death penalty news----FLA., OHIO, NEB., UTAH, NEV., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-11-18 15:16:50 UTC
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Nov. 18

Man Faces Death Penalty For Killing Ex-Girlfriend, 3 Others

A Florida man is facing a possible death sentence after being convicted of
killing of his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and her parents.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that 32-year-old Adam Matos was found guilty
Thursday of 4 counts of murder. The penalty phase starts Monday.

Matos could get the death penalty if all 12 jurors vote for that. Otherwise he
would be sentenced to life in prison.

Authorities say Matos fatally shot Megan Brown and her father, Greg Brown, at
their Hudson home in 2014. He also fatally beat Margaret Brown and Nick Leonard
with a hammer, jurors heard.

Matos testified Wednesday he'd been suffering from paranoia and committed the
slayings in self-defense.

The 4-year-old son of Megan Brown and Matos was at the home when the killings


Prosecutor misses filing deadline to seek death penalty

A Florida prosecutor who recently reversed a blanket policy against executions
has missed the filing deadline to pursue the death penalty in a murder case.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala issued
a statement Friday acknowledging the lapsed deadline. Her office filed to seek
the death penalty against 33-year-old Emerita Mapp on Oct. 31, but the 45-day
deadline between indictment and that filing had passed.

Mapp's attorneys filed a motion Wednesday to stop the state from seeking the
death penalty.

After Ayala previously announced she'd stop seeking the death penalty, Gov.
Rick Scott reassigned her death penalty eligible cases to another prosecutor.
The Florida Supreme Court upheld him.

Authorities say Mapp fatally stabbed one man during a robbery and seriously
wounded another at a hotel in April.

(source for both: Associated Press)


Once on death row as a teen killer of newlyweds, man getting new shot at
freedom----Killer of Miami couple in 1981 to get new sentence

Nearly 37 years ago, Gail and John Hardeman of Miami were shot and killed by
17-year-old Cleo LeCroy at a southwestern Palm Beach County hunting area.
Currently serving life in prison terms, LeCroy, now 54, is scheduled to be
resentenced on Dec. 1.

Cleo Douglas LeCroy — previously on Florida’s death row for nearly 20 years for
killing young newlyweds from Miami in 1981 — has a shot at being set free from

A judge is set to give LeCroy, who is serving a life term, a new sentence Dec.
1, thanks to several high court rulings favoring people who were juveniles when
they committed murder.

For the family of victims Gail and John Hardeman, gunned down by a 17-year-old
LeCroy at a southwestern Palm Beach County hunting area, the possibility of
seeing him walk is painful.

“I should never after all of these years be going through this,” said Ruth
Haines, 81, mother of Gail. “To me, it should be life without parole.”

In a handful of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, new data from
athenahealth shows Lyme Disease diagnoses were up more than 20 percent in 2017.
The reason why? A bumper crop of acorns in the fall of 2016.

LeCroy should “rot in jail,” said David Hardeman, 61, whose older brother was
fatally shot in the face. He actually wishes it was still legal to execute
juvenile killers. Since it’s not, LeCroy “should never be allowed to get out,”
the Miami man said.

Gail and John Hardeman were killed on Jan. 4, 1981 during a hunting trip in
southwestern Palm Beach County.

But LeCroy, now 54, is hoping to leave prison and move to Alabama where he
would care for his elderly mom and draw support from a church program for
released convicts.

“He’s hopeful, but he’s been through a lot,” said defense attorney James
Eisenberg, who was LeCroy’s first court-appointed lawyer and still argues for
his freedom three decades later. “I see no reason to deny this guy’s release.”

On and off death row

In the years after his arrest and convictions at a 1986 trial, LeCroy lost
numerous appeals in the murder case that captivated South Florida.

LeCroy, who grew up in North Miami as the youngest of five children, has
admitted he shot fellow hunters and campers John and Gail Hardeman within an
Everglades wildlife preserve, about 16 miles south of Belle Glade and five
miles from the nearest house.

Gail, a secretary for a ceramic tile company, was 24 when she died on Jan. 4,
1981. John, who worked as an exterminator for a pest control business, was 27
and the father of two boys, 5 and 3, from a previous marriage.

John Hardeman III, whose sons are now in their early 40s and raising five young
kids, was killed by a shotgun blast to his face. His wife was shot at close
range in the head, neck and chest with a .22-caliber gun.

Their bodies weren’t discovered until a week later, after LeCroy and his family
assisted authorities in a massive search by air and land for the couple who
went missing a month before their first wedding anniversary.

