2017-05-13 13:04:22 UTC
TEXAS----stay of impending execution
Fort Worth death row inmate gets second stay of execution this year
An appeals court has postponed a 2nd execution date for a death row inmate from
Fort Worth who was scheduled to die next week.
In an order issued Friday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that they
would review Tilon Lashon Carter's application for relief before going forward
with his execution, which was scheduled for Tuesday.
Carter, 37, was convicted of the robbery and 2004 slaying of James Tomlin, 89,
a Bell Helicopter retiree. Prosecutors said that Carter and his girlfriend,
Leketha Allen, went to Tomlin's home to rob him and took $6,000. Allen was
sentenced to 25 years after agreeing to a plea bargain arrangement with
Carter's attorney, Raoul D. Schonemann, filed a motion on Tuesday to set aside
the execution date, arguing that new evidence conflicts with evidence that was
presented at trial. The motion also states that Carter had ineffective trial
counsel and was denied due process because Nizam Peerwani, Tarrant County
medical examiner, presented false and misleading testimony.
Peerwani's testimony led the jury to believe that Tomlin had been intentionally
smothered, even though Tomlin's cause of death was listed as "smothering with
positional asphyxia," which may not have been intentional, the motion contends.
Carter's trial attorney never sought evidence highlighting the role that intent
played in the trial, which Schonemann used to bolster his allegation that
Carter had ineffective counsel.
The motion also argues that the autopsy results, from Peerwani and 3 other
experts, do not support the theory that Tomlin's death was caused by an
Carter survived an earlier execution date scheduled for Feb. 7 due to a
technicality. The appeals court granted a stay of execution by a 5-4 vote on
the grounds that notice of the scheduled execution date arrived 1/2 a day late
at a state office that sometimes works on death penalty appeals.
2 death row inmates from Tarrant County have been executed this year.
Christopher Wilkins was put to death on Jan. 11 for a double murder committed
in Fort Worth. He was the 1st person to be executed in the United States this
Texas also executed a former Kennedale auto mechanic who killed a father and
his infant son in a 1987 Christmas Eve killing spree. James Eugene Bigby, 61,
was pronounced dead on March 14.
An execution date for Paul Storey, which had also been set for this year, was
stayed pending a hearing.
Storey, 32, who was convicted for the murder of Jonas Cherry, was scheduled to
die on April 12. Cherry, a manager at the Putt-Putt Golf and Games in Hurst,
was shot twice in the head and twice in his legs on Oct. 16, 2006 on a robbery.
Juan Castillo's execution date has been changed from May 24 to September 7.
Executions under Greg Abbott, Jan. 21, 2015-present----24
Executions in Texas: Dec. 7, 1982----present-----543
Abbott#--------scheduled execution date-----name------------Tx. #
25---------June 28------------------Steven Long-----------543
26---------July 19-----------------Kosoul Chanthakoummane---544
37---------July 27-----------------Taichin Preyor---------545
(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)
Former Mavs ManiAAC dancer receives life sentence after jury deadlocks
A former Mavs ManiAAC dancer received life in prison after the jury in his
murder trial deadlocked on the death penalty.
Erbie Bowser killed 4 people and wounded 4 children during a 2013 shooting
rampage. He was on trial for 1 of the murders.
The jury got hung up on the death penalty and deadlocked. The judge had to go
with a life sentence in prison without the chance of parole.
The jury had already signaled it was having trouble with a verdict on the
punishment after being sequestered overnight. They began sending out a note on
Friday for a clarification on "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Bowser was found guilty of capital murder for the death of 4 women and wounding
Prosecutors said in 2013 Bowser went to his girlfriend's house and killed Toya
Smith and her 17-year-old daughter and then went to DeSoto to kill his
estranged wife, Zina Bowser, and her 28-year-old daughter.
Smith's mother, Lurlean, had some words for Bowser at the end of the trial.
"You not only killed once, you killed 4 times," she said. "And you left four
innocent children without parents. But those children are going to go on with
their lives and will have a good life."
Defense attorneys tried to show Bowser was not guilty by reason of insanity
because of his military service and concussions from playing football had
impacted his mental state.
