death penalty news----TEXAS, VA., N.C., GA., FLA.
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Rick Halperin
2017-10-17 14:20:09 UTC
Raw Message
Oct. 17

TEXAS----impending execution

Houston serial killer faces execution this week----Anthony Shore, a convicted
serial killer, is set to be executed Wednesday evening. His murders in the
1980s and 1990s went unsolved until 2003.

Houston's "Tourniquet Killer" is on his way to the Texas death chamber.

Anthony Shore, the confessed serial rapist and strangler whose murders in the
1980s and 1990s went unsolved for more than a decade, is scheduled for
execution Wednesday evening. The courts have shot down his latest appeals that
argued a traumatic brain injury decreases his culpability, and a plea for
relief to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles was denied Monday afternoon.

Shore, 55, has been on death row since 2004, when he was convicted and
sentenced to death in the 1992 rape and murder of 21-year-old Maria Del Carmen
Estrada. The killing was 1 of 4 similar murders of young women and girls and
one aggravated sexual assault where the girl was able to escape.

The murders took place between 1986 and 1995, according to court documents. All
became cold cases in the years after the bodies of Estrada, 14-year-old Laurie
Tremblay, 9-year-old Diana Rebollar and 16-year-old Dana Sanchez were found,
dumped behind buildings or in a field, partially naked with rope or cord
fastened around their necks like tourniquets.

Finally, in 2003, Houston police matched Shore's DNA - on file from a 1997
no-contest plea of sexually molesting his 2 daughters - to Estrada's murder,
according to a court ruling. After hours of interrogation, Shore confessed to
all of the killings, telling police he had an "evilness" in him.

"I think if I tell you what I've done that it will release the evilness, and I
would feel better," Shore told a police sergeant.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Shore was a "true serial killer"
after the trial court set his upcoming execution date in July.

"His crimes were predatory, and his victims the most vulnerable in society -
women and children. For his brutal acts, the death penalty is appropriate," she
said in a statement.

Recently, Shore's legal team has pointed to a previously undisclosed traumatic
brain injury, likely obtained in a 1981 car accident, as a reason to stop the
execution. Knox Nunnally, Shore's court-appointed appellate lawyer, said he is
not arguing that Shore is innocent or undeserving of punishment, but that
courts should look at people with brain injuries the way they look at minors
and the intellectually disabled - ineligible for execution based on decreased
reasoning skills and culpability.

"We think if a jury had heard that evidence ... that it is possible a jury
could at least change their decision that Mr. Shore deserves life instead of
death," Nunnally said, referring to the alternative sentence in a capital
murder conviction. "Because by no means are we claiming that ... a head injury
was the only reason he committed these crimes, we're saying it was a
contributing reason."

The courts rejected Shore's appeal and the broader argument that brain-injured
people are ineligible for execution. It's a rejection that concerns Nunnally as
a combat veteran, he said.

"My fear is that if we're denying this for Anthony Shore, what's gonna happen
if we have a combat vet who comes up 5 or 6 years from now and he has suffered
a severe injury from combat?" he said. "The state's going to use Anthony
Shore's case as an example of precedent."

On Monday morning, Nunnally said that his team was still looking at other
possible appeals in the next 2 days before the execution but that nothing was
currently pending. If it proceeds, Shore's execution will be the 7th in Texas
this year and 21st in the nation.

(source: Texas Tribune)


Sister of notorious Houston serial killer: 'He should be killed'

Gina Shore feels it in her bones: There must have been more.

Sure as the tick-tick of the clock winding down her brother's final hours.
Certain as the needle the state of Texas will slip into his arm. Fixed as the
gruesome fates of the 4 girls he raped and murdered.

"I know in my heart without a doubt that there are more," she said. "There had
to have been other girls."

But if there are, the world may never know.

Anthony Shore, the notorious Tourniquet Killer who terrorized the Bayou City in
the 1980s and 1990s, is set to meet his fate Wednesday in Huntsville's death

"I think it will give closure," Gina said. "Then when people ask what about
him, we can just say he's dead."

The 55-year-old former telephone technician was sent to death row in 2004,
after confessing to the rapes and murders then begging the court for capital

He'd escaped detection for nearly 2 decades, but ultimately it was DNA - put on
file after he was convicted of molesting his daughters and forced to register
as a sex offender - that brought police to his door.

Researchers say they have now proven that a controversial diary actually
belonged to Jack The Ripper. Josh King has the story

Since arriving on death row, he's waged a war against the state's harshest
punishment, filing appeals blaming everything from ineffective lawyers to
previously unrealized brain damage.

As of Monday, courts had slapped down all his last-ditch bids for life and the
state's Board of Pardons and Paroles had turned down his request for clemency,
according to Shore's attorney, Knox Nunnally.

