December 2008 Executions
Home Up Info & Resources Death Penalty Issues Death Penalty Links Articles of Interest News & Polls Death Penalty Paper Books & Tapes Legislation Table of Contents Search the Site Discussion

 

Back
Up
Next

One killer was executed in December 2008.  He had murdered at least 1 person.
Six
killers were given a stay in December 2008.  They have murdered at least 12 people.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 2, 2008 Georgia Berna Samara Judge Ellington, 31
Cameron Ellington, 2
Christian Ellington, 2
Clayton Ellington stayed 

Berna JudgeCameron and Christian Ellington with BernaClayton Jerrod Ellington was sentenced to death for the hammer-attack murders of his wife and identical twin sons. Neighbors said Ellington, 30, screamed at officers that his family had been taken from him shortly after he called police to his home near Lithonia High School late on the night of May 17, 2006. Inside, police found the bodies of his 31-year-old wife, Berna Ellington, and their 2-year-old sons, Cameron and Christian. The twins were found dead in their beds and Berna was found face down on the floor. Ellington claimed to police detectives that his wife killed the twins with the hammer. Ellington claimed he took the hammer from her and beat her with it in a fight that ended with them falling down stairs. About the brutality of the murders, District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming said, “All three were murdered by blows to the head with the claw end of a hammer. ” She added “One of the twins, Christian, was lying face up with his eyes still open.” The family had celebrated the 2nd birthday of the twins on April 10. At Ellington's sentencing hearing, Earl Bradford, a cousin of Berna Ellington, attacked Clayton Ellington after jumping over a railing in the courtroom. After Ellington received three death sentences, Berna's father, Bernard L. Judge, a minister in Charleston, S.C., said his daughter, a government water quality scientist, was a “rising star in this community.” He thanked the jury for rejecting Ellington’s allegations against her. “We feel so relieved that my daughter can go on now and rest in peace, and my family now has closure,” he said. There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.


Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 3, 2008 Washington Denise Stenson
Frank Hoerner 
Darold Stenson stayed 

