February 2015 Executions
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Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 4, 2015 Texas Aubrey Wright Hawkins, 29 Donald Newbury executed
Aubrey Hawkins, murder victimA Texas jury convicted Donald Keith Newbury of capital murder and sentenced him to death for his role in the shooting death of a City of Irving police officer, Aubrey Hawkins. The evidence presented at trial showed that Newbury and several fellow prison inmates escaped from prison and committed a series of armed robberies. When the group robbed a sporting goods store in Irving, a police officer encountered them. As the group fled the crime scene, group members shot and killed the officer. After the shooting, Newbury and others in the group escaped to Colorado where law enforcement eventually arrested them.  During the penalty phase of Newbury’s trial, jurors learned that Newbury had three prior convictions for aggravated robbery: one in 1981 for which he received a 10-year prison sentence; one in 1987 for which he received a 15-year prison sentence; and one in 1998, which included a deadly weapon finding, for which he received a 99-year prison sentence. The evidence also showed that after Newbury and six others escaped from prison, they committed two armed robberies in Houston before committing the armed robbery which resulted in this capital murder conviction. The jury heard the details of the violent escape from TDCJ resulting in the capital murder conviction. Specifically, a total of 14 prison employees were bound and placed in a room after being attacked by the seven escapees. Regarding Newbury’s involvement, the jury heard that Newbury tried to enter the room where the hostages were being held, just as some of the bound hostages were beginning to get loose. The hostages prevented Newbury from entering the room, catching his arm in the door; however, Newbury waived a “shank” at the hostages and tried to stab anything within arm’s reach. The jury heard testimony that two of these hostages were surrounded by six of the seven escapees and were knocked down by blows to the head. Newbury placed a “shank” with a twelve-inch blade to the throat of one, while escapee Rivas threatened to kill him if he resisted. This hostage was made to crawl on his stomach to the room where the other hostages were being held. Newbury and escapee Garcia kicked him while he was crawling. When the hostage resisted attempts to bind and gag him, Newbury struck him three times before he went unconscious. The hostage received a broken nose, bruises, a black eye, a separated shoulder, and a broken thumb in the attack. Other hostages described similar accounts of Newbury’s involvement in the attack and escape, one indicating that Newbury held a “shank” to his throat; and another indicating that Newbury put him in a headlock and threw him face-down on the ground, then grabbed him by the hair and hit him twice in the face.  The State introduced other evidence of Newbury’s bad conduct while incarcerated, including testimony that in 1981, Newbury and two other inmates who were housed in the maximum security area of the Travis County Jail, attempted to escape by attacking two jail guards as they were making nightly rounds. Newbury held a broken florescent light tube to a guard’s throat during this attack. Between 1981 and 1985, while in the department of corrections, Newbury was disciplined for the following infractions: nine instances of fighting without a weapon, three instances of failure to obey an order, and one instance of destruction of state property. TDCJ records from 1987 through 1988 show that Newbury was disciplined on two instances for fighting without a weapon. Read more: Hawkins's friends miss him every day
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 10, 2015 Tennessee  Wanda L Romines, 51
Sheila Ann Romines, 15 
Stephen West stayed 
A jury in Union County found Stephen Michael West guilty of first degree premeditated murder of Wanda Romines and her daughter Sheila Romines, aggravated kidnapping of Wanda and Sheila Romines and aggravated rape of Sheila Romines. At the sentencing hearing the jury found three aggravating circumstances applicable to both victims, to-wit: the murders were especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; they were committed to avoid arrest or prosecution; and they were committed while West engaged in committing first degree murder, rape or kidnapping. West was sentenced to death for each murder and to forty years imprisonment on each of the three convictions for rape and kidnapping. These brutal murders were committed by West and Ronnie Martin at the Romines' home in the Big Ridge community of Union County, between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on 17 March 1986. West and Martin both worked at McDonald's in Lake City, Tennessee. West was twenty-three years of age and Martin was seventeen years of age at the time of the murders. West was Martin's supervisor at McDonald's. They had known each other only about two weeks when they embarked upon an episode of drinking and roaming around the