(source: Fox News)
FLORIDA----female to face death penalty
Kimberly Lucas to stand trial in September in toddler's drowning death
A September trial date has been set in the death penalty case of Kimberly
Lucas, the Jupiter woman charged with drowning the 2-year-old daughter she
shared with her former partner and trying to kill their 10-year-old son.
Circuit Judge Charles Burton set Sept. 14 as the date for prospective jurors to
come in and begin filling out jury questionaires in the case surrounding the
2-year-old Elliana Lucas-Jamason's May 2014 drowning death and the drugging of
then 10-year-old Ethan Lucas-Jamason. Burton's move comes weeks after Florida's
4th District Court of Appeal lifted a stay of the proceedings because of issues
surrounding Florida's death penalty.
Jacquelyn Jamason, the children's mother and Lucas' former partner, said after
the hearing she was glad that the case was finally going to trial.
According to court records, Lucas had tried to drug both Ethan and Elliana with
the anti-anxiety drug Alprazolam, telling her son the pill "would help make him
grow." Ethan took the pill, but when Elliana was unable to swallow it, Lucas
drowned her in a bathtub.
Lucas' attorneys plan to pursue an insanity defense, arguing that Lucas suffers
from dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality
disorder, and that one of her alters committed the crimes.
(source: Palm Beach Post)
Florida Supreme Court sets aside death sentence for mass-murderer Nelson
The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision released Thursday, set aside the
four death sentences against Serrano, 78, and sent the case back to Circuit
Court for resentencing.
Nelson Serrano, who was sentenced to death in 2007 for the execution-style
killings of 4 people at a Bartow manufacturing plant, is getting a new
The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision released Thursday, set aside the 4
death sentences against Serrano, 78, and sent the case back to Circuit Court
The ruling doesn't overturn Serrano's convictions for the murders, nor does it
mean he will be released from prison. At resentencing, the jury will decide
between life imprisonment and the death penalty in a case that remains the
worst mass murder in Polk County history.
State Attorney Brian Haas said Friday his office will seek the death penalty
"We ... have already begun to prepare for the retrial of the penalty phase," he
He said it would be at least several months before the case goes before a
A Polk County jury convicted Serrano in October 2006 for killing his former
business partner and another former partner's son, daughter and son-in-law at
Erie Manufacturing in Bartow in December 1997.
Prosecutors said Serrano, who had been ousted from Erie, traveled to Atlanta on
business, then secretly flew back to Florida, committed the murders and
returned to Atlanta using aliases to make airline and car rental reservations.
Investigators broke Serrano's alibi in 2001 when they discovered his
fingerprint on a parking garage receipt at the Orlando International Airport
the day of the killings.
By the time a Polk County grand jury issued a sealed indictment in 2001,
Serrano had returned to his native Ecuador, which refused to extradite him
because of Florida's death penalty.
In September 2002, agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement worked
with Ecuadorian agents to deport Serrano, who had claimed American citizenship.
Circuit Judge Susan Roberts sentenced him to death for each of the 4 murders in
In March 2011, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death
sentence against Serrano on initial appeal.
Thursday's ruling by the state's high court came on a subsequent appeal.
The court based its decision Thursday on a January 2016 ruling affecting most
Florida murder cases involving imposition of the death penalty after June 2002.
The 2016 ruling, called Hurst vs. Florida, rendered the state's death penalty
process unconstitutional, forcing the Legislature to revise it. That revision,
which became law earlier this year, mandates that jurors must agree unanimously
in their decision to recommend the death penalty. Before that, state law
required only a simple majority.
Meanwhile, in 2002, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Arizona case required
that juries, not judges, decide whether prosecutors have proven the facts
supporting a death sentence. That clashed with Florida's system, which gave
judges that authority, but Florida elected not to change its death penalty
The Hurst ruling forced that change, and the Florida Supreme Court has ruled
that the revised law applies to condemned inmates who were sentenced after 2002
without a unanimous jury recommendation.
At Serrano's trial, jurors voted 9-3 to recommend that the judge sentence him
to death for each of the 4 killings.
Marcia Silvers, a Miami lawyer representing Serrano, said she thinks the high
court made the correct decision.
