April 2000 Executions
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Three killers were executed in the month of April 2000.  They had murdered at least 3 people.
Twelve killers were issued stays of execution.  They have murdered at least 20 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 4, 2000 Pennsylvania Christopher Ellis Reginald Lewis  stayed

In August 1983, Reginald Lewis was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death for stabbing Christopher Ellis over an argument involving $5. Lewis was sentenced to death on June 25, 1984.  There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 4, 2000 Ohio Angela Galloway, 20 Raymond Smith stayed

In May of 1999, Raymond Smith was convicted of killing a restaurant co-worker and robbing $2,800 from the restaurant to pay mounting debts.  A jury convicted Raymond Smith Jr. of aggravated murder in the suffocation of Angela Galloway, 20, of Cleveland, and for robbing the Friendly's restaurant where both worked in Elyria. The victim's body was dumped in the trunk of a car left in a hospital parking lot. The jury acquitted him of abuse of a corpse. The jury heard testimony including a police officer who said he was shocked by Smith's confession.  Smith said, "I don't know why I did this. I blacked out," testified Sgt. Michael Behne.  Another officer testified that Smith paid nearly $500 in bills several hours after the Dec. 24, 1997, slaying and before his arrest. Smith had nearly $7,400 in debts.  Smith was a cook at the restaurant while Ms. Galloway was a waitress and shift supervisor. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 5, 2000 Ohio Bearnhardt Hartig, 81 
Cora Hartig, 81 
Tyrone Noling stayed

In Ravenna, a 27-year-old Alliance man is to be executed on April 5, 2000, the 10th anniversary of the date he murdered an Atwater Township husband and wife in their home. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 5, 2000 Pennsylvania Linda Johnson, 37 Brian Thomas stayed

In February 1986, Brian Thomas received the death penalty for the brutal sexual assault, torture and murder of 37-year-old . There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 5, 2000 Tennessee Cary Ann Medlin, 8 Robert Coe stayed
see 4/19

