May 2005 Executions
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Eight killers were executed in May 2005.  They had murdered at least 21 people.
Three
killers were given a stay in May 2005.  They have murdered at least 6 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 3, 2005   Texas Robert Earl Cook, 47    Lonnie Pursley executed 

On March 29, 1997 Lonnie Pursley and a co-defendant murdered Robert Earl Cook, 47, inside the Deer County subdivision in Livingston, Texas.  They took the victim into a wooded area where they beat him to death and robbed him. Pursley had received a five year sentence for burglary charge and was released on parole in 1987. He was returned to prison in 1990 on a ten year sentence for theft and was paroled six months later. Just over one year later he was returned to prison with a twenty year sentence for a burglary charge of which he served just over three years before being paroled again a year and a half before he murdered Robert Cook.  From Texas AG's web site: On Good Friday, March 28, 1997, Robert Cook was driving to his home in Livingston, That same day, Lonnie Wayne Pursley, his wife, and their children were visiting family at their home in Shepherd. After getting into an argument with his wife, Pursley left the house on foot. Testimony at trial supported the prosecution’s theory that Cook must have stopped and offered Pursley a ride. After spending some time with Cook in his home, Pursley had Cook drive out into the woods where Pursley savagely beat Cook to death, took his rings and left the body. Pursley was later seen by several witnesses driving Pursley’s bloodstained car. Pursley used Cook’s rings to buy drugs and admitted to several people that he had beaten a person to death. DNA evidence and witnesses linked Pursley to the crime.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 5, 2005    Pennsylvania Louis Combs  Raymond Johnson stayed 

Raymond Johnson was sentenced to death after being convicted in a 1996 drug-related slaying in Reading. Johnson, 37, an inmate at Greene state prison, was scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 5. Johnson was sentenced to death in 2000 for the murder of Louis Combs, a rival drug dealer in Reading. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 6, 2005    North Carolina Lisa Ann Nadeau
Helisa S. Hayes, 27
Phillip Hayes, 8
Darien Hayes, 7
Earl Richmond Jr.  executed 