"We are grateful that the Florida Supreme Court overturned the death penalty,
acknowledging that a unanimous verdict is the cornerstone of our justice
system," she said.
In Thursday's ruling, the 3 dissenting justices said they didn't agree that
Serrano's death sentences should be vacated.
And George Patisso, whose son George Jr., was among those who died, said he was
devastated when he learned of the resentencing.
"We have to go through this all over again," he said Friday from his home in
New York. "I really don't want to, but for my son, I will because I want to see
this to the end. (Serrano) ruined so many people's lives."
Patisso said he and his wife, Mary Ann, hope Serrano will remain on death row.
"We want him to suffer because he has made us suffer for the last 20 years," he
said. "He has devastated us. It just doesn't go away."
His wife, Mary Ann, said she doesn't want him to be able to interact with other
"I want him to sit alone," she said.
George Patisso Jr. was 27 when he was working at Erie Manufacturing, where his
father-in-law, Phil Dosso, was a partner. He worked with his brother-in-law,
35-year-old Frank Dosso, and George Gonsalvez, 69, another partner in the
All 3 were gunned down in an office about 6 p.m. Dec. 3, 1997, each shot in the
Diane Dosso Patisso, a 28-year-old prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office
in Bartow, had arrived at Erie to pick her husband when she was shot in another
office. Prosecutors said it appeared she had walked in on the shootings and was
killed because she had witnessed the crime.
Tommy Ray, a retired FDLE agent who broke Serrano's alibi and orchestrated his
deportation, said Friday he's concerned for the families involved.
"The Dossos are devastated," he said. "The real travesty is for the families
that have to go through this all over again."
Francisco Serrano, who has stood by his father throughout the trial and
appeals, couldn't be located for comment Friday.
(source: The Ledger)
Killer could be granted new trial
A Bay County man condemned to death in 1981 for kidnapping and brutally
murdering a woman he knew could get another chance to argue for his innocence,
according to court records.
That chance, however, will depend on the outcome of an upcoming forensic DNA
James Armando Card, 70, has been on death row since 1982, when he was convicted
of the robbery, kidnapping and first-degree murder of Janice Franklin. A recent
Florida Supreme Court ruling opened the possibility for Card to receive a
second shot at a penalty phase. His defense attorneys further argued Thursday
that DNA evidence collected after the conviction also could position Card to
have the case tried more than 3 decades later in front of another Bay County
The status of the case has been tentative since a U.S. Supreme Court decision
last year upended Florida's death penalty procedures. More recently, the
Florida Supreme Court ruled May 4 the jury decision to sentence Card to death
by a margin of 11-1 was insufficient and deserving of a 2nd penalty hearing.
"This court has no way of knowing if the jury unanimously found each
aggravating factor, whether the aggravating factors were sufficient to impose a
death sentence, or whether the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating
circumstances," the Florida Supreme Court wrote of the decision. "Further, this
court cannot speculate why the 1 juror who voted to recommend a sentence of
life imprisonment determined that a sentence of death was not the appropriate
The court then sent the case back to the 14th Judicial Circuit, where Card's
case once again is being argued. The direction of those arguments will be
steered in the coming weeks by the outcome of a DNA test, which defense
attorneys think could benefit Card while prosecutors disagree.
Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet has ordered Card to submit a sample for
testing within 2 weeks. That sample will be sent to the Florida Department of
Law Enforcement for analysis, and depending on the outcome Card could move for
a new trial.
(source: Panama City News Herald)
Execution drug will cause unconstitutional pain, lawsuit says
Georgia's lethal injection drug carries a substantial risk of causing
unconstitutional suffering for an inmate scheduled to die Tuesday, and
execution by firing squad is the only appropriate alternative, his lawyers
J.W. Ledford Jr. was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of
his neighbor, 73-year-old Dr. Harry Johnston, near his home in Murray County,
in northwest Georgia.
Ledford, 45, suffers from chronic nerve pain that has been treated with
increasing doses of the drug gabapentin for more than a decade, his lawyers
said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday. They cite experts who say long-term
exposure to gabapentin alters brain chemistry in such a way that pentobarbital
cannot be relied upon to make him unconscious and devoid of sensation or
"Accordingly, there is a substantial risk that Mr. Ledford will be aware and in
agony as the pentobarbital attacks his respiratory system, depriving his brain,
heart, and lungs of oxygen as he drowns in his own saliva," the lawsuit says.
