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death penalty news----worldwide----TEXAS, VA., ALA., MISS., LA., OHIO, IDAHO, USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-07-21 13:08:05 UTC
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July 21



TEXAS:

District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects



After a review of 58 pending capital murder cases, officials with the Harris
County District Attorney's Office told KPRC they have decided to seek the death
penalty against 4 defendants in 6 cases.

Many of the recently reviewed cases were filed under the previous
administration.

One of the cases involves in the February 2015 death of Kella Bracken. The
22-year-old was found stabbed multiple times in the parking lot of a northwest
Harris County pizzeria.

"She was like my other half. She was my best friend," said Katelynn Schmidt,
Bracken's sister. "We're pretty much at a loss for words. This monster has
taken everything from us."

The man charged with murdering Bracken is Maytham Alsaedy. Recently, the DA's
Office decided it would seek the death penalty in Alsaedy's case.

The head of the DA's trial bureau, David Mitcham, said the decision was reached
after the case was examined by the office's capital review committee. Mitcham
said the committee reviews every capital murder case filed in Harris County.
Currently, the committee has reviewed 58 of these cases.

Mitcham said after all the evidence is gathered and grand jury indictments
handed down, each case is presented to a committee of at least 5 and up to 12
high-level prosecutors. Mitcham said the prosecutors on the committee all have
numerous years of experience handling capital cases.

"Eventually there's a vote to determine which course of action we should
pursue," Mitcham said.

Mitcham said after being presented with the facts, the committee then discusses
evidence and circumstances before voting, by a show of hands, whether the death
penalty will be sought.

The ultimate decision on whether to seek death rests with District Attorney Kim
Ogg. However, Mitcham said Ogg has shown "great deference" to the committee's
recommendations.

Mitcham also said these decisions "are not set in stone" and can change if new
evidence comes to light. He added there is no set formula for making a decision
in a capital murder cases.

"Where that crosses the line is determined by the evidence," Mitcham said.

The other cases where the death penalty will be sought involves accused killers
David Conley, Lucky Ward and Steven Hobbs.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the number of executions and
cases where a death sentence is sought have been dropping over the last several
years.

According to the DPIC, the number of executions in the United States dropped
from a high of 98 in the late 1990s to 20 in 2016. The DPIC also reported the
number of death sentences dropped from a high of 295 in 1998 to 30 in 2016.

(source: KPRC news)








VIRGINIA:

McAuliffe should have spared William Morva



Gov. McAuliffe should be ashamed at his inaction to grant clemency to William
Morva. On July 6, the commonwealth committed state-sanctioned homicide, and the
governor failed to use his office to intervene.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in our Declaration of Independence that, "all men ...
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these
are life."

The Commonwealth of Virginia, those states that still sanction capital
punishment, and the federal government fail people like Mr. Morva.

For rights to be "unalienable," no one can take them away, and yet that is just
what occurred when Morva was sentenced to death and when Gov. McAuliffe failed
to grant clemency. I do not agree with what Morva did, nor am I in a place to
forgive him. The lives he took caused permanent pain and loss to the victims'
families.

Taking Morva's life does not undo what he has done. It has been said that Morva
was mentally ill, which makes Virginia's actions that much more heinous.

For the commonwealth and the rest of the United States to live up to the words
of that famous Virginian and Founding Father, the death penalty must end in all
forms.

I urge Gov. McAuliffe, whomever succeeds him and lawmakers to please end the
barbaric practice of capital punishment.

Let William Morva's be the last life the state takes away. Join the other
states and countries that have abolished the death penalty by now. Be a better
commonwealth.

Matthew Richard

Fredericksburg

(source: Letter to the Editor, The Free Lance-Star)

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

Capital murder charges expected for Kristopher Jones, suspect in Petersburg
abduction



Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney Cheryl Wilson revealed in court Thursday
that she intends to serve Kristopher Jones with capital murder charges. This
would make Jones eligible for the death penalty.