Yet Shore's youngest sister, Laurel Scheel, holds a creeping fear of a darker
chance for a stay - a last-minute slew of confessions. Houston police and the
Harris County Sheriff's Office both confirmed he is not considered a suspect in
any open cases.

But his family members - who spoke extensively to the Chronicle - have their

"He's good at keeping things hidden," Laurel said.

Since his sentencing, Shore has been tight-lipped with the media, even as he
fired off a regular string of upbeat and neatly penned missives to his family.

"I will likely get a stay, but ya' just never know," he wrote his father in
July, the same day a judge greenlit prosecutors' request for an October
execution. "I'd prefer to live a bit longer but am ready if it's God's will."

Decades before his name became synonymous with a trail of bodies, Anthony Shore
was a little boy with promise.

Smart as a whip and talented at any instrument set before him, he was "a
musical prodigy who never realized his potential," as author Corey Mitchell
wrote in his 2007 true-crime tale of the case.

"All my girlfriends were in love with him because he was so charismatic and
cute," Laurel, now 47, said of her older brother, who taught her how to fight.

Their father's work with NASA forced the family to move cross-country
repeatedly, but otherwise it was a normal upbringing.

"The only messed up part of my childhood was that my mom and dad split up,"
Gina, now 53, recalled.

But there were early signs something was amiss. Tony killed a neighbor's cat
when he was 5 or 6, "because he didn't want it to run away," Gina said.

And as he grew older, his pastimes grew more sinister. He used his sister as
bait to lure young girls outside. He once boasted that he and some friends had
beaten a homeless man to death behind a grocery store.

Some actions, though, seemed off-kilter only in retrospect, like the time he
told his mom his favorite thing about his girlfriend was "the nape of her

It seemed innocent enough at the time.

"But then he turned out to be a strangler," Laurel said.

After spending the later part of his childhood in California, Tony moved back
to Texas as a young adult.

He settled down and got married. He had 2 daughters.

He got a job. He joined a band.

And he became a serial killer.

In 1986, he slaughtered 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay, snatching the girl up on
her way to the bus stop. 6 years later, he raped and murdered 21-year-old Maria
del Carmen Estrada before leaving her naked body in the drive-through of a
Spring Branch Dairy Queen.

In 1994, he killed 9-year-old Diana Rebollar. When her battered body was found,
she was wearing only a black Halloween T-shirt - and a ligature twisted around
her neck.

Less than a year later, he murdered 16-year-old Dana Sanchez, then reportedly
called a local TV station to report a serial killer on the loose.

All of the victims were raped and tortured before he strangled them with
handmade tourniquets.

When he finally confessed to the 4 murders and another rape, his family was
shocked. But they believed it right away.

"There wasn't a doubt in my mind," Laurel said. "Because of what he did to his

For years, Gina suspected something was amiss in her brother's household. 5
times, she says, she reported her concerns to child-welfare authorities in

During a visit to Texas in 1995, one of Gina's friends reported Tony for child
endangerment after noticing the windows nailed shut.

"They were locked in the house, they had no running water and no power," Gina

But it wasn't until the girls visited family on the West Coast in 1997 - during
Tony's honeymoon following marriage to a woman 14 years his junior - that the
truth came out.

Even after his conviction forced him on the sex offender registry in 1998, it
took another 5 years before authorities finally tested cold-case evidence and
matched a murder to Shore.

"I think he knew he was going to get caught," Laurel said.

Even as he waits out his last days behind bars, his family still describes him
as a master manipulator. A control freak. A man always seeking to control the

But he confessed when it suited him. He asked for death when it suited him. And
he argued for life when that suited him instead.

Years ago, Laurel said, she predicted an end-of-the-line appeal hinging on
medical issues.

"And sure as s***, that was his last plea," she said, referencing the claims of
brain damage from a 1981 car wreck that left him with mangled hands and a wire
in his jaw.

"I think it's a load of crap," said his younger daughter, Tiffany Hall, now 32
and living in Arizona.

Gina simply snorted in derision.

"The only reason I can see him wanting a stay is so he can torture his victims
and his family by being alive."

But whenever death comes calling for Anthony Shore, his family won't be there
to watch.

His father, Rob Shore, plans to stay home. Gina and her mother, who now live
together in Washington, may stop to remember him - but not fondly.

"I would have never been for the death penalty if it had not been for my
brother," Gina said.

Laurel agrees. "He should be killed," she said. "He was a good brother, but
he's not a good person."

Now living in Oklahoma, she drove down to the Houston area a few days before
the execution. But she's not heading to Huntsville to watch.

"We'll probably go to the beach or something," she said.

Amber Shore - the killer's older daughter - hasn't been heard from in years,
but her sister deemed it unlikely she'd attend.

"The final slap in the face for him would be to pretend that he's not important
enough," Tiffany, his youngest daughter, said Monday. "His own children think
he's insignificant."

