Death Sentence Reporter

This information is compiled by Professor David McCord, Drake University Law School

Organized by State

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ALABAMA

Mark Dwaytt Brown - White, age 34

Sentenced in Cleburne County, Alabama

By: a judge upon jury recommendation

Date of crime: February 8, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Brown bludgeoned Lena Benefield (age 88), and her sons, Reo (age 69), Shable (age 59), and Durward (age 49), to death with a baseball bat. Brown, along with his brother Shannon, and Timothy Patrick Morris, entered the home of Lena Benefield, beat the occupants to death, and then set fire to the home. Defense claimed that Reo Benefield had abused Mark Brown at age 11, and had been paying Brown significant amounts of ďhush moneyĒ in an arrangement that Brown would not have wanted to end. The prosecution responded that even if the abuse spawned the violence it did not justify the murder of Reo Benefield, and certainly didnít justify the murder of the other three present.

Sources: Anniston Star (Alabama) 12/04/08 (2008 WLNR 23288955), 12/13/08 (2008 WLNR 23919472), 12/16/08 (2008 WLNR 24059830); AP Alert 12/14/08 - AL 16:46:08


Lam Luong - Asian, age 37

Sentenced in Mobile County, Alabama

By: a judge upon jury recommendation

Date of crime: January 7, 2008

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Luong threw his four children, Ryan Phan (age 3), Hannah Luong (age 2), Lindsey Luong (age 1), and Danny Luong (age 4 months), off of a bridge in an act of revenge against his wife. Defense asked for lesser charges of manslaughter because Luong had spent the night drinking and smoking crack cocaine and could not have been is his right mind.

Sources: Press-Register (Alabama) 03/20/09 (2009 WLNR 5460451), 03/21/09 (2009 WLNR 6641060), 05/01/09 (2009 WLNR 8948762).


Donald Whatley - White, age 29

Sentenced in Mobile County, Alabama

By: a judge upon jury recommendation (details in case notes)

Date of crime: December 29, 2003

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Whatley beat, strangled, then ran over Pete Patel (age 43) with a vehicle. Whatley had gone to a gay bar specifically to find someone to rob. He left the bar with Patel, attempted to kill him by strangulation, and ran him over after hearing Patel was still alive. Whatley admitted to this crime while serving a life sentence for another murder in Texas. Whatley claimed he would have never commit the crime were he not under the influence, and that his problems stemmed from a difficult childhood with an abusive father. Whatley told the jury not to feel bad for recommending the death penalty, but the Judge did not immediately follow the recommendation. The Judge called a special hearing to determine what the appropriate sentence was, and did not issue a ruling until three months after the sentencing hearing.

Sources: Press-Register (Alabama) 11/08/08 (2008 WLNR 21935075), 11/11/08 (2008 WLNR 21935929), 11/13/08 (2008 WLNR 21937129), 12/12/08 (2008 WLNR 24004464), 01/23/09 (2009 WLNR 1499055).


David Wiggins - White, age 32

Sentenced in Russell County, Alabama

By: a judge upon jury recommendation

Date of crime: October 29, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Wiggins fatally shot Kyle Cavins (age 58). Cavins was shot 10-15 feet outside his business where Wiggins had also briefly worked. Wiggins was also sentenced in a carjacking for the day following the murder. During sentencing the judge spoke about Wigginsí abusive childhood, his crack cocaine habit, and his struggle with alcoholism.

Sources: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Alabama) 03/11/09 (2009 WLNR 4637397), 05/01/09 (2009 WLNR 8228513).


ARIZONA

Donald Delahanty - White, age 18

Sentenced in Maricopa County, Arizona

By: a jury Date of crime: May 10, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Delahanty fatally shot a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Delahanty, the passenger in the vehicle with Christopher Wilson, was believed to be the gunman. The defense team was replaced when it was discovered that Delahantyís girlfriend was working for the defense firm and was using the un-monitored phone calls to plot with Delahanty to kill witnesses.

Sources: AP Alert 11/30/07 - AZ 22:04:12; The Arizona Republic 04/07/09 (2009 WLNR 18434567); Phoenix New Times 04/23/09 (2009 WLNR 7805668); US Federal News 05/29/09 (2009 WLNR 10204061)


Mike Peter Gallardo - Latino, age 48

Sentenced in Maricopa County, Arizona

By: a jury

Date of crime: December 9, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Gallardo shot Rudy Padilla (age 20) to death during a burglary of Padillaís parentsí home. Gallardo called the Padilla home on his cell phone to see if anyone was home, Rudy Padilla was home on a day off from college and did not pick up the phone. Gallardo broke a window leaving a trace of blood, and upon finding Padilla bound him, blindfolded him, and then shot him in the back of the head.

Sources: The Arizona Republic 07/01/09 (2009 WLNR 15685852)


Dale Hausner - White, age 30

Sentenced in Maricopa County, Arizona

By: a jury

Date of crime: June 29, 2005; November 11, 2005; December 29, 2005; May 2, 2006; July 30, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Hausner was given six death sentences for a series of shootings. Hausner shot David Estrada (age 20) in the chest from point-blank range on June 29, 2005. He then shot Nathaniel Shoffner with a shotgun when Shoffner stopped Hausner from killing a stray dog on November 11, 2005. Hausner shot Jose Ortis and Marco Carillo within minutes of each other on December 29, 2005. Hausner dared his co-defendant Samuel Dieteman to shoot Claudia Gutierrez Cruz (age 20) from a car as Hausner drove on May 2, 2006. Hausner shot Robin Blasnek (age 22) as she walked past her parentsí house on July 30, 2006. Hausner ordered his attorneys not to argue any mitigating evidence about his childhood to spare his life. He told the jury that the best way for the families of his victims to heal would be for him to receive the death penalty.

