November 2010 Executions
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One killer was executed in November 2010. He had murdered at least 1 person.
Three
killers were given a stay in November 2010. They have murdered at least 4 people.
One killer received a commutation of his death sentence in November 2010. He has murdered at least 1 person.
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 4, 2010 Alabama Charles Eddie Shannon, 16  Phillip Hallford executed 
Phillip D. Hallford was sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of 16-year old Charles Eddie Shannon, the boyfriend of Hallford's daughter, Melinda. in the early morning of April 13, 1986, Hallford forced his daughter to entice her boyfriend, Charles Eddie Shannon, to a secluded bridge. He then shot Eddie once in the roof of the mouth. While Eddie was still alive, Hallford dragged him to the side of the bridge and shot him two more times, once in the front of the left ear and once in the forehead. Hallford then threw the body over the bridge railing and into the water. Some time after the shooting, Hallford returned to the scene of the crime to remove the blood from the bridge. The next day Hallford burned Eddie's wallet and its contents. These events were witnessed in part by Hallford's daughter and his son, who testified against him at trial. While Hallford was burning the wallet he commented that Eddie was a "cheapskate" because he said he found no money in the wallet. However, Eddie's father testified that he had given the victim money on the afternoon of his disappearance. Eddie's badly decomposed body was discovered in the water approximately two weeks after the shooting. Hallford maintained at trial that he did not kill Eddie and that he was nowhere near the bridge when the murder occurred. During the guilt phase of the trial, Melinda described Hallford's plot to lure Eddie Shannon to him and the graphic details of the murder. Melinda was also the only witness to identify directly the wallet Hallford burned as belonging to Eddie. Her further testimony during the penalty phase — where she was the only witness for the State — described her sexual relationship with Hallford that began when she was seven or eight years old; Melinda testified that she and her father were engaged in an incestuous relationship when she became romantically involved with Shannon and that her father was jealous of Eddie. In addition to Melinda's testimony, the jury heard testimony from Hallford's stepson, Sammy, that matched Melinda's in providing critical details tying Hallford to Eddie Shannon's murder and the robbery. Sammy — as well as Melinda — testified that he witnessed Hallford attack Eddie with a pistol and described how Sammy helped Hallford destroy evidence that could have tied Hallford to the crime. Sammy testified that on the morning after the murder — after Hallford had Sammy return to the crime scene with him to wash blood from the bridge and make sure Shannon's body was undetectable — Hallford told Sammy to build a fire in a drum outside the trailer. According to Sammy, after the fire was lit, Hallford brought out a wallet and burned its contents. Sammy testified that he saw Hallford burn an orange and white military identification card. Sammy did not read the name on the card, and Hallford's thumb obscured the card's picture. Sammy testified that Melinda was present when Hallford burned the wallet. Eddie's step-brother, David, testified that Eddie carried a wallet in which he kept an identification card. Eddie's father, Olen Johns, who similarly described Eddie's wallet and stated that the wallet carried his military identification card, testified that he never saw his son's wallet after the murder. Melinda's testimony that Hallford burned Eddie's wallet on the morning after the murder was more specific than the other wallet-related testimony. Perhaps the most incriminating circumstantial evidence is the timing of Hallford's acts: Hallford burned a wallet containing a military identification card like Shannon's less than twelve hours after the murder occurred and after spending most of the same morning undertaking efforts to conceal the crime. Shannon's wallet was not recovered with his body. UPDATE: Upon hearing that her father's execution date had been set, Melinda Hallford said, "Thank God. I'm so happy, I'm ecstatic." Melinda was only 15 when her father shot her boyfriend in front of her. "My father had been having sex with me and claiming I was his wife. In his perverted mind, I had an affair." About the execution, Melinda said, "“It will at least give me a sense of closure and help me notRobertson was convicted in 1999 of bludgeoning Earl and Terry Robertson to death in their home outside Rock Hill in November 1997. Terry Robertson, a former teacher, was beaten to death with a hammer as she lay in bed. Earl Robertson, a Springs Industries executive, was attacked with a hammer and baseball bat as he got out of the shower and stepped into the upstairs hallway.  "I don't have to be afraid of him anymore. I’ve been afraid my entire damn life he was going to kill me or send somebody after me to kill me. I hate myself. I hate the fact that I was ever born. I hate the fact that this person is my father. I want to kill him myself. I still have to live with the fact that a 16-year-old boy was killed because of me.” Eddie Shannon's stepbrother David Ferguson said, "It's about time. Come on now, it's been 21 years. Justice should have been given a long time ago."  