For Tiffany, it'll be an almost normal day. Formerly a sheriff's deputy and now
in the Air National Guard, the single mother is working her way through college
for a 2nd time. She's got a 3-year-old to raise and forensic science classes to

"Honestly, I have a biology lab and calculus that day. So I'm going to go to
school," she said. "Maybe I'll see a movie later if I have free time."

(source: Houston Chronicle)


Death Penalty Sought In Reston Girl's Killing: Report----The murder of local
teen Nabra Hassanen shocked the community, and authorities are seeking the
death penalty for her accused killer.

An El Salvadoran man accused of savagely beating a Reston girl to death this
summer could face the death penalty, according to a report.

Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling, a 22-year-old native of El Salvador, is
accused of getting into a dispute with 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen and her
friends as they were walking back to their mosque one evening in June in the
Herndon area, prompting him to get a baseball bat and beat Hassanen to death
before dumping her body in a pond, authorities say.

NBC 4 reporter Julie Carey reports that the Commonwealth's Attorney will pursue
the death penalty against Martinez Torres for the rape and murder of Hassanen.

Carey reports that the last time the Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney won
a death penalty sentence was 5 years ago.

Hassanen's death sparked shock and outrage nationwide because she was a Muslim,
and many assumed she had been targeted for her religion. However, police say
they don't believe her religion had anything to do with the attack, and this
was a case of road rage taken to the extreme. Her family doesn't accept that
explanation, however.

(source: patch.com)


Man indicted on murder, rape charges in death of Muslim teen in Virginia

A grand jury has indicted a man on capital murder and rape charges in the
killing of a 17-year-old girl whose death has rattled northern Virginia's
Muslim community.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court panel handed up indictments Monday against
Darwin Martinez-Torres. State law allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty
under certain conditions, including premeditated murder during a rape.

Monday's indictment is the 1st indication that authorities believe Nabra
Hassanen was raped.

Police say Martinez-Torres encountered Hassanen among a group of teenagers in
June. Authorities say Martinez-Torres got into a confrontation with some of the
teens, and chased them. Police say Martinez-Torres caught Hassanen and
bludgeoned her with a bat. A search warrant says Martinez-Torres dumped her
body in a lake.

(source: Associated Press)


New witness comes forward, adds twist to Garry Gupton's murder trial

A stunning new witness was introduced today, on the 11th day a capital murder
trial, and told detectives that Stephen White died so that no one would find
out Garry Gupton "went home with a gay man."

Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Robert Enochs told Superior Court
Judge Michael Duncan about the witness before the trial began Monday morning.
Enochs said Brandon Jamison called him at 8:50 a.m., telling him that Gupton
confessed to White's death while he and Gupton were housed together in an
undisclosed hospital.

Gupton, 29, has spent the past 2 weeks on trial for the death of White, 46, on
Nov. 15, 2014, 6 days after he was burned severely when he was set afire in a
hotel room.

Gupton and White met on Nov. 8, 2014, at Chemistry Nightclub, a gay bar and
lounge in Greensboro. The two men traveled from the nightclub to the
Battleground Inn at 1517 Westover Terrace in Greensboro, where attorneys said
the pair agreed to have oral sex before Gupton attacked White and set him on

Gupton could face the death penalty if convicted in White's death.

Gupton's attorneys, Wayne Baucino and Ames Chamberlin, have not denied the
allegations against Gupton, but Gupton has pleaded not guilty to the crime by
reason of insanity.

Since Oct. 9, 12 jurors and 3 alternates have listened to testimony and watched
surveillance and police body-worn camera videos showing Gupton outside the
Battleground Inn screaming that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, C-4 and bombs were inside the
hotel. On camera, Gupton cried hysterically and told officers it was a trap
when they heard fire alarms go off inside the building.

Enochs was between testimony from first responders and an officer who processed
the crime scene when he learned about the new witness. The prosecutor said he
received a call before court from Jamison, a patient with Gupton at an
undisclosed hospital. Enochs said Jamson told him about the conversation he had
with Gupton.

"Mr. Gupton described going home with a gay man and beating him with a
telephone because he didn't want people to know he went home with a gay man,"
Enochs told the judge, quoting Jamison.

Enochs said he immediately told Jamison that he would have a detective call him
back so that Enochs did not become a witness in the trial he was prosecuting.
During the morning court session, Greensboro Det. C. Montgomerie spoke to
Jamison and determined he was a credible enough to add to the state's witness

Baucino objected. "We're in the middle of the trial, and we would certainly
object to new evidence," Baucino said. "This has substantial impact on our

Jurors do not know about the new witness. Discussions about Jamison and his
information have happened outside their presence.

Duncan has not ruled on whether he will allow Jamison's testimony. He decided
to give Baucino and Chamberlin the lunch break to review notes taken by Det.
Montgomerie about his conversation Monday morning with Jamison.

Enochs said that if Duncan allows Jamison to testify in the trial, he plans to
introduce him Tuesday afternoon.