LeCroy was sentenced to death for Gail’s murder and mandatory life in prison
without the possibility of parole for 25 years for John’s murder, based on the
jury’s recommendations. At that time, capital punishment for juveniles was
still legal.

He also was convicted of robbing his victims at the 4,400-acre Brown’s Farm
Hunting Area. The motive for the killing: LeCroy wanted John’s new $100 rifle
so he could sell it, prosecutors said at the trial.

Jon LeCroy, an older brother, also was charged with the murders, but was
acquitted at a trial. He later confessed to the crimes at a 2003 court hearing,
but a judge then ruled the statement could not be used to help Cleo LeCroy’s
appeal for a lesser sentence or a new trial. Jon LeCroy has since died, says
his brother’s lawyer.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for juveniles and
Cleo LeCroy, without a hearing, was resentenced to life in prison for the
slaying of Gail Hardeman.

Case for and against LeCroy

LeCroy’s lawyer argues the felon’s “tragic childhood” of physical and emotional
abuse and neglect in a dysfunctional home is reason enough for the minimum
possible punishment of 40 years in prison.

“Even his mother called him dumb,” Eisenberg wrote to the court. “He was picked
on and tortured by his siblings.”

While LeCroy was diagnosed with severe brain damage as recently as 2002 —
because of head-banging from the time he was a little boy until adolescence —
he has succeeded in getting his high school diploma in 2010 as well as
certificates for other coursework and educational programs, court records show.

The attorney also points out that LeCroy has been written up for discipline
problems only twice the entire time he’s been in prison, and held a job called
“security orderly.”

Defense attorney James Eisenberg says Cleo LeCroy, now serving life in prison
for a 1981 double murder, should be released from prison under a new sentence.

But David Hardeman said he doesn’t care that LeCroy “has been a great boy in
prison — he blew my brother’s face off.”

And Lisa Hardeman, John Hardeman’s now 81-year-old stepmother who lives near
Asheville, N.C., said of LeCroy’s path through the criminal justice system:
“What we have gone through as a family, it’s an affront.”

Ruth Haines, Gail Hardeman’s mom, also says she has no empathy for LeCroy,
though she now opposes the death penalty because cases linger in the court
system for decades.

From her Bonita Springs home on the state’s gulf coast, Haines says LeCroy was
practically an adult when he killed, just two months before his 18th birthday.

Kathryn Nichols, who was John Hardeman’s first wife and the mother of his kids,
said she wants the sentencing judge to know that “the loss of their father”
affected the boys, Charles and Matthew, their whole lives.

“It was a senseless murder,” said Nichols, of St. Augustine, adding LeCroy “has
no business being out.”

Juvenile justice reforms

In June, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Laura Johnson ordered LeCroy is
entitled to a new sentence. She cited U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme
Court rulings since 2010 that have had major implications for juvenile

First, the nation’s High Court ruled it is cruel and unusual punishment, a
violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, to give young criminals
a life term with no chance for parole for crimes other than murder.

Then in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life terms are
unconstitutional for juveniles who kill.

That landmark ruling requires judges to take various factors into consideration
before concluding a juvenile offender can never be free, including their level
of maturity and the possibility for rehabilitation.

It still allows for life sentences when a juvenile’s crime is deemed so heinous
and the possibility of rehabilitation is extremely slim.

Assistant State Attorney Andrew Slater has not yet made a recommendation for
LeCroy’s new punishment. He could not be reached for comment, and the victim’s
kin have said they were unaware of the resentencing until a reporter called.

In Florida, if a judge determines life in prison is not warranted, the minimum
sentence for a young killer is 40 years, with a judicial review after 25 years,
under a 2014 state law.

LeCroy’s lawyer says his client is the “poster child” for benefitting from the
shift in how juveniles with violent pasts are treated by the court system.

“LeCroy’s history and transformation while in prison to a responsible adult is
remarkable,” Eisenberg told the Sun Sentinel, citing a consultant’s finding
LeCroy is “now no danger whatsoever to society.”

He said LeCroy is entitled to credit for the nearly 37 years he’s been locked
up, as well as a massive amount of “gain time” for good behavior. By
Eisenberg’s calculation, LeCroy could be eligible for release almost
immediately under even a 50 to 60-year sentence.

A state Supreme Court ruling last year turned out to be the final boost for
LeCroy’s bid to re-enter free society.