That would violate the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment enshrined in
the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Ledford's lawyers argue. But the
U.S. Supreme Court has said that when challenging an execution method on those
grounds, an inmate must propose a "known and available" method of execution.
Ledford's lawyers, therefore, suggest that he be executed by firing squad.
There is no alternative method of lethal injection available to the state since
the drugs used in executions have become increasingly difficult for states to
obtain because manufacturers have prohibited their use for capital punishment,
the lawsuit says. But the Supreme Court has held that execution by firing squad
is constitutional, and Georgia already has the skilled personnel, weapons and
ammunition needed to carry one out, Ledford's lawyers argue.
There are numerous law enforcement officers who currently have the necessary
training to pass a proficiency test to qualify for a firing squad, they say.
They note, however, that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has previously
ruled -- including as recently as this week in an Alabama case -- that an
inmate can only suggest an alternative execution method that is already
authorized by Georgia law, and Georgia law only allows execution by lethal
3 states -- Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah -- allow for a firing squad as a
backup if lethal injection drugs aren't available, said Robert Dunham,
executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which compiles
statistics on capital punishment.
Ledford is effectively prevented from meeting the burden imposed by the Supreme
Court of proposing an alternative execution method when challenging the state's
execution protocol as unconstitutionally cruel and unusual since state law only
allows for lethal injection, his lawyers say.
For that reason, they say they recognize that a dismissal of their lawsuit on
those grounds is inevitable and say that a quick dismissal would allow enough
time for them to request a hearing before the full 11th Circuit.
The office of state Attorney General Chris Carr had no comment Friday morning
on the lawsuit, spokeswoman Katelyn McCreary said in an email.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has ordered the state's lawyers to file a
response to the lawsuit by 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Ledford's lawyers also have asked the judge to order the state not to
discontinue or withhold his medication pending his execution. That could cause
him to suffer withdrawal symptoms and would leave him to experience the pain
for which the gabapentin was prescribed, they say.
Ledford is scheduled for execution at 7 p.m. on May 16.
Ledford's attorneys also have asked the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to
spare his life, citing a rough childhood, substance abuse from an early age and
his intellectual disability.
The board, which is the only authority in Georgia with power to commute a death
sentence, plans to hold a meeting Monday to hear arguments for or against
68 men and women have executed in Georgia since the U.S. Supreme Court
reinstated the death penalty in 1976. 57 men currently face death sentences in
the state. Ledford is expected to be the 47th inmate put to death by lethal
injection, WGCL-TV reports.
(source: CBS news)
Condemned murderer: I want to die by firing squad ---- Argues lethal injection
could cause him "agony"
Condemned murder J.W. "Boy" Ledford Jr. has asked a federal court to declare
lethal injection unconstitutional because Georgia law does not allow him to
choose death by firing squad.
In a federal complaint, Ledford's lawyers wrote that he has been taking
medication for "severe and chronic nerve pain" for years and the drug,
gabapentin, had changed his pain chemistry.
"There is a substantial risk that Mr. Ledford will be aware and in agony as the
(lethal injection drug) pentobarbital attacks his respiratory system, depriving
his brain, heart and lungs of oxygen as he drowns in his own saliva," according
to the complaint.
Ledford is set to be executed next week for murdering his neighbor, a
73-year-old doctor, in northwest Georgia 25 years ago. If he dies by lethal
injection as planned, Ledford will be the first person Georgia has put to death
But his lawyers want lethal injection be declared unconstitutional because
Georgia law does not allow condemned murderers to chose the method of their
executions. They write that there could be a "horrific" reaction to the
pentobarbital, and that would violate Ledford???s constitutional protection
from cruel and unusual punishment, the federal complaint says.
His lawyers raise the issue of death by firing squad just a few days after the
11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an Alabama death row inmate's request
the he be allowed to choose hanging or firing squad.
