August 2004 Executions
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Six killers were executed in August 2004.  They had murdered at least 12 people.

Two
killers were given a stay in August 2004.  They have murdered at least 4 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 1, 2004   Kentucky Edwin Morris
Bessie Morris 
Tammy Acker
Benny Hodge stayed

Benny Lee Hodge has twice been convicted and sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of Edwin and Bessie Morris, an elderly Jackson County couple, in June 1985. Mr. and Mrs. Morris were found with their hands and feet tied behind them. Mrs. Morris was shot twice in the back. Mr. Morris died as a result of a gunshot wound to his head, two blunt force head injuries and obstructed breathing caused by a ligature gag.  In another case, along with Roger Epperson, Hodge stabbed Tammy Acker 12 times with a butcher knife during a robbery at her father's home in Letcher County in 1985. Tammy's body was found with the butcher knife stuck through her chest and embedded in the floor. Tammy's father was strangled with an electric cord but survived. Hodge was arrested in Florida. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 5, 2004 Alabama  David Dockery
Lillian Montgomery, 62 
James Hubbard  executed

James Hubbard was sentenced to death in 1977 for the murder of Lillian Montgomery, whom he was living with after having been released from prison.  Hubbard had served a 20 year sentence for a murder conviction, and called police to report a shooting on January 10, 1977.  He said Lillian had shot herself at her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  She died as the result of three gunshot wounds, one to the face, one to the head, and one to the shoulder, a difficult accomplishment as a suicide. Hubbard's execution by lethal injection for killing a Tuscaloosa woman who befriended him is set for Aug. 5 at Holman Prison near Atmore. Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said Hubbard has exhausted his appeals after 27 years, but he has been near execution before only to win a delay. Hubbard, who has maintained his innocence during the lengthy appeals, recently was moved from Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer to Holman. Warden Grantt Culliver said Hubbard spends his time reading and watching television. He hasn't exercised outside, but he has participated in a prison religious group. Bill Hayes, a Florida-based capital punishment historian, said Hubbard will be the oldest by far in the current series of executions that date to 1976. He said 24 inmates in their 60s have been executed nationwide in that period. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 1976 landmark ruling, reinstated the death penalty by upholding new death penalty laws in Florida, Georgia, and Texas as constitutional. The court also held that the death penalty itself was constitutional under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and ended a 10-year moratorium on executions in which reforms were completed. Hayes said the oldest person executed in the 20th century was 83-year-old Joe Lee of Virginia in 1916, but Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections in that state, said Lee's actual age was in dispute and he may have been 68. But there have been at least 16 others in their 70s and 80s executed, according to Hayes' research. Nationwide, about 3,400 inmates await execution in the 38 states that allow capital punishment. A survey by The Associated Press in death-penalty states found at least two states - California and Arizona - with inmates in their 80s with no execution dates set. California has about 650 inmates on death row, the nation's most clogged. Arizona apparently has the nation's oldest - 88-year-old Viva Leroy Nash. Several other states have inmates in their 70s awaiting execution. The oldest inmate on Indiana's death row is Richard D. Moore, who turned 73 on June 5. On the only federal death row, also in Indiana, the oldest prisoner is 52 years old. In Florida, John Vining, 73, has been through the federal court system once and had new appeals denied by the Florida Supreme Court on May 20. William Cruse, 76, was convicted in the slayings of six people in 1987. However, he was declared mentally incompetent in 2002. In Alabama, Hubbard's age is not an issue for Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Tommy Smith, who prosecuted Hubbard for the killing that put him on death row. Hubbard wasn't elderly when he killed and Smith said the issue is the "unconscionable delays" on appeals that allowed him to stay alive. "You need to get to a final point expeditiously," Smith said. Hubbard first went to prison in 1957 for a second-degree murder conviction in the death of David Dockery in Tuscaloosa County. He was released in 1976 and killed again the next year. His second victim, 62-year-old store owner Lillian Montgomery, was shot three times and robbed of her gold and diamond wristwatch and about $500 in cash and checks. She had befriended Hubbard and "sponsored" him to gain his release in 1976, Smith said. Hubbard had moved into her home next door to the store she ran on U.S. Highway 82, according to court records. In a police statement, Hubbard said he had been drinking whiskey with Montgomery and claimed she committed suicide. Prosecutors introduced evidence that she couldn't have fired the fatal shots on Jan. 10, 1977. Hubbard was twice convicted in her death. An appeals court overturned the first conviction. But he was again sentenced to death at retrial and last year the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it. The victim's son, Jimmy Montgomery, 66, a Tuscaloosa businessman, said he and his sister plan to attend the execution. "I hope it will be over," Montgomery said. "He shot her with a pistol I'd given her." Another son, 58-year-old Johnny Montgomery, a Birmingham-area real estate agent, doesn't plan to witness the execution, saying he feels "powerless" over what goes on with Hubbard and has never communicated with him. "One time I could have taken care of this guy with my own hands if they let me," the younger brother said in a telephone interview. "God has given me peace with this. I have forgiven him." UPDATE: A federal appeals court Wednesday refused to block the execution of the state's oldest death row inmate, a convicted killer who robbed and shot a woman who had befriended him. James Hubbard, 74, is scheduled to be executed by injection Thursday, despite pleas from his lawyers, who said he is too old and sick to be put to death. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied their request for a stay. Hubbard contends that because of his "advanced age" and mental incompetence, his execution would be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Hubbard is scheduled to die for the 1977 slaying of 62-year-old Lillian Montgomery, a Tuscaloosa woman who befriended him after he served a prison sentence for another killing. He was recently diagnosed with dementia; a psychologist concluded his condition may cause confusion and interfere with his ability to understand legal procedures, according to papers his attorneys filed in the appeals court. Hubbard also claims he is suffering from hepatitis, diverticulitis, hypertension and acute back pain. State's attorneys said his claims did not warrant a stay of the execution.