That ruling, in a 1990 murder case from Broward, found that a life sentence
including the possibility of parole after 25 years for a juvenile was
unconstitutional. Justice Barbara Pariente, in her majority opinion, wrote the
state’s parole system didn’t make any accommodations for youthful offenders.

The court decisions have brought a wave of resentencing hearings for juvenile
criminals, “notwithstanding how horrific the crimes were for the victims’
families,” said Stephen K. Harper, a former defense attorney now on the law
school faculty at Florida International University.

“The facts of the cases are never good,” said Harper, the former head of the
juvenile division at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office. “But kids are
significantly and constitutionally different from adults, and the Supreme Court
has found kids clearly deserve a second chance.”

(source: Sun-Sentinel)


Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, “A civilized society
locks up [criminals] until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them
in prison until they die.” The state of Ohio apparently hasn’t heard of Judge
Posner, as they went one step further and tried to execute an elderly Alva
Campbell and failed.

Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s
decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their
lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.

Hours later, Gov. John Kasich announced not a commutation — or a plan to
investigate what went wrong — but that Campbell’s execution would be
rescheduled for 2019.

It’s a travesty of justice that Ohio’s bungled attempt at executing Alva
Campbell was both predictable and avoidable. Campbell’s attorneys had in fact
informed the governor and courts that their client’s abysmal health made him a
uniquely poor candidate for lethal injection.

Campbell has severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, uses a walker,
relies on an external colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day,
and may have lung cancer. In a medical examination of Campbell before the
execution attempt, doctors failed to “find veins suitable for inserting an IV
on either of Campbell’s arms.” Ohio’s only answer to the concerns of Campbell’s
lawyers was to give Campbell a “wedged shape pillow” to keep him slightly
upright through the execution.

It was predictable and avoidable not only because of information furnished to
the state by the defense, but because Ohio had already committed a similar
bungle in 2009 when it failed to find a suitable vein to execute Rommell Broom
after sticking him with needles for over two hours.

The ability to find a suitable vein is basic to lethal injection. When it
cannot be done — because of lack of training and qualifications of the
lethal-injection team or the health of the prisoner — the process becomes
impossible and the risk of a failure or botch undeniable.

The state’s lethal-injection team’s inability to find a suitable vein led to
the botched execution of Joseph Clark in 2006, who raised his head from the
gurney during the execution to say, “It don’t work. It don’t work.” Ohio
persisted, working for another 30 minutes to find another vein before resuming
the execution. Media witnesses heard “moaning, crying, and guttural noises”
before the deed was finally done 90 minutes after it had begun.

The botched 2-hour execution of Christopher Newton in 2007 also stemmed from
the execution team’s inability to access a suitable vein. The state’s botched
execution of Dennis McGuire in 2014 has been attributed to the use of midazolam
— great if you need a sedative for a medical procedure but unsuitable for

The takeaway should be clear. Ohio cannot be trusted to use the death penalty,
as time and time again the state fails and causes needless pain and
unconstitutional torture. But Ohio is forging ahead.

The state’s schedule of more than two dozen lethal-injections through 2022
gives Ohio the dubious distinction of maintaining the longest list of upcoming
executions in the nation. A second attempt to take Campbell’s life is now set
for 2019, while Rommell Broom’s new date is in 2020. Last year, a divided Ohio
Supreme Court ruled that Ohio could attempt to execute Broom, yet again, over a
powerful dissent pointing out that the U.S. Supreme Court more than a century
ago made clear that executions involving “torture or lingering death” would
violate the Eighth Amendment.

With its record of three botched executions and two bungled attempts, it’s time
for Ohio to stop its unjust assembly line of death. It should reconsider
whether it needs to execute prisoners so old and infirm that they can be safely
imprisoned until they pass naturally. It should reconsider whether it is even
possible to carry out executions without an unacceptable risk of torture or
lingering death.

If the state of Ohio actually reckons with this question, they will find the
answer to it is no. It is not possible to carry out executions without risking
torture or unlawful killing. To paraphrase Joseph Clark’s last words, it just
doesn’t work.

(source: aclu.org


Pastor joins cause denouncing death penalty

If God could use murderous Saul as Apostle Paul, “Who are we to snuff out the
life of someone ... and not give them the chance toward redemption?”

That’s the argument made by the Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr., senior pastor at
Findlay’s First Christian Church, in summing up his feelings against the death

Another strong argument? Sullivan’s sister, Jennifer, was shot to death in
Cleveland 20 years ago in what remains a cold case. And while he’s always been
a strong advocate for accountability and retribution, being a survivor of a
murder victim, he can’t bring himself to support more bloodshed.