Wilson stated to the judge that Jones is accused of embarking on a deadly crime
spree in January, that began with the alleged fatal strangling of his
girlfriend, Janice Lugo, 52. Later that same day, Jones is accused of abducting
and demanding money from Pastor Alfred Woodard, 81, after fatally stabbing his
wife Minnie Woodard, 76, in the couple's Petersburg home.

Currently, Jones is facing multiple felony charges related to the carjacking
and abduction of Alfred Woodard. No murder charges have yet been brought
against Jones.

Defense attorneys for Jones asked the judge that a trial date be set, since
charges have already been brought against him, months ago. Defense attorneys
argued that Jones has the right to a speedy trial, and the legal deadline would
be the end of August.

Wilson argued that there was a delay with autopsy results and said her office
is still waiting on DNA evidence. She also noted that Jones confessed to both
murders to Commonwealth's attorneys. Wilson stated she has direct indictments
prepared to serve Jones on August 1, his next scheduled court date, with
capital murder charges.

No word on whether the Commonwealth will pursue the death penalty.

The judge agreed not to schedule a trial on Thursday and to wait for Aug. 1 for
further action.

(source: WWBT news)








ALABAMA:

Death penalty sought against young suspect in Jeffco fast-food restaurant
killing



A trial date has been set for a young Dolomite man charged with capital murder
and multiple robberies after deadly three-city crime spree in one 2016 night,
and prosecutors confirmed they are seeking the death penalty.

Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge David Carpenter on Thursday set a Jan. 29, 2018
trial date for 20-year-old Roderick Derrell King. King had previous trial dates
set for April and September, but those were delayed because of a change in his
attorneys and other matters.

Carpenter had previously ordered a mental evaluation for King, who has entered
a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, and he re-ordered
that again on Thursday.

King is charged with the Jan. 13, 2016 slaying of Ashton Blake Roberts at
Jack's in Pleasant Grove. Authorities say he also carried out robberies on the
same night at Burger King in Fairfield and Papa Murphy's in Hueytown.

During the robbery at Jack's, the suspect demanded everyone get on the ground
and he fired o1 shot from what looked like a pistol-grip AK-47 type weapon,
killing Roberts, authorities have said. A 7.62 shell casing was found at the
Jack's restaurant scene.

A gunman brandishing a rifle fired shots inside the Burger King in Fairfield,
then robbed Papa Murphy's in Hueytown before fatally shooting a customer inside
Jack's in Pleasant Grove.

Video of the robberies were recovered at all 3 restaurants and the suspect in
all three robberies wore what appeared to be similar clothing but the suspect's
face wasn't visible, detectives have said. At the robbery in Hueytown, police
found a cellphone and an unspent 7.62 caliber bullet lying on the ground where
a witness had seen the suspect's car. Hueytown police, who had known King from
a previous investigation, found King's photo on the phone's lock-screen.

Shell casings recovered from the Fairfield robbery, where there was a shootout,
also were 7.62 caliber of the same type as used in the other 2 robberies. When
looking for King later that evening in Dolomite where he lived Hueytown police
ran into King's girlfriend who told them she had loaned King her car - a gray
metallic Honda Accord. A witness at the Jack's robbery in Pleasant Grove had
said the suspect had driven away in a silver car. A witness at 1 of the other
robberies had described it as gray.

King was captured by Birmingham police about 1:15 a.m. the following morning
when they spotted King drive the car into a club, The Palace, on Third Avenue
West in Birmingham where his girlfriend worked. King got out of the car and
into a white Marquis with his brother. King had on a hat similar to the ones in
the video and underneath some coveralls he had black cargo style plants, both
similar to the ones in the videos. Inside his pants was an unspent 7.62 round
like the ones found at all 3 robbery scenes, police later testified.

Roderick Derrell King, 19, is now held without bond in the shooting death of
Ashton Blake Roberts and the robbery of a fast-food restaurant in Hueytown. He
remains a suspect in Fairfield.