One of the death sentences that U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon reversed, prompting calls for his impeachment, was reinstated by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Nixon wrongly reversed the conviction that Robert Glen Coe received for raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl in rural West Tennessee in 1979. The appeals court reinstated both the conviction and the death sentence that a Shelby County jury gave Coe in 1981 for the torture-murder of Cary Ann Medlin.  In February 1981, Coe was convicted of the Labor Day 1979 kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cary Ann. U.S. District Judge John Nixon in 1996 threw out Coe's convictions for 1st-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. Nixon's ruling -- which angered supporters of the death penalty -- wiped out Coe's death sentence for the murder conviction and his 2 life in prison sentences for the rape and kidnapping convictions. Coe told police in 1979 that he kidnapped the girl, sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. He also said that just before he killed her, she said to him, "Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you."  He tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the confession and was convicted. Tennessee appeals courts upheld Coe's conviction. But Nixon threw it out, saying the trial jury was given improper instructions on when capital punishment should be applied, including on the issue of whether the killing was done with malice. Medlin's mother, Charlotte Stout of Greenfield, Tenn. said she was "really relieved" by the appeals court action, since Nixon's December 1996 ruling would have given Coe a new trial. "I couldn't imagine going through that again," Charlotte said.  Coe admitted, three days after Cary Medlin disappeared in September 1979, that he lured her into his car as she rode a bicycle near her parents' home in Greenfield, Tenn. Coe, who had a history of mental illness, told authorities that he sexually molested the girl, then tried to choke her and, when that did not work, stabbed her and watched her bleed to death. Nixon reversed Coe's conviction and death sentence in December 1996 because of what he called errors the trial judge made in instructing the jury. Nixon said the judge at Coe's trial did not give the jury enough guidance when he defined the terms "heinous, atrocious and cruel," "reasonable doubt" and "malice." The 6th Circuit panel disagreed with Nixon on each of those points. Nixon has reversed five death sentences imposed by Tennessee juries, and higher federal courts have affirmed his rulings in four of those cases. But his reversal of Coe's conviction and death sentence stirred a grass-roots campaign, based in Greenfield, calling for his impeachment. Nixon has a well-known anti-death penalty stance and has accepted awards for such.  Both houses of the Tennessee legislature jumped on the impeach-Nixon bandwagon, and Charlotte Stout went to Washington to testify before a congressional committee. But Congress took no action against the judge. Nixon, 65, has now "taken senior status," or semi-retirement, as a trial judge.  Two weeks before the 3/23/00 execution date, Coe's received a stay from Judge Nixon but the 6th Circuit Court vacated the stay, saying Judge Nixon had no authority to issue it and sent the appeal back to another federal judge who halted the execution two days later.  U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger said she needed more time to consider claims by Coe's attorneys that state courts had not properly reviewed whether the convicted child-killer is competent enough to be executed.  Trauger, quoting a past Supreme Court case, noted that she recognizes the stay "frustrates both the state's sovereign power to punish offenders and their good faith effort to honor constitutional rights.  But she also wrote that "the Supreme Court has made it clear that a district court must enter a stay of execution" when it harbors any doubt about a case. Trauger said wrote that she "intends to give this case its first priority and will decide it promptly."  The Tennessee Attorney General's office filed a motion with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate Trauger's stay, but the appeals court refused.  As all the legal wrangling went on in Nashville, the girl's family held a memorial service at her grave in Greenfield, about 100 miles north of Memphis.  They had planned to travel to Nashville to witness Coe's execution. "I keep hearing the words 'due process' and 'I have to be fair.' I understand all that with my head, but my heart doesn't really hear it. I want it to be over,'' said Charlotte Stout, the girl's mother.  3/29/00 - A federal judge gave the state the go-ahead to execute convicted child killer Robert Glen Coe.  In lifting the stay of execution she imposed last week, U.S. Dist. Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger upheld the procedure used by the state to determine that Coe is mentally competent to be executed.  The case will now proceed on two fronts: The Tennessee Supreme Court will set a new execution date, and Coe's attorneys will pursue new avenues to block the execution, probably with another appeal to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 3/30/00 - The state Supreme Court today set the execution of Robert Glen Coe for Wednesday.  The high court acted the morning after U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger cleared the way by lifting an indefinite stay she issued 16 hours before Coe was to be executed on March 23.  In her 42-page order Wednesday, Trauger said that Tennessee courts, in determining Coe was sane enough to be executed, had followed requirements under a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bars the execution of insane inmates. Trauger said she did not find that conclusions reached by Tennessee courts were "so offensive to existing precedent, so devoid of record support, or so arbitrary" to merit overruling them or ordering a new sanity hearing. State Criminal Court Judge John Colton had made the ruling following Coe's sanity hearing in Memphis in January. The Tennessee Supreme Court later upheld it.  "We'll see what happens this time," Charlotte Stout, Medlin's mother, said today after learning of the new execution date. She intends to attend with her family, and said she is weary of the delays.  "Our lives get altered every time they set it and stop it and set it and stop it," she said.  Trauger did not rule on a second motion that one of Coe's attorneys should be present for the execution.  A bill on the fast track in the Legislature to alleviate Coe's claim that he has a constitutional right to have a lawyer present has been derailed. The House Judiciary Committee, concerned that changing the death penalty law at this late date would create another avenue of appeal, sent the bill Wednesday to subcommittee. In the Senate, it was delayed a week today. Solicitor General Michael Moore said if Trauger decides Coe has a right to have an attorney present, she can order it; she doesn't have to stay the execution again. 4/5/00 - Stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to review competency issues.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 6, 2000 Tennessee Ronald Oliver Phillip Workman stayed