On March 25, 1993, at 4:00 a.m. Darold Ray Stenson called 911 and told the operator “this is D.J. Stenson at Dakota Farms . . . . Frank has just shot my wife, and himself, I think.” Dakota Farms was located in Clallam County, Washington and was the residence of Stenson, his wife, Denise Stenson, and their three young children. Stenson also operated a business, raising and selling exotic birds, from Dakota Farms. Within several minutes of Stenson’s 911 call, the police arrived at Dakota Farms. Stenson met them outside and led them to a guest bedroom on the ground floor, where Frank Hoerner lay dead on the floor with a bullet wound to the head. The body was face-down. A revolver lay between Hoerner’s left hand and his head. Stenson next led the police officers to an upstairs bedroom where Denise Stenson lay in the bed, with a severe bullet wound to the head. She was airlifted to a hospital, but died the next day. Stenson told the officers the following story: Frank Hoerner had arrived at his house a little after 3:30 a.m. in order to sign forms to insure ostriches that Stenson was going to buy for Hoerner on a trip to Texas. When Hoerner arrived, the two men went to Stenson’s office in a separate building behind the house, where Hoerner signed the insurance forms. Hoerner then left the office building to use the bathroom in the house. When Hoerner failed to return, Stenson went to look for him and found him dead in the guest bedroom, where Stenson had shown police the body. Stenson heard moaning from upstairs. When he went upstairs, he found his wife shot in the head. Stenson had not heard any gun shots. Stenson then called the 911 operator. When the officers asked Stenson if he knew why someone would want to kill Frank Hoerner, Stenson responded that there had been sexual problems between Hoerner and his wife, Denise Hoerner, and that Frank Hoerner had complained about their marriage. The subsequent investigation showed that Frank Hoerner had not committed suicide in the bedroom, but had been hit in the head and dragged into the house from the gravel driveway, through the laundry room, and into the guest bedroom where Stenson claimed to have found the body. Hoerner had been shot in the head in the guest bedroom at close range. The revolver had been placed near Hoerner’s hand after his hand had come to rest on the floor. Splatters of Hoerner’s blood were found in the driveway. Blood splatters were also found on Stenson’s pants that matched Hoerner’s blood protein profile. Gravel from the driveway was found in the laundry room and inside Hoerner’s pants. A bloody Stenson fingerprint was found on the freezer in the laundry room. According to Michael Grubb, a forensic expert, the pattern of some of the splatters indicated that they could not have been deposited on Stenson’s pants after Frank had been moved, i.e., the splatters on Stenson’s pants strongly suggested that Stenson had moved Frank’s body after he was shot. The police also found ammunition in Stenson’s garage that fit the murder weapon. They found gunshot residue inside a pocket of Stenson’s pants. Stenson had once been a martial arts instructor, and had a collection of nun-chucka sticks on the wall of his office. Dr. Brady, who performed the autopsy on Frank Hoerner, testified at the trial that the wounds on Hoerner’s head were consistent with such a weapon. The investigation also revealed that Stenson was in financial difficulty. Frank Hoerner had given Stenson a $50,000 deposit for the purchase of exotic birds, but at the time of the murders Stenson’s financial records showed that he had used less than $2,000 of Hoerner’s deposit to purchase birds. In addition, the bank account for Dakota Farms contained only about $3,400, and an audit indicated that Stenson had used investors’ money for personal purchases. He had attempted to borrow a large amount of money shortly before the murders. Finally, Stenson had taken out a $400,000 life insurance policy on his wife. Stenson was arrested on April 8, 1993, about two weeks after the murders. His jury trial took place in Clallam County, Washington, in the summer of 1994. The prosecution’s theory was that Stenson had killed his wife in order to collect the $400,000 in life insurance money, and had killed Frank Hoerner in order to free himself from the $48,000 he owed Hoerner and to be able to blame Hoerner for the murder of Denise Stenson. The prosecutor argued to the jury that the physical evidence taken at the crime scene made Stenson’s initial statements to the police implausible. Frank Hoerner’s wife, Denise Hoerner, testified that Stenson solicited Hoerner for investments in Stenson’s exotic bird business. Since 1992, Hoerner had given Stenson more than $50,000 for the purchase of birds. About a month before the murders, Hoerner became worried about the money he had entrusted to Stenson and so told Stenson either to return his investment or to deliver the promised birds. In response, Stenson told the Hoerners that he needed to keep their money in his account in order to maintain the confidence of Asian investors from whom he was attempting to obtain a loan. Denise Hoerner further testified that her husband’s anxiety continued when Stenson traveled