King is also charged with 1st-degree robbery in the holdups in other the
cities. The capital murder case and the robbery cases will be tried together.

At the time of his arrest last year, King already was awaiting trial in a 2014
case in Hueytown. In that case, King and a 16-year-old were arrested after a
Nov. 25 6:30 a.m. holdup at the Burger King on Allison-Bonnett Memorial Drive.
The robbers fired several shots in the parking lot.

King has remained jailed without bond since his arrest.

In October 2016, authorities charged King with bribery of a public servant. The
suspect offered to pay a jail deputy hundreds of dollars if he would smuggle in
cellphones, cigarettes and drugs.

According to an arrest warrant and affidavit in that charge, King on Aug. 16
offered the deputy $350 to bring in contraband to him, and the deputy reported
the incident to his supervisor. 2 days later, King offered the same deputy
$500, again to deliver the requested items to him.

(source: al.com)

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

Attorneys seek to bar death penalty for Demarcus Means



The defense attorneys for a Columbiana man accused of capital murder filed a
request on Thursday, July 13, to prevent the imposition of the death penalty if
he is convicted.

Attorneys Victor Revill and James Ransom asked the Shelby County Circuit Court
to prohibit the state from sentencing 21-year-old Demarcus Lamar Means to
death.

Revill and Ransom cited a psychological evaluation of Means performed by
psychologist Ron Meredith as evidence that Means is "intellectually disabled."
According to Revill and Ransom, his execution would be a violation of Alabama
law and the 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments to the United States
Constitution.

Means, who lists an address on Alabama 25, was arrested and charged with murder
after he allegedly shot and killed 18-year-old Haleigh Danielle Green. His
charge was later upgraded to capital murder.

According to the motion, Means's intelligence level is "of the low average
range." Revill and Ransom also stated that Means has exhibited symptoms of
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, moderate to severe problems with
abstract or symbolic thought, depression and anxiety.

The psychological evaluation stated that Means has suffered from a head injury
while playing basketball as a high school student.

"His impaired intellectual functioning, combined with ADHD and a form of
dementia resulting from blunt force trauma during childhood, severely limits
his ability to cognitively and intellectually deal with his surroundings," the
motion read.

In the evaluation, Meredith wrote that Means was "unable to appreciate the
nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts due to mental illness or
disorder at the time of the commission of the crime."

Means is currently being held in the St. Clair County Jail in Ashford on no
bond. His next status call is set for Aug. 22.

(source: Shelby County Reporter)








MISSISSIPPI:

Boyfriend charged with murdering pregnant woman



It's been nearly 3 months since Aretha Otis laid her younger sister to rest.

She said her death is still hard on the family.

"It's a sad situation that we all have to go through this and its sad that her
3 children have to grow up without her," Aretha Otis said. "But I will be there
for them."

Lashanda Otis was found dead on May 1 in DeSoto County.

She was found shot in the head next to a burning vehicle.

She was 2 months pregnant and partially burned.

On Wednesday her live-in boyfriend Mario Stevenson was booked into the DeSoto
County Jail.

He is now charged with capital murder in her death.

The sister said she thought Stevenson was responsible for the murder.

"From my understanding it was for the insurance money," Aretha Otis said.
"Because he had an insurance policy out on her. I don't know why it took
multiple people to do it. I'm not understanding that."

Stevenson is the 2nd person to be charged with Otis' murder.

Demario Dansberry who was arrested in May is also charged with Capital Murder.

Family said Stevenson and Dansberry are friends.

"Maybe they planned on sharing the insurance money or something," Aretha Otis
said. "I really don't know."

Family members told FOX13 this isn't Stevenson's first run in with the law.

Aretha Otis said Stevenson served ten years in jail for a similar crime. "When
he was locked up for the past couple years it was told that him and his sister
did the same thing to her husband," Aretha Otis said. "But except the fact that
they thought he was dead, but he wasn't he was alive."