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 12, 2004 Nevada  Ilona Strumanis, 51  Terry Dennis executed

An Aug. 12 execution date was scheduled Friday for Terry Jess Dennis, convicted of strangling a woman during a March 1999 vodka-and-beer binge in a Reno motel room. Dennis, 57, was scheduled to get a lethal injection this week, but the execution was delayed when Washoe District Judge Janet Berry last week ruled the initial execution warrant was flawed. Berry on Tuesday signed a new order setting the execution at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City for the week of Aug. 9. State Prison Director Jackie Crawford followed up by scheduling Aug. 12 as the date. Dennis was convicted of killing Ilona Strumanis, 51, an Eastern bloc immigrant who he had recently met. He told police he strangled Strumanis with a belt after she made fun of him for being unable to perform sexually and questioned his claim that he killed enemy soldiers while serving as an Air Force clerk in Saigon. Dennis, who has a history of alcoholism, mental illness and failed suicide attempts, has withdrawn all his appeals and said he'd rather die then spend the rest of his life behind bars. A psychiatrist's report said depression and self-hatred prompted Dennis to refuse any more appeals. Michael Pescetta, assistant federal public defender, has filed a next-friend appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which plans to hear arguments on the case on Monday. In a brief filed with the court, Pescetta argued the execution would amount to state assisted suicide given Dennis' previous failed efforts on his own. But the attorney general's office countered that Dennis has been found mentally competent by the courts, and his past mental illness is irrelevant. Dennis, raised in Washington state, has been described by former classmates and friends as a nice person who sang in his high school choir but who also got hooked on drugs and alcohol as a teenager. Court records state Dennis claimed he had been drinking since he was 13 or 14 years old, had been jailed at age 14 for marijuana use, and had made his first of as many as a dozen suicide attempts in 1966. Dennis was convicted in 1979 in Snohomish County Superior Court, Wash., for assault and also had a 1984 conviction in the same court for arson and assault, and spent about 21/2 years in prison before moving to Reno in 1995. Dennis' execution would be the second this year in Nevada. His close friend on death row, Lawrence Colwell Jr., 35, was executed March 26 for the 1994 strangling of an elderly tourist in Las Vegas.

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 18, 2004 Virginia  Walter Stanley Cole, 56
Thomas Wesley Cole, 64
Patsy Ayers Cole, 64 
James Hudson  executed

