2017-11-04 13:53:12 UTC
After 38 years on death row, Philly man gets new trial - and another guilty
It took 32 years of legal filings from his cell on death row, but Robert "Sugar
Bear" Lark finally got a new trial.
On Friday, the jury delivered its verdict. Guilty. Again.
Prosecutors said it was a straightforward case. On Feb. 22, 1979, Lark put on a
ski mask, stuffed a gun in his belt, walked into a fast-food store at Broad
Street and Erie Avenue, and shot dead the store owner, Tae Bong Cho, a
36-year-old father of 2. The slaying was the night before a preliminary hearing
for Lark, who had robbed Cho at gunpoint months earlier.
"He killed him in a brazen manner, and then he boasted about it," Assistant
District Attorney Andrew Notaristefano said in his closing argument.
The defense argued that Philadelphia police detectives systematically provided
incentives and threats to induce witnesses to talk. Some had open cases or
probation violations when they testified.
"They were handpicked," Lark's court-appointed lawyer, James Berardinelli said.
"What made someone an elite detective back in 1979 when Frank Rizzo was still
mayor was a heck of a lot different from what makes an elite detective today."
The jury, which found the prosecutor's version of events to be credible, will
now have to decide whether Lark, 63, will face the death penalty once again.
Given a statewide moratorium and the stances of the candidates running for
district attorney here, some are calling it the last death-penalty case in
It was Lark's 3rd trial: The 1st resulted in a mistrial, the 2nd in a
conviction. His charges included not only the murder of Cho but also the
kidnapping of a woman and her 2 children - he escaped into their house before
police captured him and remained there for 2 hours - and terroristic threats
against Charles Cunningham, the prosecutor in Lark's robbery case.
But in 2012, he won the right to yet another trial, after persuading a federal
judge that the prosecutor had stricken black jurors simply because of their
race - a practice that is illegal but was standard operating procedure for
Philadelphia prosecutors, according to a training tape of former Assistant
District Attorney Jack McMahon that became public in the '90s. Half the jury
for this trial was black.
Proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt 38 years after the fact - when some
witnesses are dead and others' memories have faded - was a complicated matter.
For those witnesses who are now deceased, testimony had to be reenacted - the
prosecutor, defense lawyer, and judge all reading lines along with an actor in
the witness box.
Some other witnesses, brought in from out of state and, in at least one case,
from federal prison, adamantly contradicted the testimony they gave at the
previous trials in the 1980s.
One, Linda Timbers, who is the mother of Lark's daughter, said the statement
police had taken in 1980 was false. According to the statement, she'd been with
Lark waiting in line for a movie when a man named Stanley Coleman came up and
discussed the murder with Lark. She said that Lark had never taken her to a
movie, that she did not know a Stanley Coleman, and that she had not heard
about the murder.
"If somebody talked to me bragging about a killing, I would remember that," she
said. If she did sign a statement, she insisted, it was out of exhaustion. "It
seems like I wasn't going to be able to go home with my children to get
something to eat unless I signed it."
Another witness, James Spencer, previously testified that Lark had boasted to
him about the murder, but he recanted that statement on the stand. A 3rd
testified he now has no memory of the events. A 4th gave similar testimony; she
said she was a drug addict desperate to get out of the interrogation room and
get her next fix when she made her statement to police.
The defense argued those recantations were clear evidence that the earlier
testimony had been tainted - either by prosecutors' promises to offer lenient
treatment on open cases or by police threats of implication in the case.
For example, Spencer was facing 4 open cases; 2 were thrown out after he
testified. "This is someone who had a motive to fabricate," Berardinelli said.
Notaristefano, on the other hand, said Spencer's recantation was further proof
of Lark's campaign of terror: Spencer, he said, "has to take the witness stand
so he can recant everything in public in front of the defendant, so that his
family can be safe."
The jury will be back on Tuesday to determine whether Lark will return to death
Prosecutors offered to take the death penalty off the table if Lark would waive
his right to appeal. But as Judge Steven R. Geroff stated the offer, Lark
"I reject that," he said.
He wants to keep fighting the case.
(source: The Inquirer)
Doctor: Death row inmate's upbringing was 'perfect storm' to create problems
A psychologist argued a former Santa Rosa inmate facing the death penalty for
the murder of his prison cellmate was raised in a "perfect storm" of factors to
make him unstable and impulsive.