to Texas to obtain birds for the Hoerners, but returned empty-handed. She testified that Stenson assured Hoerner that he would return to Texas on March 25, 1993, to collect the birds. On the evening of March 24, Stenson told Hoerner to come to his house to sign documents necessary to insure the birds during their trip from Texas. Denise Hoerner offered to come sign the papers, but Stenson said that only Hoerner could sign them. Hoerner agreed to come by Stenson’s house during the early morning hours of March 25, on his way to the ferry that he took to work in Seattle. During the course of the trial, Stenson and his attorney, Fred Leatherman, developed conflicting views as to whether Leatherman should attempt to convince the jury that Denise Hoerner was the murderer. Leatherman did not want to attempt this defense because the forensic expert had concluded that Stenson could not have gotten the blood splatters on his pants after discovering Frank Hoerner’s body. In the context of the other evidence, this conclusion strongly suggested that Stenson had moved Hoerner’s body after Hoerner had been killed, which in turn strongly suggested that Stenson killed Hoerner. Leatherman believed that attempting to vilify Denise Hoerner would only turn the jury against Stenson and increase the likelihood that it would impose the death penalty during the sentencing phase. As a result of the conflict regarding trial strategy, Stenson moved the court to appoint new counsel or, in the alternative, to allow him to represent himself. Because Stenson’s request came three weeks into the voir dire process and near the end of jury selection, the trial court determined that Stenson’s request to represent himself was untimely. It also found that Stenson’s request was equivocal, based on the record as a whole. The court based this determination on the fact that Stenson indicated that he “really [did] not want to proceed without counsel[,]” and made his request to represent himself only as an alternative, should the trial court refuse to appoint new counsel. The trial court did not appoint independent counsel to represent Stenson at the hearing on the motion for new counsel. On August 11, 1994, the jury convicted Stenson of two counts of aggravated first-degree murder. With regard to the murder of Denise Stenson, the jury found the aggravating circumstances that more than one person was murdered and that the murders were part of a common scheme or plan. With regard to the murder of Frank Hoerner, the jury found the aggravating circumstances that the murder was committed to conceal a crime or to protect or conceal the defendant’s identity, and that more than one person was murdered as part of a common scheme or plan. During the penalty phase, Leatherman stated that both he and Stenson “accepted” the jury’s determination of guilt. Leatherman also requested that the court hear testimony from Stenson’s family members regarding the impact Stenson’s execution would have on Stenson’s three young children and his father, who suffered from a heart condition. The court permitted extensive testimony from Stenson’s family and friends regarding their relationships with him, but excluded testimony from Stenson’s family members regarding how his execution would impact them, because the court found that this testimony would do no more than present their opinions as to what Stenson’s sentence should be. The jury sentenced Stenson to death. UPDATE: Federal and state judges have indefinitely delayed the execution of Darold Stenson for the 1993 shooting deaths of his wife and a business partner in Clallam County. The separate stays were issued by judges in federal court in Yakima and Clallam County Superior Court. U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko issued his order Tuesday in a conference call with lawyers. State Attorney General Rob McKenna said his office was asking an appeals court to vacate Suko's order and allow the execution to proceed as scheduled on Dec. 3. Stenson's lawyers this week asked Suko for a temporary restraining order blocking the execution on the grounds that the state last month revised its procedure for administering lethal injections, without previously announcing any changes or going through a rule-making process. Furthermore, they argued that their client has Type 2 diabetes with veins that are difficult to access, making it more likely that he would suffer pain that constitutes unlawful cruel and unusual punishment. Without the judge's intervention, they argued, Stenson "will die at the hands of an unreviewed, untested, never-before implemented lethal injection policy which is likely to cause him severe pain." McKenna argued that Stenson is "using every means at his disposal to avoid execution." "Every other avenue of appeal has been exhausted and even though the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on the question of lethal injection's constitutionality, he's making this argument anyway in a last ditch effort to avoid execution," McKenna said. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/35080159.html 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 5, 2008 South Carolina  Missi McLauchlin, 25 Joseph Gardner executed 

