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death penalty news----OKLA., NEB., IDAHO, NEV., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-11-29 14:45:51 UTC
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Nov. 29




OKLAHOMA:

OKC man to stand trial in Chamberlain Park double homicide---Man charged with 2
counts of murder in Chamberlain Park slayings



The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday filed its intent to seek
the death penalty against an Oklahoma City man charged in the June 2016
slayings of 2 people at a north Tulsa park in the presence of 1 small children.

But the man's defense says there are concerns about his cognitive functioning.

Jacky Cardale Mayfield, 29, is scheduled for a jury trial Jan. 7, 2019, for the
shooting deaths of 26-year-old Markey Goff and 31-year-old Meshawna Jones,
whose bodies were found June 13, 2016, inside a Ford SUV parked at Chamberlain
Park, 4940 N. Frankfort Ave.

Mayfield and his cousin, 27-year-old Rebecca Williams, were in court for a
preliminary hearing Nov. 22, 2016, for 1st-degree murder and accessory charges,
respectively. They were both ordered to stand trial before District Judge James
Caputo.

However, Caputo pushed back Mayfield's arraignment multiple times for what
court records indicate is a contention by Mayfield's defense team that his IQ
is too low to be legally eligible to receive capital punishment.

Williams is due in court Dec. 4.

In a bill of particulars filed Tuesday, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler
asked for consideration of the death penalty due to the state's belief that
Mayfield could be a continuing threat to society. He also noted that Mayfield
has already been incarcerated for a 2006 conviction of assault and battery with
a deadly weapon.

Caputo entered a not guilty plea on Mayfield's behalf Tuesday and scheduled a
status conference for Dec. 15 to further discuss Mayfield's mental deficiency
claim.

Asked whether Mayfield would like his appearance waived for that hearing,
Mayfield and Assistant Public Defender Marny Hill said the defendant wants to
be in attendance at every court appearance through his trial.

Hill and Caputo said they anticipate that Mayfield's jury trial will last at
least three weeks and needs to be preceded by pretrial litigation regarding
Mayfield's cognitive abilities. A motion filed by Hill in August says a 2005
evaluation revealed that Mayfield has a full-scale IQ of 65 and received a
diagnosis of "mild mental retardation."

Hill also wrote that a summer 2017 evaluation of Mayfield at the Tulsa Jail
indicated that a medical professional determined his IQ to be 69 and found he
has "significant limitations in several adaptive functioning skills."

Kunzweiler said after Tuesday's hearing that the state has tried unsuccessfully
for most of the past year to have its own expert evaluate Mayfield, but that
neither side was able to reach "a meeting of the minds" for that to occur. He
said the filing of the bill of particulars will ensure that all sides in the
case have the opportunity to fully investigate the matter before arguments
begin over issues such as what evidence will be admissible.

A bill of particulars, according to state law and legal precedent, must be
withdrawn if a court determines that a defendant has mental retardation.

An acquaintance of Mayfield's testified during his preliminary hearing that
Mayfield told her he killed 2 people at Chamberlain Park before he "sent a
female back to wipe the car down," apparently for fingerprints. A 5-year-old
boy and an infant in the vehicle were physically unharmed, and the boy exited
the SUV and told a passerby he needed help, which led to a call to police.

Assistant District Attorney Isaac Shields, who is prosecuting the case, alleged
Mayfield - a reported member of a subset of the Hoover Crips - shot Goff and
Jones in the head after one of them refused to let him steal prescription
pills.

Williams faces an accessory charge based on claims that she, acting on a
request from Mayfield, took a phone from 1 of the SUV's occupants and destroyed
it without telling anyone that she saw 2 people had been fatally shot.

A fellow inmate testified that Mayfield told him a gang contact had reached out
to Mayfield in Oklahoma City to ask that he "hit a lick," or rob Goff, whom
Mayfield knew, for the pills. He also said Mayfield told him he should have
shot the children because the older child's statements to authorities were
likely the cause of his arrest.