A single driveway connected James Hudson's home and the home of Linda and Walter Stanley Cole to State Route 658, known as Virgie Cole Road. On the day of the murders, Cole and his brother were preparing for the Scottsburg July Fourth parade, where he had long participated with his horse-drawn wagon, when the shootings occurred. On July 3, 2002, Stanley, 56 and his brother, Thomas Wesley Cole, 64, were riding in a truck on the driveway towards Hudson's home when they encountered Hudson's vehicle stopped in the middle of the driveway facing them. Wesley, the driver, stopped the truck and got out. Hudson and Wesley stood at the driver's side of the truck and talked for a few minutes. Wesley then got back into the truck and began driving down the road, when according to an eyewitness, Hudson took a 12-gauge shotgun from his vehicle. Then, the eyewitness heard Wesley ask "Why do you shoot . . . why do you shoot us," as Hudson fired the shotgun through the front windshield of Wesley's truck. The eyewitness heard more shots as he ran to get help. A neighbor then saw Hudson drive around the front of the Coles' home and stop in the driveway beside the garden where Patsy Ayers Cole, 64, Wesley's wife, was working. The neighbor saw Hudson get out of his truck, take a shotgun from the back of his truck, and raise the gun. Patsy Cole, seeing Hudson, asked "What are you doing?" Hudson shot her, climbed back into his truck, and drove away. After the shootings, Hudson returned to his home where he parked the truck, got more ammunition, and left in another truck. Hudson telephoned his sister-in-law and stated that "he had done some shooting." When police officers arrived in response to a call from the Coles' neighbor, they found Patsy Cole's body and subsequently discovered the bodies of Stanley and Wesley Cole. Patsy died from a hemorrhage caused by a shot that penetrated the vital organs of her chest and abdomen. Stanley Cole's body was found in the passenger's side of the truck slumped over towards the middle of the cab. Stanley had sustained multiple pellet wounds to his head and neck and a fatal shotgun wound behind the left ear measuring approximately two and one half inches wide. Two expended 12-gauge shotgun shells were found on the driveway near the driver's side door of Wesley Cole's truck. There were shotgun blasts to the center, front windshield, rear windshield, and passenger door of the truck. Wesley's body was found lying in a ditch approximately five yards from the rear of the truck. He apparently suffered a nonfatal gunshot wound to his right arm inside the truck before fleeing the truck in an attempt to escape. Wesley sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The Halifax County Sheriff's office obtained warrants for Hudson's arrest that afternoon and apprehended Hudson the next day without incident. At the time of the arrest, Hudson had a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun and a pistol in his truck. Subsequent analysis determined that Hudson had used that shotgun and "Number 00 Buck" pellets to kill the Coles. Proceedings In September 2002, a grand jury indicted Hudson for the capital murder of Stanley Cole and Wesley Cole, the capital murder of Wesley Cole and Patsy Cole, and the capital murder of Stanley Cole and Patsy Cole in the "willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of more than one person as a part of the same act or transaction". Hudson was also indicted for the first-degree murders of Stanley Cole, Wesley Cole, and Patsy Cole, and six counts of unlawfully and feloniously using a firearm in the commission of a felony. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Hudson pled guilty to the capital murder of Stanley Cole and Wesley Cole, the first-degree murder of Patsy Cole, and two counts of unlawfully and feloniously using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and the Commonwealth agreed to decline to prosecute the remaining charges. After determining that Hudson's pleas of guilty were freely, intelligently, and voluntarily made, the trial court accepted the guilty pleas. At the sentencing hearing, the Commonwealth sought the death penalty based on the aggravating factors of vileness and future dangerousness. The Commonwealth presented the pre-sentencing report, victim impact statements, the testimony of Hudson's brother, and the testimony of various persons affected by the loss of the Coles. Hudson refused to present mitigating evidence and instructed his attorney not to do so. The trial court found that the evidence in this case supported a finding of both vileness and future dangerousness. Based upon this finding, the trial court imposed the penalty of death because Hudson had a history of "significant criminal activity;" showed no evidence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, lack of mental capacity, or history of mental retardation; and had engaged in deliberate, execution-style murders that were "cold-blooded, pitiless, [and] senseless slayings." The trial court also commented that Hudson showed no remorse, justification, or motive for killing innocent people. On May 12, 2003, Hudson signed a waiver of his right to appeal his death sentence. On that same date, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Hudson's waiver of his right to appeal was proper. The court entered an order on May 19, 2003 based upon a finding that Hudson knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to appeal. UPDATE: A man who pleaded guilty to killing three neighbors in a long-running dispute over a shared driveway was executed Wednesday night. James Bryant Hudson, 57, died by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center. When asked if he had any final words, Hudson said in a clear voice, "No sir." The inmate did not meet with any family or his attorneys beforehand. Hudson pleaded guilty to shooting brothers Walter Stanley Cole, 56, and Thomas Wesley Cole, 64, and Wesley's wife, Patsy Ayers Cole, 64, outside their Halifax County home in July 2002. Hudson gave up his final appeals and did not file a petition for clemency with Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner. Warner issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying he would not intervene. The dispute began after Hudson's father sold a land to the Coles five miles from the North Carolina border, said Hudson's attorney, Buddy Ward. Ward said Hudson maintained the right to use a road that ran through the Coles' property to get to his home, but frequently complained the Coles were not taking care of it. In their final confrontation, Hudson's truck blocked the way as the Coles were driving along the road. They exchanged words, and Hudson grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun out of his truck, shooting Stanley Cole first, then his brother. He then drove to Wesley's home, where he fatally shot his wife. He was arrested after a 23-hour manhunt.