Phillip R. Workman was convicted and sentenced to death by a Shelby County jury. Workman was convicted in 1982 for the murder of Memphis police Lt. Ronald Oliver. There's no doubt that death row inmate Philip Ray Workman robbed a Wendy's restaurant in Memphis one night in August 1981, to get money to feed his cocaine habit. Workman admits he pulled a gun when police confronted him as he left the restaurant, and he admits he fired shots during the struggle that followed. He took the blame, at his trial in 1982, for the bullet that killed Lt. Ronald Oliver, the first police officer to respond to the silent alarm triggered by a Wendy's employee. But since 1991 and now with increasing urgency, Workman has been trying to persuade state and federal judges to consider ballistics evidence that he says casts serious doubt as to whether he fired the fatal shot. Workman's lawyers say if Oliver was actually killed by "friendly fire" from another police officer, Workman shouldn't be executed. Workman's time to prove his case is running out, however, as Tennessee prison officials prepare to resume executions after a break of almost 40 years. "We're not seeking to have Philip Workman declared innocent, but there are doubts here that need to be resolved before this guy gets killed," Workman's lead counsel, Nashville lawyer Chris Minton, said in an interview Wednesday. "He acknowledges that he created a situation in which another human being died, and he's sorry about that. But if the bullet didn't come from his gun, he should not be executed."  Workman has the option of asking Gov. Don Sundquist for clemency or of making a last-ditch effort to find other legal avenues to keep the case alive in the federal courts.  Even if Workman were able to convince a court that he did not fire the fatal shot, Summers says, he would still be guilty of felony murder and subject to the death penalty -- because he committed the robbery that led to Oliver's death. Tennessee has not executed a prisoner since 1960, when William Tines was electrocuted for raping a woman after escaping from Brushy Mountain State Prison, where he was serving two life sentences for murder. (The only crime that carries the death sentence under current Tennessee law is first-degree murder, and state appeals courts say the death penalty should be reserved for "the worst of the worst" cases of murder.) Workman and Coe are among 99 men and two women awaiting execution under sentences that Tennessee juries have imposed since the state's current death-penalty statute took effect in 1977. About 40 other death sentences imposed under the law have been overturned by state and federal judges, but Workman and Coe's sentences still stand after repeated appeals. Workman, now 46, was sentenced to death in Shelby County (Memphis), like about one-third of the prisoners awaiting execution in Tennessee. Workman lived in Georgia and was "just passing through" Memphis in 1981, Minton said, when he decided to rob a Wendy's restaurant. Restaurant employees said he bought food, waited until closing time and then ordered them into the manager's office at gunpoint. Officer Aubrey Stoddard, now retired from the Memphis Police Department, said that Oliver grabbed Workman when he came out of the restaurant and "tried to run."  Stoddard said he got involved in the struggle and was "belly to belly" with Workman when Workman shot him in the arm.  Stoddard said Workman fired one more shot at him as he fell. The policeman said he then heard "a bunch of shots" and realized that Oliver had fallen to the ground. He said he did not see the shot that killed Oliver.  Stoddard said he does not think Stephen Parker, the next police officer on the scene, "ever got off a shot."  "The only bullets I knew that flew were Oliver's and Workman's," he said.  Parker, now an assistant U.S. attorney in Memphis, was out of town last week and could not be reached for comment.  The trial jury found that Workman's crime fit five of the "aggravating factors" spelled out in state law as grounds to give a death sentence: that he knowingly created a great risk of death to two or more persons other than the person killed, that Oliver was murdered in conjunction with a robbery, that Workman killed a law enforcement officer who was "engaged in the performance of his duties," that he killed Oliver in order to avoid arrest and that he killed the policeman while he was trying to "escape from lawful custody."  Workman and the two public defenders assigned to represent him at his trial in 1982 did not dispute the prosecution's theory that Workman shot Oliver when the policeman tried to stop him. The defense lawyers tried to show that the 28-year-old Workman's judgment was so impaired by his addiction to cocaine that he should be convicted of something less than first-degree felony murder.  But the jury didn't buy that, and Workman was convicted and sentenced to death for felony murder.  Minton said that an examination of Oliver's autopsy report raised questions about whether he was shot with a silver-tip, hollow-point bullet fired from Workman's .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Minton used court-approved funds to hire Dr. Kris Sperry, then the deputy chief medical examiner for Fulton County (Atlanta), Ga., to examine the evidence. Sperry said, in an affidavit filed in September 1995, that he had examined several dozen corpses containing wounds caused by .45-caliber silver-tip, hollow-point bullets. In all of those cases, he said, the bullet expanded after entering the body. In the few cases in which the bullet exited the body, Sperry said, the exit wound "was significantly larger than the entrance wound the bullet created." But, the pathologist said, the bullet that killed Oliver passed through his body and left an exit wound smaller than the entry wound. That bullet was never found.  Oliver's wounds "are inconsistent with every wound I have seen created by a .45-caliber silver-tip, hollow-point bullet," Sperry said in his affidavit. Minton presented his questions to Judge Gibbons in hopes that she would order a full evidentiary hearing in Workman's case. But Gibbons denied Minton's request for a hearing, in a 91-page opinion issued Oct. 28, 1996 -- three days before her husband, Memphis lawyer and Republican activist Bill Gibbons, took office as Shelby County's district attorney general. Gov. Sundquist had picked Bill Gibbons for appointment to the prosecution post in August 1996. Judge Gibbons said in her ruling that Workman and his lawyer "posit a web of false testimony, withheld documents, undisclosed statements by witnesses and fabricated evidence, all coordinated by the state to avoid jury findings that an officer struck (Workman) on the head while (he) was trying to surrender to police and that someone other than (Workman), namely Stoddard or Parker, shot Oliver."   