In August, Shawn Rogers, 47, was convicted of 1st-degree murder in the death of
24-year-old Ricky D. Martin. Martin and Rogers shared a cell in the state's
Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in 2012, where Rogers bound, beat and
stabbed Martin in what was reportedly a racially motivated attack.
After finding Rogers guilty of the murder, a jury unanimously recommended he be
sentenced to death. However, Rogers gets the opportunity to present mitigating
evidence directly to a judge in a last-ditch effort to be sentenced to life in
prison rather than death.
In a hearing Friday morning, Dr. Jethro Toomer - a Miami-based forensic and
clinical psychologist - took the stand for the defense and testified that
Rogers' childhood trauma had an extremely adverse impact on his development.
Toomer said for children to develop into "normal functioning" adults, they need
to grow up in an environment of safety, saneness, nurturance and
predictability. He said Rogers had none of these things.
"Not only were (these factors) missing, but the onset was early," Toomer
testified. "Mr. Rogers' records reflect at age 2, he was in (protective)
Toomer said Rogers had bounced between 7 foster homes by the age of 9, had been
abandoned by his mother and had been exposed to violence. Toomer briefly
referenced Rogers suffering "blows to the head," but provided no context for
The psychologist said Rogers showed signs of toxic stress disorder, which can
occur when a child undergoes constant and prolonged adversity without the
support of an adult. He said the disorder impairs the child's development,
making them less capable of controlling impulses, of appreciating the
consequences of their actions and of weighing alternate solutions to problems.
He described it as a near-perpetual state of fight or flight, noting those with
the disorder are "unable to manage stress" and "the human reflex for survival
remains elevated or is easily triggered."
Toomer said in decades of experience, he had not seen another individual raised
in a "perfect storm" of negative influences like Rogers.
Still, Toomer's assessment was based on one interview with Rogers in October
and a partial review of documents related to his case. Toomer admitted on cross
examination Rogers had been seen by multiple other doctors, none of whom
mentioned toxic stress disorder.
Prosecutors also pointed out that Rogers had been functional enough to
represent himself at trial, which required planning, scheduling and questioning
witnesses. They also noted Rogers had been capable of premeditation, stating
Rogers admitted he plotted to kill a white person in retaliation for the 2012
shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The prosecution and the defense are scheduled to file their positions to Judge
John Simon in writing in the coming weeks, with Simon then issuing a sentence
at a final hearing. Simon did not set a definitive date for the hearing, but
estimated it could come before the end of the month.
(source: Pensacola News Journal)
Florida considers eliminating death penalty, restoring voting rights to felons
Florida's Constitution Revision Commission is submitting proposals to amend the
Every 20 years, a group of appointees and lawmakers meet to talk about
amendments to the constitution for voters to decide on.
"It's unique to nowhere else in the United States," said Jimmy Patrons, Chief
Financial Officer for the state. "At least a revision commission for appointees
from that generation to come together and present new ideas that help adjust
our state's constitution with the citizens that are living in the state at the
With more than 70 proposals from commissioners this year, some of the more
interesting ideas include restoring voting rights to felons who have completed
"I don't have any problem with it, if they've done their time and they're on
the right path," said Bear, a Panama City Beach local.
"I mean, they have rights just like you and I," said Samuel Irvin, another
Panama City Beach local.
Also on the list of possibilities: eliminating the death penalty as a
punishment for capital crimes.
"The death penalty, I think, is a good deterrent," Irvin said.
"Taxpayers are spending a horrendous amount of money for these people to go to
trial and so forth. I believe everybody deserves a second chance, but the
heinous ones, I'm sorry," said David Owrey, a Bay County local. "You knew what
you were doing when you did it."
Eliminating salaries for school board members and those serving on state
university boards of trustees made the list.
Another proposal makes money available for students to go to college.
"I'm all for helping somebody to get what they need so they can be prosperous
and have a good job in the future," Owrey said.
The public submitted close to 800 proposals for the Constitution Revision
Commission to consider.
Since the Commission last met in 1997, the state's population has gone up by 5
(source: WTVY news)
Jury rejects death sentence for woman who killed roommate for insurance money
acqueline Luongo killed her roommate for money. Prosecutors proved it, a jury
decided. But the same jury decided Luongo did not deserve to be executed for
In September 2014, she handcuffed Patricia Viveiros, 68, and wound a roll of
duct tape around her head, cutting off the victim's air supply so that she knew
she was going to die for at least a few minutes before she passed out.
