Death Sentence Reporter

Alabama

Bobby Baker Jr. - black, age 21 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Houston County, Alabama
  By:
  Date of crime: April 5, 1994
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Baker kidnapped and shot his estranged wife, Tracy Baker, four times while sitting in the back seat of his car.
  Prosecutor(s): Doug Valeska
  Defense lawyer(s): Gwen DaGian
  Sources: AP Alert 1/08/07 - AL 20:13:53

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Roderick Byrd - black, age 22 (See also Brandon Deon Mitchell)
  Sentenced to death in Jefferson County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: November 24, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Byrd and Brandon Deon Mitchell entered the Airport Inn in Birmingham intending to commit a robbery. Mitchell went behind the counter, forced the clerk, Kim Olney (age 28) to lay face-down on the floor and then attempted to open the safe. Byrd held a guest, John Aylesworth (age 42) at gunpoint in the lobby. Another guest, Dorothy Smith (age 58), entered the lobby to check in and Mitchell came around the counter and took her hostage at gunpoint. All three victims were shot execution-style in the head. Prosecution argued that evidence showed two separate guns were used and Byrd shot at least one of the victims. Defense said Byrd did not shoot anyone and was surprised when Mitchell shot them all. During the penalty phase, the prosecution argued that Byrd’s IQ was high enough to place him above the cutoff of retardation set by Alabama courts while the defense argued that Byrd’s low IQ should exclude him from the possibility of the death penalty.
  Prosecutor(s): Danny Carr, Arnita Brown Foster
  Defense lawyer(s): Everett Wess, Emory Anthony Jr.
  Sources: Mobile Register 1/19/07 (2007 WLNR 3699643); Birmingham News 6/19/07 (2007 WLNR 11556787), 6/21/07 (2007 WLNR 11773967), 6/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11862656); Press-Register 6/24/07 (2007 WLNR 12717101); AP Alert 8/17/07 - AL 18:42:02

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Esau Jackson - black, age 28
  Sentenced to death in Jefferson County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote recommending a death sentence
  Date of crime: February 1, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Pamela Montgomery (age 42) was driving her two children, Shaniece Montgomery (age 22) and Denaris Montgomery (age 18), along with Milton Poole III (age 16) home after picking up some of Poole’s clothes at his apartment when they stopped for a red light. Jackson pulled alongside Pamela’s car and opened fire with an SKS rifle while another man fired from the rear of the vehicle. All four occupants were shot and Pamela and Milton were killed. Before he died, Milton identified Jackson as the shooter. Defense contended that Jackson witnessed the crime from behind Pamela Montgomery’s car, but did not participate in the shooting.
  Prosecutor(s): Mike Anderton
  Defense lawyer(s): Matt Theus, Robert Sanford
  Sources: AP Alert 3/17/07 - AL 18:05:00; Birmingham News 1/31/07 (2007 WLNR 1933610), 2/01/07 (2007 WLNR 2036949), 2/03/07 (2007 WLNR 2273836), 3/17/07 (2007 WLNR 5376156)

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Christopher Thomas Johnson - white, age 33
  Sentenced to death in Escambia County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a jury recommended the death penalty at Johnson’s request.
  Date of crime: February 20, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson laid on top of his 6 month old son, Elias Ocean Johnson, jammed his fingers down the baby’s throat and beat him to death because he was crying. Johnson himself testified he didn’t want the crying baby to wake his wife. Additionally, he wanted out of his marriage and killing the baby was the best way to hurt his wife and avoid having to pay child support.
  Prosecutor(s): Steve Billy
  Defense lawyer(s): Johnson fired his court-appointed attorneys at the close of the guilt phase at the end of 2006. Wade Hartley was appointed to give Johnson legal advice as needed while he represented himself during the penalty phase of the trial.
  Sources: Birmingham News 2/22/07 (2007 WLNR 3701191), 2/23/07 (2007 WLNR 3619508)

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Randy Lamont Lewis - black, age 20
  Sentenced to death in Jefferson County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote recommending the death penalty.
  Date of crime: March 28, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lewis shot Taurus Frost in the back of the head inside Frost’s girlfriend’s car, which he then stole at gunpoint. He then forced the girlfriend, Vontricesa Davis into another car with two men while Lewis followed in her car with Davis’ son and niece screaming in the back seat. Davis tried to escape and Lewis drove onto the median and ran her over with her own car before speeding through the nearby intersection. Lewis left the children locked in Davis’ car behind a vacant house, with Frost’s body inside. Defense said there was no physical evidence to link Lewis to the crime – not even fingerprints in the car. At the penalty phase, the Defense presented mitigating evidence concerning Lewis’ lack of any significant criminal record and noted that he was only a teenager when the crime occurred.
  Prosecutor(s): Mike Anderton
  Defense lawyer(s): Erskine Mathis, Linda Hall
  Sources: Birmingham News 5/17/07 (2007 WLNR 9391299), 5/18/07 (2007 WLNR 9459255), 6/30/07 (2007 WLNR 12548036)

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Brent Martin - white, age 31
  Sentenced to death in Marion County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 jury vote recommending a death sentence.
  Date of crime: June 24, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Mills and his common-law wife, JoAnn Mills went to the home of Floyd Hill (age 87) and Vera Hill (age 72) for the purpose of robbing them. Prosecution said that Mills brutally executed the Hills with a machete, tire tool and ball-peen hammer and then took several items from their home. When the Mills were stopped in their car outside their home the morning after the Hills were found in their home, the prosecution alleged that JoAnn Mills consented to a search of their home, vehicle, and the trunk of their vehicle. Defense argued that the incriminating evidence had been obtained by a warrant-less search in violation of the Mills’ constitutional rights.
  Prosecutor(s): Buster Landreau
  Defense lawyer(s): Frank Patterson
  Sources: Press-Register 9/14/07 (2007 WLNR 18195502); Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 9/12/07 (2007 WLNR 17778938); AP Alert 8/07/07 - AL 18:41:10

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Jamie Ray Mills - black, age 33
  Sentenced to death in Russell County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote recommending the death penalty.
  Date of crime: September 8, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Martin fatally shot Johnnie Randolph III (age 21) and Darryl Maurice Carrillo (age 18). Martin kidnapped them and three others, Alicia Dixon, Amari Dixon, and Nakayla Randolph in an alleged attempt to lure his estranged wife to him. Prosecution said Martin drove the hostages around Russell County before killing Carillo and Randolph that evening. After the shootings, Alicia Dixon escaped and contacted police. Martin attempted to take the two remaining hostages to a relative’s home and was arrested when he tried to flee from police.
  Prosecutor(s): Jack Bostick
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Times Daily 12/30/07; Mills v. State 2008 WL 2554011

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Brandon Deon Mitchell - black, age 24 (See also Roderick Byrd)
  Sentenced to death in Jefferson County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote for life without parole.
  Date of crime: November 24, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Mitchell and Roderick Byrd entered the Airport Inn in Birmingham intending to commit a robbery, where Mitchell had once worked. Mitchell went behind the counter and forced the clerk, Kim Olney (age 28), to lay face-down on the floor. He then attempted to open the safe. Byrd held a guest, John Aylesworth (age 42) at gunpoint in the lobby. Another guest, Dorothy Smith (age 58), entered the lobby to check in and Mitchell came around the counter and took her hostage. All three victims were shot execution-style in the head. Prosecution argued that Mitchell shot Olney and Smith while Byrd shot Aylesworth.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Ron Thrasher, Eric Hamilton
  Sources: Birmingham News 5/03/08 (2008 WLNR 8453275), 6/19/07 (2007 WLNR 11556787), 6/21/07 (2007 WLNR 11773967), 6/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11862656); Mobile Register 1/19/07 (2007 WLNR 3699643); AP Alert 8/17/07 - AL 18:42:02

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Bobby Phillips - white, age 39
  Sentenced to death in Covington County, Alabama
  By: A judge, following a jury’s recommendation of death.
  Date of crime: November, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Phillips killed Paul LeMaster outside his home after stealing his truck and wallet. Phillips and another man, Oscar Ray Doster, had escaped from the Covington County Jail shortly before the killing occurred. Prosecution alleged that Phillips was the shooter.
  Prosecutor(s): Greg Gambril
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 9/05/06 - AL 11:05:49, 5/17/07 - AL 15:56:58

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Michael Reynolds - white, age 31
  Sentenced to death in Etowah County, Alabama
  By: A judge, following a unanimous recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: May 25, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Reynolds was convicted in the stabbing deaths of Chuck Martin (age 38), his wife Melinda Martin (age 31), and their daughter Savanah Martin (age 8), at their home. Prosecution alleged Reynolds and his former girlfriend, Marcie West, went out to the family’s home to commit robbery. Reynolds stabbed all three victims and even stabbed West when she tried to stop him from stabbing Melinda Martin. Defense claimed Reynolds went out to the home to help West cover up the murders after she had witnessed the crime.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Charles Hart
  Sources: AP Alert 10/20/07 - AL 17:43:16, 10/23/07 - AL 19:05:07, 12/07/07 - AL 22:39:17

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David Dewayne Riley - white, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Lauderdale County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after the unanimous recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: January 10, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: During a robbery at a liquor store, Riley shot the clerk, Scott Michael Kirtley (age 38) three times, execution style, resulting in his death. Defense alleged that Riley was high on crack cocaine during the robbery, which he was committing in order to pay off a drug debt. Riley testified that he never had any intention of hurting anyone, and he did not remember what happened after the first shot went off. Prosecution alleged that Riley was lying when he said he did not realize what he was doing during the robbery because he was cognizant enough to remember to remove two of the three surveillance tapes from the store.
  Prosecutor(s): Chris Connolly
  Defense lawyer(s): Steve Aldridge
  Sources: AP Alert 1/25/07 - AL 16:00:58 & AL 22:09:55, 1/26/07 - AL 03:12:29, 3/21/07 - AL 17:16:40; Press-Register 1/26/07 (2007 WLNR 4652369)

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Anthony Lee Stanley - white, age 39
  Sentenced to death in Colbert County, Alabama
  By: A judge, rejecting a jury’s recommendation of life without parole.
  Date of crime: July 18, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Stanley and his wife, Shelly, lured Henry Early Smith (age 52) into the apartment they shared under the guise of paying him for some painkillers Shelly had purchased from him the previous day. In reality, the couple was desperate for drugs and concocted the plan in order to rob Smith. Smith was beat with a baseball bat and stabbed more than thirty times with steak knives.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): B.T. Gardner Jr., Bill Marthaler
  Sources: AP Alert 4/17/07 - AL 02:38:09, 6/20/07 - AL 16:21:56 & AL 14:59:07

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Kim VanPelt - white, age 43
  Sentenced to death in Colbert County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote for death.
  Date of crime: November, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: VanPelt was convicted of killing his wife, Sandra VanPelt (age 40) whom he met through an internet chat room. An autopsy revealed that Sandra had died of suffocation. Prosecution alleged VanPelt killed his wife to collect a $300,000 life insurance policy which was taken out on her days after they were married.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 12/13/06 - MI 01:41:49, 3/07/07 - MI 19:00:55 & AL 18:47:00

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Jodey Wayne Waldrop - white, age 28
  Sentenced to death in Franklin County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 jury vote for death.
  Date of crime: September 25, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Waldrop was convicted of killing his 3-week old son, Jodey Jo "Chance" Waldrop. The baby was found unconscious and not breathing inside the family’s home and died at the hospital three days later. Prosecution alleged that based on the autopsy, the baby died from being shaken or slammed against something. Defense alleged that he accidently dropped the baby while lighting a cigarette. Waldrop gave four different accounts of what happened.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 10/01/07 - AL 21:07:24, 10/02/07 (2007 WLNR 9779588); Press-Register 10/02/07 - AL 10:00:54

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David Phillip Wilson - white, age 20
  Sentenced to death in Houston County, Alabama
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 jury vote for a death sentence.
  Date of crime: April, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Wilson killed Dewey Walker (age 64) during a robbery at his home. Authorities said Walker was beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and then strangled. Prosecution said Walker was attacked in an attempt by Wilson and three others (Matthew Marsh, Catherine Corley and Michael Ray Jackson) to get his customized van and rob him of rare coins believed to be hidden in a wall.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 12/06/07 - AL 16:34:17, 1/09/08 - AL 13:25:02

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Arizona

Patrick Bearup - white, age 24
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: February 26, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Bearup, along with Sean Gaines, Jeremy Johnson and Jessica Nelson beat and shot Mark Mathes (age 40) and then threw him off a cliff in a remote area north of Phoenix. Nelson was living at the Mathes residence when she realized she was missing six hundred dollars and suspected Mark Mathes of stealing it from her. Nelson informed Gaines of her suspicions and later when Mathes returned home, Gaines, Bearup and Johnson arrived at the Mathes residence armed with a baseball bat and a shotgun. In his defense, Bearup claims he was falsely accused. He alleges that the other participants blamed him in order to save themselves.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 2/06/07 - AZ 21:20:25 & AZ 16:32:05, 2/07/07 - AK 00:21:27; Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov/newindex/asp); Death Row USA (www.deathrow-usa.us/PatrickBearupAZ.htm)

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Derek Chappell - white, age 22
  Sentenced to death in Mesa, Arizona
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: March 11, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Chappell was convicted of killing Devon Shackleford (age 2). Investigators said Chappell had previously been dating Devon’s mother, Kristal Shackleford, and felt like the child was responsible for the break-up of the relationship. Chappell took the child from his mother’s apartment to the apartment complex swimming pool where he held the child under the water while the boy struggled for his life. Chappell left the boy face down in the pool and walked away.
  Prosecutor(s): Patricia Stevens, Frankie Grimsman, & Charles Vogel
  Defense lawyer(s): Lawrence Matthew, Lynn Burns, & Garrett Simpson
  Sources: Phoenix News (www.kpho.com/news/14600240/detail.html); Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov)

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Brian Dann - white, age 36 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: April 4, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Dann entered the home of Andrew Parks and shot and killed Andrew, Andrew’s sister Shelly, who was Dann’s girlfriend of two years, and Andrew’s friend, Eddie Payan. The preceding evening, Dann stopped by the home of Tina Pace-Morrell, his former girlfriend, to borrow a gun. He initially claimed that someone was trying to kill him, but later told Tina that Andrew had fired a gun at him earlier that day and he needed a gun for protection because he intended to go to Andrew’s apartment to pick up some of his belongings. Following the murders, Dann explained to Tina that he shot Andrew and Shelly because they laughed at him and he shot Eddie because he was a witness to the shootings of Andrew and Shelly.
  Prosecutor(s): Janet Napolitano, Kent Cattani & Jim Nielsen
  Defense lawyer(s): Brent Graham & Rudolph Gerber
  Sources: Arizona Department of Corrections (www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/pdf2003/CR_02_0042_AP.pdf)

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Alfredo L. Garcia - Latino
  Sentenced to death in Arizona
  By:
  Date of crime: May, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Garcia and his co-defendant, James Sheffield, attempted to rob Steve Johnson as he was refilling an ATM machine at a Phoenix bar. Johnson resisted and was shot and killed.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources:

