August 2005 Executions
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Five killers were executed in August 2005.  They had murdered at least 11 people.
Three
killers were given a stay in August 2005.  They have murdered at least 4 people.
One killer had his death sentence commuted in August 2005.  He has murdered at least 3 people.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 2, 2005    Pennsylvania   Barbara Jean Horn, 4  Walter Ogrod  stayed 

On July 12, 1988, the body of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn was discovered. A neighbor testified that at 5:30 P.M., her mother told her that someone had left a television box in the front of the house. Because the trash had just been picked-up earlier that day, the father went out to look at the box. After looking in the box, he yelled into the house that there was a baby in the box. His daughter called 911. Her father shouted, again saying that the baby was dead. She testified that she told the 911 operator that there was a box in front of her house with a dead baby in it. The family waited for police to arrive and the father stood near the box to make sure that no one disturbed it. At approximately 5:45 or 5:50 P.M., the family flagged-down a police officer, who stayed with the box until other officers arrived. The daughter later asked police if she could look in the box. An officer briefly lifted the lid. She told the jury that she saw a child's body on its side and a little head with a green trash bag on top. A 68-year-old manager of a car dealership testified that on that day at approximately 5:00 or 5:30 P.M. he had stretched out in a chair and was looking from an office window and onto Saint Vincent Street. He said that he saw a man approximately twenty-five feet away carrying a television box. The man held the box in such a way that the witness could see printed on the box the words "color television, inches." The witness identified the box the prosecution had marked as an exhibit, describing it as the box he saw the day the body of Barbara Jean was discovered. He explained that he thought that the box was heavy because when the man "got on the other side of Saint Vincent Street, he laid the box down, so as to sort of catch your breath." After carrying the box down the sidewalk in front of a church on Saint Vincent Street, the man then started to drag it by a plastic bag that was sticking out of the box. Another witness testified that in 1988, he lived at in a house on St. Vincent Street and explained that at 5:12 P.M., he was sitting on the tailgate of his Chevrolet station wagon reading a newspaper. His wife was in the passenger seat. They were waiting for their children to return home in the camp van before leaving for a doctor's appointment. The man testified that he saw a man near the church approach his house alternately carrying a 13-inch color television box and dragging it by a plastic bag that was inside the box. He identified the 13-inch color television box in court as the box he saw the man with on July 12, 1988. He testified that he observed the man walk up his steps. He told the man not to leave the box because the trash had already been removed and the man said that he thought that Wednesday was trash day but the witness told him that trash day was Tuesday and that it had been picked up already. The witness also asked the man what was in the box. The man said that it just contained some old junk. When the man continued on his way, the witness turned his attention to a newspaper delivery boy who had just arrived. At 5:23 P.M., the witness's children came home, and he testified that he lost track of the man with the box. At 5:26 P.M., the family drove away from their house to go to the doctor's appointment. As they drove west on Saint Vincent Street, the witness saw the 13-inch color television box in front of 1409 Saint Vincent Street, but they continued to the doctor's appointment. When they returned, police had blocked off the street. He looked up the street and recognized the color television box. He approached the scene and told police that he had seen the box being carried. He admitted that he only saw the man's face briefly but provided police with a description of the man as a white male between 20 and 25, about 5'8" in height, 165 pounds with sandy colored hair. He could not identify Ogrod in court and admitted on cross-examination that on January 13, 1989, he had identified another man as the person he saw carrying the television box. A sergeant in the Homicide Division of the Philadelphia Police Department. had responded to a call at 1409 Saint Vincent Street and arrived at approximately 6:45 P.M. with other detectives who were members of the Homicide Division. She testified that when she arrived, other officers had blocked off the 1400 block of Saint Vincent Street and uniformed police officers protected 1409 Saint Vincent Street. The detectives observed the television box, opened it and saw the body of a young child in the box. Soon after, the sergeant learned that a little girl who lived at 7245 Rutland Street, approximately a block and a half away, was missing. She went to the Rutland Street home of the parents of Barbara Jean, Sharon and John Fahy. She told them that police had found a television box nearby and that the box contained the body of a child but told the Fahys that she did not know if the child was their daughter. The Fahys identified the body at the office of the Medical Examiner as the body of their daughter. The Medical Examiner had opened the box in the presence of the sergeant, who told the jury that when she looked inside she saw a green trash bag covering the dead body of Barbara Jean. She testified that Barbara Jean was completely nude and she was in a fetal position lying on her side. She did not observe any blood on the body, but the child's hair was matted with blood. She explained that she thought that the body had been washed. Barbara Jean had bruises on her shoulders and a large gash on her head approximately one-half inch wide, which was not actually bleeding at the time, but there was some seepage. The Medical Examiner testified that the cause of death was the blows to the head consistent with a metal rod. The homicide sergeant showed the jury the box and pointed out some fluid and bloodstains that remained inside the box. After the Medical Examiner removed Barbara Jean from the box, police preserved the box as evidence. The sergeant told the jury that detectives had determined that the a family had purchased the television and apparently discarded the box. Police attempted to identify fingerprints on the box and the bag, but were not successful. John Fahy, the stepfather of Barbara Jean, testified that on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 12, 1988, Barbara Jean was at home with him, at 7245 Rutland Street. He explained that on the morning of July 12, Sharon Fahy, his wife and the mother of Barbara Jean, went to work. Barbara Jean dressed herself that morning in pink shorts and a multi-colored sleeveless shirt with pastel stripes. Mr. Fahy fed her breakfast, played with her, and he then watched television with her. They went to a small grocery market, came home and Barbara Jean had lunch. Mr. Fahy estimated that at approximately 3:00 P.M. he started to