In May, FOX13 obtained an incident report that showed Stevenson went to a
precinct and reported Otis missing, just a few hours after she was already
found dead.

The sister said she had her suspicions about the missing persons report.

She said Stevenson never attended the funeral or helped with any of the
arrangements.

"We didn't have no type of communication," Aretha Otis said. "He didn't let me
see my niece. He didn't contact us at all. The only time he contacted us was
for the death certificate."

And Otis said the arrests help to bring closure for the family.

"I just want justice to continue to be served," Aretha Otis said. "Whether he
gets the death penalty or whether he just stays in jail for the rest of his
life. Justice will get served."

Sources previously told FOX13 2 other Memphis men were arrested along with
Stevenson.

No official comment has been made regarding additional arrests.

(source: fox13memphix.com)








LOUISIANA:

Calendar's Restaurant killer death sentence reinstated



A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated Todd Kelvin Wessinger's death
sentence in the 1995 double murder at a popular Baton Rouge restaurant.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2015 decision by U.S. District
Judge James Brady that Wessinger had not had an effective lawyer during the
penalty phase of his trial. Brady had ordered that the state court re-do the
penalty phase.

Wessinger's initial attorney was indicted in an unrelated case six months
before Wessinger's June 1997 trial. The replacement attorney's father died 3
months later. That attorney has since died.

The appeals court ruled that the list of carefully documented efforts to appeal
specific elements of the case and to find funding for additional legal and
investigative work -- which mostly failed -- were evidence of diligent and
competent legal work.

Wessinger had once worked as a dishwasher at Calendar's Restaurant on Perkins
Road near Essen Lane. He went to the restaurant before it opened on Nov. 19,
1995, to rob the place.

He killed manager Stephanie Guzzardo, who was on the phone with a 911 operator
and could be heard begging for her life as he forced his way into the
restaurant's office and shot her.

He fatally shot cook David Breakwell and injured Mark Armentor. One other
employee escaped injury because Wessinger's gun malfunctioned.

Wessinger escaped with about $7,000 but was identified as the murder suspect
very quickly. Police took the unusual step of releasing the 911 recording of
Guzzardo's desperate last moments.

(source: WBRZ news)

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

Longtime DEA task force member pleads guilty to reduced charges, agrees to help
DOJ



Todd Wessinger's death sentence in the 1995 shooting deaths of 2 Calendar's
Restaurant employees in Baton Rouge was reinstated Thursday by a federal
appellate court in New Orleans.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Senior U.S. District Judge James
Brady, who in July 2015 threw out Wessinger's death penalty in the killing of
Stephanie Guzzardo, 27, and David Breakwell, 46, during a robbery at the
now-closed restaurant that Guzzardo managed. Wessinger was a former dishwasher
at the eatery.

Guzzardo's father, Wayne Guzzardo, said he almost passed out and his wife
nearly fell off the couch when the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's
Office called late Thursday afternoon with the news.

"We couldn't be any happier. We thought we had been lost in the system. It's a
relief," he said. "We just want justice done. At least it's a step closer."

18 years later, father of victim in Baton Rouge restaurant slaying still
fighting to see death sentence carried out against daughter's killer

Brady, who let Wessinger's 1st-degree murder convictions stand, ruled that
Wessinger's trial attorneys provided him ineffective assistance at the 1997
penalty phase of his trial.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit, in a 2-1 decision Thursday,
disagreed with Brady.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III applauded the court's ruling and "thorough
review of the record in reinstating Wessinger's death penalty.

"This case and the appellate process has haunted these victims' families for
years," he said. "Hopefully this decision will put these families closer to
imposition of the jury's decision and justice for all."

Stephanie Guzzardo was making a 911 call when she was shot. She had begged
Wessinger to spare her life.

Wessinger shot a 3rd employee in the back, but that worker survived.
Wessinger's gun malfunctioned when he tried to shoot a 4th employee in the
head.

