death penalty news----OHIO, MO., OKLA., WYO., IDAHO, USA, US MIL.
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Rick Halperin
2017-10-14 13:06:07 UTC
Oct. 14


Suspect wanted in Ohio slayings captured

The manhunt for the suspect in the deadly shootings of a 7-year-old boy and 3
adults in Pedro, Ohio, ended in its 2nd day Friday with the capture of Arron
Lee Lawson.

Lawson, 23, of rural Ironton, was arrested at about 10:35 a.m. Friday without
incident while walking along the 1700 block of County Road 52 after authorities
got a tip from someone who spotted him, said Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff
Lawless. When authorities approached him, Lawson, who seemed worn out, quickly
gave up, Lawless said.

"Based on the evidence that I have right now, it is my intention to seek the
death penalty," Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said Friday.

Authorities on Friday did not indicate a motive in the slayings, which were
reported around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. Anderson said Lawson will be arraigned at
10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, in Ironton Municipal Court on 3 counts of murder and
one count of aggravated murder. Additional charges could be filed, including
felonious assault related to the stabbing of another person, he said.

Anderson said he plans to impanel a grand jury for the case as soon as
possible. A grand jury indictment takes the case directly to a Lawrence County
Pleas Court, bypassing the municipal court and any need for a preliminary

The victims were identified as Donald McGuire, 50, and his wife, Tammie L.
McGuire, 43, both of 15830 Ohio 93, Pedro; and Stacey M. Jackson, 25, and her
son, Devin Holston, 7, both of 15497 Ohio 93, Pedro.

Tammie McGuire is Lawson's aunt, Lawless said. Jackson and Holston were his
cousins, according to the sheriff.

Since 1 of the victims was under the age of 13, Lawson faces a prison sentence
upon conviction of life in prison and possibly a death sentence, according to

In Ohio, death penalties require an aggravating factor like burglary or
robbery, or in this case, the age of the victim, he said.

If a death penalty is sought in the case, Lawson will have to be represented by
2 lawyers who are certified by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Autopsies have been ordered by the Montgomery County coroner's office. Those
autopsies could give authorities a better timeline of the fatal shootings,
Lawless said.

Lawson, who lived on Township Road 1051 near Ironton, also is alleged to have
stabbed a fourth adult in the head and neck when the man came upon the scene
after work, Lawless said. The stabbing victim fled the scene and notified
authorities and subsequently was flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital, which
wasn't giving updates about the person's condition.

Some Ohio schools in the area closed Thursday and Friday over safety concerns
as the manhunt continued.

"The massive, overwhelming police presence that was searching for Lawson aided
in his capture as we know the area that he was in and we saturated it, setting
up a perimeter that helped contain his movement," Lawless said in a prepared
statement Friday, thanking the other law enforcement agencies that aided in the

More than 100 state, county and local law enforcement officers were involved in
the search for Lawson, according to Lawless.

"I am beyond words when it comes to the gratitude I have for all the various
law enforcement agencies, fire agencies and emergency medical services
personnel that came to my aid when I asked for it," Lawless said. "The public's
support has also been tremendous.

"We have captured one of Lawrence County's most wanted," Lawless said.

He said he was pleased his office had made the county safer by getting Lawson
off the streets.

Lawless called Lawson an outdoorsman and a hunter who has spent time in the
woods. Despite that, Lawson "was ready and willing to give up. I think he was
worn out from being out in the elements."

Lawson somewhere apparently pilfered a jacket after crashing a vehicle and
fleeing on foot into a wooded area in the Hecla area, according to Lawless.

The suspect was taken to the prosecutor's office for questioning by Lawrence
County Sheriff's Office detectives following his capture Friday.

"He's been very cooperative," Lawless said.

Authorities set up a perimeter and used helicopters in the search that lasted
nearly 40 hours.