clean the refrigerator and Barbara Jean, who was "in and out of the house most of the day," came in and asked if she could help. Mr. Fahy told her no and to go outside and play, which she did. Barbara Jean went into their front yard to play. After forty-five minutes to an hour, Mr. Fahy went out to check on Barbara Jean. Although he saw her toys in the yard, he told the jury that he did not see Barbara Jean and she did not return when he called to her. Mr. Fahy proceeded to talk with some neighbors and look for Barbara Jean. At 4:55 P.M., he "started getting really nervous" and called his wife. Mrs. Fahy told him to keep looking and that she would come home. The sister of Mrs. Fahy came to the house and joined Mr. Fahy in the search for Barbara Jean. A woman who lived across the street at 7244 Rutland Street with her husband and son who was a five-year old playmate of Barbara Jean. The family lived in Ogrod's house. The woman heard Mr. Fahy calling for Barbara Jean, but she did not see the child. At approximately 6:00 P.M., the sister of Mrs. Fahy, who had been out looking for Barbara Jean, returned in a police vehicle. Soon after, the homicide sergeant arrived and told the Fahys that the body of a child had been found nearby in a television box. The aunt stated that she gave Lieutenant Kelly a photograph of Barbara Jean and accompanied her to the police station. The next morning, the Fahys went to the Office of the Medical Examiner and identified the body of her daughter, Barbara Jean. The aunt also told the jury that, before the murder, she did not want Barbara Jean to play at the little boy's house because, "it was really a mess in there and there was a lot of people always coming and going [and that she] . . . had no idea who exactly lived there and who didn't." Homicide detectives asked Ogrod to come in as an information witness and that they were interested to know whether he knew Barbara Jean, her family, the neighborhood and whether he had heard any rumors about the murder. The Detectives then proceeded to conduct the formal interview by asking a question, writing down the question, and then writing down the answer Ogrod provided. The first question was "Walter, did you know Barbara Jean Horn?" Ogrod admitted that he knew Barbara Jean and that she came to the house he shared with the other family on the day of the murder. Ogrod told police that he answered the door when Barbara Jean was calling on her young friend and that Ogrod told her to talk with the boy's mother because he did not know where the boy was. That was the last time Ogrod claimed to have seen Barbara Jean. Ogrod told the Detectives that he never asked the boy's mother whether she saw Barbara Jean and that he did not know whether Barbara Jean ever found her because he went upstairs. When the Detectives asked Ogrod what part of the house the woman was in at the time Barbara Jean came into the house, Ogrod said that she was in the dining room. Because one of the Detectives claimed to be familiar with the "straight-through" layout of the row house, he asked Ogrod, "wasn't it true that you should have been able to see directly into the dining room and see if she were there?" Ogrod responded that perhaps she was in the kitchen, which was not visible from the front door. The Detectives then said: "you are not telling us the truth, are you, Walter?" At this point, Ogrod put his head in his hands and started to cry and the Detectives took a break to allow him to compose himself. At trial, a detective explained that when he said crying he did not "mean a tear ran down his cheek." He meant that Ogrod "started crying hard and convulsively." The detective arranged for Ogrod to get a cup of coffee and go to the bathroom and, after a break, they brought him back to the interview room. When Ogrod returned, he began talking before the Detectives started to question him. He explained that he experienced abuse as a child and that he went to live with his father when he was ten or eleven. Then, he said that he was going to tell the Detectives something that he never told anyone including his psychiatrist. At this point, the Detectives told Ogrod that before he went any further, they were going to read him his rights. After being read his rights, Ogrod said he did not want an attorney and one of the Detectives then said, "Walter, you indicated you want to give us a statement at this time. Remember, you can stop whenever you want to. Please go on in your own words and tell us what you would like to say." Ogrod gave Detectives a detailed account of how he killed Barbara Jean. He told the Detectives that Barbara Jean came to his door looking for the 5-year-old boy who was not at home, and Ogrod enticed Barbara Jean into the basement asking her if she wanted to play doctor.  Ogrod proceeded to take off her clothing and started rubbing his penis against her leg. When he tried to push her face into his penis, Barbara Jean started to scream. Ogrod admitted that he held her down and hit her repeatedly with a pipe; he explained that "it might have been my small pull down bar to my weight set." She did not move again after that. She was bleeding and Ogrod told Detectives that he grabbed a cloth and placed her in the tub holding her head under water. Ogrod then described how he disposed of the body of Barbara Jean by placing her in a plastic bag, locating an empty box nearby, placing the body in the box, and carrying the box some distance before deciding to leave it near some garbage cans. The Detectives showed Ogrod photographs of the box, first closed -- Ogrod identified the box as the one that he had placed the child in; and then open -- Ogrod confirmed that Barbara Jean was in the box. When Ogrod completed his statement, the Detectives left the room and returned with a few other questions. Ogrod then confirmed that the statement was the whole truth. Detectives gave the entire statement to Ogrod to read, which he did. Detectives asked, "Is there anything you would like to add to or change now that you have read these 16 pages?" Ogrod responded by saying, "I am sorry." Ogrod then signed the statement. UPDATE: In October 1996, Walter Ogrod was sentenced to die for sexually assaulting and bludgeoning to death four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn, a neighbor. Ogrod was formally sentenced on November 8, 1996. Ogrod, 39, was convicted in 1996 of murder and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in the death of 4-year-old Barbara Jean Horn. Ogrod killed Barbara Jean on July 12, 1988, by luring her into the basement of his home in Castor Gardens. The little girl, who lived across the street, thought she was going inside to get candy. Instead, Ogrod tried to sexually assault her. When she screamed, he hit her over the head with an iron bar from a weight-lifting set. Ogrod placed Barbara Jean’s lifeless body in a plastic bag, stuffed it into a cardboard television box and carried the box around the corner to be taken out with the trash. However, Barbara Jean’s nude and battered body was discovered by a resident of the block who noticed that the box had been placed on the curb after trash had already been collected. The case remained unsolved for four years. Police arrested Ogrod in 1992, after re-interviewing him and other neighbors. The suspect confessed to police and later to a jailhouse snitch, but he later claimed that homicide detectives coerced a statement out of him and contended that inmate Jason Banachowski made up his story. Ogrod went to trial in 1993 and was about to be found not guilty when a juror, Alfred Szewczak, changed his mind at the last second. A mistrial was granted. Three years later, Ogrod went on trial again. This time, a jury convicted him in less than two hours. UPDATE: A judge stayed the August execution of a man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a 4-year-old girl in Philadelphia in 1988. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge David Savitt on 6/9 gave Walter J. Ogrod more time to pursue post-conviction appeals.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 4, 2005    Alabama Roger Motley  George Sibley executed 

