July 2006 Executions
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Seven killers were executed in July 2006.  They had murdered at least 11 people.
Seven
killers were given a stay in July 2006.  They have murdered at least 13 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 5, 2006   Arkansas Jane Martha Daniels, 62 Don Davis stayed 

Don Davis was sentenced to death for the 1990 execution-style killing of Jane Daniels of Rogers, Arkansas. Committing a series of burglaries, Don William Davis broke into the Rogers home of Jane Martha Daniel, 62, on Oct. 12, 1990. Using a .44 caliber Magnum revolver he had stolen earlier, he shot her once in the head in a storeroom in her house. Richard Daniel found his wife dead in the basement when he returned home that night from a business trip. Davis was arrested in New Mexico after his roommates went to the police with their suspicions about his involvement. Most of the stolen objects were recovered and traced back to Davis.  A jury convicted Davis of capital murder March 6, 1992. Davis had a previous execution date set in November 1999. UPDATE: Federal judge Susan Seber Wright granted Davis a stay to pursue claims that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to intervene in the case of convicted killer Don Davis, whose execution had been put on hold by a lower court judge. Attorneys for the state had asked the court to void the lower court's stay so Davis' execution could go forward. The court denied the request, said spokesman Ed Turner, and did not comment on the decision. Davis, 43, was condemned to die for the 1990 execution-style slaying of Jane Daniels. A federal judge in Little Rock last week granted Davis' request for a stay. Davis claims that Arkansas, which uses lethal injection, executes prisoners in a cruel and unusual manner in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Davis joined a lawsuit filed by another death row inmate, Terrick Nooner. In court filings, the state has said that Davis joined the suit late - two months before his scheduled execution - and that he was simply trying to avoid the execution. Under a death warrant signed by Gov. Mike Huckabee, Arkansas prison officials faced a midnight deadline to execute Davis. His execution had been set for 9 p.m. Wednesday.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 11, 2006   Texas Jennifer Ertman, 14
Elizabeth Pena, 16

Patrica Lourdes Lopez
Derrick O'Brien executed 

Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School. On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together and then died together. They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend's apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth's neighborhood. The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own. The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls' pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside. Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as 'Gonzalez' called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls' bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything. The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. 'Gonzalez' to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth. Jennifer Ertman's dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local television reporter when the call came over a cameraman's police scanner that two bodies had been found. Randy commandeered the news van and went to the scene that was now bustling with police activity. Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back, "Does she have blond hair?Does she have blond hair?!!?" Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter's brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth. The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston's brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders. The break in solving the case came from, of course, the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned 'Gonzalez', he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife's urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters' bodies to rest. 'Gonzalez' said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls. While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe's 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then "jumping in" Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member. Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness.  The gang continued drinking and 'shooting the breeze' for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul. The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having 'virgin blood' on him. The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to "get some". He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile. When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch". Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O'Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O'Brien's home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn't die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun". Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again. The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth's two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer's ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls' bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead." The juvenile, Venancio Medellin, pled guilty to his charge and his sentence was reviewed when he turned 18, at which time he was sent to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison. The five killers were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death. See US 5th Circuit Court summary of this case. Six months before Jenny and Elizabeth were murdered, three of their killers murdered another young woman, Patricia Lourdes Lopez. Patricia, a 27-year-old mother of two young children, had run out of gas and was stranded on the side of the freeway on her way home from a football game. She walked to a nearby convenience store, and called someone to come and help her. As she was leaving, she was stopped by Joe Medellin, Peter Cantu and Sean O'Brien, who asked her to buy them some beer since they were underage. They said they would buy her some gas and get her on the road again if she did. She bought the beer and went with the group, unwittingly heading to her death. Instead of taking her back to her truck, the trio took her to a back parking lot in Melrose Park in Houston, where they took turns raping and sexually assaulting her before stabbing her to death. A drunken O'Brien had told Patricia that if she did not cause him to have an erection through oral sex, he would kill her. Her body, nude from the waist down, was found by police on January 4, 1993 with her blood-soaked clothing strewn about her. The medical examiner stated that Patricia was probably on her knees in front of her murderer when she was stabbed, based on the angle of the wounds. She had been stabbed and slashed in the abdomen, throat and back and strangled. This murder was unsolved until after O'Brien was arrested for the murder of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena. Joe Cantu, brother of ringleader Peter Cantu, whose call to police had led to the arrests in the Ertman/Pena murders, had again contacted authorities and told them that he recalled O'Brien bragging about another murder that occurred before the girls were killed. Houston police researched older cases and found a possible match with the unsolved murder of Patricia Lourdes Lopez. When they tested evidence, O'Brien's fingerprints were matched to some found on a beer can under Patricia's body at the murder scene. When confronted with the evidence, O'Brien admitted his involvement in Patricia's murder. A belt of the same type that was used to kill Jennifer Ertman was found underneath Patricia's neck. Medellin's DNA matched semen samples taken from Patricia's body. Her family was present at his trial for the June murders. "I think they should file some more charges," Cathy Lopez, Patricia Lopez's mother-in-law, said. "I think whatever they did, no matter how much there is, they should stand trial for every single thing." Patricia's estranged husband suffered through a long period of being considered a suspect in his wife's murder.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 11, 2006   Mississippi Velma Odell Noblin
Katie Belle Moore, 45
Bobby Wilcher stayed

