2017-09-14 12:57:09 UTC
Hudson murder trial could face lengthy delay
William Hudson, 33, has been indicted on 3 counts of capital murder in the
massacre of 2 families at a hunting campsite in the East Texas town of
Health problems suffered by William Mitchell Hudson's attorney could delay the
trial of the accused murderer for weeks. Hudson's lawyer, Stephen Evans, was
hospitalized on Tuesday for an undisclosed health matter and remained under
medical care on Wednesday.
The trial, set for Sept. 25, will take place in Bryan College Station. The
final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. That hearing is
still on the docket, said Judge Mark Calhoon, who will preside over the trial.
Hudson is represented by Evans and defense attorney Jeff Herrington. Hudson
will be tried for the November 2015 murders of six people: the Johnson and Kamp
families, who were spending the weekend in Tennessee Colony at a campsite.
Thomas Kamp had purchased the campsite from a relative of William Mitchell
Hudson, adjacent to property owned by Hudson and his family. Hudson helped the
Kamp/Johnson group with a vehicle stuck in the mud; he was invited to hang out
with the family at its campsite.
After a night of drinking with Hudson, events reportedly became violent.
Cynthia Johnson survived a night of horror, before contacting Anderson County
law enforcement the following morning.
Law-enforcement officers and first-responders found the bodies of Carl Johnson
and his daughter in a travel trailer at the campsite; the other victims were in
a pond on Hudson's property. All of the victims were shot to death, except
Hannah Johnson, who was killed with blunt force.
Hudson was arrested and charged with 3 counts of capital murder for killing 6
people. He was indicted in December 2015 for the capital murders of Carl
Johnson, 76; his daughter, Hannah Johnson, 40; his grandson, Kade, 6; Thomas
Kamp, 45; and his 2 sons, Nathan Kamp, 23, and Austin Kamp, 21.
In a February 2016 arraignment, Hudson plead "not guilty" to all 3 counts of
On Jan. 23, according to court records, District Attorney Allyson Mitchell
filed a State of Notice to Seek the Death Penalty. The next day, Mitchell
signed documents stating that the court had officially moved to Bryan in Brazos
County for the change of venue.
Hudson spent 2 weeks in a hospital in Tyler in July. Speculation that Hudson
attempted suicide has not been confirmed by the court, the Anderson County Jail
or Sheriff Taylor.
Death sentence upheld in Warren execution-style slaying
The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for the man convicted of
murdering a Warren man and kidnapping a woman during a robbery.
The court affirmed the death sentence for David Martin on Wednesday, just 1 day
before Martin will turn 33-years-old.
Martin has been on death row since 2014 when he was sentenced by a judge in
Trumbull County on convictions of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated
murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Investigators say Martin shot 21-year-old Jeremy Cole execution style and
wounded Melissa Putnam during an attempted robbery in Warren in 2012.
According to investigators, after Martin tied up both victims, Melissa Putnam
heard a shot then saw Martin standing over her.
Putnam put her hand over her face and said, "Please don't shoot me in the
face." Martin said, "I'm sorry, Missy," and shot her, according to court
The bullet passed through Putnam's right hand and entered her neck, leaving
fragments in the right side of her neck near the base of her skull.
On the day of the sentencing, Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker described
Martin as a cold-blooded killer and a life-long criminal.
Among other issues, Martin's attorney questions whether an impartial jury was
seated to hear the case due to pretrial publicity regarding the crime and
Martin's association with a hostage situation at the Trumbull County Jail four
months before his trial.
Martin is scheduled for execution on May 26, 2021.
(source: WFMJ news)
Attorney for executed Parma murderer says she believes inmate suffered pain
during lethal injection
An attorney for Gary Otte, a man put to death Wednesday for killing 2 people in
Parma in 1992, said she saw signs that her client experienced pain as the
execution team injected him with a sedative, the 1st of 3-drug combination.
Carol Wright, the supervising attorney for the Columbus Federal Public
Defender's Office's capital unit, watched Otte's execution from the viewing
area of the state's death house. The execution was carried out Wednesday
morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, and Otte was
pronounced dead at 10:54 a.m.
Wright said Otte's movements and actions as he received midazolam, a sedative,
indicated to her that Otte felt "pain or sensations" as he was about to die.
