May 2002 Executions
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Eight killers were executed in May 2002.  They had murdered at least 9 people.
Five
killers were given a stay in May 2002.  They have murdered at least 7 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/1/02  Missouri  Shirley Crook  Christopher Simmons stayed

The Missouri Supreme Court set an execution date of May 1 for Christopher Simmons, convicted of the September 1993 murder of Shirley Crook of Fenton. The office of Attorney General Jay Nixon argued against Simmons' appeal.  In early September 1993, Simmons then 17, discussed with his friends, Charlie Benjamin (age 15) and John Tessmer (age 16), the possibility of committing a burglary and murdering someone. On several occasions, Simmons described the manner in which he planned to commit the crime: he would find someone to burglarize, tie the victim up, and ultimately push the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends that their status as juveniles would allow them to "get away with it." Simmons apparently believed that a "voodoo man" who lived in a nearby trailer park would be the best victim. Rumor had it that the voodoo man owned hotels and motels and had lots of money despite his residence in a mobile home park. On September 8, 1993, Simmons arranged to meet Benjamin and Tessmer at around 2:00 a.m. the following morning for the purpose of carrying out the plan. The boys met at the home of Brian Moomey, a 29-year old convicted felon who allowed neighbor teens to "hang out" at his home. Tessmer met Simmons and Benjamin, but refused to go with them and returned to his own home. Simmons and Benjamin left Moomey’s and went to Shirley Crook’s house to commit a burglary. The two found a back window cracked open at the rear of Crook’s home. They opened the window, reached through, unlocked the back door, and entered the house. Moving through the house, Simmons turned on a hallway light. The light awakened Shirley, who was home alone. She sat up in bed and asked, "Who’s there?" Simmons entered her bedroom and recognized Shirley as a woman with whom he had previously had an automobile accident. Shirley apparently recognized him as well. Simmons ordered Shirley out of her bed and on to the floor with Benjamin’s help. While Benjamin guarded Shirley in the bedroom, Simmons found a roll of duct tape, returned to the bedroom and bound her hands behind her back. They also taped her eyes and mouth shut. They walked Shirley from her home and placed her in the back of her mini-van. Simmons drove the can from Shirley’s home in Jefferson County to Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County. At the park, Simmons drove the van to a railroad trestle that spanned the Meramec River. Simmons parked the van near the railroad trestle. He and Benjamin began to unload Shirley from the van and discovered that she had freed her hands and had removed some of the duct tape from her face. Using her purse strap, the belt from her bathrobe, a towel from the back of the van, and some electrical wire found on the trestle, Simmons and Benjamin bound Shirley, restraining her hands and feet and covering her head with the towel. Simmons and Benjamin walked Shirley to the railroad trestle. There, Simmons bound her hands and feet together, hog-tie fashion, with the electrical cable and covered Shirley’s face completely with duct tape. Simmons then pushed her off the railroad trestle into the river below. At the time she fell, Shirley was alive and conscious. Simmons and Benjamin then threw Shirley’s purse in to the woods and drove the van back to the mobile home park across from the subdivision in which she lived. Her body was found later that afternoon by two fishermen. Simmons was arrested the next day, September 10, at his high school. UDPATE: The execution of Christopher Simmons has been postponed from May 1 to June 5, 2002. No reason for the postponement was given.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/1/02  Texas  LaTanya Boone, 21
Roderick Moore, 24
Henry Truevillian, 20
 