In 1994, a resentencing trial was held that resulted in Bobby Glenn Wilcher's second death sentence for the 1982 murder and robbery of Katie Belle Moore, 45. The case arises out of the gruesome double murder and robbery of Velma Odell Noblin and Katie Belle Moore. The evidence reflects that Bobby Glenn Wilcher, age nineteen, met his two female victims at a Scott County bar on the night of March 5, 1982. When the bar closed at midnight, Wilcher persuaded the women to take him home. Under this pretext, he directed the women down a deserted service road in the Bienville National Forest--where he robbed and brutally murdered the women by stabbing them a total of forty-six times. Thereafter, Wilcher was stopped for speeding by the Forest Police Department between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. He was alone and was driving victim Noblin's car. The victims' purses and one victim's brassiere were on the back seat. Wilcher was covered in blood; he had a bloody knife in his back pocket that had flesh on the blade. Wilcher explained his condition by telling the policeman that he had cut his thumb while skinning a possum. The officer followed Wilcher to the hospital, where Wilcher's wound was cleaned and covered with a band-aid. Another officer was called to the hospital to observe Wilcher, the knife, the car, the purses, and the brassiere. The officers left the hospital on an emergency call. Wilcher went home. The next morning, he abandoned Noblin's car at an apartment complex. Wilcher also threw the victims' purses and some of the victims' clothing in a ditch. He was arrested later that day. The victims' jewelry was subsequently found in Wilcher's bedroom. UPDATE: Just 27 minutes after the appointed hour that Bobby Glen Wilcher was scheduled to receive a lethal injection, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the execution for further review. News of the order was received at 6:27 p.m. Tuesday, 53 minutes after the Supreme Court placed the execution on hold as Wilcher waited in his holding cell next to the execution chamber. Corrections officials said Wilcher would be placed on suicide watch and returned him to his previous residence on Death Row, where he lived for 24 years since the murders of his two victims in 1982. A brief two-paragraph order faxed to the Mississippi State Penitentiary did not specify the court's reason for granting the stay. U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who initially received Wilcher's final appeal, referred Wilcher's case to the entire court, which voted 6-3 to grant the stay. Justices Scalia, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts voted against the stay. The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., reported moments later that the Supreme Court would review the case later in the fall, the earliest being in October when oral arguments could be heard. If the U.S. Supreme Court allows the execution to proceed, the Mississippi Supreme Court will set a new execution date.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 12, 2006   Ohio Kimbirli Jo Barton, 43 Rocky Barton executed

On 1/16/03, Rocky Lee Barton murdered his fourth wife, 43-year-old Kimbirli Jo Barton, at their home in Waynesville. Kimbirli and Barton had gotten in a domestic dispute that morning and she was returning home to gather her belongings in order to move out, when Barton ambushed her. Barton's uncle and Kim's 17-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting. Barton called and threatened his wife several times the day of the killing before persuading her to come to the house to get her belongings. He had directed another relative to lock the gate at the driveway's end after she arrived. Barton admitted that he had hidden a shotgun in the garage. When Kimbirli arrived, he appeared and shot Kimbirli once in the shoulder and then again in the back. "He had the gun in his hand and he was just running toward me and my mom," said Jamie Reising, victim's daughter. "She just put her hands up and was running towards me screaming 'Oh Jamie, oh Jamie'," she said. After being shot, Kim crawled back towards the girl. The second time she was shot, Jamie was holding her mother in her arms. "I was trying to hold her up and then she fell to the ground...'please stay with me, please stay with me'," Jamie recounted. Barton then shot himself with an upward blast to the chin, leaving just a scar below his ear. Barton has a history of arrests for burglary, assault, drug and DUI charges and violence against women. He beat one of his ex-wives with a shotgun, stabbed her three times, cut her throat and left her for dead, but she survived. Kimbirli had known Barton for many years, but the couple had just married two years earlier while Barton was in prison for the attempted murder of his ex-wife in Kentucky. At trial, Barton admitted to the murder and told the jury that he deserved to die. At his trial, Barton urged the jury to recommend death rather than life in prison. "My attorneys advised me to beg for my life," Barton said then. "I can't do that. "I strongly believe in the death penalty. And for the ruthless, cold-blooded act that I committed, if I was sitting over there, I'd hold out for the death penalty." He has requested to drop his appeals and be executed. "This court sentenced me to death. All I'm asking is to go ahead and carry out that sentence," Rocky Barton said during a court hearing. "I committed a senseless crime," he said. "I took the life of a beautiful person. There's not a day goes by I don't think about what I done." Barton said he faked it when he told prison doctors last year that he was seeing things and hearing voices. Barton said he lied to prison doctors because he didn't like the prospect of being moved farther from his family when he heard last year that death row inmates might be moved to Youngstown. The concocted tale was supposed to increase his chances of being transferred to a psychological unit at a prison in Warren County to keep his family visiting. The transfer didn't come through. But, prison doctors diagnosed him with severe depression and a schizoid affective disorder, and put him on medication. Two of Kimbirli's daughters and her sister testified before the state Parole Board that Barton is manipulating the court system. "We hope they just kill him and let it be done,'' Julie Vickers, 29, of Trenton, the oldest of three daughters. "As long as he's alive, we are constantly reminded of him. We have no closure," Vickers said. Warren County prosecutor Rachel Hutzel called it a "planned and calculated crime," and said Barton had a long history of extreme violence and intent to harm each of his wives. "This is a dangerous, dangerous man who has an extreme, deep-seated hatred of women," Hutzel said. "He planned for a long time that he was going to kill her." The judge ruled that Rocky Barton is competent to refuse further appeals that would delay his execution. "I just hope they go ahead and let him do what he wants to do," said Larry Barton, an uncle from Clearcreek Township who witnessed the shooting and can't forget it. "I know both sides of the family are taking it tough. There are no hard feelings in the family because we're all together on this," he said. "Tiffany Reising, Kim Barton's daughter, said, "We're really saddened by the whole ordeal. Nothing they do to him is going to bring her back, but I think justice will be served. She was our mother. She's not just a victim, or that woman in Waynesville. She was our mother and we miss her dearly. She never missed a soccer game, and she would scream her heart out when I had the ball,'' recalled Reising, now 24. "It's funny. When I play today, I can still hear her (shout) 'Go T-bird, go!'" Kimbirli's older sister, Sheri Hathaway, of Lebanon, said the murder has had a lasting impact on the youngest daughter, Jamie, now 21. "She hasn't been able to get that scene out of her head," Tiffany Reising said. "It has truly ruined our lives.''