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Ryan Kuhs - white, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: November 20, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Kuhs got into a verbal argument with Larry Herrera, who was visiting his brother Ricky. Later that same day, Kuhs went back to the apartment where he and Larry got into a shouting match. Ricky Herrera’s apartment was unlocked and Ricky was home sleeping in his bed. Kuhs entered the apartment and stabbed Ricky twenty-one times including twice in the skull, penetrating his brain. Ricky was found by neighbors while still fighting for his life, but died during surgery that day.
  Prosecutor(s): Jeannette Gallagher & Eric Basta
  Defense lawyer(s): Nathaniel Carr & Leo Valverde
  Sources: Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov); East Valley Tribune (www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/98000)

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Julius J. Moore - black, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By:
  Date of crime: November 16, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Debra Ford went to the home of Sergio Mata, Delia Ramos, and Guadalupe Ramos to buy and use crack. Moore came to the home looking for Debra. The two talked and smoked crack. Shortly thereafter, Sergio came out of the home. Moore asked him, “Do you have a problem with me?” Sergio did not respond Moore then shot him in the head, killing him. He then turned and shot Debra in the neck. When police arrived, they found Guadalupe on the couch and Delia inside the bedroom closet. Both were shot to death. Debra survived and testified against Moore at trial.
  Prosecutor(s): William Clayton
  Defense lawyer(s): John Canby & Dennis Jones
  Sources: Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov)

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Paul B. Speer - white, age 24
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By:
  Date of crime: May 25, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Speer was in jail awaiting trial for a burglary he committed with his brother, Chris Womble, at the residence of Adan and Enriqueta Soto. Speer conspired from jail with his brother, Brian Womble, over the phone to kill the Sotos who were to be witnesses in the burglary trial. Brian broke into the Soto residence and shot the couple while they slept with their baby boy between them. Enriqueta (age 30) was permanently debilitated and Adan (age 42) died with his arms around his son. Two other children were asleep in the residence at the time of the crime.
  Prosecutor(s): Jeanette Gallagher
  Defense lawyer(s): Robert Storrs, Bruce Blumberg & Pamela Nicholson
  Sources: Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov)

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Brian A. Womble - white, age 19
  Sentenced to death in Phoenix, Arizona
  By:
  Date of crime: May 25, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Womble conspired with his brother, Paul Speer, who was in jail awaiting trial for a burglary he committed with his other brother, Chris Womble, at the residence of Adan and Enriqueta Soto. The brothers plotted over the phone to kill the Sotos who were to be witnesses in the burglary trial. Womble broke into the Soto residence and shot the couple while they slept with their baby boy between them. Enriqueta (age 30) was permanently debilitated and Adan (age 42) died with his arms around his son. Two other children were asleep in the residence at the time of the crime.
  Prosecutor(s): Jeanette Gallagher
  Defense lawyer(s): Herman Alcantar & Rodrick Carter
  Sources: Arizona Department of Corrections (www.azcorrections.gov)

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Arkansas

Michael Daniels - black
  Sentenced to death in Warren, Arkansas
  By: A judge, after a jury convicted Daniels after a 30 minute deliberation.
  Date of crime: January 8, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Daniels killed James Williams (age 52) at a gas station. The defense admitted that Daniels stabbed Willimas in the head, chest and stomach with a Bowie knife. Daniels said he was angry after Williams cheated in a game of three-card monte, and wanted to recover the twenty dollars he had lost. Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Williams had cheated during the game.
  Prosecutor(s): Thomas Deen
  Defense lawyer(s): Bing Colvin
  Sources: AP Alert 2/16/07 - AR 16:19:16

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Gibson Derek Sales - black, age 44
  Sentenced to death in Warren, Arkansas
  By: A judge, following a jury’s recommendation which required only two hours of deliberation.
  Date of crime: April 16, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sales stabbed and strangled Willie York (age 56). Police found Sales in York’s home the day after the murder.
  Prosecutor(s): Thomas Deen
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 5/19/07 - AR 19:14:49

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Steven Victor Wertz - white, age 36
  Sentenced to death in Little Rock, Arkansas
  By:
  Date of crime: December 31, 1986
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Wertz was convicted in the shooting death of Terry and Katherine Watts. Terry was shot in the chest and his throat was slashed. Katherine was shot once in the head and once in the chest. Their 1-year-old son was found unharmed near his father’s body. There was a child custody battle going on at the time over 5-year-old Chasenda Wertz, daughter of Terry Watts and Belinda Wertz. Wertz and his co-defendant, James Snyder Jr., had been suspects from the beginning but no arrests were made for over 20 years.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 5/05/06 - KY 05:01:51

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California

Vincent Edward Brothers - black, age 41
  Sentenced to death in Bakersfield, California
  By: A judge, following a jury recommendation.
  Date of crime: July 8, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Brothers killed his estranged wife, Joanie Harper, their three small children, Marques (age 4), Lyndsey (age 2) and Marshall (age 6 weeks), and his mother-in-law, Earnestine (age 70). All five had been shot and stabbed. Brothers defense claimed he was in Columbus, Ohio visiting his brother at the time his family was killed. His attorneys described him as a compassionate, patriotic man who was wrongly blamed. The Prosecution believed that Brothers did fly to the Midwest to establish an alibi, but then drove back to Bakersfield in a rental car to kill his family.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 3/30/07 - CA 17:26:25, 9/28/07 - CA 00:42:11; University Wire 6/06/07 - UNIWIRE 00:07:52

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Refugio Ruben Cardenas - latino, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Visalia, California
  By: A judge, following a jury’s recommendation.
  Date of crime: October 9, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Cardenas shot and killed Gerardo Cortez (age 19) while he was visiting relatives. Cardenas thought he saw rival gang members and therefore used a sawed-off shotgun to fire at Cortez as he and several family members talked outside a residence. Cortez was shot in the head and died immediately. Another individual was shot but survived.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: The Fresno Bee 3/30/07 (2007 WLNR 6082769)

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Joseph Cordova - latino, age 35
  Sentenced to death in Martinez, California
  By: A judge, following a jury’s recommendation.
  Date of crime: August 24, 1979
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Cordova raped and strangled Cannie "Candy" Bullock (age 8). The prosecution alleged that Cordova was involved in an ongoing relationship with Cannie’s mother, Linda Baum. When Baum left her daughter home alone one evening to go drinking, Cordova gained entry to the home by preying on the young girl’s innocence and trust. The defense denied all allegations and claimed that the DNA evidence found on Cannie was transferred to her when she slept in the bed Cordova had previously shared with Cannie’s mother.
  Prosecutor(s): Dara Cashman
  Defense lawyer(s): Mitchell Hauptman & Michael Kotin
  Sources: Alameda Times-Star 1/28/07 (2007 WLNR 26015694), 5/14/07 (2007 WLNR 9153012), Contra Costa Times 2/17/07 (2007 WLNR 3183970)

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Alex Demolle - black, age 24
  Sentenced to death in Oakland, California
  By: A judge, following a jury’s recommendation.
  Date of crime: July 23, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Demolle invited a neighbor child, Jaquita Mack (age 11) into his apartment to play video games and then proceeded to rape and murder her. The Prosecution alleged that Demolle also used a neighbor’s car to dump the young girl’s body several blocks away in an empty lot. After DNA evidence linked Demolle to the crime, he confessed during a taped interview.
  Prosecutor(s): John Brouhard
  Defense lawyer(s): Daniel Horowitz
  Sources: AP Alert 5/4/07 - CA 12:14:40, Alameda Times-Star 5/03/07 (2007 WLNR 8455457), San Francisco Chronicle 4/17/07 (2007 WLNR 7241365)

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Martin D. Drews - white, age 40
  Sentenced to death in Imperial County, California
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Drews was an inmate at Calipatria State prison where he was serving a sentence for a murder he committed in 1983 while he was a parolee from the California Youth Authority. On the morning that a 30-day lockdown imposed at the prison due to racial tensions was lifted, Drews used a shank that was fashioned out of a piece of metal from a desk to stab to death the first black inmate he saw. Drews instructed his lawyers not to present a mitigation case.
  Prosecutor(s): Roland Wayne Robinson
  Defense lawyer(s): Thomas Storey, Edward Sada
  Sources: Telephone call with prosecutor Robinson, 4/2/09; L.A. Times 1/4/84 1985 WLNR 1011755

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Wayne Adam Ford - white, age 36
  Sentenced to death in San Bernardino County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: 1997-1998
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ford was convicted of killing four women, mutilating their bodies, and dumping them in reservoirs and sloughs. Ford confessed to killing Patricia Tamez, Lanett Deyon White, Tina Renee Gibbs, and an unidentified woman between 1997 and 1998 by strangling them during intercourse (all were believed to be prostitutes). Ford, a former truck driver, picked up each of the women between California and Nevada. Ford then strangled the women to death, mutilated their bodies, and dumped them throughout various locations in California, keeping various body parts as keepsakes. Ford consulted his brother, Calvin Rodney Ford, in November of 1998 prior to taking advice to turn himself in to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s department. During his confession, Ford removed a mutilated breast from his jacket pocket, presented it to the sheriff and proclaimed that this was the “tip of the iceberg.” The prosecution was able to convict Ford through a combination of his confession, a detailed description of the locations of the bodies, and recovered DNA and semen samples. Each of the murders was so brutal and grotesque that many jurors reported seeking counseling at the conclusion of the trial. The defense does not appear to have contested the charges, but stressed that Ford confessed as a product of his remorse, sought counseling at a Bible camp in Northern California, and had a troubled past.
  Prosecutor(s): J. David Masurek
  Defense lawyer(s): Joseph D. Canty, Jr.
  Sources: L.A. Times 7/13/2006 (2006 WLNR 12041699), 7/21/2006 (2006 WLNR 12544018); AP Alert - California 7/28/2006, 8/11/2006, 3/17/2007

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Alexander Hamilton - black, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Contra Costa County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April 13, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Moffett robbed a Raley’s supermarket and a Wells Fargo Bank that was housed within the supermarket. Both suspects fled the scene while being chased by Pittsburgh Police Officer Lasater. A short time after fleeing, Hamilton shot and killed Lasater, being apprehended shortly thereafter. Moffett was discovered hiding nearby. Both suspects were charged with armed robbery and murder. At the time of the incident, Hamilton was eighteen years old and Moffett was seventeen, thus ineligible for the death penalty. The defense provided mitigation evidence that Hamilton suffered brain damage as a result of his mother’s drinking problem during pregnancy. Information was also provided to the jury establishing that Hamilton’s stepfather was abusive and that Hamilton had been sexually abused by another boy during childhood.
  Prosecutor(s): Harold Jewett
  Defense lawyer(s): Robin Lipetzky and Kimberly Kupefer
  Sources: Contra Costa Times 7/31/2007 (2007 WLNR 14836298), 9/12/2007 (2007 WLNR 17902295), 9/13/2007 (2007 WLNR 18439717)

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Ivan J. Hill - black, age 31
  Sentenced to death in Los Angeles County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: Winter of 1993 until early 1994
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hill was convicted of a string of nine robberies in February of 1994. During his incarceration, police found DNA evidence which linked Hill to an unsolved string of nine murders occurring between 1993 and 1994. The prosecution linked Hill to the rape and murder of six women after finding DNA from semen and skin scraped from underneath the victim’s fingernails. Evidence of a total of three other unsolved murders was presented during Hill’s trial, demonstrating that Hill was the probable serial killer known as the “60 Freeway Slayer,” a name derived from the discovered location of the bodies. The defense presented testimony that Hill suffered from an abusive childhood, including abuse from his father. At the age of seven, Hill witnessed his father shoot his mother in the face on Christmas day, evidence submitted through the testimony of Hill’s surviving mother.
  Prosecutor(s): John Monaghan
  Defense lawyer(s): Jennifer Friedman
  Sources: AP Alert - California 11/30/2006 ; U.S. State News 3/21/2007 (2007 WLNR 5422664); LA Times 3/22/2007 (2007 WLNR 5404872)

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James Leslie Karis, Jr. - white, age 27 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Sacramento County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: July, 1981
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Karis was convicted of kidnapping two El Dorado County workers, raping one and killing another. Prosecution presented testimony of several of Karis’ victims, including other sexual assaults and kidnappings. The greatest interest in the case comes from Karis’ appeals process. During his original state sentencing, no evidence was presented regarding Karis’ horrific past. Afterward, attorney Norman Hile and his law firm took over the federal appeal and presented evidence of Karis’ traumatic childhood which stemmed from his father’s tyrannical control over the family. Karis’ sentence was reversed and set for retrial of the sentencing phase. After the prosecution closed, Karis took over his defense, refused to put on any evidence and pleaded for the jury and the judge to return him to San Quentin. Karis claimed that he did not want to undermine the emotions of his victim’s families or relive the horrors of his past.
  Prosecutor(s): Joseph Alexander
  Defense lawyer(s): Norman Hile
  Sources: Sacramento Bee 4/26/2008 (2007 WLNR 7948117); AP Alert - California 4/26/2007

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Jonathon Ross Luther - hispanic, age 22
  Sentenced to death in California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: January, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Prosecution presented the videotaped confession of Luther admitting to hiding outside of a 74 year-old retired La Sierra University professor’s house and shooting him while he watched television. Luther admitted to not having any motive in picking his victim, only claiming that “it was the perfect time, the perfect moment.” The jury found the aggravating circumstance of lying in wait and the crime enhancement of discharging a firearm that caused bodily injury. The defense attempted to establish that Luther was not hiding long enough to warrant a finding of lying in wait.
  Prosecutor(s): Angel Bermudez
  Defense lawyer(s): Frank Peasley
  Sources: AP Alert - California 2/3/2007; The Press Enterprise (LEXIS USPAPR file) 2/3/2007

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Jose Luis Orozco - hispanic, age 22
  Sentenced to death in LA County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: June 24, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jose Luis Orozco was convicted of murdering a deputy sheriff assigned to investigate a gang related killing centering around Orozco. After a short foot pursuit, Orozco hid behind a door and sprung on the deputy, shooting him in front of a mother and her two children. Evidence at trial included the testimony of the three witnesses, DNA and fingerprint evidence linking Orozco to the murder weapon, and a videotape of Orozco bragging about the killing to a friend while incarcerated. Sentencing phase evidence also demonstrated that Orozco attempted to put a hit on the witnesses; a mother and her eight and ten year-old daughters. The jury found a plethora of aggravating circumstances, including lying in wait, murder to avoid arrest and the killing of a peace officer while performing official duties. Defense moved for a mistrial after the prosecution offered evidence of Orozco’s gang ties. Mitigating evidence included Orozco’s gang involvement since the age of 12 and his history of drug abuse. Orozco’s attorneys never attempted to defend the murder, admitting the overwhelming evidence, but rather claimed that Orozco’s past warranted a sentence of life without parole.
  Prosecutor(s): Phillip Stirling and Lowell Anger
  Defense lawyer(s): Stanley Perlo and Robin Yanes
  Sources: AP Alert - California 4/3/2007, 5/4/2007; Long Beach Press 4/3/2007 (2007 WLNR 6609504), 5/4/2007 (2007 WLNR 9756649)