The death penalty request involving Mayfield is the 3rd that Kunzweiler's
office has filed since September, following bills of particulars filed against
Gregory Epperson in the March strangulation death of Tulsa teenager Kelsey
Tennant and against Gerald Lowe and Michaela Riddle in the November 2016 fatal
beating of Courtney Palmer.

Epperson's was the 1st under Kunzweiler's tenure as District Attorney.

Kunzweiler said it has been some time since Tulsa County has had 3 outstanding
capital cases simultaneously. He said the facts in each case are significantly
aggravating to warrant death penalty consideration.

(source: Tulsa World)








NEBRASKA:

Nebraska prison officials won't identify supplier of latest lethal injection
drugs



Nebraska prison officials have declined to publicly identify the supplier of a
new batch of lethal injection drugs they bought to carry out the state's 1st
execution in 20 years.

Scott Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services,
recently denied a Nov. 10 public records request from The World-Herald seeking
communications between his staff and the source who sold 4 execution drugs to
the state.

Such documents "constitute attorney work product, are subject to
attorney-client privilege, are not public records and/or are confidential and
exempt from disclosure," said a letter late last week from Dawn-Renee Smith,
communications director for the Corrections Department.

The department has turned over similar documents in past years. Smith provided
no explanation as to why the department now considers such records exempt from
the Nebraska Public Records Act.

Corrections officials did release some inventory records related to the drugs,
but nothing that hinted at how they were obtained. In 2015, corrections
officials spent more than $54,000 on lethal injection drugs that they never
obtained from a broker in India, who in turn refused to refund the public
funds.

The law exempts from disclosure the work product of an attorney and a public
body that flows from preparation for litigation. But the law also requires the
department to describe the contents of the withheld records and specific
reasons for the denial.

The prison spokeswoman declined Tuesday to answer follow-up questions seeking
the legally required information. Nor would she answer other questions intended
to gain a better understanding of the department's basis for denial.

A message left Tuesday with the spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts was not
immediately returned.

The department withheld the same records sought independently by the ACLU of
Nebraska. Danielle Conrad, the organization's director, said she suspects the
department is "falsely claiming" attorney-client privilege for all.

"This is a shocking new low for the Department of Corrections and Nebraska's
proud tradition of open government," she said.

Late last year, the department sought to shield the identity of lethal drug
suppliers when it proposed changes to Nebraska's execution protocol. But that
provision was dropped after it was opposed by many of the people who testified
at a public hearing on protocol.

The new death penalty procedure approved by the governor in January added a
pharmacist or pharmaceutical chemist to the execution team. Their role, the
procedure says, shall be to deliver the lethal injection drugs to the execution
chamber.

One of the state laws cited in the department's denial letter says the
identities of execution team members are confidential. That raises a question
as to whether the department considers its drug supplier a member of the team.

Earlier this month, the department announced it had obtained 4 drugs for the
execution of death-row inmate Jose Sandoval, the ringleader of a botched
robbery that left 5 people dead in a Norfolk bank.

The department notified Sandoval on Nov. 9 that it intends to use 4 drugs in
the following order: diazepam, fentanyl citrate, cisatracurium besylate and
potassium chloride.

Diazepam (brand names include Valium) is a benzodiazepine that is used to
produce a calming effect. Fentanyl citrate is a general anesthetic opioid that
has been used since the 1960s. Cisatracurium besylate (brand name: Nimbex)
relaxes muscles and is used along with a general anesthetic when intubating
patients or doing surgery. Potassium chloride is used to stop the inmate's
heart.

Under the protocol, the Attorney General's Office may not ask the Nebraska
Supreme Court to issue a death warrant for Sandoval sooner than 60 days after
the notification.

Death penalty opponents have predicted that legal challenges over Nebraska's
untried lethal drug combination will lead to further delays.

