September 2002 Executions
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Seven killers were executed in September 2002.  They had murdered at least 10 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 10, 2002 Texas  Virginia Simmons, 66
Willie "Bo" Simmons, 81
unnamed victim
 
Tony Walker executed

On Nov. 17, 1993, Tony Lee Walker was sentenced to die for the capital murder of 66-year-old Virginia Simmons in Daingerfield, Texas, on May 23, 1992. Walker also murdered Simmons' 81-year-old husband Willie "Bo" Simmons. On May 23, 1992, at 12:30 a.m., Tony Walker was riding in a friend's car. They had both smoked some rock cocaine. The friend let Walker out of the car and he started walking toward his house. Walker, who was an acquaintance of the Virginia and Bo Simmons, wanted beer and money for more drugs. He decided to go over to the Simmons' house, which was nearby. On the way, Walker picked up a big stick on a railroad track. When he got to the house, Walker knocked on the door and heard Mr. Simmons ask, "Who is it?" Walker identified himself, and Mr. Simmons opened the door and let him in. Once inside, Walker told Mr. Simmons he wanted a beer. Mr. Simmons went to the kitchen, got a beer, and brought it back to Walker. Walker gave him 50 cents for the beer and then left. Walker walked in the woods and drank the beer. He found another stick and went back to the Simmons' house. Walker put the stick behind him and knocked on the door. Mr. Simmons asked who was there, and Walker told him "Roger." Eventually, Virginia Simmons let Walker into the house. Mr. Simmons was standing by the kitchen door with his back turned. When Mr. Simmons turned around, Walker hit him in the back of the head with the stick, which broke. He hit Mr. Simmons in the head again and the stick broke again. Walker then grabbed a walking cane and hit Mr. Simmons a third time. The cane also broke. Mrs. Simmons yelled, "Hey, you want to get shot?" Walker opened the front door and got another stick he had left on the porch. He hit Mrs. Simmons with it and she fell on her bed. Mr. Simmons was still standing up when Walker grabbed him by the hand, pulled him into the bedroom, and told him to lay down on the floor by the bed. Walker then grabbed Mrs. Simmons and told her to pull her gown up. He tied Mr. Simmons' hands and feet with an electric cord, a belt, and a foam shoulder sling. Walker asked the Simmons if they would tell the police about this, and Mr. Simmons responded that he would not because they had been robbed before. Walker then raped Mrs. Simmons. He noticed that Mrs. Simmons' head was bleeding at the time. After raping Mrs. Simmons, Walker laid her on the floor by her husband's feet. She was nude and curled up. Walker started thinking that if he did not kill them, they would call the police. After looking at them for about 10 minutes, Walker hit them both in the head repeatedly. Blood was coming out of their mouths and, as Walker watched, they both gasped for air. Walker then went to the kitchen, got a beer, sat down and drank it. Afterward, he dragged Mrs. Simmons into the living room to attempt to sexually assault her again, even though she was dead. Then, he got another beer from the kitchen and drank it. Next, Walker found Mr. Simmons' wallet in Mr. Simmons' back pocket, took the money out, and counted it. There was about $95 in the wallet, which Walker put in his pocket. Walker then began looking for items that he might be able to sell for money, but went to the kitchen and drank another beer. After that, he untied Mr. Simmons and began to collect the belts, the electric cord, the sticks, the cane, and the beer cans. He put the items in a pillow case, and then tried to wipe his fingerprints off of anything he thought he touched. Walker was naked and his clothes were covered with blood, so he found a pair of Mr. Simmons' pants and a t-shirt and put them on. Walker went to the front door, opened it, and noticed that the Simmons' neighbors were awake. Consequently, he closed the front door, locked it, and walked out the back door. The following day, the police found Walker's blood-soaked clothes in a hole behind his house. After the police confronted him, Walker agreed to go to the Morris County courthouse to answer questions. While at the courthouse, Walker confessed to the crime. Walker's confession was supported by forensic evidence presented at trial demonstrating that the blood on his clothes was of the same type as the victims. The evidence also revealed that Walker's sperm was found on Mrs. Simmons. During trial, the State proved that Walker had been convicted of first degree murder on March 21, 1978, in Criminal District Court No. 2, of Dallas County, Texas. Walker received a five-year sentence for the crime, and was discharged on early release on May, 8, 1980.  UPDATE:  In a brief final statement, Tony Lee Walker said goodbye to a friends in Europe and said "I love you and will never forget you. And to my family," he said, choking back tears, "nothing." In a written statement, Walker said he was sorry for the crime and asked the victim's family if they "can find it in their hearts to forgive me, but if not I will understand." Richard Townsend, the former Morris Country district attorney who prosecuted Walker said, "If you're going to confess to murder, that's probably bad enough but when you put the details in that he did, that's what got him the death penalty. He talked about doing things like sexually assaulting the elderly woman, then getting a beer in the kitchen and drinking a beer and trying to sexually assault her again when she was dead. He went into detail that made him look like a monster."  The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a commutation request by a 17-0 vote. No 11th-hour appeals were filed in the courts.  "There are simply no meritorious issues we could urge in good faith," his lawyer, Buck Files Jr., said. "After five years and nine or 10 months, I have no more rabbits to pull out of the hat." Files said he had hoped to spend time with Walker on Tuesday and offered to arrange transportation for Walker's wife to visit her husband in prison in the hours before his lethal injection but Walker declined to see either of them. "As he put it, he didn't see any point to it," Files said.  At his trial, Walker disputed his confession, testifying other men with him were responsible for the slayings although he did not deny the rape. Evidence, however, showed Walker was alone. "He gave the worst confession I ever read, easily nailing himself to the wall, admitting not only the murder, but went into details," Townsend said.  Walker also was convicted in 1978 of a murder in Dallas, where he was with others pulling a store robbery where a person was killed. He received a five-year prison term but was discharged on early release after serving a little more than two years.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 13, 2002 South Carolina Maggie Passaro, 2 Michael Passaro executed