 Missi McLauchlinJoseph Martin Luther Gardner was convicted of the Dec. 30, 1992, killing of Melissa Ann McLauchlin, who was raped, tortured, shot five times in the face and left to die by the side of a road in Summerville. At the time of the shooting, police said Gardner and some other men made a New Year's resolution to rape and kill a white woman as retribution for 400 years of oppression of black people. Gardner, who was later arrested in Philadelphia, was the trigger man. Gardner was sentenced to death in December 1995. Missi McLauchlin, 25, was a native of Wixom, Michigan, living with her fiancÚ’s family in North Charleston, South Carolina. On the night she died, she had an argument with her fiancÚ at a nightclub. She stormed out of the club and began to walk home. Police spotted her, obviously drunk, and gave her a ride home, but she apparently set out on foot for another club. Three black men, Matthew Carl Mack, Matthew Williams, and Joseph Gardner pulled up alongside in a car and started a conversation. The men had spent most of the day drinking and watching pornographic videos of black men having sex with white women. At one point Mack had exploded in anger at his white girlfriend, saying he wanted to “stab her,” but that “it ain’t got to be her, any white” would do. Williams said he wanted to have sex with a white woman. Two hours later, the group watched a television news account of the biggest stories of 1992. When the videotaped beating and arrest of Rodney King came on the air, the third man, Gardner, spoke of “four hundred years of oppression,” and made a “New Year’s resolution” to “kill a white bitch.” It was in this state of mind that they returned with Missi to the trailer where the men lived. The men soon began raping her. They put out the word within the trailer park that they had “captured a white woman,” and three other black men arrived and raped her. Two black women, girlfriends of some of the rapists, were present in another room of the trailer, but did nothing to stop the attack. After they had enough, the men decided to get rid of the evidence—including Missi McLauchlin. They soaked her in bleach and hydrogen peroxide, and scrubbed her under the shower with a nylon brush, in the hope of ridding her skin of sperm or other evidence that could be linked to them. They forced her to scrub out her vagina with the same chemicals. They also talked openly of killing her. The men handcuffed her, blindfolded her, and put a heavy coat over her head. They then took her to a car, and forced her down onto the floorboards in the back. After they had driven for some time, she managed to get out of the handcuffs and began to struggle. Joseph Gardner, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, reached over the seat, held back her head, and shot her twice in the face. The driver pulled over to the shoulder 14 miles outside Charleston, where Gardner shot her three more times in the face and once in the arm. The men dumped her on the side of the road, drove back to Charleston, and went nightclubbing. A passing driver found Missi McLauchlin, miraculously alive, and he left to get help but she died before the ambulance arrived. Missi had a blood alcohol level of .25 at the time of her autopsy. There were no traces of drugs. It took police four days to identify the body, and a day later they located the trailer where Missi McLauchlin was raped. By January 9, 1993, police had arrested seven people including two of the ringleaders—Matthew Mack and Matthew Williams—and two women, Edna Williams and Indira Simmons, who were charged with being accessories to murder and sexual assault. Three of the rapists were sailors stationed at nearby Charleston Naval Base. The only suspect not in custody was the triggerman, Joseph Gardner, who had carried out his New Year’s resolution. Gardner, who was AWOL from the Navy, eluded police for nearly two years, and might never have been caught had the FBI not put him on the “ten most wanted” list. He was living in Philadelphia when someone saw his picture in the post office and tipped off the police. He was arrested on October 20, 1994. Police suspected a racial motivation from the start, since they found a “crudely-written racial diatribe” in the trailer, complete with racial epithets about white oppression, which claimed blacks were “justified in seeking revenge.” Walter Bailey, the chief prosecutor in the case, said "It was the absolutely most brutal and senseless crime, one of the worst things I have ever seen. Totally unprovoked." Before his sentencing, Gardner told the jury, "Do what you think is best." Before that, Joe Gardner apologized to Missi's parents. "I hope it gives you some sense of closure so you can put this behind you and move on. Yesterday when I was listening to you talk, it really hurt me. I really hurt you." The seven women and five men that found him guilty of kidnapping and murdering Missi thought about it for two hours and decided that the 25-year-old Detroit native should die in the electric chair or by lethal injection. "When it came down, the picture in my mind was my daughter's grave and roses starting to bloom and that she was finally resting in peace," said Missi's mother, Patricia McLauchlin. Gardner was the only person sentenced to death in the case. Mack received a life sentence plus 30 years, which will allow parole eligibility after 30 years. Williams pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years. However, 1st Circuit Solicitor Walter Bailey agreed that if Williams would help prosecute Gardner, Williams could be sentenced again under circumstances that would cut parole eligibility to 20 years. Another man involved, Roger Williams, served half of a five-year sentence for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and being present during the commission of a felony and not reporting it. He was scheduled to be released in December 1995. Danny Dwayne McCall was sentenced to nine years for the same charges as Roger Williams, suspended upon service of six years followed by five years of probation. He was denied parole in June 1995. Edna Jenkins, who was dating Gardner at the time, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of murder, illegally buying two handguns within 30 days and lying on a firearms application. She served 554 days in jail. Indira Simmons, who was living in the trailer with Matthew Williams, pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony. She served 572 days, partly in jail and the remainder under house arrest.


Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 8, 2008 Louisiana Ronald Williams
Ha Vu
Cuong Vu  
Antoinette Frank stayed 

Ronald A. Williams, IIOn March 4, 1995, Antoinette Frank, then an officer with the New Orleans Police Department, and Rogers Lacaze were arrested and charged with three counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Ronald Williams, Ha Vu, and Cuong Vu. The murders occurred in the early morning hours at the Kim Anh Restaurant in New Orleans East. The Vu family owned the restaurant, and Ronald Williams was an off-duty police officer performing security detail that evening at the restaurant. Frank had occasionally worked at the restaurant as a security guard and was familiar with the Vu family and Ronald Williams who had been . She and Lacaze visited the restaurant several times on the night of the murders. As the restaurant was closing early that morning, Chau Vu, sister of two of the victims, went into the kitchen to count money. She reentered the dining room of the restaurant to pay Ronald Williams, when she noticed Frank approaching the restaurant yet again. Sensing something was wrong, Chau Vu ran back to the kitchen and hid the money in the microwave before returning to the front of the restaurant. Using a stolen key, Frank entered the restaurant and began to walk quickly to the back of the building, pushing Chau, one of Chau’s brothers, Quoc, and a restaurant employee along with her into the doorway of the kitchen. Shots rang out, and Frank turned towards the front of the restaurant. Chau grabbed Quoc and went to find a place to hide. The siblings and another employee hid in a cooler in the kitchen, concerned because they did not know the whereabouts of Chau’s and Quoc’s sister and brother, Ha and Cuong. They turned off the light in the cooler as they entered. LaCaze had been behind Officer Williams and had shot him in the back of the neck, severing his spinal cord, instantly paralyzing him. Ronald was shot again in the head and in the middle of his back as he lay on the floor. From inside the cooler, Chau and Quoc could partially see the front of the restaurant. Chau initially could see Frank, who appeared to be looking for something. Frank moved out of Chau’s line of vision, and then the three hiding heard additional gunshots. Quoc next observed Frank searching in the area where the Vus usually kept their money. He then saw her walk over to the area where he later found the bodies of his brother and sister, and he heard more gunshots. After Frank and Rogers Lacaze left the premises, Quoc emerged from the cooler and called 911 to report the murders. After police officers arrived on the scene, Frank returned to the restaurant as well. She approached Chau, asking her what happened. Chau found another officer and reported what she had witnessed. After Chau was interviewed in more detail, Antoinette Frank and Rogers Lacaze were arrested and charged with first degree murder. Frank and Lacaze were indicted by an Orleans Parish Grand Jury on April 28, 1995. Their trials were severed, and Rogers Lacaze was tried first on July 17-21, 1995, found guilty as charged, and sentenced to death. Frank’s trial began on September 5, 1995, and on September 12, 1995, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts and recommended a sentence of death as to all counts. Frank was formally sentenced to death on October 20, 1995. From Wikipedia: Ronald A. Williams II was raised in New Orleans and graduated from Brother Martin High School in 1987. After high school, Williams married Mary A. Buras, his high school sweetheart, whose family lived across the street from the Williams' home. Ronnie and Mary's first son, Christopher, was born 1989. Williams joined the New Orleans Police Department in 1992 and began working night detail at the Kim Anh restaurant to supplement his policeman's salary. The restaurant was located on Bullard Boulevard in New Orleans East not far from the Williams' and Buras' family homes. Ronnie and Mary had a second son, Patrick on February 1995, a week prior to the murders. Officer Williams was interred in Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery on March 7, 1995. His name was inscribed on the Memorial Wall at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. during National Police Week the following year. UPDATE: Louisiana's Supreme Court has blocked the scheduled Dec. 8 execution of a former police officer convicted of three murders. Antoinette Frank was convicted and sentenced to death months after she and an 18-year-old accomplice killed her fellow police officer and two others during the robbery of a New Orleans restaurant in 1995. Her first round of appeals lasted 12 years, amid court fights over whether she had received sufficient expert legal assistance during the penalty phase of her 1995 trial. In a new round of appeals, defense attorneys said they have had too little time to review voluminous documents arising from the case. The state Supreme Court ruling, made public Wednesday, effectively cancels a death warrant signed by a state judge in September. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 9, 2008 Tennessee Kadhem Al-Maily Devin Banks stayed 

The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the death and prison sentences imposed on Devin Banks of Memphis for killing a friend and severely wounding a second man who was left for dead in the driveway of his home during a robbery. Banks was convicted of premeditated murder, murder during the perpetration of a robbery, attempted first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to death for the 2002 killing of Kadhem Al-Maily and 50 years in prison for robbery and the attempted murder of Hussain Atilebawi. Both victims were immigrants from Iraq who lived and worked in Memphis. In a unanimous opinion, the court rejected issues raised by Banks in his direct appeal. By law, for a defendant to receive a sentence of death, jurors must find one or more statutorily defined aggravating circumstances. In the Banks case, they found two - that the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding arrest or prosecution and that the victim was killed while Banks played a substantial role in a first degree murder. The court wrote that the murder victim was “widely known and respected among the Iraqi community in Memphis because he had a reputation of helping persons in need.” He and Atilebawi had been acquainted in Iraq and became close friends in Memphis. “After they moved to Memphis, both Mr. Al-Maily and Mr. Atilebawi befriended Devin Banks. Banks was welcome in Mr. Atilebawi’s home and he occasionally spent the night at Mr. Atilebawi’s house.” The friendship between the Iraqi men and Banks soured because of an incident involving a former girlfriend of Banks and because Banks believed Atilebawi owed him money. Banks asked a friend, Michael Hilliard, to obtain a handgun and assist him in killing Atilebawi. Three nights later, the men went to Atilebawi’s house, armed with a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol provided by Hilliard. After being welcomed into Atilebawi’s home, Banks borrowed a cordless phone and went outside to call Hilliard who was waiting nearby. When Atilebawi also walked outside, Banks shot him four times, including three times after he was lying in the driveway. Banks re-entered the house and confronted Al-Maily, who turned over $300 in cash. He ordered Al-Maily to lie face down on a bedroom floor while he and Hilliard loaded items stolen from the house into cars belonging to Atilebawi. They returned to the house, where Banks shot Al-Maily in the head. The men then fled in the stolen cars. Atilebawi survived his wounds and was able to call for help. He told officers on the scene what had happened. Banks was arrested driving one of the stolen vehicles which contained stolen cash and merchandise. After being advised of his Miranda rights, Banks gave two confessions. In the second confession, he admitted shooting the victims and provided details of the crime. He was convicted in 2005 and during the penalty phase was sentenced to death. During a required proportionality review, Koch wrote that the Supreme Court concluded that the sentence of death was not arbitrarily imposed; the evidence supported the jury’s finding of statutory aggravating circumstances; the evidence supported the jury’s finding that the aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigating evidence; and the sentence was not excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 10, 2008 Military Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, 18
Kimberly Ann Ruggles, 23
Ronald Gray stayed 