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Santiago Pineda - hispanic, age 22
  Sentenced to death in LA County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Santiago Pineda was convicted of the strangling death of an inmate that testified against him in an unrelated murder trial. The prosecution demonstrated that Pineda used a fake identification wristband to gain access to restricted areas of a Los Angeles jail. Pineda eventually found Raul Tinajero, ordered cellmates to look away while Pineda strangled the inmate to death, and finally threatened their lives if they were to report the incident.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert - California 2/17/2007; LA Times 1/24/2007 (2007 WLNR 1367126), (2007 WLNR 1342368)

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Irvin Alexander Ramirez - hispanic, age 23
  Sentenced to death in Alameda County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: July 25, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Irvin Ramirez received a death sentence for the execution-style killing of a San Leandro Police Officer responding to a disturbing the peace call. Ramirez was detained for possession of drugs and weapons when Ramirez shot the officer in the chin with a 10 mm handgun, bringing him to the ground. Ramirez then fired six more rounds into the officer prior to fleeing the scene in a friend’s car. He then discarded his clothing and the murder weapon in a nearby marsh. Defense introduced evidence that Ramirez was drunk at the time of the incident and stressed the fact that he was only 23 at the time of the crime. Other evidence demonstrated that Ramirez has no history of violence and received several "good behavior" reports from jail.
  Prosecutor(s): Tom Orloff
  Defense lawyer(s): Deborah Levy
  Sources: Alameda Times-Star 8/4/2007 (2007 WLNR 15012644); Contra Costa Times 8/4/2007 (2007 WLNR 15196398); The Argus 6/12/2007 (2007 WLNR 11007488)

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Cuitlahuc Tahua Rivera - other, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Colusa County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Rivera was a known member of the Merced Gangster Crips who had been arrested by Officer Gray previously. Gray stopped Rivera’s vehicle to check for a parole violation. The mother of Rivera’s child testified that Rivera knew a search would reveal a .45 caliber gun in his waistband and result in his arrest. Rivera fled his vehicle with Officer Gray close behind while Rivera’s two-year old daughter and her mother watched from the car. Rivera then turned and fired two shots, one entering above the officer’s bullet-proof vest, severing his spinal cord and resulting in his death. At trial, the prosecution offered the testimony of the mother and that of the woman who housed Rivera during a seventeen day manhunt. To seek the death penalty, the prosecution was required to establish that this was a premeditated murder designed to eliminate an efficient member of the gang strike force. Defense countered this argument by presenting testimony that killing police officers would be contrary to the gang’s interest, resulting in a police lockdown. Testimony also demonstrated that Rivera was on methamphetamine at the time of the murder.
  Prosecutor(s): Larry Morse II and Mark Bacciarini
  Defense lawyer(s): C. Logan Mckechnie
  Sources: AP Alert - California 5/4/2007; Merced Sun-Star 5/23/2007 (2007 WLNR 9654910); The Modesto Bee 5/23/2007 (2007 WLNR 9684545)

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Mauricio Silva - hispanic, age 24 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in LA County, California
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: 1984
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: This case was remanded to a state court after the Florida Supreme Court found reversible error in the excusal of five prospective Hispanic jurors. Silva originally confessed to three murders approximately three weeks after committing acts described by a state court judge as “extraordinarily vicious and inhuman.” The defense attempted to show that Silva suffered from brain damage and survived a tumultuous childhood.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Upinder Kalra
  Sources: AP Alert - California 5/25/2007, 8/18/2007

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Connecticut

Jessie Campbell III - age 20
  Sentenced to death in Hartford, Connecticut
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: August 26, 2000
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jessie Campbell shot the mother of his son while she was visiting a friend’s home. After shooting his estranged girlfriend, he turned the gun on her friend and the friend’s aunt. Only the aunt survived the shootings by cowering below Campbell and pretending to be dead. After the murders, Campbell burned the clothes he was wearing and fled to Michigan. He was captured shortly after and brought back to Connecticut for the murders. Defense attempted to establish that Campbell’s father was addicted to crack and negatively influenced Campbell’s upbringing. Other evidence demonstrated that Campbell possessed an I.Q. of 78. Campbell’s defense team also stated they were going to challenge lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment and attack the "capricious and arbitrary" manner in which prosecutors elect to seek a capital conviction.
  Prosecutor(s): Vicki Mechiorre and Dennis O’Connor
  Defense lawyer(s): David Smith and Ronald Gold
  Sources: The Hartford Courant 8/18/2007 (2007 WLNR 16182886), 8/17/2007 (2007 WLNR 16017106); AP Alert - Connecticut 8/17/2007

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Russell Peeler, Jr. - age 27
  Sentenced to death in Bridgeport, Connecticut
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: January 7, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Russell Peeler was arrested for the murder of local man. The only witnesses against him were the victim’s girlfriend and her 8 year-old son. During his incarceration prior to beginning his murder trial, Peeler ordered his brother Adrian to execute the two witnesses against him. Adrian followed the orders, killing the woman and her son in their apartment. Peeler has denied ordering the witnesses killed throughout the proceedings and maintains his innocence of the charges. Peeler’s primary defense after the jury found him guilty has been to claim ineffective assistance of counsel. Prosecution established that Peeler was especially cold-blooded and did not come from a disadvantaged background. Peeler had recently received $50,000 in life insurance proceeds from the death of his mother. Peeler is the only death row inmate in Connecticut that did not actually kill the victims that led to his death sentence.
  Prosecutor(s): Jonathan Benedict
  Defense lawyer(s): Jeffrey Beck and Erskine McIntosh
  Sources: The Stamford Advocate 12/11/2007 (2007 WLNR 24412865); AP Alert - Connecticut 12/11/2007; The Hartford Courant 12/11/2007 (2007 WLNR 24462430)

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Delaware

James Cooke Jr. - black, age 34
  Sentenced to death in New Castle County, Delaware
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime:
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: James Cooke entered the apartment of a University of Delaware student, raped and strangled her with a T-shirt. He then set fire to the apartment hoping to destroy all evidence of the crime. The prosecution was able to provide proof of his DNA at the scene through semen and skin scrapings underneath the victim’s fingernails. A witness also linked Cooke to the scene of the crime. Defense counsel sought to establish that Cooke had a history of mental illness stemming from the repeated abuses that Cooke suffered at the hands of his drug-addicted mothers frequent boyfriends. Psychologists examined Cooke and discovered sixteen risk factors which lead to mental illness.
  Prosecutor(s): Stephen Wood
  Defense lawyer(s): Brendan O’Neill
  Sources: The Review via U-Wire 9/4/2007 (U-WIRE); New York Times 3/18/2007 (2007 WLNR 5097776); AP Alert - Delaware 2/2/2007

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Allison Lamont Norman - black, age 23
  Sentenced to death in Sussex County, Delaware
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April 7, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lamont Norman went on a two-state shooting spree after claiming that aliens were attempting to kidnap his daughter. Norman shot and killed a fellow parent at the bus stop after dropping off his daughter, stole a vehicle and began to drive erratically. Throughout the rest of the day Norman ditched the vehicle only to hijack another vehicle and kill the owner. During this rampage, Norman donned a bullet-proof vest and carried a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Defense counsel contended that Norman believed he was protecting children from the imminent alien threat after watching an episode of "X-Files" the prior evening.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Brendan O’Neill
  Sources: AP Alert - Delaware 9/28/2007, 6/28/2007, 6/22/2007; Baltimore Sun 5/30/2007 (2007 WLNR 10098646); Desert Morning News 520/2007 (2007 WLNR 10083374)

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Florida

Lancelot Armstrong - black, age 26 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: February 17, 1990
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Armstrong killed a Broward County deputy who was investigating the robbery of a local Church’s Fried Chicken restaurant. This case was up for resentencing and there is no other information available.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert - Florida 4/26/2007

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Howard Steven Ault - white, age 30 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
  By: A judge after his original sentence was vacated in 2003.
  Date of crime: November 4, 1996
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Howard Ault offered two girls a ride home from school. Once at his home, Ault sexually abused the eleven year old girl, strangled her to death with his bare hands, and then smoked a cigarette. After he finished, he strangled her seven year old sister with his bare hands. The prosecution had little difficulty in convicting Ault of the murders after confessions to police and every reporter that was willing to hear the gruesome story. Sentencing in the matter took eleven years due to Ault’s continuous hiring and firing of attorneys and his intermittent demands for self-representation. During sentencing, prosecutors were able to demonstrate a history of sexual assaults throughout Ault’s past. Defense counsel argued during sentencing that Ault was mentally ill and had been the victim of repeated sexual abuse by his older brother while growing up.
  Prosecutor(s): Tim Donnelly
  Defense lawyer(s): Mitchell Polay
  Sources: Miami Herald 10/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 20930323), (2007 WLNR 20930293)

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Robert Bailey - white, age 22
  Sentenced to death in Bay County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: March 27, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Robert Bailey was on parole for armed burglary in Wisconsin at the time of a routine police stop in Florida. Fearing that he would be returned to prison, Bailey shot a Panama City Beach Police Sergeant twice in the chest at point blank range. Bailey fired a third round that missed the officer and shattered the window of a passing van. The officer survived long enough to call for back-up and briefly speak to officers who arrived on scene. The state had plentiful evidence linking Bailey to the shooting through the testimony of two responding officers, the driver of the van, a resident of the neighborhood who happened to be stopped behind the shooting, and Bailey’s own passenger. Bailey fled the scene on foot and was found shortly afterward. The jury found two statutory aggravators: Bailey was on parole at the time of the shooting; and, killing to avoid arrest. Defense offered eight mitigating circumstances, including: Bailey’s mental imparities; inability to appreciate the criminality of his actions; acting under heightened emotional distress; age at the time of the offense (22); and, being the product of a broken home.
  Prosecutor(s): Steve Meadows
  Defense lawyer(s): Mike Flowers
  Sources: Wisconsin State Journal 4/13/2007 (2007 WLNR 7107787); Panama City News Herald 4/12/2007 (2007 WLNR 6979259), 2/15/2007 (2007 WLNR 3004363)

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James Barnes - white, age 26
  Sentenced to death in Brevard County, Florida
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April 20, 1988
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Using DNA evidence, police linked James Barnes to the brutal rape, torture, and murder of a woman discovered in 1988. Barnes confessed to the entire event. No further information available.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: NBC 2 WESH News, Orlando, 1/25/2007 at 6:00 (2007 WLNR 1546071)

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Harrell Franklin Braddy - black, age 49
  Sentenced to death in Miami-Dade County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: November 6, 1998
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Harrell Braddy drove his estranged girlfriend to a secluded area near the Everglades and attempted to strangle her to death. Braddy then took the only witness to the event, the woman’s five year old daughter, and dumped her into a swamp known as "Alligator Alley," hoping that the reptiles would discard of the evidence. At trial a medical examiner testified that the girl was still alive when the animal bit her stomach and head, eventually causing her death. The prosecution demonstrated Braddy’s history of escape from incarceration and violence, including a previous charge for attempted murder. The mother of the little girl awoke shortly after the incident and provided the primary testimony for the case. Defense demonstrated Braddy’s close ties to family and presented the testimony of several of his relatives, each pleading to the court for a sentence of life imprisonment.
  Prosecutor(s): Abbe Rifkin
  Defense lawyer(s): Terence Lenamon and G.P. Della Fera
  Sources: Miami Herald 10/16/2007 (2007 WLNR 20259932); AP Alert - Florida 9/01/2007

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Charles Grover Brandt - white, age 38
  Sentenced to death in Hillsborough County, Florida
  By: A judge after pleading guilty and waiving a jury.
  Date of crime: July 1, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Charles Brandt entered the apartment of a young woman, raped and strangled her to death. Brandt originally attempted to suffocate the woman, but she regained consciousness and attempted to flee her apartment. Brandt then strangled her with an electrical cord, took her clothes and keys, and left her in the bathtub. Police began investigating a day later and came upon Brandt in the hallway, claiming he witnessed a man with long hair and a raincoat fleeing on foot. In fact, Brandt had described himself with the exception of his hair, which he had shaved off after the murder. Brandt later admitted he was returning to the apartment in an attempt to destroy any remaining evidence. A subsequent search of Brandt’s home revealed the woman’s clothes and keys in a trashcan. Brandt pled guilty to the charges and waived a jury trial in an effort to avoid the death penalty. In mitigation, the defense presented evidence that Brandt was abused by his step-father, possessed diminished mental capacity, suffered from a diagnosed sexual obsessive disorder, and was fighting with drug addiction.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: St. Petersburg Times, 12/01/2007 (2007 WLNR 23763041)

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Victor Caraballo - hispanic, age 34
  Sentenced to death in Miami-Dade County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: April 26, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Victor Caraballo and four other men kidnapped two high school sweethearts who were taking a walk on the beach and took them on a road-trip on Interstate 95. Each of the men took turns raping the woman as the man was beaten while cowering on the floorboards of the vehicle. The men eventually stabbed the male in the stomach and dumped him on the highway where he was able to flag down a passing motorist and contact the police. The woman was taken a short while later and forced to exit the vehicle, pleading for her life. Caraballo watched as another man shot the woman in the back of the head on the side of the highway. Police apprehended all passengers in the vehicle a short while later based on the report instigated by the male victim. Caraballo was the first of the five men to be tried for felony-murder and was convicted based primarily on the testimony of the male victim. The court found that the crime was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. In mitigation, the defense offered evidence that Caraballo was mentally ill and had suffered abuse as a child.
  Prosecutor(s): Katherine Fernandez Rundle
  Defense lawyer(s): Joel Denaro and Gary Rosenbery
  Sources: Miami Herald 6/8/2007 (2007 WLNR 10637441); South Florida Sun-Sentinel 6/8/2007 (2007 WLNR 10694698)

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John Evander Couey - white, age 46
  Sentenced to death in Citrus County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a 10-2 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: February 23, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: John Couey kidnapped the nine year old daughter of a neighbor, raped her, and buried her alive in his backyard. After a massive three week man-hunt, the girl’s body was discovered in Couey’s backyard. Police later arrested Couey in Georgia and he confessed to the murder. The confession was later suppressed because Couey was denied counsel. The prosecution established its case through DNA, incriminating jailhouse conversations, and discovery of the girl’s fingerprints in Couey’s closet. The judge found the murder to be cold, calculated, and premeditated. Couey is a registered sex-offender and has a prior history including 24 burglaries. Defense presented mitigating evidence which demonstrated that Couey suffers from a personality disorder, had an abusive childhood, and exhibited good behavior in jail. Defense also contended that Couey was mentally retarded and could not be executed, but was rebuffed by the judge.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Bradenton Herald 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16567815); South Florida Sun-Sentinel 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16607618)

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Paul Durousseau - black, age 28
  Sentenced to death in Duvall County, Florida
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: July 26, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Paul Durousseau was convicted of premeditated 1st degree murder, felony-murder, sexual battery, and robbery in a serial killing spree leaving seven dead. Five of the six murder charges were dropped before Durousseau was brought to trial on the rape and slaying of a 24 year old female. The woman was found bound and strangled in her apartment. He also faces another murder charge for the murder of a woman found in Georgia in 1997. The woman was last seen at a club two days prior to the discovery of her body.
  Prosecutor(s): Jay Taylor and Mac Heavener
  Defense lawyer(s): Ann Finnell and Bill White
  Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 11/10/2007 (2007 WLNR 22254652); AP Alert - Florida 6/9/2007