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 14, 2006   South Carolina unnamed boy, 8
James Porter, 10
Keenan O'Mailia, 6 
William Downs executed

William Downs Jr. confessed to the 1991 slaying of James Porter in 1999. The 10-year-old was sodomized and thrown into the Savannah River.  He was missing for 2 months before his body was found in May 1991 in a canal. Authorities originally believed the boy had accidentally drowned. Downs, also known as Junior Downs, was also charged with murder in the strangulation and sexual assault of Keenan O'Mailia, 6, a kindergartner whose body was found April 18, 1999 in a wooded area outside of a Park. The boy's body was found covered with debris. He had disappeared the night before, while riding his bicycle near his home. Downs was first extradited from Georgia to South Carolina in April 1999, when South Carolina officers charged him with Keenan's murder. When Richmond County sheriff's investigators traveled across the Savannah to ask Downs about James' disappearance in March 1991, he confessed he sexually assaulted and killed the child.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 19, 2006    Texas Michael LaHood, Jr.  Mauriceo Brown executed 

On the evening of 14 August 1996, Kenneth Foster, Mauriceo Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen embarked on a series of armed robberies around San Antonio, Texas, beginning with Brown’s announcing he had a gun and asking whether the others wanted to rob people: “I have the strap, do you all want to jack?”. During the guilt/innocence phase of Foster’s trial, Steen testified that he rode in the front seat, looking for potential victims, while Foster drove. Steen and Brown both testified to robbing two different groups at gunpoint; the four men divided the stolen property equally. The criminal conduct continued into the early hours of the next day (15 August), when Foster began following a vehicle driven by a young woman named Mary. At trial, Mary testified that she and Michael LaHood, Jr. were returning in separate cars to his house; she arrived and noticed Foster’s vehicle turn around at the end of the street and stop in front of Michael LaHood’s house; Mary approached Foster’s car to ascertain who was following her; she briefly spoke to the men in the vehicle, then walked away towards Michael LaHood, who had reached the house and exited his vehicle; she saw a man with a scarf across his face and a gun in his hand exit Foster’s vehicle and approach her and Michael LaHood; Michael LaHood told her to go inside the house, and she ran towards the door, but tripped and fell; she looked back and saw the gunman pointing a gun at Michael LaHood’s face, demanding his keys, money, and wallet; Michael LaHood responded that Mary had the keys; and Mary heard a loud bang. Michael LaHood died from a gunshot wound to the head. The barrel of the gun was no more than six inches from Michael LaHood’s head when he was shot; it was likely closer than that. Brown had similarly stuck his gun in the faces of some of the nights’ earlier robbery victims. Later that day, all four men were arrested; each gave a written statement to police identifying Brown as the shooter. In admitting being the shooter, Brown denied intent to kill. At trial, he testified that he approached Michael LaHood to obtain Mary’s telephone number and only drew his weapon when he saw what appeared to be a gun on Michael LaHood and heard what sounded to him like the click of an automatic weapon. In May 1997, Foster and Brown were tried jointly for capital murder committed in the course of a robbery and they both were sentenced to death. UPDATE: An apologetic San Antonio gang member was executed Wednesday for the shooting death of a man during a robbery attempt in the driveway of his victim's home. With two brothers of his victim watching nearby through a window, Mauriceo Brown told them he was "sorry you lost a brother, a loved one and friend." Brown looked toward another window where his mother and two siblings were among the witnesses. He told them he loved them. "Keep your heads up and know that I will be in a better place," he said. He then looked again toward his victim's relatives and friends and apologized a second time that you "lost a loved one this way. God bless you all." Brown, 31, confessed to the 1996 slaying of Michael LaHood Jr., 25, when he and three companions, high on marijuana and alcohol, were arrested about an hour after the shooting. One companion, Kenneth Foster, also received the death penalty but doesn't have an execution date. The two others, including one who testified against Brown, received long prison terms. The early morning attack capped a spree by the street gang members. At least four other people were robbed that night. "They were out pretty much on a rampage, stoned to the bone, victimizing people," said Jack McGinnis, one of the prosecutors in the cases against Brown and Foster. Brown had been recanting his confession, saying his accomplices threatened his family if he didn't take the fall for the slaying. "That claim is preposterous," said Mike Ramos, who was a Bexar County assistant district attorney in 1997 and also prosecuted Brown and Foster. "He has absolutely no credibility. Any court could see he has zip." In court before and during his trial, Brown also changed the circumstances of his confession, describing LaHood's death as self-defense and also an accident. He also blamed one of the other men in the car with him for the shooting. "Even if his new story is true, that doesn't say he's not guilty of capital murder and deserving of the death penalty," McGinnis said. "His new story doesn't get him out of the woods. It gets him to where Foster is right now. They're both equally dangerous." LaHood's two brothers witnessed Brown's execution. "It is painful for us," said Norma LaHood, their mother. "Our wounds will never heal. You don't heal from the loss of a child."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 20, 2006    Texas Audra Ann Reeves, 5  Robert Anderson  executed 