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 13, 2010 Ohio Jessica Ballew, 3  Sidney Cornwell commuted 
Sidney Cornwell shot three-year-old Jessica Ballew in her chest and face at about 2:00 a.m. on June 11, 1996. The shooting was part of a war between the “Crips” and the “Bloods.” The Crips and the Bloods were rival gangs in Youngstown, Ohio. On the afternoon of June 10, 1996, members of the two gangs had been involved in a shootout on Elm Street in Youngstown. During the exchange of fire, Crips member Edward McGaha saw fellow Crips member Sidney Cornwell using a black gun. Also during this exchange, a bullet grazed McGaha’s head. Later that afternoon, McGaha was released from the hospital and went to his mother’s residence on Elm Street. McGaha, Cornwell, and several other people were standing outside the residence when a carload of Bloods exited a vehicle and opened fire. McGaha saw Cornwell return fire with the same black semiautomatic weapon he had used earlier in the day. Shortly thereafter, McGaha, Cornwell, and other persons gathered at a residence on New York Avenue and began discussing retaliation for the shooting of McGaha. They decided to kill Richard “Boom” Miles, a Blood who had been present at the first shooting. That night, the Crips set out in three cars, two of which were stolen, to find and kill Boom. McGaha and Edward Bunkley were in a stolen Buick. Antwan Jones and Gary Drayton were in a Chevrolet Chevette. The third vehicle was a stolen light blue Pontiac Bonneville, which carried four Crips. In the driver’s seat of the Bonneville was Denicholas Stoutmire. Beside him in the front passenger seat was Damian Williams. Behind Williams, in the right rear passenger seat, was Leslie Johnson. And in the remaining rear passenger seat, behind Stoutmire and to Johnson’s left, sat nineteen-year-old Sidney Cornwell who was carrying a semiautomatic 9 mm black gun. The three cars drove around Youngstown for about an hour looking for Boom and then went to an apartment building on Oak Park Lane, where Stoutmire thought he might be. Susan Hamlett was outside on the porch of her apartment talking to her friend Donald Meadows. At about 2:00 a.m., Hamlett’s three-year-old niece, Jessica Ballew, came to the doorway of the porch to ask for a drink of water. Two of the cars drove past her apartment, but the third, the light blue Bonneville, stopped. Cornwell’s voice called out from the Bonneville, asking for Boom. Boom had been at the apartment earlier in the evening. Hamlett and Meadows both said that he was not there. Cornwell asked where Boom was. Hamlett said that he did not live there. Cornwell said, “Well, tell Boom this,” and fired six to nine shots. Meadows and two people in the apartment – Marilyn Conrad, another resident of the apartment, and a friend of hers visiting the apartment, Samuel Lagese – were wounded. Jessica Ballew was killed. She was hit in both the chest and face, but it was the shot to the face that was fatal. After receiving a call about the matter, a Youngstown police officer pursued the three vehicles, two of which fit a description he received. He saw that the Bonneville was parked in the driveway of a vacant house. He turned off his headlights, pulled up behind the Bonneville, then turned his lights back on. The occupants of the Bonneville jumped out and ran. The officer ran after the occupant whom the officer believed had jumped out of the driver’s door and, after a brief chase, caught him. The individual caught by the officer was Cornwell. At trial, Meadows and Williams identified Cornwell as the gunman. Evidence was introduced that several 9 mm Luger shell casings were found at the scenes of the first Elm Street shooting and the Oak Park Lane shooting. Evidence was also introduced that two 9 mm shell casings were found in the Bonneville. A forensic scientist testified that all the 9 mm Luger shell casings recovered from the Oak Park Lane shooting and the first Elm Street shooting came from the same handgun. The murder weapon was never recovered. A jury found Cornwell guilty of aggravated murder committed by prior calculation and design. It also found him guilty of three counts of attempted aggravated murder, with a firearm specification attached to each count and, attached to the aggravated murder count, a death penalty specification that the murder was committed as part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill two or more people. Cornwell was sentenced to death on the conviction for aggravated murder and to prison for the other convictions.  UPDATE: Despite stating, "There is absolutely no doubt that Mr. Cornwell is guilty of the crime of aggravated murder," Governor Ted Strickland granted clemency to Sidney Cornwell due to what he feels are the mitigating factor of the genetic disorder Klinefelter's Syndrome. 