(source: The Herald-Dispatch)


Parole board to rule next week on killer's clemency request

The man called the textbook example for the death penalty as well as the
sickest man on death row asked for mercy Thursday.

Alva Campbell has asked the Ohio Parole Board for a life sentence instead of
the death penalty. He's scheduled to be executed November 15.

Campbell's attorneys spent hours Thursday explaining to the parole board why
they believe he deserves to die in his prison cell instead of an execution
chamber. They said he was physically and sexually abused his entire childhood.
That caused him problems his entire life. They said his father not only abused
Campbell and his sisters but also forced them to watch him beat their mother.

"He was fundamentally broken by what happened when he was a kid," said Bill
Mooney, Campbell's attorney from 1997. "Just think of how horrific what he saw
was and I think that broke him."

Mooney and the other attorneys speaking on his behalf said they weren't
excusing his behavior.

"You can't excuse it," he said. "You can't. You can't make it better."

(source: WSYX news)

MISSOURI----female to face death sentence

Public barred from pretrial conference in Pam Hupp murder case

A St. Charles County judge held on Friday a pretrial conference in chambers in
the Pam Hupp capital murder case, and declined to open the meeting.

The "conference" was billed in court records as an informal discussion of
pretrial matters. St. Charles Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham declined, via a
clerk, a request by the Post-Dispatch to move the hearing into open court. A
deputy sheriff said the same to a Post-Dispatch reporter and journalists from
Fox 2/KTVI who were waiting outside the courtroom.

Hupp attorney Nicholas Williams, before the hearing, said Hupp's attorneys
would not comment after it concluded.

Later Friday, Cunningham issued a sealed order and set a status conference for
Nov. 17, according to online court records.

Hupp's trial is currently scheduled to last 3 weeks beginning April 9. She's
accused of fatally shooting Louis Gumpenberger, 33, in her home in O'Fallon,
Mo., on Aug. 16, 2016. Prosecutors said in March that they would seek the death
penalty for Hupp, if she is found guilty of f1st-degree murder.

She claimed Gumpenberger was trying to kidnap her, but police and prosecutors
believe it was all part of an elaborate plot to divert suspicion from Hupp in a
re-investigation of the 2011 murder of her friend Elizabeth "Betsy" Faria in
Lincoln County in 2011.

Investigators believe Hupp pretended to be a producer for NBC's "Dateline" to
lure Gumpenberger to her house, and told him she would pay him to help her
re-enact a 911 call. She called 911 while pretending to be the victim of a home
invasion, and shot Gumpenberger, they say. Gumpenberger had mental and physical
injuries from a 2005 car crash.

(source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OKLAHOMA----new death sentence

Nolan Gets Death Penalty

A jury has recommended the death penalty for an Oklahoma man convicted of
beheading a co-worker in 2014.

33-year-old Alton Nolen was convicted on Sept. 29 of killing 54-year-old
Colleen Hufford and trying to kill another co-worker at a food processing plant
in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

Jurors agreed on Oct. 2 that Nolen should serve 3 life sentences plus 130 years
in prison on assault and battery charges stemming from his attack on the
co-worker who survived. Jurors took less than 3 hours Thursday to recommend the
death penalty on the 1st-degree murder charge.

Investigators said Nolen had just been suspended from his job at the Vaughan
Foods plant when he walked inside the company's administrative office and
attacked his co-workers.

(source: Associated Press)


Prosecutors Consider Death Penalty in Child Homicide Case

Wyoming prosecutors are considering bringing the death penalty to the table in
the case against a man accused of sexually abusing and killing his girlfriend's
2-year-old son.

John Barrett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of child abuse and
1st-degree murder in commission of a felony. A judge in Cheyenne gave
prosecutors with the Laramie County District Attorney's Office until the end of
this month to decide if they intend to seek the death penalty.

Barrett was charged in the killing of a 2-year-old boy in May. Authorities say
his girlfriend left the child in Barrett's care while she was at work.