Michael Passaro was so angry with his estranged wife that he set fire to a family minivan, killing their 2-year-old daughter, according to prosecutors at his sentencing hearing. Against advice from his attorneys, Passaro pled guilty to charges of murder and 1st-degree arson in Maggie's Nov. 23, 1998, death. Prosecutors presented evidence of the crime to Judge Dean Hall, who imposed the death sentence. A prosecutor read a typewritten suicide note with singed edges that was recovered from the white 1995 Ford minivan. Passaro set fire to the van outside his wife's condo at South Bay Lakes in Surfside Beach. Passaro left Maggie in the van while he escaped from the fire. "Well, Karen [Passaro] won the war, and it's at the expense of our daughter," the note said. "I guess that I'm getting the last laugh now, Karen. Whatever anyone does, please make sure Karen doesn't kill herself. I want her to live in pain." "Has he achieved his objective?" the prosecutor asked Karen Passaro. "Yes. I will live like this forever, for the rest of my life. I can't concentrate or even focus some days," Karen Passaro said. "Maggie will never get to grow up. ... And in the process he took away my future." Jonathan Simons, a clinical psychologist who examined Passaro, testified Passaro knew right from wrong. "My impression is that in Michael's mind his identity became somewhat blurred. He felt his wife was robbing him of his identity, and he had to win that battle," Simons said. Hembree asked Simons whether "Michael Passaro's hatred for Karen Passaro was greater than the love he had for Maggie Passaro?" Simons said: "I think some people could see that. ... He had this delusion of being with Maggie and going to heaven to see his 1st wife." Susan Lewis, who taught Passaro in a nursing class, testified he needed emotional support and wasn't thinking clearly. Lewis, who testified for the defense, also said Passaro had poor life skills and judgment, and was under a lot of stress with his classes, work and pending divorce. "He thought he had a solution to his problems, and he hoped she was hurt at the outcome," Lewis said. Fire investigators testified the fire started near the middle seat of the van. The remains of a plastic, 1-gallon gasoline can also were found melted into the floor near where Maggie was strapped in a child safety seat. Maggie's family members left the courtroom while pictures of the charred van with Maggie's body still inside were shown to the judge. Passaro, who wore shackles, a light-blue shirt and dark-blue slacks, solemnly stared at his hands while the photographs were shown. "She was alive when the fire was raging. She burned to death as a result of the flame and fire in the car," said Clay Nichols, a forensic pathologist who examined Maggie. "I can't think of a more painful way to die." Witnesses testified Passaro jumped out of the van soon after it exploded. "We pulled him away to the grassy area," said John Watts, a witness. "We asked him if anyone else was in the van, and he would not answer us." Maggie's body was found after the fire was extinguished and investigators were searching for a cause of the fire. Paramedics testified Passaro was conscious when they arrived, and the clothing on his right arm and the back of his legs was singed. "There's no joy in sending someone to death row," said Prosecutor Greg Hembree after Passaro, 38, was sentenced. "There's satisfaction that it was the appropriate sentence. Michael Joseph Passaro deserves the death penalty. The burning death of a 2-year-old is inexcusable." UPDATE: Michael Passaro has refused to appeal his sentence and urged the courts to ignore the efforts of well-meaning attorneys to spare him from a lethal injection. "You do not have to live this life. I do," he wrote in a letter to South Carolina's Supreme Court. "The state says I should die for what I did, and I am not going to stand in their way." The SC Supreme Court unanimously agreed.  Defense lawyers say shortly after Passaro married his first wife, she was killed in an accident. When she ran out of their house to help the victim of a nearby car accident, another car struck and killed her. "I want to be buried with my 1st and only love, Donna," he wrote in his suicide note. Passaro was devastated, turning to drugs and alcohol to ease his pain. Eventually, he regained control of his life and moved to South Carolina, becoming a paramedic near Myrtle Beach and studying to be a nurse. He met his second wife, Karen, at a hospital where she worked. The 2 were married and by 1996 had a baby girl, Maggie. "All he had ever wanted was a family and a home and someone to love him," Passaro's mother, Betty, said in court. But the marriage soured. Passaro's wife asked for a divorce and got a restraining order. Passaro got to see his daughter one weekend a month. It was after one of those visits he parked his van outside his wife's condominium and set it on fire. One of the 1st officers on the scene would later testify Karen Passaro heard the commotion and came outside. She recognized the van and demanded over and over to know whether her daughter was inside. Horry County Fire Capt. James Cyganiewicz stalled as long as he could but eventually broke the news. He said she collapsed in sobs. "It's pretty funny how the system works," Passaro wrote in his suicide note. "I get visitation with my daughter, and I'm allowed to end our lives from existence with the help of the courts and my wife. I guess that I'm getting