On June 9, 1992, neighbors observed a man pushing a grocery cart with a styrofoam ice chest inside. Minutes later, one of the neighbors, Lewis Martin, found the ice chest in a dumpster and discovered that the ice chest contained the body of a five-year-old girl. Martin called the police, and an officer was dispatched to look for the suspect. The initial description of the suspect was that of a white male, about thirty years of age, wearing a black shirt, dark jeans, tennis shoes, and an orange baseball cap. Within ten minutes after receiving the dispatch, the officer approached Anderson, who matched the description except for the shirt. The officer asked Anderson for identification and a residential address, both of which Anderson provided. Anderson asked why he had been stopped, and the officer replied that he was investigating an incident that occurred a few blocks away. The officer then asked Anderson where he was going and where he had been. Anderson answered that he had pushed a grocery cart back to the Homeland store on nearby Western street. At this point, the police officer asked Anderson not to say anything else and further asked Anderson if he would be willing to go back to the scene of that incident so that the witnesses could take a look at him. Anderson agreed to go, but the officer testified that he would have detained him for that purpose had he refused. Anderson sat in the back seat of the patrol car and was driven to the witnesses' location. The witnesses identified Anderson as the individual seen pushing the grocery cart containing a styrofoam ice chest. At that point, Anderson was handcuffed, advised of his constitutional rights, and transported to the Special Crimes Unit. Upon arrival at the Special Crimes Unit, physical samples were taken from Anderson with his consent. He was also interrogated and gave both oral and written confessions, detailing how he kidnapped, sexually assaulted, choked and gagged, stabbed, beat and drowned the girl. He said he kidnapped Audra from in front of his home as she returned from playing with other children at a park. He took her inside and tried to rape her. He  then beat and stabbed her. Anderson told investigators that after the brutal assault, he stuffed the girl into the cooler, but she tried to crawl out. He persuaded her to take a bath to clean the blood off her battered body. He then drowned her. "It's scary sometimes, you know. If I was to be found innocent, it would happen again," Anderson wrote. In 2004, Anderson told a federal judge that he wanted to abandon further appeals and be executed.  Anderson said he didn't want to "hurt anybody any longer" and that he believed God forgave him for abducting, sexually assaulting and killing Audra Ann Reeves. In his recommendation in 2004 to deny Anderson's initial federal appeal, US Magistrate Clinton Averitte cited the "particularly egregious" nature of the crime. "His persistence in carrying out this assault and murder over a period of at least 45 minutes, leaving no major part of her body that did not sustain wounds, and undaunted by a plea for mercy, would support a finding of sufficient aggravation, in and of itself, to support imposition of the death penalty," Averitte wrote. The appeal was denied. UPDATE: Robert Anderson was executed for the murder of Audra Reeves. In a final statement, Anderson asked his victim's grandmother, who witnessed the execution, to forgive him. "To Audrey's grandmother, I am sorry for the pain I have caused you for the last 15 years and your family," he said. "I have regretted this for a long time. I am sorry." Anderson also apologized to his family.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 20, 2006   Virginia Lisa Yvonne Alexander Crider  Brandon Hedrick executed