countryside in the car of Martin's mother. West testified that Martin told him he knew a girl who would give them some sex. It appears that West had no prior acquaintance with anyone in the Romines family but Martin was known to the mother and daughter. They lay in wait in the vicinity of the Romines' house until Jack Romines, husband and father of the victims, left the house to go to work about 5:20 a.m. West testified that they knocked on the door, Mrs. Romines admitted them, and Martin introduced him to the mother and daughter and announced that he wanted to borrow some money. After his arrest West made at least five statements about what occurred in the Romines' house after they were admitted. In his first statements he insisted that he and Martin had left the house together after some sexual activity, and that both mother and daughter were unharmed; that when they got to the car Martin decided to return and get some money from them; that Martin was gone approximately thirty minutes; and that when Martin returned to the car, they drove away. In mid-afternoon on 15 March after his mother had visited him, he made another statement wherein he said that he had seen part of a video taped interview of Martin, who was putting all the blame on him. He then proceeded to put all the blame on Martin. In his statement of 18 March and later statements, and at trial, he admitted that he was present when the murders occurred but denied that he participated to any extent whatever in inflicting bodily harm upon either victim. He testified that Martin had a pistol and two knives and threatened his life numerous times while they were in the Romines' house if he did not obey Martins' orders; Martin directed Sheila to "give him head". He then forced her to engage in sexual intercourse on top of West while Martin sodomized the girl. The last statement West gave was at his request. It began at 11:52 a.m. and terminated at 1:31 p.m. when a retained lawyer arrived. That statement contained much detail that West had never mentioned before. A portion of the new material was that after killing Mrs. Romines in one bedroom Martin and West went into Sheila's bedroom where Martin handed West one of the knives and said "I killed the mother and now you kill Sheila"; that West refused and threw the knife down on the floor. The statement continued as follows: The co-worker, still armed with a gun, got down on his knees, and Sheila started begging to him and asking him why. Co-worker's reply was, "I owe you, I owe you." Co-worker was giggling as he said that co-worker would ease the knife in and would work the handle back and forth trying to hurt her. This went on for a while. . . . West was six foot, one inches tall, weighed one hundred seventy pounds, and had served three years in the military. Martin was five foot, ten inches tall and weighed one hundred forty pounds. West related events that occurred after the initial sexual activity wherein he and one of the victims were in one of the bedrooms or the living room and Martin and the other victim were in another room. It is patently obvious that West could have gained the upper hand over Martin and brought the tragic events to a halt if he had been so inclined. As an alternative, he could have easily escaped to a neighbor's house for help if he was really as cowardly as represented. Those opportunities continued to occur after it became apparent, by West's own admissions, that Martin intended to kill both women. West was asked on direct examination why he did not try to stop Martin. His response was "I couldn't do nothing". Later on he said that he was incapable of doing what Martin did, and that he "couldn't even clean a fish". Jack Romines testified that he kept a thirty-eight caliber unloaded pistol in the drawer of a chest in Sheila's bedroom and that it was missing on the afternoon of the murders, along with an envelope containing more than $200 in cash. Investigating officers found a thirty-eight caliber unloaded pistol in a storm drain in Norris, Tennessee, that was identified as the one belonging to Jack Romines. The information that led to the recovery of the gun came from John Allen, who was a friend of Martin's. There was testimony that at about 4:00 a.m. Martin had stopped at John Allen's house and gone in and obtained a butcher knife from Allen. West disclaimed any knowledge that Martin had a butcher knife when they entered the Romines' house. As an additional excuse for his alleged cowardice in not preventing the murders, West said in his later statements and at trial that Martin had threatened to have a friend kill his wife. However, West related that threat as occurring the first time when they left the Romines' house by the back door after both victims had been murdered. Martin allegedly directed West to get the car and pick up Martin on the other side of a wooded area. It was then that Martin supposedly threatened that if West tried anything "smart," Martin would make a phone call and West would find his wife and child dead when he got home. West's wife was pregnant with their first child at the time. Dr. Cleland Blake, a