Sources: The Arizona Republic 01/07/09 (2009 WLNR 18435830), 03/27/09 (2009 WLNR 18441268), 03/28/09 (2009 WLNR 18460836); AP Alert 03/27/09 - AZ 22:13:39, 03/28/09 - AZ 08:17:55, 07/30/09 - AZ 01:25:35


Christopher Payne - White, age 27

Sentenced in Pima County, Arizona

By: a jury

Date of crime: sometime between March 9, 2006 and September 1, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Payne locked his children Ariana (age 3) and Tyler (age 4) in a closet until they starved to death. Only one set of remains were recovered when a storage facility manager found Arianaís body in a large plastic tub inside a storage unit. Defense argued that Payne had antisocial personality disorder and drug addiction problems following a rough childhood.

Sources: Arizona Daily Star 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 3954221), 03/25/09 (2009 WLNR 5859899), 03/26/09 (2009 WLNR 5859986), 03/31/09 (2009 WLNR 6275506), 05/01/09 (2009 WLNR 8795124)


Wayne Prince - White, age 28 (resentencing)

Sentenced in Maricopa County, Arizona

By: resentencing by a jury

Date of crime: March 1998 Prosecutionís case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Prince fatally shot his stepdaughter Cassie Parker (age 13). The original jury was unable to decide if they would impose the death penalty, so the judge sentenced Prince to death without jury recommendation. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that juries must determine if there are sufficient reasons to impose the death penalty.

Sources: The Arizona Republic 01/16/09 (2009 WLNR 18447226)


ARKANSAS

Brandon Eugene Lacy - Black, age 28

Sentenced in Benton County, Arkansas

By: a jury

Date of crime: August 30, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Lacy, along with Broderick Lloyd Laswell, broke into the home of Randy Walker (age 47) to steal guns. They beat him and stabbed him with a fire poker. Defense argued he was guilty of murder, but not capital murder. Defense argued that despite Lacyís ďdespicable actĒ he was ďnonetheless a human being.Ē

Sources: AP Alert 10/09/07 - AR 12:44:47, 12/04/07 - AR 14:31:33, 09/01/08 - AR 20:57:35, 05/09/09 - AR 19:38:56


CALIFORNIA

Paul Wesley Baker - White, age 42

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: April 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Baker raped and murdered Judy Palmer (age 60) who was an ex-girlfriend. Palmerís body was found with shredded photos of Bakerís dog, but too badly decomposed when it was found to determine the cause of death. Defense argued the Baker had a cruel childhood which led to drug abuse as an adult. Baker also smeared feces on his face during trial in an apparent attempt to show the jury he was insane.

Sources: Los Angeles Times 03/20/08 (2008 WLNR 5382575), 04/10/08 (2008 WLNR 6685588); Daily News (CA) 01/17/09 (2009 WLNR 5550359)


Ruben Becerrada - Latino, age 36

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: March 4, 2000

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Becerrada stabbed and strangled Maria Arevalo (age 22). Arevalo had accused Becerrada of raping her in August 1999. Jurors found the special circumstances of murdering a witness to a crime, murder during a kidnapping, and murder by lying in wait.

Sources: US State News 09/29/08 (2008 WLNR 18572564); AP Alert 11/05/08 - CA 02:01:08, 02/12/09 - CA 04:42:58; US Federal News 02/12/09 (2009 WLNR 2744069)


Steven Dewayne Cheatham - Black, age 22

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: December 20, 1998 & July 1, 2001

Prosecutionís case/defense response: On December 20, 1998, Cheatham shot Phillip Ovalle (age 33) in the face for being a member of a rival gang. At the same location on July 1, 2001 Cheatham opened fire on three teenagers when they told Cheatham they were not a member of any gang. Two of the teenagers ran, but Elvira Ramirez (age 14) froze in place. Cheatham shot her in the back of the head. Jurors found special circumstances of multiple murders, and murder to further the activities of a criminal street gang.

Sources: AP Alert 10/17/08 - CA 04:19:14; US Federal News 04/25/09 (2009 WLNR 7811616)


Skylar Deleon - White, age 23 (in 2003)

Sentenced in Orange County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: 2003, & November 15, 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also John Fitzgerald Kennedy) On November 15, 2004, Deleon (then age 24) and John Fitzgerald Kennedy (age 37) chained Thomas (age 57) and Jackie Hawkes (age 47) to an anchor and drowned them in the ocean. Deleon, Kennedy, and two other conspirators had bound and gagged the Hawkes, forced them to sign a bill of sale on the yacht they were on, then chained them to an anchor before throwing it overboard. In 2003, Deleon slashed the throat of Jon Jarvi (age 45). This was a charge unrelated to the murders of the Hawkes. Defense argued that Deleon had been abused by his drug-dealing father and that this left him predisposed to violence.