Curtis Moore stayed

Darrel Hoyle and his friends Henry Truevillian and Roderick Moore (no relation) met Curtis Moore late in the evening of Nov. 29, 1995. Curtis was with his nephew, Anthony Moore. The five men agreed to meet to make a cocaine deal at a house on Pate Street that belonged to Curtis' sister. Henry and Roderick rode with Darrel in his beige, four-door Cutlass and Curtis and Anthony rode in a blue Oldsmobile that Curtis said he borrowed from a friend. When they arrived at the Pate Street house, Darrel and Anthony waited outside and talked. The three other men went inside. About five minutes later, Darrel and Anthony entered the house. The five men talked in the kitchen for a while and then Curtis and Anthony went into the bathroom together. Moments later, Curtis came out of the bathroom shouting, "This is a jack," which in street language means a robbery. Curtis took $150 from Darrel and $5 from Henry. While Curtis held a gun on Darrel, Henry and Roderick, he told Anthony to tie up the three men. Anthony tied the victims' hands and feet. Curtis then put Darrel and Henry in the trunk of Darrel's car. From what Darrel could ascertain from inside the trunk, Curtis drove, Anthony rode in the front passenger seat and Roderick rode in the back seat. After a while, the car stopped and Darrel heard Curtis say that the car was out of gas. Curtis went to get gasoline and told Anthony to keep the gun pointed at Roderick. Curtis returned about 10 minutes later, put the gasoline in the car, and drove on. The car stopped sometime later and Darrel assumed that they were at Roderick's house because he heard Roderick's girlfriend, LaTanya Boone, scream after hearing a gun shot. Darrel assumed that LaTanya and Roderick were put into another car because he did not hear them again. The car stopped again, this time Curtis asked Darrel and Henry if they were trying to get loose. Curtis then drove on. Around 2:00 a.m. on November 30, the car stopped again on Wilbarger Street in southeast Tarrant County. Darrel heard Curtis get out of the car and moments later the trunk opened. Curtis fired a gun at Darrel and Henry and then closed the trunk. Darrel heard Henry say, "Oh, I'm hit." Curtis opened the trunk again and poured gasoline on Darrel and Henry. Curtis closed the trunk until it was open only enough to stick in his hand. Darrel heard the flick of the lighter and then his and Henry's clothes caught on fire. Curtis tried to close the trunk but Darrel kicked until it opened. Darrel pulled Henry and himself out of the trunk and ran. When he realized that he was on fire, Henry dropped to the ground and rolled. Curtis then gave chase, while Darrel ran into the woods on the other side of the street. When Curtis caught up to him, he stepped on Darrel's neck and threatened his life. Darrel played dead and Curtis left him alone and walked back to the cars. Darrel then got up, ran farther into the woods and found a hiding place. He watched his car burn and then saw what appeared to be an explosion. When Curtis realized that Darrel was gone, Curtis removed his shirt and yelled that he was going to kill Darrel. Darrel heard sirens and saw Curtis run toward the highway. He saw a blue Oldsmobile that looked like the one Curtis had been driving earlier, drive toward the highway. When the fire trucks and police arrived, Darrel ran up to them. He was able to tell a fireman his and Henry's name, but was unable to tell them anything else because he was in shock and burned on about 60 percent of his body. Later that morning, the police were called to a crime scene on David Strickland Street, not far from the Wilbarger site, where the bodies of LaTanya and Roderick were found shot with a 9 mm gun. Darrel gave a statement to the police when he regained consciousness six days after he was shot and burned. When Darrel gave his statement to the police, he told them Anthony's street name -- Kojak -- and that Anthony attended O.D. Wyatt High School. He also told police that he did not know Curtis' name, but he knew Curtis drove a pink truck. With that information, the police were able to find Curtis and Anthony and arrest them on December 12. After his arrest, Anthony led police to the 9 mm gun that a ballistics expert testified had been used to kill LaTanya and Roderick. UPDATE: Less than 3 hours before he was to have been put to death on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of a Texas parolee convicted of killing 3 people in a drug-ripoff robbery some 7 years ago in Fort Worth. Curtis Moore, 34, already was in a small holding cell adjacent to the death chamber at the Huntsville Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice when he received word the high court had given him a reprieve. He immediately was removed and returned to death row at the Polunsky Unit, about 45 miles to the east. There was no word from prison officials of his reaction. Attorneys had been attempting to show Curtis Moore was mentally retarded and cited a Virginia case now before the Supreme Court as reason why they should look at Moore's case. The Virginia case questions the constitutionality of executing the mentally retarded. State prosecutors questioned why the issue should surface now because Curtis Moore's mental ability had never before been an issue and was not addressed at his trial in Fort Worth. "We're surprised only because of the procedural posture," said Chip Wilkinson, a lawyer in the appeals section of the Tarrant County district attorney's office. "It was an unusual procedural posture and the court went ahead and stayed it anyway." The petition for the reprieve was filed to Justice Antonin Scalia, who referred it to the entire court. The reprieve will remain in effect indefinitely until the court decides whether to review Moore's case. If the court refuses to review the case, the reprieve automatically is canceled and a new execution date could be set. A decision in the Virginia case is expected before July. Curtis Moore already had an extensive juvenile record when in 1985 he received 6 years for robbery, but was released 9 months later under mandatory supervision during a time when Texas was known for a revolving door criminal justice system because of a lack of prison space. He was convicted 3 more times over the next 10 years and was paroled after short stays in prison. He was arrested for capital murder for killing 3 people in a pair of shootings Nov. 30, 1995. Roderick Moore, 24, no relation to the inmate, and LaTanya Boone, 21, both of Fort Worth, were found shot to death in a roadside ditch across from a Fort Worth elementary school. The same night, Darrel Hoyle, then 21, of Fort Worth, and Henry Truevillain Jr., 20, of Forest Hill, were found shot and burned. Darrel Hoyle, however, survived and helped lead police to the arrest of Curtis Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, who then was 17.  The 3 men were abducted after agreeing to meet Curtis Moore and his nephew at a stable where Roderick Moore boarded and trained horses. Then LaTanya Boone was abducted from the apartment she shared with Roderick Moore, her boyfriend. Testimony at Curtis Moore's trial showed the shootings culminated a drug rip-off robbery, that he doused Darrel Hoyle and Henry Truevillain with gasoline and ignited them as they were bound and in the trunk of a car parked in a deserted lot outside a club. Darrel Hoyle regained consciousness 6 days after he was attacked and gave information that led authorities to Anthony Moore. Curtis Moore was arrested about two weeks later. Anthony Moore, now 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder under a plea agreement and is serving two life prison sentences.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/1/02  Arizona  Karen Bohl, 39 Eugene Doeer stayed