the last laugh now, Karen." Passaro has hardly made himself a sympathetic character. His temper in prison has been well documented. One guard testified Passaro got angry when he was told he couldn't have orange juice. "I have burned my child to death, and I'll burn you," Passaro told the guard. "I'll burn your house down with your family in it." A psychiatrist has ruled Passaro is competent to waive all his appeals. He told his lawyer he was willing to ask the courts to look at his case only if he would spend 15 years or fewer in prison because he didn't want to spend the rest of his life behind bars. UPDATE: The 40-year-old inmate could have stopped his execution any time because he has never appealed his sentence, but with his mom, sister and 11 other witnesses watching, he died by lethal injection at 6:15 p.m. Friday. Passaro smiled, blew kisses at his family then told them he loved them and that it was over. He let his final few breaths out as his eyes slowly closed. It was a much less violent killing than the one four years ago that brought him to the death chamber. In the midst of a custody dispute, Passaro parked the family minivan in front of his estranged wife's Myrtle Beach condominium, doused the inside with gasoline and set it on fire with their 2-year-old daughter, Maggie, strapped in her car seat. Passaro planned to die in the blaze, too, but jumped from the van when it exploded. Firefighters who rushed to the scene asked Passaro if anyone was inside, but he refused to answer. Passaro was a Navy veteran and former nurse technician with no other violent crimes on his record.  Passaro's court-appointed lawyer, Joe Savitz, sat outside the Broad River Correctional Institution with a cell phone, ready to file an appeal if Passaro changed his mind. Savitz said before the execution that he doubted the phone would ring because Passaro believed he would be reunited in heaven with his dead daughter and his first wife, who died nearly a decade ago as she tried to help a victim in a car accident. rosecutor Greg Hembree, who sent Passaro to death and watched the sentence carried out Friday, called him a cold-blooded killer who wanted to hurt his estranged wife, Karen, as much as he could. He pointed to a typewritten suicide note salvaged from the van. "Whatever anyone does, please make sure that Karen doesn't kill herself over this," Passaro wrote. "I want her to live in pain for the rest of her life." Two sisters and the grandfather of the young victim also watched the execution through the glass and bars. The girl's family issued a statement that said they would rather focus on Maggie's life instead of the death of her father. There are no words that could describe the horror that a mother must feel to see an ambulance take her child away," the family said. They recalled fond memories of Maggie - reading her bedtime stories and seeing her standing by the refrigerator asking for strawberry milk. Just 25 months ago, Passaro pleaded guilty to murder and a judge sentenced him to death. He has never appealed, telling his lawyers and judges a trip to the death chamber is better than spending the rest of his life in a cell. "You do not have to live this life. I do. The state says I should die for what I did, and I am not going to stand in their way," Passaro wrote in a note to the state Supreme Court, opposing Savitz's attempts to force him to appeal his case. Passaro was so determined to die he even personally appeared before the justices in May, asking them to let him go to his death without a judge ever reviewing his case. That hasn't happened since the state renewed the death penalty nearly 25 years ago. The justices granted Passaro's request, noting that 12 percent of the 302 inmates executed in the United States between 1973 and 1995 waived at least some of their appeals. But Passaro's determination didn't stop the state Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Christian Action Council from filing an appeal for clemency to Gov. Jim Hodges. The groups called Passaro's execution court-assisted suicide and said he should be spared because he suffered from a deep depression after his first wife died and was so suicidal that he slept with a knife. The petition says that judges who have reviewed the case never knew about Passaro's background, and that his own trial lawyers didn't fight to save him. Hodges rejected the appeal Thursday. A South Carolina governor has not commuted a death sentence since capital punishment was brought back in 1977.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 17, 2002    Texas  Nina Rutherford Redd, 80 Jesse Patrick executed

Jesse Joe Patrick was convicted of the 1989 robbery, assault and murder of 80-year-old Nina Rutherford Redd in Pleasant Grove, near Dallas.  Patrick called the police in the early morning hours of July 8 to report that his house, two doors from Nina's, had been burglarized. When police went to Patrick's house to investigate, no one was home. The back door was kicked in, and a large rock covered with blood was found on the side of the house. Nina's battered body was found in her bedroom. Her house had been ransacked. Police searched Patrick's home the next day and found a man's sock that was saturated with dried blood, a number of wadded toilet tissues that had dried blood on them and an old pair of men's denim jeans that had suspicious stains. Analysis of the sock showed genetic markers that were consistent with genetic markers found in Nina's blood sample, and DNA testing on the bloody sock and blood-soaked tissues matched the DNA in Nina's blood sample. Prosecutors also introduced into evidence a partial palm print belonging to Patrick, found on Nina's open bathroom window and bite marks on her arm. Patrick's live-in girlfriend identified the knife found in Nina's home as hers and Patrick's. Three hairs found at the scene were the same as Patrick's. On July 22, 1989, Patrick was arrested at his sister's home in Jackson, Mississippi. Sperm was found in Nina's body, and an officer testified she had been raped. Patrick confessed to the crime and said he had been drinking before the killing. He said he broke into the house and tried unsuccessfully to have sex with Nina. He wrote in his confession that he slit her throat with the knife, then added, "I don't really remember cutting her throat."  