Sources: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) 04/11/09 (2009 WLNR 6808037); The Orange County Register (CA) 04/13/09 (2009 WLNR 6914260), 05/08/09 (2009 WLNR 8864920), 06/19/09 (2009 WLNR 11806025), 07/23/09 (2009 WLNR 14152758)


Calvin Dennis - Black, age 26

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 2, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Reyon Ingram) Dennis and Ingram robbed Derrick Kellum Sr (age 46) earlier in the day, and then lured him back offering to return the wallet. They shot Kellum and his son Octavius (age 10) to death when they returned. Jurors found the special circumstance of a gang murder and lying in wait.

Sources: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) 11/22/08 (2008 WLNR 22336844), 01/31/09 (2009 WLNR 1874434); AP Alert 03/06/09 - CA 23:00:30; Los Angeles Times 12/19/09 (2009 WLNR 25553996)


Steven Carl Evans - White, age 56

Sentenced in Orange County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: August 2003

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Evans stabbed Jeanette Elias (age 24) over twenty times. Evans met Elias after getting off at a train stop in Fullerton. He then took her to a nearby trailer when he attempted to rape her, and then stabbed her to death. Evans was a registered sex offender and had done time for a previous rape.

Sources: Los Angeles Times 08/01/08 (2008 WLNR 14338159), 08/01/08 (2008 WLNR 14338204)


Jose Guerrero - Latino, age 23 (in 1995)

Sentenced in Madera County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: April 1995; July 1998; November 1998

Prosecutionís case/defense response: In April 1995, Guerrero shot Julia Woodley (age 41) in the heart. In July 1998, Guerrero strangled Sharlene Fowler (age 30). In November 1998, Guerrero stabbed to death Tamara Hernandez (age 22). Guerrero was also charged with two counts of forced oral copulation and one count of forcible sodomy. The defense argued that the sexual acts were consensual and that Guerrero was guilty of only second-degree murder. Defense further argued that Guerrero suffered from delusional disorders. Many members of the victimís family and one woman who survived an attack by Guerrero expressed opposition to the death penalty.

Sources: The Fresno Bee (CA) 04/16/09 (2009 WLNR 7158204), 04/21/09 (2009 WLNR 7446875), 04/22/09 (2009 WLNR 7543405), 04/23/09 (2009 WLNR 7673579), 06/24/09 (2009 WLNR 12082440)


Reyon Ingram - Black, age 23

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 2, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Calvin Dennis) Ingram and Dennis robbed Derrick Kellum Sr (age 46) earlier in the day, and then lured him back offering to return the wallet. They shot Kellum and his son Octavius (age 10) to death when they returned. Jurors found the special circumstance of a gang murder and lying in wait.

Sources: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) 11/22/08 (2008 WLNR 22336844), 01/31/09 (2009 WLNR 1874434)


Darryl Kemp - White, age 42

Sentenced in Contra Costa County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: November 14, 1978

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Kemp raped and murdered Armida Wiltsey (age 40). The crime had gone unsolved until DNA matching positively identified Kemp following an arrest for rape in Texas. Kemp had received a death sentence once before in 1960, but was spared when the U.S. Supreme Court declared that capital punishment was unconstitutional in the 1970ís. Kemp was paroled in 1978 just four months before killing Wiltsey. Defense claimed that Kemp suffered from brain damage and a mental disorder that compelled him to rape, and the the deaths were the unintended consequence of attempting to subdue his victims. Defense also pointed out that Kempís age and poor health make it unlikely that the death penalty will take Kemp before natural causes.

Sources: Alameda Times-Star (CA) 12/18/08 (2008 WLNR 24373621), 12/19/08 (2008 WLNR 24438332); San Francisco Chronicle (CA) 01/01/09 (2009 WLNR 19620); Contra Costa Times (CA) 06/26/09 (2009 WLNR 12690675)


John Fitzgerald Kennedy - Black, age 38

Sentenced in Orange County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: November 15, 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Skylar Deleon) On November 15, 2004, Deleon (then age 24) and John Fitzgerald Kennedy (age 37) chained Thomas (age 57) and Jackie Hawkes (age 47) to an anchor and drown them in the ocean. Deleon, Kennedy, and two other conspirators had bound and gagged the Hawkes, forced them to sign a bill of sale on the yacht they were on, then chained them to an anchor before throwing it overboard.

Sources: The Orange County Register (CA) 05/08/09 (2009 WLNR 8864920), 12/28/09 (2009 WLNR 26051235)


Donte McDaniel - Black, age 24

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: April 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: McDaniel and Kai Harris entered a South Los Angeles housing project and shot two people to death over a drug dispute. They attempted to murder three other witnesses but were not successful.

Sources: AP Alert 11/20/09 - CA 20:53:54; Los Angeles Times 11/21/09 (2009 WLNR 23498077)


Timothy Joseph McGhee - Latino, age 24 (in 1997)

Sentenced in Los Angeles County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 14, 1997; June 3, 2000; November 9, 2001

Prosecutionís case/defense response: October 14, 1997 shot Ronald Martin (age 25) 28 times. McGhee fatally shot Ryan Gonzalez (age 16/17) on June 3, 2000. McGhee also fatally shot Margie Mendoza (age 26) on November 9, 2001. The prosecution used rap lyrics written by McGhee in prison to find details of past crimes. Defense argued that the writings were only works of fiction.