On May 10, 1997, William K. Dodson, Trevor Jones, and Brandon Hedrick were together at Jones' apartment in Lynchburg. Hedrick and Jones decided to leave the apartment and drive to an area in downtown Lynchburg where they could find some prostitutes. Dodson remained at the apartment. Jones drove his truck to an area near Fifth and Madison Streets in Lynchburg where Hedrick and Jones met two prostitutes. Hedrick and Jones gave the prostitutes money, asked them to purchase a small quantity of crack cocaine, and returned to Jones' apartment with the women. Hedrick and Jones smoked the crack cocaine that they purchased, and the women smoked their own cocaine. Jones, Hedrick, and Dodson had sexual relations with the prostitutes. Hedrick and Jones, along with the women, returned to the area near Fifth and Madison Streets. Hedrick and Jones gave the women $50 and asked them to purchase some more crack cocaine. The women took the money but never returned. Hedrick and Jones then rode around in Jones' truck for about 45 minutes. They met two different prostitutes and returned with them to Jones' apartment. Hedrick and Jones drank bourbon, smoked marijuana, and had sexual relations with the women. Dodson, who was still at Jones' apartment, was asleep when these women were present. Around 11:00 p.m., Hedrick and Jones, along with the prostitutes, left the apartment and returned to the area near Fifth and Madison Streets. After the women left Jones' truck, Jones observed Crider "walking down the road." Jones, who had met Crider previously, told Hedrick that Crider's boyfriend was a seller of crack cocaine. Hedrick and Jones decided to "pick up" Crider, have sexual relations with her, and rob her because they thought she may have crack cocaine in her possession. Jones approached Crider and "asked if she wanted to have sex." Crider got into Jones' truck, and Hedrick, Jones, and Crider went to Jones' apartment. Once they arrived at the apartment, Jones paid Crider $50 and had sexual intercourse with her. Hedrick did not have sexual relations with Crider at the apartment. After Jones had sexual intercourse with Crider, he left his bedroom while Crider was "getting dressed." Jones went to a living room and spoke with Hedrick. Hedrick and Jones devised a plan in which Hedrick would pretend to rob both Jones and Crider. Jones did not want Crider to know that he was involved in the robbery because Crider knew where Jones lived, and Jones was afraid that Crider's boyfriend would retaliate against him. Jones told Hedrick to leave the apartment, go to Jones' truck, and get Jones' shotgun. While Hedrick was retrieving the shotgun, Jones told Crider that he had lost his keys, and she began to help him look for the supposedly lost keys. Jones went into the kitchen, got some duct tape, returned to the bedroom, and placed the tape there. Jones also got a set of handcuffs. When Hedrick entered the house with the shotgun, Jones and Crider were in the kitchen. Hedrick "racked" the pump on the shotgun to "get [Crider's] attention," and Hedrick "motioned for" Crider and Jones and told them to go into Jones' bedroom. Hedrick ordered Jones to empty Crider's pockets, and Jones took the $50 bill that he had paid Crider, cigarettes, and a cigarette lighter. Hedrick told Jones to place the handcuffs on Crider. Jones did so. Jones also covered Crider's eyes and mouth with duct tape, and he placed a shirt over her face. Hedrick took Crider out of the apartment and placed her in Jones' truck. Dodson, who had been asleep in the living room, woke up when he heard the sound caused when Hedrick "racked" the pump on the shotgun. In response to Dodson's question, "what . . . is going on?", Jones responded that, "this is one of the girls that ripped us off; we're just going to scare her." Hedrick, Jones, and Crider left the apartment about 1:00 a.m. Jones sat in the driver's seat. Hedrick and Crider were in the backseat of the truck. Hedrick removed the shirt and duct tape from Crider. After riding around in the truck for some time, Hedrick decided that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with Crider. Hedrick told Crider that he "wanted some ass." Hedrick warned her, "don't try anything; I got a twenty- five," referring to a .25-caliber pistol. Jones stopped the truck and got out. Hedrick raped Crider. After Hedrick raped Crider, he got out of the truck and spoke with Jones. Hedrick told Jones that Hedrick did not want to return Crider to the downtown area of Lynchburg because he was "afraid something might happen." Hedrick, because he had just raped Crider, was afraid that "she might come back on him with her boyfriend." Hedrick and Jones had a brief conversation, "about killing" Crider, and decided to do so. Hedrick and Jones got back into the truck. Crider was crying. She was "upset" and "scared." Jones drove the truck as he and Hedrick tried to find a good location to kill Crider. As Hedrick and Jones continued to look for a place to kill Crider, Jones drove the truck into Appomattox County. Crider, who "kind of figured" that Hedrick and Jones intended to harm her, pled, "don't kill me; I got two kids." She was "sniffling and crying." Crider, continuing to plead for her life, asked: "Is there anything I can do to make ya'll not do this?" Hedrick responded, "if you suck my dick, I'll think about it." Crider then performed oral sex on Hedrick. Jones continued to drive the truck, and he proceeded on a road in Appomattox County and drove onto a "pull-off" space on a "back road" near the James River. Hedrick got out of the passenger side of the truck with the shotgun, and Jones took Crider out of the truck. Jones removed the handcuffs from Crider because he was afraid that his fingerprints were on them. Hedrick and Jones put gloves on their hands to avoid leaving their fingerprints at the crime scene. The time was now "daybreak." Crider, who was crying, continued to beg Hedrick and Jones not to kill her, saying, "I got two kids." After Jones had removed the handcuffs from Crider, he bound her hands together with duct tape. He also placed duct tape around her mouth and around her eyes. Hedrick was standing, watching with the shotgun in his hands. Hedrick, Jones, and Crider walked toward the river bank. Jones led Crider because she was "blindfolded." Jones turned Crider and faced her back to the river. Jones turned to Hedrick, who was armed with the shotgun, and said, "do what you got to do." Jones began to walk to the truck. When Jones was within 10 feet from the truck, he heard a gunshot. Hedrick returned to the truck with the shotgun and told Jones that Crider "went into the river." Jones took the shell from the shotgun so that it would not be present at the scene. Hedrick and Jones returned to Lynchburg. They disposed of the shotgun shell, duct tape, and other evidence en route to Lynchburg. They arrived at Jones' apartment at about 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, and went to sleep. Hedrick and Jones subsequently fled Virginia, and they were arrested in Lincoln, Nebraska. The shotgun that Hedrick used to kill Crider was found in Jones' truck, which he had driven to Nebraska. Two friends who had gone to the James River to fish found Crider's body on the evening of May 11, 1997. Crider's body had been placed in such a manner that the body appeared to be "sitting up with her feet crossed," and the victim's hands were bound with duct tape. Dr. David Oxley, a deputy chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, qualified as an expert witness on the subject of forensic pathology. He performed an autopsy on Crider's body. Dr. Oxley testified that an examination of the body revealed that Crider had been shot in the face with a shotgun. Several of her teeth were missing and other teeth were fractured. The top portion of her head had been bound with silver duct tape, which extended to the bridge of her nose. Duct tape was also found around her mouth. The shotgun wound caused massive injury to Crider's brain, and shot pellets and wadding were found in the interior of her cranial cavity. The location of the shotgun wad, deep in the victim's cranial cavity, indicated that she was killed within a "range of fire of less than ten feet." The entrance wound from the shotgun blast measured an inch and a half in greatest diameter. An x-ray of Crider's skull showed the presence of shotgun pellets in her skull and brain. A blood sample was extracted from Crider's body, and a toxicology screen on that sample revealed an absence of any "drugs of abuse or prescription drugs" in her blood system. Robert L. Strubel, a forensic scientist, qualified as an expert witness on the subject of blood stain pattern analysis. He testified that based upon his analysis of certain photographs, after Crider had been shot in the face her body was moved and placed in the position where Sherry Mays found the body. Elizabeth Bush, a forensic scientist, qualified as an expert witness on the subject of DNA and DNA testing. She conducted DNA tests which revealed that the possibility of a person other than Hedrick providing a sperm sample found in the victim's vagina was one out of 260,000 in the Caucasian population, one out of 1,000,000 in the Hispanic population, and one out of 8,000,000 in the Black population. Hedrick is Caucasian. Richard Roberts qualified as an expert witness on the subject of firearms. He examined the shotgun that Hedrick used to kill Crider, shotgun shells, and waddings. He also examined the wadding that was removed from Crider's brain. Based upon his tests and examination, which included a pattern spray of 12-gauge shotgun shells, he concluded that the muzzle of the shotgun was three to seven feet from Crider's mouth when she was killed. During the penalty phase of the capital murder proceedings, the Commonwealth adduced the following evidence. Hedrick had been convicted of three robberies in three different jurisdictions. Hedrick was armed with a "Rambo type" knife when he participated in robberies in Campbell County and Bedford County. Hedrick was armed with a shotgun when he robbed a motel clerk in Farmville. During that robbery, Hedrick, wearing a hood over his head and a bandanna around his face, pointed the shotgun at the clerk, who was five or six feet away from him, and demanded money. In September 1997, after Hedrick had been arrested for the murder of Crider, and while being transported from Appomattox to the Campbell County Jail, he tried to take a deputy sheriff's revolver. Hedrick later had to be restrained while being transported. In July 1997, Hedrick attempted to escape from incarceration by climbing a fence. Hedrick told a State police officer that he shot Crider and that "he was an avid hunter, he liked to hunt . . . and how good a shot he was, how he killed deer in the past using shotguns and rifles at long range."  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 2006   Pennsylvania Dustin Spotz
Penny Gunnet
June Ohlinger
Betty Amstutz 
Mark Spotz stayed