“Rightfully so, we’re angry when people commit murder,” Sullivan says. “The
question becomes, what is the best way for us to respond to these horrific
crimes, as angry and upset as we may be?”

Sullivan posed this question to crowds of lawmakers, churchgoers and college
students as a keynote speaker with this year’s Journey of Hope: From Violence
to Healing. The restorative justice organization pairs murder victim family
members with death row family members, family members of the executed, people
who have been exonerated from death row and activists dedicated to spreading a
message of nonviolence and forgiveness.

Sullivan joined the tour for a week this October in San Antonio, Texas, where
he repeatedly relived the horror of his sister’s death at just 21 years old.

“Telling the story has put me back in touch with losing my sister. I call her
my baby sister - she’s 15 years younger than me,” he says.

While the experience brought back acute memories of loss, it also intensified
Sullivan’s conviction for denouncing the cycle of death perpetuated by capital

“I saw literally the face of death and what gunfire does to a person. And after
you’ve seen that you can’t unsee it,” he says.

But while many think the death penalty brings closure and healing to a grieving
family, or acts as a deterrent to crime, the pastor dismisses both theories as
“mythology on parade,” adding there is no evidence to support either claim. In
this Christian country, he believes Americans can and should respond to
violence in a more civil, evolved manner.

Life without parole is one alternative, as is life with the possibility for
parole. But Sullivan’s strongest push is for “restorative justice,” the concept
of putting convicted persons in an environment where they are redirected and
rehabilitated, rather than simply thrown away.

Citing a study by the Dayton Daily News, he says Ohio spent $16 million on
maintaining the death penalty system in 2014. Rather than using that money to
arbitrarily end human lives, Sullivan suggests it could be better spent on
prison rehabilitation efforts; programs that put young people’s lives on
wholesome paths; increases in police officers, social workers and case workers;
and services to assist grieving murder victims’ families.

“It’s (the death penalty) just a hollow instrument of death, whereas
rehabilitation uplifts all of us. And redemption uplifts all of us,” he says.

In his advocacy against the death penalty, he’s met some whose minds have been
changed and some who are still deciding. And that’s good, he says, as long as
people are thinking about the subject and examining their own belief system.
Sullivan notes that capital punishment is not a liberal versus conservative
issue, as many conservatives view the death penalty as a waste of the states’

One example, provided by the Death Penalty Information Center, states that
enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it
would cost to punish all 1st-degree murderers with life in prison without
parole. A Texas death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million - triple
the cost of imprisoning someone at the highest security level for 40 years.

Further, the center notes that in 96 % of states where race and the death
penalty have been reviewed, a pattern of race of victim or race of defendant
discrimination emerged.

Sullivan also points out that the death penalty is legal in 31 states, and it’s
a conviction often arbitrarily sentenced by juries. Some advocates argue the
death penalty is "reserved for the worst of the worst,” he says. “Well,
Jennifer’s death was the worst to me."

(source: thecourier.com)


Execution in Ohio Is Halted After No Usable Vein Can Be Found

Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio delayed the execution of a convicted murderer for
19 months on Wednesday after an attempt to end his life failed because
executioners were unable to find a vein they could use for lethal injection.

The failed execution of Alva Campbell, a 69-year-old inmate with health
problems, was the 3rd time in 7 decades that a death row inmate in the United
States has survived the initial attempt to take his life and the 2nd time in
recent years that it has happened in Ohio, according to The Associated Press.

"Attempts by the medical team this morning to gain intravenous access were
unsuccessful," JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction, said in an email.

A warrant of reprieve issued by Mr. Kasich on Wednesday afternoon said the
state would try to execute Mr. Campbell again on June 5, 2019. Ms. Smith did
not respond to an email asking how the new date had been chosen.

Earlier in the day, Gary Mohr, head of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction, told reporters that the state would take its time planning for
the next execution attempt.

"We're not going to rush to execute," he said, according to The Toledo Blade.
"We're just taking our time and I think that's fine."

An inability to find a usable vein also led to an unsuccessful attempted
execution of Romell Broom in 2009; he has remained on death row in Ohio since
his execution was called off 2 hours after it was scheduled to begin. He was
convicted of raping and murdering 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in 1984.