Sources: Daily News (CA) 10/26/07 (2007 WLNR 21153322); Alameda Times-Star (CA) 10/26/07 (2007 WLNR 21187163); Los Angeles Times 11/10/07 (2007 WLNR 22237785), 01/10/09 (2009 WLNR 506891); US State News 08/27/08 (2008 WLNR 16224127), 01/09/09 (2009 WLNR 988272); AP Alert 01/09/09 - CA 23:59:57


Raymond Lee Oyler - White, age 35

Sentenced in Riverside County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 26, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Oyler started a fire in Southern California that killed five federal firefighters: Jason McKay (age 27), Jess McLean (age 27), Daniel Hoover-Najera (age 20), Mark Loutzenhiser (age 43), Pablo Cerda (age 23). Oylerís car contained a singed slingshot that investigators believe he used to catapult incendiary devices into the brush. During the case an unidentified person placed a newspaper article on the windshield of the jurors about a different possible suspect, but the judge allowed the case to continue after speaking with each member of the jury.

Sources: San Bernardino County Sun (CA) 06/05/09 (2009 WLNR 10842265); AP Alert 06/06/09 - AK 03:13:43; The Orange County Register (CA) 06/11/09 (2009 WLNR 11251082)


Samuel Rivera - Latino, age 18

Sentenced in Tulare County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: November 16, 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Rivera shot Gustavo Barrera (age 24). Rivera leaned out the front passenger window of a car and fired a single shot from a shotgun into a van full of laborers. The driver of the van was able to identify Rivera because Rivera had broken the windshield of the same van two years earlier. The defense argued that Rivera was young at the time of the crime, had grown up in gang-ridden territory, and that Rivera was a special-education student when he was in school.

Sources: The Fresno Bee (CA) 06/19/09 (2009 WLNR 11789953)


Raul Ricardo Sarinana - Latino, age 38

Sentenced in Riverside County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: December 25, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Cathy Lynn Sarinana) The Sarinanas beat their nephew, Ricky Morales (age 11), and locked him in a closet where he was found dead hours later. Prosecution did not pursue a case for the killing of Rickyís older brother, who was also under the care of the Sarinanas, because the body was discovered in another state and the boyís death is believed to have occurred there. Juries found the special circumstances of inflicting torture. The defense argued that the Sarinanas did beat Morales, but that they didnít intend to kill him. While the Sarinanas were tried together they each had a separate jury empanelled.

Sources: AP Alert 02/04/09 - CA 02:28:29, 03/27/09 - CA 02:19:45, 04/06/07 - CA 17:37:05, 04/22/09 - CA 18:31:31; UPI Top Stories 04/15/09 (04/15/09 UPITOPSTORI 00:00:00)


Cathy Lynn Sarinana - White, age 29

Sentenced in Riverside County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: December 25, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Raul Ricardo Sarinana) Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Cathy Lynn Sarinana) The Sarinanas beat their nephew, Ricky Morales (age 11), and locked him in a closet where he was found dead hours later. Prosecution did not pursue a case for the killing of Rickyís older brother, who was also under the care of the Sarinanas, because they body was discovered in another state and the boyís death is believed to have occurred there. Juries found the special circumstances of inflicting torture. The defense argued that the Sarinanas did beat Morales, but that they didnít intend to kill him. Defense for Cathy further claimed that she was being beaten by Raul and should be considered another victim. While the Sarinanas were tried together they each had a separate jury empanelled.

Sources: AP Alert 02/04/09 - CA 02:28:29, 03/27/09 - CA 02:19:45, 04/06/07 - CA 17:37:05, 04/22/09 - CA 18:31:31; UPI Top Stories 04/15/09 (04/15/09 UPITOPSTORI 00:00:00)


Benjamin Wayne Watta - Latino, age 34

Sentenced in Orange County, California

By: a jury

Date of crime: December 23, 1980

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Watta raped and suffocated Simone Sharpe (age 70). The crime had gone unsolved for many years until the case was reopened and police analyzed genetic material that had been found on Sharpeís body. Wattaís DNA had been collected as he was serving a sentence for the attempted murder of his girlfriend. The defense sought to blame Henry Lee Lucas who had admitted to committing the crime. Lucas had, however, admitted to over 600 crimes and most detectives do not believe Lucas commit most of the crimes he claimed to have commit. Defense also detailed the abuse that Watta had experienced while growing up.

Sources: The Orange County Register (CA) 06/25/08 (2008 WLNR 12692378), 01/21/09 (2009 WLNR 3906115); Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) 07/03/08 (2008 WLNR 12465404); Los Angeles Times 01/21/09 (2009 WLNR 1150551)


FLORIDA

Joshua Lee Altersberger - Black, age 19

Sentenced in Polk County, Florida

By: a judge upon jury recommendation (9-3)

Date of crime: January 12, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Altersberger shot Florida Highway Patrolman Sgt. Nicholas Sottile (age ) during a traffic stop. The prosecution discussed the aggravating circumstances of killing an on-duty police officer and that the murder was ďcold, calculated, and premeditated.Ē The defense argued that Altersberger was young and could not appreciate the criminality of his conduct.