On Jan. 6, 1986, Patrick was convicted of aggravated assault in the Criminal District Court Number Five of Dallas County and sentenced to eight years probation. On July 17, 1986, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to imprisonment for four years. UPDATE: A Texas man convicted of raping and killing an 80-year-old woman in a 1989 attack was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday. Jessie Joe Patrick, 44, was the 25th person put to death this year in Texas. Patrick was condemned for the rape and murder of neighbor Nina Redd at her Dallas home on July 8, 1989. Patrick made no last statement and requested no last meal.   On July 8, 1989, 80-year-old Nina Rutherford Redd's partially clad body was found on the floor of her bedroom in Pleasant Grove near Dallas. Her throat had been slashed, one of her arms was twisted behind her back, and her face and body were covered with bruises. The window screen had been pried loose from a bathroom window, and a rusty butcher knife was found at the scene.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 18, 2002    Texas  Lori Ann Baker, 20 Ronald Shamburger pending

District Judge Steve Smith set an execution date for a man convicted of shooting a fellow Texas A&M University student while burglarizing her home in 1994. Ronald Scott Shamburger, 30, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Sept. 18 for the capital murder of Lori Ann Baker, 20. Shamburger, whom Lori had refused to date, broke into Baker’s home in the early morning hours of September 30, 1994 as he had done on several previous occasions. Evidence showed Shamburger used a credit card stolen from Baker's home a few days before the fatal attack to buy the murder weapon, a 9 mm pistol. Shamburger, a born-again Christian from Longview, was a 22-year-old fifth-year senior nearing a degree in biomedical science when authorities say he became obsessed with burglaries in which he stole credit cards and cash. Shamburger was surprised to find Lori home. He bound her with duct tape, then shot her in the head with a pistol when she awoke to find him in her bedroom, killing her instantly. Baker's 20-year-old roommate, returning home, heard noises from Baker's room and walked in that direction when she was confronted by Shamburger. When he asked her if she could identify him, the roommate lied and said no, so Shamburger put her in the trunk of her car, binding her hands with duct tape. He then backed the car through the garage door. He drove her around town before leaving her in the vehicle not far from home.  Then he returned to the murder scene, retrieved a can of gasoline from his own car parked outside, cut some of Baker's hair from around her fatal head injury and used a knife to poke at the wound in an unsuccessful search for the bullet. He poured gasoline in the room and over her body and set it ablaze only to discover the keys to his car were inside the burning room. They had fallen from his shirt pocket. Baker's brother, who lived next door, heard the explosion and tried to break windows to get his sister out. Shamburger was in the back yard by then, walking in circles, holding his pistol and repeating: "She's dead." Kohler in the meantime had climbed from the trunk of her car, went to a nearby house and had the people there call 911. Shamburger fled, called a friend, a minister at his church, met him and told him about the killing. They both went to the police station where Shamburger turned himself in to authorities. "In this case, he breaks in with tape, a gun, gasoline," Turner said, explaining why he went for the death penalty although Shamburger had no previous record. "The premeditation, as well as escalation, I thought showed there was no question in my mind he'd be an extreme danger if we hadn't caught him." Shamburger, who had been working in a supermarket, said he used the loot from his burglaries for movies, food and clothing. While taking responsibility for the slaying -- "I can't say I'm here for something I didn't do" -- he said he hoped his victim's family could forgive him. "I think we already have," Faye Baker, the victim's mother, said Tuesday. "We are strong Christians. I believe for my own salvation that I need to forgive him... We don't harbor resentment. It's an absolute miracle that we don't." That doesn't, however, diminish the pain of losing her daughter. "He took the most precious thing in the world away from us and really destroyed our lives," she said. "But we don't think about him."  A Brazos County jury convicted Shamburger of capital murder in 1995. Prosecutors noted that in the months prior to the murder, he had committed a string of burglaries. "How do you explain it?" said Bill Turner, the Brazos County district attorney who prosecuted Shamburger. "It's real frightening. "He does look like the boy next door. He does look like the guy you might trust, but there was more to him than that." "I don't know why you do the things you do," Shamburger said recently from death row. "One thing leads to another... You lose touch with reality. You've chosen to do things that are wrong. There was an adrenaline rush to it -- the satisfaction of not being caught." UPDATE: Ronald Shamburger sang an old religious hymn and uttered several quotes from the Bible as the lethal drugs were administered. Then he looked at the victim's family and said, "I am really sorry for the pain and sorrow I caused you. I really do not know what to say, but I am sorry ... forgive me." He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. CDT, six minutes after receiving the injection lethal drugs.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 24, 2002    Texas  Kynara Carreiro, 7
Kristin Wiley, 10
Rex Mays executed