forensic pathologist, testified that Sheila had been stabbed seventeen times in the abdomen. Fourteen of the stab wounds were described as torture type cuts. She had three fatal wounds through the chest wall into the heart to a depth of five and one-half inches. Dr. Blake said that those wounds were inflicted by knives at least that long. It was his opinion that the torture wounds to the abdomen were inflicted prior to the fatal wounds to the heart based upon the manner in which the blood drained. Some of the torture wounds to the abdomen penetrated the liver and the mesentery and there was considerable bleeding from those wounds into the abdominal cavity. Dr. Blake said blood would not have been pumped into the abdominal cavity if the heart had stopped pumping, which it did in less than a minute after the fatal heart wounds. Sheila also had two defensive type wounds, one on her left forearm and one on her left thumb. Dr. Blake was of the opinion that Sheila had sustained great pain and suffering from the various stab wounds in the abdomen, particularly those going into the liver. Dr. Blake testified that Wanda Romines had suffered a number of deep stab wounds. One caused the right lung to collapse, while others cut into the colon, the liver, the gall bladder, etc. The fatal wound completely severed the right common iliac artery, the large artery that takes blood under pressure down to the right leg. That wound caused massive hemorrhaging into the abdominal cavity. Death followed within five to ten minutes according to Dr. Blake. She also had torture type wounds. Dr. Blake visited the crime scene and examined the bodies and later performed an autopsy on each victim. Based upon the width, depth and pattern of the wounds inflicted upon Sheila he concluded two different knives were used and that some of the wounds were inflicted while she was on the bed in her bedroom and some were inflicted while she lay on the floor beside the bed where she was found. Dr. Blake testified that "my conclusion is that two people were involved in the infliction of the wounds as well as participating in keeping these two women separated until they were probably brought to the end of their lives with these horrible stab wounds." The only witness, other than West, called by the defense during the guilt or innocence phase of the trial was Dr. John Evans, a general pathologist, who had performed "at least five hundred autopsies." He testified that he had reviewed Dr. Blake's autopsy report on both victims and that he saw no basis for Dr. Blake's conclusion hat the victims had been stabbed by two individuals. He acknowledged on cross examination that Dr. Blake was a well-qualified, board certified forensic pathologist, but was somewhat equivocal with regard to whether Dr. Blake, who had seen the bodies at the crime scene, examined the wounds there and performed the autopsies, was in a better position than he was to reach that conclusion. West's testimony at trial included some details that had not appeared in any of his pre-trial statements. He claimed, for the first time, that Martin had cocked the pistol and put it right between his eyes and said, "I ought to just kill you, and he was laughing." He said this occurred after Martin had stabbed Sheila one time. He also claimed that he saw a man standing on the road near Martin's car as he left the house, that he wanted to tell the man what had happened, but that he "kept seeing Karen [his wife] like that poor girl was." West worked his regular shift at McDonald's the day of the murder and did not tell anyone what had happened at the Romines' house. Several neighbors of the Romines positively identified the blue vehicle that the State proved Martin and West were using as being parked in the neighborhood from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on 17 March 1986. Mr. Hicks, a neighbor, testified that he looked out his front door and saw a car stuck at the end of his driveway. He went outside and found that two men had taken down a fence post in his yard to use in getting the car out of the ditch. They eventually got the car out of the ditch and drove away from that point. He identified West as one of the men in the car. His wife identified the car the men were in as the same one the State proved Martin and West were using on 17 March. The investigating officers found that the telephone wires at the Romines house had been pulled out of the wall. At the sentencing hearing, three persons who had known West for three, twelve and fourteen years respectively, testified that he was a good person and they did not know anything bad about his past. His sister testified that he was the baby in the family and had never been in trouble, and that his mother could not come to court because she had had a heart attack. West's wife testified that they had an eleven month old daughter, and that she loved West and he loved her. West testified and again denied that he had participated in the murders of the two victims. He denied any prior criminal record and said that he was an honor student in school and had never had any disciplinary problems.