Sources: Highlands Today (FL) 03/26/09 (2009 WLNR 5654464), 03/31/09 (2009 WLNR 6009434), 05/07/09 (2009 WLNR 8664328), 05/09/09 (2009 WLNR 8870067), 06/15/09 (2009 WLNR 11487753)


Cornelius Baker - Black, age 20

Sentenced in Flagler County, Florida

By: a judge upon jury recommendation (9-3)

Date of crime: January 7, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Baker and Patricia Rosa (age 19) kidnapped and fatally shot Elizabeth Uptagrafft (age 55). Baker and Rosa entered the home, severely beat three of the occupants, and then kidnapped Elizabeth Uptagrafft. Uptagrafftís body was found on a dirt road with a bullet wound in the forehead. Defense spoke of Bakerís childhood as mitigating factors. Baker had been raised in a home with two parents that abused alcohol and drugs. Defense also brought up issues of a low IQ and fetal alcohol exposure.

Sources: Daytona News-Journal (FL) 08/21/08 (2008 WLNR 15871405), 08/28/08 (2008 WLNR 16331224), 09/15/08 (2008 WLNR 17567511), 03/05/09 (2009 WLNR 4323194), 06/27/09 (2009 WLNR 12450861)


David Byron Russ - White, age 44

Sentenced in Seminole County, Florida

By: a judge after waiving a jury

Date of crime: May 7, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Russ beat and fatally stabbed Madeleine Leinen (age 58). Russ entered Leinenís home, collected her valuables and then waited for her to come back home. When Leinen returned Russ hogtied her, severely beat her, and then stabbed her four times. Russ pleaded guilty. For sentencing Russ requested that the issue go directly to the judge and waived his right to a jury. Russ also refused to allow his attorneyís to be present at the sentencing, because he did not want any mitigating evidence to be presented.

Sources: Orlando Sentinel (FL) 02/07/08 (2008 WLNR 2336300), 04/15/08 (2008 WLNR 7011747), 05/27/08 (2008 WLNR 9981525), 01/10/09 (2009 WLNR 518316), 01/16/09 (2009 WLNR 903439, 05/14/09 (2009 WLNR 9178261)


Willie James Hodges - Black, age 40

Sentenced in Escambia County, Florida

By: a judge upon jury recommendation (10-2)

Date of crime: December 19, 2001

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Hodges broke into the home of Patricia Belanger (age 58). Hodges beat her over the head with a hammer, stabbed her in the neck and throat with a steak knife. Hodges is facing charges in two other murders: the November 2001 burglary and murder of Winnie Johnson (age 66) in Alaska, and the March 2003 rape and murder of Laverne Jansen (age 81) in Ohio. Defense argued that Hodges is mentally retarded and should not be put to death; his IQ is 69.

Sources: Pensacola News Journal (FL) 02/25/08 (2008 WLNR 26750205), 03/20/08 (2008 WLNR 26753105), 03/21/08 (2008 WLNR 26753296); The Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 02/01/09 (2009 WLNR 16849793)


William Silvia Jr. - White, age 41

Sentenced in Seminole County, Florida

By: a judge upon jury recommendation (11-1)

Date of crime: September 22, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Silvia shot his wife, Patricia Silvia (age 39), to death and wounded his mother-in-law. The defense argued that Silvia should not be put to death because he suffered from paranoia, a form of schizophrenia, and was an alcoholic.

Sources: Orlando Sentinel (FL) 06/08/08 (2008 WLNR 10818343), 07/22/08 (2008 WLNR 13655306), 01/29/09 (2009 WLNR 1693757)


GEORGIA

Michael Ledford - White, age 43

Sentenced in Paulding County, Georgia

By: a jury

Date of crime: July 25, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Ledford ambushed Jennifer Ewing (age 54) along a bike trail. Ledford dragged Ewing into the bushes and attempted to force her to perform oral sex, but she fought back and bit him. Ledford then went into a rage punching her over thirty times, and then stomped on her twice breaking several ribs. Ledford also crushed Ewingís nose and larynx. Ewing died from suffocation caused by the broken ribs. At the time of the attack Ledford was on probation from an earlier rape. The defense argued that Ledford could not control his anger because of decade of abusing alcohol and a childhood injury. Defense further argued that Ledford had been sexually abused as a child.

Sources: Atlanta Journal and Constitution (GA) 05/12/09 (2009 WLNR 9000769), 05/20/09 (2009 WLNR 9572035), 05/23/09 (2009 WLNR 9829226); AP Alert 05/22/09 - GA 21:33:53


DeíKelvin Martin - Black, age 29 (resentencing)

Sentenced in Fulton County, Georgia

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 2002

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Martin stabbed to death Travis and Ila Ivery (ages 83 and 77 respectively) and their great-grandson Savion Wright (aged 12). Martin requested threw himself on the mercy of the court at his first trial but was still sentenced to death. Martin appealed his death sentence on the grounds that his only pleaded guilty because he had a deal with the judge to avoid the death penalty. Before the next trial began Martin was then offered life imprisonment. However, as one of the primary witnesses against Martin had died (a statement was read into evidence), Martin refused the offer. Martin was sentenced to death again.

Sources: Atlanta Journal and Constitution (GA) 02/03/09 (2009 WLNR 2001677), 02/12/09 (2009 WLNR 2730899)

KANSAS

Justin Thurber - White, age 23

Sentenced in Cowley County, Kansas

By: a jury

Date of crime: January 5, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Thurber kidnapped, raped, and murdered Jodi Sanderholm (age 19). The State argued that the mental and physical torture of Sanderholm, as well as the manner in which her body was hidden, pointed to an indifference to human life and warranted the death penalty. Defense attempted to show that Justin Thurber was mentally retarded, but his IQ was 10 points higher than the minimum set by the state. The defense introduced evidence of Thurberís bipolar disorder.