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 25, 2004 Texas  Brandy Gray
Tenille Thompson
 
Jasen Busby executed

Jasen Shane Busby, his friend Christopher Kelley, and Kelley’s girlfriend Brandy Gray lived  together in a cabin in Maydelle, Texas. On Sunday, April 16, 1995, they spent the night in a trailer in Antioch with Tenille Thompson, an acquaintance. The next morning, Busby drove Kelley’s truck to buy donuts for the group for breakfast. When Busby returned, he was accompanied by Darrell Smith. The group made several trips to various places that day, and at one point some members of the group, including Busby, took turns shooting an assault rifle outside of the Maydelle cabin. During the course of the day they also purchased some marijuana, which some of the group, including Busby, smoked later that night at the Antioch trailer. Around ten o’clock that night, Busby and Smith went outside the trailer. Kelley, who was still inside the trailer, heard them loading a gun and talking about how many bullets were in it. Kelley started to open the door but found that someone else was already opening it from the other side. Busby then shot Chris Kelley, Brandy Gray, and Tenille Thompson and then drove off in Kelley’s truck with Smith. The two women were dead. Chris Kelley, with a gunshot wound in the neck, went to a neighboring house for help. He described Busby and the truck to the police. Chris Kelley survived his wound and would testify at Busby’s trial, providing many of the details recounted above. The police took Busby and Smith into custody on the night of the shootings after an officer spotted Kelley’s truck on the highway. Busby had a clip of bullets in his pocket. Investigators spoke to both men late that night and into the next morning. After being read his rights, Busby gave a taped confession, which he would later claim was the product of drug intoxication. Smith told investigators that Busby had hidden the murder weapon, and Smith showed them where to find it. The authorities recovered the gun, which was later linked to shells found at the scene of the killings. Busby was indicted for capital murder. Busby also wrote letters from jail to family and friends in which he admitted to the killings, described them in detail and made what appeared to be threats against others, namely Chris Kelley and the judge in the case. Kelley testified that three days before the shootings Busby said that he had sold his soul to the devil. UPDATE: Condemned inmate Jasen Shane Busby was executed for the fatal shooting of two teenage girls more than nine years ago in Cherokee County in East Texas. In a brief, final statement, Busby thanked his family for "standing by me" and expressed love for them. He turned to relatives of his victims and said that he "didn't do what I did to hurt you all. I am sorry that I did what I did. I don't think you know the true reason for doing what I did, but Brandy and I had a suicide pact and I just didn't follow through with it. That did not come out in the trial. I am not trying to hurt you by telling you this. I am trying to tell you the truth," he said. After saying that he was ready and that he would "see you later." Busby remarked as the lethal drugs began to flow, "Here it comes. I can feel it." He took a couple of breaths and then slipped into unconsciousness. Nine minutes later at 6:20 p.m., he was pronounced dead.

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 26, 2004 Texas  Brian Clendennen, 21 
Carla McMillen
Buddy Webster Jr., 19
James Allridge III  executed

