death penalty news----OKLA., ARIZ., CALIF., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-24 13:55:11 UTC
August 23


Oklahoma appeals court denies hearing in ballerina's death

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a request for a new hearing
for a 39-year-old man who was sentenced to death in the 1996 killing of a
University of Oklahoma ballerina.

The appeals court handed down the decision Tuesday in the case of Anthony
Sanchez, who was convicted of 1st-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old
Juli Busken of Benton, Arkansas.

Busken had completed her last semester at OU when she was abducted on Dec. 20,
1996. Her body was found that evening in southeast Oklahoma City. She had been
raped and shot in the head.

Among other things, Sanchez claims his race and the victim's gender were
factors in the death penalty he received. His attorney, Mark Barrett, says he's
disappointed by the court's decision.

(source: The Shawnee News-Star)


Death penalty attorneys remain scarce in county

Mohave County may have to look to Maricopa County to find a death
penalty-qualified lead attorney.

The county currently has 2 1st-degree murder cases where the prosecutors are
seeking the death penalty. But the county has few, if any, attorneys who are
qualified to be 1st chair or lead in a death penalty case, Blake Schritter of
Indigent Defense Services said.

Local private attorneys have shown little interest in a time-consuming capital
murder case that can take years in pre-trial proceedings and decades going
through the appeal process, Schritter added.

To qualify for lead counsel in a death penalty case, an attorney must practice
law for at least five years, be lead counsel on at least nine felony trials, be
lead or co-counsel on at least 1 death penalty case, have 6 hours of training
on capital defense and 12 hours of criminal defense training.

To qualify for co-counsel in a death penalty case, an attorney must be a member
of the state bar and have 6 hours of training on capital defense and 12 hours
of criminal defense training. 2 death penalty-qualified attorneys are required
in a capital murder case in Arizona.

On the prosecution side, a murder case is assigned to a deputy county attorney
who consults with Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith or Chief Deputy Mohave
County Attorney James Schoppmann. The prosecutors go through the factors and
the nature of the case to determine whether to seek the death penalty,
Schoppmann said.

There are 9 1st-degree murder cases pending in Mohave County including Justin
Rector, Darrell Ketchner, David James, Cheryl Molitor, Tyler Kirkpatrick,
Douglas Gleason, Buddy Wallace, Victor Empie and Alfredo Blanco. Prosecutors
are seeking the death penalty in the cases of Rector and Ketchner.

To seek the death penalty, prosecutors must prove at least 1 aggravating factor
that outweighs any mitigating factors. In a hearing after a conviction for
1st-degree murder, a jury determines whether a convicted defendant is sentenced
to death.

Rector, 29, is accused of the Sept. 2, 2014, slaying of Isabella
Grogan-Cannella and leaving her body near her Bullhead City home. Rector's lead
attorney, Gerald Gavin, recently withdrew from the case. Co-counsel Julia
Cassels of Phoenix remains on the case as 2nd counsel.

Gavin was assigned Rector's case in March 2015. The county paid Gavin more than
$248,000 for the 2 1/2 years he was the lead attorney on Rector's case,
Schritter said. Chief Legal Defender Ron Gilleo had been Rector's co-counsel
and is qualified to be 2nd chair on a death penalty case.

Ketchner, 59, is accused of stabbing to death Ariel Allison in her Kingman home
on July 4, 2009. Ketchner's attorneys, Michael Reeves and Patricia Hubbard, are
both out of Phoenix.

(source: Mohave Valley Daily News)


California Supreme Court Ruling Could Fast-Track Executions----California could
take a giant step closer to resuming executions when the state Supreme Court
issues a highly anticipated ruling on a ballot measure to speed up the state's
dysfunctional death penalty system.

California could take a giant step closer to resuming executions when the state
Supreme Court issues a highly anticipated ruling on a ballot measure to speed
up the state's dysfunctional death penalty system.

The California Supreme Court will rule Thursday on a lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of Proposition 66, a push to "mend not end" capital
punishment in California. The measure beat a competing initiative on the
November ballot that would have abolished the death penalty.

Condemned inmates in California currently languish for decades and are more
likely to die of natural causes than from lethal injection. There are nearly
750 inmates on death row and only 13 have been executed since 1978 ??? the last
in 2006.

The California Supreme Court ruling comes as state officials face a Friday
deadline to unveil a revised lethal injection drug protocol to execute inmates.
The fight over the drug procedure, which is tied up in federal court, has been
a significant obstacle to resuming the death penalty.

Proposition 66 aimed to expedite death sentences in part by setting a 5-year
deadline on court appeals. It now takes up to 5 years for death row inmates to
get an attorney, and it can take upward of 25 years to exhaust appeals.

Proposition 66 would expand the pool of appellate lawyers handling capital
cases and allow lower-level state courts - not just the California Supreme
Court - to hear appeals.

