death penalty news----TEXAS, ALA., COLO., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-05-16 18:11:39 UTC
Raw Message
May 16

TEXAS----execution date re-set

Steven Long's execution date has been re-set for August 30; it should be
considered serious.

Executions under Greg Abbott, Jan. 21, 2015-present----24

Executions in Texas: Dec. 7, 1982----present-----543

Abbott#--------scheduled execution date-----name------------Tx. #

25---------July 19-----------------Kosoul Chanthakoummane---543

26---------July 27-----------------Taichin Preyor---------544

27---------Aug. 30-----------------Steven Long------------545

28---------Sept.7------------------Juan Castillo----------546

(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)


House to Debate Death Penalty Legislation

The Alabama House of Representatives is headed toward contentious debate on a
bill to shorten death penalty appeals. Representatives on Tuesday evening will
debate the bill to require inmates to raise claims such as ineffective counsel
at the same time as direct appeal claiming trial errors.

Sen. Cam Ward, the bill's sponsor, says the current process can take decades
and is often abused. Ward says the bill is based on Texas procedures and would
shorten the time that appeals take from 18 to 9 years.

American Bar Association President Linda Klein sent lawmakers a letter opposing
the bill, saying it increases the likelihood that an innocent person will be

Opposed lawmakers are expected to mention the case of an Alabama inmate freed
after nearly 30 years on death row.

(source: Associated Press)


Judge denies new trial in Sir Mario Owens murder case----Order concerns 2004
murder in Aurora's Lowry Park

A judge in Arapahoe County has denied a defense request to grant death row
inmate Sir Mario Owens a new trial in a murder case that prosecutors later used
to win the capital sentence against Owens.

Senior Judge Christopher Munch concluded in an order issued Tuesday that Owens'
attorneys in the trial represented him adequately, the information prosecutors
did not disclose to his defense attorneys did not taint the trial, and that a
juror who later said she recognized several witnesses who testified during the
case did not commit misconduct.

"Owens is 'entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial,'" Munch wrote,
quoting partly from a well-known Colorado Supreme Court ruling. "A fair trial
is a trial whose result is reliable. Owens received a fair trial, and its
result is reliable."

Owens was convicted of 3 murders tried in 2 separate cases. In the 1st, jurors
found him guilty of murdering a man named Gregory Vann in Aurora's Lowry Park
in 2004 and also of trying to kill Vann's friend Javad Marshall-Fields.

In 2005, Marshall-Fields had been scheduled to testify against another man,
Robert Ray, who had been charged as an accessory to murder in the Lowry Park
case. But Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe, were killed before he
could. Owens was also charged and convicted for those murders, and he was
sentenced to death. Prosecutors used Owens' conviction in the Lowry Park case
to provide a legal basis for the death sentence.

Owens' attorneys appealed both cases. Munch's ruling on Tuesday deals with the
defense's request for a new trial in the Lowry Park case. The appeal of the
death penalty case is still pending.

In a statement issued shortly after Munch's ruling was released, Owens' defense
attorney James Castle offered thoughts and prayers for the family members of
the murder victims.

"As the defenders of Mr. Owens we are saddened and disappointed in the decision
of the court but it does not weaken our unflinching resolve to seek a just
result," he wrote.

(source: Denver Post)


Report: Dylann Roof said white nationalists would save him from death row

Convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof told a psychologist working for his defense
team that his death penalty wouldn't be carried out because he'd "be rescued by
white nationalists after they took over the government."

That's according to a November report composed amid Roof's trial for killing
nine parishioners in 2015 at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church. The report also says Roof was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder
"based on the presence of social-communication challenges and atypical

It goes on to say Roof was suffering or had suffered from "psychiatric symptoms
that are not explained by autism spectrum disorder, including anxiety,
depression, suicidal ideation, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, disordered
thinking, and psychosis (including delusions of grandeur and somatic

Roof's somatic delusions -- which are defined as false beliefs that something
is grossly wrong with one's body -- include unfounded complaints of hair loss
and thyroid disease, according to reports.

"It is my impression that it is too early to predict his psychiatric
trajectory," Dr. Rachel Loftin wrote in one report, "but his symptoms appear to
me to be consistent with the schizophrenia spectrum."

Document dump

The revelations came after US District Judge Richard Gergel unsealed 19
documents from competency hearings that help paint a picture of the
23-year-old's mental state both as a teen and while he was being held in prison
after the church massacre.

In November, a judge halted jury selection in the case to allow time for Roof
to undergo a competency evaluation. Roof was ruled competent to stand trial,
represent himself and be sentenced. (In January, Roof became the first person
to receive the death penalty for a federal hate crime. He pleaded guilty to a
slew of state charges last month.)

Gergel also allowed journalists to view four videos, captured in November and
January, but would not permit the footage to be publicly released. CNN's
reporter is expected to finish viewing the videos early Tuesday afternoon. It's
not clear what the tapes contain.

Some of the information about Roof's mental state was contained in a December
document, released in February, that showed defense attorneys sought special
accommodations for their client after competency hearings indicated Roof
suffered from a range of disorders.

'A very anxious man'

But the documents released this week go deeper and also delve into his
childhood, which was marked by normal maladies such as colds, fevers, sore
throats and the like.

As a teen, however, Roof visited a family doctor who called him "a very anxious

In 2009, as Roof was entering high school at age 13, his mother took him to
Lexington County Community Mental Health Center because he was defying her,
using drugs, skipping school and engaging in "oppositional behavior." His
mother told a doctor that at school, Roof's As had become Fs, according to
court documents.

He also experienced anxiety in social situations, with one report saying that
he "worries about it all the time" and at one point threatened to run away and
kill himself because his mother had made him go to school. He later told his
mom the threat was a bluff.

The report suggests Roof self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. He told doctors
he had no intention of quitting his use of marijuana, the documents say. Roof
was prescribed an antidepressant.

Roof maintains he doesn't need care

Psychological and medical records from the county jail where he was held after
the church massacre show Roof was removed from suicide watch in August 2015,
two months after the killings.

He spent most of his time in his room sitting or lying on his cot, only coming
out when "he had something to do," according to jail logs. A jail counselor
reported that Roof was "doing well in general" and had stated he didn't need
mental health care.

During his federal trial, Roof requested that the judge reinstate his legal
team for the guilt phase of the trial. He asked to represent himself again
during sentencing.

"There's nothing wrong with me psychologically," Roof told jurors ahead of
sentencing. "Anything you heard from my lawyers in the last phase, I ask you to
forget it."

(source: CNN)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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