On the night of February 3, 1985, James Allridge and his older brother, Ronald, left their Fort Worth apartment with the intention of robbing a Circle K convenience store. Allridge was carrying a semi-automatic pistol, and Ronald drove Allridge’s car. Allridge had previously worked at the Circle K, was familiar with the store’s procedures, and knew where the combination to the safe was kept. He also knew the clerk on duty, Brian Clendennen, having worked with him before. At about midnight, Ronald dropped Allridge off around the corner from the targeted store. Clendennen had already closed the store, but admitted Allridge when he asked for change to use the phone. Clendennen made change, and Allridge “pretended to use the phone and left to rejoin Ronald.” Ronald accused Allridge of “chickening out” and dropped Allridge off at the store again. Clendennen again let Allridge into the store, but this time Allridge pulled his gun and forced Clendennen into the storeroom. After tying Clendennen’s hands behind his back, Allridge emptied the safe. Allridge heard sounds coming from the storeroom and discovered that Clendennen had moved. He made Clendennen “get back on his knees,” then shot him twice in the back of the head. Allridge and Ronald left, and Clendennen died from the gunshot wounds the next day. UPDATE: For 17 years, Shane Clendennen has waited for justice after his brother's killer was sent to death row. But now that James Vernon Allridge III has finally been assigned an execution date on Aug. 26, Clendennen cannot understand why Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon made a special trip to death row to visit Allridge. Death penalty opponents say she wants his sentence commuted to life. "How would she feel if someone tied up her child and shot him in the back of the head, then she had to watch him on life support for three days until he died?" asked Clendennen, 34, a machinist from Fort Worth. "She should not have a voice in this unless she has gone through that kind of pain and loss." Clendennen's brother, Brian, was 21 and working in a convenience store in Fort Worth when he was shot in 1985. Allridge knew the clerk could recognize him, because they had taken a management training course together, prosecutors said. After briefly scoping out the store, he returned to rob it of $300 and shoot the clerk, prosecutors said. Wednesday, Sarandon visited with Allridge for two hours. She would not comment except to say she was trying to maintain "a low profile." But in response to the reaction of the victim's family to her visit, she released a written statement Thursday. "My heart and prayers go out to the Clendennen family. They have suffered a terrible loss, one that I would not presume to know. I hope they have found a way towards healing from the senseless murder of Brian Clendennen. My friendship with James Allridge in no way diminishes my feelings of sympathy for the Clendennen family. It merely reflects the fact that James Allridge is a human being and is more than the worst act that he has ever committed," the statement said. Dave Atwood, who founded the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and accompanied Sarandon to the prison, said the actress and inmate had been pen pals for several years. He said she had bought some of the inmate's drawings. Atwood said the actress had gone there to encourage Allridge. He said she discussed the possibility of doing something on his behalf but that would be "left up to the attorneys." Atwood and Sarandon think Allridge's sentence should be commuted because, they say, he has been rehabilitated. His drawings have been exhibited at several colleges, and he has maintained a 4.0 GPA taking college business courses while on death row, Atwood noted. But Shane, the victim's brother, is upset that Allridge has been able to earn college credits and "sell stuff (his art) over the Internet" from his 6-foot cell. On the Web site where Allridge sells his art, he writes about his past and does not deny the killing. "I'm not making excuses," Allridge wrote. "But there was a lot of pressure from my older brother ... who was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic." He also expressed regret anyone had to "lose their life for me to become the person I am today." Allridge declined to be interviewed. Shane Clendennen said he does not think his brother's killer has been rehabilitated. "If (Allridge) was born again, I could maybe forgive him. But I still think he should die for what he did," he said. UPDATE: This has not been reported in any of the coverage since Allridge's execution was scheduled, but apparently this murder occurred during a crime spree where at least two other people were murdered.  