He said he hopes to wrap up the state's case by Wednesday.

Gupton has agreed to testify during the trial.

Court will resume at 2 p.m.

(source: News & Record)


'Stocking Strangler' Carlton Gary's attorneys get an extended deadline to
appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Attorneys for convicted "Stocking Strangler" Carlton Gary will have more time
to file for an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court after a Columbus judge this
past Sept. 1 denied the serial killer's motion for a new trial.

The extension gives them until Nov. 2 to ask the state's highest court to hear
what's expected to be among Gary's last appeals in a death-penalty case now in
its 31st year.

That's 31 years as measured from Gary's conviction in Muscogee Superior Court
on Aug. 26, 1986. The murders are four decades old. Saturday will mark the 40th
anniversary of the rape and strangling of Florence Scheible, 89, in her Dimon
Street home near Lakebottom Park.

After the defense files its appeal, the prosecution will have 10 days to
respond, said District Attorney Julia Slater, the chief prosecutor for the
six-county Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit that includes Muscogee.

If the Georgia Supreme Court denies the appeal, Gary's attorneys may apply to
the U.S. Supreme Court, but it repeatedly has refused to review the case.

The next steps

Once Gary's appeals are exhausted, Muscogee Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan
Jr. will issue a death warrant designating a week during which the state
Department of Corrections may schedule Gary's execution by lethal injection.

He has 1 last-minute chance to escape death by asking the Georgia Board of
Pardons and Paroles to commute his sentence to life in prison. The board turned
him down in 2009.

That's when Gary last escaped death: He was to be executed on Dec. 16, 2009, at
Georgia's Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, but the state
Supreme Court issued a last-minute stay and sent the case back to Columbus for
a hearing on testing DNA evidence.

Those tests proved inconclusive, tying Gary to one of the 7 stranglings, but
not one for which he was convicted, and excluding him from a rape and assault
prosecutors claimed to be a precursor to the serial killings of 1977 and '78.
He was not convicted in that case, either, though jurors in 1986 heard evidence
from all the cases as prosecutors illustrated Gary's pattern of criminal

Defense attorneys cited the conflicting DNA tests in their effort to persuade
Jordan to grant Gary either a new trial or a different sentence. Jordan
rejected their arguments in a decision nearly 50 pages long.

In asking for an extension, Gary's Atlanta attorneys Jack Martin and Michael
McIntyre cited these reasons:

-- The volume of material to be reviewed. The 1986 trial transcript is 4,500
pages, and does not include the record of state and federal appeals. Just the
record amassed since the state Supreme Court sent the case back to Columbus in
2009 adds up to 3,000 pages contained in nine volumes.

--According to a clerk in the Superior Court, "the record ... is contained in
18 boxes as well as numerous accordion files," the attorneys wrote.

-- Limitations on the attorneys' time. Since Jordan denied Gary a new trial,
McIntyre has had a family emergency involving a relative with cancer, and
Martin has spent 10 days traveling in Portugal.

Also Martin is occupied with another death-penalty case, that of Lawrence
Joseph Jefferson, convicted March 9, 1986, of bludgeoning Edward Taulbee to
death before taking his money and leaving the body in the woods near Lake
Alatoona in Cobb County. Taulbee's body was found the next day, May 2, 1985.

Taulbee's case is now before the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Martin
is his lead attorney.

The assault and murders

Born in Columbus on Sept. 24, 1950, Gary now is 67 years old, and remains on
death row at the prison in Jackson.

Here are the 7 Stocking Stranglings and the rape and assault prosecutors said
preceded them:

On Sept. 11, 1977, Gertrude Miller, 64, is beaten with a board and raped in her
2703 Hood St. home. Her assailant leaves behind knotted stockings he took from
her dresser. She in 1986 identifies Gary as the rapist, but a later DNA test on
her clothing excludes Gary.

On Sept. 16, 1977, Mary Willis "Fern" Jackson, 59, of 2505 17th St., is found
brutally beaten, raped and strangled with a stocking and sash. Her body is left

On Sept. 24, 1977, Jean Dimenstein, 71, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her home that then had the address 3027 21st St. (the street has
since been renamed). Her body was left covered with sheets and a pillow Later
tests match Gary's DNA to crime-scene evidence, but he was not convicted in
this case.

On Oct. 21, 1977, Florence Scheible, 89, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her 1941 Dimon St. home, which today has a different address. Her
body was left covered. Gary's right thumbprint was found on a door frame
leading into Scheible's bedroom. Gary is convicted in this case.

Oct. 25, 1977, Martha Thurmond, 70, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her 2614 Marion St. home. Her body was covered by a pillow,
blankets and sheets. Gary's fingerprint is found on the frame of a rear bedroom
window. Gary is convicted in this case.