The 1st modern case of a botched execution attempt happened in Louisiana in
1946 when a malfunctioning electric chair failed to take the life of Willie
Francis, 17, a convicted murderer, according to The A.P. The United States
Supreme Court allowed the state to make a 2nd attempt, and Mr. Francis was
executed by electric chair in 1947.

A reporter for The Associated Press, who was at the Southern Ohio Correctional
Facility in Lucasville as a news media witness to the execution that had been
planned for Wednesday morning, said the process was called off roughly 80
minutes after it had been scheduled to begin.

Members of the execution team, as it is known, spent about 30 minutes trying to
find a usable vein in Mr. Campbell's arms and then tried to find a vein below
his right knee.

The executioners tried to comfort Mr. Campbell as they searched for a way to
execute him, The A.P. said, by patting him on the arm and shoulder. They also
brought a wedge pillow for him to use on the gurney because he has breathing
problems related to a longstanding smoking habit.

The A.P. said Mr. Campbell shook hands with 2 guards about 80 minutes into the
execution process when it appeared they had successfully found a vein. But 2
minutes later reporters were abruptly ushered out of the viewing area without
being told why they had to leave.

Last week, Governor Kasich rejected an appeal for clemency from Mr. Campbell,
who was convicted in 1997 of the murder of Charles Dials, a teenager he killed
during a carjacking. He used a gun stolen from a Franklin County sheriff's
deputy, whom he had overpowered. The Ohio Parole Board said in October that it
did not support Mr. Campbell’s request for clemency.

Mr. Broom, whose execution was halted in 2009, has spent the last 8 years
arguing that the state should not be allowed a 2nd chance to execute him. In
March 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-3 decision that it would not
be unconstitutional for the state to make a 2nd execution attempt. The United
States Supreme Court rejected his appeal last December.

(source: New York Times)

Neb. quiet on identity of drugs supplier

A major pharmaceutical company demanded in a letter a month ago that the State
of Nebraska return any lethal injection drugs it might have that were
manufactured by the company or its affiliate.

Pfizer adopted a policy in 2016 banning the use of its products in an execution
as a "misuse" of drugs intended to save lives.

"Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we
serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its
products as lethal injections for capital punishment," stated the Oct. 4
letter, signed by Robert Jones, a public relations director with Pfizer.

Officials with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and the office
of Gov. Pete Ricketts declined to say Thursday if the state had obtained any
Pfizer drugs.

"We are not disclosing the identity of the supplier at this time," said
corrections spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith.

But Smith said the state spent $10,500 on the four lethal injection drugs
purchased last month.

This comes 2 years after Nebraska spent $54,000 on similar drugs that it never

A week ago, the state informed a death-row inmate that it had obtained the
substances it planned to use in carrying out the inmate's death sentence.

3 of the drugs are on Pfizer's list of substances it prohibits for use in

If Nebraska obtained drugs made by Pfizer, it risks a lawsuit from the company
or 1 of its distributors claiming that it violated the company's ban on using
drugs on its list of "restricted products" for a lethal injection, according to
a national authority on the death penalty.

"The question is: Is there someone who is violating their contract with
Pfizer?" asked Robert Dunham of the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty
Information Center on Thursday. "Or is a distributor being misled about the use
of the drug?"

Dunham said Pfizer typically doesn't send such "demand" letters unless it
suspects that a state has obtained drugs manufactured by it.

The Pfizer letter was among several documents released by corrections this week
in response to public records requests from The World-Herald and the ACLU of
Nebraska. The newspaper and the civil rights group each independently requested
information about the state's efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs.

The records show that the state on Sept. 19 received federal approval, if
necessary, to import controlled substances. On Oct. 12, records indicated that
4 lethal injection drugs were being stored at a prison in Lincoln.

The documents also list expiration dates for the drugs. 2 of the drugs expire
in July and August 2018.

That raises doubts about whether Nebraska could set an execution date before
the drugs expire, according to a leading death penalty opponent, State Sen.
Ernie Chambers of Omaha.

While the state has declined to identify the source of the four drugs, Smith,
the corrections spokeswoman, said last week that they came from a source in the

Dunham said the information released so far seems to indicate 2 possible
sources: either a private, compounding pharmacy or a distributor that handles
Pfizer products.

The records released by the state indicated that at least 2 of the drugs had
been sent to a laboratory in Minnesota for testing. Such testing is required by
state law before the drugs can be used in an execution, Smith said.

The 4 drugs that the state obtained included 3 on Pfizer's list of 13
"restricted products" the company has said cannot be used in lethal injections.