On September 24, 1994, Eugene Doerr called police and reported waking up and finding a dead woman in his bedroom. The nude victim, Karen Bohl, had been kidnapped on her way to work.  She was found lying on the floor with several lacerations to her head. The nipple had been cut off one breast. She suffered major trauma to her vagina and rectal area. Bruises and abrasions were found on her neck and other parts of her body. Investigators noticed signs of a major struggle inside the apartment, including bloodstains on walls, floors and furniture in different rooms. An autopsy later revealed Karen Bohl died from multiple blunt force trauma. Eugene Doerr's clothes and most of his body were covered in dried blood. When his clothing was removed, investigators observed his pelvic area and penis were also saturated with dried blood. He had several injuries, including a broken hand, a deep laceration to his wrist consistent with a knife wound. A bloody steak knife was found on the bathroom sink. A bloodstained brass pipe was located on the living room floor. Eugene Doerr told police he had gone out drinking at a couple of bars the previous evening, and did not remember coming home. When he woke up, he found the victim's body and realized he was covered with blood. He claimed he had no idea what happened. The defendant informed an investigator the victim's purse was on the bathroom floor and her car was parked out front. He then tried to correct himself by saying he believed the car was hers. Doerr stated, "She must have really made me mad for me to do something to her like this. " He asked an officer if he would be getting life in prison for the crime, then declined to answer questions without an attorney. Blood samples taken from Eugene Doerr showed no presence of drugs or alcohol.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/3/02  South Carolina  Bruce Kenneth Smalls, 30
Dan Swanson
Richard Johnson executed

On September 27, 1985, Dan Swanson was murdered by Richard Johnson, one of three hitchhikers that Johnson had picked up while driving in his motor home on his way to Florida.  Richard's body was hidden under a mattress in the RV.  Bruce Kenneth Smalls, a 30-year-old South Carolina state trooper, had received a report of erratic driving and pulled the RV over.  As he walked up to the motor home, he was shot six times. UPDATE: Gov. Jim Hodges has denied clemency for convicted killer Richard Charles Johnson, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Friday. Hodges said he had spoken with the sister and the son of slain state trooper Bruce Smalls. They "expressed to me their belief that the jury and court's decision should not be disturbed," Hodges said. "Upon a thorough review of the record and careful consideration of all information provided, I am convinced that Mr. Johnson is guilty as charged. The jury's sentence must be carried out. Clemency is not granted." Johnson, 39, has been sentenced to death twice for killing Smalls during a 1985 traffic stop along Interstate 95 in Jasper County. He was set to die in October 1999, but the state Supreme Court stopped that execution the day before it was scheduled. Before making his decision Thursday, Hodges spoke with Smalls' family, spokeswoman Cortney Owings said. Hodges also considered letters from state religious and legal leaders as well as the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People opposing the execution. Johnson is white, while the slain trooper is black. A former chief justice of the state Supreme Court joined several religious groups and more than 2 dozen former prosecutors in asking Hodges to grant clemency for Johnson. One of those writing letters to Hodges on Johnson's behalf is retired state Chief Justice Ernest Finney. In 2000, the state Supreme Court ruled that 1 of Johnson's co-defendants was not credible when she recanted her testimony given at Johnson's trial and said she killed Smalls. Finney was not part of that 3-2 vote, but he said the razor-thin margin wasn't enough to "justify the imposition of the ultimate punishment. When the court divides three to two on the question of whether a man on death row is actually guilty of committing the crime, I believe clemency is warranted," Finney wrote. The decision came after state NAACP President James Gallman urged Hodges to let Johnson live. The civil rights group opposes using the death penalty as a crime deterrent, in part because studies show death penalties are used disproportionately for poor and minority convicts, he said. Defense attorneys say they have a statement from co-defendant, Connie Sue Hess, saying she is the trooper's actual killer. Prosecutors said Hess has given more than a half-dozen different stories over nearly 15 years before confessing in 1999. A 2nd co-defendant Curtis Harbert and Hess originally told police Johnson killed the trooper, and both were let out of jail after Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death. Harbert has never changed his testimony. Hess has since been living in a home for the mentally ill in Nebraska.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/7/02  Texas  Michael Foster, 31  Brian Davis stayed