A former drill sergeant who brutally murdered a Cumberland County woman and her two children a few months after killing an Army clerk in New Jersey will face execution in May, North Carolina's top prison official said Friday. Earl Richmond Jr., 43, is scheduled for execution at 2 a.m. May 6 at Central Prison in Raleigh, Correction Secretary Theodis Beck said in a statement. Richmond was sentenced to death in 1995 for the November 1991 murders of Helisa S. Hayes, her son Phillip and her daughter Darien. He also received a life sentence for first-degree rape. Testimony at Richmond's trial indicated he raped and strangled Helisa Hayes, 27, after an argument. He then took 8-year-old Phillip to a bathroom, where he strangled him with the cord to a hair curler and stabbed him 20 times with a pair of scissors. He strangled Darien, 7, in her room with the cord from a curling iron. Richmond was separately sentenced to life in prison without parole for a 1992 conviction in New Jersey on a federal murder charge. Richmond killed Lisa Ann Nadeau, a Fort Dix, N.J., payroll clerk, months before the triple murder in Cumberland County, which borders Fort Bragg. In July, a federal appeals court rejected arguments that Richmond was denied adequate legal representation. His appeals lawyers argued that his trial attorneys failed to present expert evidence that he couldn't form intent to kill his victims because he had consumed 20 beers, a fifth of liquor and smoked crack cocaine on the night of the slayings. Richmond's defense attorney said at the trial that besides being under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, he flew into a rage when Hayes hit him during an argument. Richmond's appellate record states the following facts of the case: During the early morning of November 2, 1991, Richmond went to the home of Helisa Hayes, the ex-wife of his best friend, Wayne, and allegedly engaged in consensual intercourse with her. Thereafter, Richmond and Helisa allegedly got into an argument about Helisa flaunting her relationships with other men in front of her ex-husband. During this argument, Richmond, after supposedly being struck with an object by Helisa, grabbed and carried her into her bedroom. Once inside of the bedroom, Richmond struck Helisa in the face with his fist and proceeded to engage in "forceful" intercourse with her. After having "forceful" intercourse with Helisa, Richmond strangled her to death with his hands and poured rubbing alcohol over her vaginal area. Richmond then grabbed Helisa's eight-year-old son, Phillip, who was laying down in the hallway outside of his mother’s bedroom, carried him into the bathroom, stabbed him approximately forty times with scissors and wrapped an electrical cord five times around his neck. After killing Phillip, Richmond went into the bedroom of Helisa's seven-year-old daughter, Darien, who was sleeping in her bed, and strangled her to death with the cord from a curling iron. Helisa's father discovered the bodies of his daughter and two grandchildren on November 4th when, after having not heard from Helisa for two days, he became concerned about her safety and broke into her home. Because Richmond was Helisa’s ex-husband's best friend and because he was well acquainted with Helisa and her children, even serving as a pallbearer at their funerals, police interviewed Richmond, among others, soon after the dead bodies of Helisa and her two children were discovered. During this initial interview, Richmond told police that he had not been to the family's home during the weekend of the murders. Moreover, Richmond sought to shift attention from himself by telling police that he believed his friend Wayne had visited his ex-wife's home at some point during the weekend in question. Consequently, police, rather than considering Richmond a suspect, focused their attention on Helisa’s ex-husband, Wayne Hayes, another man who was known as her boyfriend at the time of the murders, and Helisa's father. Approximately three months after the murders however, Richmond became a suspect when his sister informed police that she had dropped Richmond off near Helisa's home on the early morning of November 2nd after they and others attended an all night house party. In light of this information, police requested a suspect rape kit from Richmond, which revealed, through DNA evidence, that the semen found inside of Helisa’s body belonged to Richmond. Based on this DNA evidence, police brought Richmond in for an interview on April 3, 1992. During this interview, Richmond, after initially denying any involvement in the murders of Helisa and her two children, confessed to having committed the murders upon being informed that DNA evidence revealed that his semen was found inside of Helisa's body. When asked to describe the murders, Richmond told police, in sum, the following: At approximately 3:45 a.m. on the morning of November 2nd, he went to Helisa’s home after leaving an all night house party. Upon arriving at Helisa’s home, he and Helisa got into an argument about her "messing" around on Wayne Hayes. After arguing, he and Helisa engaged in "forceful" sex and then got into another argument. During this argument, Helisa struck him with an object and called her son, Phillip, into the room. In response, he knocked Helisa to the ground by striking her in the face with his fist, grabbed her son, who at this point had entered the room, and took him into the bathroom where he stabbed him to death with scissors. After killing Phillip, he went into the bedroom of Helisa’s daughter, Darien, and strangled her to death with the cord from a curling iron. He then went back into Helisa’ bedroom where he strangled her to death with his hands and poured rubbing alcohol on her vaginal area. During a subsequent interview on April 5th, Richmond, although altering his recollection of the events, confirmed his confession. During this interview, Richmond told police, in sum, the following: Upon arriving at Helisa’s home at approximately 3:45 a.m., he engaged in consensual intercourse with Helisa. After having consensual intercourse, he and Helisa got into an argument about Helisa flaunting her relationships with other men in front of Wayne Hayes. During this argument, Helisa struck him with an object and called her son, Phillip, into the room. In response, he carried Helisa into her bedroom, struck her in the face with his fist, engaged in "forceful" sex with her, strangled her to death with his hands, and poured rubbing alcohol on her vaginal area. After killing Helisa, he grabbed her son, who had entered and left the room during the aforementioned events and subsequently laid down in the hallway outside Helisa's bedroom, and took him into the bathroom where he stabbed him to death with scissors. After killing Helisa’s son, he went into her daughter’s bedroom, Darien, and strangled her to death with the cord from a curling iron. Based on his April 3rd and 5th confessions, Richmond was indicted on July 6, 1992 for these crimes. While awaiting trial on these charges, Richmond was charged in the April 4, 1991 murder of Lisa Ann Nadeau, an army dispersing clerk at the Fort Dix military base. On May 28, 1993, Richmond was convicted of Lisa Nadeau’s murder and subsequently sentenced to life without parole. Richmond was tried and convicted in May 1995 for the Hayes murders.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 12, 2005    Oklahoma Kent Dodd, 25  George Miller executed 