This is a Houston Chronicle article from March 30, 1985: Two brothers accused of shooting down a woman during a restaurant robbery because she had no money also face charges stemming from a series of robberies in which two others died, police say. Charged on Thursday in the March 25 slaying of Carla McMillen were two sets of brothers - Ronald Allridge, 24; his brother James Vernon Allridge, 22; Milton Jarmon, 18, and his brother Clarence Jarmon, 19. Police said the robbery was one in a series of robberies committed Sunday night and Monday morning. Ronald Allridge, who was ordered held in lieu of $1.55 million bond, also was charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Buddy Webster Jr., 19, the manager of a pizza restaurant. James Allridge, jailed in lieu of $1.1 million bond, also was charged with capital murder in the Feb. 3 slaying of Brian Clendennen, 21, of Everman. The Allridge brothers also were charged with two counts of aggravated robbery. The Jarmon brothers also were charged with two counts of robbery. From 6/8/95: More than 10 years have passed, but Sharen Wilson still is troubled by images of a young woman who took a shotgun blast at close range while eating a late-night meal at a Fort Worth fast-food restaurant. "They were horrific photographs, the victim laying in a puddle of blood with a half-eaten sandwich," says Wilson, a criminal court judge in Tarrant County. "I don't think I'll ever forget them." Wilson was an assistant district attorney in 1985 who worked to send the gunman, Ronald Allridge, to death row for killing 19-year-old Carla McMillen.  Ron Allridge, 34, was set for lethal injection early today for the murder, one of three killings authorities blame on him. "Truthfully, he should have been executed a long time ago," Wilson said. Allridge, an unemployed 10th-grade dropout, exhausted his appeals, the last one rejected May 15 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case. "We touched all the bases, and we couldn't get an expression of interest from the Supreme Court and that's what it was going to take," said Allridge's attorney, Steven Schneebaum. Schneebaum asked Gov. George W. Bush for a 30-day reprieve or that Bush commute his sentence to 1,000 years in prison. "Ronnie never denied that he fired the shot that cost the life of a young woman," Schneebaum said in a petition to the governor. Bush, however, turned down the request Wednesday. The request also struck a hollow note with the victim's mother, Carole McMillen. "This is just an example of the judicial system in need of repair," she said. "It's taken so long to carry out the jury's verdict. This is not even a question of whether he's guilty or not." A Tarrant County jury took less than four hours to give Allridge the death penalty. McMillen was with two friends at a Fort Worth Whataburger restaurant the night of March 25, 1985, when Allridge and two companions burst into the place and announced a holdup. When Allridge pointed his shotgun at the woman's chest at close range and she threw up her hands, he fired. "His whole appeal was: "Gosh, it was an accident,' " Wilson said. "But it was no accident that he had it pointed directly at the center of her chest. We're not talking about some guy who maybe didn't do it." Authorities said it was the latest in a string of similar robberies where Allridge and his companions, including a brother, would storm into crowded restaurants and demand patrons surrender their money and valuables. During the punishment phase of his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Allridge confessed to at least 20 such holdups. Allridge served less than six years of a 10-year term for killing a high school student in 1976. He also was accused of the fatal shooting of a pizza shop manager two months before the McMillen slaying. One accomplice received a 20-year term. A second was sentenced to 30 years. 