The 3 are diazepam, fentanyl citrate and potassium chloride. A 4th drug
obtained by the state, cisatracurium besylate, is not manufactured by Pfizer, a
company spokesman said Thursday.

The Pfizer letter said the company would reimburse the state for any drugs it
returned that were made by Pfizer or Hospira, a Pfizer company. A company
spokesman declined to say if Nebraska had returned any drugs, referring
questions to state officials.

Nebraska, as well as several other states, have scrambled to obtain lethal
injection drugs in recent years, in part because companies like Pfizer have
banned their use for executions.

Some documents released to the ACLU illustrated that. Included were pleas from
corrections officials in Nevada and Mississippi who were seeking help to obtain
lethal injection drugs for their states.

Danielle Conrad, who heads the ACLU of Nebraska, said Thursday that the
information released to the ACLU raises more questions than they answer.

"Every attempt to tinker with the machinery of death doesn't bring us any
closer to an execution," Conrad said. "It just raises a new set of questions."

Almost half of the records request by the group produced a state response that
"no records" exist. Conrad, a former state senator, said the ACLU is reviewing
whether their request was fully complied with, adding that she expects more to
be released next week.

Nebraska has yet to seek an execution warrant for the inmate, Jose Sandoval,
who was sentenced to die for his role in the murders of 5 people inside a
Norfolk bank in 2002. Last week's notice was a required step before an
execution date is requested.

There has not been an execution in Nebraska for 20 years, since the electric
chair was in use. Electrocution was ruled unconstitutional as cruel and unusual
punishment by the Nebraska Supreme Court, so the state switched to lethal

But the state has stumbled in past attempts to obtain the drugs.

In 2011, a Swiss manufacturer demanded the return of a lethal injection drug
purchased through a broker in India, saying it had been improperly obtained by
the broker. 2 years ago, Nebraska spent $54,000 through the same broker, Chris
Harris, for drugs it never received. That shipment was blocked by federal

(source: The North Platte Telegraph)

Austin Boutain charged with aggravated murder in death of U of U student

Austin and Kathleen Boutain hatched a plan to kidnap someone in Salt Lake City
and travel to Tennessee.

That's according to prosecutors in charging documents against the couple. The
Salt Lake District Attorney's office filed multiple felony counts against
Austin Boutain. The most serious of the charges include aggravated murder and
attempted aggravated murder. The crime is death penalty eligible.

In a surprise move, his wife Kathleen Elizabeth Boutain was charged with
criminal solicitation to commit murder, kidnapping and robbery.

They're accused of killing Chen Wei Guo, a University of Utah student October
30th. He is also charged with attempting to kill his friend who was in the
vehicle at the time of the shooting.

"They hatched a plan. Their plan was they would look at the parking lot in Red
Butte Canyon and kidnap somebody," said Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill.

"And they wanted to kidnap somebody to help them go to Tennessee. They would
keep them alive and use their credit cards to get food and gas. Their plan was
to get to Tennessee but they would kill that person that they had kidnapped."

According the the charging document, the Boutains were camping in the Red Butte
Canyon after leaving Colorado where they are also suspects in the murder of a
man they befriended at an RV trailer camp. Gill said the Boutains confessed to
that crime. He said they also stole his pickup truck, guns and knives. But once
they got to Salt Lake City, Gill said the were running out of money. Early in
the investigation, University of Utah police said the Boutains gave the truck
an a homeless couple they had met.

The probable cause statement claimed the couple were scoping people to kidnap.
Kathleen Boutain went to their tent to retrieve clothes for their getaway and
when she returned to where Austin was, Gill said she was growing impatient and
wanted Austin to confront someone immediately.

"He was nervous about doing this in daylight," Gill said. "He was worried about
that and she was encouraging him that it was taking too long and it led to a
fight over allegedly that it was taking too long to execute their plan, which
led to the fight and she ran away from him."

Gill said she was pistol whipped and Austin attempted to pursue her when he saw
a black Camaro coming into the parking area of the Red Butte Canyon hiking
trail. He said Austin wanted to ask the driver if they had seen Kathleen but
the driver, Chen Wei Guo wouldn't roll his window down.

"That enraged him," Gill said "So at that point he decided to fire into the
vehicle, firing multiple shots and the vehicle came to rest to the side of the

Gill said Austin was leaving the scene and reloaded his gun and could hear a
female speaking inside the vehicle. He said Guo's friend was calling 911.