Pvt. Ronald A. Gray was a cook in the U.S. Army. In 1988, he was convicted of murder, attempted murder and rape, all committed in North Carolina in 1986 and 1987. He was sentenced to death after a general court-martial in 1988. Gray was suspected in a crime spree of four murders and eight rapes between April of 1986 and January of 1987 while he served at Fort Bragg. He pled guilty in state court in North Carolina to 22 felonies, including two second-degree murders, two burglaries and five rapes, attempted rape, kidnapping, robbery and assault and was sentenced to life in prison. He was court-martialed by the military for the rape and murder of a female army private as well as a civilian female near Fort Bragg. He was also convicted of the rape, robbery and attempted murder of another fellow solider in her barracks at Fort Bragg. The victim was stabbed multiple times in the neck and side of her body but she survived her injuries. Gray was also convicted of three rapes. On December 15, 1986, Private Laura Lee Vickery-Clay was abducted, raped, sodomized and murdered by Gray. She disappeared from Fort Bragg and two witnesses saw her at a local store with Gray. Her car was found the next morning about a block from her home and appeared to have been driven through the woods. The driver's seat was set in a position for a taller driver than Laura. Three fingerprints which were later identified as Gray's were found on the hood of the car. On January 17, 1987, Laura's decomposing body was found in the woods by a soldier. She was partially nude and had been shot four times, in the neck, forehead, chest and back of her head. She had suffered blunt force trauma over much of her body. A .22-caliber pistol that Gray had stolen in November 1986 was found near her body. On January 3, 1987, Gray entered the barracks room of a 20-year-old female private by pretending he needed to use the bathroom. After gaining entry, Gray grabbed the woman and held a knife to her throat. He asked for her military field gear and used it to tie her hands behind her back. He removed her clothes and raped her, then stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and side of her body. Gray threatened to kill the woman if she screamed. The victim survived her injuries, which included a lacerated trachea and a collapsed lung. She identified Gray as her assailant when his photo appeared in the newspaper and on television after his arrest in a separate rape case. On January 6, 1987, three days after the attack on the soldier, Gray murdered Kimberly Ann Ruggles, a civilian taxi driver who had been dispatched to pick up a passenger named "Ron" at Gray's address. In the early morning, military police who were patrolling the base discovered Kimberly's empty taxi. It was found parked at the edge of the nearby woods. Kimberly's nude body was found nearby and she had been raped, sodomized, stabbed and beaten to death. She suffered seven stab wounds as well as bruises on  her eyebrow and nose and a laceration on her lip. She had been gagged with a cloth belt that matched a pair of black karate pants that other police officers had found in Gray's possession hours earlier when Gray was arrested for the rape of a woman near a trailer park close to Fort Bragg. Other evidence against Gray in this case included his fingerprints, which were found on an interior door  handle of Kimberley's taxicab as well as her fingerprints which were found on cash that Gray had. Gray's footprints were also identified at the scene of the crime. The military trial lasted from December 1987 until April 1988. Gray was convicted of 14 charges, including two murders, attempted premeditated murder, three rapes, two robberies and two counts of forcible sodomy. The court-martial panel's decision to sentence Gray to death was unanimous. Army spokesman Lt. Col. George Wright says Gray has two legal options remaining as of November 20, 2008: filing a petition with a federal appellate court to stay the execution, or requesting that the President reconsider approval of the execution. If neither of these options are successful, Gray will be executed on December 10, 2008. UPDATE: A federal judge has stayed Ronald Gray's execution, saying the U.S. soldier, who was convicted of rape and murder over twenty years ago, should have more time to pursue a federal appeal. an order issued November 26, U.S. District Judge Richard Rogers of Kansas said that a stay is necessary so Gray can pursue his federal appeal. Rogers ruled on a motion filed by Gray's attorneys, who asked for time to challenge the legality of his convictions and sentence. Government attorneys have asked Rogers to reconsider his decision, saying that Gray seeks a stay "apparently based on the premise that at some point he will identify a new legal issue or discover new evidence" upon which to appeal and that Gray "continues to delay unnecessarily." Gray has had ample time to appeal, the Justice Department attorneys said.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 19, 2008 Wyoming  Lisa Marie Kimmell, 18 Dale Eaton stayed