Rex Warren Mays confessed in 1994 to murdering his young neighbor and her friend after the girls refused to turn down their radio, but he argued in his appeal that he was interrogated in a situation that was "indistinguishable from a traditional arrest." The appeal stated that the interrogation room "was specially created to induce a confession from him." The room was filled with photographs of the 2 victims and their homes as well as newspaper clippings about the murders. In a unanimous decision, the appeals court found that Mays voluntarily agreed to be interviewed and was not under arrest when he confessed to the murders. The court denied all of Mays' arguments for appeal, including that the death penalty was unconstitutional. Mays told police in a 1994 six-page confession that he was upset about being fired from his job when he was confronted by the girls. He told police that he killed them using techniques learned in the Marines. Police said Kynara Carreiro, 7, and Kristin Wiley, 10, also were sexually assaulted, but Mays never confessed to those claims. The killings took place in mid-afternoon on July 20, 1992 in the Wiley home. Three doors down and across the street, Kynara's mother Diane was at home, caring for her month-old son. Directly across from the Wiley house, a group of boys, ranging in age from 11 to 15 and including Kristin's 15-year-old brother Jeremy, had played outdoors for much of the day. A few doors to the west, a house was being remodeled. And up and down the street, other adults also were at home. Two of the adults have told detectives they saw the girls in the Wileys' front yard about 3 p.m., less than 45 minutes before their bodies were discovered. A pizza delivery man saw them a few moments earlier. At about 3 :30 p.m., four of the boys got bored playing Nintendo in the garage across from the Wiley house and wandered back outside. They tossed a football around for a few minutes, then Jeremy walked over to his house to make his regular check-in call to his parents. His friends waited on his porch. As Jeremy walked through his living room, they heard him yell to his sister: "Kristin, y'all better get in here and clean this mess up." Both girls were found by Jeremy, lying face-down on a blood-soaked bed in his bedroom, dressed only in T-shirts. Each child had been stabbed many times. A moment later, he bolted out of the house, yelling that his sister was dead and pleading with his friends to come inside to help him. One of them followed Jeremy into the house but ran back out when he saw the girls. Two other boys then went in, and the first one ran in once more, thinking wildly that he had forgotten to check the girls for signs of life. He reached the door of the room, but couldn't go in. Jeremy turned Kynara over. Then, at the shouted urging of the other boys, he called 911 and then his mother. She arrived within minutes, following an ambulance down the street toward her home. Diane Taylor says Kynara had spent the night with Kristin and then the two girls had played at the Taylor house for most of the day. Taylor said she gave Kynara permission to go home with Kristin to help her with her chores before returning to her own house again at 4 p.m. Instead, a few minutes later, Becky Wiley knocked on the door. She remembers walking down the street, her baby in her arms, and seeing at least 10 police cars outside the Wiley home. After officials refused to let her enter, she waited outside, pleading with those who went in and out to tell her if her daughter was alive. Finally, a paramedic answered her. "No, ma'am. She's not." The investigation into the murders was badly sidetracked in its first hours by the Wileys' next-door neighbor, who gave investigators descriptions of suspects who did not exist. Three days later, after failing two polygraph tests, the neighbor, Rex Mays, admitted he had lied in telling them he had seen two men, one black and one Hispanic, climbing over his fence just before the girls' bodies were discovered. Mays told detectives he did not get a good look at the Hispanic but helped a police artist come up with a composite of the black suspect, who became the focus of the probe. Soon after he was found to be lying, Mays, whose family had rented the house on Fair Forest just over a year, was asked by his landlord to move out. Mays had held a number of jobs, including as a clown, had been fired the day of the killings from his job with a company under contract to Exxon, detectives said. Malcolm Herron, who lived across the street, said he probably had more contact with Mays than other neighbors because he often worked in his yard and Mays came over many times to borrow his lawnmower or other tools. Herron was out of town at the time the girls were killed but said he discounted Mays ' story as soon as he heard it. For one thing, he said, Mays often had told him stories he didn't believe about seeing strange men on the street or in Herron's driveway. For another, Mays invariably told him the men were black but could give no further description, said Herron, who is black. "I just figured he probably would do anything for attention," he said. In February of 1994, 19 months after the murders, Mays finally confessed.  Since Christmas of 1993, Mays had been "dropping hints" to investigators that his conscience bothered him and that he might confess. Detectives who had been in regular contact with Mays have simply been "working with him at his pace," the Harris County sheriff said. A person familiar with Mays said he thought the confession was less a matter of conscience than convenience. Mays "is unemployed, again, and his wife has left him, again," said the source, who asked not to be identified. "He's a loser. And he's running out of places and people to use." After months of talking with investigators, Mays finally agreed to take a polygraph examination. When told that he had failed the test, detectives said, Mays confessed. Because the bodies were clad only in T-shirts, there had been speculation that the murders may have been sexually motivated. The sheriff said the only motive Mays gave was being upset over losing his job with an Exxon contractor. As Mays related in his voluntary statement to the police, he left his workplace on July 20, 1992, at about 2:45 p.m., feeling upset about losing his job and concerned about how he would convey the news to his wife. Though he drove home, he parked his car a few houses down the street from his own residence and walked to his neighbor's house. Upon hearing loud music from within the home, Mays pushed open the unlocked front door and called for Kristin Wiley. As he walked through the house, he saw Kristin and Kynara running away from him. Mays followed them and asked them to lower the volume on the stereo. Kynara answered, "No, we're not going to turn it down! Just get out of the house!" Then, Mays began stabbing both girls with a knife he took from the kitchen.  