Her statements on what she saw mirror legal arguments she and her team have
made that say midazolam does not render inmates deeply unconscious, and its use
in executions could lead the state to violate an inmate's constitutional right.
Otte's stomach raised and lowered several times after the execution team began
the injections. That stopped after several minutes, presumably when the
execution team gave him a paralytic drug. Then the execution team gave Otte a
drug that stopped his heart.
Wright said the stomach movements were abnormal and evidence that Otte was
struggling to get air. She also said Otte was crying.
She said she saw these reactions and got out of her seat to call Dayton federal
magistrate Judge Michael Merz, who presides over litigation brought by death
row inmates challenging the state's use of the 3-drug combination in
That caused another problem, Wright said.
"They would not allow me to leave the room until several minutes passed,"
Wright said of the staff in the death house, adding that protocol says she
should be allowed to leave immediately.
A staff member eventually let Wright out, and she called the prison's waiting
room so one of her colleagues could reach Merz on the phone.
"It was my hope to alert the court to what I believed was a constitutional
violation," she said.
That took several more minutes, and by the time Merz was on the line, it
appeared the execution team had already given Otte the 2nd injection. She told
Merz that the stomach movements stopped and she did not see any more tears, and
Merz declined to intervene.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said
department staff handled Wright's request to leave the room appropriately.
Smith said in an email that "we followed proper security protocol, and once her
identity and intention was verified she was given permission to exit the room."
The whole process led Wright to believe that the state's execution team was
ill-prepared and made mistakes.
The state disagreed.
"The execution was carried out in compliance with the execution policy and
without complication," Smith said.
Otte, 45, of Terre Haute, Indiana, was executed for robbing and murdering
Robert Wasikowski, 61, and Sharon Kostura, 45, in February 1992. He's the
second Ohio inmate executed this year.
Merz declared Ohio's latest execution protocol unconstitutional in January, but
a federal appeals court overturned his ruling.
The state used this protocol after it had problems during the execution of
death-row inmate Dennis McGuire in January 2014. McGuire was executed with a
previously unused drug combination.
Death penalty protesters spread message in Warren
As they held up signs on Courthouse Square condemning state-sponsored
executions, a group of women and men grew silent and bowed their heads at 10
At that moment, Gary Otte, 45, was being put to death at the Southern Ohio
Correctional Facility in Lucasville for the 1992 killings of Robert Wasikowski
and Sharon Kostura outside of Cleveland.
"We aren't out here because we have any sympathy for his actions. We strongly
condemn what he did," said Pat Rogan, organizer of the 8-person protest. "We
understand the severity of his actions and believe the state has a right to
However, there is a difference between revenge and justice, Rogan said.
Most of the participants were there because their religious beliefs drive them
to support a natural life cycle, from birth to natural death, including
Catholics, Quakers and Universal Unitarians, Rogan said.
On top of their religious beliefs, she said the group believes the system that
puts people to death can be unfair.
"It isn't the worst of the worst who gets put to death. It is usually the
poorest of the poorest. You are more likely to get the death penalty for
killing a white person, not for killing a person of color. It's just not a fair
system," Rogan said.
A life sentence makes more sense financially, ethically and avoids the
possibility of handing down the ultimate sentence in an imperfect system, Rogan
Alice and Staughton Lynd of Niles are Quakers and attorneys and have been
focused on the death penalty issue for years.
"I have been appalled by the death penalty since I first learned of it,"
Staughton Lynd said. "I couldn't believe it existed, it is a terrible thing."
The Lynds have studied several death row cases, including the 1993 Lucasville
riot that led to death sentences for five people authorities said were
responsible for 10 deaths during the 10-day riot.
Staughton Lynd said he has often found shoddy evidence at the center of
prosecutors' cases and found they relied on the testimony of people whose
stories did not match medical examination findings.
Alice Lynd said eyewitness testimony can be faulty, and state-sponsored
executions should not be dependent on the reliability of someone's memory.
Defendants may refuse to take plea bargains because they are truly innocent and
find themselves at the mercy of a jury, Lynd said.
But juries are often biased toward the prosecution, figuring the state wouldn't
go through the expense of a trial if it weren't sure, Alice Lynd said.