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
 February 10, 2015 Texas Bobby Glen Tate
Philip Good
Jerry Mack Brown   
Lester Bower stayed
Testimony at trial showed that one of the victims, Bobby Glen Tate, owned the B & B Ranch which was located near Sherman. Bobby owned an ultra light aircraft which he stored in a hangar located on his property. Another ultra light aircraft owned by David Brady was also stored in the hangar. Evidence was presented to show that Tate had decided to put his ultra light up for sale and his friend, Philip Good, another one of the victims, who sold ultra lights was attempting to find a buyer for the aircraft. A day or two before the commission of the offense, Tate told his wife, Bobbi, that Philip Good had met someone the previous Wednesday who was interested in buying the ultra light. On October 8, 1983, Bobby went out to his ranch to work on a house he was building. According to Bobbi Tate, he was to return to their home in town around 4:30 p.m. About 7:30 p.m., when he failed to return, Bobbi and her stepson, Bobby Jr., went to the ranch. Outside of the hangar, they saw vehicles belonging to Tate, Philip Good and Ronald Mays. However, the hangar was locked and no lights were showing through the windows. Bobbi retrieved a key from her husband's pickup and unlocked the hangar door. Upon opening the door, they saw the body of Ronald Mays lying in a pool of blood. Bobbi and Bobby, Jr. went to the nearest phone and called police. Marlene Good, the widow of Philip Good, reiterated a similar story. She testified that on September 30, 1983, someone called their home and spoke with Philip for ten or fifteen minutes regarding an advertisement Philip had placed in "Glider Rider" magazine regarding the sale of an ultra light. Philip told the caller that he had sold the ultra light advertised in the magazine, but he had another that he could sell. On the following Monday or Tuesday, the man called again. On Wednesday, October 5, Philip met the man at the Holiday Inn in Sherman and took him out to the B & B Ranch in order to show him Bob Tate's ultra light. When Philip returned at about 4:00 p.m., he told Marlene that he thought he had sold Bob Tate's ultra light and the man was going to pick up the plane on Saturday, October 8. On October 8, Marlene testified that she spent the day with Ronald Mays' wife. Philip spent the day helping Jerry Brown build an ultra light in Philip's hangar. At 3:30 p.m., Philip called her and told her he was going to meet the man at the hangar on the B & B Ranch at 4:00 p.m. At approximately 4:30 p.m., Ronald Mayes left to go the hangar at the ranch. When he had not returned by 6:30 p.m., Marlene went to the hangar to see [769 S.W.2d 890] what was happening. When she arrived, she too saw all the vehicles parked outside. The door to the hangar was locked and when she looked into the hangar windows, she could see that Bob Tate's ultra light was missing. Seeing that no one was around, she went home. When investigators arrived on the scene, they discovered a grisly sight. Immediately inside the door of the hangar, they found the body of Ronald Mays. Underneath a pile of carpeting, investigators found the bodies of Philip Good, Bobby Tate, and Jerry Mack Brown. Good, Tate, and Brown had each been shot twice in the head. Mays had been shot once in the head, once in the neck, once in the right arm and once in the right side of the chest, and once in the back of the chest. All of the victims still had their wallets and their jewelry. Tate's ultra light which had been in the hangar earlier in the day was missing. A table situated against one wall of the hangar had a large spot of blood on it. Tests showed that this blood matched a sample of blood taken from Tate's body during an autopsy. This, plus the placement of the bodies underneath the carpet, led investigators to speculate that Tate had been shot while sitting at the table and then had been dragged over and placed with the bodies of Brown and Good. Investigators also found eleven spent .22 caliber shell casings which had been manufactured by Julio Fiocci. The scattered arrangement of the casings on the floor of the hangar indicated that the killer had used an automatic weapon rather than a revolver, since an automatic ejects the cartridges after each shot. Dr. Charles Petty performed autopsies on the victims. According to