Brian Edward Davis, a white supremacist from a small town. During a 1991 robbery in Houston, Davis and an accomplice, Tina Louise McDonald, stabbed Michael Foster, 31, after meeting him in a bar.  The couple took Michael, a mentally retarded man, to his apartment where they stabbed him 11 times and robbed him.  Davis was arrested after attacking another person; that victim was stabbed but survived to testify. Davis had previous convictions for dealing drugs and escape.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/9/02 Texas  Jenny Lynn Weeks, 14  Reginald Reeves executed

A convicted killer was executed by injection Thursday for the 1993 fatal beating and rape of a 14-year-old girl he befriended after she ran away from a group foster home. In a lengthy final statement, Reginald Reeves, 28, apologized repeatedly. "I do apologize with all my heart and soul," he said as the victim's mother nodded. "I want you to know I do love you. We're all one big family in humanity." Reeves surrendered to police in Clarksville in northeast Texas in 1993 a day after the body of Jenny Lynn Weeks was found stuffed in a closet of a vacant home. Medical examiners determined died of strangulation. "She was chewed on, bitten, raped and sodomized, then severely beaten, beaten to death, then wrapped up in a rug and dumped in an old abandoned house," Red River County District Attorney Val Varley said. In the final entry in her diary dated Sept. 9, 1993, Weeks wrote of being a bit lonely but otherwise happy living at Reeves' apartment. She was killed later that day. Testimony showed Weeks was in a group foster home when she joined another resident, a 17-year-old girl, who was running away to Clarksville, about 30 miles away. The other girl met up with her boyfriend, a friend of Reeves, who offered to share his apartment with Weeks and she agreed.  

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/10/02 Louisiana  Christina Burgin, 19  Leslie Martin executed

A man convicted of raping and killing a 19-year-old college student in 1991 was executed by injection Friday night. Leslie Martin, 35, made no final statement but, after the drugs were injected, could be seen mouthing the words "You're fired," to his defense attorney who watched the execution. The lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, later said Martin's remarks were part of a long-running joke between the two. Martin was convicted in 1992 of killing Christina Burgin, a student at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. She was last seen alive leaving a lounge with Martin on June 20, 1991. Her decomposed body was found nearly two weeks later in a pump house in the rural southwestern Louisiana town of Iowa. Prosecutors said Martin raped Burgin and then strangled her to keep her from turning him in.  Prior to an earlier execution date, Martin, a 1-time escapee, was overheard by 2 death row corrections officers talking with another inmate about an escape attempt.  He discussed the possibility of taking hostages and trying to commandeer a vehicle to ram through the prison gates. "He was plotting an escape, how he was going to take hostages and what he was going to do to the hostages," Cain said. "So we moved him to a place where he wouldn't have access to hostages." He was put in a cell near the room where he will be put to death by lethal injection, where he has only a guard to talk to. "We're treating him good, in a little cell block of his own," Cain said. Had Martin tried to escape, it would have been his 2nd attempt. He and 3 other inmates briefly escaped from death row in November 1999. Authorities said the 4 condemned men used smuggled hacksaw blades to cut their way through their cell doors and a steel-barred window during a 2 to 3-week period prior to the escape. Prison chase teams caught them about 2 miles from their cells. "They had paid a corrections officer to bring them blades," Cain said. He said 2 guards were fired and 2 demoted following the escape. UPDATE: Leslie Martin raped and strangled Christina Burgin, 19, after meeting her at a Lake Charles bar while he was playing pool with friends on the night of June 20, 1991, according to court records. Martin offered Christina a ride home and she was beaten, choked, and her throat was cut. Martin also gouged her eyes out, put a board on her neck and jumped up and down on it, then left her body in a shed. The body was not found until July and was so badly decomposed that identification was almost impossible. Martin had previous convictions from age 14 and was on parole for an aggravated rape charge. In 1984, Martin had raped his own 14-year-old sister at knifepoint while their mother was in the hospital. He was sentenced to 10 years but served only five. Martin had repeatedly made statements that he would never go back to prison and killed Christina so she would "not complain."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/10/02  Alabama  Roger Lamar Motley Lynda Block executed  

