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death penalty news----TEXAS, PENN., DEL., N.C., ALA., OHIO
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Rick Halperin
2017-05-02 13:58:48 UTC
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May 2



TEXAS:

Man accused of killing Corpus Christi woman could face death penalty


A man accused of killing his girlfriend and leaving her body in a grassy ditch
last summer is slated to stand trial in September, and could face death
penalty.

Nigel Green is charged with capital murder in the death of Carina Castellanos,
26. He also faces family violence assault charges related to a report she made
to police about a month before she went missing.

Green has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors initially planned to pursue a murder charge but while interviewing
a witness learned information they believe makes the crime capital murder,
First Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Madrigal said a Nueces County grand jury
re-indicted Green on the higher charge, which is punishable by either life in
prison without parole or the death penalty. State District Judge Jack Pulcher
gave prosecutors a deadline of May 8 to decide whether they'll seek the death
penalty.

If prosecutors pursue the death penalty, the judge may have to appoint new
lawyers and could delay the case, defense lawyer Deeann Torres said.

U.S. Marshals arrested Green, 31, in connection with an aggravated assault
warrant related to a June 10 incident in which Castellanos called Corpus
Christi police and described Green attacking her. The case had been originally
closed after Castellanos left a message on a detective's answering machine
saying she no longer wanted to pursue charges since Green was leaving Corpus
Christi.

Castellanos' mother reported her missing on June 30. Before Green's arrest he
told the Caller-Times he believed Castellanos was alive and pleaded for her to
call her mom.

After his arrest in the assault case, Green admitted to killing Castellanos and
led police to her body, according to an arrest affidavit.

(source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times)






PENNSYLVANIA:

Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds Indian national Raghunandan Yandamuri's
death sentence


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence imposed on
Raghunandan Yandamuri, convicted of killing an infant and her grandmother.

The 30-year-old Indian techie, of Upper Merion, was convicted by a Montgomery
County Court jury of 1st-degree murder in connection with 2 murders. On Oct.
22, 2012, Yandamuri killed 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old
granddaughter Saanvi, after a botched kidnapping attempt, patch.com reported.

According to the report, Justice Max Baer reaffirmed that the evidences against
Yandamuri was sufficient, and the court also rejected the convict's allegations
of unfair treatment.

Yandamuri had earlier told investigators that he panicked and that the deaths
were accidental. The prosecutors argued that he knew the baby's parents and
planned the kidnapping plot to pay for a gambling habit.

The court found that the sentence was based on the evidence presented at the
trial. The death sentence will now be sent to Gov. Tom Wolf, who declared a
state-wide moratorium on death penalty in 2015.

(source: americanbazaaronline.com)






DELAWARE:

Death penalty bill gets 1st hearing this week


The controversial plan to bring back the death penalty gets its 1st committee
hearing Wednesday.

Hearings and debates would rage for hours when advocates unsuccessfully tried
to repeal Delaware's capital punishment program in 2013 and 2015. It took a
court decision last year to dismantle the death penalty here.

But state Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown), one of the bill's main sponsors,
says he thinks momentum to revive it is on his side.

"I believe there is renewed interest in reestablishing this here in Delaware in
a constitutional manner and having something that will hold these individuals
accountable for the crimes that they commit," Pettyjohn.

Pettyjohn and others may have an ally in Gov. John Carney (D), too.

In a debate prior to the election, Carney said he would "probably" veto a bill
like this. But when it was introduced in March, he said he wouldn't rule out
supporting a death penalty for those who kill police or prison guards.

The proposal doesn't include a new method of execution - despite pharmaceutical
companies refusing to resupply states with drugs used for lethal injections.

Pettyjohn says that's something they'll consider at a later date.

"I believe that we should leave all options on the table. Let's see where we
stand right now with the existing stock of pharmaceuticals that we have," he
said.

A 2014 Associated Press report showed 2 of the 3 drugs used during a lethal
injection execution had expired.

The House Judiciary Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

(source: delawarepublic.org)






NORTH CAROLINA:

Death Penalty Sought Against Suspect In Hickory Triple-Murder Case, Awaiting
Decision On Co-Defendant


The State has announced that they will seek the death penalty in the case
against 23-year-old Dontray Cumberlander of 18th Street Place NW in Hickory.
He's 1 of 2 suspects charged with 3 counts of murder in connection with the
shooting deaths of Justin Aiken, Cody Bouphavong, and Quajuae Kennedy. No
decision has been made yet on whether or not the death penalty will be pursued
against the other suspect, 23-year-old Greydon Keith Hansen, also a resident of
18th Street Place NW in Hickory.

The men are charged with shooting the victims outside J. McCroskey's Irish Pub
and Grill at 1423 29th Avenue Drive NE. The incident occurred shortly after 2
a.m. on Friday, April 7.

(source: WHKY news)






ALABAMA:

Jury selection begins in death penalty trial of Richard Burgin, charged with
Huntsville church pantry double murder


Jury selection began today in the double-murder trial of Richard Burgin, who is
accused of killing 2 elderly brothers working at a Huntsville church food bank
in May 2013.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Burgin in the stabbing deaths of
Terry and Anthony Jackson at West Huntsville United Methodist Church.