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Michael A. Hernandez, Jr. - white, age 23
  Sentenced to death in Santa Rosa County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: November 11, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Michael Hernandez took the advice of a co-worker and began a search for crack cocaine. In need of money to pay for the drugs, Hernandez and his friend went to the home of an acquaintance owing them $300. When they arrived at the home they were informed by the acquaintance’s 67 year old mother that he was not home, so the two decided to steal the money from the elderly woman instead. After telling the men that she only had $40, Hernandez’s partner returned from the bathroom with a pillow and began to smother the woman. After removing the pillow, the men realized that she was still breathing, so Hernandez took out his pocket knife, snapped her neck and slit her throat. With the additional money that they were able to find throughout the home, Hernandez and his partner spent the rest of the day smoking crack before returning to their homes for the evening. The next day Hernandez’s partner indicated intent to turn himself in due to remorse. Hernandez initially threatened to kill the man, then agreed to turn himself in to the police. The court found four statutory aggravating factors, including: a previous conviction for a violent felony; committing murder during the course of a robbery; murder to avoid lawful arrest; and, the crime was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. In mitigation, the defense presented the videotaped testimony of Hernandez’s mother, provided from her jail cell. Her testimony established that she and Hernandez’s father were addicted to drugs, involved in a motorcycle gang, abandoned and abused Hernandez throughout his life, and introduced their son to drugs at an early age.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Initial brief on direct appeal; http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/clerk/briefs/2007/601-800/07-647_ini.pdf

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Michael Jackson - white, age 23
  Sentenced to death in Duval County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: July 8, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Testimony from accomplices established that Michael Jackson was the mastermind in the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of a Florida couple. The prosecution was able to establish that four individuals kidnapped the couple and forced them to reveal all personal financial information prior to burying them alive. The couple’s bank accounts were then drained over the next few days. Three accomplices testified against Jackson and established that the events were the realization of a well laid master plan developed by Jackson. Two of the confederates also received death recommendations by the jury for their involvements. The fourth individual pled guilty in order to receive a life sentence.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert - Georgia 3/5/2008, AP Alert - Florida 8/29/2007

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Ray Jackson - black, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Volusia County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: November 1, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: After a 23 year old exotic dancer stole money and drugs from Ray Jackson, he tied her up in his bathroom and displayed her to various people, supposedly making an example out of her. An accomplice testified that she was then put in Jackson’s car and not seen again for five months. The dancer’s body was found in a shallow grave, decomposed to such an extent that medical examiners were unable to definitively identify the cause of death. The court found that the murder was cold, calculated, and premeditated due to his willingness to display the victim prior to her disappearance, evincing intent that as of that moment Jackson was preparing to end her life. Defense attacked the evidence in the case by demonstrating that medical examiners were unable to establish a cause of death. The court also heard testimony about Jackson’s past, including his attempted suicide at age eight and bouncing between foster homes from then on.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Gerard Keating
  Sources: Orlando Sentinel 6/22/2007 (2007 WLNR 11760164); Daytona News-Journal 5/10/2007 (2007 WLNR 8932272)

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Richard Andrew Knight - black, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a unanimous recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: June 28, 2000
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Richard Knight killed a mother and her four year old daughter as they slept in their apartment. Knight was living for free with his cousin and was told that it was time he moved out. Rather than face homelessness, Knight stabbed his cousin’s family to death with four butcher knives, breaking two of the knives in the process. The judge noted the brutality of the offense while sentencing Knight to death. Prosecution also offered Knight’s history of violence and sex offenses. In mitigation, defense offered evidence that Knight was abandoned on the hospital steps as an infant. Knight was sentenced to death on each of the two murders.
  Prosecutor(s): Tony Loe
  Defense lawyer(s): Sam Halpern and Evan Baron
  Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 3/29/2007 (2007 WLNR 5919006); Miami Herald 4/27/2006 (2007 WLNR 7040243)

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Herman Lindsey - black, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 8-to-4 jury recommendation of death.
  Date of crime: 4/19/94
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lindsey robbed a pawn shop and shot the clerk one time in the forehead at close range. Although the crime was committed in 1994, he was not indicted until 2006 for reasons not explained in the sources that were found. Lindsay had a prior armed robbery conviction. The defense presented mitigation evidence of Lindsay’s hard childhood, and evidence that he had many positive character traits. The Florida Supreme Court overturned Lindsey’s conviction on the basis of insufficient evidence in 2009: Lindsey v. State, 14 So.3d 211 (Fl. 2009).
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Florida Department of Corrections Death Row Roster; http://www.dc.state.fl.us/activeinmates/deathrowroster.asp; Answer Brief of Appellee State of Florida http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/clerk/briefs/2007/1001-1200/07-1167_ans.pdf

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Omar Loureiro - hispanic, age 38
  Sentenced to death in Broward County, Florida
  By: A judge, after an 11-1 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: January 2, 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Omar Loureiro took a male friend home after a New Year’s party. The prosecution established that after sexual advances by the long-time friend, Loureiro stabbed the man twice in the neck and six times in the face, nearly severing his head. After the murder, Loureiro fled to Nicaragua and evaded arrest for 20 months. Police located him in a Nicaraguan jail, serving a sentence for shooting a woman. Defense claimed that this was an act of self-defense and that the murder was justified given the physical nature of the sexual advances. The prosecution established that this stabbing was too brutal to have been committed in self-defense.
  Prosecutor(s): Howard Scheinberg
  Defense lawyer(s): Michael Tenzer
  Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 8/25/2007 (2007 WLNR 16607678), 3/28/2007 (2007 WLNR 5850283)

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Derrick McLean - black, age 27
  Sentenced to death in Orange County, Florida
  By: A judge, after a 9-3 recommendation of death by a jury.
  Date of crime: November 24, 2007
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Derrick McLean entered the home of a known dealer seeking to purchase drugs. The sixteen year old son of the dealer was the only person home and informed McLean that there were no drugs. McLean shot the teen several times and proceeded to search the house for marijuana. Alerted by the commotion, a neighbor called the police and then went next door to check on the cause of the noise. McLean exited the house with a pillowcase full of marijuana and shot the neighbor in the back prior to fleeing the scene. The neighbor survived and testified against McLean.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Orlando Sentinel 12/1/2007 (2007 WLNR 23758388)

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Norman Blake McKenzie - white, age 42
  Sentenced to death in St. John’s County, Florida
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: October 4, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Norman McKenzie went on a week-long crime spree which began with the murder of two male acquaintances in their trailer park home. After the murder, McKenzie stole multiple cars over the course of a week in an attempt to evade police. Although none of the occupants of the stolen vehicles were killed during McKenzie’s flight, several were threatened with a gun. One carjacking victim was barely able to get her three year old son out of the vehicle prior to McKenzie disappearing with the car. Police linked McKenzie to the murders via evidence located in a gold Kia parked outside of the victims’ home and through relinquishment of one victim’s wallet by McKenzie after his arrest.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Orlando Sentinel 10/7/2006 (2006 WLNR 17386086); St. Petersburg Times 10/7/2006 (2006 WLNR 17420514)

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Blaine Ross - white, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Manatee County, Florida
  By: A judge following an 8-4 recommendation from a jury.
  Date of crime: January 7, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ross was convicted of murdering his parents Richard and Kathleen Ross with a baseball bat in the family’s home while they slept. After the slayings, Ross took his mother’s bank card and attempted to stage a burglary at the family’s home. The defense brought forth the mitigating factors of Ross’s age at the time of the murders along with his insignificant criminal history and his cooperation with the authorities. The defense argued that years of drug abuse made Ross unable to think clearly and behave appropriately. The defense also brought forth an expert who testified that Ross suffered from a pre-schizophrenia mental condition. The prosecution countered by presenting the aggravating factors on the manner of the victims’ deaths and the fact that Ross committed the crime for financial gain. The judge noted that there was no convincing evidence that Ross suffered from a debilitating mental illness.
  Prosecutor(s): Art Brown
  Defense lawyer(s): Carolyn Schlemmer
  Sources: Brandenton Herald 11/16/07 2007 WLNR 22732558; Sarasota Herald Tribune 11/17/07 2007 WLNR 22859189

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Nelson Serrano - white, age 59
  Sentenced to death in Polk County, Florida
  By: A judge following a 9-3 recommendation from a jury.
  Date of crime: December 3, 1997
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Serrano was convicted of killing four people including 69 year old George Gonslaves, 35 year old Frank Dosso, 28 year old Diane Patisso, and 26 year old George Patisso inside the Erie Manufacturing building. George Gonslaves and George Patisso were business associates of Serrano and fired Serrano months prior to the murders over a business dispute. The prosecution stated that Serrano deliberately set out to kill Gonslaves and that the others may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Serrano’s defense argued that there was no physical evidence linking Serrano to the slayings and Serrano has maintained his innocence. The prosecution countered that Serrano was the mastermind of an elaborate plot to kill Gonslaves, pointing to Serrano leaving an Atlanta business trip and flying to Orlando under an assumed name to commit the slayings, then flying back to Atlanta. The prosecution argued that these actions were cold, calculated, and premeditated. The defense argued that Serrano had a clean criminal record until the killings and brought forth more than 20 character witnesses to testify that he was a caring, generous family man.
  Prosecutor(s): John Aguero, Phil Wallace
  Defense lawyer(s): Cheney Mason and Bob Norgard
  Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 6/27/07 2007 WLNR 12102077; Tampa Tribune 6/27/07 2007 WLNR 12383912; www.theledger.com/article/20070627/NEWS/706270465/1039

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Jason Simpson - white, age 35
  Sentenced to death in Duval County, Florida
  By: A judge after an 8-4 recommendation for death by the jury for the killing of Crook and 9-3 for the killing of Kimbler.
  Date of crime: July, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Simpson was convicted of the murders of 38 year old Archie Crook Sr. and 29 year old Kimberli Kimbler. Simpson used an axe to kill Crook and his girlfriend Kimbler in their Jacksonville home while Kimbler was 7 months pregnant. The defense presented evidence of Simpson’s family history of drug addiction, troubled upbringing, and wanted to call Simpson’s mother to the stand but Simpson would not allow it. The prosecution countered that the murders were calculated and done in such a heinous manner that the death penalty was warranted.
  Prosecutor(s): Mark Caliel
  Defense lawyer(s): Charles Fletcher
  Sources: AP Alert-Florida 3/30/07 15:36:58; www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/020707/met_7836445.sthml

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Mark Twilegar - white, age 38
  Sentenced to death in Lee County, Florida
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: August, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Twilegar was convicted of killing Lee County Attorney David Thomas and burying Thomas alive in Twilegar’s backyard. Prosecutors claimed that Twilegar took $25,000 dollars from Thomas' bank account. During the sentencing phase Twilegar read a statement that he could not feel remorse for something he did not do, hence maintaining his innocence.
  Prosecutor(s): Brenda Wade, Claudia Stewart
  Defense lawyer(s): NBC 2 WBBH-Fl 8/15/07 2007 WLNR 15842529, www.winknews.com/news/local.9158461.html
  Sources:

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Alwin Tumblin - black, age 23
  Sentenced to death in St. Lucie County, Florida
  By: A judge after a unanimous recommendation from the jury.
  Date of crime: May 24, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Tumblin was convicted of the first degree murder of Jimmy Johns. Tumblin shot Johns in the back of the head while in Johns’ auto shop. The prosecution brought forth four aggravating factors that they stated justified the execution. These included Tumblin’s previous conviction for felony violence, the fact that Mr. Johns’ murder occurred during Tumblin’s attempt at committing a separate felony, Tumblin committed the murder in order to gain money, and the murder was done in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.
  Prosecutor(s): Lynn Park
  Defense lawyer(s): Rusty Atkins
  Sources: Stuart News 6/19/07 2007 WLNR 11709133; http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2007/sep/25/alwyn-tumblin-sentenced-death-2004-killing-auto-sh/

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Georgia

Brian Brookins - white, age 33
  Sentenced to death in Morgan County, Georgia
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Brookins was convicted of killing his wife and stepdaughter by shooting them outside of their home. Brookins lawyer argued that his client was mentally retarded and asked the jury to return a verdict of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The prosecution pointed to the merciless manner in which Brookins shot his stepchild in the back as she was running away and argued that Brookins deserved the same level of mercy. The prosecution also presented witnesses including a psychologist and psychiatrist who testified that Brookins was not mentally retarded.
  Prosecutor(s): Fred Bright
  Defense lawyer(s): Dennis Francis
  Sources: Macon Telegraph, 10/14/07 2007 WLNR 20165270, 10/16/07 2007 WLNR 20258613, 10/17/07 2007 WLNR 20345518

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Nicholas Bryant - white, age 27
  Sentenced to death in Douglas County, Georgia
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: May, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Nicholas Bryant was convicted of shooting two people in the back of the head during a robbery. Bryant’s lawyers argued that Douglas County Prosecutors sought death for 25 percent of the murder defendants from 1980 to 2004, while a neighboring county only sought death 3 percent of the time during that same period. The defense also argued that the victims had high doses of drugs in their systems at the time of the murders and that other counties would not prosecute for death under such circumstances. The District Attorney disputed those statistics, stating that a capital prosecution against Bryant for the double homicide and armed robbery of an elderly man and young female was more than justified.
  Prosecutor(s): David McDade
  Defense lawyer(s): Josh Moore
  Sources: Atlanta Journal and Constitution 12/23/07 2007 WLNR 25312250, 1/06/08 2008 WLNR 306387

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Stacey Humphreys - white, age 30
  Sentenced to death in Glynn County, Georgia
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Humphreys was convicted of the murder of 33 year old Cyndi Williams and 21 year old Lori Brown. Humphreys forced both Williams and Brown to strip naked in their sales office and give him their bank cards before he shot both women in the head. Humphrey’s defense lawyers argued that Humphreys suffered from mental disorders as a result of an abusive childhood. The defense also elicited testimony from a clinical psychologist that believed Humphreys showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as Asperger’s syndrome. The prosecution argued that Humphreys needed money to make a $565 payment on his truck and thus staked out the women at their office and forced them to give up their bank cards before shooting them.
  Prosecutor(s): Eleanor Dixon
  Defense lawyer(s): Jimmy Berry
  Sources: Atlanta Journal and Constitution 9/30/07 WLNR 19118043; AP Alert-GA 9/29/07 02:32:54, 9/30/07 16:27:48; www.wtoctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7148325

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Willie Palmer - black, age 42 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Burke County, Georgia
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: September, 1995
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Palmer was convicted of the double murder of his wife Brenda and 15 year old stepdaughter Christine. At trial, Parker’s nephew Frederico testified for the state that on the night of the murder Parker kicked down the door of Christine’s house before yelling at her and shooting her in the face. Palmer’s initial conviction and death sentence were thrown out on appeal after it was established that agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation withheld crucial information and paid the only witnesses who corroborated Frederico’s story. In the final trial in 2007, the prosecution asked the jurors to send a message that the county would not tolerate an individual who not only murders innocent individuals but also leaves his daughter alone among the dead. The defense tried to convince the jury that Palmer was mentally retarded and brought forth the testimony of psychologists to prove this point.
  Prosecutor(s): Danny Craig
  Defense lawyer(s): Mike Garrett
  Sources: Atlanta Journal and Constitution 1/06/08 2008 WLNR 306387; Augusta Chronicle, 2/18/07 2007 WLNR 3520768; http://www.thetruecitizen.com/news/2007/0829/front_page/004.html