Wessinger's attorneys had argued to Brady that one of his trial lawyers, the
now-deceased Billy Hecker, was appointed to represent Wessinger just 6 months
before the start of his trial and was not prepared. Hecker inherited the case
from Baton Rouge lawyer Orscini Beard in January 1997 after Beard was indicted
on felony theft charges. Hecker's father died in April 1997.

Wessinger was convicted and condemned to die by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury
in June 1997.

(source: The Advocate)








OHIO----impending execution

Ronald Phillips makes 2nd appeal to top court to stop execution



A condemned child killer in Ohio has made a second appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Court to stop his scheduled execution.

Ronald Phillips asked the high court Thursday for an emergency stay based on
his age at the time of the murder. He was 19, older than the Supreme Court's
cutoff of 18 for purposes of barring executions of juveniles. His request
argues the age should be 21.

Also before the court is Phillips' request for an emergency stay based on an
execution method he and other inmates have challenged.

Phillips is set to die July 26 in what would be Ohio's first execution in more
than 3 years.

Phillips was sentenced to death for the 1993 rape and killing of Sheila Marie
Evans, his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.

(source: Associated Press)

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

John Kasich Will Monitor Ohio's 1st Execution in 3 Years Next Week



Ronald Phillips is slated to be executed by the state of Ohio next Wednesday,
July 26. It would be the state's 1st execution in 3 years after a series of
legal and governmental delays after the last execution, of Dennis McGuire,
during which the state used an untested cocktail of drugs, including midazolam,
and which led to what witnesses described as gasping and choking during the 26
minutes it took McGuire to die.

A federal judge in January declared the use of midazolam unconstitutional, but
a federal appeals court ruled 8-6 last month that Ohio can use the sedative in
the process. Lawyers for Phillips, who was convicted of raping and murdering
his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in 1993, have asked the Supreme Court to
delay the execution, noting that the divided ruling proves more debate is
needed on the matter.

"What is happening in Ohio is a matter of great concern everywhere," attorney
Mark Haddad said in a statement to Cleveland.com. "The record in the Ohio
prisoners' case firmly establishes an intolerable risk of resuming executions
under the midazolam 3-drug protocol."

Coalitions and advocacy groups, including former death row inmates who have
since been exonerated, have pressed Ohio Governor John Kasich to postpone the
execution. There are larger legal and moral issues at play here, to be sure,
but as retired 2nd District Court of Appeals Judge James Brogan told the Dayton
Daily News, the very idea that Ohio plans on resuming executions when a state
Supreme Court task force's extensive recommendations on the use of the death
penalty have been largely ignored is "troubling."

Kasich, for his part, hasn't acceded to pressure to delay Phillips's death, but
the Associated Press and Dayton Daily News report that Kasich will skip the
opening of next week's state fair to monitor the developments at what is
charmingly referred to as the Death House.

(source: clevescene.com)

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

Venue change sought in murder case



Attorneys for the Howland man facing capital murder charges in the Feb. 25
killing of 2 people and wounding of 3 others at his home have filed a host of
motions, including a request for change of trial venue, that may be addressed
by a Trumbull County judge today.

Cleveland attorneys Robert A. Dixon and David L. Doughten, who both represent
Nasser Hamad, 47, of 1564 state Route 46, also filed a motion June 30 that asks
Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald J. Rice to dismiss capital murder
specifications that could result in the death penalty if Hamad is convicted.

A hearing has been scheduled at 9 a.m. in Rice's courtroom, but rulings may not
come down since assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Christopher Becker said he
is not expected to file responding motions until this morning.

Hamad, who is facing a jury trial Sept. 18, pleaded not guilty to 2 counts of
aggravated murder that carry death penalty specifications, and 6 counts of
attempted aggravated murder with firearm specifications.