Twenty-five year old Kent Dodd worked as the night auditor for the Central Plaza Hotel located in Oklahoma City. Dodd registered a hotel guest at approximately 3:15 a.m. September 17, 1994. Shortly thereafter he was attacked by an assailant who stabbed him repeatedly, beat him with hedge shears and a paint can, and poured muriatic acid on him and down his throat. Two and a half hours later, a housekeeper arrived for the morning shift. She called out for Dodd when she saw he was not at the front desk. In response, she heard "animal moans" from the unused restaurant area of the hotel. She ran to an open restaurant nearby and had the police summoned. Dodd was still alive when the police found him. Dodd was able to respond to police questioning, but most of his responses were unintelligible, perhaps due to the acid burns in his mouth and throat. The police were able to understand him say his attacker was a black man who wore gray pants. Dodd died later that day at the hospital from blunt force trauma to his head. All of the evidence against George Miller is circumstantial but substantial. Miller's sandals could have left the bloody footprints found at the scene, but could not be exclusively identified. A microscopic drop of blood found on Miller's sandal was consistent with Dodd's blood, but also could not be exclusively identified. Miller told police he was home with his wife at the time of the murder. The Millers were divorced by the time of trial, and she testified he was not home; he had taken her car keys from the place where she hid them under the mattress and left. The next day she found sand in the car. She also testified she did the family laundry and after the murder, a pair of Miller's khaki shorts and a silk shirt disappeared. She identified two buttons found at the crime scene as consistent with buttons on the missing shirt. The evening before the murder, Miller was broke and tried unsuccessfully to borrow money from several different friends including one who lived at the Central Plaza Hotel. The morning after the murder, Miller gave his wife one hundred and twenty dollars. When questioned by police about this, he claimed he had cashed a paycheck. When they reminded him he was not working at the time, Miller denied he gave his wife the money. The hotel cash drawer was open and empty when the police investigated the crime scene. Hotel policy requires each shift to begin with two hundred and fifty dollars in the drawer. At the end of the shift, the desk clerk places any amount in excess of this in a deposit envelope and drops it into the hotel safe. Only desk clerks knew the amount of cash in the drawer. Kent Dodd was an exemplary employee who followed the accounting procedures carefully, and whose money count was always correct. After the murder, the hotel manager tried to determine whether any money had been taken. She discovered a deposit envelope containing one hundred dollars hidden behind registration forms in a separate drawer. One hundred twenty-two dollars was missing from the motel cash drawer. The next day Miller told a friend that robbery could not have been the motive for the killing, because only one hundred fifty dollars was kept in the cash drawer. Miller had worked as a maintenance man at the Central Plaza Hotel for two weeks about a month before the murder. Dodd knew Miller, but knew him under an alias, Jay Elkins. Photographs of the crime scene revealed what appears to be finger writing in the blood on the floor and wall which could be the letter "J" and the word, "Jay." Miller and his wife split up shortly after the murder, and he went to stay with his mother in Sherman, Texas. When police questioned him about the Dodd murder, he cried and he made it clear to the police he was not grieving the victim.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 13, 2005    Connecticut Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25
Paula Perrera, 16
Tammy Williams, 17
Debra Smith Taylor, 23
Robin Stavinksy, 19
April Brunias, 14
Leslie Shelley, 14
Wendy Baribeault, 17  
Michael Ross executed 

Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25Paula Perrera, 16 Tammy Williams, 17Debra Taylor, 23Robin Stavinsky, 19April Brunais, 14Leslie Shelley, 14Wendy Baribeault, 17Click photos for
larger image.