Luongo stuffed Viveiros' body in a garment bag and left her to rot in her own
closet for days. During that time, Luongo put on a blond wig and, pretending to
be Viveiros, cashed checks to profit from her crime.
The jury agreed with all of the allegations made by prosecutors at Luongo's
murder trial in April, but late Thursday jurors also decided that Luongo should
not be put to death.
Broward Circuit Judge Dennis Bailey sentenced Luongo to life in prison, a
mandatory term, along with 30 years for hiring a man who turned out to be an
undercover detective to kill her 1-time girlfriend, Maria Calderon, who alerted
police to Viveiros' murder.
Luongo's case was the first in Broward to be considered under Florida's latest
death penalty law. Before 2016, a jury could recommend death by a simple
majority. Now jurors must unanimously find that the prosecution proved
"aggravating factors" that warrant death.
In Luongo's case, the jury agreed with prosecutors Shari Tate and Lanie Bandell
that the crime was "heinous" and committed for financial gain, but did not
agree that capital punishment was warranted.
Suspect in Deerfield roommate slaying was taken in by victim in time of need,
Over hearings that lasted 3 days, defense lawyer Phyllis Cook presented
numerous "mitigating" factors for the jury to consider, including alleged abuse
suffered by Luongo at the hands of her brother as they were growing up,
conflict between Luongo's Catholic upbringing and her sexuality, and faithful
attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Jurors did not indicate how many of them voted to execute Luongo, but under the
current law, only 1 has to reject death in order to spare Luongo's life.
Viveiros' family declined to comment after the jury came back with its
Florida man sentenced to death for killing wife, 5 kids
A Florida man received 6 death sentences for the murders of his wife and 5
children 8 years ago.
Mesac Damas was sentenced Friday morning by Collier Circuit Judge Christine
Greider, bringing resolution to one of the most horrifying Southwest Florida
murder case in recent memory.
"In reaching this decision, the court is mindful that, because death is a
unique punishment in its finality, its application is reserved only for those
cases where only the most aggravating and least mitigating circumstances
exist," Greider said at the end of the 1 1/2-hour long proceeding.
It was September 2009 when Damas brutally killed his wife, Guerline Dieu Damas,
32, and the couple's 5 young children - Michzach, 9, Marven, 6, Maven, 5,
Megan, 3, and Morgan 1 - slicing their throats with a filet knife inside their
North Naples townhouse. At the time, Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk called the
killings "the most horrific and violent event" in county history.
Damas, now 41, fled to Haiti, where he was born and raised, but authorities
soon located him.
While being transported from Haiti back to Florida, Damas confessed his guilt
to the Daily News. Did you kill them? Yes, I did. Why? Only God knows.
He was driven to kill by the devil, he said. He wanted death. He wanted to be
buried with his family. He expected to go to heaven.
This focus on God and religion and spirits and demons would continue throughout
his time in the Collier County jail and during his court appearances. Early on
he was prone to courtroom outbursts, begging to be put to death and imploring a
courtroom gallery to come to Jesus. He has maintained that he was "possessed by
demons" at the time of the crime.
In jail he fasted, leading to drastic weight fluctuations. He was, he said,
trying to starve out the demons. He also shared his Christian faith with other
It was a lapse in faith before the killings had left him vulnerable to a
demonic attack or hex, he would later tell a defense expert, a specialist in
His court case was marked by fits and stops - a trip to a state mental
hospital, challenges to the state's death penalty law, and a rotating door of
public defenders and judges (Greider was the 4th judge to oversee Damas' case).
Toward the end, Damas virtually shut down in court, refusing to participate in
hearings or speak with his court-appointed lawyers. He wanted to represent
himself in court; a request that was denied.
In early September, Greider allowed Damas to plead guilty to the 6 counts of
1st-degree murder. He waived his right to a jury. He also waived his right to
have his attorneys present mitigating evidence in his favor.
On Tuesday, when Greider asked Damas if he still wanted to waive his right to
mitigating evidence, he refused to speak. Instead, he wrote her a note.
"Go ahead, continue your work, may my blood be upon your shoulders."
He signed the note, "COG" - Child of God.