"He pulled her out and tried to take the phone away and was going to kill her
there because he didn't want to leave her body on the side of the road," Gill
said. "He opened the door and what happened is he told her to hand over the
phone or turn it off and (friend) decided to do something that was very smart.
She took the phone and threw it on the ground."

Gill said Austin went over to pickup the phone and that's when the friend took
off running. He said Austin began firing several times but she managed to

The aggravated murder charges against Boutain are death penalty eligible but
Gill said they will not make a decision on that until later in the process. He
said Colorado authorities will wait to try the Boutains for their murder. He
said once the case is over and they are sentenced then they will be extradited
to Colorado.

(source: good4utah.com)


Nevada won't return execution drug to Pfizer

An official says Nevada doesn't plan to return one of the drugs obtained for
use in an upcoming execution, despite a demand by pharmaceutical company Pfizer
that its drugs not be used for lethal injections.

A spokeswoman acknowledged the Nevada Department of Corrections received a
letter Oct. 4 similar to one received by officials in Nebraska and reported by
the Omaha World-Herald.

The Nevada letter, obtained by The Associated Press, seeks the return of the
sedative diazepam or the opioid painkiller fentanyl if it was manufactured by

Nevada prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast says the state is under no obligation
to return Pfizer-made diazepam that the state obtained last May through its
normal pharmacy supplier, Cardinal Health.

Pfizer in May 2016 said it would block distribution of its drugs for executions
in the 31 states in the U.S. with the death penalty.

(source: Associated Press)

The Latest Botched Execution Shows There's No Good Way to Kill Someone

What must it be like to survive your own execution?

It happened this week in Ohio. And it's not the 1st time.

On Nov. 15, Ohio was set to execute Alva Campbell. Campbell is terminally ill.
He's had organs removed and lives with a colostomy bag. He can't breathe or
walk on his own. The medical personnel had prepared a special pillow-wedge for
him that would allow him to sit up at a 40-degree angle so that he could
breathe, during his execution. It was as if they wanted him to be as
comfortable as possible as they killed him.

Campbell had feared all the complications and asked to be killed by firing
squad. His request was denied.

After a torturous 80 minutes and multiple failed attempts at finding a suitable
vein, the death team gave up. Alva Campbell is still alive. At least for now,
he's beaten the death machine in one of the few states that is still executing

Campbell is not the 1st person to survive his execution. Romell Broom also
survived an Ohio execution.

In 2009, Broom laid on the gurney for 2 hours as the execution team stuck
needles in his body. At one point, Broom even offered to help with his
execution, no doubt tired of all the poking. After more than a dozen attempts
to kill him, they gave up.

Broom is alive today. He wrote a book aptly titled Survivor on death row. In
fact, his lawyers took his case to Ohio's Supreme Court, arguing that it is
cruel and unusual punishment to face your execution twice. Perhaps Campbell
will do the same. It seems like a strong argument to me. If the state fails to
kill you on the 1st attempt, maybe they shouldn't get another chance?

Surviving an execution is unusual. It's hard to imagine what it must be like -
for the one being executed, for the victims family, the execution team ... all
the additional trauma.

One young man in Louisiana named Willie Francis survived an attempted execution
by electric chair. He was only 17 at the time the electric chair malfunctioned.
He was taken back to prison, and after a series of unsuccessful legal battles,
he returned to the electric chair almost exactly a year later to meet his
gruesome death, at the age of 18.

While surviving an execution is exceptional, botched executions are not. They
are very disturbingly common.

In April 2014, Clayton Lockett's Oklahoma execution made national news. As
things went wrong, his execution was stopped while he was still alive, and he
later died of a heart attack, still strapped to the gurney.

In the case of Richard Glossip in Ohio, the state ordered the wrong drugs.
Instead of potassium chloride, which stops the heart, they ordered potassium
acetate, a food preservative. He's still alive, which is great since many
pieces of evidence point to his innocence anyway.

Some folks facing execution consider ending their own lives rather than leaving
it in the hands of the state.

While on death row in Georgia, Brandon Rhode tried to commit suicide before his
execution. The prison treated him, and brought him back to health, only to get
him healthy enough to face his executions. There is something quite sickening
about it all.

You start to wonder what it does to the people who have the terrible job of
executing someone. What must be going through the minds of those on the
execution team as they try so desperately to carry out a "successful"
execution? They each have a conscience and a soul.

It is not surprising that doctors in North Carolina have refused to participate
in executions, insisting that it is a violation of their medical oath, to "do
no harm." They have been instrumental in helping halt executions, at least for
now. And the medical community has backed them up.