The sentencing of serial killer Michael Ross for the 1982 killing of 16-year-old Paula Perrera marked a strange ending to a nearly two-decade old case. Orange County Court Judge Nicholas DeRosa sentenced Ross, who is to be returned to death row in Connecticut, to 8 to 25 years in prison for the 1982 rape and strangulation of the Valley Central High School girl. DeRosa said he had nothing to say to Ross. So, he spoke to Paula's family instead. He said Ross will ultimately be judged in the next life. "That's the only comfort," he said, "if you can take comfort in anything." Ross was tied to the case by DNA evidence last year, after state police investigators secured a confession in a Connecticut prison. "Paula's now been dead longer than she was alive," said Alicia Catlos, Paula's aunt. Catlos spoke for the family, saying that many of Paula's family "just don't even want to be in the same room as Michael Ross."  Ross, 42, never looked up from the defense table as Catlos spoke. The pasty-faced man wore his longish brown hair combed straight back, big eyeglasses, a white shirt, and jeans turned up about four inches at the cuff. He has been convicted in Connecticut of six killings of young girls. Ross's brutal killing of Paula Perrera on March 1, 1982, damaged the girl's family and the effects linger to this day, Catlos said. Paula's younger brother left home soon after the killing. Her grandmother had to live with burying a granddaughter. John Geidel, the Orange County senior assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, noted that Ross's sentencing won't have any effect on his ultimate fate. But, he said, it still was important. Paula Perrera "could have been the sister, daughter of anyone in this community," he said. Defense lawyer Gary Abramson, the chief attorney of the Orange County Legal Aid Society, thanked Geidel and the district attorney's office for bringing the case to a close. The plea Ross took last month to first-degree manslaughter spared the Perrera family of what would have been "an emotionally damaging" trial. Ross spoke briefly, saying he never denied killing Paula Perrera, that he had confessed as far back as 1987. Still, he said, he thanked state police Investigator Charles Auld for the detective work that led to Ross' return to Orange County. "I've never hidden what I've done," he said. "I regret that this has taken so long to be taken care of." Edwin Shelley, father of 14-year-old victim Leslie Shelley, says any sympathy for Ross is misplaced. "If you recall what he did to eight young women, it's hard to have sympathy for a man like that," he said. "I don't care how he dies, as long as he does."  List of victims: Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25, a Cornell University student, killed May 12, 1981. Paula Perrera, 16, of Wallkill, N.Y., killed in March, 1982. Tammy Williams, 17, of Brooklyn, killed Jan. 5, 1982. Debra Smith Taylor, 23, of Griswold, killed June 15, 1982. Robin Stavinksy, 19, of Norwich, killed November, 1983. April Brunias, 14, of Griswold, killed April 22, 1984. Leslie Shelley, 14, of Griswold, killed April 22, 1984. Wendy Baribeault, 17, of Griswold, killed June 13, 1984. UPDATE: A serial killer who fought to hasten his own execution and was forced to prove he wasn't out of his mind was put to death early Friday in New England's first execution in 45 years.  Michael Ross, 45, died by injection at 2:25 a.m. after fighting off attempts by public defenders, death penalty foes and his own family to spare his life. "Today is a day no one truly looked forward to, but then no one looked forward to the brutal, heinous deaths of those eight young girls," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said. "I hope that there is at least some measure of relief and closure for their families." The Ivy League-educated Ross was sent to death row for the murders of four young women and girls in Connecticut in the 1980s, and confessed to four more such slayings in Connecticut and New York. He also raped most of the women. One of Ross' victims was the sister of Debbie Dupris, who witnessed the execution. "I thought I would feel closure, but I felt anger just watching him lay there and sleep after what he did to these women," Dupris said. "But I'm sure I will feel some closure soon." Last fall, Ross announced he was abandoning all remaining appeals, which could have kept him alive for many years, because his victims' families had suffered enough. "I owe these people. I killed their daughters. If I could stop the pain, I have to do that. This is my right," the former insurance agent and Cornell University graduate said last year. "I don't think there's anything crazy or incompetent about that." Death penalty opponents warned that Ross' execution could break down a political and psychological barrier against capital punishment in New England and start a domino effect in the region. On Thursday, a federal appeals court in New York and the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed a lawsuit brought on behalf of Ross' father that claimed the execution would lead to a wave of suicide attempts among Connecticut inmates. The courts also rejected an attempt by Ross' sister to stop the execution. Ross' family, friends and attorneys visited with him after he was moved Thursday to a holding cell near the death chamber at Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers. He had with him a Bible, a book of Bible verses, a coffee cup and some candy. Among the death penalty supporters was Craig Miner of Enfield, who painted "Ross must go, 5/13/05" on the side of his car. "I have four kids of my own and I really feel sorry for the families of the girls," Miner said. Ross was hours from death in January when a federal judge scolded Ross' attorney and threatened to lift his law license for trying to hasten Ross' execution. The lawyer agreed to a new round of hearings on whether Ross was mentally competent. Desperate to save his life, public defenders and Ross' family had argued that Ross suffered from "death row syndrome" — that is, he had become deranged from living most of the past 18 years under a death sentence.  At the hearings, two psychiatrists testified that Ross was mentally incompetent. They said he has a personality disorder that compels him to choose death to avoid looking cowardly. Two other experts disputed the finding of incompetence and said he was genuinely remorseful. Last month, a judge again found Ross competent to decide his fate. "This was not an act of suicide by Michael Ross, as some have so fervently claimed," said defense attorney T.R. Paulding, whom Ross hired to help him end his appeals. "It was a decision that required courage."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 18, 2005    Texas Bertha Lemell, 84  Bryan Wolfe executed 