Anti-government extremist George Sibley Jr., 62, was convicted of capital murder for the shooting death of Opelika police officer Roger Motley. Sibley's common-law wife, Lynda Lyon Block, 54, was executed in 2002 for her role in Motley's death. The police officer was gunned down by both in a Wal-Mart parking lot when he approached their car after a passer-by said a child in the car had asked for help. Block's 9-year-old son was in the vehicle as she and Sibley emptied their guns into Motley and his patrol car. The pair claimed they shot the officer in self-defense after he touched his holster. On Oct. 4, 1993, Sibley and Block were fugitives from Florida where they faced sentencing for a burglary and stabbing attack on Block’s 79-year-old former husband, according to the release. They parked at the Pepperell Corners Shopping Center in Opelika where Block got out to use a pay phone and Sibley stayed near the car with Block’s son. A passer-by was concerned the child might be in danger and alerted police after she heard the child call for help. When Motley approached the vehicle and asked Sibley for identification, Sibley pulled out a pistol and opened fire. Block began shooting at Motley from the rear while running toward the vehicle. Motley was shot several times and mortally wounded during his attempt to ascertain whether a child was in danger and in need of assistance, the release stated. Prior to the execution, Sibley nodded to his relatives, stared at his victim's family and gave a final statement of defiance before he was executed Thursday for the 1993 shooting death of an Opelika police officer. "Everyone who is doing this to me is guilty of a murder," Sibley said. "My sister and my niece, I want to express my love and gratitude ... and gratitude to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," Sibley said after being strapped to a gurney for the lethal injection to begin. Officials at Holman Prison near Atmore said Sibley died at 6:26 p.m. The execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Sibley's request for a delay and Gov. Bob Riley turned down Sibley's request for a six-month postponement. "There is no new evidence that would justify such a delay," the governor said. Sibley's sister, Annie Holloway of Florida, and his niece, Lori Holland, witnessed the execution. As he died, they held hands and prayed, with Holloway making the sign of the cross repeatedly. Motley's widow, Juanita Motley Kirkwood, witnessed the execution, along with his mother, sister, son and two stepsons.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 10, 2005   Tennessee James Day  Andrew Thomas stayed 

Andrew Thomas and his co-defendant, Anthony Bond, were indicted for the felony murder of the victim, James Day. The following evidence was presented at the joint trial of  Thomas and Bond. Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on April 21, 1997, Thomas and his co-defendant, Bond, saw an armored truck guard with a money deposit bag leaving a Walgreens drug store on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. Thomas ran up, shot the guard in the back of the head, grabbed the deposit bag which contained $18,843.01 in cash, checks, and food stamps, and jumped into a white car being driven by Bond. Thomas and Bond abandoned the white car on a street behind Walgreens, got into a red car that Thomas had borrowed from his girlfriend, and drove away. A Walgreens’ employee heard the gunshot and then saw the armored truck guard, James Day, lying in the parking lot. She saw a man running from the scene with a gun and the deposit bag. The assistant manager of Walgreens ran outside and saw Day lying face down in a pool of blood. Day, who was conscious, told the man, “Call my wife.” Day remained conscious and continued to talk until an ambulance arrived. Several witnesses described the cars used by Thomas and Bond and gave descriptions of the occupants to the police. One witness testified that he saw a white car “speed” around the armored truck in the front of the store and that the car was within four feet of him. Witnesses later identified Thomas as the passenger in the white car. Later on the afternoon of April 21 , Thomas and Bond arrived at the apartment of Thomas’s girlfriend. According to her, the two men were “excited” and “out of breath.” After telling Bond to get rid of the gun, Thomas began taking money, checks, and food stamps from small white envelopes that had been in Bond’s jacket. Thomas and Bond divided the money. The woman testified that later that same day, Thomas bought a customized car with gold plates and spoke wheels for $3,975 in cash. The car was titled in the woman’s name. Afterward, Thomas told her that they needed to get a hotel room. While watching a news report that evening at the hotel about the shooting, Thomas told her that the victim “did not struggle for his life” and that he had “grabbed the nigger by the throat and shot him.” On the day after the shooting, Thomas's girlfriend opened a bank account in her name and deposited $2,401.48 in cash. Two days later, she bought a shotgun because Thomas said they needed it “for protection.” According to the woman, Thomas later bought a gold necklace for himself and wedding rings for both of them. After getting married in May, the couple separated two months later. Thomas told her not to tell police about the robbery. The victim, James Day, did not immediately die from the gunshot wound to the back of his head. Instead, the gunshot damaged his spinal cord and resulted in paraparesis (a profound weakness in one’s abdomen and legs) and neurogenic bladder (a loss of bladder and bowel control due to nerve damage). Faye Day Cain, the victim’s widow, testified that her husband underwent numerous surgeries, needed constant care and medical attention, and was unable to work. He was confined to one room, was unable to use the bathroom, and became depressed. In late September of 1999, Day was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery after his bladder ruptured. The condition caused an infection; Day’s condition continued to worsen, and he finally died on October 2, 1999. The medical examiner for Shelby County, Tennessee, Dr. O. C. Smith, testified that the cause of Day’s death was sepsis, “secondary to the rupture of his bladder resulting from spinal cord injury caused by the gunshot wound to his head.” Dr. Smith considered Day’s death a homicide, and he stated that the “infection from the