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 19, 2010 South Carolina  Earl Robertson
Terry Robertson
James Robertson stayed 
 The older son of Earl and Terry Robertson was sentenced to death for their murders. In 1997, Robertson beat his mother to death with a claw hammer on the stairs of their home, then used the same hammer and a baseball bat to attack his father as he showered. Robertson wanted to get his hands on his family's estate, valued at around $2 million. After the murder, Robertson fled with 18-year-old Meredith Leann Moon to his brother Chip's home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was attending college at the University of Pennsylvania. Investigators found a trail of evidence from Robertson using his father's credit card to gas up his card on the trip. In 1995, Terry Robertson filed a report stating that Robertson had threatened to harm her. They had fought over money. In 1996, Robertson had been convicted of breaking into a neighbor's house and stealing a car and credit cards. Earl Robertson Sr.'s worked at Springs Industries in Lancaster, S.C., for 20 years. As director of manufacturing services, Robertson oversaw about half a dozen employees. Terry Robertson, a homemaker and former English teacher, had a fondness for animals, especially rabbits. UPDATE: A federal judge granted a stay to James Robertson in order to allow him to file a federal habeas appeal.
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 20, 2010 Oklahoma Earl Short  Jeffrey Matthews stayed 
In the early morning hours of January 27, 1994, Minnie Short was awakened by a noise in the living room of her home located in a rural area east of Rosedale, Oklahoma. She thought that it was around 6:00 a.m. and decided to get up for the day. She got out of bed and went into the living room where she was attacked from behind by someone with a knife. As she struggled with her attacker, he cut her throat. Her husband Earl came into the living room and was shot in the back of the head by another person. Earl fell to the floor beside Minnie. She was told to lie still and was asked several times where the money was hidden. After ransacking the house for almost two hours the two men left with approximately $500, a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson, and the Shorts' brown pickup truck. After the men were gone, Minnie Short dressed and went to the road to try to get help. A passing ambulance saw her and stopped. She told the paramedics that she had been cut and her husband had been shot. They bandaged the wound on her neck, which had stopped bleeding and was determined to be non life-threatening. The paramedics then went to the house where they determined that Earl Short was dead. When the police talked with Minnie Short she could not describe her attacker or the man who shot her husband. She recalled, however, that her attacker wore a dark jacket with a large circular design and the other man wore tan loose-fitting clothes. She also remembered that the man who attacked her had made a telephone call from her kitchen shortly before they left. When the police traced this phone call they found that it had been made at 8:16 a.m. to Bill Guinn in Oklahoma City. Mr. Guinn confirmed that the call had been made by his nephew, Tracy Dyer, who had called to say that he would be late coming to work that morning because he was having trouble with his truck. At around 10:00 p.m. on January 27 the police went to Dyer's trailer where they found Tracy Dyer and his uncle, Harry Wayne Clary, who was visiting from Madill. Both Dyer and Clary were taken to the sheriff's office for questioning. Although Dyer initially denied any involvement in the crime, he became more forthcoming when confronted with the telephone call which placed him in the Shorts' home. In his first statement Dyer said that he and Jeffrey David Matthews had gone to the Shorts' house to look for money that they believed to be hidden there. Matthews was the great-nephew of the Shorts. Dyer blamed Matthews for the murder of Earl Short and the attack on Minnie Short but he admitted to looking for money. Dyer was arrested. On January 