Gov. Ed Rendell signed a death warrant for convicted spree killer Mark Spotz on Tuesday even though a federal judge had already issued a stay in the case. U.S. District Judge James M. Munley had issued an anticipatory stay on May 10 and appointed public defenders to represent Spotz in a habeus corpus proceeding. Michael Smith, a spokesman for Rendell, said the governor was required to sign the warrant even though the stay had already been granted. Spotz, 35, had exhausted all his state appeals in the killings of his brother and three women during a two-day spree that spanned three counties. Spotz shot his brother Dustin to death during a fight at their mother's Clearfield County home on Jan. 31, 1995, then fled, killing three women within 48 hours in Schuylkill, York and Cumberland counties before surrendering to police in a Middlesex Twp. motel room. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in his brother's slaying and sentenced to death for murdering the three women. The last of his victims was retired Lutheran deaconess Betty Amstutz of Harrisburg, whom he killed in Cumberland County. He also killed Penny Gunnet of North Codorus Twp., York County and June Ohlinger of Schuylkill County.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 2006    Texas Mary Amie, 53  Allen Bridgers stayed 

On May 25, 1997, the body of Mary Amie was discovered by her niece at her home in Tyler, Texas. That same day Allen Bridgers flew from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Three days later on May 28, Fort Lauderdale Police Department received information from Crime Stoppers regarding a possible suspect wanted in Texas for murder. Bridgers was arrested and confessed to murdering Mary and taking her purse, jewelry and car. Bridgers had been living with Mary at her trailer home for several weeks after being introduced by the woman's nephew, a truck driver who brought Bridgers to Texas from Norfolk, Va., where Bridgers' family lived. Acting on a tip from an informant, police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., arrested Bridgers three days after Amie's body was found by a niece. He then confessed to the shooting, saying he knew Amie was carrying in her purse several thousand dollars, including money she had borrowed from a bank to build a fence around her place. He said after she climbed into bed, he pulled out a .38-caliber revolver she kept beside her bed and pulled the trigger. The first shot misfired. A second wounded her in the back. He told police he fired two more times into her throat because he "didn't want nobody to hear her hollering." Then he grabbed her purse and the keys to her Lincoln Town Car and drove off. He used some of the money for crack, for two women he took to a motel room, then drove to Dallas, where he left the car parked near a bus station, pawned jewelry that was in the purse and bought a plane ticket to Florida. UPDATE: A man convicted of fatally shooting a Tyler woman at her home and stealing jewelry, money and her car has won a temporary reprieve from execution after his lawyers argued he is mentally handicapped. Allen Bridgers, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday ordered his case back to Smith County for the trial court to consider whether he is mentally handicapped. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that mentally handicapped people cannot be executed. "I'm guilty of the crime but I wasn't in the right frame of mind," Bridgers said. "I took a life but I shouldn't go pay for it with my life. It's like them playing God. I just want people to understand I'm not a bad person. I'm no serial killer. I just made a mistake." Bridgers' case will go before District Judge Cynthia Kent, who presided over his trial.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 26, 2006   Pennsylvania John Mendez
Ricardo Lopez 
Manuel Sepulveda stayed

On November 26, 2001, Manuel Sepulveda was at the home of Daniel Heleva and Robyn Otto in Polk, Pennsylvania. Sepulveda lived with the couple and their two children. Around 6:30 pm, John Mendez and Ricardo Lopez arrived at the house to recover two guns that Mendez claimed belonged to him. Sepulveda retrieved the guns from an upstairs bedroom and gave them to Mendez. The men then left. Later that night, Heleva returned to the house with Richard Boyko and discovered that the guns were missing. After Sepulveda explained to Heleva that Mendez had taken the guns, Heleva instructed Boyko to call Mendez and have him come back to the house. At this time, another man, Jimmy Frey, was in the living room watching television. Mendez and Lopez returned to the house, but Heleva did not permit Lopez to enter. Mendez, however, came inside, where Heleva immediately accused him of stealing his guns, and the two men began fighting in the kitchen. When this fight was resolved, Sepulveda and Lopez joined Heleva and Mendez in the kitchen, where the four men then sat around the table talking. Boyko left the house. While the men were in the kitchen, another argument erupted. This time, Sepulveda grabbed a .12 gauge shotgun and shot Mendez in the stomach. He then turned the gun towards Lopez and shot him in the side. After Lopez collapsed on the floor, Sepulveda placed  the barrel of the shotgun on Lopez's back and again fired the weapon, killing him. Sepulveda then chased Mendez up the stairs to the second floor of the house where he shot Mendez a second time. Although wounded, Mendez escaped from Sepulveda and Heleva and fled to a neighbor's house with Sepulveda and Heleva in pursuit. Mendez knocked on the neighbor's front door but before anyone answered, Sepulveda and Heleva grabbed Mendez and dragged him across the lawn back to their house. Frey, who had been watching the incident, retrieved the shotgun that Sepulveda had dropped on the lawn and hid it inside a sofa in the house. Once the men had dragged Mendez back inside, Sepulveda inflicted several blows with a hatchet, killing him. Meanwhile, police received a 911 call from the neighbors reporting a domestic violence dispute at the home. In response, state troopers arrived and spoke to a neighbor who told them that she had heard a loud noise and a high-pitched voice screaming "help me" outside of her door and that when she looked outside, she had seen someone being dragged across her front lawn into Heleva's residence. The troopers noticed a smear of blood on the neighbor's front door and that a wooden porch railing had been broken. On the way to Heleva's house, they noticed a bloody jacket and blood on Heleva's door. They knocked and announced their presence and Sepulveda answered and denied knowledge of any incident, but then stated that he had been assaulted by two men. The troopers placed Sepulveda in the back of the patrol car and handcuffed him. They still believed there was a domestic violence incident and asked Sepulveda where the woman was. Sepulveda responded, "There is no 'she.' They are in the basement. I shot them." After additional troopers arrived on the scene, they entered the house and found the bodies of Lopez and Mendez in the basement of the residence. Lopez was found beneath slabs of insulation and dry wall material, with his pants pulled to his ankles and Mendez was found beneath a pile of laundry, stripped naked with his thumb in his mouth and a rubber bungee cord wrapped tightly around his neck. The troopers took Sepulveda, Heleva, Otto and the children to the police station, and also brought in Boyko and Frey. Sepulveda admitted that he shot both Mendez and Lopez twice, but claimed that he only started shooting after he believed Lopez was about to go out to his car to retrieve a gun. Sepulveda also admitted that after Mendez ran outside following the shooting, he and Heleva dragged Mendez back inside at which time Sepulveda grabbed the hatchet and struck Mendez in the head. In a second statement, Sepulveda stated that he had only shot Lopez once and that Heleva had shot him the second time. He said that after he shot Lopez and Mendez in the kitchen, he chased Mendez up the stairs and while struggling with him, he heard shots fired from the kitchen. He admitted shooting Mendez a second time but said it was Heleva who eventually struck him in the head with the hatchet, killing him.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 26, 2006    Texas Frank Cobb, 71
Bertha Cobb, 61 
Newton Anderson stayed 