The Alabama Supreme Court set a May 10 execution date for a Florida woman convicted in the 1993 shooting death of an Opelika police officer. Barring a stay, Lynda Block would be the 1st woman executed in Alabama since 1957. A zealot against all manner of government intrusion, she has refused the help of lawyers, contending the judicial system is fraudulent and corrupt. State prosecutors said she has no active appeal. Block, 54, and her common-law husband, George Sibley Jr., were convicted in the October 1993 shooting death of officer Roger Lamar Motley while they were on the run from a criminal case in Florida. Roger was slain as he approached the couple's car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A passerby heard Block's 9-year-old son call for help and asked the officer to see if everything was OK. Sibley also received a death sentence and remains on death row. The Alabama Supreme Court upheld Block's death sentence in 1999 and Sibley's in 2000. At trial, Sibley and Block, who has said she prefers the name Lynda Lyon, said they fired at Motley and his patrol car in self- defense after the officer touched his holster. But witnesses said Sibley fired shots first and Block joined in the shootout after the officer was wounded. Both were sentenced to die in part because forensics experts couldn't decide who fired the fatal shots. At the time, the couple was fleeing from Orlando, Fla., to avoid being sentenced on assault convictions in the stabbing of Block's 79-year-old former husband. They contend they were innocent of assault and had become victims in the case themselves. The couple have refused to pursue the death sentence appeals they are entitled to under state law. The courts had to appoint attorneys to represent them at trial, but they balked at getting help from defense attorneys for the appeals. Assistant Attorney General Beth Hughes has said Sibley and Block refused to "recognize the jurisdiction of the Alabama courts." Block's court-appointed defense attorney, W. David Nichols of Birmingham, said in 1999 that she contends Alabama never became a state again after the Civil War and its courts hold no jurisdiction. The couple met at a Libertarian Party meeting in 1991 and became active in its politics. They took the position that individuals should be free from government intrusions, eventually getting rid of their driver's licenses, car registrations and birth certificates.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/14/02 Maryland  Jane Tyson, 49  Wesley Baker stayed
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Maryland's execution of Wesley Eugene Baker in the 1991 murder of a grandmother outside Westview Mall, denying a stay without comment. A jury in Harford County, where the trial was moved at Baker's request, convicted him in 1992 of killing Jane Tyson, 49, in front of her grandchildren in the parking lot of the Catonsville mall. Shortly before Baker was to be executed, Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening declared a halt to executions until the release of a University of Maryland study examining possible racial bias in Maryland's death penalty. 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/14/02 Texas  Nicolas West, 23 Henry Dunn stayed

A judge in Tyler has set a May 14 execution date for a man convicted in the 1993 slaying of a Tyler medical records clerk, who prosecutors say was targeted because he was gay. Prosecutors said Henry Earl Dunn Jr. has exhausted his appeals to state and federal court. Dunn appeared before Judge Diane DeVasto Tuesday. She told him, "May God have mercy on your soul." Dunn was sentenced to death along with Donald Loren Aldrich in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of 23-year-old Nicolas West. No execution date has been set for Aldrich. They had said the crime resulted at least in part from their hatred of homosexuals. They confessed to abducting West from a Tyler city park and driving him to a clay pit in a rural area outside the East Texas city, where West was robbed of his vehicle and shot at least 9 times. Among his arguments on appeal, Dunn said the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress his videotaped confession. He contended that his confession wasn't voluntarily given. The appeals court said Dunn pointed to no facts to support his claim and said the trial court didn't abuse its discretion. The West slaying attracted national attention when homosexual rights groups staged protests. A 3rd man involved in the case, David Ray McMillan, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/16/02 Texas  Lee Hollace Styron, 1  Ronford Styron executed

