indicted Phillip Michael Stroupe II for 1st degree murder in
the death of Thomas Andrew Bryson.

Stroupe is accused of killing Bryson, 68, near his home in Millls River on July
26, while Stroupe was on the run from law enforcement in Transylvania County.

Stroupe was captured in McDowell County on July 27 after a chase in Bryson's
vehicle.

Deputies found Bryson's body off Glenn Bridge Road on July 30.

Stroupe II was also indicted for Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon and 1st Degree
Kidnapping. His father, Phillip Michael Stroupe, Sr., was also indicted Monday
for the accessory after the fact to 1st degree murder.

Both father and son are due in court again on October 9.

Newman said he expects to outline his plan to pursue the death penalty during
the October hearing.

"This is the 1st step of a lengthy process," Newman said in a news release. "I
met with Mrs. Bryson and 1 of her sons and explained to them that the legal
process requires endurance and we have a considerable amount of work ahead of
us just to get this case to trial. On the 9th of October, we hope to hold a
conference with Judge Powell whereby I will announce the grounds that I believe
exist to pursue the death penalty upon a conviction of the murder charge. We
will also discuss the defendant's legal representation. North Carolina law
permits 2 court appointed lawyers in a case where a crime is punishable by
death."

Stroupe II faces felony charges in Transylvania, Madison, Yancey and McDowell
counties.

(source: foxcarolina.com)








FLORIDA----impendingn execution

Florida to resume executions with 1st use of triple-drug injection



Florida's death penalty hiatus is slated to end Thursday, when the state plans
to execute the 1st death row prisoner in more than 19 months.

But the execution of Mark James Asay - a white supremacist accused of targeting
black victims - won't just be the 1st lethal injection since early 2016 in a
state that was killing death row prisoners at a record-breaking pace until a
U.S. Supreme Court ruling put Florida's death penalty on hold.

It will also be the 1st execution anywhere in the country using an untested
triple-drug lethal injection procedure.

Asay has spent nearly 3 decades on death row after being convicted in the 1987
shooting deaths of 2 men in downtown Jacksonville.

Gov. Rick Scott initially signed a death warrant for Asay in January 2016.

But not long afterward, in a case known as Hurst v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme
Court struck down the state's death-penalty sentencing system as
unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges, instead of juries.

Lawmakers revamped the law, but a series of court rulings kept the death
penalty in limbo until this spring, when the Florida Supreme Court lifted a
hold on Asay's execution, more than a year after it was supposed to take place.

It's not unusual for death row prisoners, especially those with pending death
warrants, to launch myriad appeals in one of the judicial system's most
complicated arenas.

But Asay's case is more tangled than most:

Asay, now 53, spent a decade on death row without legal representation, a
violation of state law.

Dozens of boxes of records related to his case were destroyed after being left
in a rat- and roach-infested shed.

One of his previous defense lawyers was the subject of an investigation by the
Florida Supreme Court, after a federal judge chided her for shoddy work.

Asay's current lawyer maintains that Attorney General Pam Bondi's office
hoodwinked him into agreeing to a delay by the U.S. Supreme Court, which could
ultimately make it more difficult for the condemned killer to have a review by
the high court.

The Florida Supreme Court recently issued a rare mea culpa, acknowledging that
it had for more than 20 years mistakenly believed that one of the convicted
murderer's victims was black.

Florida Department of Corrections officials changed the 3-drug lethal injection
protocol a year after Scott signed Asay's death warrant, adopting the use of a
drug never before used in Florida or in any other state for executions.

Asay was convicted in 1988 of the murders of Robert Booker and Robert McDowell.
Asay allegedly shot Booker, who was black, after calling him a racial epithet.
He then killed McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, after agreeing to pay him
for oral sex. According to court documents, Asay - who bears white supremacist
and swastika tattoos - later told a friend that McDowell, who was not black,
had previously cheated him out of money in a drug deal.

A jury found Asay guilty of 2 counts of 1st-degree murder and recommended the
death penalty with a 9-3 vote.

The Florida Supreme Court last week rejected a major appeal by Asay, including
a challenge to the new lethal-injection procedure. This week, the court
rejected another attempt at a reprieve, after justices acknowledged the court
had been mistaken for more than 2 decades about McDowell's race.

McDowell was "known to friends and neighbors as Renee Torres," the court wrote.

"Torres was identified at trial by everyone who testified as white and
Hispanic. Renee Torres nee Robert McDowell may have been either white or
mixed-race, Hispanic but was not a black man," the Supreme Court wrote. "We
regret our previous error."

But the Supreme Court summarily dismissed Asay's request for a new hearing
because of the error.

"While this court may have mislabeled the racial identity of the victim in its
prior opinions, this fact does not negatively affect this court???s final
determination," justices unanimously decided Monday afternoon.

Thursday's execution would make Asay the 24th death row prisoner put to death
since Scott - who has ordered more executions than any Florida governor since
the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 - took office in 2011.

The number of death warrants signed by Scott, during a shorter period of time
than other governors, was steadily growing until the Hurst decision put
executions on hold.

While death penalty lawyers don't wish for any complications Thursday, they
worry that an uneventful lethal injection could prompt Scott to issue a flurry
of new death warrants.

"The attention focused on this execution happens as a result of the lack of
state sponsored killings in the last year and a half. I suspect the execution
machine will start up again, these judicially approved medical homicides will
become the norm again, and news about them will move to the back pages, if they
make the paper at all," Pete Mills, an assistant public defender in the 10th
Judicial Circuit who also serves as chairman of the Florida Public Defenders
Association Death Penalty Steering Committee, said in an interview.

Ocala-area State Attorney Brad King, a veteran prosecutor and outspoken
defender of the death penalty, wouldn't predict what the impact of Thursday's
execution would be in terms of Scott.