The case revolves around a confrontation between Hamad and occupants of a van
that drove up to his Route 46 home late in the afternoon of Feb. 25. Hamad and
several occupants of the van had engaged in taunting and threatening behavior
over social media in the hours before the shootings, according to a Howland
police investigators' report.

A memo in support of the defense motion to drop the death penalty specification
cites the 8th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which extends
protection of citizens against cruel and unusual punishment.

As for the venue change motion, the defense cites the heavy media attention
paid to the case, which can prejudice any Trumbull County jury that would be
seated, the document states.

"Further, the social media interaction in this county cannot be measured, but
would be estimated to be considerable," states the memo in support of the
motion.

The motion also stated the defense has met the burden of showing a fair and
impartial jury cannot be found.

"There is shown a reasonable likelihood of an unfair trial ... a showing of
actual prejudice is not necessary," the memo states.

Other defense motions that may be ruled on today include requests for more
evidence, sealing and transcribing grand jury proceedings in the case and
restraining certain parties from discussing the case.

Rice already has ordered court officials and defense attorneys to not talk
about the case outside court.

Court records show Dixon and Doughten, who have experience in trying capital
cases in Ohio, joined Hamad's defense team April 19.

Killed in the Feb. 25 shooting were Joshua Haber, 19, and Joshua Williams, 20.
The 3 other gunshot victims were April Vokes, 43; John Shivley, 17; and Bryce
Hendrickson, 20.

Haber was declared dead at the scene, while Williams later died at St.
Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. Vokes was shot numerous times in the head, arms,
chest and legs while in the driver's seat of the van. Hendrickson was shot in
the face and arm and underwent surgery, while Shively was shot in the back.

(source: Tribune Chronicle)

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

Prosecutors to Hear Evidence Before Ruling on Death Penalty



Prosecutors will hear evidence from attorneys of a man charged with aggravated
murder for a blaze that killed 7 people in Ohio before deciding whether to
pursue the death penalty.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2uFznY6) Summit County
prosecutors are making the case of 58-year-old Stanley Ford part of a pilot
program allowing defense attorneys to share mitigating evidence before
prosecutors ask grand juries to add death penalty specifications to charges.

Ford is charged with 7 counts of aggravated murder and arson for the fire on
May 15 in Akron that killed a couple and 5 children who lived near him.
Authorities haven't offered a motive.

The case must be presented to a grand jury by Aug. 20, which is 90 days from
Ford's arrest.

(source: Associated Press)








IDAHO:

Ammon man charged with 1st-degree murder



A 20-year-old Ammon man is in the Bonneville County Jail on a charge of
1st-degree murder for a report he killed a 62-year-old Ammon woman by hitting
her in the head with a baseball bat.

The Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office charged Jameion Hernandez following
an investigation into a crime scene where a decomposing body was found July 2
in a home at 2390 Ross Ave.

Bonneville County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Hernandez on Wednesday. He
was arraigned Thursday via video in Bonneville County Court before Judge
Michael Kennedy. Because the charge carries the possibility of the death
penalty, Hernandez was not allowed to post bond.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Detective Korey Payne, Hernandez is
accused of killing Lisa Stukey on or about June 16.

Payne stated in a probable cause hearing Thursday that Sheriff's Office
detectives had interviewed Hernandez, his sister Addonna Olivas, and 2 of his
friends, Loren Petterson and Tristan Furrows.

Payne testified that Petterson and Furrows told police Hernandez had said he
murdered Stukey. Bonneville County detectives interviewed Olivas on Wednesday.
Olivas also told Payne that Hernandez told her he killed Stukey. Payne
testified that Petterson, Furrows and Hernandez had referred to details from
the scene that were not publicly known.

Payne testified that Petterson said Hernandez told her about killing Stukey
sometime before Stukey's body was found. It was not mentioned when Olivas or
Furrows learned of the murder.

Hernandez told detectives he had been angry with Stukey after she dated his
grandfather, and that she was the reason for his family's financial struggles
and his parents' divorce, Payne said. Hernandez's grandfather died in April
2016, according to Payne's testimony.