ruptured bladder” could be “directly related back to [the] gunshot wound.” Dr. Smith conceded that Day suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, but he stated that these conditions did not cause the death. Dr. Smith’s assistant, Dr. Cynthia Gardner, likewise testified that Day’s death resulted from the injuries caused by the gunshot wound. A videotape of the shooting captured by Walgreens’ surveillance cameras was played for the jury. A videotape made from the original was also played for the jury at a slower speed. Thomas was identified as the gunman who shot the guard in the back of the head from a still photograph that had been made from the videotape. Thomas had an extensive criminal record. Prior indictments showed that once on January 4, 1993, twice on February 1, 1993, once on March 8, 1993, once on March 12, 1993, twice on March 15, 1993 and once on June 25, 1993, Thomas had committed armed robberies. The prosecution also introduced the testimony of Faye Day Cain, the widow of the victim, James Day. She testified that her husband had worked two jobs to support his family before he was shot and that she was unable to work due to a medical condition known as thrombophlebitis. She testified that since her husband’s death, she and the couple’s minor son lived on disability payments and social security benefits. Ms. Cain testified that the victim had been her husband, confidant, lover, and best friend. After the shooting, however, she and her husband could no longer have physical contact or intimacy. The victim “couldn’t stand to be touched” and “the least little noise would turn him into a frenzy.” She testified that she had suffered great emotional pain, that she was no longer a happy person, and that she cried often. According to Ms. Cain, the couple’s son, Cedric, was twelve when his father was shot. They had enjoyed riding motorcycles, having breakfast, and doing “father and son” things. After the shooting, however, Cedric became “hurt and angry.” The jury imposed the death penalty after finding that the evidence supporting the sole aggravating circumstance outweighed the evidence of mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and the death sentence after concluding that twenty-two issues raised by the defendant were without merit.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 10, 2005   Texas John Carty, 72
Delores Smith, 52 
William Porter, 72
Leroy Porter, 71
Gary Sterling executed 

A former farm worker from central Texas was executed this evening for using a car bumper jack to fatally beat and rob a man during a violent spree 17 years ago that authorities said left three other people dead. Gary Sterling, 38, was condemned for the beating death of John Carty, 72, killed in May 1988 at his home in Navarro County near Corsicana. Prosecutors also had evidence tying him to the slaying of Delores Smith, 52, a friend of Carty's whose purse and glasses were found at Sterling's home, although he was not tried for the woman's death. Sterling led police to their bodies after he was arrested for the slayings of William Porter, 72, and Porter's brother, Leroy, 71, at their home in Hill County, about 35 miles northeast of Waco. He pleaded guilty to their slayings and received two life prison terms. Authorities said Sterling knew the four victims, who all were fatally beaten. Evidence showed Sterling, who was 20 at the time, took Carty's car, a TV, shotgun and a lantern. Police said he sold the car for cash he needed to buy crack cocaine. "He was looking for enough to just buy some rocks," Hill County Sheriff Brent Button said. Sterling's lawyers were in the courts in the hours before his scheduled execution trying to block the punishment, arguing in appeals that Navarro County jurors were given flawed instructions when they decided in 1989 Sterling should be put to death. Sterling had managed to elude police the night the Porter brothers were killed when they spotted him stripping Leroy Porter's car. Acting on a tip, he was arrested the following day as he hid in the attic of his home in Blooming Grove, a town of about 800 some 15 miles west of Corsicana. While in jail in Hillsboro, Button said Sterling gained notoriety for trashing his cell, tearing up steel jail fixtures officials had been told were indestructible. Sterling, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled lethal injection, also was remembered for a physical training regimen where he would do push-ups for hours. "I've prosecuted a number of capital case, but this guy really scared me," Pat Batchelor, the former Navarro County district attorney who prosecuted Sterling's capital murder case, said. In earlier appeals, he argued unsuccessfully his intent to kill Carty wasn't clear because he didn't bring a deadly weapon with him and that he only struck Carty once. State lawyers responded that if Sterling only wanted to rob Carty, there wasn't any need to bash in the man's head with the jack. Another previous appeal focused on comments from a juror at his trial who was portrayed as racist for using an epithet to describe black people. The juror was white. Sterling is black. At a later hearing, the juror said use of the racially insensitive term didn't make him a racist and he didn't consider himself a racist. Federal appeals courts agreed and denied the appeal.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 11, 2005   Oklahoma  Avon Stevenson
Anita Richardson
Tina Pennington, 22
Martise Richardson, 13 
Kenneth Turrentine  executed 

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has set an Aug. 11 execution date for a death row inmate who was convicted of killing four people in 1994. Attorney General Drew Edmondson requested an execution date for Kenneth Eugene Turrentine after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal. Turrentine was found guilty of killing his sister, Avon Stevenson, his girlfriend, Anita Richardson, and Richardson's children Tina Pennington and Martise Richardson on June 4, 1994, in Tulsa. Prosecutors said Turrentine suspected Richardson was having an affair and that his sister knew about it. They said Turrentine called 911 and admitted to the shootings. From appellate court account of this case: On June 4, 1994, Turrentine killed his sister Avon Stevenson, his estranged girlfriend Anita Richardson, and Anita's two children, thirteen year old Martise Richardson and twenty-two year old Tina Pennington. For three months leading up to the deadly events of that June, Turrentine and Anita Richardson had been experiencing such problems in their relationship that Turrentine had moved out of the home they once shared. Turrentine moved in with his sister Avon Stevenson. While separated from Anita and living with his sister,  Turrentine began to believe that Anita was having an affair with two other men, and that his sister Avon knew of these affairs because she was apparently a friend and confidant of Anita's. Whether true or not, he also came to believe that Anita and Avon were cheating him out of money in order to support their drug habits. On June 3, 1994, the day before the murders, Turrentine telephoned his ex-wife, Catherine Turrentine, and told her that he was at Anita's house and that things were "about to come to a head." That same day, he asked his ex-wife to return to him