And, "The definition of aggravated murder is intent to cause death with prior
planning. That's exactly what execution is," Alice Lynd said. "Think of that, a
man sitting there counting down the minutes to his death."
Rogan said she has visited the "death house" on the day of an execution.
"It is surreal. The corrections officers are so friendly and accommodating -
asking him if there is anything he needs, anything he wants. It is unnerving.
The officers are just doing their jobs, and they are great people I have a lot
of respect for. But it isn't fair to the corrections officers, to force them to
participate in a murder," Rogan said.
Missouri governor appoints former judges in St. Louis County death penalty case
Gov. Eric Greitens named 5 retired judges to a special panel Tuesday to help
him decide whether a man convicted of killing a former Post-Dispatch reporter
should be executed.
The move came 4 weeks after the Republican governor called off the scheduled
execution of Marcellus Williams amid claims by his attorneys that recent DNA
tests could prove their client's innocence.
Members of the panel are: Former Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District
Judge Booker Shaw; former 22nd Circuit Judge Michael David; former Circuit
Judge Peggy Fenner of Jackson County; former U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson,
who served in the eastern district; and, former Missouri Court of Appeals
Western District Judge Paul Spinden.
At issue is Williams' role in the 1998 murder of Lisha Gayle at her home in
Mystery surrounds 2 stabbings
Lisha Gayle, a former Post-Dispatch reporter, was stabbed to death by a burglar
in her University City home on Aug. 11, 1998.
With the clock ticking on Williams' scheduled execution by injection on Aug.
22, Greitens invoked a rarely used state law giving him discretion to appoint a
board to gather information and report back on whether a person condemned to
death should be executed.
The judges will have the power to subpoena witnesses and evidence, but the
proceedings will be conducted behind closed doors. Williams, 48, was sentenced
to death in 2001. Prosecutors said Williams was burglarizing the home when
Gayle, who had been taking a shower, surprised him. The former reporter, who
left the paper in 1992, fought for her life as she was stabbed repeatedly.
Williams' attorneys claim DNA tests could prove his innocence.
The Missouri Supreme Court in 2015 postponed Williams' execution to allow time
for the DNA tests. Using technology that was not available at the time of the
killing, those tests show that DNA found on the knife matched that of an
unknown male. Williams' DNA was not found on the knife.
Despite that finding, the state's high court denied his petition to stop the
execution and either appoint a special master to hear his innocence claim or
vacate the death sentence and order his sentence commuted to life in prison.
No timetable for the judges' work was immediately available Tuesday.
Woman who voted for death penalty tracks down other jurors to see if they
Most everyone has an opinion on the death penalty, but not many people have
ever had to make a decision whether to sentence someone to death.
"It's something that changes you, it changed me," Lindy Lou Isonhood said
before a screening of a film detailing her story at Park Hill High Wednesday
Isonhood served on the jury that would decide the fate of Bobby Wilcher in
Mississippi in 1994.
"I asked the other jurors, 'what about a life sentence?'" Isonhood said.
The decision to give Wilcher the death penalty still haunts her, so much so she
went to visit the man convicted of 2 brutal murders on the day of his
"I wanted to ask him to forgive me for my hand in his death because I didn't
want to have to do what I did. He told me he didn't want me to feel guilty, he
put himself in that situation," she said.
Isonhood collaborated with producers on the 2017 film, Lindy Lou, Juror #2. In
the documentary she tracks down many of the 11 other jurors to see if they also
2nd-guessed their decision.
"I thought about that every moment for a while, did we do the right thing?" one
juror tells Isonhood in the documentary.
Isonhood says though she no longer supports the death penalty, she is in favor
of better educating jurors about their options in sentencing and the
possibilities of parole.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty sponsored the screening of
the documentary. The group also praised a recent decision by Governor Eric
Greitens to stay the execution of Marcellus Williams for the time being.
Tuesday he announced the retired judges who will be on a board of inquiry
looking into possible DNA evidence in the murder of a St. Louis Post Dispatch
reporter that could possibly exonerate Williams.
"He came within 4 hours of his execution so that's pretty frightening. But we
see it as a step in the right direction, Gov. Greitens was willing to stay the
execution," Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Assistant to the
Executive Director Esmie Tseng said.