The judge said that many of the questions raised by Minton were barred by the highly technical rules governing attacks on state criminal convictions in the federal courts. But she said that none of the evidence presented by Minton justified an evidentiary hearing, with live witnesses. She also noted that Sperry's affidavit doesn't state that Workman's gun "could not have" caused Oliver's fatal injury, nor does it offer an opinion on whether Oliver was shot by one of his fellow officers. And, Gibbons said, the only witness who said he saw one of the other officers -- Parker -- fire at Workman said that occurred after Oliver had been shot.  Gibbons noted that Minton presented "substantial evidence indicating (Workman's) diminished capacity and tragic family background," which he said Workman's earlier lawyers should have presented to the jury at his trial in 1982. But, she said, Workman never told many of those details to his trial lawyers, and they made a reasonable choice to limit testimony on his psychological problems and thus keep prosecutors from presenting evidence that he had an anti-social personality.  Minton appealed Gibbons' ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which affirmed her decision in October 1998. A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court said it had "no doubt" that the exit wound would have been larger than the entrance wound "if a .45-caliber hollow-point bullet had gone all the way through Lt. Oliver's chest and emerged in one piece." But the court theorized that such a bullet could have fragmented inside Oliver's body, and it cited a 1986 article by Dr. Martin L. Fackler of the U.S. Army Medical Corps as authority for that theory. Minton obtained an affidavit from Fackler in December 1998, stating that the fragmentation findings he reported in 1986 were based on high-velocity soft-point rifle bullets, not silver-tip handgun bullets, which are much less likely to fragment in a body.  Minton cited Fackler's affidavit when he asked the 6th Circuit appeals court to reconsider its ruling. The court responded by deleting the references to Fackler from its October 1998 opinion, but it refused to alter its finding.  "Although this court expresses no view as to whether Workman is actually innocent, if that is the situation, the traditional remedy for claims of innocence based on new evidence, discovered too late in the day for a new trial motion, has been executive clemency," the appeals court said.  "Under Tennessee law, the governor may grant clemency ... so Workman may present evidence to the governor that the fatal shot must have come from someone else's gun. We express no opinion as to what federal remedies might be available to Workman if a petition for executive clemency should be denied."  Minton acknowledged that he cannot prove who shot Oliver, if Workman did not. But he said that is not the legal burden he has to meet.  "All we have to show is a possibility that the bullet didn't come from Workman's gun," Minton said. "There's some doubt here that needs to be resolved before we kill somebody."  The lawyer said that Workman "wants a new trial so that 12 jurors, fully informed about the facts and circumstances surrounding Lt. Oliver's death, can decide whether or not he is guilty of capital murder and should be executed."  4/2/00 - The legal defense of Philip Workman, who is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, attempts to raise the greatest fear most citizens have about the death penalty.  Not even the most zealous advocate of an-eye-for-an-eye retribution wants to see the state kill an innocent man.  State prosecutors roll their eyes at Workman's claim of innocence and point to nearly 20 years of appeals. All of them -- so far -- have rejected any contention that anybody other than Workman killed Memphis police Lt. Ronald Oliver.  The debate over Workman's innocence, and the validity of the death penalty itself in Tennessee, is likely to grow louder this week. A state that has not executed anyone since 1960 now has back-to-back executions scheduled. Convicted child killer Robert Glen Coe is scheduled to die early Wednesday morning, and Workman is scheduled to die 24 hours later. This past Friday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Workman's request for a stay of execution and other requests to reopen his case based on what the defense says is new evidence. "It has now been over 18 years since the robbery and Lt. Oliver's murder," the state said in a recent filing to the 6th Circuit. "Workman has spent the last nine years seeking to lay blame for his conviction and sentence on others -- police officers, prosecutors, witnesses, courts and his own attorneys. "The time has come to remind him where the responsibility lies." But Workman's attorneys aren't trying to convince the Attorney General or his staff. They have waged an aggressive public campaign to plant seeds of doubt about his guilt in the general consciousness. They've done it well enough to have Oliver's daughter urging clemency for the man scheduled to die for killing her father. Also, Gov. Don Sundquist, who summarily rejected a clemency request for Coe 2 weeks ago, has agreed to hold a clemency hearing for Workman tomorrow. Sundquist will send a designee to the hearing. He agreed to it because there is not enough time for the Board of Pardons and Probation to schedule one. "I'm sure the defense lawyers feel they're just doing their job," Attorney General Paul Summers said. The Workman defense differs markedly from that of Coe, the other likely candidate for the 1st execution in Tennessee in 40 years. Coe's guilt is not an issue; his sanity is. "A lot of folks would say it doesn't matter whether they're crazy," said University of Tennessee law professor and death penalty expert Neil Cohen. "But guilt is a fundamental issue." State prosecutors insist most of the purportedly "new evidence" put forth by Workman's attorneys has, in fact, already been considered by the courts. The evidence that hasn't, they insist, is peripheral, inconsequential or both. "As nearly every appellate court that has reviewed Workman's case over the last 18 years has observed, Workman admitted that he shot Lt. (Ronald) Oliver," the attorney general's office noted in a recent filing. Workman did not begin claiming innocence until a decade after the shooting, the state said in a filing to the 6th Circuit in March. "Prior to that, Workman's position contradicted his claims of innocence."  4/5/00 - Stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals 