Dec. 28, 1977, Kathleen Woodruff, 74, is found raped and strangled in her 1811
Buena Vista Road home, which later was demolished during an Aflac expansion.
Gary's right little fingerprint is found on the aluminum window screen where
the intruder entered, and his palm print is found on the windowsill just
inside. Gary is convicted in this case.

Feb. 12, 1978, Mildred Borom, 78, 1612 Forest Ave., is found raped and
strangled with a cord cut from window blinds. Her body's covered with a

April 20, 1978, Janet Cofer, 61, of 3783 Steam Mill Road, is found raped and
strangled with a stocking. A pillow covers her face.


This timeline was compiled from Columbus police, court records and
Ledger-Enquirer archives:

Sept. 24, 1950, Carlton Michael Gary is born in Columbus, Ga., where he lives
until age 16, when he moves with his mother to Fort Myers, Fla., and later
Gainesville, Fla.

Sept. 3, 1964, Gary attends Carver High School.

Nov. 18, 1965, Gary attends Spencer High School.

Jan. 31, 1966, Gary returns to Carver High School and later transfers to Dunbar
High School in Fort Myers, Fla.

Oct. 31, 1967, Gary's charged with breaking into an automobile in Gainesville,

March 17, 1968, Gary's charged with arson in Gainesville, Fla.

Nov. 26, 1969, Gary's charged with assaulting a police officer in Bridgeport,

April 14, 1970, Nellie Farmer, 85, is raped and strangled and her body left
covered in her home in the Wellington Hotel, Albany, N.Y. Gary's fingerprint is
found at the scene. Gary claims another man killed Farmer, and is convicted
only of robbery.

July 15, 1970, Gary's sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbery.

March 31, 1975, Gary is released from prison and moves to Syracuse, NY.

June 27, 1975, the body of Marion Fisher, 40, is found on a road just outside
Syracuse. She was raped and strangled. Authorities in 2007 say they match
Gary's DNA to the cold-case evidence.

July 25, 1975, Gary's charged with escape, resisting arrest and violating

July 17, 1976, Gary's released on parole.

Sept. 3, 1976, Gary's charged with assault.

Jan. 2, 1977, Jean Frost, 55, is raped and nearly choked to death in her home
in Syracuse, N.Y. Gary has a watch taken from Frost's home when police arrest
him 2 days later. Again he blames another man for the assault. He is charged
with possessing stolen property, resisting arrest, perjury and assault.

Aug. 23, 1977, Gary escapes from New York's Onandaga County prison by jumping
from a 3rd-floor window. He goes home to Columbus, where he soon moves to 1027
Fisk Ave.

Sept. 11, 1977, Gertrude Miller, 64, is beaten with a board and raped in her
2703 Hood St. home, about 2 blocks from Fisk Avenue. Her assailant leaves
behind knotted stockings he took from her dresser. She in 1986 identifies Gary
as the rapist.

Sept. 16, 1977, Mary Willis "Fern" Jackson, 59, of 2505 17th St., is found
brutally beaten, raped and strangled with a stocking and sash. Her body is left
covered. Her stolen car is later found on Benner Avenue near Fisk Avenue.

Sept. 24, 1977, Jean Dimenstein, 71, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her home that then had the address 3027 21st St. (the street has
since been renamed). Her body was left covered with sheets and a pillow Later
tests match Gary's DNA to crime-scene evidence.

Oct. 4, 1977, Gary moves to 3231 Old Buena Vista Road.

Oct. 8, 1977, the 1427 Eberhart Avenue home of sisters Callye East, 75, and
Nellie Sanderson, 78, is burglarized. Sanderson's son Henry is visiting. The
intruder steals his Toyota, which has a .22-caliber Ruger pistol under the
seat. The car's left on Buena Vista Road.

Oct. 21, 1977, Florence Scheible, 89, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her 1941 Dimon St. home, which today has a different address. Her
body was left covered. Gary's right thumbprint was found on a door frame
leading into Scheible's bedroom.

Oct. 25, 1977, Martha Thurmond, 70, is found raped and strangled with a
stocking in her 2614 Marion St. home. Her body was covered by a pillow,
blankets and sheets. Gary's fingerprint is found on the frame of a rear bedroom

Nov. 11, 1977, Gary moves to 2829 Ninth St. and gets a job working the late
shift at Golden's Foundry.

Dec. 16, 1977, Gary leaves the foundry job.

Dec. 20, 1977, the 1710 Buena Vista Road home of William Swift is burglarized
while the residents are away. Swift later discovers the burglar removed bars
from a kitchen window to get in, then set the bars back on the windowsill.
Detectives later say Swift never told police this; Gary did.