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Steven Spears - age 35
  Sentenced to death in Lumpkin County, Georgia
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: August, 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Spears was found guilty on 7 counts of murder in the slaying of Sherrie Holland, including 2 counts of felony murder. Holland was found face down on the floor of her bedroom with her hands and feet bound by duct tape and a plastic bag secured by duct tape over her head. The defense for Spears did not contest the charge of murder with regard to Holland. The defense hoped to prove that Spears was not guilty of kidnapping or burglary and thus would not be sentenced to death under Georgia law, which requires at least one statutory aggravating circumstance. The District Attorney introduced a taped statement of Spears in which he admitted planning and executing the murder, specifically detailing how he broke into her house and hid in her closet until she went to sleep before killing her.
  Prosecutor(s): Stan Gunter
  Defense lawyer(s): L. Allyn Stockton, Bill Oliver
  Sources: http://thedahloneganugget.com/articles/2007/03/22/news/01%20spears.txt

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Darryl Stinski - white, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Chatham County, Georgia
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: April, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Stinski was convicted of the murder of 41 year old Susan Pittman and her 13 year old daughter Kristen. Stinksi burglarized Pittman’s home before torturing and killing Susan. Stinski then proceeded to burn Pittman’s home to the ground in an effort to destroy evidence. Kristen Pittman was killed in the fire. Lawyers for the defense discussed Stinski’s troubled childhood and manner and brought both Stinski’s mother to the stand who broke down crying when speaking of Stinksi’s painful childhood. The prosecution countered that the murders were outrageously vile, inhumane, and involved torture. The prosecution also brought forth Susan’s family members to testify how the murders have impacted their lives.
  Prosecutor(s): David Lock
  Defense lawyer(s): Steve Sparger
  Sources: Augusta Chronicle 9/19/06 2006 WLNR 23040529; AP Alert-GA 9/18/06 20:16:31, 6/14/07 10:05:00; www.wtoc.com/Global/story.asp?s=6633242; www.wtoc.com/Global/story.asp?s=6637720

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Illinois

Rodney Adkins - black, age 40
  Sentenced to death in Cook County, Illinois
  By: A judge.
  Date of crime: 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Adkins was convicted in the murder of Catherine McAvinchey during an attempted burglary of McAvinchey’s house. Adkins broke McAvinchey’s back and nearly severed her head with a kitchen knife. The defense made note of the abusive and loveless childhood that Adkins had endured. The defense noted that Adkins had dropped out of school in the 7th grade and had spent more than 20 years of his adult life in prison. The defense labeled its client as a ‘crackhead’ thief and argued that society was safe with Adkins in prison. The prosecution countered that Adkins was a cold, remorseless, and calculating career criminal who could have let McAvinchey live, but instead chose to kill her.
  Prosecutor(s): Maureen O’Brien
  Defense lawyer(s): Preston Jones
  Sources: WB 9 WGN-IL 8/8/07 2007 WLNR 15330718 http://wednesdayjournalonline.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&ArcticleID=8606; http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng114.html

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Laurence Lovejoy - black, age 38
  Sentenced to death in Dupage County, Illinois
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: March, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lovejoy was convicted of killing his 16 year old stepdaughter, Erin Justice, in order to keep her from pursuing a rape case against him. Justice was beaten, poisoned, stabbed and drowned in her home. The prosecution elicited testimony concerning evidence of Lovejoy’s criminal record which included two separate prison sentences for residential burglary. The prosecution also elicited testimony from Erin’s parents and best friend with regard to their memories of Erin and the pain they were suffering. The defense countered by showing the jury photos of Lovejoy as a young child and elicited testimony concerning the difficult upbringing faced by Lovejoy. Lovejoy’s sister testified for the defense that both her and her brother were physically and verbally abused and lived in 15 different homes as children. There was also testimony by defense experts of Lovejoy’s low IQ which the prosecution countered was no excuse for the brutality and heinousness of Lovejoy’s crimes.
  Prosecutor(s): Joseph Birkett
  Defense lawyer(s): Robert Miller, Stephen Richards
  Sources: Chicago Tribune 2/15/07 2007 WLNR 2972306, 2/16/07 2007 WLNR 3061072; Daily Herald 2/14/07 3200692; AP Alert-Ill 2/16/07 08:47:38

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Brian Nelson - white, age 19
  Sentenced to death in Will County, Illinois
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Nelson was convicted of the murders of his 19 year old ex-girlfriend Sara Tennant, Sara’s 16 year old brother Eric Tennant, Sara’s 46 year old father Harold Tennant, and Harold’s 46 year old girlfriend, Jean Bookwalter. All the victims were savagely beaten while Harold Tennant and Jean Bookwalter were also stabbed. Nelson admitted to the police that he used a crowbar to commit the killings before setting the house on fire in an attempt to cover up the crimes. The defense argued that Nelson’s life should be spared for the sake of 15 month old Amber, Nelson and Sara’s child. The defense argued that when she grew up Amber would have questions of her father and deserved the right to confront her father and get closure. The prosecution countered that the child’s main concern growing up will be whether justice was done for her mother, uncle, grandpa, and friend. The defense argued that Nelson was troubled by the death of his stepfather when Nelson was only 7 and that when he was 17 he sustained head injury that resulted in impulsive behavior. Prosecutors countered noting Nelson’s three prior felony convictions for stealing guns, vehicles, and stabbing another man.
  Prosecutor(s): Stephen Plazibat
  Defense lawyer(s): George Lenard
  Sources: Chicago Sun Times 9/26/06 2006 WLNR 166669209; Chicago Tribune 9/27/06 2006 WLNR 16723290, 10/13/06 2006 WLNR 17762068; AP-Alert-Illinois 10/14/06 01:51:25

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Daniel Ramsey - white, age 19 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death Fulton County, Illinois
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: 1996
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ramsey was convicted of raping and killing 16 year old Laura Marson and killing 12 year old Lonna Sloop. Ramsey raped and killed Marson following an argument concerning Ramsey’s failed relationship with Rachel Sloop followed by Ramsey going to Sloop’s home, wounding Rachel before killing Rachel’s sister Lonna. Ramsey was convicted of murder and sentenced to death a year after the killings, but in 2000 the Illinois Supreme Court overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial because the insanity defense used during the trial was later ruled unconstitutional. The defense tried to argue that the execution of Ramsey would not bring the victims back to life and argued that the jury needed to break the cycle of death and instead sentence Ramsey to life without parole. The defense also argued that Ramsey was mentally ill at the time of the shootings in that he suffered from attention deficit disorder and borderline personality disorder. The defense also pointed out Ramsey’s troubled childhood beginning when he learned that his parents were actually his grandparents. The prosecution argued that the killings were cold and calculated focusing on the phone lines being cut and Ramsey’s luring the parents out of both the Marson and Sloop house by making up a story that another house was being vandalized. The prosecution pointed out the fact that the Marson and Sloop family had trusted and supported Ramsey and pointed to Marson’s rape as warranting the death penalty for Ramsey.
  Prosecutor(s): Mike Atterberry
  Defense lawyer(s): Jim Dennis
  Sources: AP Alert-IL 5/15/07 00:23:33

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Louisiana

Richard Davis - white, age 32 (Note: Davis was the second person to be sentenced to death in the country for a sexual offense that did not involve a murder in the post-Furman era. The first such person, Kennedy, had a case in the United States Supreme Court arguing the unconstitutionality of a death sentence for a sexual offense at the time Davis’s sentence was imposed. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kennedy in early 2008, which meant that Davis’s sentence had to be vacated, as well.)
  Sentenced to death in Caddo Parish, Louisiana
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: October 2004 to January 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Davis used an 8-year-old girl as a sex toy for himself and his girlfriend from October 2004 to January 2005. The girl eventually told her parents, who contacted the authorities. The defense contended Davis should be spared because he had mental problems.
  Prosecutor(s): Lea Hall, Brady O’Callaghan
  Defense lawyer(s): Kurt Goines
  Sources: AP Alert-LA 11/21/07, 11:16:41; AP Alert-LA 12/11/07, 11:28:48; AP Alert-LA 12/13/07-OH, 11:23:51.

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Mississippi

Roger Gillett - white, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Forrest County, Mississippi
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: March 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gillett was convicted of the murders of his cousin Vernon Hulett and Hulett’s girlfriend, Linda Heintzelman. Gillett and his girlfriend Lisa Jo Chamberlin, who was also charged with murder, were living with Hulett and Heintzelman at the time of the slayings and the victim’s bodies were found inside a freezer at an abandoned farmhouse by law officers searching for drugs. Hulett’s throat had been slashed, while Heintzelman had been smothered with a pillow. In a taped confession Chamberlain said that the victims were killed because they wouldn’t open a safe in Hulett’s home. At Gillett’s trial, the prosecution described the two days of torture that Heintzelman suffered before she was finally smothered. The defense called eight witnesses during the sentencing phase of Gillett’s trial who spoke on behalf of Gillett’s moral character. These witnesses included a priest, who testified that Gillett wanted to be baptized in prison and that he had a genuine faith. Gillett’s mother also provided tearful testimony and brought forth pictures of her son as a baby.
  Prosecutor(s): Jon Mark Weathers, Ben Saucier
  Defense lawyer(s): James Lappan
  Sources: AP Alert-MS 08/3/06 05:01:25, 11/4/07 01:07:13; http://djournal9to5.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/in-the-news-50/

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William Wilson - white, age 24
  Sentenced to death in Lee County, Mississippi
  By: A judge
  Date of crime: April 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Wilson was convicted of the murder of 2 year old Mallory Conlee. At the time of the girl's death, authorities said they had received a report that a motorcycle had fallen on her head. The defense brought forth the mitigating factors of Wilson’s age and lack of prior felonies.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert-MS 05/31/07 00:01:07; http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2007/may/31/tots-slaying-nets-death-penalty/

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Missouri

Kenneth Baumruk - white, age 53 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in St. Charles County, Missouri
  By: A judge
  Date of crime: 1992
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Baumruk was convicted of killing his wife during a 1992 shooting in a St. Louis Courthouse in which four other individuals were shot. Baumruk was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001, but the Missouri Supreme Court threw out the verdict stating that the case should not have been heard in the same courthouse where the shooting occurred. In the re-sentencing that occurred in February 2008, the jury found Baumruk guilty of first degree murder following an eight day trial. Baumruk’s defense lawyers argued for 2nd degree murder claiming that Baumruk was delusional when he killed his wife and shot four others during the divorce proceeding in 1992. The prosecution argued that Baumruk knew exactly what he was doing when he carried a gun in his suitcase and boarded a flight from his home to Seattle.
  Prosecutor(s): JB Lasater
  Defense lawyer(s): David Kenyon, Robert Steele
  Sources: St. Louis Post Dispatch 3/20/07 2007 WLNR 5279617; AP Alert-MO 15:51:49

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Nebraska

Eric Vela - Latino, age 22
  Sentenced to death in Madison County, Nebraska
  By: A three judge panel
  Date of crime: 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Vela was one of four individuals convicted of first degree murder for helping kill five people at a U.S. Bank branch in 2002. In the four day sentencing hearing that took place, Vela’s attorney said that he was forced to participate in the plot and that he was scared and confused. Vela’s attorneys also presented statements from Vela’s family concerning his grim childhood. The prosecution disputed the fact that Vela was a victim and argued that Vela felt no remorse for the killing of Travis Lundell a month prior to the U.S. Bank murders. While Vela was not charged in the Lundell murder, the jury found Vela eligible for the death penalty in part because they believed that Vela had helped kill Lundell and thus had a history of violent crime.
  Prosecutor(s): Joe Smith
  Defense lawyer(s): Jeffrey Pickens
  Sources: Omaha World-Herald 12/13/06 2006 WLNR 21487698; AP-Alert Nebraska 1/12/07 18:01:25

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Nevada

James Chappell - age 25, black (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Clark County, Nevada
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: 1995
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Chappell had a decade-long history of abusing his girlfriend, who was the mother of his three children. After being released from jail in 1995 for having held a knife to her throat, instead of going to a drug treatment program Chappell went to her apartment where he beat, raped, and stabbed her twelve times. The defense presented mitigation evidence about Chappell’s poor and abusive childhood. Chappell’s first death sentenced was reversed for ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to properly handle the mitigation phase.
  Prosecutor(s): Chris Owens, Pam Weckerly
  Defense lawyer(s): Clark Patrick
  Sources: Las Vegas Review-Journal 3/22/07 2007 WLNR 5498202; AP Alert-CA 02:01:48

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North Carolina

Mario Phillips black, age 35
  Sentenced to death in Moore County, North Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: December 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Phillips was convicted of four counts of first degree murder for the killings of Eddie Ryals, Carl Justice Jr., Joseph Harden, and Daryl Hobson; along with trying to kill 15 year old Amanda Cook during a robbery and arson in Ryals’ home. Phillips’ lawyers argued that he did not deserve the death penalty because his ability to control his actions was impaired by a childhood of abuse, drugs and alcohol, a low IQ, and no history of violent crime. Phillips’s lawyers also argued that Phillips was suffering from mental anguish because his brother had been shot on the same day. The prosecution argued that the murders were committed in order to take money, drugs, and other property from Ryals house. The prosecution also argued that the murders were prolonged over a period of two hours of beating, stabbing, and shooting the victims before setting fire to the house.
  Prosecutor(s): Paul Strickland
  Defense lawyer(s): Bruce Cunningham
  Sources: The Fayetteville Observer 10/11/07 2007 WLNR 19921756, 10/17/07 2007 WLNR 20364869, 10/18/07 2007 WLNR 20435038

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Byron Waring - black, age 19
  Sentenced to death in Wake County, North Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: November, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Waring was convicted of first degree murder for the killing of Lauren Redman in 2005. Waring was one of two men charged with killing Redman, who was raped and stabbed repeatedly. The other man was Joseph Sanderlin. During the sentencing phase of the trial, Waring’s lawyers argued that his low IQ and troubled upbringing led him to be easily influenced by Sanderlin. The prosecution revealed the brutality of the rape followed by the bloody knife attack and torture committed against Redman. Even though some members of the jury agreed that Waring was mentally challenged, they deemed the brutality of the murder as outweighing Waring’s possible lack of understanding of the crime.
  Prosecutor(s): Doug Faucette
  Defense lawyer(s): Rosemary Godwin, Anne Groninger
  Sources: The News and Observer 7/06/07 2007WLNR 12803563, 7/07/07 2007 WLNR 12894011, 7/10/07 2007 WLNR 13021768; University Wire 7/19/07 23:24:42

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Eugine Williams - black, age 26
  Sentenced to death in Cumberland County, North Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: October 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Williams was convicted of the murders of Cedric Leavy, and Nicholas Gillard who were both shot to death. Williams simultaneously shot Leavy and Gillard several times in the back of the head before stuffing them in the trunk of his car. Williams should have been sentenced in 2004 following his conviction, however, Williams lawyers withdrew from the case after Williams assaulted one of them. The prosecution argued that Williams deserved the death penalty because he killed two men in the course of committing a crime which is the legal standard set by the North Carolina legislature. The defense argued that Williams is a good man who made bad choices following a childhood of abuse. The defense further argued that two murders committed by Williams were together at one moment so it doesn’t meet the legal requirement for a death sentence.
  Prosecutor(s): Cal Colyer
  Defense lawyer(s): John Britt, Michael Howell
  Sources: www.fayobserver.com/article?id=261103