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 6, 2000

Pennsylvania

Saundra Marie Martin, 24

Mark Breakiron

stayed

In April 1988, Mark Breakiron was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death for viciously stabbing and beating to death 24-year-old Saundra Marie Martin, a local bartender, in March 1987. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. 

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 11, 2000

Arkansas

Francis O'Rourke
Beulah O'Rourke

Michael O'Rourke

stayed

In July of 1998, a federal appeals panel reinstated the conviction and death sentence of a man whose lawyer called him a "monster" and compared him to Jack the Ripper in closing arguments. The decision overturns a ruling in September by U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr., who said that equating Michael O'Rourke to "notorious and heinous criminals" was not an appropriate way of showing insanity or of seeking leniency. Howard had overturned O'Rourke's conviction, saying his lawyer was ineffective in defending O'Rourke against capital murder charges in the 1983 deaths of his parents. Their bodies were found in their car parked in Sallisaw, Okla. But the appeals panel said Tuesday that O'Rourke's lawyer, Ernie Witt, obviously was trying to show that his client was insane by linking him to others who were demented. That jurors rejected the argument wasn't Witt's fault, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. Instead, the verdict and sentence were based on O'Rourke's clear guilt and weak insanity argument, the panel's 35-page decision said.  "Because O'Rourke has never alleged factual innocence, the comparisons drawn by Witt could not have prejudiced O'Rourke's defense," the judges said. Court records show that Witt told jurors O'Rourke was a "monster," and said he was "as capable as Jack the Ripper, the Mad Hatter, Lizzie Borden, as capable of killing as someone as probably we have in this country, other than our Army, our Navy, our Air Force, our military."  O'Rourke had pleaded innocent by insanity. The appeals panel also overturned Howard's ruling that O'Rourke's constitutional rights were violated because his attorney failed to challenge a statement O'Rourke gave to investigators without his lawyer present. Other issues reversed included Howard's ruling that Witt should have requested that jurors be told to consider convicting O'Rourke of a crime that carried a less severe penalty.  O'Rourke was accused of shooting his father, Francis O'Rourke, twice in the back of the head, outside his parents' Lake Dardanelle home. He also was accused of ordering his gay lover to beat his mother, Beulah O'Rourke, with a hammer and accused of suffocating his mother with plastic wrap. The bodies were discovered in the trunk of his parents' car parked in Sallisaw. The alleged accomplice, Dennis Meadors, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension and prosecution and was given 10 years' probation, court records show. 3/30 - The state Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the execution of Michael O'Rourke in light of an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals action in another case. The stay stopped the April 11 execution of O'Rourke, who was convicted in 1986 of killing his parents three years earlier. The 8th Circuit set aside a March 1 execution date for Charles Singleton to review whether it is permissible for the state to execute him since he must be medicated to be sane and thus understand the proceeding. Singleton and O'Rourke are both represented by attorney Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock. Rosenzweig has argued for some time that O'Rourke is not mentally competent.