a .22 caliber pistol, but she refused. He returned to make the same request the next morning, June 4, 1994, and this time his ex-wife gave Turrentine the loaded pistol. Later in the day on June 4, 1994, Turrentine confronted his sister about Anita's supposed affairs, and an argument ensued. Avon apparently laughed in Turrentine's face during this argument and called him a "punk." In response, Turrentine placed the .22 caliber pistol to Ms. Stevenson's head and fired; she died at the scene. Turrentine then drove to Anita's house, where the two began to argue. As they argued, they moved from the front to the back bedroom of the house and, after more argument and struggle, Turrentine shot Anita Richardson in the head. She died at the scene. He subsequently shot both Martise and Tina in the head, and they died at the scene as well. After this carnage, Turrentine talked to a 911 operator and declared that he had shot his "ol lady," his kids, and his sister. When officers arrived at the scene, they immediately took Turrentine into custody and advised him of his Miranda rights. Turrentine waived his rights and told the officers that he had shot his sister, his estranged girlfriend, and his girlfriend's two children. A medical examiner later confirmed that Ms. Stevenson, Ms. Richardson, Martise, and Tina had all died from gunshot wounds to the head. UPDATE: A Tulsa man was put to death Thursday evening for killing his ex-girlfriend in a jealous rage that prosecutors said claimed three other lives, including the women's children. Kenneth Eugene Turrentine, 52, died at 6:10 p.m. in Oklahoma's death chamber, shortly after an injection of drugs stopped his heart. Less than an hour earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had denied his last-minute appeal, clearing the way for the state to carry out his death sentence for the June 4, 1994 shooting of Anita Richardson, 39. Turrentine originally was convicted and sentenced to death as well for the killings of Richardson's 13-year-old son, Martise, and her 22-year-old daughter Tina Pennington. But a federal appeals court last year threw out the convictions in the case of Richardson's children because of a judge's error during the trial. Turrentine received a no-parole life term for killing his sister, Avon Stevenson, 48, the same day. Prosecutors said Turrentine believed Richardson was seeing other men and that his sister was helping her deceive him. He first went to his sister's home and confronted her with his accusations, they said. When she laughed at him and called him a "punk," he shot her in the head. He then went to Richardson's Tulsa home, where the other shootings occurred. A week ago, Turrentine told the Pardon and Parole Board about the alcohol and the antidepressants he'd taken at the time. But in the end, he couldn't answer the board members' questions about motive. "I've been struggling with that for years," he said, just before the board declined to spare him. Turrentine's mother, Dorothy Vinson, who is also Stevenson's mother, had begged the board to spare his life, saying, "it wasn't the Kenneth that everyone knows" who had committed the murders. But Richardson's sister, Teresa Youngblood, told the board in a letter about the pain of her family's loss. "A very small and close-knit family with many years of happiness, love and joy (as well as problems just as any other family may have) suddenly and abruptly became even smaller on that sad and horrific night," she wrote. She described Richardson as "a vibrant, fun-loving, joyful person to be around." Pennington had been born blind and mentally disabled and had survived several life-threatening surgeries, she said. And Martise was a quiet and smart boy, "who loved no one more than his mother," she said. "The man of the family, he tried to protect his mother on may occasions, even the night of her death," Youngblood wrote. Prosecutors contended the killings were calculated. They argued that Turrentine obtained a .22-caliber pistol fro m his ex-wife the morning of the murders and shot all four victims in the head.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 18, 2005    Pennsylvania   Herbert Hamilton
Amos Norwood
Terrence Williams  stayed 

In February 1986, Terrence Williams was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for senselessly murdering Amos Norwood during a robbery. Williams was formally sentenced on July 1, 1987. Williams had already been convicted of murder and robbery in two separate cases at the time of his 1986 trial. From appellate record: At approximately 1:00 a.m. on December 25, 1982, Williams and a co-defendant broke into an elderly couple’s home in the West Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, robbed them at gunpoint, and then stole their car. Williams was a few months shy of his seventeenth birthday. He was certified for trial as an adult, convicted of two counts each of robbery, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, and simple assault, and one count each of burglary, criminal conspiracy, theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to 12 to 25 years imprisonment. While Williams was awaiting trial in the robbery, he murdered Herbert Hamilton. While he was on bail awaiting sentencing for the robbery, he murdered Amos Norwood. He was sentenced to death in the Norwood murder case, and the convictions in the robbery case and the one involving Herbert Hamilton were used as aggravating circumstances to secure that sentence.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 23, 2005    Texas Paula Stiner, 27  Robert Shields executed 

The evidence at trial showed that Tracy Stiner, the victim’s husband, arrived home from work shortly before 6:00 p.m. on September 21, 1994. He discovered his wife’s body in the laundry room. Paula Stiner’s body lay on its right side on the floor of the laundry room with her back to the washer and dryer. The room and the victim were covered in blood and Paula had suffered at least 28 cut and stab wounds. The breakfast area of the house was in disarray, and the contents of Paula’s purse were strewn about. There was also a hammer on the floor of the breakfast area. As Tracy Stiner searched the house, he noticed that several items, including several pair of socks, shirts, a book bag, and a kitchen knife, were missing. Shields had broken into the home earlier in the day and waited several hours so he could steal Paula's car upon her return from work. Tracy Stiner testified that he later learned that, at 11:37 a.m., a time when his wife was at work, a telephone call had been made from his home to the home of one of Shields’s friends in Spring, Texas. Galveston County’s Chief Medical Examiner testified that Paula Stiner had suffered a blunt trauma to the head and had been repeatedly stabbed in the throat, chest, and torso. Paula also suffered a number of defensive wounds, which indicated that she had struggled with her assailant before she died. A detective from the Friendswood Police Department testified that he was notified of Paula’s murder around 6:16 p.m. on September 21 and arrived at the Stiner residence shortly thereafter. He testified that police lifted Shields’s fingerprints from the laundry room and that bloody shoe prints at the scene were later found to be consistent with Shields’s