On the night of March 4, 1999 in New Harmony, near Tyler, Texas, Newton Anderson burglarized a private residence. Anderson was caught in the act when the owners came home. Anderson shot Frank Cobb in the upper torso with the victim's 410 shotgun, killing him. Anderson then tied up Bertha Cobb, bound her with duct tape, raped, strangled and suffocated her, then shot her one time with the shotgun. The house was set on fire to conceal the crime. Anderson took approximately $100 cash, clothes, and electronic equipment and fled the scene in their car. Firefighters searched for hours before the couple's charred remains were discovered. Kevin Cobb is the son of Frank and Bertha Cobb, 71 and 61. "My mother was a hard, hard-working, strong-willed Christian who could  cook really good," Kevin Cobb said. "They were both devoted Christians and their deaths have been devastating to their church, their friends and their family. They are missed very much."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 26, 2006    Tennessee John Bussell, 81  Steven Rollins stayed 

Steven James Rollins killed John Bussell, 81 during a robbery. For thirty years prior to his murder, Bussell owned and operated the Fisherman’s Paradise bait shop and barbeque restaurant in the Colonial Heights area of Sullivan County near Kingsport, Tennessee. Bussell, a widower, lived alone in a camper next door to the bait shop. Although Bussell suffered from arthritis, bad eyesight, and breathing difficulties, he had remained active and independent for a person of his age. Local residents were aware that Bussell frequently accommodated customers by opening his business late at night to sell bait or fishing and camping supplies. Furthermore, local residents were aware that Bussell carried large amounts of cash on his person, at least $1,000 to $1,500 at any given time. Bussell often displayed this “wad” of cash as he provided change to customers. Friends and relatives cautioned Bussell against opening the bait shop late at night while he was alone and against making change from his “wad” of cash, but Bussell continued to operate his business as he had for the preceding thirty years. Bussell owned and carried a handgun for his protection, and in July 2001, approximately one-month before his murder, Bussell purchased a two-shot Derringer handgun and carried it with him at all times in his right front pants pocket. A friend of ten years arrived at the bait shop around 8:30 a.m. on the morning of August 22, 2001, intending to have breakfast with Bussell, as was their custom. He became worried when he noticed that the restaurant lights were off and the door still locked. He walked next door and found the door to Bussell’s camper partly open and the morning newspaper still in the box. He knocked on the camper’s window and called for Bussell, and when Bussell failed to respond, he went to a nearby fire hall for help, fearing that Bussell had suffered a heart attack. Eventually a Sullivan County deputy sheriff arrived at the bait shop. After looking through a window and seeing Bussell’s head lying on the floor of the bait shop between two display racks, the officer removed the chained “closed”sign and kicked open the locked door. The officer found Bussell’s body lying in a pool of blood on the floor behind the counter of the bait shop. Bussell was clothed in pajamas and house slippers; his clothing was blood-soaked; and he was not breathing. The cash register was open and empty; the change drawer, also empty, was lying on the floor beside the body. Several minnows and cups used to dip out the minnows were on floor near the minnow tank. Bussell’s Derringer was missing. A trail of bloody footprints led from inside the bait shop to Bussell’s camper, which had been ransacked. Blood smears were found inside the camper on a variety of Bussell’s personal belongings. A wad of $1,150 in cash was found lying on the floor of the camper covered by other items. An autopsy disclosed that Bussell had sustained twenty-seven and possibly twenty-eight knife wounds and had bled to death from these wounds. While most of these injuries would not have been immediately fatal, a deep six-inch cutting wound that began near Bussell’s left ear and extended across his neck had sliced through his left common carotid artery and jugular vein and would have rendered Bussell immediately unconscious and led to his death within four minutes. Another incised wound to Bussell’s neck had cut into his right jugular vein and would have been fatal without prompt medical care. A third stab wound to Bussell’s shoulder had penetrated Bussell’s lung and heart and would also have been fatal without immediate medical care. In addition, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy noticed multiple painful but non-life threatening stab wounds to Bussell’s collarbone, chest, abdomen, back, and hands. He testified that the all of these wounds would have been painful, some more than others, but none of these wounds was itself life threatening. He further explained that the presence of blood on Bussell’s feet and clothing as well as defensive wounds to his hands indicated that he had been injured but had remained alive and had struggled with and fled from his attacker. He opined that the nature of the wounds suggested that Bussell initially did a “fairly good job” fending off his attacker, considering his age and health. Shortly after Bussell’s murder, a chief investigative officer for the Scott County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department reported to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department a conversation that he had with Steven Rollins about one month before the murder. In particular, Rollins told the officer that two of his acquaintances had mentioned robbing “an old guy...that owned some kind of a bait shop...and taking his money.” At that time, the officer believed that Rollins was referring to a crime that had already been committed. After determining that no such crime had occurred, the officer forgot about Rollins’s statement until after learning of Bussell’s murder. On August 25, 2001, Rollins and his girlfriend, Angela Salyers, were interviewed by Sullivan County officers. Rollins agreed to accompany the officers to the Sheriff’s Department for questioning. Rollins expounded upon the information he previously had given to the Virginia police, telling them that about one month earlier his boss, for whom Rollins worked as a roofer, and another man who was Rollins's coworker, mentioned going to the trailer of an old man who had a large sum of money and “knocking on the trailer