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 12, 2000

Texas

Carol Lynette Huckabee, 26
Eva Marie DeForest, 29

Orien Joiner

stayed

Carol Huckabee, 26, and Eva DeForest, 29, were waitresses and roommates in Lubbock Texas.  They were found murdered inside their apartment and both women had been bound with duct tape and stabbed repeatedly.  Carol was raped, and suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest, back and face before having her throat slashed.  Eva was beaten, stabbed 41 times in the chest and her throat was cut.  A broken knife blade was found sticking out of her chest.  Joiner lived in the apartment next door and initially told police that he saw two assailants fleeing from the apartment and gave conflicting statements about how he found the murdered women.  

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 14, 2000

Alabama

Hugh Kite 

Robert Lee Tarver

executed

Robert Lee Tarver Jr., convicted of robbing and killing a Cottonton store owner and stealing his wallet.  Tarver was convicted in the Sept. 15, 1984 death of Hugh Kite. Hugh was apparently closing up his store, Kite's Grocery and Bait Store located on Alabama 165, for the night as Tarver robbed and fatally shot him.  Hugh's wife had called, asking him to bring a bag of ice home. While a 10-year-old helper waited inside, Kite exited the store and went around the corner of the building where he was shot three times with a .38-caliber revolver and robbed of his cash.  "That store was kind of a community center," said Russell County District Attorney Kenneth Davis and chief prosecutor in the Kite murder trial. "Mr. Kite's death cast a pall over that community. It was frightening and disconcerting and had a chilling effect on everybody there." Kite's Grocery and Bait Store also served, in a sense, as a crossroads of country culture. Prior to Hugh's death, it was a gathering place for the people of Cottonton, Jernigan, Pittsview, Glenville and other remote places in the county. Kite also operated a post office inside. Most everybody in the area knew him, including Tarver and Richardson. During his 1985 Russell County trial, co-defendant Andrew Lee Richardson said he was with Tarver on the night Kite was murdered. He said the 2 men were drinking beer in Tarver's late 1970s Chevrolet Impala in a pasture near Kite's store before Tarver, armed with a gun, got out of the car and walked toward the store. Richardson said Tarver returned, gave him $80, and told him "he had to kill" Kite. Richardson, who lived in nearby Glenville, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of 1st-degree robbery and remains in Alabama's Ventress Correctional Facility, serving a 25-year sentence. He is eligible for parole in April 2001.  Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell, then a captain and chief investigator of the Kite murder, introduced the physical evidence that contributed to Tarver's conviction.  Mud from the rain yielded footprints that Boswell tracked to the place where Richardson would say the 2 men had parked prior to the murder. There, Boswell found tire tracks leading away from the scene. He also found an empty beer can. After receiving information on Tarver's possible involvement, he conducted tests that matched the tire tracks near the crime scene with the tire treads on Tarver's car parked at his home in nearby Pittsview. A fingerprint analysis of the beer can found in the pasture revealed a print matching Tarver's. Boswell also retrieved a pistol that a ballistics report linked to the murder.  Taking the stand in his own defense, Tarver, who was on parole for a previous robbery conviction at the time of the shooting, said he was nowhere near Kite's store the night of the murder and denied killing him. The jury was not convinced. Finding him guilty, it recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Russell County Circuit Court Judge Wayne Johnson overrode the recommendation, however, ordering Tarver put to death and setting off a chain of appeals that has lasted 15 years. Tarver, now 52, has maintained his innocence throughout.  William Allen Motley, who operated a small grocery store in Jernigan until a few years ago, said Hugh's murder changed the way the community thought about country life. "I think it put everybody around here on their P's and Q's," he said. "Especially those who operated businesses. From that time on I made sure I was never alone when I opened or closed my store."  