(source: Omaha World-Herald)








IDAHO:

Renfro experts' bill tallies more than $579K



More than a half million dollars was spent by prosecutors and public defenders
to pay for expert witnesses in Jonathan D. Renfro's murder trial.

Aside from the $578,907 already billed, additional invoices have not been
tallied, according to Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon's office.

Court records show that public defenders spent $310,907 to pay 7 experts to
research the case and to testify at the 2-month trial, while prosecutors paid
$268,000 for 3 experts.

The county pays for prosecution expert witnesses. The county also pays for
defense expert witnesses, but in this case will be reimbursed by the Capital
Crimes Defense Fund, a self-insured fund that reimburses member counties in
cases where the death penalty is being sought.

Some of the invoices were paid through late September, while others were paid
through Nov. 4, near the end of the trial.

Renfro was convicted this month and sentenced to death for killing Coeur
d'Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore 2 years ago by shooting him in the face during a
routine patrol in a residential neighborhood.

The 1st part of the trial to determine if Renfro was guilty of murdering Moore
didn't require expert testimony.

Defense attorneys, however, called upon a variety of experts in the final
phases of the trial in an effort to show their client's violence was due in
part because he suffered from brain abnormalities that have since been treated
with medications.

Prosecutors countered with experts of their own to debunk what they called
dubious scientific claims.

Top defense dollars were spent on Dr. Thomas J. Reidy, a forensic psychologist
who studies the behavior of inmates. He was paid $94,494 by public defenders,
testifying that Renfro was unlikely to harm others while incarcerated for life.

Prosecutors paid $210,000 to Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist, who
spent more than a day on the witness stand invalidating testimony that Renfro
suffered brain trauma, which affected his behavior.

During his testimony, Welner said he had billed for 350 hours at $600 per hour,
and that he had spent additional time on the case for which he had not sent the
county an invoice.

"Note there are charges still pending as of this writing," said an email from
the county to The Press.

At least 1 expert for the prosecution had not yet sent an invoice.

Dr. Ian McKeague, a professor of biostatistics at Columbia University who was
hired to analyze the conclusions of a defense expert, said he expected to bill
the county around $10,000. Also, a defense expert, Dr. Robert Thatcher, was
paid around $1,000 to prepare 4 brain scan reports, he said.

Renfro, 29, was appointed a state public defender who will attempt to chip away
at his sentence through an appeal process that could continue for several
years. Motions including one to limit Welner's testimony, and a motion to
strike a notice to seek the death penalty, were recently denied in First
District Court.

(source: Bonner County Daily Bee)








NEVADA:

Las Vegas jury convicts man in 2012 murders of girl, mother



A Las Vegas man was convicted Tuesday of raping and murdering a mother and her
10-year-old daughter in a bloody 2012 attack that nearly killed the woman's
husband.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bryan Clay, who fatally
bludgeoned Ignacia "Yadira" Martinez, 38, and her daughter, Karla, with a claw
hammer.

Arturo Martinez, whose wife and daughter were killed, was in court when the
verdict was announced.

"I forgive him," the man later said. "But I also want justice for Karla and
Yadira."

Clay, 27, showed no emotion as District Judge Douglas Herndon read the guilty
verdict to the packed courtroom. The defendant stared ahead, holding his thumb
to his chin and stroking it with a long fingernail.

The trial's penalty phase is scheduled to begin at noon on Wednesday.

Arturo Martinez said Clay is facing the consequences of his crimes.

"If we let him go, it will happen to another family," he said.

The testimony

During the 4-week trial, Arturo Martinez testified that he awoke in a daze in
the family's Las Vegas home on Robin Street and saw his wife lying motionless
in the doorway.

Bludgeoned with the same hammer used to kill his wife and daughter, he then
made his way toward Karla???s body. He pressed his fingertips over both
victims' eyes, which remained open.