Sources: Wichita Eagle (KS) 02/16/09 (2009 WLNR 3023246), 02/17/09 (2009 WLNR 3047277); AP Alert 02/16/09 - KS 18:22:45, 03/20/09 - KS 21:18:28; Kansas City Star (MO) 03/21/09 (2009 WLNR 5345375)


MISSOURI

Terrance L. Anderson - Black, age 30 (resentencing)

Sentenced in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

By: a jury

Date of crime: July 25, 1997

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Anderson lay in wait at the home of Stephen and Debbie Rainwater (ages x and x, respectively). Anderson was there to confront the Rainwaterís daughter whom he had dated and had a child. When he shot and killed Debbie Rainwater she was holding the Andersonís infant. Andersonís initial penalty was reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court. At the new sentencing the State offered some evidence of the crime, and victim impact statements from two girls who were at the scene of the crime. The defense discussed the emotional distress that Anderson was under from a conflict with his victim.

Sources: Missouri Lawyers Media 3/10/10 (2010 WLNR 5499985)


Lance Shockley - White, age 28

Sentenced in West Plains County, Missouri

By: a jury Date of crime: March 20, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Shockley shot and killed Carl Dewayne Graham Jr. (age 37). Graham was a sergeant with the Missouri State Troopers, and had investigated Shockley in a fatal hit and run accident. Shockley shot Graham three times, once in the back, and twice in the back of the head. Defense argued that the state had focused on the wrong man and that they had the wrong man.

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 03/28/09 (2009 WLNR 5858198); AP Alert 03/29/09 - MO 03:24:54, 05/22/09 - MO 21:42:36


NEBRASKA

Roy Ellis Jr. - Black, age 52

Sentenced in Douglas County, Nebraska

By: a three judge panel after a jury found aggravating circumstances

Date of crime: November 29, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Ellis kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered Amber Harris (age 12) from a bus stop. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. Jurors found two aggravating circumstances in the case: Ellis had a substantial history of violence, and the murder was particularly heinous. Defense argued that Ellis might be mentally retarded, or mentally ill.

Sources: AP Alert 04/28/08 - CO 23:38:31; Omaha World-Herald (NE) 06/05/08 (2008 WLNR 10599197), 11/08/08 (2008 WLNR 21360841), 02/06/09 (2009 WLNR 2408015)


NEVADA

Frederick Mendoza - White, age 61

Sentenced in Clark County, Nevada

By: a jury

Date of crime: March 3, 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Mendoza sexually assaulted, and stabbed Rita Kremberg (age 68) 18 times before slitting her throat with a steak knife. Defense pointed out the Mendoza has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from serving in Vietnam.

Sources: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) 11/26/08 (2008 WLNR 22677114),


NORTH CAROLINA

Hasson Jalam Bacote - Black, age 19

Sentenced in Johnston County, North Carolina

By: a jury

Date of crime: February 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Bacote fatally shot Anthony Surles (age 18) during an attempted home robbery. Bacote offered no defense during his trial.

Sources: The News & Observer (NC) 04/08/09 (2009 WLNR 6639318)


Michael Wayne Sherrill - White, age 28

Sentenced in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

By: a jury

Date of crime: February 1984

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Sherrill raped and stabbed Cynthia Dotson (age 23) and then burned her trailer. The case was solved using DNA evidence collected under Dotsonís nails. Defense argued that Sherrill was innocent, and that the DNA could have many other sources aside from during the murder.

Sources: Charlotte Observer (NC) 02/18/09 (2009 WLNR 3168634), 02/18/09 (2009 WLNR 3112195), 02/24/09 (2009 WLNR 3528390)


PENNSYLVANIA

Robert Diamond - White, age 33

Sentenced in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

By: a judge after waiving a jury

Date of crime: August 1, 2008

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Diamond gunned down two former coworkers: Angel Guadalupe (age 46) and Reginald Woodson (age 52). Diamond pleaded guilty to the murders in a deal where the prosecution agreed to allow a judge to decide the penalty should Diamond abandon his mental health defense. The state pointed out that the murders appeared to have racial motivations.

Sources: Bucks County Courier Times (PA) 04/14/09 (2009 WLNR 7261222), 04/16/09 (2009 WLNR7594823), 04/19/09 (2009 WLNR 7984090); Intelligencer (PA) 04/17/09 (2009 WLNR 7747055), 04/19/09 (2009 WLNR 7808158)


Harold Murray IV - Black, age 29

Sentenced in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

By: a jury

Date of crime: January 31, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Murray shot and killed Jennifer Pennington (also killing her unborn baby), and Shawne Mims (age 33) in retaliation for the victims robbing him of crack cocaine the day before. This was the Philadelphia-areaís first prosecution for homicide of an unborn child. Sources: AP Alert 07/22/09 - PA 10:48:37, 07/22/09 - PA 12:52:27 Albert Perez - Latino, age 25 Sentenced in Berks County, Pennsylvania By: a jury Date of crime: January 15, 2007 Prosecutionís case/defense response: Perez hung Duceliz Diaz-Santiago (age 22) and her daughter Kayla (age 5). Perez then sent an email pretending to be Diaz-Santiago to cover his tracks. Defense offered evidence of his childhood to show the nature of his youth.