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 18, 2000

Texas

Paul Ray King 

Victor Saldano

stayed

Victor Saldano was convicted of capital murder in the November 1995 abduction and shooting death of Paul Ray King.  King was kidnapped from outside a convenience store in Plano, Texas and driven to a secluded area near a lake where he was shot to death and robbed of his cash.  There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.  

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 19, 2000

Tennessee

Cary Ann Medlin, 8

Robert Coe

executed

One of the death sentences that U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon reversed, prompting calls for his impeachment, was reinstated by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Nixon wrongly reversed the conviction that Robert Glen Coe received for raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl in rural West Tennessee in 1979. The appeals court reinstated both the conviction and the death sentence that a Shelby County jury gave Coe in 1981 for the torture-murder of Cary Ann Medlin.  In February 1981, Coe was convicted of the Labor Day 1979 kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cary Ann. U.S. District Judge John Nixon in 1996 threw out Coe's convictions for 1st-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. Nixon's ruling -- which angered supporters of the death penalty -- wiped out Coe's death sentence for the murder conviction and his 2 life in prison sentences for the rape and kidnapping convictions. Coe told police in 1979 that he kidnapped the girl, sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. He also said that just before he killed her, she said to him, "Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you."  He tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the confession and was convicted. Tennessee appeals courts upheld Coe's conviction. But Nixon threw it out, saying the trial jury was given improper instructions on when capital punishment should be applied, including on the issue of whether the killing was done with malice. Medlin's mother, Charlotte Stout of Greenfield, Tenn. said she was "really relieved" by the appeals court action, since Nixon's December 1996 ruling would have given Coe a new trial. "I couldn't imagine going through that again," Charlotte said.  Coe admitted, three days after Cary Medlin disappeared in September 1979, that he lured her into his car as she rode a bicycle near her parents' home in Greenfield, Tenn. Coe, who had a history of mental illness, told authorities that he sexually molested the girl, then tried to choke her and, when that did not work, stabbed her and watched her bleed to death. Nixon reversed Coe's conviction and death sentence in December 1996 because of what he called errors the trial judge made in instructing the jury. Nixon said the judge at Coe's trial did not give the jury enough guidance when he defined the terms "heinous, atrocious and cruel," "reasonable doubt" and "malice." The 6th Circuit panel disagreed with Nixon on each of those points. Nixon has reversed five death sentences imposed by Tennessee juries, and higher federal courts have affirmed his rulings in four of those cases. But his reversal of Coe's conviction and death sentence stirred a grass-roots campaign, based in Greenfield, calling for his impeachment. Nixon has a well-known anti-death penalty stance and has accepted awards for such.  Both houses of the Tennessee legislature jumped on the impeach-Nixon bandwagon, and Charlotte Stout went to Washington to testify before a congressional committee. But Congress took no action against the judge. Nixon, 65, has now "taken senior status," or semi-retirement, as a trial judge. 

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 25, 2000

Ohio

Tina Baisden, 14 

Kevin P. Scudder

stayed

Early in the morning on 2/8/89, Kevin Scudder used a knife to kidnap, murder, and attempt a rape on a 14-year-old girl whom he had been out with the previous night. Her body was found in a secluded field behind Scioto Downs Race Track in Columbus, Ohio, five miles from where Scudder claimed he left her. Scudder convinced the girl, Tina Baisden, to sneak out and celebrate his 26th birthday with him. She was not seen alive again, her frozen body found in a secluded field. Scudder also was convicted of attempting to rape the girl.  She had been stabbed, slashed or cut 46 times. Her pants had been pulled down to her ankles and her panties had been pulled down to her thighs. Scudder has requested that his appeals be dropped and that he be executed.