His 2 sons, Cristopher, then 9, and Alejandro, then 4, were unharmed.

Adjusting his glasses outside the courtroom on Tuesday, Arturo Martinez said
the last 5 years have been all about faith. He underwent multiple brain
surgeries and still has headaches as a result of the attack. He compared the
verdict to traveling from one side of a river to another.

"I am on the other side," he said. "I've been in the water, and now I'm
starting to feel the firm earth."

He said now he can have closure from the brutal attack, which left him with
only partial vision in his right eye and injuries to his brain. With the
verdict, he can now enter another chapter in his life, he said.

Arturo Martinez's sister, Gaudia Martinez-Seal, said the trial will help the
family move foward.

"We can close this page now," she said.

Her brother, who works as a union electrician, has remarried and sold the house
on Robin Street. Martinez-Seal's 19-year-old son, Jesus, is like a 3rd brother
for the boys, she said.

"They call themselves The 3 Musketeers," she said. "I say, 'I'm the 4th!' I do
my best to fill that space."

Cristopher, now 15, told jurors during the trial that he "saw a puddle of
blood" on the morning of April 15, 2012. He also saw his father, bleeding from
his head and unable to speak.

Through tears, Cristopher testified that his father periodically fainted and
threw up throughout the day.

"He hugged me, and that's it," he said. "I was trying to ask him what happened,
and who did this, but he couldn't answer."

The family did not have a cable to charge their phones and call for help.
Cristopher went to school the next day, crying with his hands in his face.

"My mom and sister are dead," he told his 4th-grade teacher at Hoggard
Elementary School. "They've been murdered."

The evidence

Clay was arrested within 10 days of the attack. He told police he was drunk and
high on ecstasy and PCP at the time and did not recall the killings.

Detectives tracked him down using phone records that linked him to a stolen
phone after investigating a sexual assault on a 50-year-old woman that occurred
less than a mile from and within hours of the killings.

Clay was found guilty Tuesday of kidnapping and robbing the woman, but he was
acquitted of the related sexual assault charge.

His defense for the murders centered around the victims' neighbors, who
sometimes blocked the Martinez driveway with their vehicles and had done so the
night of the killings. One of his attorneys, Tony Sgro, raised questions about
why investigators did not test a condom and bloody napkin found at the home of
the neighbors, who he said had an ongoing feud with the Martinez family.

Prosecutors argued that Clay's DNA was found on the homicide victims' bodies.

He was convicted of seven counts related to the attack on the Martinez family,
including charges of sexual assault, murder, attempted murder and burglary.

After hearing the final guilty verdict, Clay folded his hands and put them in
front of him. He stood up, pulled a multicolored tie off his neck, and was
escorted out of the courtroom.

(source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)








USA:

Man Charged in New York Truck Attack Pleads Not Guilty



The Uzbek immigrant accused of killing 8 people by speeding a rental truck down
a New York City bike path in October pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder
and other criminal charges.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Vernon
Broderick in Manhattan. A court-appointed lawyer representing him, David
Patton, declined to comment on the case after the hearing.

Saipov was arrested immediately after the Oct. 31 attack in which he plowed a
truck down a bike lane on Manhattan's West Side. Islamic State claimed
responsibility for the attack, which was the deadliest assault on New York City
since Sept. 11, 2001.

Saipov, a legal permanent U.S. resident, was hospitalized after he was shot by
a policeman and arrested.

On Nov. 21, Saipov was charged in an indictment with 8 counts of murder, 12
counts of attempted murder, 1 count of providing material support to Islamic
State and 1 count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle resulting in
death.

The most serious charges against Saipov carry the death penalty, though it is
not yet clear whether prosecutors will seek it. President Donald Trump
repeatedly called on Twitter for Saipov to face the death penalty.

Following the attack, Saipov told investigators he was inspired by watching
Islamic State videos and began planning the attack a year earlier, according to
a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors the day after the attack.