Hernandez walked detectives through what happened June 16. He said he showed up
at Stukey's house early in the morning wearing black clothing and gloves and
kicked the door down after failing to pick the lock. He then got "spooked,"
according to Payne, and returned with an aluminum baseball bat.

Payne said Hernandez told detectives he went to the master bedroom and hit
Stukey on the left side of her face with the bat. He then began taking items
from Stukey's house when he heard her moaning.

Payne testified Hernandez told detectives he then returned to the bedroom,
covered Stukey's head with a shirt, and hit her on the back of the head with
the bat.

Stukey's injuries as described by Hernandez were consistent with the coroner's
findings, Payne testified.

Hernandez said he disposed of the bat by throwing it into an unspecified body
of water, Payne said. Payne said Hernandez was cooperating with police to find
the bat.

A diamond-shaped imprint from the bottom of 1 of Hernandez's shoes was found on
the arm of a couch in Stukey's home and Hernandez told detectives he wore shoes
matching that description on the morning of the crime, Payne testified.

The homicide investigation began July 2 when a friend of Stukey's discovered
the door had been kicked down and found a badly decomposed body in Stukey's
house. The decomposition made it difficult for investigators to determine the
identity and gender of the victim.

1st-degree murder is punishable in Idaho with the death penalty or up to life
in prison with a minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000.

Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Danny Clark said he hasn't decided
whether to pursue the death penalty.

"At this time we've made no decision regarding the death penalty," Clark said.
"It's simply too early on the case to do that. We'll review the facts and the
information over the coming weeks in order to make that determination."

A preliminary hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 2 before Judge Kent
Gauchay.

(source: postregister.com)

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

Man arrested in Ammon murder appears in court for 1st time



An Ammon man who was arrested for the murder in connection with a decomposing
body made his 1st appearance in court Thursday afternoon.

Jameion K. Hernandez, 20, was charged with 1st-degree murder, which carries the
possibility of the death penalty. He was represented by defense attorney Jordan
Crane with the Bonneville County Public Defender's Office.

"Because of the nature of the charge and the possibility of a death penalty, no
bond is allowed at this time," Magistrate Judge Michael Kennedy said in court.

Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Danny Clark said a conviction could
alternatively result in life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum, along
with a $50,000 fine.

"At this time we've made no decisions regarding the death penalty - it's simply
too early on in the case to do that," Clark told EastIdahoNews.com. "We'll
review the facts and the information over the coming weeks in order to make
that determination."

2 no-contact orders were also issued to protect the witnesses in the case. Each
one is in effect for 3 years.

Clark appreciates the public's patience regarding the identification of the
decomposing body found in an Ammon home. He said he is fairly confident at this
point that the body can be identified as Lisa Stukey, who owned the home.

Law enforcement were called to Stukey's home after friends showed up and became
suspicious. On July 2, deputies discovered a person in the bedroom who had been
deceased for a week. It was impossible to identify the person, gender or age.
On July 10 the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office determined a murder had
occurred.

Clark said given the condition of the body and the DNA testing that needs to
take place, the confirmation will take time. The sheriff's office has enlisted
the help of the FBI, which is conducting the DNA testing.

"That being said, there were some indications on the body regarding medical
procedures and things of that nature that helped us identify the body
sufficiently at this point," Clark said.

A preliminary hearing for Hernandez has been scheduled for Aug. 2.

(source: eastidahonews.com)








USA:

A man accused of killing a Burlington High School student facing possible death
penalty in federal court if convicted


A man accused of killing a Burlington High School student in March 2016 may
face the death penalty if federal prosecutors decide to indict him on hate
crime charges in the youth's death.

The news about the federal investigation into the killing of Kedarie Johnson
came to light during a hastily called hearing late Thursday afternoon in Des
Moines County District Court.

(source: The Burlington Hawk Eye)

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