Dr. Petty, three of the victims, Good, Brown and Tate all sustained two gunshot wounds to the head. In the cases of Good and Tate, both men had one contact wound. On the other hand, both of Brown's wounds were contact wounds. Mays sustained one contact wound to the head and four other wounds to the upper part of his body. Dr. Petty further testified that the presence of the contact wounds indicated that when the weapon was fired, the muzzle of the gun was placed directly against the victim's head. In addition, the gunpowder residue left on the victims indicated that in each instance the murder weapon was equipped with a silencer. Dr. Petty testified that he removed eleven bullets and fragments from the victims. All of the bullets appeared to be .22 caliber hollow point bullets. Larry Fletcher, a firearms examiner with the Dallas County Institute of Forensic Sciences, testified that tests run on both the spent casings and the bullets indicated that the shots were fired from either an AR-7 .22 caliber rifle, a Ruger .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, or a High Standard.22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Markings on the bullets indicated that a silencer was used. In addition the ammunition was manufactured by Julio Fiocchi and was A-sonic (traveled at speeds below the speed of sound) and had hollow points. Fletcher testified that A-sonic ammunition had the characteristic of reducing the noise discharge normally heard upon the firing of a weapon. Fletcher also testified that Julio Fiocchi ammunition was unique in that in his nine years as a firearms examiner, he had never encountered it before. Due to the condition of the bullets, Fletcher could positively say that only two of the bullets were fired from the same weapon. One of these bullets was extracted from the body of Mr. Mays and one from the body of Bobby Tate. Much of Fletcher's testimony was duplicated by the testimony of Paul Schrecker, a firearms examiner with the FBI. Schrecker testified that all eleven casings were fired from a single weapon, and the markings on the casings were all consistent with a Ruger firearm. His examination of the bullets indicated that at least seven of the bullets were fired by the same weapon. He agreed with Fletcher that a silencer was used. As far as the type of ammunition used, Schrecker testified that he had [769 S.W.2d 891] never encountered Fiocchi .22 caliber long rifle ammunition before this case. Dennis Payne, Bower's supervisor at Thompson-Hayward Chemical Company in Dallas, testified that Bower had worked for the company in Colorado until he was laid off in February of 1983. Then in May of 1983, Payne had hired him for a sales position in Dallas. Although Bower's job performance in Colorado had been excellent, his performance in Dallas was poor. While working in Dallas, Bower had been assigned a telephone credit card. A review of the record of the Thompson-Hayward Chemical phone bills indicated that on Friday, September 30, a call was made and charged to Bower's company credit card. This call was made to Philip Good's residence and the conversation lasted ten minutes. A direct dial call was made to Philip Good's residence again on Monday, October 3. This was a two minute call. Another call was placed on Bower's credit card to Philip Good's residence on Friday, October 7. This call lasted three minutes. Another one of Bower's coworkers, Randal Cordial, testified that prior to the company sales meeting on January 3, 1984, Bower told him that he was building an ultra light airplane and lacked only the engine. FBI Special Agent Nile Duke testified that after they traced the above-mentioned phone calls to the Thompson-Hayward Chemical Company, he began interviewing all the employees of the company in hopes of finding out who had placed the calls. After learning that Bower had told Special Agent Jim Knight that he had telephoned Philip Good, he scheduled an interview with Bower on January 11, 1984 at the company office. During the two hour interview, Bower told Duke that he had seen an advertisement in Glider Rider Magazine regarding an ultra light aircraft that Good had for sale. Bower admitted calling the Good residence twice. According to Bower, during the first call which he said was the shortest, he had spoken only with Mrs. Good who told him that Mr. Good was not at home. He later called