(source: USA Today)
Death row and executions in Florida: An overview from 1827 to now
There are 356 people on death row in Florida, 2nd only to California. Mesac
Damas will be the 357th Florida inmate on death row and only the 2nd from a
Collier County case, joining Brandy Bain Jennings, who was sentenced to death
in 1996 for killing 3 people during a holdup of a Naples Cracker Barrel
restaurant. There are 5 death row inmates from Lee County.
Florida has executed 94 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
The most recent inmate executed was Michael Lambrix, 57, on Oct. 5, for killing
2 people after a night of drinking in 1983. The 1st known execution in Florida
was in 1827, when Benjamin Donica was hanged for murder.
Florida leads the nation with 27 death row exonerations since 1973, followed by
Illinois with 20 and Texas with 13.
Florida allows inmates to choose whether they will be executed by electrocution
or lethal injection. The state's 3-legged electric chair was constructed from
oak by Department of Corrections personnel and installed at the Florida State
Prison in Raiford in 1999. It replaced the state's original electric chair,
built from oak in 1923.
The executioner in Florida is a private citizen who is paid $150 per execution.
[sources: Florida Department of Corrections, Death Penalty Information Center,
(source: Naples Daily News)
Death penalty trial for Hamilton drive-by shooting pushed back again
The death penalty trial of a Hamilton man charged with a 2016 drive-by shooting
that killed two men was scheduled to begin in February, but has been continued
Michael Grevious II, 24, of Maple Avenue, is 1 of 4 who was facing the death
penalty if convicted in the murder-for-hire shooting that happened after a
fatal shootout at the former Doubles Bar on the city's west side.
Just days before trial in September, Grevious' attorney David Washington
requested a continuance because an expert had not completed work in the case.
Butler County County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens granted the continuance
and rescheduled the trial for Feb. 26.
On Friday, Washington and Grevious again appeared before Stephens because a
problem with scheduling an expert continued.
While Stephens said he was not in favor of continuing the trial again, he
wanted to assure nothing occurred to get the case overturned for a retrial in
The new trial date for Grevious is April 16.
"I am taking it as a guarantee the mitigation expert will be available,"
Stephens told the defense team.
July marked the 1-year anniversary of the shootout at Doubles Bar that killed 1
person and wounded 7 others. The shooting sparked retaliation violence on the
afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, that killed 2 people.
According to prosecutors, Grevious, 1 of the men allegedly involved in the
Doubles shootout, hired Zachary Harris to kill Orlando Gilbert for $5,000.
Then on the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by
Melinda Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Gilbert and
Todd Berus. Tony Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire
with an AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court
Grevious is charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault for the
In August, Gibby, 35, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty to 2 counts of aggravated
murder. The defense and prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 30 years to life
for Gibby, but her sentencing is not scheduled until February 2018. She avoided
the possibility of a death sentence if convicted in a jury trial.
Last month, Zachary Harris, 25, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to 2 counts of
aggravated murder in the retaliation shooting and received a sentence of life
in prison without the possibility of parole.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Gibby will not be sentenced until
after her cooperation in the trials of the others.
Patete, 23, of Newark, is charged with 2 counts of aggravated murder. He is
scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 4.
(source: Dayton Daily News)
Ill inmate suggests firing squad as execution alternative
A Franklin County killer scheduled to die on Nov. 15 for the slaying of an
18-year-old man said officials should execute him by firing squad because his
breathing problems and poor veins make him too ill to be killed by lethal
But, a federal judge didn't buy the argument.
Ohio lawmakers could quickly approve legislation allowing the firing squad to
be used as an alternative execution method for the 1st time in the state,
attorneys for death row inmate Alva Campbell said in a court filing late last
Campbell's attorneys argued that the method would not require access to his
veins, which is important given that last month a prison nurse failed to find
veins suitable for inserting an IV on either of his arms. Campbell also
indicated an allergy to the 1st drug used in the state's 3-drug injection
process, his attorneys said.
Death by firing squad is a "known, feasible, readily implemented and available
alternative execution method and procedure" that substantially reduces the risk
that Campbell would suffer serious harm by injection, his lawyers said.
Federal Judge Michael Merz, of Dayton, rejected the argument for a firing squad
execution on Tuesday, noting Campbell didn't offer evidence in support of the
method during a recent weeklong hearing. He also questioned whether lawmakers
would pass a law allowing it. "Execution by firing squad would be unlawful
because (state law) requires the use of lethal injection," he wrote.