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 26, 2004 Oklahoma Amanda Holman, 2  Windel Workman executed

Windel Ray Workman was tried by a jury in Oklahoma and convicted of the first-degree child abuse murder of his live-in girlfriend's two-year-old daughter. The girl, Amanda Holman, was pronounced dead upon arrival at South Community Hospital in Oklahoma City on the morning of January 10, 1987. The emergency room doctor and nurse who unsuccessfully attempted to revive Amanda observed numerous bruises on the girl's face, chest, back and buttocks, and suspected child abuse. The police were called to the hospital and spoke with Workman about Amanda's injuries. Workman told them that Amanda had fallen backwards out of bed the night before. He also admitted to spanking the child hard, leaving bruises on her body. He played "pitch" with Amanda, in which he threw the girl up in the air and caught her. Amanda's pediatricians testified, however, that her injuries could not have resulted from these activities alone and she was not a child who bruised easily. According to the medical examiner, Amanda had died from blunt head injury. Her death was a homicide, not a result of accident. Any of Amanda's three serious head injuries could have killed her, and he noted additional injury to the child's abdomen and buttocks. Moreover, because bruising cannot occur post-mortem, the injuries observed must have been inflicted before her death. Had Amanda's injuries been the result of a fall as Workman claimed, such a fall must have been from at least ten feet. The physician in charge of the emergency room at Children's Hospital revised upward the medical examiner's estimate of the height of a fall that could have inflicted similar injuries, concluding that such injuries might result from a fall from a two or three-story building. The doctor from the Children's Hospital also concluded that, on the basis of the autopsy report, photos of Amanda, and discussions with the medical examiner, Amanda had been "most definitely" a victim of child abuse. Witnesses established that Amanda had been in Workman's care during the time she incurred her injuries. Several employees of the child's daycare testified that they had noticed bruises and other injuries on Amanda in the days preceding her death. Amanda cried when Workman came to pick her up from the center. January 7, 1987 was the last day that Workman picked Amanda up from daycare. On that day, the girl screamed and cried when she saw Workman at the door. She climbed into the lap of a stranger and wet her pants. Workman's comment about Amanda's behavior was that the child, for some reason, "doesn't like me." Workman kept Amanda home by himself on January 8th and 9th. He testified that he heard Amanda fall in her room on the 8th and believed that she had hit a dresser. The two-year-old told him that her stomach hurt afterwards. On cross-examination, Workman admitted spanking Amanda on the 8th. According to Workman, on the 9th, Amanda fell again in the bathtub. Workman did not tell the police about this fall in initial interviews because he said he had left her unaccompanied at the time, in contravention to a promise he had made her mother. That evening, Amanda began to vomit. After Amanda could not be resuscitated on the 10th, Workman and the girl's mother took her to the hospital, and she was pronounced dead on arrival. Amanda's pediatricians testified that Amanda's mother had been a concerned parent, bringing Amanda in for treatment of even minor injuries. By contrast, Workman's own witness, his second wife, had seen Workman spank their daughter too hard two or three times, causing the child to wet her pants. The jury convicted Workman of child abuse murder in the first degree. UPDATE: Convicted child-killer Windel Workman is to be executed at 6 this evening at the State Penitentiary in McAlester. The mother of the 2-year-old Workman killed says she has mixed feelings about the execution. Rebecca Griffitts says she wants Workman to die for killing her daughter, but says his death won't bring the girl back. Workman was convicted in Oklahoma County of killing Amanda Holman in 1987. Workman was Griffitts' boyfriend at the time. UPDATE: Windel Ray Workman was executed by injection Thursday for the 1987 beating death of his live-in girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. Workman, 46, was convicted in Oklahoma County and sentenced to die for the Jan. 10, 1987, killing of Amanda Holman, who had bruises on her face, chest, back and buttocks. Workman maintained his innocence and claimed the bruises were caused by Amanda's falls from her bed and in the bathtub. Later, he claimed that either Amanda's mom or grandmother were at fault. Three doctors who treated or examined Amanda, who died of blunt head trauma, said her injuries were consistent with being hit by a fist, a hard object or being slammed into a wall, court records say. Testimony, including Workman's, indicated he had sole custody of the girl during the time her injuries occurred. Court records show he had a history of abusing the child.  Former Oklahoma City police officer Michael Roach always will remember Amanda Holman. He and his partner investigated her murder and interrogated the man who was convicted of beating the 2-year-old to death in 1987. "I think the reason that it stuck with me over the years is the fact that Amanda had no control over her life," Roach said. "She was an essentially helpless victim." Windel Ray Workman was convicted of causing the head and body injuries that were responsible for the toddler's death. Roach's partner, Monte Fairchild, said he clearly remembers interviewing Workman. "He seemed very cold and callous -- not remorseful at all about what had happened," the retired police officer said. "Everything was about taking care of Windel and protecting himself. And there was nothing to indicate he had any emotional feelings about what happened to the baby, to the child." Workman's case will be the fifth investigation Fairchild has worked on that has ended with an execution. "The shock value is gone," Fairchild said. "The first one, it kind of makes you stop and think. ... This time, what has to be done, has to be done."