"Mr. Ledford proposes that the firing squad is a readily-implemented and more
reliable alternative method of execution that would eliminate the risks posed
to him by lethal injection," the complaint says. "The binding precedent of the
11th Circuit, however, restricts Mr. Ledford to proposing only those
alternatives already authorized by Georgia statute."
"As the Georgia code allows no method of execution but lethal injection, and
given the broad unavailability of alternative drugs, Mr. Ledford is effectively
foreclosed from meeting his burden in this action," it continiues. "Mr.
Ledford's dilemma illustrates why this standard is unworkable."
The filing late Thursday is Ledford's 1st attempt, using the courts, to stop
his scheduled execution since the U.S. Supreme Court refused to step in early
The complaint was filed in federal court in Atlanta as the State Board of
Pardons and Paroles was releasing Ledford's clemency petition. In it, his
lawyers wrote that he is deeply sorry for murdering Dr. Harry Johnston in
The clemency petition also says five of the jurors who voted for the death
penalty would now like to see him serve life without parole instead.
"The inflexibility of the legal system sometimes leaves an otherwise deserving
individual without a remedy," his lawyers wrote. "Inevitably there will be
instances in which the fixed rules governing the legal process yield a result
that does not accommodate fairness. Clemency exists for just this situation."
But District Attorney Bert Poston, who prosecutes in the circuit that includes
Murray County where the crime was committed, said if ever a murder called for
the death penalty, the 1992 murder of Dr. Harry Johnston did.
"I've seen the pictures," said Poston, who became a prosecutor in the circuit
only 2 months before Johnston's murder. "I've been doing this for 25 years and
I've handled a lot of murder cases and I can't think of many that come close."
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles will hear from Ledford's advocates
Monday morning and then in the afternoon from Poston and others who want to see
the sentenced carried out.
Ledford, 45, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday at the Georgia Diagnostic and
Classification Prison near Jackson, one of two men who are set to die by lethal
injection in the country on that day; Texas also has an execution scheduled.
Last year, Georgia executed nine men, more than any other state.
Johnston's widow died in February, Poston said.
"She wanted very much to live long enough to see justice served," Poston said.
"All the delays have robbed her of that."
According to court records, one of the cuts that Ledford delivered to Johnson's
neck almost decapitated the 73-year-old man, who had been the doctor who
delivered Ledford, whom his lawyers repeatedly referred to using his nickname,
Ledford admitted to the murder but claimed it was in self-defense. He said the
doctor had struck him during an argument over whether the younger man had
stolen from his neighbor.
"Boy Ledford confessed to killing Dr. Johnston the day after he was arrested
and has never denied killing him," the clemency petition said. "The pain of
killing the doctor is something that he lives with daily."
Ledford's lawyers say he was drunk and using drugs on the day of the crime.
According to testimony and court records, Ledford had consumed a 6-pack of
16-ounce beers, smoked about 10 marijuana cigarettes and had taken some pills.
Ledford told one doctor who examined him that he "was generally 'messed up.'"
His lawyers wrote in the clemency petition that Ledford, whom identified by his
nickname "Boy," started drinking when he was 8 and moved on to drugs by age 10.
His father was a "mean drunk" and a strict disciplinarian who abused Ledford
and his 6 sisters, usually when he was using drugs or drinking, the clemency
"The background is not an excuse for what Boy Ledford has done," the lawyers
wrote. "It is offered to allow the board some insight into how a young man
barely 20 years old with no history of violence ended up killing a man who was
(source: Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Death-penalty trials keep getting delayed. A Lexington judge is fed up.
Chief Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine said she plans to more closely
monitor the progress of death-penalty cases after experiencing difficulties in
advancing 1 capital case toward trial.
Her desire for more progress comes after it became apparent last month that a
death-penalty trial scheduled to start May 30 will be postponed.
Goodwine became upset April 27 after public defenders Kim Green and Chris Tracy
sought to delay a murder trial for Quincinio Canada and Duwan Mulazim.
The 2 men are charged with murder, robbery and assault in the 2014 shooting
death of Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Price, 26, and the wounding of his wife,
Megan. The 2 were celebrating Megan's birthday when they were shot in the
parking lot of Austin City Saloon in Lexington.