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Ohio

Lamont Hunter - black, age 37
  Sentenced to death in Hamilton County, Ohio
  By: Three judges
  Date of crime: January 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hunter was convicted of raping and killing Trustin Blue, the son of his girlfriend, who he was babysitting on January 19, 2006. An autopsy report showed that Blue had died from blunt trauma to the head and shaking. Hunter’s sentencing was twice delayed because the judges felt the case needed more time. The prosecution pointed out the heinousness of the crime and the fact that the murder was committed during a rape of the child. In his defense at the sentencing phase, Hunter read a statement maintaining his innocence. The judges handing down the sentence proclaimed that the murder was done in a calculated and cold blooded manner.
  Prosecutor(s): Joe Deters, Seth Tieger
  Defense lawyer(s): Clyde Bennet
  Sources: Cincinnati Fox 19 WXIS-OH 9/21/07 2007 WLNR 18601476; Cincinnati Post 2/2/06 2006 WLNR 1926663, 9/21/07 2007 WLNR 18726429

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Edward Lang - black, age 19
  Sentenced to death in Stark County, Ohio
  By: A judge
  Date of crime: October 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lang was convicted of the murders of Jaron Burditte and her boyfriend, Marnell Cheek. Both Burnditte and Cheek were shot in the head while seated in a pickup truck. Lang received life with no parole for killing Cheek and the death sentence for the murder of Burnditte. The defense elicited testimony from Lang’s mother who spoke of Lang’s rough upbringing and the abusiveness of her boyfriend. Lang’s mother testified that Lang went to search for his father at the age of 10 and was gone for 2 years. Lang’s sister testified that Lang was constantly in and out of psychiatric facilities. The prosecution countered that the testimony of Lang’s mother and sister was mere speculation and naturally biased.
  Prosecutor(s): Dennis Barr
  Defense lawyer(s): Frank Beane, Anthony Koukoutas
  Sources: Akron Beacon Journal 7/26/07 2007 WLNR 14409182; http://www.cantonrep.com/printable.php?ID=365644

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Charles Maxwell - black, age 39
  Sentenced to death in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  By: A judge
  Date of crime: November 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Maxwell shot his ex-girlfriend, Nichole McCorkle, once in the face and once in the back of the head while in McCorkle’s home and in the presence of McCorkle’s daughter. Days before the shooting, McCorkle had told the police that Maxwell had beat her into unconsciousness and the prosecution’s witnesses testified that the murder was a retaliatory act for McCorkle’s having gone to the police. The prosecution also came forth with a key witness who testified that Maxwell set out to kill McCorkle when she did not drop the assault charge against him. The defense argued that the murder was simply a sad case of domestic violence and had nothing to do with retaliation. The defense also argued that the prosecution’s key witness was an ex-convict who had been repeatedly caught lying to the court.
  Prosecutor(s): Saleh Awadallah and Brian McDonough
  Defense lawyer(s): John Luskin, Thomas Rein
  Sources: Cleveland Plain Dealer 3/1/07 2007 WLNR 4002634, 3/22/07 2007 WLNR 5476865

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Wayne Powell - black, age 42
  Sentenced to death in Lucas County, Ohio
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: November 11, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: At 3:00 a.m., Powell set fire to a house in which eight people were sleeping. Four persons were killed, including Powell’s on-and-off ex-girlfriend, her disabled mother, and two children. Powell’s motive was a grievance against the ex-girlfriend. The defense presented mitigating evidence consisting of Powell’s troubled childhood that included an abusive and substance-abusing father who had also committed murder.
  Prosecutor(s): J. Christopher Anderson, Tim Braun
  Defense lawyer(s): Ann Barones, John Thebes
  Sources: AP Alerts-OH 8/21/07, 20:06:04; Toledo Blade, 8/24/07, 2007 WLNR 16529835; 9/14/07, 2007 WLNR 18011470

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Donna Roberts - white, age 57 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Trumball County, Ohio
  By: A judge
  Date of crime: 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Roberts was convicted of aggravated murder in the slaying of her husband, Robert Fingerhut. Roberts had conspired with her boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, to murder her husband in order to obtain money from Fingerhut’s insurance policy. Fingerhut was shot in the head after arriving home from work. The Ohio Supreme Court threw out the death sentence ruling that the trial judge involved the prosecutor in preparing the sentencing opinion of Roberts in violation of Ohio law. The court let Roberts’ conviction stand but ordered the trial court to re-sentence her. The defense argued that Roberts should not receive the death penalty due to her mental instability. The prosecution disagreed, arguing that she provided Nate Jackson with the means and manner with which to kill her husband.
  Prosecutor(s): Dennis Watkins, Chris Becker
  Defense lawyer(s): David Doughon
  Sources: Cincinnati Post 8/3/06 2006 WLNR 13486827; Cleveland Plain Dealer 8/03/06 2006 WLNR 13461241; www.wkbn.com/news/local/10873366.html

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Oklahoma

Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez - Latino, age 45
  Sentenced to death in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: May 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Cuesta-Rodriguez was convicted of first degree murder in the killing of his girlfriend, Olimpia Cardina Fisher. Rodriguez shot Fisher twice in the face during an argument about their relationship. The defense urged the jury to consider Cuesta-Rodriguez’s entire life and not just the morning he murdered his wife. The defense pointed to the difficulty Cuesta-Rodriguez had in becoming a US citizen and how he turned his life around after being released from prison on a drug conviction in 1988. The defense said that Cuesta-Rodriguez began to believe his wife was being unfaithful and a combination of depression and alcohol played a large part in the murder. The prosecution pointed to the brutality of the crime in that Cuesta-Rodriguez shot Fisher in the eye and waited eight minutes before firing the fatal shot in the other eye.
  Prosecutor(s): Scott Rowland
  Defense lawyer(s): Cathy Hammarsten, Cindy Viol
  Sources: Oklahoman 14A 6/13/07 2007WLNR 11105381; AP Alert-Ok 6/09/07 05:09:26, 6/13/07 13:45:57

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Nicholas Davis - black, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: January 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Davis was convicted of first degree murder for the killing of 17 year old Marcus Smith and was also convicted on two counts of shooting with intent to kill. Davis shot and injured his former girlfriend, Tia Green, and also shot her sister Cinetta Hooks before shooting and killing Hooks’ brother-in-law, Marcus Smith. The prosecution argued that Davis had been a violent and aggressive predator since he was young and that he had hurt people his entire life. The prosecution tried to prove the future threat of Davis by eliciting testimony from a probation officer who stated that Davis was in Corrections Department custody even though he was on parole. The defense responded that Davis’s mother moved away when he was very young and as a result Davis was not left with any structure in his life. Furthermore, the defense argued that Davis turned his life around after 8 years in prison on drug and theft charges but was simply not able to handle a relationship after being in prison for so long.
  Prosecutor(s): Sandra Elliott
  Defense lawyer(s): Cathy Hammarsten
  Sources: Daily Oklahoman 5/17/07 2007 WLNR 9308816

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Richard Rojem - white, age 26 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Custer County, Oklahoma
  By: A judge after a unanimous recommendation from a jury
  Date of crime: July 1984
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Rojem was convicted of the rape and murder of his 7 year old stepdaughter, Layla Dawn Cummings, whose body was found in a dirt field on July 7, 1984. Rojem’s first death sentence was overturned as a result of errors in the jury instructions and his second death sentence was tossed out because the judge did not dismiss an unacceptable juror. The prosecution tried to bring forth the heinousness of the crimes when they elicited testimony from Oklahoma State Bureau Investigation Agent Joe Ferraro. Ferraro described what he saw when he arrived at the scene of the crime with regard to the location of blood on the victim’s body. The defense countered by calling clinical psychologist Mark Cunningham to testify that there were risk factors in Rojem’s past that affected his decision making, specifically his father’s murder in a bar when Rojem was only 3. Other factors the defense pointed out were a sexual deformity and Rojem having grown up in an ‘alcoholic’ atmosphere.
  Prosecutor(s): Dennis Smith
  Defense lawyer(s): Gary Henry, Mary Bruehl
  Sources: AP Alert-OK 6/05/07 07:14:44, 6/25/07 19:44:07

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Kendrick Simpson - black, age 25
  Sentenced to death in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: January 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Simpson was convicted of killing 20 year old Glen Palmer and 19 year old Anthony Jones, and trying to kill a third person in a drive by shooting. Simpson shot as many as 25 shots, from a military-style assault rifle, at three men after a confrontation at an Oklahoma City nightclub. Simpson’s defense pointed out that Simpson was forced to relocate to Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina, before moving on to the facts of his childhood. The defense argued that Simpson was the son of a single mother who was forced to turn to the streets as a result of his mother’s lack of guidance. The prosecutors were able to establish four aggravating factors including Simpson’s prior conviction for a violent crime, Simpson’s actions threatened more than one person, Simpson’s crime was heinous, and Simpson poses a continuing threat to the community.
  Prosecutor(s): Steve Deutsch
  Defense lawyer(s): Bill Campbell
  Sources: Daily Oklahoman 10/05/07 2007 WLNR 19530124; Oklahoman 14A 10/05/07 2007 WLNR 19705780

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Oregon

Jason Brumwell - white, age 28
  Sentenced to death in Marion County, Oregon
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: September 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Brumwell and co-defendant Gary Haugen were convicted of killing fellow prisoner David Polin by using home made knives and a large steel screw. Polin’s skull had been crushed and he had 84 stab wounds. The murder was motivated by clashes over prison drug deals. Jurors saw gruesome autopsy photos, listened to testimony about prison drug dealing and heard convicts and corrections officers describe the harsh prison culture. The defense argued that Polin had many enemies in prison because he was known as an unreliable supplier of drugs. Brumwell had been convicted of aggravated murder that resulted from a robbery and killing in April 1994 at a West Eugene convenience store.
  Prosecutor(s): Don Abar
  Defense lawyer(s): Mark Brownlee, Steven Krasik
  Sources: AP Alert-Oregon 4/14/07 23:03:58; www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_032907_news_inmate_killed.10c8bac8.html http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:PoIcGRc7D5MJ:cellar.org/showthread.php%3Ft%3D5706%26page%3D24+Jason+Brumwell+murders+David+Polin&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9&gl=us www.kgw.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8N8N1NO3.html

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Gary Haugen - white, age 42
  Sentenced to death in Marion County, Oregon
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: September 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Haugen and co-defendant Jason Brumwell were convicted of killing fellow prisoner David Polin by using home made knives and a large steel screw. Polin’s skull had been crushed and he had 84 stab wounds. Haugen killed Polin while serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of Mary Archer. The defense questioned the jury about killing an individual who is mentally ill and made note of the medication that Haugen was currently taking. The defense also noted the obscenities in Haugen’s testimony and equivocated Haugen’s provocation to an attempted suicide by inciting the emotions of the jury to sentence him to death. The prosecution argued that Haugen has not undergone any transformation in two decades behind bars and thus remains a threat, even behind bars. Haugen had been convicted of aggravated murder in 1981 in Multnomah County for killing the mother of his ex-girlfriend at her Northeast Portland home.
  Prosecutor(s): Don Abar
  Defense lawyer(s): Steve Gorham
  Sources: AP Alert-OR 3/29/07 08:42:01, 3/30/07 07:57:32, http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:PoIcGRc7D5MJ:cellar.org/showthread.php%3Ft%3D5706%26page%3D24+Jason+Brumwell+murders+David+Polin&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9&gl=us

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Pennsylvania

Anthony Dick - white, age 43
  Sentenced to death in Pennsylvania
  By: A judge, after pleading guilty and telling the judge he wanted the death penalty.
  Date of crime: January 24th, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Dick shotgunned to death his two children, ages 4 and 18 months, and seriously wounded his wife.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert: 8/24/07 (PA 10:44:50)

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Bryan S. Galvin - white, age 42
  Sentenced to death in Berks County, Pennsylvania
  By: A jury.
  Date of crime: January 31, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Galvin shot Kristofer Kolesnik one time in the head. His neighbor, Michael L. Miller, helped load the 400 pound body into the back of a van. Galvin was later pulled over for not having a front headlight where the police discovered the body and arrested Galvin and Miller. The prosecution sought the death penalty after Galvin was found guilty based on DNA found on the mattress that Kolesnik was wrapped in as well as the bullet casing in Galvin’s apartment. The prosecutor focused on Galvin’s past criminal history, which included convictions of aggravated assault and robbery, to further their position that the death penalty is appropriate. District Attorney Mark C. Baldwin called Galvin a “poster child” for the death penalty. Galvin was also tried three times for the September 29, 1991 slaying of Todd W. Heck. In all three trials it was Galvin’s stance that Heck was a violent drunk who had stabbed him first. After eight years in prison Galvin was found not guilty of this charge.
  Prosecutor(s): Mark C. Baldwin
  Defense lawyer(s): Glenn D. Welsh and Timothy Biltcliff
  Sources: Reading Eagle Newspaper 11/21/06 (2007 WLNR 17479857) and 09/07/07 (2006 WLNR 20202261)

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Kareem Johnson - black, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: December 15, 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson shot Walter Smith 12 times because Walter Smith was about to testify against Johnson’s fellow gang member, Clinton Robinson, in a separate shooting. Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson called Johnson one of the most “evil and violent” killers he had ever come across. The evidence against Johnson was overwhelming; including testimony of acquaintances, officers, and DNA experts. Galvin was also found guilty of the first degree murder of Fahem Thomas-Childs, a third-grader, caught in the cross fire between Johnson and rival drug dealers. Galvin was sentenced to life in prison for this murder. The facts surrounding this murder were told to the jury during the sentencing phase of the Smith murder trial.
  Prosecutor(s): Michael Barry
  Defense lawyer(s): Michael Coard
  Prosecutor(s): Mark Gilson
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Philadelphia Daily News: 06/28/07 (2007 WLNR 12251675), 06/27/07 (2007 WLNR 12149611), 06/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11808424)

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Richard Laird - white, age 24 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: December 15, 1987
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: A Federal Appeals Court granted Laird a new trial after his first conviction. His conviction and death penalty sentence came nearly 20 years after the original crime. This presented several difficult issues for a prosecution team that was determined not to allow the time lapse allow Laird to walk free. Crime scene evidence showed Milano, the victim, was alive for five to ten minutes after Laird and his accomplice started slicing Milano. Their motive was believed to be that Milan was a homosexual.
  Prosecutor(s): Diane Gibbons and Alan Rubenstein (original trial) and Michelle Henry and Robin Twombly (retrial)
  Defense lawyer(s): John Kerrigan and Keith Williams
  Sources: Bucks County Courier Times 2/13/07 (2007 WLNR 2943862), AP Alert 2/10/07 (PA 17:21:59), 2/12/07 (PA 10:58:27)