When he was certain they were dead, Mays crawled out of the house through a window leading to the backyard, and was about to climb over the privacy fence when he remembered that he left his car parked down the street. Mays re-entered the Wiley house through the same window, and walked out through the front door.  Upon reaching his car, Mays placed the murder weapon and his bloody shirt in a duffle bag that he kept in his car. He then drove home, parked his car in his garage, told his wife that he had been fired, and showered to wash away the blood that had splattered onto his legs.  Shortly thereafter, when emergency personnel appeared on the scene, Mays observed the commotion, allowed the victim's mother to use his telephone, and invited several law enforcement officers into his house for refreshments. The next day, he washed his bloody clothes, threw the knife into a nearby ravine, and placed the duffle bag in the garbage.  Blood traces from Mays' laundered clothing revealed DNA that linked to the victims' DNA. Crime scene investigators also found blood on the privacy fence that separated Mays' backyard from the Wiley's.  From the beginning, detectives had said the murderer had to have been someone the two girls knew, because they were in Wiley's house at the time and were only unattended for an estimated 20 minutes, while Kristin's brother and his friends were playing across the street and Kynara's mother, Diane Taylor, was at home three doors down. With Harris County detectives, Mays played the role of a helpful neighbor, describing two men he had seen jumping his fence just before the bodies were discovered. Three days later, after failing two polygraph tests, he admitted to making up the story. From then on he was the prime suspect. A bloody handprint on the fence between Mays ' house and the Wiley house at first seemed to corroborate his story. By the time it was learned he lied, the blood had been subjected to tests to determine its type, rendering it useless as a print. Dane Sever, who owned the house that Rex Mays rented, noticed a spot that looked like blood in the hallway near the bathroom after Mays had moved out. Detectives already had searched the house at least twice -- once with Mays ' consent before he moved out and once afterward -- but the spot apparently was missed. Sever notified detectives, but no one came out to examine it for almost three weeks. Although an anonymous caller told investigators within days that the murder weapon could be found beside the deep drainage ditch that runs behind the houses on the north side of Fair Forest, the area was not searched by detectives. After a suggestion from a detective two weeks later that "someone might want to look along the bayou," Kynara's father and step-father, Bob Carreiro and Pat Taylor, organized three searches and found a steak knife on the edge of the bayou near Taylor's house. Detectives said the knife may have been the murder weapon, but by the time it was found no blood or fingerprints could be found on it. A source familiar with the investigation said Mays told detectives in his confession where the knife could be found. The location was accurate. The families of Kynara Carreiro and Kristin Wiley waited 19 months for the arrest that finally came. His daughter's murder propelled Bob Carreiro into the spotlight, where he remained as a high-profile victims' advocate. He wants to think his visibility had something to do with Mays ' finally coming forward. "I hoped that every time that bastard saw my face on the front page or on the news it rattled his cage," Carreiro said. Kip Wiley, father of Kristin, said, "We felt all along it was him, and I knew it was only a matter of time. We always felt the case would be solved." After the arrest, the families realized that this was not the end of their quest for justice.  "You feel like you have crossed the hill," Pat Taylor, Kynara's stepfather, said of May's arrest and confession. "You look back at the 19 months and you realize it's not over. You know you have another 10 years (of appeals)." Kip Wiley, Kristin's father, said he and his wife, Becky, would closely monitor the legal proceedings surrounding Mays' prosecution. Bob Carreiro, Kynara's father, said he and other activists also would keep close tabs on the case. "I've just become so involved with victims' rights groups," Carreiro said. "You can bet we are going to be watching very, very close for any type of antics (by defense attorneys)." Because of his previous false statement to officers and other reasons, Carreiro had believed for some time that Mays was the suspect, and he and his friends had been following him for several months. That, coupled with the constant news coverage, played heavily on Mays' conscience. "I have no doubt that whenever he got to see my face or (pictures of) the girls' faces on TV, it had an immense effect on him," Carreiro said, and that his monitoring of Mays ' moves caused him to confess. "I was told by people in law enforcement that this was laying heavy on his mind," Carreiro said. "I was told this guy was afraid of me." Carreiro said he and his friends followed Mays constantly and passed by his house while riding motorcycles. They followed him to events where he performed as Uh-Oh the Clown, and Carreiro once approached a woman Mays was dating to tell her he believed the man was a suspect in the slaying of two children. The constant watch, Carreiro said, caused Mays to change his appearance several times and to start using his first name of Randy instead of Rex. "There is no way I could just sit back when there is a possibility of this happening again," Carreiro said of his reason for following Mays. "I could never be able to live with myself."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 25, 2002    Texas  Billy Wayne Ezell, 21 Calvin King executed