But "if this execution is carried out without any problems, without any stays
by any appellate courts, then I think the road would be clear for executions to
begin on a regular basis again," King told The News Service of Florida in a
telephone interview Tuesday.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, who dissented in last week's
ruling on Asay's appeal, raised concerns that the execution is being rushed.
She wrote, in part, that the state had thwarted attempts by Asay's lawyers, led
by Marty McClain, to obtain public records regarding the change in the lethal
injection protocol.

"In its rush to execute Asay, the state has jeopardized Asay's fundamental
constitutional rights and treated him as the proverbial guinea pig of its
newest lethal injection protocol," she wrote in a lengthy dissent on Aug. 14.

Mills raised similar concerns.

"If the state is going to kill someone on behalf of the people of that state, I
would hope they would take the time to get things done right," Mills said.

But Asay has had "multiple trips through the appellate system," the veteran
prosecutor King said.

"There's nothing rushed about it," King said.

(source: Pam Beach Post)

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

As Mark Asay awaits his turn, a plea to end Florida's executions



This past May I attended a lecture at Rollins College by Robert K. Wittman, a
former FBI agent.

In his lecture, "The Hunt and Reveal of the Secrets of the Devil's Diary,"
Wittman outlined and detailed the philosophy and atrocities of Alfred
Rosenberg, one of the masterminds and implementers of the barbarous Nazi
regime.

Rosenberg's writings were used by the prosecution in the Nuremberg Trials to
convict and sentence some of the perpetrators of Nazi crimes.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II, and the continuing
discoveries of the human remains of people massacred by the Germans during the
war, Europe came to embrace the policy that state-sanctioned killings were
fraught with prejudice and injustice. The European Union abolished the death
penalty.

The United States hasn't gotten the message - especially Florida, which leads
all states in the number of exonerations at 27.

Why do we in Florida so desperately cling to killing, especially since, as in
most Southern states, capital punishment has its "society-sanctioned" roots in
lynching, America's version of the Holocaust, fueled by white racism and
neo-Nazism?

Mark Asay, who is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. on Thursday will be the
1st white person executed in Florida for the killing of a black person.

Are we to be consoled by this fact? It should deepen our shame.

That we should imitate, albeit in a measured and sanitized way, the "cowardly
acts of violence" of Nazi soldiers and camp guards who brutally massacred and
gassed helpless masses of people, that we should follow the example of the mob
violence and cruelty of the Ku Klux Klan, is an insult to our God and our
nation.

Imagine Nazi soldiers with rifles and handguns pointed at frightened and
cowering men, women and children, herding them into a pit, shooting them to
death, and then burying them, some still alive, beneath bulldozed dirt.

The death penalty in the United States is a remnant legacy of this, a "cowardly
act of violence" that not only imitates the behavior of the criminal but
perpetuates the legacy of brutal and morally corrupt state-sanctioned killings
of the past.

If we are a Christian nation, we should strive to imitate the redemptive spirit
of the God-Man we worship, and not the evil and oppressive powers that executed
him, nor those governments and cowardly mobs in the modern era that would
divide humanity into categories in order to punish and kill.

(source: Bernard L. Welch lives in Zellwood----Orlando Sentinel)








MISSOURI:

Missouri death row Inmate's Execution Stopped With Just 4 Hours to Spare



Missouri's governor halted a death row inmate's execution at the 11th hour.

Marcellus Williams had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday,
Aug. 22, until Gov. Eric Greitens stepped in with just over 4 hours to spare.

In a statement, Greitens said, "To carry out the death penalty, the people of
Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt."

That confidence was rattled by 2016 tests, which did not find Williams' DNA on
the butcher knife used to fatally and repeatedly stab Felicia Gayle in 1998.

A jury convicted Williams of the murder 3 years later. Now 48, Williams
continues to maintain his innocence.

The stay of execution does not let him off the hook, however; at least not yet.

In light of the recent DNA evidence, Gov. Greitens is creating a special panel
to review the case and recommend whether Williams should be executed or granted
clemency.

(source: United News International)








OKLAHOMA:

Executions will not resume in Oklahoma in 2017



Oklahoma will not execute anyone in 2017 and the death chamber will stay quiet
until after the 3rd anniversary of the last time the state carried out a death
sentence.

The Oklahoma Attorney General promised the courts in 2015 that it would not
seek a new execution until 150 days after new protocols for executions were
adopted by the Department of Corrections following a grand jury investigation
into botched execution and mismanagement of the capital punishment system.

A spokesperson told FOX 25 new procedures have not been adopted and the office
has not been notified of any pending changes to execution procedures.

The grand jury report was issued in early 2016. The grand jury did not indict
anyone, but issued a scathing report that detailed multiple failures on the
part of the Department of Corrections to carry out lawful executions in
Oklahoma. The report was also critical of some in the governor's office who
attempted to push the use of an unapproved drug to execute Richard Glossip in
September of 2015.

After the state tried to use an improper drug, Oklahomans saw a flurry of
resignations of those tied to the debacle. The warden of the state penitentiary
in McAlester, the head of the Department of Corrections, and the governor's
general counsel all left their positions. All 3 were cited in the report for
their mishandling of the death sentences.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal appeals has received an update from the Attorney
General every month since the indefinite stay was requested on October 2, 2015.
Each month the Attorney General's office indicates that new protocols have not
been adopted and it is an "inappropriate" time to resume executions.

In the interim, a bipartisan panel studied Oklahoma's death penalty and
recommended the moratorium on capital punishment remain in place. Former
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry led the commission and announced that it was
indisputable that Oklahoma had sentenced innocent people to die. The report
also highlighted other concerns with sentencing disparities when it comes to
who receives the death penalty.

(source: Fox News)
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