shoes. The detective found blood on the purse, the carpet, and a large amount of blood in the laundry room. He also found one screwdriver on the carpet below a broken window and a wooden-handled screwdriver outside. A cigarette butt found at the scene had saliva on it found to be consistent with Shields’s saliva. Paula’s car was also missing. The Shields family had lived next door to the Stiners for only three months. Shields’s mother testified that a police officer informed her of Paula’s murder when she returned home on September 21. The next day, Mrs. Shields noticed that some items were out of place in her garage - cushions had been arranged to form a makeshift bed, and some drinks were nearby. Mrs. Shields also found Shields’s pager and one of his shirts near the cushions, although Shields had not lived with his parents for several months and was not welcome in their home without at least one parent present. When Mrs. Shields learned from neighbors that a wooden-handled screwdriver like one that she and her husband owned had been used to break into the Stiner home, she began to suspect that her son was involved in the crime. She contacted the police and gave them Shields’s friends’ phone numbers where he might be reached. Shields was arrested on September 24, 1994. At the police station, police noticed cuts on his hands. There was also a cut on his right chin and what appeared to be blood on his shoes, which the police took to the lab for analysis. Shields’s underwear was also saturated with blood. Shields’s fingerprints were found on Paula’s checkbook, on the door leading from the laundry room to the garage, and in Paula’s car. Tracy Stiner identified several of the items in Paula’s car as having been in his home before his wife’s murder. The bloody shoe impression at the crime scene matched the shoes that Shields wore at the time of his arrest. The blood obtained from Shields’s underwear and from a paper towel at the Stiner home were consistent with Shields’s blood. Further, evidence showed that Shields had used Paula’s credit card after the murder to purchase a suit. The manager of a men’s clothing store in Willowbrook Mall testified that Shields came into the store around 6:15 p.m. on the day of the murder and purchased a suit with a credit card in the name of Paula Stiner. Shields signed the credit card slip in the name of Tracy Stiner, Paula’s husband. When the manager noticed a horizontal cut on Shields’s finger, he was told by Shields that he had cut his finger while splicing wires at work. Shields also had a bandage around his middle finger on his left hand. Several of Shields’s friends also testified for the prosecution. One testified that he knew Shields in 1994 and, at that time, Shields was staying in vacant houses in the Woodlands area. Shortly after the murder, he saw Shields with cuts on his hand. Shields told his friend that he had cut them while working at a store. Another friend of Shields testified that on the day of the murder she saw Shields at McDonald’s at around 8:45 p.m. Shields was driving a big white car that she had never seen before. Shields told her that he had borrowed the car from a friend. Another man testified that on September 21 Shields was driving a white car. Shields told this friend that he had obtained the car from another friend and wanted to sell it for $500. He told him that he had cut his hands while working at a store. He then gave the man the suit that he had purchased. Two additional friends confirmed this testimony. The defense put no witnesses on the stand during the guilt-innocence phase. After hearing all of this evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. At the penalty phase, the State introduced evidence that Shields had been assessed deferred adjudication probation for theft/burglary of a motor vehicle in 1992, after which Shields completely disregarded the terms of his probation. Authorities also arrested Shields in Florida in 1994 for grand theft auto. In January 1994, Shields and two friends broke into a car in Friendswood, stole a checkbook and a credit card and charged $150 in cigarettes before the card was reported stolen. Around the same time, the three friends broke into a house next door to Shields’s and stole cash, car keys, and, later, the car itself. They then drove to Florida in the car, shoplifting along the way. They were arrested in Florida for grand theft auto. They had also attempted to break into a home in Florida, but they fled when a neighbor spotted them. The jury also heard testimony that in July 1994, Shields had been involved in stealing credit cards and a cell phone from another car. Based on the testimony of Shields and his mother, the Florida court liaison officer recommended, and the court ordered, that the conditions of probation be amended to allow Shields to enter a psychiatric hospital for at least one month to receive psychiatric evaluation and possible drug treatment. After twelve days, the court allowed Shields to report on an outpatient basis. Shields later missed two appointments in July 1994. On August 10, Mrs. Shields urged the court officer to issue a warrant for Shields so that she could retrieve her missing car, which Shields had stolen. A friend of Shields testified that in June 1994, Shields loaded a pistol and pointed it at him. When the friend objected, Shields stood up and shoved the gun in his face, and stated that he “could point the f***ing gun in [his] face if he felt like it.” Shields later went in the backyard and fired the gun twice over the fence, returning to tell his friends that he “had just shot at his mail carrier,” however, no mail carrier recalled a shooting incident on his route that day. UPDATE: Robert Alan Shields has an execution date set for August 23, 2005. Shields is now 30 and has been on death row for 10 years. A jury sentenced him to death for the murder of Paula Stiner in October 1995. Shields exhausted the last of his appeals in January, leaving nothing to bar the issuance of a death warrant, which State District Court Judge David Garner signed Tuesday. UPDATE:  Robert Shields was executed Tuesday evening. "The world will be a better place without him, that's for sure," said Michael Guarino, the former Galveston County district attorney who prosecuted Shields at his capital murder trial in 1995. "It was an extremely vicious, brutal murder. It was one of the worst capital murder scenes I've seen, and I've seen many over 20 years as district attorney." When asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Shields responded twice, saying "No." He gasped, sputtered and made a slight groan before slipping into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead eight minutes after receiving the lethal injection, at 6:15 p.m. His parents and his victim's parents were among those who watched the execution.  