In 2015, Republican Gov. John Kasich ruled out the firing squad as an option in
Ohio. At least 2 U.S. states allow the firing squad, including Oklahoma, which
permits it if other methods aren't available.
On Friday, Merz also rejected Campbell's overall claims that Ohio's lethal
injection process raises an unconstitutional risk of serious harm because the
1st drug may not render inmates completely unconscious. Merz previously
rejected similar arguments by Raymond Tibbetts, scheduled to die Feb. 13 for
fatally stabbing a man in Cincinnati in 1997.
While "surgeries should be pain-free, there is no constitutional requirement
that executions be painless," Merz said in last week's ruling.
Campbell's attorneys are deciding whether to appeal.
"We are disappointed with today???s decision, particularly in light of the
disturbing evidence from recent executions using midazolam conducted in Ohio
and other states," they said.
Campbell uses a walker, relies on an external colostomy bag, requires 4
breathing treatments a day and may have lung cancer, according to his lawyers
and court records.
He was also regularly beaten, sexually abused and tortured as a child, his
The Ohio Parole Board rejected Campbell's request for mercy last month. Kasich,
who has spared some inmates while rejecting clemency for others, will have the
Prosecutors said Campbell's health claims are ironic given he faked paralysis
to escape court custody the day he killed 18-year-old Charles Dials.
On April 2, 1997, Campbell was in a wheelchair when he overpowered a Franklin
County sheriff's deputy on the way to a court hearing on several armed robbery
charges, records show.
Campbell took the deputy's gun, carjacked Dials and drove around with him for
several hours before shooting him twice in the head as he crouched in the
footwell of his own truck, according to court records.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien calls Campbell "the poster child for the
(source: The Columbus Dispatch)
An Unseemly Spectacle----Alva Campbell is next in line to be executed by the
State of Ohio.
For the last month of his life, Campbell will have been intensely monitored: 2
corrections officers watch him round the clock to ensure there is no suicide.
The state is determined to do the killing itself.
In Campbell's case the monitoring creates a particularly gruesome display for
those, like Jeffrey Wogenstahl, who share death row with him. Campbell is
frail: he has had portions of his lung, thyroid, prostate, colon, and intestine
removed and has a colostomy bag; he has problems related to his heart (and to
cancer, pneumonia, sarcoidosis and MRSA); he is frequently short of breath; and
he uses a walking frame. He moves slowly: if he leaves his cell, he and his 2
watchers form a slow, macabre procession.
One may guess that his poor health is linked to the horrendous abuse and
systematic torture that he suffered throughout childhood. A sociologist with 30
years' involvement in capital cases refers to Campbell's childhood home as "a
place of total chaos, turmoil, pain, and deprivation" and adds that he "never
witnessed an upbringing as bad as Campbell's."
A forensic psychologist explains: "The violence that Campbell has exhibited as
an adult is ... a barometer of the amount of trauma he experienced growing up."
At his trial, however, Campbell's lawyer neglected to make it plain that his
client's detrimental experiences continued after he left the family home at age
10; worse still, the prosecution claimed falsely that Campbell was eventually
given the support needed to turn his life round. Campbell was failed at trial,
just as he was failed during the critical years of his childhood.
Campbell's current lawyer believes that executing this terminally ill man when
he is unable to walk or breathe without assistance would result in an "unseemly
Governor Kasich has yet to announce whether he will grant clemency and stay
Campbell's imminent execution. But for the inmates on death row, the unseemly
spectacle of his grotesque death watch has already begun.
Arkansas Death Row Inmate Wants Brain Examined If Executed
An Arkansas death row inmate scheduled to be executed next week wants his head
to be removed after his death and his brain to be examined by a doctor, his
Jack Greene's last will and testament includes a request that his head be
"surgically removed from my body and transported out of state to an independent
medical examiner, such as Dr. Jan Garavaglia," a former medical examiner in
Florida who had a reality television show.\
Garavaglia, reached by phone Friday, declined to comment on the request.
Greene, 62, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. He was sentenced to death
for the 1991 murder of retired pastor Sidney Burnett - who had accused him of
arson - days after he killed his own brother.