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Angel Reyes - Latino, age 28 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Delaware County, Pennsylvania
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: sometime in the year before 1994
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Reyes was convicted of first degree murder for the drowning of his four year old daughter. He took her from a backyard where she was playing and dropped her off a bridge into a river because he was angry at her mother.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert: 06/06/07 (PA 15:23:22)

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Brentt Sherwood - white, age 25
  Sentenced to death in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
  By: A jury following a guilty verdict for the murder of 4 year old Marlee Rose Reed.
  Date of crime: December 7, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sherwood was found guilty of beating 4-year old Marlee Rose Reed to death while she was in his care. The child’s mother was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child for not taking proper steps to protect her child. Sherwood’s only defense was that he was high on drugs and did not intend to harm the child. A prosecution expert testified that there was no finding that Sherwood was intoxicated or suffering from delirium or psychosis at the time of the crime.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): R. Bruce Manchester
  Sherwood was also found guilty on the endangerment charges and sentenced to a concurrent 3.5-7 year prison sentence.
  Sources: AP Alert: 4/30/07 (PA 12:32:09), 5/02/07 (PA 09:49:40), 7/31/07 (PA 12:32:09)

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Donte Thomas - black, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  By: the same jury who convicted Thomas of first degree murder
  Date of crime: February 3, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Thomas was found guilty of first degree murder for the shooting death of 23 year old Tyreese Allen. Prosecutors say Thomas committed the murder on behalf of his friend who was himself on trial in which Allen was to testify against him. Thomas had visited his friend four days prior to shooting Allen. Additionally, Thomas himself attempted to recruit people to murder witnesses in his own murder trial, but to no avail. The prosecution presented the aggravator that the victim was a prosecution witness in another murder trial. The prosecution also focused on Thomas’s negative criminal history. The defense put on family members as well as Thomas’s girlfriend who pled to the jury to let him live; stating "his children still ask for him."
  Prosecutor(s): Mike Barry
  Defense lawyer(s): Nino V. Tinari
  Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, 09/19/07 (2007 WLNR 18324619), 09/20/07 (2007 WLNR 18405123)

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James VanDivner - white, age 54
  Sentenced to death in Fayette County, Pennsylvania
  By: a jury after less than two hours of deliberation
  Date of crime: July 5, 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: VanDivner was found guilty for the murder of 41 year old Michelle Cable. VanDivner grabbed her by her hair and fired a bullet into her head behind her left ear. He also shot Cable’s son in the neck, who to this day has a bullet lodged near his spine as doctors are afraid to remove it for fear of paralyzing the young man. The prosecution focused on VanDivner’s criminal history of rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, and spousal support. The defense set forth evidence of VanDivner’s abusive childhood where he was often beat by his father with a lead pipe and forced to fight his brothers in front of spectators. The defense also attempted to get the death penalty off the table by claiming that VanDivner was mentally retarded, but the Court denied this claim. At the sentencing, Lawson Bernstein, a Pittsburg neuropsychiatrist, testified that VanDivner had a significant history of brain injuries, small strokes, and mild dementia. The jury found mitigating circumstances in VanDivner’s rough childhood but found it was outweighed by the state’s aggravators.
  Prosecutor(s): Nancy Vernon
  Defense lawyer(s): Dianne Zerega
  Sources: Daily Courier, Pittsburg Tribune Review 02/13/07 (2007 WLNR 2846814), 02/10/07 (2007 WLNR 2680961), 12/09/06 (2006 WLNR 21285441)

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South Carolina

Steven Bixby - white, age 35
  Sentenced to death in Abbeville, South Carolina
  By: a jury in just over an hour
  Date of crime: December 8, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Bixby was found guilty for the murders of Sgt. Danny Wilson and Donnie Ouzts, a state constable. Bixby and his family were upset that the state wanted a 20-foot strip of property near their land to widen the highway. They threatened violence against any officer who came upon their land. Ultimately Sgt. Wilson was shot on the Bixby’s front porch while Ouzts was shot as he was exiting a patrol car. The Bixby’s held the officers off for more than 14 hours before becoming subdued. The defense used a psychiatrist to set forth the facts that Bixby had a low IQ and was susceptible to other’s opinions, while suffering from paranoia and a “grandiose sense of self importance.” The defense stated that Bixby believes that those who think they know the law, don’t. Evidence at trial was introduced to show how Bixby’s mother had homeschooled him and taught him to always defend his property.
  Prosecutor(s): Jerry Peace
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 2/21/07 (Crime 05:28:31), Columbia State 02/22/07 (2007 WLNR 3432518), New York Times 02/21/07 (2007 WLNR 3450985)

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Ron Finklea - black, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Lexington County, South Carolina
  By: a judge after accepting the jury’s recommendation for death
  Date of crime: August 2, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Finklea was found guilty for the armed robbery and murder of Walter Sykes, Sr. Finklea shot Sykes twice in the head and set him on fire. The prosecution used the aggravators of armed robbery with a deadly weapon and torture. The alleged reason for the murder was an ATM robbery where Sykes was a security guard. The jurors were shown the surveillance tapes of the murder, even of Sykes, on fire, running out of the building. The prosecution depended on this video and two witnesses who identified Finklea from the video. They also presented evidence that the clothes worn in the video belonged to Finklea. The defense called the video blurry and presented DNA evidence from the hat worn in the video that showed a partial match to a woman’s DNA. This was not enough to cast reasonable doubt over the jury. Finklea pled for his life, stating he wanted to watch his children grow up. Additionally, Finklea claims to have no memory of the events that took place based on amnesia caused by a botched suicide attempt while in the Lexington County Detention Center just two days after his arrest. Doctors are unable to state with any medical certainty if Finklea’s memory loss is real. Finklea told Sykes’ family that he wishes he could remember what happened that evening, so that he could help bring closure to their lives.
  Prosecutor(s): Donnie Myers
  Defense lawyer(s): Melissa J. Kimbrough and Stephen Soltis Jr.
  Sources: Myrtle Beach Sun News 09/08/07 (2007 WLNR 17534676), Columbia State 08/27/07 (2007 WLNR 16676485), 09/01/07 (2007 WLNR 17096531), 09/07/08 (2007 WLNR 17457533)

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Jeffrey Jones - black, age 38 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Lexington County, South Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: February 2, 1996
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jones and a cohort bludgeoned two people to death in a robbery/burglary, and spent the loot on drugs. Jones held a grudge against one of the victims over a prior work-related incident. Jones had a long criminal history, although the defense argued that the history was devoid of physical violence. Jones’ first death sentence was overturned on appeal, in part, due to the wrongful admission of boot print evidence. The prosecution offered the boot print evidence in this retrial, and the judge admitted it on the basis that the science underlying it had improved.
  Prosecutor(s): Donnie Myers
  Defense lawyer(s): Beth Fullwood
  Sources: Columbia State 3/13/07 (2007 WLNR 4690514), AP Alert 3/15/07 (SC 04:31:47)

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Jimmy Locklair - white, age 23 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: April 1995
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Locklair murdered his ex-girlfriend while he was out of jail on bail for the murder of another ex-boyfriend of hers (a charge for which he was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison). The first death sentence was overturned because the defense counsel and prosecutor failed to disclose that one of the prosecution’s witnesses was a client of the defense attorney.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 8/24/06 (SC 00:17:11)

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Jeffrey Motts - white, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Greenville County, South Carolina
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: December 8, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Motts was found guilty for the murder of fellow cellmate Charles Martin. Motts was serving two life-sentences for a 1995 double homicide. Motts beat Martin, tied him up in a bed sheet and choked him before stuffing the body under the bed and going to breakfast. The prosecution focused on his past murder convictions during the sentencing phase. The prosecutor argued to the jury that prison couldn’t keep this man from killing again, so why give him another chance. Motts spoke to the jury before they deliberated blaming the prison officials for not listening in keeping the men apart. Motts asked for sympathy so that his family would not have to suffer through his death.
  Prosecutor(s): Bob Ariail
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: AP Alert 04/21/06 (SC 20:40:09), 12/05/07 (SC 02:37:26)

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Norman Starnes - white, age 31 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Lexington County, South Carolina
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: January 1996
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Starnes shot two men to death in his home. Starnes claimed he was defending himself. He then buried the two men under concrete on his uncle’s farm. His original conviction and sentence were overturned due to instructional error.
  Prosecutor(s): Trey Gowdy
  Defense lawyer(s): Starnes acted as his own attorney, with standby counsel John Delgado and Bill Nettles
  Sources: AP Alert 11/15/07 (SC 02:14:18), Columbia State 11/19/07 (WLNR 22898463), State v. Starnes, 531 S.E.2d 907 (S.C. 2000).

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Tennessee

Nikolaus Johnson - black, age 25
  Sentenced to death in Blountville, Tennessee
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: November 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson was found guilty of murdering Officer Mark Vance. Officer Vance was responding to a domestic call in which Johnson found out his girlfriend had lied about having an abortion and threatened to kill the first person who came through the door. Johnson wanted to skip the sentencing portion of the/his hearing as he said “he wasn’t begging no-one for nothing.” Johnson also had several outbursts during trial ranging from calling one member of the jury a member of the Ku Klux Klan and calling another out for sleeping. Johnson was forced to wear a shock belt during trial to control his outbursts.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Jim Bowman and Stacy Street
  Sources: Newport News Daily Press 04/25/07 (2007 WLNR 8180155), AP Alert 4/25/07 (TN 14:55:28), 4/25/07 (TN 13:24:25), 4/28/07 (TN 14:59:47)

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Texas

Douglas Armstrong - black, age 36
  Sentenced to death in Hidalgo County, Texas
  By: not convicted at time of reporting
  Date of crime: April 21, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Armstrong has been charged with the murder of Rafael Castelan during a robbery gone bad. The prosecution is using murder in the course of committing another felony as the aggravator to raise the murder to a capital crime punishable by death. Shortly after Castelan’s stabbing, police found Armstrong changing out of bloody clothing at a nearby bar.
  Prosecutor(s): Joseph Orendain
  Defense lawyer(s): Nereyda Morales Martinez and Keno Vasquez
  Armstrong was charged in 1998 for terroristic threats and acts and served six months in prison.
  Sources: The Monitor 6/11/06 (2006 WLNR 11111995), 6/27/06 (2006 WLNR 9977888)

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Kosoul Chanthakoummane - Asian, age 26
  Sentenced to death in Collin County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: July 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Chanthakoummane was found guilty after only 30 minutes of deliberation for the stabbing, beating, and biting death of Sarah Walker before stealing her jewelry. His defense team admitted guilt in opening statements and will focusing on avoiding the death penalty during the penalty phase. The prosecution focused on the brutality of the murder while the defense pled for sympathy and mercy. The victim’s father requested the jury not put him to death while the victim’s sister insisted on the death penalty.
  Prosecutor(s): Greg Davis
  Defense lawyer(s): Keith Gore
  Sources: Dallas Morning News 10/08/07 (2007 WLNR 19968670), 10/11/07 (2007 WLNR 19727671)

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Selwyn Davis - black, age 24
  Sentenced to death in Travis County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Davis was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s mother in Austin, Texas. The prosecution called Davis a "bad guy" and said that even up to the end of the trial he was yet to show a single sign of remorse. The Defense set forth Davis’s abusive childhood and told the jury that "all life is worth saving."
  Prosecutor(s):
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  Sources: Austin ABC 24, 10/16/07 (2007 WLNR 20762255); Austin NBC 36, 10/15/07 (2007 WLNR 20739999); Austin FOX 07, 10/16/07(2007 WLNR 20752439); AP Alert 10/16/07 (TX 07:30:47)

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Adrian Estrada - Latino, age 21
  Sentenced to death in Bexar County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: December 12, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Estrada was found guilty of the murders of Stephanie Sanchez and her fetus of which Estrada was the father. In 2003 a Texas law amendment broadened the definition of individual to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.” Estrada went to the gym and went shopping following the stabbing. The prosecution argued that at no time has he showed any emotion or remorse even immediately following the brutal murder. Estrada was a former youth pastor at a church in the area. Prosecutors referred to Estrada as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Estrada’s death sentence is the first under Texas’s Prenatal Protection Act. The prosecution’s aggravator was only present due to this Act which considered the murder of the fetus, thus giving Estrada two victims. Very few if any mitigating factors were put forth in favor of Estrada.
  Prosecutor(s): Scott Simpson and Susan Reed
  Defense lawyer(s): Suzanne Kramer
  Sources: AP DataStream 2/8/07 (00:35:20), San Antonio Express 2/08/07 (2007 WLNR 2445505)

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Joseph Gamboa - Latino, age 22
  Sentenced to death in San Antonio, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: June 24, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gamboa was found guilty of the murders of Ayala and Douglas Morgan and the shooting of Denise Koger during a robbery of Taco Land. The jury ultimately found that Gamboa was a future danger to society and that he intended to cause the death of the victims. The jury found none of the mitigating factors the defense attempted to set forth. The defense’s main argument focused on Gamboa’s difficult childhood where he and his siblings scrounged for food, looking out for each other, while their parents spent every night out drinking. The prosecution focused on Gamboa’s continued line of criminal activity including two robberies in the days after the murders where he shot two more people.
  Prosecutor(s): Loretta Hewitt and Julie Wright
  Defense lawyer(s): Pat Hancock
  Sources: San Antonio Express 03/02/07 (2007 WLNR 4501408), 03/03/07 (2007 WLNR 4119064), 03/09/07 (2007 WLNR 4053198)

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Howard Guidry - black, age 18 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: November 9, 1994
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: In the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle, former police officer Robert Fratta hired Joseph Prystash to kill Fratta’s wife. Prystash hired Guidry to commit the murder Guidry was to receive cash and a Jeep in return. Guidry shot the victim twice in the head in her garage. Fratta and Prystash were both sentenced to death, as well. Guidry’s original conviction and sentence were reversed because of admission of an improperly obtained confession, and improper hearsay.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Tyrone Moncriffe
  Sources: Texas Death Row homepage http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/statistics/deathrow/drowlist/guidry/jpg, Houston Chronicle 2/21/07 (2007 WLNR 3426904), 2/22/07 (2007 WLNR 3499734), AP Alert 3/1/07 (TX 22:49:27)

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Christopher Jackson - black, age 20
  Sentenced to death in Houston, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: December 5, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jackson was convicted of murder for carjacking Eric Smith and killing him with a sawed off shotgun as Smith was on the phone with a 911 operator. Smith was in Houston after evacuating New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Jackson stole Smith’s vehicle before circling around and attempting to rob him before shooting him. The audio tape of the 911 call played an intricate role in the trial. Prosecution entered evidence at the sentencing phase of Jackson shooting a stranger at a convenience store near the place where Smith was killed with the same gun. The defense argued that he grew up without a father, his mother did not want him, and he spent many years of his life in and out of psychiatric institutions. Additionally the defense set forth that Jackson had attempted to slit his wrists and hang himself while in jail. The autopsy revealed large amounts of marijuana and cocaine in the victim’s system.
  Prosecutor(s): Maria McAnulty and Caroline Dozier
  Defense lawyer(s): Hattie Shannon and Skip Cornelius
  Sources: Houston Chronicle 04/13/07 (2007 WLNR 7080353), 3/31/07 (2007 WLNR 6173952), 3/27/07 (2007 WLNR 5800761)