Because it is a death penalty case, the jury pool of 80 is larger than for most
cases. The prospective jurors were given a questionnaire with 67 questions to
fill out this morning.

Madison County Circuit Judge Karen Hall also asked the pool whether they had
any issues of conscience in deciding a death penalty case, or if they'd been
exposed to pre-trial coverage of the case.

The prospective jurors who answered "yes" to either of those questions were
then questioned by Judge Hall about their ability to fairly decide the case.

Once jurors filled out their questionnaires they were released for the day.

The prosecution team of Madison County Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann and
Assistant DA Randy Dill and the defense team of Larry Marsili and Chad Morgan
were expected to review the would-be jurors answers today.

Jury selection is expected to resume Tuesday. The trial is expected to last
into next week.

(source: WHNT news)

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

Supreme Court orders Alabama appeals court to review case of death row inmate


The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday ordered the Alabama Court of
Criminal Appeals to review the case of a death row inmate.

The court granted the writ of certiorari for Taurus Jermaine Carroll and
ordered the state appeals court to review his case.

Carroll, 39, was convicted in 2012 for the murder of fellow St. Clair County
inmate Michael Turner in Sept. 2009. Turner was stabbed 16 times in his head,
neck and body, and died in the prison infirmary.

Carroll was sentenced to death.

In today's order, SCOTUS cited the decision in an earlier case this year, Moore
vs. Texas, where the court ruled a man was not eligible for the death penalty
because of an intellectual disability. The order showed a Texas appellate court
did not apply proper medical standards for determining an intellectual
disability, and used "wholly nonclinical" factors. Read that order here.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had earlier rejected Carroll's arguments
that the trial judge in his case erroneously found that he is not mentally
retarded. Carroll claimed an intelligence quotient ("IQ") test performed by a
doctor indicated Carroll has "a full-scale IQ score of 71, which, according to
Carroll, falls within what the Supreme Court of the United States considers the
range of mental retardation."

The Alabama appeals court also rejected Carroll's arguments that the judge was
in error when he failed to consider certain factors that would have made his IQ
score even lower.

Carroll was already in prison at the time of Turner's death, serving a sentence
of life without parole for murdering a woman in Birmingham's Kingston
neighborhood. Betty Long was shot in 1995 in front of her daughter at the
family's laundry business. The daughter's necklace and $90 were taken in the
holdup.

Carroll was 17 at the time of Long's slaying.

(source: al.com)





OHIO:

Ohio governor delays 9 executions - including Akron killer's - as court fight
continues


Gov. John Kasich on Monday delayed 9 executions as a court fight continues over
the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process, including a
contested sedative used in problematic executions in at least 3 states.

Kasich's announcement postponed next month's execution of child killer Ronald
Phillips until July and pushed back 8 other procedures.

The Republican governor said the timing of arguments before a Cincinnati
federal appeals court makes the delay necessary. The court is hearing Ohio's
appeal of a federal judge's order finding the state's latest execution process
unconstitutional.

The effectiveness of the sedative midazolam is expected to be front and center
of those arguments. That's especially true given last week's execution in
Arkansas of Kenneth Williams, a convicted killer who lurched and convulsed 20
times during a lethal injection process Thursday that began with midazolam.

Midazolam was also used in Ohio in January 2014 when Dennis McGuire gasped and
snorted during a 26-minute procedure, the state's longest. Executions in the
state have been on hold since then.

In July 2014, Arizona inmate Joseph Wood gasped for air and snorted and his
belly inflated and deflated during the nearly 2 hours it took for him to die
when the state executed him.

Both Ohio and Arizona used a 2-drug method - starting with midazolam - that
each state has since abandoned. Unlike Ohio, Arizona agreed not to use
midazolam in future executions.

Attorneys for death row inmates challenging Ohio's use of midazolam say it
doesn't render inmates fully unconscious, leading to an unconstitutionally high
risk of harm.

The state argues that the massive dose planned in Ohio of 500 milligrams - 10
times what it used on McGuire - is more than enough to ensure inmates don't
feel pain. The state also says the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the drug's use
in a 2015 ruling out of Oklahoma.

Kasich issued a similar delay in February to give a 3-judge panel of the
appeals court time to hear similar arguments. That panel sided with the
lower-court judge. In a rare move, the full court said it would hear the case
and set arguments for June 14.

Monday's delay was another setback for death penalty supporters who hoped that
new supplies of drugs obtained by Ohio last year would allow executions to move
forward after a delay of more than 3 years.

The state has said it has enough drugs for 4 executions, but records obtained
by The Associated Press indicate Ohio could have enough on hand to put dozens
of killers to death.

Phillips, scheduled to die May 10 for raping and killing his girlfriend's
3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993, is now set for execution July 26.