and knocking him in the head. He said he had maybe $40,000.00 or something.” Rollins further admitted that, about three weeks earlier, he had accompanied the men to a drive-in restaurant across the road from Bussell’s trailer while they watched the trailer, but Rollins denied ever meeting Bussell or participating in or knowing anything about Bussell’s murder. The police continued to investigate the murder and received information which, on September 26, 2001, resulted in the underwater investigation team of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department retrieving Bussell’s Derringer from the Holston River. In the meantime, Rollins and Angela Salyers left Tennessee and traveled to a rural area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a two-day drive from Sullivan County. On October 9, 2001, Sullivan County officers arrested Rollins and Salyers in Michigan. Rollins gave a statement in Michigan admitting that he had killed Bussell. After arriving back in Tennessee, Rollins gave further details, stating that he and Gregory “Kojack” Fleenor were discussing ways to get money to buy cocaine when Rollins suggested robbing Bussell. Rollins purchased four pairs of gloves at a convenience store. Rollins, Fleenor, Salyers, and Fleenor’s girlfriend, Ashley Cooper, then drove to Bussell’s bait shop around midnight. Rollins rang the doorbell at the shop. When no one answered, Rollins knocked on the door of the camper. Bussell answered, and Rollins told Bussell that he needed to buy some bait. Rollins followed Bussell into the bait shop, and, while Bussell was bent over dipping minnows from the tank, Rollins grabbed Bussell’s shoulder. When Bussell reached for his gun, Rollins pulled a lock-blade knife from his pocket and began stabbing Bussell. Rollins could not remember how many times he had stabbed Bussell. After the stabbing, Rollins made sure Bussell was dead by shaking him, and then Rollins washed his hands and his knife in the minnow tank before joining Fleenor in searching through Bussell’s camper for money, drugs, and anything else of value. Fleenor found $1,000 to $1,200 in Bussell’s wallet. The group then drove to Knoxville, where Fleenor purchased cocaine, which the group consumed. Rollins threw away Bussell’s wallet and the clothing that Rollins had been wearing when he killed Bussell. Rollins also threw Bussell’s gun into the Holston River. According to Rollins, Fleenor suggested that he kill Bussell and that they “leave no witnesses.” Rollins insisted that he never intended to kill Bussell and that he had been “strung out” on cocaine the entire evening. He concluded his last statement with the admission: “I know I should be punished.” Contradicting both of these statements, Rollins testified at trial that Fleenor had killed Bussell and warned Rollins to keep his mouth shut, and threatened to kill Salyers, Cooper, and members of Rollins’s family if Rollins did not keep quiet. Rollins testified that he only had “a little, bitty Old Timer” knife in his pocket while Fleenor had a lock-blade knife. Rollins said that he could not read or write, that he provided the October 9th statement because officers promised that he could ride from Michigan to Tennessee in the same car with his girlfriend, Salyers, and that he had accepted blame for the killing because he was afraid of Fleenor and of Fleenor’s father, both of whom were incarcerated with Rollins in the Kingsport jail. Rollins explained that he had initialed the erroneous and false written statements because he could neither read nor write with any proficiency. Rollins acknowledged that he had thirteen prior convictions for aggravated burglary from August 1995 to November 1996 and one conviction of felony theft. A videotape of Rollins’s booking in Michigan showing Rollins making this statement was played for the jury. Finally, Angela Salyers, Rollins’s girlfriend, testified that Rollins could read and write, that Rollins had owned a lock-blade knife with a four-inch blade at the time of Bussell’s murder, and that Rollins had attacked and killed Bussell. Salyers admitted that she had been tried for first degree murder in connection with Bussell’s murder and had been convicted of facilitation of robbery.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 27, 2006   Virginia Brent Henry Parker, 41  Michael Lenz executed

Michael Lenz and fellow inmate Jeffrey Remington were convicted of murdering Brent Henry Parker, 41, a fellow inmate at the Augusta Correctional Center on January 16, 2000. Lenz was serving 29 years for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, four counts of statutory burglary and one count of weapon possession when the murder occurred. Remington was incarcerated on unspecified charges. The homicide occurred during a meeting between inmates who claimed to be followers of an ancient Norse religion called Asatru, were attending a meeting of their "Ironwood Kindred." They were able to hold this meeting in a room with the door closed, as VADOC permits for religious ceremonies. However, an unarmed guard soon saw the two inmates stabbing Parker, who was laying on the floor in a fetal position. By the time backup had arrived to intervene between the five inmates present, Parker was dead, having been stabbed 68 times. Both Lenz and Remington were sentenced to death after separate trials. Remington committed suicide while incarcerated in 2004.  UPDATE: Lenz, who participated in the stabbing death of Brent H. Parker on Jan. 16, 2000, during a pagan religious ceremony, was put to death by injection at Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. Lenz gave no last statement. Brent Parker's mother, Bonnie Parker, 71, of Paw Paw, W.Va., told The Associated Press she was ambivalent about the execution, although she said her granddaughter Heather -- Parker's daughter -- believed Lenz deserved to die. Parker said she misses her son, whom she described as a good person led astray by alcohol. "It's been so long since he's been gone -- it really hurts me even to talk about him," Parker said. "He was very good to me."  Remington said in a 2001 interview with The Times-Dispatch that he killed Parker because he was "disrespecting the gods" and because of a history of friction between them. Lenz said Parker blasphemed by "saying that he was teaching Asatru but what he was teaching was not Asatru." The appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court said Parker had also threatened Lenz and Remington. Remington also was sentenced to death, but he committed suicide on death row in 2004.

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