The complaint said Saipov was particularly motivated by a video where Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi - the leader of Islamic State - exhorted Muslims in the United
States and elsewhere to support the group's cause.

Saipov also said "he felt good about what he had done" and asked for permission
to display the flag of the militant group Islamic State in his hospital room,
the complaint said.

Saipov's sister, Umida Saipova, told Reuters in a phone interview earlier this
month from Tashkent, Uzbekistan that she believed her brother had been
"brainwashed."

An Uzbek acquaintance of Saipov living in Ohio, Mirrakhmat Muminov, told
Reuters that Saipov became religious after moving to the United States in 2010.

5 of the victims were Argentinians who were part of a group in New York to
celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. A Belgian
woman, a New Yorker and a New Jersey man were also killed.

The next hearing in Saipov's case is set for Jan. 23.

(source: US News & World Report)

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

Supreme Court to consider death penalty challenge Friday



The Supreme Court plans to consider taking up a petition challenging the
constitutionality of the death penalty on Friday, which could put capital
punishment on trial at the high court before the end of the current term.

The justices decided this week to reschedule consideration of Hidalgo v.
Arizona, according to former Obama administration acting solicitor general Neal
Katyal, who is bringing the case to the justices' attention.

Katyal has led the charge against President Trump's travel ban in the courts as
the lead attorney for Hawaii in the 9th Circuit Courts. Katyal argued more
cases before the Supreme Court last term than any other lawyer and now appears
to be spoiling for another major fight at the high court.

Katyal's petition questions the constitutionality of the death penalty under
the 8th Amendment in general and Arizona's capital punishment method in
particular. The Hidalgo case involves Abdel Daniel Hidalgo, who killed someone
for cash and killed a bystander during the course of his crime, according to
the petition.

4 justices are required to grant a case. Justice Stephen Breyer has repeatedly
expressed his desire for the high court to review the constitutionality of the
death penalty. One of Justice Neil Gorsuch's first actions after joining the
bench this year was to cast the decisive vote in a 5-4 decision permitting a
slew of Arkansas executions to proceed.

If the justices agree to hear arguments in Hidalgo, it would immediately become
one of the highest-profile cases in the term.

(source: Washington Examiner)

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

Conservatives aim to spark death penalty debate among fellow Republicans



31 states have capital punishment on the books.

A conservative group is claiming progress in its push to eliminate the death
penalty, while sparking a debate inside the Republican Party.

Mark Hyden, with a group called Conservative Concerned About the Death Penalty,
said, "The Republican momentum to end capital punishment is real."

Hyden made the claim during a late October press conference, in Washington D.C.

Hyden also said, "The death penalty is a violation of our principles of valuing
life, fiscal responsibility, and limited government."

Hyden said his organization is trashing the myth all Republicans are pro-death
penalty.

Former Republican state senator Colby Coash, from Nebraska, is part of this
group, but knows first-hand, change is not easy.

Coash said, "Well I think there's a way to go."

In 2015, Coash was among the Nebraska Republicans who helped pass a death
penalty repeal.

However, the efforts were undone by Nebraskans voting, overwhelmingly, to keep
capital punishment.

Coash said, "I mean educating 49 senators or 80-some house members in a
particular state is certainly an easier thing to do than educating a whole
state."

The group says the death penalty has egregious flaws.

They say it's not a good crime deterrent, it's more expensive than life in
prison, and there's a risk of executing innocent people.

Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) said, "We shouldn't base punishment based upon
what's the cheapest, the cheapest type of punishment is let them go."

Poe said, as a former lawyer and judge, he's seen just how gruesome and evil
crimes - like 1st degree murder, can be.

Poe said, "Those people have earned the death penalty, they deserve the death
penalty for what they did. And maybe this new group of conservatives doesn't
realize who these people [convicted murders] really are."

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty says it will keep advocating
for changes at the state-level, all across the country.

(source: graydc.com)
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