28, 1994, a warrant was procured for Matthews's arrest. After his arrest on that same date, Matthews was interrogated by OSBI agents. A search warrant for Matthews's home was issued and executed soon after his arrest. Police seized a pair of brown coveralls, three $100 bills found in the freezer, some items of clothing and a prescription pill bottle for Xanax made out to Minnie Short found on a nightstand. The backyard was searched but nothing was found there. Later, in June of 1994, one of Matthews's neighbors found a .32 Smith & Wesson revolver buried in a field situated directly behind Matthews's house. This gun was identified as the gun taken from the Shorts' home by their attackers. The police went to the field with metal detectors and found another buried gun, a .45 Ruger pistol, which was later determined to have been the gun used to kill Earl Short.
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 30, 2010 Tennessee Sheila Romines, 15  Stephen West stayed 
On March 17, 1986, twenty-three year-old Stephen Michael West and seventeen year-old Ronnie Martin left their jobs at a McDonald's in Lake City, Tennessee. They had known each other only about two weeks. After driving around and drinking in Martin's car for several hours, Martin told West that he knew a girl who would "give them some sex." Martin was referring to fifteen year-old Sheila Romines, a classmate of Martin who had previously rebuffed his advances and embarrassed him in front of other students. Martin and West went to the Romineses' house, but did not approach it. Instead the two laid in wait until around 5:20 A.M., when Mr. Romines left for work. They knocked on the door and Wanda Romines, Sheila's mother, let the two into the house. Sometime between 6:00 A.M. and 8:30 A.M., Wanda and Sheila were brutally murdered. Dr. Cleland Blake, a forensic pathologist, testified that Sheila had been raped prior to being stabbed seventeen times in the abdomen. Fourteen of those wounds were torture-type cuts. Wanda Romines had also suffered a large number of deep stab wounds, including torture-type wounds. West and Martin were arrested the next day. Both West and Martin  were charged with the rape and double homicide, but the trials of the two defendants were severed and the state prosecuted West first. During West's initial criminal trial in the Criminal Court of Union County he was represented by two attorneys: Richard McConnell, who was hired by West's family and was the lead counsel, and Thomas K. McAlexander, a court appointed co-counsel. At trial, the defense argued that though West was present during the murders, Martin was the architect of the crime and that West participated only because Martin threatened to kill him and his then-pregnant wife. Dr. Blake, however, testified that (1) two different knives were used; (2) two people were involved in the infliction of the wounds. Martin did not testify at West's trial. On March 24, 1987, a jury convicted West of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated rape, and one count of larceny. During the sentencing phase, six people testified on West's behalf. Three of them were family friends who had known West for three, twelve, and fourteen years respectively. The sheriff testified that West had not caused any problems during the year he was incarcerated awaiting trial. West's sister testified that West was the baby in the family and had never been in trouble, and that his mother could not come to court because she had recently suffered a heart attack. West's wife testified that they had a good relationship and that West was a good father to their eleven-month-old daughter. Finally, West himself testified. He admitted to being present during the crimes but denied that he had participated in the murders of the two victims. He also stated that he had no prior criminal record, had been an honor student in school, and had never had any disciplinary problems. Despite West's mitigating evidence, the jury ultimately sentenced him to death. UPDATE: This execution was stayed to appeal Tennessee's lethal injection procedure.
 
 

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