Calvin Eugene King was sentenced to death for the slaying of Billy Ezell in a Jefferson County motel room. According to the evidence, Ezell was robbed and stabbed to death during a drug transaction with King and another man on February 26, 1994. With at least four felony convictions already on his record, parolee King was no stranger to the criminal justice system when he went on trial for capital murder. A Jefferson County jury wasted little time returning him to prison, deliberating only 30 minutes before deciding King was guilty and deliberating just an hour before voting he should go to death row for the fatal stabbing of a Silsbee man during a drug deal robbery in Beaumont in 1994. King was on parole when he was arrested for killing Billy Wayne Ezell, 21, of Silsbee, about 20 miles north of Beaumont. Relatives described Ezell as ignorant of the ways of the city and making poor choices by choosing to sell crack cocaine in Beaumont in the days before his death. "According to one of his buddies and his mom, he was looking at this as an opportunity to make some really good money, really quickly, because he thought that would help him get back together with estranged wife," said Ramon Rodriguez, the Jefferson County assistant district attorney who prosecuted King. "He was just a country boy in over his head. "People at the hotel said he was flashing cash. It was not surprising somebody took advantage of him." Evidence showed that was King, a landscaper who had been on parole for about five months after serving only four years of a 25-year prison term for burglary in Dallas County. Court records indicated Ezell was lured to a Beaumont motel Feb. 26, 1994 where he was stabbed, beaten and robbed by King and a partner, Leonard Johnson, also of Dallas. "It was a was a very brutal crime," Rodriguez said this week. "We're talking dozens of stab wounds, and then being bludgeoned with a table lamp." The lamp cord also was wound around his neck. Johnson pleaded guilty and received a life prison term. King got a death sentence. In urging the jury to choose the death penalty, Rodriguez said he pointed out King did not need to kill Ezell. "All they had to do was rob him," he said. Testimony showed the pair took cash from Ezell and were seen at home using an oven to dry money they had washed to remove the victim's blood. King earlier had multiple convictions for theft out of Dallas County in the 1980s before being released on parole or mandatory supervision during a time when Texas prisons were overcrowded and court orders required some inmates to be freed. "That's how it was back then," Rodriguez said. "That was really frustrating." King declined repeated requests for interviews with reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled punishment. In a brief final statement before the execution, King muttered, "I want to say God forgives as I forgive and God is the greatest. Thank you."  According to the Texas Attorney General's office, the facts of the crime are as follows: On Feb. 25, 1994, at 10 p.m., Calvin King, Leonard Johnson, Danyell Williams (King's girlfriend), and Carlette Gibbs met at Room 38 of the Cedar Sands Motel in Beaumont, Texas, which had been rented earlier in the day by King. King, Johnson, Williams, and Gibbs, who was pregnant at the time, spent the evening smoking crack cocaine in the room. King was also selling and buying crack throughout the course of the evening. After being called by either Johnson or King, Billy Wayne Ezell came to the room several times to sell crack to the occupants. Ezell took Johnson to the store to buy beer and cigarettes and then returned to the room to sell the group crack. When Ezell came to the room, he took a large roll of money out of his pocket, which was seen by everyone in the room. Ezell then sold King $60 worth of crack and left.  King and Johnson sent Williams and Gibbs home in a cab at about 4 a.m., telling them that they were going to sell the crack they had just bought and that the women needed to leave. Kenneth Goodwin and Angelita Williams, friends of Ezell's, were staying in Room 26 of the Cedar Sands Motel, below and adjacent to Room 38. Goodwin was also a friend of Johnson and Gibbs, and he knew King. Just before dawn, Ezell went to Goodwin's room. King then knocked on the door and asked Ezell to come upstairs. Ezell left Goodwin's room for Room 38. Some time later, Goodwin noticed that Ezell's car was still in the parking lot and he was curious why Ezell would still be there. Ezell's girlfriend called Goodwin's room about the same time, asking Goodwin to tell Ezell to come home. Goodwin called Ezell's pager, and after receiving no response, Goodwin went to Room 38 and knocked on the door, but no one responded. Goodwin went back downstairs and saw a woman from the front office checking the rooms, walking in the direction of Room 38. After returning to his room, Goodwin told Angelita that no one had responded in Room 38. Ezell's body was found in Room 38 lying face down, partially covered with a blanket and nude from the waist down. A broken lamp lay next to him, and the cord from the lamp was wrapped around his neck. The room was in disarray, as though a fight had occurred. Ezell had sustained multiple blunt force injuries to both sides of his head, and stabbing and cutting wounds to his head, face, throat, chest, and back, two of which severed his internal jugular vein and pulmonary artery. His diaphragm was also punctured. Additionally, both of his arms and hands had numerous defensive wounds. In all, Ezell suffered 37 major stab wounds and sustained extensive damage to the head caused by a blunt object. With regard to the quantity and severity of the injuries, Dr. Elizabeth Peacock, who performed the autopsy on Ezell, stated that "this is a case that we would commonly refer to as overkill." When King and Johnson arrived at the home of Williams and Gibbs that morning, King had blood on his shirt. King, although not injured, appeared to have been in a fight, but Johnson did not. After smoking crack with Williams, King and Johnson produced a roll of money covered in blood. King then set about washing the blood off of the money and drying it in the oven. Johnson woke up Gibbs, crying and telling her he "didn't do it." Gibbs then went upstairs and observed that King was in possession of a large amount of crack and that there was "money everywhere" drying. According to Billy Hickman, who also lived in the house with Danyell Williams, King and Johnson were watching a news report about the killing at the Cedar Sands, and King stated, "I done kill and I'll kill again."  Later, King told Gibbs that he had killed Ezell, stating, "I'm the one kill him (sic). I'm the one that hit him over the head with a lamp, put a cord around his neck and slice (sic) his throat."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 25, 2002    Ohio  Krista Lea Harrison, 11 Robert Buell executed