Greene's attorneys say he suffers from severe mental illness and delusions.
Greene claims in the will that the Arkansas Department of Corrections has
caused him brain injuries and severe dementia, a connection he believes a
medical examiner could prove.
"This is something he really insisted that he dictate to me and to write down,"
Greene's lawyer, John Williams, an assistant federal public defender, said in a
phone interview Friday. "He wants to prove all the injuries that he believes
have been committed against him."
An Arkansas circuit judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt the
execution. Williams said they have appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Greene tried to bring up the last will and testament in court Friday, but was
silenced by a judge, Williams said. "I think it's important for people to
understand what his mind is working like as he approaches his execution,"
It is unclear whether Greene's last will and testament could be fulfilled.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he had reviewed "all documents, transcripts,
and comments from interested mental health professionals," but he said Greene's
testimony at his parole board made it clear to him that the death row inmate
understood his punishment and his decision to kill Burnett.
"Numerous courts have reviewed the case and I am satisfied that the Supreme
Court's standards have been met and that he is competent to be executed,"
Hutchinson said in a statement. "As normal, I will continue to review any
additional relevant facts as November 9 approaches."
The governor's office said they had not had a chance to review Greene's will as
of Friday evening. Hutchinson is traveling in China and Japan on a trade
mission and will return on Nov. 7 - 2 days prior to Greene's scheduled
Two dozen Arkansas mental health professionals and the American Bar Association
urged Hutchinson to "show mercy" because they believe Greene to be mentally
"While the ABA does not take a position for or against the death penalty per
se, nor is Mr. Greene's guilt in the tragic murder of Sidney Burnett in
dispute, the ABA has significant concerns about whether the death penalty is
the appropriate punishment in his case in light of his severe mental illness,"
Hilarie Bass, the president of the American Bar Association, wrote in a letter.
Arkansas put 4 death row inmates to death in April - its 1st executions in
nearly a dozen years. It had originally scheduled 8 before the end of the month
because the state's supply of the lethal injection drug midazolam was set to
expire. 4 of those executions were blocked by the courts.
Greene's execution was scheduled after prison officials obtained a new batch of
midazolam, but on Thursday the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state had
to identify the drug's manufacturer. But the court also ruled that the state
was not required to identify sellers and suppliers.
Arkansas officials have argued that the identities of manufacturers, sellers
and suppliers should be hidden by the secrecy statutes surrounding Arkansas's
execution laws. Otherwise, pharmaceutical companies would attempt to prevent
the use of their drugs in executions, as 2 companies attempted during the April
spate of executions.
"The Arkansas Supreme Court has correctly concluded that the lot, batch and
control numbers on lethal injection drug labels should remain confidential
under state law," Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said in a
statement. "While the Attorney General does not agree with other aspects of the
Court's ruling, she is pleased that the Court agreed with her arguments on this
(source: NBC News)
Arkansas death row inmate dies after being found unresponsive in cell
An Arkansas death row inmate was pronounced dead minutes after he was found
unresponsive in his cell at the Varner Unit, the Arkansas Department of
ADC spokesperson Solomon Graves says inmate Roger Coulter was found by a
correctional officer Friday at approximately 6:28 p.m.
He was pronounced dead nearly 40 minutes later.
Coulter was sentenced to death for capital murder by an Ashley County jury back
(source: KATV news)
Death penalty possible for man guilty in kidnaping, murder that prompted Kan.
The latest on the trial of a former middle school coach accused of kidnapping,
raping and killing a 10-year-old Missouri girl.
The case prompted an Amber Alert in Kansas in February 2014.
On Thursday, a jury found a former middle school football coach guilty of
kidnapping a 10-year-old girl from a Missouri neighborhood in front of
horrified witnesses before raping and killing her.
Jurors convicted 49-year-old Craig Wood of 1st-degree murder in the 2014 death
of Hailey Owens.
Jurors will hear more arguments before deciding whether to recommend the death
sentence. The defense didn't dispute that Wood killed the girl, but contended
that Wood didn't deliberate first, as prosecutors allege.
During the trial, a witness testified that he was raking leaves when he saw
Wood pull Hailey into a pickup truck. The man was unable to get to the girl.
His wife called 911 and reported the truck's license plate, which led police to
Wood's home. Hailey's body was in the basement. Prosecutors are seeking the
(source: Associated Press)
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