Dec. 28, 1977, Kathleen Woodruff, 74, is found raped and strangled in her 1811
Buena Vista Road home, which later was demolished during an Aflac expansion.
Gary's right little fingerprint is found on the aluminum window screen where
the intruder entered, and his palm print is found on the windowsill just

Jan. 1, 1978, the 2021 Brookside Drive home of Abraham Illges, who is 85 and
whose wife is 75, is burglarized and a Cadillac stolen. The car's left at a
restaurant on Victory Drive. Police say Gary later refers to this home as "the

Feb. 11, 1978, Ruth Schwob, 74, of 1800 Carter Ave., is nearly strangled to
death by an intruder she fights off, pressing a panic alarm by her bed. Police
find her sitting on the edge of her bed, gasping, a stocking wrapped around her

Feb. 11, 1978, the Illges home is burglarized again, but the intruder triggers
an alarm and flees. Police said Gary later told them he ran and hid in Wildwood

Feb. 12, 1978, Mildred Borom, 78, 1612 Forest Ave., about 2 blocks from
Schwob's home on the west side of Wildwood Park, is found raped and strangled
with a cord cut from window blinds. Her body's covered with a garment. This
series of rapid events becomes known as "The Night of Terrors."

April 20, 1978, Janet Cofer, 61, of 3783 Steam Mill Road, is found raped and
strangled with a stocking. A pillow covers her face. Police find Cofer's stolen
car on Mill Road.

April 20, 1978, Gary robs the Burger King at 3520 Macon Road.

May 14, 1978, Gary robs the Hungry Hunter restaurant at 1834 Midtown Drive.

Sept. 4, 1978, Gary robs the Western Sizzlin restaurant at 4385 Victory Drive.

Sept. 22, 1978, Gary robs the Talk of the Town restaurant in Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 8, 1978, Gary robs the Ryan's Steakhouse in Greenville.

Oct. 19, 1978, Gary robs the Western Sizzlin steakhouse in Greenville.

Nov. 5, 1978, Gary robs the Po' Folks restaurant in Greenville.

Dec. 7, 1978, Gary robs Jack's Steak House in Greenville.

Feb. 15, 1979, having earned the nickname "Steakhouse Bandit," Gary robs a Po'
Folks restaurant in Gafney, S.C., and is arrested the next day.

Feb. 22, 1979, Gary is convicted of armed robbery in Greenville County, S.C.

March 29, 1979, Gary is convicted of armed robbery in Cherokee County, S.C.

March 15, 1984, he escapes from a prison in Columbia, S.C., and returns to

April 3, 1984, Gary robs a Po' Folks restaurant on the 280 Bypass in Phenix
City and rapes a woman who works there.

April 10, 1984, Henry Sanderson calls Columbus police to ask about the Ruger
pistol taken from his Toyota in the 1977 Eberhart Avenue burglary. A detective
sends out a nationwide alert for the gun, which turns up in Michigan and is
traced back to Gary.

April 16, 1984, Gary robs a Wendy's restaurant in Gainesville, Fla.

April 22, 1984, Gary robs a McDonald's restaurant in Montgomery, Ala.

April 28, 1984, Gary robs the County Seat Store in the Oaks Mall of
Gainesville, Fla.

April 30, 1984, prompted by Sanderson's call and the gun trace, copies of
Gary's fingerprints arrive at the Columbus Police Department, where 1 is
matched to a print found on the frame of a screen removed from Woodruff's home.

May 3, 1984, authorities arrest Gary in Albany, Ga.

May 4, 1984, from around midnight until 3:30 a.m., Gary takes investigators on
a tour of homes he tells them he broke into. He blames the stranglings on
another man.

May 8, 1984, Gary attempts suicide in jail.

May 9, 1984, then Superior Court Judge John Land appoints attorneys William
Kirby and Stephen Hyles to represent Gary.

Aug. 28, 1984, attorney August "Bud" Siemon becomes Gary's lead defense

Oct. 11, 1984, attorney Bruce Harvey becomes Gary's co-counsel. Attorney Gary
Parker joins the defense team the following December.

Feb. 8, 1985, Siemon files a motion asking Judge Land to recuse himself because
he has personal knowledge of the case. Land recuses himself.

May 13, 1985, Judge E. Mullins Whisnant is assigned the case.

May 22, 1985, Siemon files a motion asking Whisnant to recuse himself because
he was the district attorney during the strangling.

May 20, 1985, Whisnant recuses himself and the case is assigned to Judge
Kenneth Followill.

Dec. 18, 1985, Parker withdraws as co-counsel after Followill refuses to grant
the defense team funds for an investigator.

Dec. 29, 1985, Gary tries to escape from jail.

March 10, 1986, on the day Gary's trial is to start, he refuses to get dressed
and come to court. Harvey files a motion questioning Gary's competency to stand
trial, saying the defendant's mental health is in decline. Followill orders a
psychological evaluation.

March 24, 1986, Gary goes to Georgia Central State Hospital in Milledgeville
for his evaluation, but refuses to cooperate with doctors.

April 21, 1986, Followill holds a trial to determine Gary's mental competency.