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Dexter Johnson - black, age 18
  Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: June 18, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson was one of five involved in the carjacking of Aparece and Huy Ngo. The prosecutors said that the defendant got into the backseat and threatened the couple with a gun, demanding money and credit cards. Johnson then raped Aparece while Ngo was forced to listen before ultimately dragging both into the woods and shooting them in the head. This group of young men is also suspected in two other slayings. Upon the verdict being read, Johnson threw a chair in anger before being subdued by officers in the courtroom. The prosecution focused on the brutality of the crime while the defense attempted to show Johnson suffered from brain damage through the testimony of Dr. Reuben Gur.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s): Anthony Osso
  Sources: Houston Chronicle 5/28/07 (2007 WLNR 12247331), 5/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11739792), AP Alert 6/28/07 (TX 06:00:45)

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Juan Lizcano - Latino, age 28
  Sentenced to death in Dallas County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: 11/13/05
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lizcano was out of jail on bond on charges of driving while intoxicated and threatening a former girlfriend. His former girlfriend called the police to report that Lizcano was at her place and had twice threatened her with a gun. Among the police who responded was officer Brian Jackson. After firing at the officers, Lizcano fired again and killed Jackson. The defense argued at the guilt/innocence phase that the homicide did not qualify as a capital murder because Lizcano could not see the officer at the time he fired. At the penalty phase the defense argued that Lizcano grew up in extreme poverty in Mexico, and was mentally retarded.
  Prosecutor(s): Patrick Kirlin, Kim Judin, Josh Healy
  Defense lawyer(s): Brook Busbee
  Sources: Dallas Morning News 10/10/07 (2007 WLNR 19886009), 10/11/07 (2007 WLNR 19969869), 11/2/07 (2007 WLNR 21677974)

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Kersean Ramey - black, age 20
  Sentenced to death in Victoria, Texas after being moved from Edna
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ramey was found guilty of the murders of Samuel Roberts, Tiffani Peacock, and Celso Lopez. A police affidavit in the case states that one of the victims recognized one of the armed robbers thus leading to the shooting spree that ensued. The defense tried to pass the blame onto Ramey’s co-defendant.
  Prosecutor(s):
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  Sources: AP Alert; 01/17/07 (TX 07:00:43)

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Gregory Russeau - black, age 32 (resentence after appellate reversal)
  Sentenced to death in Smith County, Texas
  By: A jury
  Date of crime: 2001
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Russeau robbed a 75-year-old victim and beat him to death with a hammer in order to get money to buy drugs. Russeau had a criminal record, although the defense pointed out that it was non-violent. The defense apparently presented no mitigation evidence, but argued as a mitigating circumstance that Russeau was "a child of God." Russeau’s original sentence was overturned due to a Confrontation Clause violation.
  Prosecutor(s): Matt Bingham, April Sikes
  Defense lawyer(s): Brandon Baade, Clifton Roberson
  Sources: Texas Death Row homepage http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/russeaugregory.htm, Houston Chronicle 6/30/05 (2005 WLNR 24612880), Tyler Morning Telegraph 4/21/07 http://tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070421/NEWS07/70420010

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Roosevelt Smith Jr. - black, age 43
  Charged with capital murder in Pasadena, Texas
  By: not sentenced at time of report
  Date of crime: October 28, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Smith was charged with the murder of 77 year old Betty Blair during the robbery of her house. Blair was paying Smith and two other Katrina evacuees to do yard work for her before the three murdered her and stole her vehicle. They were found at a toll booth driving Blair’s vehicle. The car was located through the OnStar onboard electronic tracking system.
  Prosecutor(s):
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  Sources: Houston Chronicle 10/30/05 (2005 WLNR 24634466), 11/2/05 (24634972), 11/4/05 (2005 WLNR 24636021), 10/25/07 (2007 WLNR 20954455)

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Richard Tabler - white, age 25
  Sentenced to death in Bell County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: 2004
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Tabler was convicted of the murders of a strip club manager and his friend. Tabler also confessed to the murders of two girls age 16 and 18. Prosecutors allege Tabler was plotting the murders of at least a half dozen other club employees. Tabler had an accomplice who was present who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Allegedly there was a videotape of the murder that one woman testified as to viewing, but Tabler had destroyed it.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Waco 25 KXXV-TX, 04/02/07 (2007 WLNR 6365572), AP Alert 11/16/07 (TX 21:43:24)

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Adam Ward - white, age 22
  Sentenced to death in Commerce, Texas
  By: a jury.
  Date of crime: June 13, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ward was found guilty of the murder of Michael Walker. Walker had been taking photos of code violations at the Ward residence when an altercation began which eventually led to the shooting of Walker. The Ward residence believed that the City of Commerce, the Commerce Independent School District, and the Commerce Police Department were all conspiring against them. The prosecution believes this paranoia hit a boiling point. Ward’s father was taken to civil court on wrongful death claims, but settled before trial. In September of 2007, information was released that conversations between Ward and his attorney were recorded from the Hunt County Jail. At the time of this report there is no further information as to the affect this may have on Ward’s appeals.
  Prosecutor(s): F. Duncan Thomas
  Defense lawyer(s): Dennis Davis
  Sources: Dallas Morning News 9/12/07 (2007 WLNR 17770617), Greenville (TX) Herald-Banner 4/29/08 (2008 WLNR 7939536), The Commerce Journal (Greenville, TX) 6/12/07 http://www.commercejournal.com/local/local_story_163123234.html, Greenville (TX) Herald-Banner 6/22/07 http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_173000809

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Thomas "Bart" Whitaker - white, age 23
  Sentenced to death in Fort Bend County, Texas
  By: a jury
  Date of crime: December 10, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Whitaker was found guilty of the murder of his brother and mother and the attempted murder of his father. Whitaker’s motivation was a million dollar family inheritance. Whitaker himself was wounded in an attempt to look as though he was also a victim. Whitaker did not actually pull the trigger of these murders but enlisted two co-defendants to carry out the murder. Whitaker was arrested in Mexico and turned over to American authorities in Laredo, Texas. Police say Whitaker had plotted two other murder schemes for his family, neither of which were carried out. Whitaker’s father (one of the victims) pled to the prosecution’s office not to seek the death penalty. He claimed it would not be what Whitaker’s brother and mother would want and sentencing him to death would be killing the last member of his family. The jury ignored the pleas of Whitaker’s father and sentenced him to death.
  Prosecutor(s): John Healey and Fred Felcman
  Defense lawyer(s): Dan Cogdell
  Sources: Houston Chronicle 09/19/07 (2007 WLNR 18323042), 01/23/07 (2007 WLNR 1342074), 01/31/06 (2006 WLNR 1728535)

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Antonio Williams - black, age 26
  Charged with death eligible homicide in Houston, Texas
  By: No results of trial known at time of publication
  Date of crime: August 5, 2006
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Williams is charged in multiple murders including Vincent Williams, Yolanda Styles, Dion Barnes, Christopher Harris, and Terrell Ball. The prosecution claims that Williams and other entrenched Houston drug dealers are committing these murders because Katrina evacuees are coming to the Houston area and attempting to get into the Houston market.
  Prosecutor(s): Lance Long
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources: Houston Chronicle 11/28/07 (2007 WLNR 23508203), AP Alert 10/06/06 (TLA 08:31:03)

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Virginia

Thomas A. Porter - black, age 29
  Sentenced to death in Virginia
  By: Circuit Court Judge Chuck Griffith following a jury recommendation
  Date of crime: October 28, 2005
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Porter was found guilty of shooting police officer Stanley C. Reaves one time in the head in broad daylight in front of several witnesses. The prosecution stated that Porter shot the officer because he knew he had an outstanding warrant and it was illegal for him to be carrying the gun. The defense argued that Porter shot the officer because he feared for his life during an altercation with the officer. The courtroom was filled with uniformed officers during the duration of the trial. The prosecution set forth Porter’s actions during the time he was on the run including the celebration of his birthday at a bar. This information bolstered their argument that Porter felt no remorse for his actions. Porter asked Judge Griffith not to impose the death sentence as killing him would not bring Reaves back.
  Prosecutor(s): Jack Doyle
  Defense lawyer(s): Joseph A Migliozzi
  Sources: Virginia Pilot and Ledger Star 3/17407 (2007 WLNR 4806681), 7/17/07 (2007 WLNR 13591255); AP Alert 3/14/07 (VA 21:52:29)

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Federal

Carlos Caro - Latino, age 36
  Sentenced to death in Virginia (Federal)
  By: a judge who is bound by jury decision based on the Federal Death Penalty Act.
  Date of crime: December 17, 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Caro was found guilty of first degree murder for strangling his cell mate with a wet towel inside their cell. Caro admitted guilt and stated that he killed Robert Sandovall for disrespecting him and eating his breakfast earlier in the morning. The prosecution set forth that Caro was a member of a prison gang called the Texas Syndicate, had initiated a brawl in the yard, and had stabbed a different inmate 29 times during a past altercation. The prosecution also put on evidence that Caro communicated with outside gang members through letters written in code, thus bolstering their argument that he remained a threat to society while in prison. The defense focused on his childhood and early involvement in drugs and illegal behavior as mitigating factors. They also pointed out that Caro did not become violent until he had lost all hope in life when receiving a 30 year sentence.
  Prosecutor(s): John L. Brownlee, Tony Giorno
  Defense lawyer(s): James Simmons, Steven Kalista
  Sources: US Federal News 3/30/07 (2007 WLNR 6137106), Roanoke Times 02/14/07 (2007 WLNR 12582458)

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David Lee Jackson - black, age 39
  Sentenced to death in Texas (Federal)
  By: a judge who is bound by jury decision based on the Federal Death Penalty Act.
  Date of crime: December 16, 1999
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jackson was an inmate found guilty of stabbing fellow inmate, Daryl Brown. The defendant was seen on surveillance video chasing the victim into a cell and running back out of the cell shortly after. The victim then emerged from the cell bleeding and soon died from his wounds. Jackson asserted self defense, bringing several inmates in to testify that the victim always carried a knife and had threatened to kill Jackson in the days before his death. The prosecution focused on Jackson’s long criminal history and a series of disciplinary problems in prison during the sentencing phase. The prosecution also focused on Jackson’s previous escape from a correctional facility as evidence that Jackson was an ongoing danger to society if he was allowed to remain in prison for life. The defense focused on Jackson’s abusive childhood and his attempts to rehabilitate while in prison. The victim’s mother testified and was not in favor of the death penalty quoting the importance of forgiveness in her life.
  Prosecutor(s): Joe Batte
  Defense lawyer(s): Doug Barlow
  Sources: The Beaumont Enterprise 6/28/06 (2006 WLNR 11168201), 10/28/06 (2006 WLNR 18734346), 10/31/06 (2006 WLNR 18871619), 11/03/06 (2006 WLNR 19098144), 11/14/06 (2006 WLNR 19772922)

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Jurijus Kadamovas - white, age 35
  Sentenced to death in California (Federal)
  By: a jury.
  Date of crime: Late 2001 to Early 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: This prosecution stems from a kidnapping for ransom scheme where Kadamovas and Iouri Mikhel kidnapped affluent business people, some of which were Russian immigrants, in an effort to accumulate large amounts of money in ransoms. It is believed they had collected over a million dollars but had never returned a victim. Five victims were found dumped in the New Melones Reservoir near Yosemite National Park. The victims were suffocated with plastic bags and anchored with weights before being thrown off the bridge into the Reservoir. Evidence in the case involved DNA of victims found on handcuffs, a pair of shoes found to match footprints at the crime scene, and a voice recording with a victim’s voice on it in the defendant’s home. The defense argued that the accomplices who testified against Kadamovas were actually the ring leaders in this kidnap for ransom scheme. Authorities allege that had these men not been arrested they would have extended their scheme to the states of Florida, New York, and Colorado.
Both men’s charges were technically called hostage taking resulting in death as well as being charged with three counts of conspiracy.
  Prosecutor(s): Robert Dugdale
  Defense lawyer(s): Dale Rubin (Mikhel)
  Sources: Daily News (L.A.) 2/14/07 (2007 WLNR 2944752), 3/13/07 (2007 WLNR 4947007), Modesto Bee: 3/13/07 (2007 WLNR 4754283), AP Online Regional 3/13/07 (US 03:09:18), AP Alert 2/14/07 (Fin. 00:07:15)

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Iouri Mikhel - white, age 36
  Sentenced to death in California (Federal)
  By: a jury.
  Date of crime: Late 2001 to Early 2002
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: See Jurijus Kadamovas.
  Prosecutor(s):
  Defense lawyer(s):
  Sources:

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Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. - Latino, age 49
  Sentenced to death in North Dakota (Federal)
  By: A judge whom is bound by the jury’s finding pursuant to the Federal Death Penalty Act.
  Date of crime: November 22, 2003 (date of disappearance); April 17, 2004 (date body was discovered)
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Rodriguez was found guilty of kidnapping and first degree murder after the disappearance and eventual discovery of college student Dru Sojdin. Her body was discovered naked from the waist down with evidence of rape and her throat was slashed. Rodriguez attempted to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison, but the offer was denied by the prosecution. The jury ultimately found Rodriguez guilty in the first death penalty case in North Dakota in nearly a century. The judge in the case was riddled with emotion and on multiple occasions let his emotions become evident while addressing Rodriguez. Since North Dakota does not have the death penalty, Rodriquez will have to travel to South Dakota should his appeals be unsuccessful. The prosecution paraded Dru Sojdin’s friends and family members to the stand while the defense relied on the argument that “violence is never an answer to violence.” The jury disagreed and ultimately recommended death by lethal injection.
  Prosecutor(s): Drew Wrigley
  Defense lawyer(s): Richard Ney
  Rodriguez had previously spent 23 years in prison for the abduction of three women and the rape of two of them. He had been out of prison for six months when abducting Dru Sojdin.
  Sources: New York Times 2/9/07 (2007 WLNR 2531503), St. Paul Pioneer Press 2/9/07 (2007 WLNR 2510456), Minneapolis Star Tribune 2/09/07 (2007 WLNR 2580347)

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Ronell Wilson - black, age 20
  Sentenced to death in Staten Island, N.Y. (Federal)
  By: A judge following a unanimous decision by jury.
  Date of crime: March 2003
  Prosecution’s case/defense response: Wilson was found guilty of murdering two undercover detectives whom Wilson and his accomplice believed were carrying large amounts of cash. The prosecution argued that Wilson and his fellow gang member knew the undercover detectives were officers, while the defense argued that the two shooters had no idea that the victims were police officers. The Defense argued that the verdict was based on vengeance and not justice as more than 200 cops were present in the courtroom during this trial. The sentencing Judge focused on rap lyrics that Wilson had written while in prison such as “I won’t quit til I’m dead,” and interpreted them as showing no remorse. Wilson is the first Federal Death Sentence since 1954.
  Prosecutor(s): Roslynn Mauskopf
  Defense lawyer(s): Mitchell Dinnerstein
  Sources: Staten Island Advance 4/26/07 (2007 WLNR 7908309), New York Daily News 3/30 /2007 (2007 WLNR 6059171), Newsday 3/30/07 (2007 WLNR 5992992), AP Alert 3/30/07 (NYC 06:24:07)

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