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 26, 2000

Texas

Bobbie Davis, 45
Nichole Davis, 16
Lea'Erin Davis, 5
Brittany Davis, 6
Jason Davis, 4
Denitra Davis, 9

Robert E. Carter

stayed until 5/31

Anthony Graves and Robert Earl Carter were convicted of capital murder after going into a Somerville home in 1992 where they stabbed or shot 6 people: Bobbie Davis, 45; her daughter Nichole Davis, 16; her grandchildren De'Nitra Davis,9; Lea'Erin Davis, 5; Brittany Davis, 6; and little Jason Davis, 4, who was stabbed to death as he cowered beneath a pillow.  With the exception of Nicole, each victim died from multiple stab wounds; Nicole was killed by five gunshots to her head.  After the murders, the killers poured gasoline on the bodies and set the house on fire in an effort to conceal the murders.  Carter, who had recently been named in a paternity suit filed by Jason's mother, another daughter of Bobbie's, attended funeral services for the family wrapped in bandages for severe burns apparently suffered in the house fire. 

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 27, 2000

Texas

Amy Robinson, 19 

Robert Neville

stayed

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the capital murder conviction of a Tarrant County man who has said he wants his death sentence carried out as soon as possible. Robert James Neville Jr. was convicted of the kidnapping and shooting death of Amy Robinson in 1998. Neville and an accomplice, Michael Hall, had worked at an Arlington supermarket with Amy, who had a genetic disorder called Turner's Syndrome. They were charged with abducting her on Feb. 15, using her for target practice and then abandoning her in a field near Fort Worth. The 2 were caught during a customs check at the Mexican border. Neville had pleaded innocent and filed for a new trial after he was sentenced to death in December 1998. But during a hearing during his appeal proceedings, Neville told the judge he wanted to dismiss his court-appointed lawyer and waive all future appeals of his conviction and sentence. Neville asked "that all present, pending and future appeals, writ, etc. be waived and my execution be carried out as soon as possible," according to a statement. The court and Neville's lawyer, Robert Ford of Fort Worth, were unable to convince Neville his decision could prove unwise. But in his statement, Neville said, "The choice is not rash nor based on emotions such as depression or hopelessness. I am rational, competent and fully aware of what I am asking." The Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the entire case and, after finding no errors, granted Neville's request. "It's a very bad decision and I think he's going to regret it when his execution comes up," Ford said Wednesday. Federal appeal options are virtually nonexistent since Neville did not exhaust his state options, Ford said. 

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 27, 2000

Texas

Stephanie Rae Flannery, 12

Ricky McGinn

stayed

Ricky McGinn was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of his 12-year-old step-daughter, Stephanie Rae Flannery.  Stephanie was sexually assaulted by McGinn and then beaten with the blunt side of an axe.  She died of multiple head injuries and a fractured skull.  Her battered body was found three days later in a culvert along a farm-to-market road near McGinn's residence in Brown County. Investigators found blood in the trunk of McGinn's car and a bloody ax under the seat of a broken truck in his yard and the girl's body in a culvert.  Stayed until June 1.

 

Date of scheduled execution

State

Victim name

Inmate name

Status

April 27, 2000

Oklahoma

Richard Oldham Riggs, 32

Ronald Boyd

executed

Ronald Keith Boyd, 42, is to die for the Jan. 7, 1986, shooting death of Oklahoma City police officer Richard Oldham Riggs, 32.  After Boyd and a woman robbed a convenience store in Oklahoma City, they and two other people traveling with them stopped at a service station on Interstate 35 to use a pay telephone.  Boyd was outside the van using the telephone when Riggs and his partner noticed that the van matched the description of the vehicle in the robbery.  Riggs was shot after instructing Boyd to remove his hands from his pockets. After shooting Riggs in the abdomen, Boyd then placed the gun against the officer's chest and fired a second shot.  "I promised Richard as I stood over his coffin that I would live to see this day," Riggs' mother, Betty Riggs, said hours before the execution.  "I had to keep my promise to Richard and now I can go to the cemetery and I'll tell him."

 

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