April 28, 1986, the jury finds Gary competent for trial.

June 9, 1986, Gary's trial is set to begin, but Siemon files for a change of

July 2, 1986, Followill decides that instead of moving the trial, the court
will bring jurors from Griffin, Ga., to hear the case.

July 7, 1986, Harvey withdraws, leaving Siemon as Gary's only lawyer.

Aug. 11, 1986, Gary's trial begins.

Aug. 26, 1986, the jury finds Gary guilty in 3 of the 7 stranglings, though
then District Attorney Bill Smith maintains one perpetrator committed all seven
along with the attack on Miller and Schwob. Smith used evidence from the other
cases to illustrate a pattern of criminal behavior.

Aug. 27, 1986, the jury sentences Gary to death.

Sept. 25, 1986, Gary moves for a new trial. His motion's denied the following
Oct. 18, and he appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court.

June 26, 1987, the Georgia Supreme Court sends the case back to Columbus,
instructing the court here to determine whether Gary had ineffective counsel.

Nov. 4, 1987, Followill holds hearings to determine the effectiveness of Gary's

June 12, 1989, Followill rules Gary failed to show his counsel was ineffective.

March 6, 1990, the Georgia Supreme court upholds Followill's ruling and
reaffirms Gary's conviction and death sentence.

Jan. 27, 1995, the superior court of Butts County, Ga., where Gary is
imprisoned, rejects one of his habeas corpus appeals.

Nov. 13, 1995, the court rejects another of Gary's habeas corpus appeals.

Nov. 18, 1997, Gary files a habeas corpus appeal in U.S. District Court for the
Middle District of Georgia.

Sept. 28, 2004, the federal court rejects Gary's appeal, and he appeals to the
11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nov. 9, 2005, then-Coroner James Dunnavant finds a bite-cast mold made from
teeth marks on Janet Cofer's body. It has been missing since Dunnavant's
predecessor Don Kilgore died.

Nov. 23, 2005, the appeals court sends the case back to U.S. District Court to
consider the bite-mark evidence.

Feb. 14, 2007, the district court holds a hearing and decides the bite cast
would not have bolstered Gary's defense and again rejects his appeal. Gary
again appeals to the 11th Circuit.

Feb. 12, 2009, the 11th Circuit rejects Gary's appeal. He appeals to the U.S.
Supreme Court.

Dec. 1, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Gary???s appeal. His
execution is set for the following Dec. 16.

Dec. 16, 2009, Gary is hours away from execution when the Georgia Supreme Court
issues a stay and sends the case back to Muscogee Superior Court to consider
DNA testing evidence.

Feb. 19, 2010, prosecutors and defense attorneys agree to DNA test suitable
evidence samples, four items from three cases: Dimenstein, Scheible and

Dec. 14, 2010, attorneys say the initial DNA test results match Gary to the
murder of Jean Dimenstein but not Martha Thurmond. The defense seeks testing on
clothes from Gertrude Miller the morning after she was raped and beaten.

March 6, 2012, tests of the Miller evidence yield a DNA profile that does not
match Gary. The prosecution says the defense can't prove Miller was wearing the
garments when raped.

Nov. 21, 2013, District Attorney Julia Slater announces the Thurmond DNA test
was tainted at the state crime lab and thus invalid.

February 24-28, 2014, Judge Frank Jordan Jr. holds evidentiary hearings on
Gary's new trial motion.

Jan. 11, 2016, Doug Grubbs, son-in-law of sheriff's investigator Don Miller, in
the attic finds a briefcase containing files on the strangling. He turns it
over to the sheriff's office.

Jan. 27, the defense is told of the briefcase.

Feb. 3, both sides meet to inspect the documents. They find a composite sketch
believed to have been drawn as Gertrude Miller described her assailant under
hypnosis in October 1977.

Jan. 12-12, 2017, Jordan holds a final set of hearings on the new evidence in
Gary???s motion for a new trial.

June 27, the prosecution files a motion asking Jordan to issue a ruling.

Sept. 1, Jordan denies Gary's motion for a new trial in a 50-page ruling.

Sept. 20, Gary's attorneys file for an extension of the deadline to appeal to
the Georgia Supreme Court.

Nov. 2, the new, extended deadline for the defense to appeal.

(source: ledger-enquirer.com)


Death penalty review panel members prosecuted more than 1,900 cases since 2012,
records show

Since State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced the formation of a panel to review
whether the death penalty should be sought in a case, Channel 9 has been
pouring through records for the 7 members.

All are assistant state attorneys, 6 of them permanent members, who have
prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including some seeking the death penalty.

It was formed after Gov. Rick Scott took 30 cases from Ayala's office because
she vowed not to seek the death penalty in any case prosecuted by her office.

Ayala fought the move, but the Florida Supreme Court sided with Scott.

As a group, the members of the death penalty review panel have prosecuted 1,900
cases since 2012, records show.