Sources: Reading Eagle (PA) 05/15/09 (2009 WLNR 9294107), 05/21/09 (2009 WLNR 9653473), 05/27/09 (2009 WLNR 10032770), 05/28/09 (2009 WLNR 10100619)


David Ramtahal - Black, age 21

Sentenced in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

By: a jury

Date of crime: November 15, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Ramtahal shot and killed Jarrett Osborne (age 18) during a robbery. Ramtahal believed that Osborne was a drug dealer and would have a lot of money. The police solved the crime by matching the bullet taken from Osborne and matching it to a bullet taken from another murder for which Ramtahal was already serving a life sentence. The state showed three aggravating factors: the murder occurred during the commission of another felony, he put others in danger during the murder, and Ramtahal had a violent history. Defense offered evidence of Ramtahalís childhood as possible mitigating factors. During the penalty phase a juror asked to speak to the judge because she was ďstruggling with moral issues,Ē but the judge did not provide any guidance beyond an instruction to keep deliberating.

Sources: Bucks County Courier Times (PA) 05/15/09 (2009 WLNR 10542354), 05/17/09 (2009 WLNR 10707238), 05/19/09 (2009 WLNR 10798620)


SOUTH CAROLINA

William Dickerson - Black, age 29

Sentenced in Charleston County, South Carolina

By: a jury

Date of crime: March 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Dickerson sexually assaulted Gerald Roper (age 29), removed two of Roperís teeth, and then strangled him. The state argued that Dickerson murdered Roper because he believed he was the man having sex with his girlfriend in a video he had found; it was not Roper. The Defense argued that Dickerson was the scapegoat for the actual murderers.

Sources: AP Alert 04/23/09 - SC 23:58:00, 04/30/09 - SC 23:37:53, 05/07/09 - 21:33:45


Jerry Buck Inman - White, age 37

Sentenced in Pickens, South Carolina

By: a judge after pleading guilty

Date of crime: May 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Inman raped and strangled Tiffany Souers (age 20) near the Clemson University campus. Defense provided testimony and evidence about the sexual abuse that Inman had experienced at the hand of his father growing up. Several witnesses, including a social worker, explained the way in which this led to a variety of psychological disorders. Inman told the judge during sentencing that he was too violent to rehabilitate and that he deserved to die. Judges determine sentences in cases when the defendant confesses in South Carolina.

Sources: AP Alert 04/22/09 - AL 17:44:25; Charleston Daily Mail (WV) 04/23/09 (2009 WLNR 7676478); AP DataStream 04/23/09 00:19:01


Clinton Robert Northcutt - White, age 20 (resentencing)

Sentenced in Lexington County, South Carolina

By: a judge

Date of crime: January 7, 2001

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Northcutt punched, squeezed, choked, and bit his daughter, Breanna Northcutt (age 4 months), before breaking her back over the edge of her crib. During the initial sentencing the prosecutor showed how the infant had been killed with a doll during closing arguments. Though Northcutt had personally asked for the death penalty the South Carolina Supreme Court held that the closing argument was overly zealous. Defense again sought to show evidence of Northcuttís childhood, including abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father.

Sources: Columbia State (SC) 06/15/09 (2009 WLNR 11412324), 06/16/09 (2009 WLNR 11465243), 06/17/09 (2009 WLNR 11531170), 06/18/09 (2009 WLNR 11604392)


TENNESSEE

Henry Lee Jones - Black, age 39

Sentenced in Shelby County, Tennessee

By: a jury

Date of crime: August 23, 2003

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Jones robbed, strangled, and slit the throats of Clarence James (age 82) and Lillian James (age 67). Jones himself testified during the trial talking about how he was a ďbroken man.Ē During sentencing the defense showed evidence that Jones was often beaten as a child.

Sources: Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) 05/13/09 (2009 WLNR 9126484), 05/14/09 (2009 WLNR 9228220), 05/15/09 (2009 WLNR 9313343)


TEXAS

Raul Cortez - Latino, age 23

Sentenced in Collin County, Texas

By: a jury

Date of crime: March 12, 2004

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Cortex shot to death Rosa Barbosa (age 46), Matthew Barbosa (age 25), York Self (age 18), and Matthew Self (age 17). The murders occurred during a botched robbery. Cortez was linked to the crimes through DNA evidence, but he insisted on his innocence. During the penalty phase of the trial the prosecution provided evidence that Cortez was part of a violent street gang. The defense called Cortezís mother who begged the jury to spare her son.

Sources: AP Alert 01/30/09 - TX 04:47:41, 02/03/09 - TX 17:16:22; Dallas Morning News (TX) 01/31/09 (2009 WLNR 1881235), 02/02/09 (2009 WLNR 1972845)


Erick Daniel Davila - Black, age 20

Sentenced in Tarrant County, Texas

By: a jury

Date of crime: April 6, 2008

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Davila shot to death Queshawn Stevenson (age 5), and Annette Stevenson (age 48) at a childrenís birthday party. The jury voted unanimously that Davilla posed a continuing threat to society. The defense argued that Davilaís life should be spared because he had a low IQ, he was mentally unstable, and had a deprived childhood. The defense also described how Davila was conceived in a rape.