Bryan Eric Wolfe was convicted in the robbery and murder of 84-year-old Bertha Lemell at her home in Beaumont, Texas. Bertha was found on the floor of her home on February 15, 1992, after she had been stabbed 26 times with a knife inside her home.  She had wounds to the head, torso and abdomen. Her coin purse was ground on the floor near her body and her residence showed no signs of forced entry. A friend of the victim had taken Bertha shopping on the day of the murder, and she saw Bertha pull out $60 in cash, pay for groceries with less than twenty dollars, and put the remaining money back into her coin purse. After the murder, police officers arriving at the scene found the coin purse on the floor, unlatched, and containing only a single coin. Wolfe, who lived in the same neighborhood as the victim, was seen within a few blocks of the crime scene shortly before and shortly after the murder. Wolfe cut himself during the attack, trailing blood out the front door to the driveway. A bloody knife was found at Wolfe's home and police discovered blood inside Wolfe's wife car after he had driven the vehicle.  Blood was collected from the victim’s floor, dresser, two bathroom towels, coin purse, front doorknob, and a knife found at the scene. These blood samples were subjected to DNA testing by the FBI and a private laboratory. The blood on both towels, the victim’s floor, and the victim’s dresser was consistent with Wolfe’s genetic markers. Wolfe had a prior criminal record in Kansas in 1985 for robbery for which he was paroled in 1986. He also had been sentenced to three years in Louisiana for robbery in 1990 and was released in 1991.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 18, 2005    Missouri Kimberly Campbell, 9
Synetta Ford, 19
Tracey Poindexter, 15
Janet Perkins, 9
Vernon Brown executed 

The Missouri Supreme Court set a May execution date for a St. Louis man convicted of killing a neighbor girl. Vernon Brown, a drifter who resided in twenty-three states during his last decade of freedom, is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. May 18. Brown had served time after being convicted for molesting the body of a 12-year-old girl in Indiana. On August 25, 1980, nine-year-old Kimberly Campbell was found, raped and strangled, in a vacant house owned by Brown's grandmother. Brown had been seen with the child on August 24, but in the absence of solid evidence no indictment was filed. A year later, warrants were issued charging Brown with six counts of child molestation and he promptly skipped town. In March 1985, Synetta Ford, 19, was stabbed and strangled in her St. Louis apartment. Brown, working at the complex under an alias, was arrested in April, after his wife told police he had claimed responsibility for the murder. Synetta Ford was found dead in her basement apartment with a knife sticking out of her throat and the electrical cord from a curling iron "tightly knotted around the neck." The door to her apartment had been forced open. The evidence showed that Brown first strangled her, taking the time to knot the electrical cord around her neck, and then as she was dying he stabbed her in the chest and neck. The stab wound to her neck severed her carotid artery, the major artery in the neck. The jurors saw photographs of Ford's body as it appeared when it was discovered on the floor of her apartment and also an autopsy photograph. In addition, the jury watched a videotape of Brown's confession, where he claimed that Ford had accidentally stabbed herself before and after he strangled her with the cord. Authorities said Brown, using the alias Thomas Turner, was at the home of his stepsons in north St. Louis on October 25, 1986 when 9-year-old Janet Perkins walked by. He enticed her into the house to play with his stepsons, then locked his stepsons in their bedroom. Brown then took the child into the basement, bound her feet and one hand with a wire coat hanger, and then strangled her with a rope or cord. The boys heard her screaming as they played upstairs. Janet's lifeless body was found near a trash dumpster, wrapped in two trash bags, with a rusty coat hanger wrapped around her ankles and one of her arms, so that her knees were drawn up to her body in an alley behind Brown's house the next day. Brown was picked up for questioning, offering police a confession in which he blamed the crime on uncontrollable side effects of PCP intoxication. After Brown was picked up in connection with the Perkins murder and confessed his guilt, he led officers to another dumpster a block from where the body was found. There they found a bag containing Janet Perkins's missing shoe, a yellow plastic raincoat, and some of her school papers. Indianapolis police questioned Brown in April 1987, and a warrant has been issued charging Brown with the murder of Kimberly Campbell in 1980. He is also suspected in the murder of 15-year-old Tracey Poindexter, killed in Indianapolis during April 1985, and in another local homicide from August of that year. Additionally, the jury heard evidence that Brown committed acts of sodomy on his stepsons who were about five, seven, and nine years old at the time of the abuse to which they testified. The seven year old, age eleven at the time of the sentencing, testified that before Brown was arrested for the Perkins murder in October 1986, he would take the boy alone into the bedroom Brown shared with the boy's mother and tell him to undress and lie on his stomach on the bed. Brown would undress, put "hair grease" on his penis, and anally and orally sodomize the boy. Brown committed these acts of sodomy on several different occasions. The boy told no one about the incidents until Brown was in jail because Brown had said that if he told, he "would never see any of [his] brothers or [his] mother again." The five year old, nine years old when he testified, also explained to the jury how Brown had performed anal sex on him and said that Brown had threatened to "kill us" if he told anyone. The oldest boy, thirteen at the time of the trial, testified that Brown sodomized him as well. The boys said that Brown would commit the acts of sodomy when their mother was not at home, taking them one at a time from playing with their brothers and locking the door so that the boys who were not being victimized at the time could not come in. UPDATE: A flury of legal activity gave Vernon Brown two-and-a-half more hours, but failed to stop his execution at the Bonne Terre prison. Brown was prepared to enter the execution chamber, when the US Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution while it could consider last minute arguments filed by his lawyers. The stay was lifted and the execution proceeded at 2:30am Wednesday. Brown was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 2:35am.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 19, 2005    Oklahoma Gail Titsworth  Garry Allen stayed 

