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death penalty news----GA., FLA., OHIO, NEB., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-03-30 17:19:31 UTC
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March 30



GEORGIA:

Prosecutors may seek death penalty


Prosecutors are considering seeking the death penalty in a brutal 2016 mass
slaying that left 5 young adults dead in their burned-out home on Rossman Dairy
Road. District Attorney Brad Shealy said that he has discussed the issue with
family members of the 4 men and 1 woman who were fatally shot on May 15 at
their 505 Rossman Dairy Road residence.

At issue is whether Shealy, head prosecutor for the state's Southern Judicial
Circuit, and his team will seek the death penalty against Jeffrey Alan Peacock,
who is accused of committing the murders and arson.

"We have to make an announcement, one way or the other, (by) next week," Shealy
said. "We will make an announcement by the end of this week."

A Colquitt County Grand Jury indicted Peacock earlier this month on 5 counts of
malice murder and a corresponding number charging him with possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony in each of those acts. Peacock also
was indicted on 3 counts of aggravated cruelty to dogs and arson.

Initial Colquitt County Sheriff's Office reports said that when a deputy
arrived at the burning wood-frame house Peacock was at the scene. He told
officers at that time that he had gone to get breakfast for his 5 friends
living at the house and saw the smoke as he was returning.

According to Colquitt County E-911 call logs, Peacock was the 2nd of 3 people
who called in to report the blaze.

Inside the heavily damaged building police found the bodies of Jonathan Garrett
Edwards, Ramsey Jones Pidcock and Aaron Reid Williams, all 21; 20-year-old
Alicia Brooke Norman; and Jordan Shane Croft, 22. Peacock was 24 at the time.

The legal gears seem to be turning already in the direction of a capital murder
case.

This week 2 defense attorneys with the Georgia Capital Defender's Office filed
paperwork in the case. Attorneys Melinda Ryals and H. Burton Baker from the
Southwest Georgia Regional Office in Tifton filed paperwork stating that they
are providing counsel for Peacock and have requested to be notified of any
upcoming court proceedings in the case.

That action was taken after attorneys in Tifton received verbal notification on
Friday from Shealy's office of the potential for a death-penalty case, said
Jerry Word, division director for the state office.

"We have been told to be prepared for it to be one," he said. "We have not seen
the notice."

Word said that it may be "premature" to say for certain the route that
prosecutors will take, and that nothing is official until they make that
announcement.

Colquitt County officials also have been put on notice to prepare for the
expense of a capital case, County Administrator Chas Cannon said.

In a letter addressed to Cannon dated March 21, Superior Court Judge Brian
McDaniel made the recommendation that the county should expect to incur
possible expenses related to the extra costs related to a capital case
beginning in the 2017-2018 budget year and for the 2 years following.

"It is my understanding that the case is expected to involve the death
penalty," McDaniel said in the letter. "If this in fact is true, the matter
could have an impact on the Colquitt County budget for the sheriff's
department, the District Attorney's Office and the Super Court's Office for the
next several years."

The county should anticipate a request to move the trial to another part of the
state, the letter said.

Cannon said he has spoken with officials in Spalding County, which had a
similar trial, and was told the added costs to Colquitt County could be $75,000
to $100,000 over a 3-year period.

"We are planning for it to happen," he said. "If it costs more, it costs more;
if it costs less, it costs less. We are planning (ahead) for it."

Another indication that Peacock's case is in a different category is that his
name is not on Monday's Superior Court arraignment calendar as are the others
indicted at the same time.

Shealy said that the initial legal step to go forward with a capital murder
case is for his office to file intent to do so with the Colquitt County Clerk
of Court.

(source: moultrieobserver.com)






FLORIDA:

Florida Supreme Court throws out death penalty for man who killed Brevard
County Deputy Barbara Pill


The Florida Supreme Court today threw out the death penalties of 2 central
Florida murderers, including the man convicted of killing Brevard County Deputy
Barbara Pill.

In each case, the high court ruled that because the jury did not unanimously
vote for the death penalty, the defendant must be resentenced.

A Brevard County jury in 2014 convicted Brandon Lee Bradley of murdering Pill.
A hotel employee had called 911, complaining that Bradley had stolen a window
air conditioning unit and linens, and Pill spotted his SUV and pulled him over.

She walked to the door of his vehicle and asked him repeatedly to get out, but
he refused and began to inch the SUV forward. When Pill reached into the
vehicle to pull the keys from the ignition, he opened fire.

She was shot 5 times.

The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of 10-2.

The Florida Supreme Court in November ruled that for any death sentence to be
constitutional, all 12 members of a jury must vote for it.

On Thursday, it upheld Bradley's murder conviction but ruled that he is
entitled to a new sentencing hearing.

That is the same conclusion it reached in the case of Seminole County murderer
Dwayne F. White. He was convicted by a Sanford jury of murdering his estranged
wife, Sara Rucker, in 2011 by repeatedly slashing her throat in the parking lot
of a Miami Subs restaurant in Longwood near Interstate 4.