Green, Mulazim's attorney, and Tracy, Canada's attorney, said they could not be
ready by May 30 because of the complexity of issues involved in preparing for
Goodwine initially resisted delaying the trial but relented May 4 when it
became evident that to push forward risked a possible appeal and retrial.
Tempers flared and tears were shed over the course of a couple of hearings
before Goodwine decided that more time was needed.
Under the Constitution, a criminal defendant has a right to the effective
assistance of legal counsel at trial. Tracy and Green argued that they could
not provide that effective counsel.
"There's not a remote chance that we are even close to being ready," Tracy told
Goodwine on April 27. "There are so many issues of such complexity that are
still left to litigate in this matter."
Goodwine said she intended to start the trial as scheduled. "The only way this
is going to stop is to hold feet to the fire," she said, her voice rising.
The judge added: "I've tried 10 capital cases in 13 years and every single one
of them has had a motion to continue 30 days before trial because they need
But on May 4, when the defense indicated that it needed time to sort through
Canada's juvenile court records for mental-health evidence, Goodwine said she
would postpone the trial to a later date.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kimberly Baird acknowledged that to push
forward risked a "reversible error" on appeal.
But Baird added, her voice cracking and dabbing at tears: "That is so unfair to
the commonwealth. I recognize this is me being angry, is what this is. ...It's
so not fair. I recognize this is going to get continued, as does the victim's
family. I recognize it's probably going to be next year" before jury selection
Debbie Price, Jonathan Price's mother, was also frustrated. Jonathan's birthday
was May 4, the day of the hearing when it became apparent that the trial
regarding his death would not begin as scheduled.
"We're disappointed in all these last-minute motions," Debbie Price said after
the hearing. But she added, "We don't want the defense to come back and say
something was done wrong. We want everything done right the 1st time."
Fayette isn't the only county where frustration is mounting over repeated
delays. Last month Madison Circuit Judge William Clouse Jr. rescheduled a
capital case of 2 defendants charged in the 2015 shooting death of Richmond
police officer Daniel Ellis. Clouse had previously said he would not grant a
On May 3, the mother of Logan James Dean Tipton could be heard asking why the
public defenders have filed a motion for a continuance in the case of the man
charged with stabbing the 6-year-old Versailles boy to death. (Kim Green, a
public defender in the Canada-Mulazim case, is also defending Exantus.)
Ed Monahan of the state's Department of Public Advocacy said delays are a
consequence of heavy workloads faced by public defenders. The duty to
investigate, prepare and try the guilt/innocence and sentencing phases of a
capital case requires an average of 1,900 hours, according to the American Bar
In the Canada-Mulazim matter, public defender Green has 6 capital cases. The
bar association recommends that a public defender should have no more than 3.
"Each judge wants, very understandably, to move their docket," Monahan said.
"One of the consequences with having a public defender program that doesn't
have enough resources to do the work adequately is we have to ask for
continuances, because we don't have the capacity to do the cases on a time
schedule that judges, witnesses, clients and victims deserve. We're in these
difficult situations because we have to get enough time to represent the client
and we ask for a lot of continuances."
As part of her new protocol, Goodwine said she intends to hold status hearings
every 30 days to make sure that the defense and prosecution are moving forward
and meeting deadlines.
She also wants to create a master calendar so that there aren't scheduling
conflicts between judges. One problem in the Canada-Mulazim case was that their
public defenders had another capital case scheduled to start the month before
in Judge James Ishmael's court. Green and Tracy said there was no way they
could adequately prepare for both.
The trial before Ishmael was eventually rescheduled for next year. Goodwine
doesn't want that kind of scheduling conflict to happen again.
"If I have this schedule in place with deadlines, and if there is a pattern of
failing to comply with a deadline, it gives me the ability to say 'You're not
getting it continued any more,' or I can fine" the lawyers, Goodwine said.
"Ideally, the defense attorneys and the commonwealth's attorneys, 30 to 45 days
out from the start of trial, should be doing nothing but preparing for trial."
In the meantime, 3 capital cases are scheduled for trial later this year in
Fayette Circuit Court.
Travis Bredhold goes on trial Sept. 5 in the 2013 shooting death and robbery of
Mukeshbhai Patel, 51, at a Marathon station on Alexandria Drive.