A man convicted of killing his 11-month-old son was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday in a Texas prison. Ronford Styron was condemned for punching son Lee at least three times in the head and face on Oct. 23, 1993, at their home in Dayton, Texas, northeast of Houston. The boy died two days later of a brain hemorrhage. At his trial, Styron admitted striking the child in anger because he suspected the boy was not his biological son. He said he did not mean to kill him, but investigators said the child had numerous broken bones from a long history of abuse - physical evidence showed at least 10 previous broken bones. In a final statement as he lay strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber, Styron said: "I'm going to go with my little boy and play with him. ... Lord Jesus, I see your spirit, it's OK, I love you." For his final meal, Styron requested a platter of Mexican food, two Classic Coca-Colas, pickles, olives, and cookies-and-cream ice cream.  Ronford Styron was booted out of school for fighting and let go from the military for punching a sergeant. Court records showed he beat up a neighbor, kicked and shot his own car and brawled with another motorist on the side of a Houston freeway. When the same kind of aggression was meted out to his 11-month-old son and
left the defenseless infant dead almost eight years ago, Styron wound up on death row. Lee Hollace Styron was one month shy of his first birthday when he died Oct. 28, 1993, at Houston's Texas Children's Hospital, three days after he was brought into an emergency room in Liberty, about 40 miles east of Houston. When the child's injuries did not match information presented to physicians treating the comatose infant, authorities began investigating. It was just weeks after a then-new Texas law took effect that made accused killers of children under the age of 6 eligible for the death penalty. "Except somebody who kills hundreds or thousands of people, I don't see how you can get a more heinous offense," Steve Greene, who prosecuted Styron in 1994, said this week. "He basically tortured the child through most of his short life. We were going for the death penalty because a child is the most helpless person you can have, especially an 11-month-old baby." Styron acknowledged punching the infant in the face one time but evidence and testimony indicated the child endured much more brutal treatment over a prolonged time. Medical examiners found the baby suffered three recent blows to the head and any of them could have been fatal. At least 10 bones were broken in previous injuries. Testimony showed Styron stuffed the child's mouth with tape to stop him from crying, palmed his head like a basketball, dunked him in ice water, squeezed his chest hard enough to break ribs and shook him so hard the retinas of his eyes hemorrhaged. "I won't be forgetting him," Greene said. "It was really a sad case." He said prosecutors had no evidence to tie Styron's wife and the child's mother to any of the abuse although the home conditions were described as filthy and a second older child was not in good condition and temporarily was placed in foster care. "She just wasn't a very attentive mother," Greene said. "There was evidence both of them had been unfaithful at different times and he doubted the baby was really his, even though his family said the child looked a lot like him." Greene said authorities didn't conduct paternity tests because they weren't needed to prove the murder case. Relatives told investigators they thought of reporting Styron to child protective officials but feared him. Although he served no prison time, he had been on probation twice for a weapons offense and assault. Psychologists found him hostile, aggressive and a person who held grudges. He also had a history of problems with authority figures, ranging from punching his Army sergeant to threatening people on his job. At the time of his arrest, he was unemployed.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/22/02 Texas  Clay Peterson  Johnny Martinez executed