Gary Thomas Allen shot and killed his girlfriend, Gail Titsworth, four days after she moved out of the home they shared with their sons, six-year old Anthony and two-year old Adrian. In the week leading up to the shooting, Allen and Gail had several angry confrontations when Allen tried repeatedly to persuade her to move back in with him. On November 21, 1986, Gail went to pick up her sons at their daycare center. Allen came into the daycare center shortly after Gail arrived. Allen and Gail argued briefly and then Allen left. A few minutes later, Gail left the daycare center with her sons and went into the parking lot. As she was opening the door to her truck, Allen came up behind her and shut the door. Gail once again tried to get into the truck but was prevented from entering it by Allen. The two argued briefly and Allen reached down into his sock, retrieved a revolver and shot Gail twice in the chest. It is unclear whether Gail was holding her youngest son at the time of the shooting or had picked him up immediately thereafter. After she was shot, Gail began begging Allen not to shoot her again and then fell to the ground. Allen asked Gail if she was alright. He then lifted up her blouse, apparently attempting to figure out the extent of her injuries. At the time of the shooting, some of the daycare employees were in the parking lot and several of the children were in a van parked a few feet from Gail's truck. After the shooting, Gail managed to get up and began running toward the building along with a daycare center employee. As they were going up the steps leading to the front door, Allen shoved the daycare worker through the door and pushed Gail down onto the steps. Allen then shot Gail two times in the back at close range. Officer Mike Taylor of the Oklahoma City Police Department was on patrol in the area and responded to the 911 call within minutes of the shooting. As Officer Taylor was nearing the daycare center, a witness to the shooting directed him to an alley where Allen was apparently hiding. Officer Taylor spotted Allen as he drove into the alley. Officer Taylor drew his service revolver and ordered Allen to stop and remain still. Allen initially complied with Officer Taylor's order but then began walking away. Officer Taylor followed Allen and reached out to place his hand on him. Allen quickly turned around and grabbed Officer Taylor's gun. A struggle ensued, during which Allen obtained partial control of Officer Taylor's gun. Allen attempted to make Officer Taylor shoot himself by applying pressure to Taylor's finger which was still on the trigger. Ultimately, Officer Taylor regained control of the gun and shot Allen in the face. Allen was rushed to the hospital where a CT scan revealed an air pocket in the front part of his brain and cerebral spinal fluid leaking from his nose and ear. Allen remained in the hospital approximately two months for treatment for injuries to his face, left eye, and brain. As a result of the gunshot wound, Allen lost his left eye and suffered permanent brain damage. UPDATE: A Pittsburg County judge Wednesday stayed the execution of convicted killer Garry Thomas Allen and ordered authorities to investigate whether Allen is insane. District Judge Thomas M. Bartheld of McAlester ordered the stay just one day before Allen, 49, was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection for the 1986 shooting death of Lawanna Gail Titsworth outside an Oklahoma City day care center. A recent medical evaluation of Allen at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary revealed evidence that Allen has become insane while confined on death row, according to a letter written Tuesday by OSP warden Mike Mullin to Pittsburg county District Attorney Chris Wilson. The U.S. Supreme Court and state law forbid the execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent. State guidelines call for evidence of Allen's insanity to be provided to a 12-member jury, which will decide whether he is incompetent to be executed. The state Pardon and Parole Board recently recommended that Gov. Brad Henry commute Allen's death sentence. Henry said no action will be taken on the recommendation until the jury delivers its findings.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 19, 2005    Texas Nick Moraida, 34  Richard Cartwright executed 