At about noon on April 2, 1988, a fisherman found the murdered corpse of eighteen-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell in the North Platte River southwest of Casper, near what is called Government Bridge. The crime was not solved until 2002, when a DNA match linked Eaton, who was incarcerated in Colorado on a felony conviction, to her murder. On April 17, 2003, Eaton was charged with Lisa's murder, and on June 3, 2003, the State gave notice that it would seek the death penalty. Lisa Kimmell was last seen alive at approximately 9:08 p.m., on March 25, 1988, just east of Douglas, Wyoming, when she was issued a speeding ticket by a Wyoming State Trooper. That event occurred when she was en route from Denver, Colorado, to Billings, Montana, with a planned intermediate stop in Cody. When she did not arrive in Cody or Billings as scheduled, her mother reported her missing and a search for her began on March 26, 1988. After her body was found on April 2, 1988, an autopsy was performed. It revealed that Lisa had been dead for 36 hours or more, although it was conceded that death may have occurred as much as three to seven days earlier. Because Lisa’s body was in the cold water of the North Platte River, the time of death was difficult to estimate accurately. Lisa died of massive loss of blood, internally and externally due to multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen. In addition, a lethal blow was delivered to Lisa’s head shortly before she was stabbed. That blow would have proved fatal had she not first bled to death. Semen was found in her vagina and on the panties she was wearing, which was the only clothing she had on when her body was found. Samples were taken and preserved. DNA extracted from the semen found on her panties eventually led the authorities to Eaton. Eaton had once lived near Moneta, Wyoming, and a search of that property uncovered various parts from Lisa’s automobile, as well as the remainder of the automobile itself, buried in the ground. At trial, two theories emerged as to how Eaton and his victim came to be together. One, reported by a fellow inmate of Eaton’s at the Natrona County Jail, was that Lisa gave Eaton a ride to help him out. Eaton made sexual advances toward her and Lisa slammed on the brakes and was going to make him get out of the car “in the middle of nowhere.” Things spun out of control and Eaton ended up subduing, raping and killing her. This theory was presented to the jury during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. The second theory was presented by Eaton during the sentencing phase. It came into evidence through a physician who had examined Eaton for the purpose of preparing a mental evaluation. Eaton reported that he returned to his home late on March 25, 1988 and observed Lisa’s car parked on his land. He thought there were two people there and that he was being robbed. Eaton was in an angry state of mind to begin with, and upon finding her there, he got even more angry. He approached her with a gun and took her to his makeshift home. The further details of this version suggested that circumstances then spun out of control, and Eaton ended up raping and killing her after keeping her on his property for several days so that he would not be alone at Easter. The guilt/innocence phase of this case was tried to a jury on February 23, 2004 through March 15, 2004. The penalty phase lasted from March 18, 2004 until March 20, 2004. A sentencing hearing was held on May 20, 2004, and a warrant of execution was entered of record on that date. The judgment and sentence were entered of record on June 3, 2004. Most members of Eaton's family refused to testify on Eaton's behalf. Eaton had been abusive to his ex-wife and children and they and other family members indicated that they felt Eaton deserved the death penalty.

Page visited   Hit Counter times since 10/5/08

Page last updated 01/29/09


Copyright 2015  
Site created and maintained by Charlene Hall - info@prodeathpenalty.com