UPDATE: Robert Alan Shields Jr. kept his silence until the end, and the mother of the woman he killed noticed. “He looks pretty calm,” Jan Ross said on the other side of a two-way mirror. Shields, 30, was strapped onto a gurney, right arm extended. Paula Stiner’s mother, father and husband wore purple, Stiner’s favorite color. In another viewing room, on the opposite side of Shields, his parents and sister watched. Both families cried for much of Shields’ last 10 minutes of life. Shields did not testify on his own behalf during his 1995 capital murder trial. He declined an interview request from The Daily News two months ago. Tuesday evening, he declined to make a final statement before the release of the chemicals that would stop his bodily functions. At 6:07 p.m., officials at Huntsville’s Walls prison unit administered the lethal injection, carrying out the death sentence a Galveston County jury called for nine years and 10 months ago. Eight minutes after it started, a doctor pronounced Shields dead. Shields was 19 on Sept. 21, 1994, when he broke into the Friendswood home of neighbors Tracey and Paula Stiner in the 400 block of Castle Harbor. Both Stiners were at work, but Shields was willing to wait. Paula Stiner got off work early that day and came home from a hair appointment shortly after 4:30 p.m. More than an hour later, Tracey Stiner came home from work to find his wife’s bloody body lying on the laundry room floor. Former Precinct 8 Constable Daniel Cooper arrested Shields three days later in The Woodlands, 45 miles north of Houston. Shields was driving Stiner’s car and wearing bloody clothes at the time of his capture. First Assistant District Attorney Mo Ibrahim, who prosecuted the case with then-District Attorney Michael J. Guarino, did not attend the execution, but said he hoped it would allow the family to take the next step in healing their heartache. “This has been an unimaginable 11 years for them,” Ibrahim said. Paula Stiner’s father, John A. Ross, entered the viewing area in a wheelchair, but stood up and leaned against the glass to watch Shields die. After the execution, Ross read a prepared statement, which asserted that the process that took Shields from death sentence to death was “offensive” to Stiner’s loved ones. “As the offender is entitled to a speedy trial, the victim and the victim’s family should be entitled to see a speedy administration of justice.”

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 31, 2005 Indiana Nadine Baird, 32
Arthur Paul Baird I, 68
Kathryn Baird, 78
Arthur Baird commuted 

On July 19, the Indiana Supreme Court cited procedural reasons for rejecting a death row inmate's claim that he should not be executed because he was gravely mentally ill in 1985 when he strangled his pregnant wife and stabbed his parents to death. The Court set an execution date of Aug. 31 for Arthur P. Baird, 59, formerly of rural Montgomery County. Baird has been in the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City since a jury found him guilty of three counts of murder and one count of feticide. Baird's pro bono attorney, Sarah Nagy, said she would seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether it's constitutional to execute someone who is mentally ill. The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the question of executing people who kill due to an "irresistible impulse" inspired by mental illness. Baird strangled his wife on their bed in their trailer home in Darlington for no apparent reason. His wife was 6 months pregnant. He spent several hours watching TV and holding his wife's body. Early the following morning, he went to his parents' home nearby, and after feeding the chickens and getting a haircut from his Mom, he stabbed them both to death with a butcher knife. He left after loading up his belongings, and was arrested in Huntingburg, 2 hours away, the next day, while watching baseball on TV. Baird claimed at the time that he believed he had solved the national debt, then $1.94 trillion, and that the federal government was to pay him $1 million for his advice. In reality, Baird was in debt and had just lost his job at R.R. Donnelley, a commercial printing company. One psychiatrist found Baird insane at the time of the crime. Three said he was sane. Indiana law prohibits executing people who are mentally retarded but doesn't say whether the lives of mentally ill killers should be spared. Indiana's high court said Baird's claim was flawed because it had not been raised in earlier reviews of the case. In Tuesday's order, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said Baird has until Monday to bring new issues before the court. Justice Robert D. Rucker sided with the unanimous court but indicated he is open to hearing about Baird's current mental state. "I continue to believe that a sentence of death is inappropriate for a person suffering a severe mental illness," Rucker wrote. "Nowhere in his lengthy petition does Baird contend that he is now mentally ill."  UPDATE: Gov. Mitch Daniels on Monday commuted the death sentence of Arthur Baird II, who was scheduled to be executed this week for killing his parents in 1985. The order from Daniels changes Baird’s sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole. Baird’s lawyers have argued he was mentally ill, but the state Parole Board last week voted 3-1 to recommend that the execution be carried out as scheduled early Wednesday. Daniels acknowledged claims that Baird was mentally ill, but he emphasized other circumstances in his clemency order. They included the fact that life without parole in murder cases was not an option at the time of Baird’s sentencing. It became an option in 1994. “All members of the jury whose views are known also indicated that, had life without parole been an alternative available to them, they would have imposed it instead of the death penalty,” Daniels wrote. Prosecutors offered a plea agreement that included so many years in prison it effectively would have kept Baird behind bars for life. But Daniels noted that Baird appeared ready to accept the agreement, but suddenly reversed course and, apparently because of his delusional state, rejected the deal. Baird, 59, of Darlington, was sentenced to death for killing his parents, Kathryn and Arthur Baird. He also was sentenced to 60 years in prison for killing his pregnant wife, Nadine, the day before his parents’ slayings. “Courts recognized Mr. Baird as suffering from mental illness at the time he committed the murders, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm recently wrote that Mr. Baird is ’insane in the ordinary sense of the word.’ It is difficult to find reasons not to agree,” Daniels said his statement. “However, I reach today’s decision without substituting my judgment for others on the ambiguous issue of Mr. Baird’s degree of insanity,” Daniels said. “To me, it suffices to note that had the sentence of life without parole been available in 1987, the jury and the state would have imposed it with support of the victims’ families." Several people, including Nadine Baird’s sister, Laquita Anglin, urged the Parole Board last week to recommend clemency. An attorney for the state attorney general’s office argued otherwise, saying Baird had escalated stories about his mental illness and that every court in his case had upheld the death sentence. Anglin said her prayers had been answered. “That’s what I wanted, and that’s what my mom and dad wanted. Not to be put to death,” she said. “Just stay in prison where he’s at and just live out his life.” Sarah Nagy, an attorney for Baird, also was pleased. “I have a great deal of respect for Mitch Daniels and I had faith he would consider this case seriously,” she said. Nagy said she hoped the issue of mental illness in criminal cases would remain at the forefront. Among other things, Baird claimed that forces had manipulated his hands as he strangled his wife, and was being controlled by an outside force when he killed his parents the following day. He also said that he believed God would turn back time and bring his wife and parents back to life. But in a 3-2 ruling last week, the Indiana Supreme Court found him competent to be executed. Nagy said Baird’s case brought up the issue of whether the mentally ill should face execution. “I hope it stays there and doesn’t go back into the closet and we don’t return to the day where we’re not stopping and seriously considering how we treat the mentally ill,” Nagy said.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 31, 2005 Missouri Nancy Johnston  Timothy Johnston executed 