Efrain Diaz and Justin Smith are scheduled for trial Oct. 2 in the 2015
shooting death and robbery of University of Kentucky student Jonathan Krueger,
Robert Guernsey and Trustin Jones are scheduled for trial Nov. 1 in the 2013
shooting death and robbery of Bluegrass Community and Technical College student
Derek Pelphrey, 23.
Goodwine has not set a new date for the Canada-Mulazim trial.
Delay death penalty
I understand the frustrations of anti-death penalty people. I also understand
the "fry 'em" mentality of pro-death penalty people. I was once one of those.
There are people who definitely deserve the death penalty but we do not deserve
to hand out that punishment if we cannot guarantee that no innocent people are
executed. People should not form an opinion on this matter until they research
and understand what they are making a serious decision about.
The problem is we trust our system, we trust our detectives, we trust our
prosecutors and we trust our jurors so much that when a guilty verdict is
handed down with capital punishment as the sentence we say, "Good, he deserves
it." But we shouldn't trust all those people or the system blindly like that.
We are supposed to question things and make sure our government is working.
The Death Penalty Review Commission report states that there are numerous
problems with our system and executions should be put on hold until the
problems are fixed. Yet executions continue. Why did they even have a Death
Penalty Review Commission in the first place? It was a waste of 18 months.
The death penalty needs to be put on hold at the very least until the state can
guarantee the citizens of this state that we are not executing innocent people.
And if that cannot be guaranteed then the death penalty should be abolished.
Jennifer Hale, Pryor
(source: Letter to the Editor, Tulsa World)
Judge denies Chuck E. Cheese killer's 2nd plea for legal funding----Nathan
Dunlap's lawyers want $750,000 to help convince Hickenlooper he deserves
Federal Senior Judge John Kane has rejected a second plea by lawyers for Chuck
E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap seeking $750,000 to help persuade Gov. John
Hickenlooper to commute his death sentence.
In an order posted Thursday, Kane wrote that it would be irresponsible "for me
to authorize the expenditure of such a large sum at this point" for the purpose
of attempting to persuade the governor to grant Dunlap clemency. He added that
Hickenlooper previously stated that an earlier decision to grant Dunlap a
reprieve was "related to the death penalty itself, not circumstances specific
to Mr. Dunlap."
The lawyers want the money to develop new evidence from a psychiatrist about
Dunlap's traumatic childhood on his decisionmaking. They hope the evidence will
persuade Hickenlooper to commute their client's sentence.
Kane noted that the funds were sought through the federal Criminal Justice Act,
which limits the amount that can be spent on expert, investigative and other
expenses to $7,500. But Dunlap's request included a petition for $215,000 in
expert and investigative expenses, which is 28 times the statutory limit, he
"In addition to not establishing that the services are reasonably necessary,
Mr. Dunlap also has not sufficiently shown that the services are of such an
unusual character or duration that they merit trampling the statutory limit,"
Kane's denial released Thursday says.
Dunlap was 19 in 1993 when he went to the Chuck E. Cheese's where he once
worked and killed Ben Grant, 17, Sylvia Crowell, 19, Colleen O'Connor, 17, and
50-year-old Margaret Kohlberg, all employees who were closing the restaurant
for the night. He also severely wounded another person.
Dunlap was sentenced to death in 1996, and he was scheduled for execution in
August 2013. On May 22, 2013, Hickenlooper announced he had given him a
temporary, but indefinite, reprieve to life in prison.
Kane's order also takes aim at Hickenlooper's reprieve, noting that a reprieve
is "a temporary postponement of an execution of a criminal sentence, especially
a death sentence" for an interval of time.
"Such an indefinite reprieve strains credulity," Kane's order says. "It is
absurd to suggest that - temporary can be contorted to mean - 'indefinite'."
Dunlap's attorneys previously said members of Hickenlooper's staff have
suggested the attorney's strategy may be received favorably, but not until the
end of his term in early 2019.
Hickenlooper's spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery previously denied that the
governor has given any indication one way or the other. But Hickenlooper has
said is considering a possible commutation of the death sentence.
(source: Canon City Daily)
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