 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 27, 2004 Nevada  Nancy Griffith, 16  Robert Ybarra stayed

Robert Ybarra was sentenced to death for the heinous rape and murder of sixteen-year old Ely, Nevada resident Nancy Griffith. Ybarra was twenty-five-years old at the time of the murder. The crime took place off Highway 50, about three miles north on the remote 30 Mile Road in White Pine County, Nevada. During the evening of September 28, 1979 and the early morning hours of September 29, 1979, when Nancy Griffith rebuffed his sexual advances, Robert Ybarra Jr. viscously kicked, beat, and raped the teenager. Then he poured a flammable liquid on her and set her afire and left her to die. Ybarra met Nancy Griffith and a friend of hers in the County Park in front of the White Pine Court House in Ely, Nevada on the evening of September 28, 1979. Using the pretext of needing to hire someone to clean his trailer, he took both girls to his home. Then the friend was dropped off and Ybarra drove with Nancy Griffith to the isolated area of 30 Mile Road where he proceeded to attempt to sexually assault her. Nancy escaped through the back window of the truck's camper shell and ran up to the wash where Ybarra caught up with her, they struggled and her tennis shoes were removed, still in the tied position, but Nancy escaped again. Nancy ran up the hill her in stocking feet where Ybarra caught her again and began to beat and kick her. Ybarra removed her tan pants and white underwear and raped her. After the rape, Nancy grabbed her tan pants, leaving her underwear on the hillside, and ran to the wash to find her tennis shoes. Ybarra followed, catching her, and again beat and kicked her until her "lifeless" body was lying limp in the wash. Ybarra left the wash area to go to his truck parked about 45 feet away and got a can of white gas, went back to where Nancy was. Then Ybarra deliberately, coldly and calculatedly doused the dazed girl’s semi-naked body with the flammable fluid and set her on fire. He got into his red Toyota pickup and drove back to Ely, Nevada, leaving her to die alone on the lonely road in unspeakable and excruciating pain. Amazingly, some time later, stumbling and crawling, Nancy Griffith was able to make her way from the scene of the savage attack about a quarter of a mile, toward Highway 50, before collapsing in the sagebrush about 10 feet off the isolated road. She was found a few hours later by two local men who spotted her lying on the ground waving her arm to signal them to stop. The men were horrified at the extent of her injuries and they tried to make her comfortable before they left to return to Ely, Nevada to alert the Sheriff’s Office. After getting back to Highway 50, the men were able to flag down the second vehicle passing by, a small red pickup with a white camper shell. The driver was Robert Ybarra Jr. who, when asked if he would return to Ely to alert the police of the badly burned young girl, told the two men that he was on his way to work on an oil rig out on 30 Mile Road. Ybarra offered to stay with the injured girl while the men returned to Ely to summon help. The local men agreed that Ybarra could stay with the girl and told him where she could be found and drove off headed towards Ely. Ybarra later told the authorities he had driven the area three times but could not find the girl so he went on to his place of employment in Butte Valley. Apparently Nancy recognized his vehicle and stayed hidden in the sagebrush, until he finally gave up looking for her. When she saw the men in the police vehicle, she struggled to sit up and raise her arm to signal to them. Captain Bernie Romero of the White Pine Sheriff's Department was the first officer to arrive at the scene. Romero knew Nancy and her family, but because of the horrendous burns he was not able to recognize her. Barely alive from her grave injuries, Nancy was able to describe her assailant to Romero and told him that she had been raped the night before. She said that she did not know her assailant but said that "he works out there," and pointed to the north in the direction of Butte Valley. Nancy also told Romero the assailant drove a red Toyota truck and was by himself. Romero covered the girl with a blanket and comforted her. One of the men who had originally discovered Nancy and went to Ely for help and accompanied Romero back to the scene found what he first thought was a rubber glove lying in the road. Upon closer examination it was the entire skin from her hand with the fingernails still attached. Nancy Griffith was transported to the Ely hospital where it was determined that she had suffered severe burns over more than 75% of her body, her lungs were badly seared from inhaling the flames, and her skull was fractured. She was air lifted to a Salt Lake City, UT, burn center where she died that evening from the effects of the fire and other injuries. Evidence was found along 30 Mile Road and in what was referred to as the "burn area" in a wash off the side of the road. There were scuff marks in 10 places along the road, the burn area and on the hillside above the burn area. A pair of women's underwear was located on a hillside about 143 feet from where Captain Romero found Nancy. One cuff from a blouse and burned pieces of cloth from a pair of tan pants were discovered on the roadside 1,554 feet from Nancy's location. A second cuff from a blouse was found 2,340 feet south of where Nancy was found. A waistband was found in the burn area. Pieces of a mirror were found 4,364 feet south of where the girl was found by the fishermen. A blue denim purse was identified as Nancy Griffith's. Skin tissue was found in various places along the route Griffith had traveled about a quarter of a mile toward Highway 50 from the burn area to where she was found. While the investigation of the crime scene took place, Robert Ybarra Jr. arrived at the roadblock that had been set up just beyond the burn area and asked the officer there if the girl had been able to talk to the police or if she had died from her injuries before doing so. He also asked if the investigators had found anything. The investigating officer noticed Ybarra's boot prints matched those of the attacker and his boots had blood on them. Ybarra was arrested shortly afterwards driving his red pickup and a gun and box of bullets were found in the vehicle. If Robert Ybarra Jr. had been able to find Nancy Griffith that morning before the authorities arrived from Ely, he surely would have killed her by shooting her when he found out that he had not been successful in burning her alive to prevent her from implicating him in the crime. Dr. Richard Saunder, the forensic pathologist for the State of Utah, who performed the autopsy on Nancy Griffith stated there were unique burning patterns as if something which was flowing down the girls legs caught fire. The "drip marks" where the skin was burned on her legs were characteristic of a flammable liquid and the girl was probably up with her legs bent or possibly standing up for the drip marks to appear as they did. A second indication that Nancy was in a vertical position when she was set afire was the charred condition of the area under her chin and the lungs showed searing from breathing in fire. This pattern was indicative that the teenager was undoubtedly conscious when she was set on fire by Ybarra. From the arrest of Ybarra on September 29, 1979 to its final phase, this case followed a circuitous route through the legal system for almost two years with various delays, evaluations, and appeals. The murder trial began in 1980. At the trial's conclusion, in late June 1981, Robert Ybarra Jr. was found guilty of the charges, received the death penalty and was sentenced to be executed for the crime.

 

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