NEW EXECUTION DATES

A look at the nine condemned Ohio killers who received new execution dates
Monday based on an order by Gov. John Kasich. The governor says changing the
dates was necessary because of the schedule recently set for June court
arguments over the state's lethal injection process:

----

Ronald Phillips, sentenced to die for raping and killing his girlfriend's
3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans, in Akron in 1993.

Previous execution date: May 10.

New date: July 26.

----

Gary Otte, sentenced to die for the Feb. 12, 1992, killing of Robert Wasikowski
and the Feb. 13, 1992, killing of Sharon Kostura. Both slayings took place in
an apartment building in Parma, in suburban Cleveland.

Previous execution date: June 13.

New date: Sept. 13.

----

Raymond Tibbetts, sentenced to die for stabbing Fred Hicks to death at Hicks'
Cincinnati home in 1997. Tibbetts also received life imprisonment for fatally
beating and stabbing his wife, 42-year-old Judith Crawford, during an argument
over Tibbetts' crack cocaine habit.

Previous execution date: July 26.

New execution date: Oct. 18.

----

Alva Campbell Jr., sentenced to die for killing Charles Dials in 1997 in
Columbus. Campbell shot Dials after taking him hostage following Campbell's
assault of a court officer during a hearing.

Previous execution date: Sept. 13.

New execution date: Nov. 15.

----

William Montgomery, convicted of fatally shooting 20-year-old Debra Ogle and
her 19-year-old roommate, Cynthia Tincher, in Toledo in 1986. Montgomery was
convicted of murder for Tincher's killing and sentenced to 15 years to life. He
was convicted of aggravated murder in Ogle's killing and received the death
sentence.

Previous execution date: Oct. 18.

New execution date: Jan. 3, 2018.

----

Robert Van Hook, sentenced to die for fatally strangling and stabbing David
Self, a man he met in a bar in Cincinnati in 1985.

Previous execution date: Nov. 15.

New execution date: Feb. 13.

----

John Stumpf, sentenced to die for fatally shooting 54-year-old Mary Jane Stout,
in Guernsey County in 1984 during a robbery at her home. Stumpf was also
convicted of attempted aggravated murder for shooting Stout's husband, Norman.

Previous execution date: Jan. 3, 2018.

New execution date: Nov. 14, 2018.

----

Warren Henness, sentenced to die for shooting and then robbing 51-year-old
Richard Meyers in Columbus in 1992. Meyers, a substance abuse counselor, had
been helping Henness seek drug counseling and treatment for Henness' wife.

Previous execution date: Feb. 13, 2018.

New execution date: March 14, 2018.

----

Douglas Coley, sentenced to die for the carjacking and fatal shooting of
21-year-old Samar El-Okdi in Toledo in 1997.

Previous execution date: March 24, 2018.

New execution date: Sept. 18, 2019.

(source: Akron Beacon Journal)





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

Ohio governor delays 9 executions as court fight continues


Gov. John Kasich on Monday delayed 9 executions as a court fight continues over
the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process, including a
contested sedative used in problematic executions in at least three states.

Kasich's announcement postponed next month's execution of child killer Ronald
Phillips until July and pushed back 8 other procedures.

The Republican governor said the timing of arguments before a Cincinnati
federal appeals court makes the delay necessary. The court is hearing Ohio's
appeal of a federal judge's order finding the state's latest execution process
unconstitutional.

The effectiveness of the sedative midazolam is expected to be front and center
of those arguments. That's especially true given last week's execution in
Arkansas of Kenneth Williams, a convicted killer who lurched and convulsed 20
times during a lethal injection process Thursday that began with midazolam.

Midazolam was also used in Ohio in January 2014 when Dennis McGuire gasped and
snorted during a 26-minute procedure, the state's longest. Executions in the
state have been on hold since then.

In July 2014, Arizona inmate Joseph Wood gasped for air and snorted and his
belly inflated and deflated during the nearly 2 hours it took for him to die
when the state executed him.

Both Ohio and Arizona used a 2-drug method - starting with midazolam - that
each state has since abandoned. Unlike Ohio, Arizona agreed not to use
midazolam in future executions.

Attorneys for death row inmates challenging Ohio's use of midazolam say it
doesn't render inmates fully unconscious, leading to an unconstitutionally high
risk of harm.

The state argues that the massive dose planned in Ohio of 500 milligrams - 10
times what it used on McGuire - is more than enough to ensure inmates don't
feel pain. The state also says the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the drug's use
in a 2015 ruling out of Oklahoma.

Kasich issued a similar delay in February to give a 3-judge panel of the
appeals court time to hear similar arguments. That panel sided with the
lower-court judge. In a rare move, the full court said it would hear the case
and set arguments for June 14.

Monday's delay was another setback for death penalty supporters who hoped that
new supplies of drugs obtained by Ohio last year would allow executions to move
forward after a delay of more than 3 years.

The state has said it has enough drugs for 4 executions, but records obtained
by The Associated Press indicate Ohio could have enough on hand to put dozens
of killers to death.

Phillips, scheduled to die May 10 for raping and killing his girlfriend's
3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993, is now set for execution July 26.

(source: Associated Press)


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