MADP will sponsor another screening of the film Thursday at Park University at
Death row inmate denied appeal
A convicted child killer is 1 step closer to lethal injection.
Frank Jarvis Atwood lost another appeal as he continued his more than 30-year
fight to avoid the death penalty.
He was convicted of the 1984 murder of an 8-year-old girl from Tucson, Vickie
Today, the U.S. ninth circuit court of appeals denied Atwood's appeal.
If the circuit denies a rehearing, Atwood's last change depends on whether the
supreme court agrees to hear his case.
(source: KGUN news)
NEVADA----impending volunteer execution
Nevada inmate asks how he should mentally prepare for execution
Scott Dozier has 2 months to live, and lawyers for the condemned Nevada inmate
are still fighting in court for details about his execution.
While Dozier has not wavered from his death wish, which he put in writing
nearly a year ago, he revealed publicly for the first time Monday his concerns
about the state's plans for lethal injection with an unprecedented 3-drug
"What do I need to be mentally prepared for?" Dozier asked District Judge
Jennifer Togliatti, who has signed his execution warrant. "Is it something that
seems like a reasonably easy transition, or do I need to have my game up and
have the mental fortitude, intestinal fortitude to have a less than - you know
- what could be a miserable experience?"
Federal public defenders representing Dozier told a judge on Monday that they
plan to meet with deputies from the Nevada attorney general's office, which
represents the Department of Corrections, to discuss which portions of the
state's execution manual should be made public or reviewed by a medical expert.
Citing prison security concerns, prison officials have argued that Dozier
should not be allowed access to the entire confidential document.
But prison officials recently reported the 3 drugs expected to be used in his
execution: diazepam, which is normally used to treat anxiety and muscle spasms;
fentanyl, used for pain; and cisatracurium, a skeletal muscle relaxant or
What hasn't been disclosed: how the state obtained the drugs, or the sequence
and timing of administering the lethal drug cocktail.
Dozier is scheduled to die Nov. 14, less than a week before his 47th birthday.
Assistant Federal Public Defender David Anthony said he wanted to review
"If he has a choice between a safe and effective execution and a painful,
torturous one," Anthony said, ???I think he's going to choose the safe one."
The judge interjected.
"Safe, meaning not painful and torturous?" she asked. "Because I wouldn't say
'safe,' since he'll be dead."
Shackled and seated nearby in orange prison garb, Dozier simply smiled.
Togliatti ordered the lawyers back in court later this week.
Dozier would be the 1st Nevada inmate executed in more than a decade. He was
sent to Nevada's death row nearly 10 years ago for his 2nd killing.
A Clark County jury convicted him in September 2007 of killing 22-year-old
Jeremiah Miller at the now-closed La Concha Motel. In 2005, Dozier was
convicted in Arizona of 2nd-degree murder.
(source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge to decide whether man can face charges in killing of Stanislaus sheriff's
A judge will have to decide if a man accused of killing Stanislaus County
sheriff's Deputy Dennis Wallace is mentally competent to face criminal charges.
David Machado appeared in court Wednesday. He is charged with murder in
Wallace's death last year.
The deputy was killed shortly before 8:30 a.m. Nov. 13 after he spotted a
stolen van at the Fox Grove Fishing Access near Hughson. Wallace, 53, was a
20-year Sheriff's Department veteran, assigned to Salida, the courthouse and
most recently Hughson. Authorities say Wallace was shot in the head twice at
Machado's case has remained suspended, since the court determined that his
mental competency needed to be restored before proceeding. A forensic
psychologist reported that Machado was able to understand the court
proceedings, but the defendant was not capable of assisting his attorney in the
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff on Wednesday scheduled a court
trial to begin Nov. 16. Attorneys on both sides will present evidence
concerning Machado's mental competency, according to John Goold, a spokesman
for the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.
At the end of the trial, Judge Zeff will determine whether Machado's ability to
understand the criminal proceedings and assist in his legal defense. The judge
could reinstate the murder case or send Machado to receive additional treatment
to restore his competency.
Machado cannot face charges in the deputy's death until after his mental
competency is restored.
The defendant's murder charge comes with a special-circumstance allegation that
makes the case eligible for the death penalty. But the District Attorney's
Office has not informed the court if it will seek the death penalty against
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