Richard Cartwright was sentenced to death in the August, 1996 robbery and murder of 34-year-old Nick Moraida in Corpus Christi, Texas. Cartwright and two co-defendants lured Moraida to a remote gulfside park and robbed him of his wallet, watch and money. Co-defendant Kelly Overstreet then cut Moraida's throat and Cartwright shot him in the back with a 38 caliber pistol. Moraida's body washed up on the beach in Corpus Christi the following day. The robbery netted the three accomplices between $60 and $200 - money they all use to buy drugs.  Kelly Overstreet was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Dennis Hagood received a twenty year sentence. UPDATE: Convicted killer Richard Cartwright's execution is now less than a week away. Cartwright was given the death penalty for the 1996 murder of Nick Moraida, whose family said they're ready for Cartwight's execution. She says every time they get a letter about another appeal or another hearing, it's like reliving the murder all over again. The family is ready to have some closure, and they believe next Thursday will help. Above all, Angela Moraida remembers her brother Nick as a good father. "He would make all the holidays special...decorate it together," Moraida said. She said it wasn't just the loss of Nick that hurt, but the way he was taken. "They robbed him, and one guy slit his throat, and the other guy shot him, and left him just to die there in the bay." Richard Cartwright has taken his case to the Internet, claiming police charged the wrong man with murder. Private investigator Tina Church, who has taken up Cartwright's case said, "Kelly Overstreet is the person who slit this young man's throat, and he places the gun in Rich Cartwright's hands. Rich has never...Rich has always maintained his innocence." Cartwright's mother in Chicago shares the same beliefs, but at the same time is preparing for his execution. "You know, we're prepared for the worst outcome because you just never know with the state of Texas, because there's so much that they will not here at this point in the case," said Irene Rekitzke. For Angela, this is a chance to finally move on, feeling certain the right man will be punished. On a more positive note, Angela Moraida said the loss of her brother truly has brought the rest of the family together. They'll all watch one of Nick's children graduate in a few weeks. Two other men were convicted in the robbery and murder. Dennis Haygood was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Kelly Overstreet was sentenced to 50 years. UPDATE: Nine years have passed since Angela Moraida learned of her brother's death at the hands of two men who slashed his throat and shot him in the back. Though the years have passed, the agony she felt then still comes to life with each letter telling her that the killers have made a new plea for mercy. She hopes that agony - or some part of it - ends this week. Richard Cartwright, 31, faces execution Thursday for the August 1996 killing of 37-year-old Nick Moraida. Cartwright and two other men lured Moraida to a remote landing on the bayfront, where they robbed him and used his money to buy drugs. Cartwright delivered the fatal shot after another man slashed Moraida's throat. Cartwright was the only one of the three to be sentenced to death. Cartwright has made a final appeal for executive clemency, a move opposed by the Nueces County district attorney's office and Moraida's family. "Richard Cartwright was sentenced to death . . . and that decision should stand," First Assistant District Attorney Mark Skurka wrote in a letter to the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles. In her protest, Angela Moraida wrote: "Cartwright went through the legal system and the judicial system decided to uphold the decision that he is guilty and should be put to death." Cartwright declined a request to be interviewed by the Caller-Times, but his mother, Irene Rekitzke, remains hopeful that her son's appeal will be granted. She says he is innocent and has been the victim of a justice system run amok. "He's still fighting very hard to get people to understand that he did not commit this murder," she said. "He just believes the truth will come out." The main contention for Cartwright and his family is that two co-defendants testified against him after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. Rekitzke said there was no physical evidence tying her son to the crime, and now he is going to die on the word of two men who were trying to save their own lives. "There's just so much that fell through the cracks," she said.  Cartwright, Kelly Overstreet and Dannis Hagood met on Aug. 1, 1996, and hatched a plan to seduce and rob a gay man on the bayfront. They thought such a victim would be an easy target because he would not report the crime for fear of being outed. "We were going to stand out there and act like a male prostitute," Hagood told jurors during Cartwright's trial. The men approached Moraida at the downtown barge dock, near what is now the American Bank Center. Hagood said they found Moraida driving north along Shoreline Boulevard.  "He winked at me," Hagood said. "We asked him if he wanted to go to a park and drink." Moraida gave Hagood a ride in his black sports car as Cartwright and Overstreet followed them to Ocean Way, a cul-de-sac off Ocean Drive, where they parked their cars and descended the bluff to a landing hidden from the road above. Cartwright borrowed Overstreet's .38-caliber revolver and held Moraida at gunpoint while the three of them took Moraida's valuables - about $180 in cash, a watch and car keys. Hagood dashed back up the bluff to unlock Moraida's car, while Overstreet stabbed Moraida and slashed his throat. When Overstreet failed to kill Moraida, Cartwright shot him twice. Dr. Lloyd White, the Nueces County medical examiner at the time, said the bullets fired by Cartwright killed Moraida after striking a lung, his heart and a large blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. A fisherman and his grandson found Moraida's body the next day. Overstreet and Hagood, pleaded guilty in return for their testimony against Cartwright. Overstreet, now 27, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on a murder charge for stabbing Moraida. Hagood, now 28, was sentenced to 20 years for robbery. Cartwright also was offered a plea deal that included 40 years in prison, but he turned it down. His defense attorney, Mark Woerner, said Cartwright rejected the deal because he "would prefer death over 40 years" in prison. Several letters in the case raised questions about Cartwright's guilt. In one, Overstreet seemingly admitted to the slaying, saying that he was high and lost control of himself. "I sometimes do things I don't really mean to do," he wrote from the Nueces County Jail to a woman in Corpus Christi. "I usually do these things when I am high. I have always hated faggets (sic) but I didn't mean to kill the little 'queen.' I was pretty high that night and I guess my rage overcame my ass. I guess that's what being a 'skinhead' is all about."  Woerner introduced the letter as proof of Cartwright's innocence, but prosecutors introduced other letters passed between Cartwright and Hagood in the Nueces County Jail. Those letters indicated that the two men were attempting to conspire on their testimony. Cartwright wrote to Hagood: "My statement was vague and doesn't put the gun in your hand. Your statement don't hurt me because you saw nothing." Woerner now believes those letters sealed Cartwright's fate. Woerner said he told Cartwright at the time not to talk to the other defendants in the case, but he said Cartwright evidently took that advice to mean that writing them was all right. Woerner said he learned of the letters during jury selection. "I was just flabbergasted," he said. "The statement indicated to the jury pretty strongly that he was involved in the murder. Without the letters, I think he probably would not have been convicted." Skurka, who tried the case, said he was concerned that the only eyewitness was a participant in the crime and his testimony might have been discounted by the jury because he had reached an agreement with prosecutors. Cartwright's letters helped abate that concern. "I didn't have a priest walking by seeing them kill him," Skurka said. "Even if you didn't believe the co-defendant, the guy in his own handwriting says he was there." Skurka said it was clear from the beginning that Cartwright was the leader of the pack and had taken the gun from the younger men because he didn't think they would be able to pull the trigger if it came to that. He also said prosecutors did not pursue a hate crimes charge because they already were trying the highest charge possible, capital murder. Dr. Burk Strong, foreman of the jury that convicted and sentenced Cartwright to death, said he has no doubt of Cartwright's guilt. He said the entire case, not just the testimony of the co-defendants or the letters, pointed to guilt. "The evidence was quite strong," he said. "I think it was a just sentence. It was a stone-cold murder." Should Cartwright's execution proceed on Thursday, Moraida's family will not be there to see it. Cartwright's mother along with several friends and family members do plan to attend. Angela Moraida said her family is busy focusing on happier things, like the graduation of Nick's daughter from high school. "I have no desire to see anybody die, especially him," she said. "This guy is just horrible. He's like the devil himself." UPDATE: In a brief final statement, Richard Cartwright thanked his friends and family for their support. ``I want to apologize to the victim's family for any pain and suffering I caused them,'' he said. Then he urged his fellow death row inmates to ``just keep your heads up and stay strong.''

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 25, 2005    Texas John Wesley Carty, 72
Deloris June Smith, 52
William Manuel Porter, 72
Leroy Porter, 70 
Gary Sterling stayed 

Gary Lynn Sterling was convicted in the May 1988 robbery and murder of 72-year-old John Wesley Carty. John Carty and 52-year-old Deloris June Smith were abducted from John's home and driven to a isolated area of Navarro County and killed. John suffered blows to the head with a bumper jack. A car, a television, a shotgun and a lantern were stolen from his house. Sterling confessed to the murders and led authorities to John and Deloris's bodies. Later, Sterling also admitted his involvement in the May 17, 1988 murders of William Manuel Porter, 72 and Leroy Porter, 70, in Hill County. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 25, 2005    Indiana Ruby Hutslar, 82  Gregory Johnson executed 

The Indiana state Supreme Court has scheduled a May execution date for a man condemned for the 1985 beating death of an 82-year-old Anderson woman. 40-year-old Gregory Scott Johnson is scheduled to be put to death by chemical injection May 25th for killing Ruby Hutslar during a burglary. She suffered 20 fractured ribs and her larynx and spine also were fractured.

 

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