Sources: AP DataStream 04/09/08 01:23:37; Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) 02/11/09 (2009 WLNR 2706540), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 7642422); Dallas Morning News (TX) 02/20/09 (2009 WLNR 3367742), 02/26/09 (2009 WLNR 3828417), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 3890664), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 3925712)


Robert Fratta - White, age 37 (resentencing)

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas

By: a jury

Date of crime: 1994

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Fratta paid two men to kill his wife Farah Fratta. Fratta got a new trial when an appellate court found that the confessions of his conspirators should not have been admitted at trial because he did not have a chance to cross examine those men. Fratta was again sentenced to death. Defense argued that the death penalty should be reserved for cop killers, serial killers, and those who kill children. The defense also stated that Mr. Fratta would never be released on parole because, ďThis is Texas.Ē

Sources: Houston Chronicle (TX) 05/16/09 (2009 WLNR 9474137), 05/30/09 (2009 WLNR 10296701), 05/31/09 (2009 WLNR 10384423)


Armando Leza - Latino, age 30

Sentenced in Bexar County, Texas

By: a jury

Date of crime: April 2007

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Leza stabbed and slit the throat of Caryl Jean Allen (age 57) after robbing her home. The jury found that Leza posed a future threat, and that there were not sufficient mitigating circumstances. Lezaís brother begged the jury to spare his life.

Sources: San Antonio Express-News (TX) 05/12/09 (2009 WLNR 9032393), 05/21/09 (2009 WLNR 9749085), 05/22/09 (2009 WLNR 9795703), 06/02/09 (2009 WLNR 10550034)


Raymond DeLeon Martinez- Latino, age 37 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas

By: A jury

Date of crime: 7/13/83

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Martinez and two cohorts attempted rob a tavern. During the robbery the manageróHerman Chavisóattempted to stop one of Martinezís cohorts from hitting a patron with a pool cue. Martinez shot Chavis multiple times, killing him. This murder was part of a weeklong crime spree by Martinez that resulted in several robberies and the deaths of five people. Also, Martinez had a long criminal record before that, and had been an organizer and leader of the violent prison gang called the Texas Syndicate. Martinezís sentence was overturned in 2007 because the jury instructions had failed to give the jury a vehicle through which to give meaningful consideration to Martinezís evidence of mental disease. At the re-sentencing, the jury again issued a death sentence.

Sources: Martinez v. State, 327 S.W.3d 727 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010); Ex parte Martinez, 233 S.W.3d 319 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007); 3/20/09 AP Alert-TX 01:28:55.


Christian Olsen ó White, age 19

Sentenced in Brazos County, Texas

By: A jury

Date of crime: 6/3/07

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Olsen gained entrance to the home of his neighbor Etta Jean Westbrook under the pretense of returning a dish, then bludgeoned and choked her to death and stole her credit cards, which he and his much older live-in girlfriend Kelly Sifuentes (age 40 at the time of the crime) used within hours of the murder. In the penalty phase the prosecution presented evidence that Olsen and Sifuentes had earlier killed Sifuentesí mother and buried her in the backyard of the home where they were all livingóOlsen and Sifuentes had also used her credit cards. The defense presented mitigating evidence that Olsen had been an unproblematic child until he had been seduced at age 14 into a sexual relationship with Sifuentes, and that she had held him in a sexual thrall ever since then.

Sources: The Eagle (Bryan, Texas) 2/19/09 (2009 WLNR 3234888), 2/20/09 (2009 WLNR 3365539), 2/27/09 (2009 WLNR 3840812), 3/3/09 (2009 WLNR 4077898), 3/4/09 (2009 WLNR 4169671)


FEDERAL

Joseph Ebron - Black, age 26

Sentenced in Eastern District, Texas

By: a jury

Date of crime: May, 7, 2005

Prosecutionís case/defense response: Ebron was one of three inmates that took part in the stabbing death of another inmate Keith Barnes. The defense provided evidence of 35 mitigating factors.

Sources: US Federal News 08/16/07 (2007 WLNR 17057859); The Beaumont Enterprise (TX) 05/01/09 (2009 WLNR 8252972), 05/19/09 (2009 WLNR 9508987)


Ricardo Sanchez - Latino, age 22

Sentenced in Southern District, Florida

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 13, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Daniel Troya) Sanchez and Troya carjacked a car and murdered the two adults and two children inside. The trials for the adults and the children in the car were held separately. This case was for the murder of Luis Damian Escobedo (age 3), and Luis Julian Escobedo (age 4). The occupants were all shot during the carjacking.

Sources: St. Lucie News Tribune (FL) 05/16/09 (2009 WLNR 9470455); US Federal News 05/18/09 (2009 WLNR 9444957), 06/06/09 (2009 WLNR 10871171)


Daniel Troya - Latino, age 22

Sentenced in Southern District, Florida

By: a jury

Date of crime: October 13, 2006

Prosecutionís case/defense response: (see also Ricardo Sanchez) Troya and Sanchez carjacked a car and murdered the two adults and two children inside. The trials for the adults and the children in the car were held separately. This case was for the murder of Luis Damian Escobedo (age 3), and Luis Julian Escobedo (age 4). The occupants were all shot during the carjacking.

Sources: US Federal News 05/18/09 (2009 WLNR 9444957), 05/28/09 (2009 WLNR 10110927), 06/06/09 (2009 WLNR 10871171)