The jury vote in that case was 8-4 for death.

The high court in that case also upheld the defendant's conviction but ruled
that he must be resentenced.

In an unrelated case, the high court today also threw out the convictions and
life sentences of a man found guilty of shooting at an Orlando police officer
shortly before the defendant crashed his vehicle into an SUV, killing its
driver in 2013.

Gangapersad Ramroop was found guilty of 1st-degree murder in the death of the
other motorist, Robert Charles John Hunter, and guilty of attempted 2nd-degree
murder for shooting at the officer, Christopher Brillant.

But the high court ruled that because a set of jury instructions failed to tell
jurors that the state had to prove that Ramroop knew the person he fired at was
an officer, he must be retried.

(source: Orlando Sentinel)






OHIO:

Inmate argues Ohio lacked jurisdiction in 1991 child murder


More than 2 decades after the crime, death row inmate Jeffrey Wogenstahl is
claiming that Ohio didn't have the right to prosecute him for the death of
10-year-old Amber Garrett because the girl may have been murdered in Indiana -
not Ohio.

The Ohio Supreme Court will consider Wogenstahl's direct appeal on April 4.

A Hamilton County trial court in 1993 sentenced Wogenstahl to death. So far, he
has lost all his appeals in state and federal court.

In 1991, Peggy Garrett and her 5 children lived in Harrison, a small town in
southwest Ohio that borders Indiana. Garrett met Wogenstahl in October 1991. In
November, her eldest son had been babysitting his siblings while Garrett was
out. Wogenstahl tricked the 16-year-old boy into leaving the apartment and
Wogenstahl abducted Amber, according to a summary of the case provided by the
Ohio Supreme Court.

Witnesses reported seeing a car like Wogenstahl's in both Ohio and Indiana
early that morning, including on the side of Jamison Road in Indiana - near
where Indiana State Police found Amber's body.

At trial, the state theorized that he killed the girl in Indiana, according to
Wogenstahl. His latest appeal hinges on a 2004 decision from the state Supreme
Court that ruled that Ohio did not have jurisdiction over the murders of 2
college students in Pennsylvania, though the court did uphold the kidnapping
convictions.

Hamilton County prosecutors argue that while Amber's body was found in Indiana,
the murder location was never pinpointed. State law says when it's unclear
which jurisdiction a crime occurred, it is presumed to have taken place in
Ohio, the prosecutor noted.

A website dedicated to Wogenstahl's alleged innocence argues that the case
against him was marred by prosecutorial misconduct, a sloppy investigation,
junk science and faulty eyewitness testimony.

Wogenstahl first raised the jurisdiction issue in July 2014. The high court
agreed to consider the appeal and stayed his execution date.

Wogenstahl is represented by the Ohio Public Defender's office.

(source: Dayton Daily News)






NEBRASKA:

Death penalty hearing for Anthony Garcia delayed


The death penalty hearing phase for convicted killer Anthony Garcia was delayed
on Thursday.

Judge Randall appointed the commission of public advocacy to be co-counsel for
Garcia after a filing late Wednesday night by the defense team.

Family and prosecutors were frustrated with the delay.

It's unknown how long the delay will be but the commission of public advocacy
will have to review entire case before moving forward.

Garcia was convicted of killing Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman in 2008 and
Dr. Roger and Mary Brumback in 2013.

This week, a judge deemed Garcia was competent to have the hearing, even though
his defense team said he hasn't talked to them since before the trial.

It's the 3rd time he's had his competency evaluated since he was arrested in
2013.

(source: KMTV news)






USA:

Defendant in David Heisler kidnapping case to be federally indicted; death
penalty on table


9 months after 30-year-old David Heisler was abducted from his Santa Clara home
and left for dead on the Arizona Strip, the 3 suspects believed by authorities
to have perpetrated the abhorrent and shocking crime appeared in court.

A review hearing for Kelley Marie Perry, 32, and Francis Lee McCard, 56, was
set before Judge Eric Ludlow in Washington County's 5th District Court Tuesday
on charges of 1st-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, 1st-degree felony
aggravated burglary and 2nd-degree felony theft.

Since the July 5, 2016, arrest of McCard and Perry, Heisler's former girlfriend
and mother of his now 7-year-old child, Washington County prosecutors have been
awaiting word on a possible federal indictment being sought in the case.

Federal authorities have the right to prosecute certain crimes that become
federal offenses by crossing from 1 state to another - as in this case
involving a kidnapping resulting in death when the defendants reportedly
transported Heisler from Utah to a desolate area in Arizona where Heisler was
either killed or left to die in the extreme heat after allegedly being
assaulted.

Ryan Stout, defense counsel for Perry, told the court during a Jan. 1 review
hearing that federal prosecutors intend to indict Perry.

While Washington County Deputy Attorney Zachary Weiland said Tuesday he had not
heard from federal authorities as to whether they are going to federally indict
Perry, Weiland confirmed he had received word the federal government would be
indicting McCard - which could potentially earn McCard the death penalty if he
is convicted.

(source: KSL news)


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