Death penalty opponents agreed with Proposition 66 backers that the current
system was broken. But they argued that the measure would lead to the
appointment of incompetent attorneys and overwhelm courts. The result:
Insufficient review that could send innocent people to their deaths.

Arguments before a divided California Supreme Court in June focused on whether
the measure's five-year deadline to hear appeals was realistic and enforceable.
Supporters of the measure surprised observers when they conceded the time limit
was not mandatory, but more of a guideline.

Kent Scheidegger, who argued in support of Proposition 66 before the state
Supreme Court, said even if the court had a problem with 1 element of the
measure, he didn't anticipate that it would strike down the entire thing.

"It's a broad reform with a number of provisions that will advance the same
goal but don't depend on each other," he said.

Proposition 66 would also end the requirement that prison officials receive
approval from state regulators for their new lethal injection plan. Regulators
rejected an initial version of the plan in December.

Scheidegger said there hasn't been any discussion among Proposition 66
supporters about returning to voters with a new ballot measure if it fails.

Christina Von der Ahe Rayburn, an attorney for opponents of Proposition 66,
declined to comment ahead of the ruling.

Several justices seized on the 5-year deadline during arguments and questioned
how it could be met without radically altering the court system. With 380 death
penalty appeals now pending, there was concern from some legal observers that
the state's high court would be overwhelmed trying to meet the deadline and
would hardly hear other cases of merit.

"I don't think anybody can actually argue that there's a positive value in
having these cases last for 20 or so years," said Robert Weisberg, a criminal
justice expert at Stanford Law School. "But that's probably unavoidable because
of forces in our legal system that can't be controlled by a proposition."

Weisberg said trying to meet the 5-year rule would create "incredible chaos" in
the court system.

Death penalty supporters argued the measure would not create chaos and could be
upheld without a hard deadline. They urged justices to give it a chance to

The measure - approved by 51 % of voters - was designed by prosecutors to
revamp the appeals process so the "worst of the worst" murderers are actually

Under the measure, more lawyers would have to take death penalty appeals, and
they would be assigned almost immediately after sentencing. It would shift one
type of appeal focused on newly discovered evidence or alleging misconduct by
jurors or prosecutors to trial court judges.

(source: Associated Press)


Lynwood man charged in death of 67-year-old La Crescenta woman

A 20-year-old Lynwood man has been charged with killing a 67-year-old La
Crescenta woman in early August.

Devon White was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of Hy Soon Oh on
Aug. 8 and was being held at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles with no bail.

White was set for an arraignment Monday but the case was pushed back to Sept. 6
in Pasadena, said Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office spokesman
Ricardo Santiago.

Santiago said White faces the death penalty or life in prison without the
possibility of parole.

Glendale police said White followed Oh into her garage on Aug. 8 after she left
her Lynwood business, robbed and fatally shot her.

"The motive was robbery," said Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William, who added
he did not know if the suspect had followed her on the day of her death or days

White left the scene afterward, police said. Detectives were able to identify
him using forensic evidence and determine he is a convicted felon on probation.

William declined to offer details on what forensic evidence police gathered,
but he said police had surveillance footage that "confirmed our suspicions
prior to identifying him. We used some advanced technology to locate his exact

Additionally, White is a documented gang member out of South Los Angeles,
police explained.

White was arrested in Los Angeles, in partnership with detectives from the U.S.
Marshal's regional task force.

The District Attorney's Office later filed multiple counts against White,
including murder, robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and a
special gang enhancement.

Anyone with any more information is asked to call the Glendale Police
Department at 818-548-4911.

(source: Los Angeles Daily News)


Federal prosecutors may seek death penalty in Alaska cruise ship murder case

Federal prosecutors in an Alaska cruise ship murder case said today they may
consider pursuing the death penalty, and the Utah man accused of killing his
wife pleaded not guilty.

Kenneth Manzanares, 39, of Santa Clara, Utah, appeared in federal court in
Juneau wearing a yellow Lemon Creek Correctional Center jumpsuit.

He cried and wiped his eyes with tissues in the courtroom before the
proceedings began.

Manzanares is charged with a single count of 1st-degree murder. His wife,
Kristy Manzanares, also 39, died aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in

The alleged crime happened in territorial waters, so it's being tried in
federal court.

Anchorage-based U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith read the charges
to Kenneth Manzanares via teleconference.

The father of 3 began crying again, and Public Defender Jamie McGrady put her
hand on his back to console him.

McGrady announced the not guilty plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt requested time to decide whether to
pursue the death penalty. Judge Smith gave him 60 days.

The prosecutor also requested time to review discovery, citing about 100
interviews to review, with many more expected.

Smith scheduled the next hearing for Sept. 22.

Manzanares is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

(source: KTOO news)
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