Convicted killer Johnny Joe Martinez was executed this evening for fatally stabbing a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk 9 years ago. In a lengthy final statement, Martinez was apologetic and bitter, blaming his state appointed appeals lawyers for his death. "I know I'm fixing to die, but not for my mistakes," Martinez said. "My trial lawyers, they are the ones who are killing me." Martinez had insisted that his initial appeals lawyers were incompetent and inexperienced and failed to take the proper steps to get him off death row. Late appeals, including some to the Supreme Court this week, were rejected. He apologized to the parents of his victim, Clay Peterson. Peterson's mother, Lana Norris, lobbied for his sentence to be reduced to a life term. "I want to thank you," he said, referring to Norris. "It meant a lot to me." His voice shaking, Martinez said he failed to call his own mother Wednesday. "Tell my mother I love her too. I didn't call her because I just couldn't," Martinez said. "I'm fine. I'm happy. I love you all. See you on the other side," he said before taking a deep breath and slipping into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m., 12 minutes after the lethal dose began. Martinez's case gained notoriety when Norris joined the prisoner in asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to spare the 29-year-old Kingsville man by commuting his sentence to life in prison. The board, in an unusually close 9-8 vote Monday, refused the clemency request. Attempts in the courts earlier this week to stop the execution were unsuccessful and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a pair of appeals about an hour before his scheduled lethal injection. While not violent, prison officials described him as "passively resisting" as he was taken from the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, home of death row, for the 45-mile drive to the Huntsville Unit, where executions are carried out. "I'm not going to walk," Martinez told prison guards. "You're going to have to carry me." They did, then repeated the procedure when he refused to walk himself into a cell just outside the death chamber. Martinez, who worked as a medical care technician at a home for the mentally retarded, said he was drunk and had smoked marijuana at a party when he walked into the store where Peterson was working alone about 3 a.m. July 15, 1993. The robbery of $25.65 from the cash register and the gruesome killing of the 20-year-old Peterson was caught on videotape by the store's security camera. "When you see that, you think: God, what a monster!" Martinez said recently from death row. "I couldn't watch it. I couldn't believe it was me... There's not one day I don't think about what I did. I wish I could bring him back. To this day, I still can't believe I did something like that." As shown on the video, Martinez put a knife to Peterson's throat, got money from the cash register, then attacked him. "To this day, I can't tell you how many times he was stabbed," Martinez said. "He plunges the knife into the guy's neck 4 times," Mark Skurka, the Nueces County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Martinez, said, recalling the images from the tape. "It's horrible. (Peterson) goes down face first. Johnny Joe Martinez tries to get around him and the guy tries to get back up. And he stabs him 4 more times in the back." The video then shows Martinez running out of the store and a companion in the parking lot driving off without him. On the tape, the wounded Peterson climbs to the counter. "You see a hand come up and grab the phone," Skurka said. "He's talking like he's drowning. You see his bloody hand... You basically see the guy die on camera. He slips down... You see the blood spurting all over the place. Then it's deadly quiet until the cops get there. "It's very moving, very riveting. It was very upsetting to the jury." When Martinez gave a confession to police, he said the stabbing came after Peterson struggled. The video disputed the claim. "The kid never made a move to resist," Skurka said. "Johnny Joe Martinez didn't know there was a security video." In her letter to the parole board, Peterson's mother urged Martinez, who she met earlier this month in prison, be saved so another mother could avoid losing a son to murder. The rejection left her sad, she said.  "We will be praying for Johnny and his family," she said. Skurka said it was important to note a jury decided Martinez's fate. "Not the mother, not me," he said. "12 people apparently looked at the video and decided this guy was a future danger."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/28/02 Texas  John Luttig, 63 Napoleon Beazley executed