As I wrote my death penalty book, Executing Grace, I talked with one of the men
responsible for overseeing executions in the state of Florida - Ron McAndrew.
He was a prison warden in Florida in the 90s, and one of his duties was
supervising executions by electric chair. He also experienced a botched

During the execution of a young man named Pedro Medina, things went terribly
wrong. As Pedro sat in the electric chair, flames shot from his head, and smoke
came from his eyes, nose, and ears. The execution took nearly half an hour. In
Ron's words, "We burned him to death."

Ron was haunted.

The men whom he had killed, literally began to visit him in his sleep.

"I started to have some horrible nightmares," he said. "It was the faces of the
men that I executed. I woke up and saw them literally sitting on the edge of my

He was done with the electric chair. But he wasn't done with the death penalty,
not yet anyway.

He went to Texas and was trained in lethal injection, hoping to bring a more
humane means of execution to Florida. But as he supervised executions by lethal
injection, he was still tormented. It never felt right. Eventually he was done
with the death penalty. He realized that there is just no good way to kill

Now Ron McAndrew has a new vocation. He is an abolitionist. He is an expert
witness, testifying in more than 100 cases about what he knows. One of those
things is this: The death penalty is wrong.

The recent failed execution in Ohio is a reminder that the death penalty is a
failed experiment in America.

The death penalty does not deter crime. It costs more, usually 3 times more,
than the alternatives like life in prison. And perhaps worst of all, it mirrors
the very violence it seeks to denounce. The "cure" is as bad as the disease.

It's worth noting that the death certificate of an executed person lists the
"manner of death" as "homicide." How can we condemn killing when it is done by
an individual but condone it when it is done by the state? No one is defending
the heinous, evil crimes that landed Alva Campbell on death row. But killing
him makes us killers.

Killing is the wrong - no matter whether it is done by a criminal or by the

When it comes to executing our own people, we are not in the best company.
China leads the world in executions. Next is Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The
U.S. is usually 5th. These countries are not known as the champions of human
rights - not the best company to keep.

We can do better than killing to show that killing is wrong. Most of the world
has found ways to deal with dangerous people without killing them.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich claims to be a man of deep faith. I've sent him my book,
and reached out to him, as have many other pastors and clergy. It becomes hard
to reconcile execution with the Gospel of Jesus who said, "Blessed are the
merciful for they will be shown mercy."

Gov. Kasich calls himself pro-life. But abortion is not the only life issue. We
need leaders today who stand consistently for life, and denounce violence in
all its ugly forms. We can't be pro-life on 1 issue and pro-death on another.

Killing an old man with a colostomy bag who cannot walk or breathe on his own
is not pro-life. We can do better.

As for Romell Broom and Alva Campbell, they both have new execution dates. Alva
Campbell is scheduled for execution on June 5, 2019.

Hopefully, we will have pulled the plug on the death penalty before then.

(source: Commentary; Shane Claiborne is a Red Letter Christian and a founding
partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community in Philadelphia.
His newest book is Executing Grace: Why It is Time to Put the Death Penalty to


Dylann Roof's attorneys file motion to delay schedule in death penalty
appeal----Attorneys representing convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann
Roof asked a federal judge for more time to find missing documents and prepare
their brief for the appeal of his death penalty case.

In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for Dylann Roof asked for the court to
suspend the briefing schedule for 90 days.

The defense team's legal brief is due on Monday based on the original schedule.

The purpose of the brief is to present the reasons Roof's attorneys believe he
is entitled to have his conviction overturned. Once the defense team presents
its brief, the government would have 30 days to answer those arguments.

But Roof's attorneys say they are missing "a significant number of pleadings
and other essential documents" and are "unable to proceed with the briefing
process while important items are missing from the record or unavailable to

Their motion states they are missing 221 sealed pleadings filed in district
court, at least 1 transcript, and may be missing exhibits presented during
Roof's trial. The motion states they also do not know whether they have a
complete and legible set of juror questionnaires as they only obtained them
from district court last week and have not had time to review them.

Other documents missing include jury commissioner and jury composition files,
billing records and transcripts from the state trial against Roof.

The motion states the requested 90-day delay would allow them finish collecting
missing documents and complete a review of the more than 5,000 pages of
existing transcripts.

Roof was sentenced to death in January after being convicted on 33 federal
counts in fatal shooting at Mother Emanuel Church on June 17, 2015.

(source: WCSC news)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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