The state Supreme Court on Monday set an Aug. 31 execution for a St. Louis man convicted of killing his wife in 1989. Timothy Johnston, 44, is one of Missouri's longest-serving death row inmates. He was convicted in 1991 of fatally kicking and beating his wife, Nancy, on June 30, 1989, after a night of drinking at a south St. Louis tavern near their home. In a still-pending case filed last year in federal court, Johnston is seeking to block his execution on grounds that the lethal injection would violate his constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. His lawsuit contends the state's chemical mixture -- sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride -- will cause him to "consciously suffer an excruciating, painful and protracted death." He also argues that the dose is administered by inadequately trained personnel with inappropriate equipment. Attorney General Jay Nixon said he would continue to fight any attempts by Johnston to avoid execution. "The brutality of this murder was such that the jury determined that death was the appropriate punishment," Nixon said in a written statement. (AP) UPDATE: A three-judge panel of the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a stay of execution for convicted killer Timothy Johnston, scheduled to die a minute after midnight at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Johnston faces execution for the kicking and beating death of his wife in 1989. Johnston has claimed that lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel. The three-judge panel has issued a stay of execution until September 8th. Attorney General Jay Nixon has asked the full 8th Circuit to hear the state's appeal of the three-judge ruling and allow the execution to take place as scheduled. UPDATE: The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday night vacated a stay of execution granted earlier in the day to a Missouri man scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday. A three-judge panel of the appeals court voted 2-1 earlier Tuesday to stay the execution of Timothy Johnston until Sept. 8. But Attorney General Jay Nixon asked the full appeals court to overturn the stay, which it did. Johnston, 44, convicted of beating his wife to death in 1989, was scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre. He asked the appeals court to consider the case after a federal judge last week ruled that the state's three-drug method of lethal injection does not violate Johnston's constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. Johnston's attorney, Chris McGraugh, did not return phone messages seeking comment after the court lifted the stay, but earlier said he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if the panel's ruling were reversed. Gov. Matt Blunt also was considering Johnston's clemency request. Johnston declined to be interviewed. Johnston and his wife, Nancy, began arguing at a St. Louis bar on June 30, 1989. Former prosecutor Joseph Warzycki said Nancy Johnston became scared of her husband and went to the car to drive away. Johnston jumped on top of the car and eventually pulled his wife from it, then kicked her repeatedly, Warzycki said. He took her home and beat her severely in front of her 11-year-old son. With his wife's lifeless body sprawled on the floor, Johnston called paramedics who arrived to find the sidewalk and porch covered in blood. Inside, they found Nancy Johnston dead, her face and torso swollen and bloodied. An autopsy revealed a broken nose, collarbone and ribs; bruising and tearing in her heart, liver and spleen; injuries to her head, face, scalp and lips. Bleeding under the skin confirmed she was alive throughout her severe beating. "It was just barbaric," Warzycki said. Johnston at first blamed a motorcycle gang. He later confessed, accusing his wife of infidelities. Johnston has expressed "considerable regret" over the crime, McGraugh, said. He said the couple had long had a volatile relationship. In addition to abusing alcohol since adolescence, Johnston had brain damage caused in part by alcohol abuse and in part by head injuries suffered over his lifetime, McGraugh said. Johnston had several run-ins with police - mostly peace disturbance, McGraugh said - but no felony record before the murder. But Warzycki, who left the St. Louis circuit attorney's office earlier this year to become a federal judge in Peoria, Ill., said the only reason Johnston had no previous convictions was because people were too scared of him to press charges. "He was violent, no doubt about it," Warzycki said. UPDATE: A man who tried to hold off his execution by arguing that Missouri's system of lethal injection is unconstitutionally painful was put to death early today for beating his wife to death in 1989. Timothy Johnston, 44, of St. Louis, was pronounced dead at 12:07 a.m. in the death chamber at the two-year-old prison here. Moments before the first drug was administered, Johnston rolled his head back and forth and appeared to grimace. But he stopped moving once the drug appeared to take effect. Lawyers for Johnston had argued vigorously in federal courts that Missouri's three-drug method of execution presented the threat of a "painful and protracted death," in violation of the U.S. Constitution's bar to cruel and unusual punishment. Johnston was condemned for murdering his wife, Nancy Johnston, 27, by beating and kicking her on June 30, 1989. The beating began in her car and continued at their home in the 4700 block of Minnesota Avenue. She was pronounced dead at the scene. He confessed shortly afterward, saying he had become enraged over an argument they had had in a tavern that evening. Johnston's constitutional claim was rejected Friday by a U.S. District Court judge downtown, but he won relief Tuesday from a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. The 2-1 vote put an eight-day stay on the execution. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon then appealed to the full bench of the Eighth Circuit, which overruled the stay shortly before 9 p.m. Johnston's lawyers then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but their plea was rejected. Also Tuesday evening, Gov. Matt Blunt declined to use his power to reduce Johnston's sentence to life in prison. "Nancy Johnston died a horrific death at the hands of her own husband," said Blunt, who called execution "an appropriate punishment for this crime."

 

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