Napolean Beazley and 2 friends spotted John Luttig's Mercedes Benz on the night of April 19, 1994, and followed it to the Luttig home in an affluent neighborhood of this East Texas city of 75,000. The plan was to steal the car and sell it to a Dallas "chop shop." Luttig pulled into his garage and got out of the car. Beazley shot the 63-year-old man twice in the head with a .45-caliber handgun. Bobbie Luttig dropped face down on the garage floor to hide. She could see her husband bleeding on the pavement. She thought she was going to die. Speeding from the Luttigs' home, Beazley damaged the car and abandoned it on a nearby street. The 3 men, Beazley and brothers Cedrick and Donald Coleman, fled back to their home town of Grapeland, about 70 miles southwest of Tyler. A year later, the Colemans were in prison and Beazley was on death row. The Luttigs' son helped put them there. "Words seem trite in describing what follows when your . . . father is stripped away from your life: the despair, the chaos, the confusion, the sense -- perhaps temporary, perhaps not -- that one's life has no further purpose," his son, J. Michael Luttig, said at the Colemans' trial. He would give similar, lengthy testimony in Beazley's capital murder trial. It might have just been another mid-'90s carjacking turned deadly if Michael Luttig was not one of the most influential judges on one of the most influential federal appeals courts in the country -- and one of the toughest appeals court when it comes to death penalty cases. Sitting on the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1991, Luttig is apparently the only living federal judge whose father had been slain.  At the federal hijacking trial of the Colemans, Luttig addressed the judge and described how difficult it was to receive word from a close friend that his father was dead . . . "realizing at that very moment, at that very moment that the man you have worshipped all your life is lying on his back in your driveway with two bullets through his head.  It is thinking the unthinkable that perhaps the act was in retaliation for something you had done in your own job," said Luttig.  "On behalf of my dad and on behalf of my mother and family I respectfully request that those who committed this brutal crime receive the full punishment that the law provides," Luttig said.  Luttig made similar remarks in Beazley's capital murder trial in state court, but did not ask for the death penalty. Shortly after the death penalty was imposed, he was quoted by the media as saying, "There's no one in my family that's happy about what occurred today." However, he also said: "Individuals must be held accountable at some point for actions such as this. I thought this was an appropriate case for the death penalty." . . . A quicker red light, a longer green, a wrong turn and John Luttig and Napolean Beazley might never have met.  Luttig, born in Pittsburgh, was a Korean War veteran. He married, and raised a son and daughter. He was a petroleum engineer for Atlantic Richfield and then he went into business for himself, supervising wells across the country.  In his private life, he was an elder at Tyler's First Presbyterian Church and vice moderator of the Grace Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., said the Rev. Dick Ramsey, former pastor of the church.  Luttig had also served on the Tyler Planning Zoning Commission.  "John was a great guy, he really was," said Jim Rippy a friend and fellow oil man. "He was a gentlemen in everything he did -- outgoing, he had kind of a nice wit about him and he had a good relationship with everybody here."  As part of a Christmas present to his wife, Luttig enrolled Bobbie in a night class at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she was studying for a master of divinity degree, Ramsey said.  On the night he died, Luttig had driven her to Dallas for the 6 p.m. class, waited for her, then they drove home.  Napolean Beazley, 17, was the president of his senior class. The starting running back for the Grapeland High School Sandies his last season and a 440-relay track runner, Beazley was headed for the Marine Corps after high school. Then, about 47 days after Luttig was killed, a tip led police to Grapeland. 2 weeks after Beazley graduated 13th out of his class of 60, he was arrested and charged with murder.  About 47 days elapsed between the slaying and Beazley's arrest.  "He was well-known . . . he had plenty of friends and he did a lot of good things in his life," his father, Ireland Beazley, said.  The senior Beazley is a steel worker and city councilman in Grapeland which has a population of 1,468. His wife, Rena, was the secretary to the county judge. Beazley said that, in addition to football and track, his son played baseball and lifted weights competitively.  The Beazleys were proud of Napolean. They did not know he was leading a secret life.  On April 19, Beazley took his mother's red Ford Probe and wound up in Tyler with the Colemans. Beazley, a crack dealer armed with a .45-caliber handgun, was looking for a car to hijack. "I went to school, I went to Sunday school every Sunday, I walked old ladies across the street -- all that stuff," said Beazley, interviewed on Texas' death row.  He said he wasn't using crack at the time of the murder and he wasn't drunk, either. So, what happened? "A lot of people ask that question. I ask myself that question, too," said Beazley.  "I can't really explain it to you, because it would always seem like a justification. When you lay it all out . . . it can come out as a justification and, for me, there is no justification for what happened."  With an appeal pending, there is much about the crime that he cannot discuss. "I don't admit anything. . . . I don't say anything about it. Let the evidence speak for itself. The testimony mostly came from those 2 guys who were also involved in the crime." The Coleman brothers, who received life sentences, testified against Beazley.  Beazley does not deny he was there. "They had a bloody footprint from my shoe, they had a palm print on the body of the car that came from me."  And, he says, "I don't blame my family, I don't blame my friends, I don't blame society, I can't blame a federal judge. I don't blame anybody else for being here but me."  During his trial, Beazley remembers Judge Luttig testifying. He said he felt sorry for him for losing his father.  He has not tried to contact the family and apologize for fear of hurting them further, he said. "They're going through their own pain right now and I don't want to add to that. If I could alleviate it, if I could take it away from them, then I would."  Beazley paused when asked if given the chance to talk to Michael Luttig what would he say?  "What can you say to somebody in that situation? No words could comfort him, not coming from me, anyway. I don't think I would say anything. I think I would, for once, just listen.  What would I do if somebody murdered my daddy? How would I feel?" He said he is not sure.   

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
5/30/02 Texas  Wayne Walters  Stanley Baker, Jr. executed

Stanley Allison Baker was convicted of murdering Wayne Walters, an employee at the Adult Video Store in College Station, for his truck and all of the money in the store's cash register on Sept. 28, 1994. Police seized Baker's notebook, which noted his goals for the year included "30 victims dead, 30 armed robberies, and steal a lot of cars." 

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