Robert Buell was sentenced to die for the murder and sexual assault of 11-year-old Krista Harrison in 1982. Krista was playing at a neighborhood park in 1982 when a man grabbed her, dragged her screaming into his van, and drove off. The body of the 11-year-old Marshallville girl was found 6 days later. She had been raped and strangled. Lawyers defending 60-year-old Buell appealed his death penalty case to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, marking Buell's 3rd and final round of appeals. Buell, a former Akron Planning Department worker, was convicted of murdering Krista Lea Harrison on July 17, 1982. Assistant Attorney General Jon W. Oebker reminded the court that while Krista Lea had 11 years of life, Buell has had 18 years of due process. Buell received a last-minute reprieve from the electric chair in January 1996 with a 5-4 stay by the U.S. Supreme Court. That stay has been in place ever since. The girl was picking up aluminum cans in a park near her rural Wayne County home when she was abducted. Her decomposing body was found in Holmes County six days later. Less than a week before the abduction, Buell, a former Akron Planning Department worker, purchased custom-made van seats that were packaged in the same type of material used to dispose of the body. Buell also owned a van matching the vehicle witnesses saw when the girl was abducted. Orange-colored carpet fibers found on Krista Lea's body matched those found in Buell's home and van. Buell was identified as the prime suspect immediately after he was arrested in October 1982 for abducting a Columbiana County woman at gunpoint, handcuffing her to his bed in Summit County's Franklin Township and raping her. Buell pleaded no contest to that rape, as well as to kidnapping and raping a Chester, W.Va., woman and holding her captive at his home for 3 days. He was sentenced to 121 years in prison for those crimes. In an interview last year with the Akron Beacon Journal, Buell said he was at work when Krista Lea was abducted and that a serial rapist remains on the loose. In his appeal to the 6th Circuit panel, Buell's arguments were aimed at a 1999 decision by U.S. District Judge Paul R. Matia, who denied him a new trial. The appellate judges rebuffed Buell's contention that Matia should have recused himself because, as a state senator in 1981, Matia sponsored a bill restoring Ohio's death penalty. The appellate judges also upheld Matia's rulings that many of Buell's appeals were invalid because they previously were not argued to lower courts. The panel further denied Buell's claims of constitutional violations concerning the trial court's jury instructions, the judge's refusal to allow testimony from an eyewitness identification expert, ineffective counsel, prosecutorial misconduct and claims that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. On the issue of hypnosis, the judges ruled that, "Neither the disclosure that witnesses had been hypnotized nor the suppression of hypnotically refreshed testimony would have created a reasonable probability that the result of Buell's trial would have been different." UPDATE: In Lucasville, the state executed a man Wednesday who in his final statement insisted that the "real killer" of an 11-year-old girl 20 years ago was still free. Robert Buell, 62, directed his statement to the parents of Krista Harrison who he was convicted of raping and strangling. "Jerry and Shirley, I didn't kill your daughter. The prosecutor knows that ... and they left the real killer out there on the streets to kill again and again and again," Buell said moments before his death by injection. "So that some good may come of this, I ask that you continue to pursue this to the end. Don't let the prosecutor continue to spin this out of focus and force them to find out who really killed your daughter. That's all I have to say." State and federal courts turned down last-minute appeals based on Buell's objections to the hypnotizing of witnesses at his trial. Buell was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. A handful of protesters were outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility on Wednesday. Buell, a former Akron city planner, claimed he was innocent and that there was no eyewitness or DNA evidence connecting him to the crime. He also argued that he could not defend himself properly because prosecutors withheld evidence that witnesses were hypnotized. Buell's lawyers say the hypnosis enhanced or altered the witnesses' memories before they testified. Prosecutors argued that evidence for his 1984 conviction was overwhelming. It included fibers on Krista's body that matched fibers taken from carpet in Buell's van and blue and tan paint found on men's jeans dumped at the crime scene that matched paint found in Buell's home. Krista was abducted from a park across the street from where she lived in the village of Marshallville on July 11, 1982, as she collected aluminum cans with a boy. Her body was found 6 days later. The crime went unsolved for 15 months until a 28-year-old woman who was abducted at gunpoint and raped and tortured at Buell's home escaped and ran to a neighbor's house. The details of the assault led to his arrest for Krista's death. Buell pleaded no contest to rape and other charges from the attack on the 28-year-old and the abduction and rape five months earlier of a 29-year-old woman. He was sentenced to 121 years in prison for those crimes. Buell was later named as the chief suspect in the slayings of two other girls and identified by other victims of sexual assault in northeast Ohio.

 

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