Autopsy findings indicated the death was a homicide, and the medical examiner
found that the child had bruising on his body and injuries to several internal

(source: Associated Press)


Man found guilty of murdering police officer

A Coeur d'Alene jury took only a few hours to find a man guilty of 1st degree
murder in the 2015 death of Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore.

The jury notified the court it had reached a verdict just after 9:00 Friday
morning. They began deliberations just after noon Thursday and were sequestered
for the evening.

Renfro was seen on Sgt. Moore's body camera shooting him, then stealing from
him as he lay dying. He then stole Sgt. Moore's patrol car and was found hours
later. In the days after, he confessed to the crime, saying he didn't want to
go back to prison.

Renfro is now eligible for the death penalty. It's the 1st time in many years a
Kootenai County case has moved to the capital punishment phase.

Renfro was also found guilty of removing a firearm from a police officer,
concealing evidence and robbery.

Sgt. Moore was a 16-year veteran of the police department; he was married with
2 children.

Renfro is now eligible for the death penalty. It's the 1st time in many years a
Kootenai County case has moved to the capital punishment phase.

Starting Monday, that same jury will enter the "aggravating factors" phase.
Prosecutors will try to prove that Renfro has a propensity to commit murder.

Of 16 possible aggravating factors, the jury only has to agree on 1 to send
Renfro either to death row or to prison for the rest of his life.

(source: KXLY news)


5 indicted in alleged MS-13 gang slaying on the banks of the Potomac River

4 men and a woman allegedly belonging to the MS-13 street gang have been
indicted by a federal grand jury on murder charges that carry a potential death

The indictment charges the 5, all natives of El Salvador, with murder in the
aid of racketeering for the Jan. 1 slaying of 21-year-old Christian Alexander
Sosa Rivas at a park on the banks of the Potomac River in Dumfries.

An FBI affidavit states the group convinced a female friend to lure Sosa Rivas
to the park. The affidavit cites multiple rationales offered for killing Sosa
Rivas, including that he was a member of a rival gang, and that he falsely
claimed to be a member of MS-13.

The 5 were all initially charged in state court.

The attorney general would have to approve seeking the death penalty.

(source: Associated Press)


Guantanamo Defendant Is Sentenced, in Rare Success for Military Commission

A panel of American military officers at the Guantanamo Bay wartime prison
sentenced on Friday a Saudi detainee, Ahmed Muhammed Ahmed Haza al-Darbi, to 13
years in prison for his admitted role in a 2002 attack by Al Qaeda on a French
oil tanker off the Yemeni coast.

The sentencing completed a rare successful case before the military commission
system, which has struggled to bring contested cases - unlike that of Mr.
Darbi, who pleaded guilty in February 2014 - to trial.

Marring the triumph, the punishment was handed down as a new hurdle emerged in
a case against another Saudi detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is fighting
charges that he orchestrated the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in

Mr. Nashiri was arraigned on capital charges 6 years ago, but his case has been
plagued by problems and remains bogged down in pretrial hearings. On Friday,
Richard Kammen, a death penalty specialist on Mr. Nashiri's defense team, said
in a statement that he and 2 other civilian lawyers had quit for ethical
reasons related to a dispute over the confidentiality of their communications
with their client.

The details of that dispute are murky because filings related to the matter are
classified. But Mr. Kammen's resignation, which was earlier reported by The
Miami Herald, means pretrial hearings probably cannot proceed until Mr. Nashiri
gains representation by a new death penalty expert. Brig. Gen. John Baker, the
chief defense lawyer in the military commission system, said in an email that
he was looking for one but did not know how long it would take to find one.

This year, Mr. Darbi provided videotaped testimony against Mr. Nashiri for use
if the Cole case reaches trial, along with a deposition against another
detainee fighting commission charges. He had promised to cooperate as a witness
in his 2014 plea deal.