With 1,100, more than 1/2 of the cases were prosecuted by Assistant State
Attorney Kenneth Nunnelly.

Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra has the 2nd most prosecutions at 455.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer warned against judging the experience level or
abilities of a prosecutor by the number of cases they have worked.

"What you have to look at is the panel as a whole," Sheaffer said.

Assistant state attorneys Candra Moore and Gabrielle Sanders have both
prosecuted about 50 cases since 2012.

Moore serves on a task force combating human trafficking and mid-level drug
trafficking and Sanders worked with a domestic violence felony unit in Osceola

Working in specialty areas generally results in few prosecutions, Sheaffer

"The more complex the cases that you handle, you're going to handle fewer
because it takes a greater degree of concentration, expertise and preparation,"
he said.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala won't pursue death penalty in cases, including
Markeith Loyd's

Gov. Scott removes Aramis Ayala from Markeith Loyd case after she refuses to
recuse herself

Florida Supreme Court rules against Ayala on Scott's reassigning of death
penalty cases

For the death penalty to be sought in a case, the panel must be unanimous,
which Sheaffer said would be a difficult thing to do.

"It's hard to get 7 ordinary citizens to agree on anything," he said. "It may
be darned impossible to get seven lawyers to agree on anything."

While Ayala hopes the panel will allow her office to continue prosecuting cases
where the death penalty could be sought, Scott has not said if its existence
would keep him from removing cases from her office.

"We will continue to review the details that come out of the state attorney's
office, but the governor must be convinced that the death penalty will be
sought as outlined in Florida law, when appropriate," Scott's office said in a
media statement. "The governor will always stand with crime victims and their

(source: WFTV news)


Justices Won't Review Florida Death-Penalty Cases

3 liberal justices dissented Monday from the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of
a challenge to Florida's death-sentencing procedures, saying the high court
should have decided whether jurors being told their verdict was merely advisory
diminished their sense of responsibility.

In March 2010, Quentin Marcus Truehill and 2 cellmates at the Avoyelles Parish
Sheriff's Office in Mansura, La., held the holding-cell officer hostage,
according to court records.

Truehill then attacked the booking officer with a shank, and the 3 men escaped.
They stole a truck and committed a series of crimes on their way from Louisiana
to Miami, Fla.

The decomposed body of Vincent Binder was found in an open field near St.
Augustine, Fla., soon after police learned that Truehill used Binder's credit
card the night he went missing.

Truehill was convicted of murdering and kidnapping Binder, and was sentenced to

He appealed, but the Florida Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and
sentence in February, finding that he was more culpable for the crime than a
co-defendant who received life in prison and equally or more culpable than
another who was also sentenced to death.

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down Florida's practice of
having judges issue death-penalty sentences after collecting jury

The case stemmed from the sentencing of Timothy Lee Hurst, who was convicted of
killing a fast-food worker during a robbery in May 1978.

Hurst stabbed his bound and gagged victim, Cynthia Harrison, more than 60 times
before leaving her in the restaurant freezer. The jury quickly convicted him of
the crime, but was sharply divided over imposing the death penalty.

Under the existing Florida law, judges had wide latitude when it came to
sentencing in capital cases, even allowing them to override the sentences
handed down by juries.

In the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed that decision and held the state
sentencing scheme unconstitutional, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote "the Sixth
Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a
sentence of death. A jury's mere recommendation is not enough."

Florida responded by passing a new law that requires at least 10 of 12 jurors
to recommend execution, and then, only after they've unanimously decided at
least 1 "aggravating factor" related to the crime justifies it.

But in a pair of rulings, the Florida Supreme Court said the new state law was
still unconstitutional because it continued to allow a partial panel to
recommend the death penalty "as opposed to the constitutionally required
unanimous, 12-member jury."

Meanwhile, Truehill appealed his case to the Supreme Court, arguing that he was
sentenced to death without any of the required findings outlined in the Hurst
v. Florida decision.

On Monday, the nation's high court denied petitions for certiorari from
Truehill and another capital defendant, Terence Oliver.

Justice Sotomayor wrote a 2-page dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ruth
Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

She said the Supreme Court "has not in the past hesitated to vacate and remand
a case when a court has failed to address an important question that was raised

"At least twice now, capital defendants in Florida have raised an important
Eighth Amendment challenge to their death sentences that the Florida Supreme
Court has failed to address. Specifically, those capital defendants,
petitioners here, argue that the jury instructions in their cases impermissibly
diminished the jurors' sense of responsibility as to the ultimate determination
of death by repeatedly emphasizing that their verdict was merely advisory,"
Sotomayor wrote.

She added, "Because petitioners here raised a potentially meritorious Eighth
Amendment challenge to their death sentences, and because the stakes in capital
cases are too high to ignore such constitutional challenges, I dissent from the
Court's refusal to correct that error."

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

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