Under its terms, the commission could have imposed a sentence of 13 to 15
years. The prosecution had joined the defense in asking for the minimum
available term in light of his extensive assistance to the government. Mr.
Darbi has renounced Islamist ideology and lived apart from the general detainee
population for years.

Before the commission members deliberated, Mr. Darbi, wearing a dark suit and
glasses, stood at a lectern and said he took full responsibility for his
actions, for which he apologized. Reporters watched a video feed of the hearing
at Fort Meade, Md.

Mr. Darbi also thanked Guantanamo staff members and guards who he said had been
kind to him, forgave those he said had "treated me harshly" and expressed
remorse about the hardship and shame he said his actions brought his wife and

"I wish that I could talk now to myself years ago, or to any young man
considering the same path, and tell them: 'Don't lose your life and future for
something that is not real,'" he said.

Mr. Darbi has admitted that from 2000 until 2002, he helped plan and arrange
for a Qaeda operation to sink at least 1 civilian oil tanker near the Strait of
Hormuz, resulting in the attack on the French ship, the Limburg. Yemeni suicide
bombers rammed an explosives-laden boat into the ship in October 2002, killing
a Bulgarian crew member and wounding 12 other sailors.

By then, Mr. Darbi had already been incarcerated. About four months earlier, he
had been arrested in Azerbaijan and then transferred to American custody.

Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University New York who represents
Mr. Darbi on a volunteer basis through his law school clinic, told the
commission on Friday that as early as August 2002, his client had provided
detailed information about the members and last known locations of the Qaeda
cell plotting to attack ships.

The completion of the case against Mr. Darbi now sets up a policy question for
the Trump administration: whether it will live up to the Obama-era deal and
transfer him to Saudi Arabia by February to serve the remainder of his
sentence. Mr. Darbi struck the deal with the Pentagon official who oversees the
commission system, who agreed to recommend a transfer but lacks the authority
to order the government to carry it out.

During the campaign, President Trump denounced President Barack Obama's policy
of trying to winnow down the Guantanamo prison's population, calling for a halt
to any more releases and vowing to instead fill it back up with "some bad

In the nearly 9 months since he took office, however, Mr. Trump has brought no
new captives there. If that remains the case and Mr. Darbi is repatriated, it
would mean that despite his campaign talk, Mr. Trump will end up presiding over
a reduction in the prison population he inherited from Mr. Obama - from 41 to
40 captives.

A spokesman for the White House's National Security Council did not respond to
a question asking what the Trump administration would do. But Mr. Kassem said
this week that it was in the United States government's interest to live up to
the deal.

"Honoring the agreement with my client and Saudi Arabia would serve the Trump
administration's interests," Mr. Kassem said. "It would encourage other
witnesses to testify for the government in the military commissions and federal
court. And it would avoid alienating an important ally."

He also noted that if the United States did repatriate Mr. Darbi, he would not
be released, but would instead serve the remainder of his sentence in a
custodial rehabilitation program for low-level Islamist extremists.

The distinction between being transferred and released could be a face-saving
way out for the Trump team, said Robert Chesney, a law professor at the
University of Texas, Austin, who worked on an Obama administration detention
policy task force.

"Reneging on this deal would make it significantly harder for military
prosecutors to secure plea deals going forward, making it that much less
attractive to use the commission system in the 1st place," Mr. Chesney said.
"Honoring the deal, in contrast, doesn't have to be seen as inconsistent with
his prior complaints; those complaints focused on decisions to transfer or
release quite apart from the commissions process."

Still, Republicans criticized the Obama administration for transferring
detainees pursuant to military commission process, too, including a Sudanese
man who pleaded guilty before a tribunal and was repatriated when his sentence
ended in 2012, only to later join Al Qaeda's Yemen branch.

Mr. Darbi received no credit for the nearly 12 years he was in custody before
his guilty plea, so he would complete his sentence in February 2027. However,
the Pentagon official who oversees the commission system may waive the
remainder of his sentence after February 2023.

(source: New York Times)

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