back and spoke with Mr. Good who informed him that the ultra light had been sold. Bower told Duke that he had made only two calls and none of the calls had been placed on company credit cards. Bower also told Duke that he had never made an appointment to see Good and had only passed through Sherman on his way to Tulsa or Gainesville. When asked his whereabouts on the day of the murders, Bower told Duke that he could not account for his whereabouts on October 8, although he did remember that he was sick with a virus on Monday, October 10 and had stayed home from work. Finally Duke testified that Bower admitted he owned a .300 Winchester Magnum rifle, a Remington 1100 shotgun, a Savage Model B side-by-side double barrel shotgun, a Ruger 277V .220 caliber rifle, a 6.5 caliber Japanese rifle, a Winchester bolt action .22 caliber rifle, a Marlin lever action .4570 caliber government rifle, a .243 caliber Remington 700 rifle, and a .20—Model 929 Smith and Wesson .44 caliber Magnum revolver. Bower also told Duke that he had previously owned a .357 caliber revolver. When asked specifically about a .22 caliber handgun, Bower replied that he did not own one. On January 13, 1984, Bower went to the FBI office in Dallas to take a lie detector test. After talking with the agents there, Bower decided not to take the test. According to FBI agent William Teigen, at that point all the authorities knew about Bower was that he was employed at Thompson-Hayward, that three telephone calls had been made on the company phone bill to Philip Good's residence and that he was interested in ultra lights. Bower stayed and talked with the FBI agents some four hours. During this conversation, Bower admitted that he had made the calls but that he decided not to buy the ultra light from Good and never had any further contact with him. Bower also told the agents of his interest in ultra lights. Bower related to the agents how he had spent hours researching [769 S.W.2d 892] ultra lights and how he hoped someday to build an ultra light. Bower went on to tell the agents that he had already obtained a piece of fabric for the covering, a fiberglass boat seat and some aircraft aluminum. Teigen testified at trial that after talking with Bower he believed that Bower was more than obsessed with the aircraft. When asked specific questions by the agents, Bower said that he had never bought an ultra light, that he had not been in Sherman on the day of the murders, that he had not met Philip Good on the day of the murders and had never met him in person, that he did not know where the missing ultra light was, and that he had never seen the missing ultra light. After further investigation, a search warrant was obtained for Bower's residence. The search was conducted during the evening of January 20, 1984. Among the items seized were various manuals and magazines which were introduced into evidence at trial: a manual on the Cuyuna ultra light aircraft engine, a magazine entitled Glider Rider's Magazine which showed Bower as a subscriber, the World Guide to Gun Parts, the Instruction Manual for Ruger Standard Model.22 Automatic Pistols, Vol. II of Firearm Silencer Manual, two Xeroxed pages from Shotgun News depicting silencers and silencer weapons, The AR-7 Exotic Weapons System Book, a manual on explosives entitled High-Low Boom! Modern Explosives, another manual entitled Semi-Full Auto, AR-15 Modification Manual, another weapons manual entitled Rhodesian Leaders Guide, and several catalogs containing ads for military equipment including guns, clothing and numerous publications including books on how to kill. Authorities also found a form letter address to "Dear Customer" from Catawba Enterprises, indicating that Bower had purchased an item from the company. Authorities also found inside a briefcase which was located inside Bower's garage an Allen wrench which could be used to mount a Catawba silencer to a pistol and a packet of materials which included among other things Bower's Federal Firearms Licenses which permitted him to sell firearms, ammunition and other destructive devices. Bower's own Firearms-Acquisition and Disposition Record which was also seized during the search indicated that he bought a Ruger RST-6-automatic .22 pistol, serial number 17-28022 on February 12, 1982 and sold it to himself on March 1, 1982. Investigation showed that on February 12, 1982, Bower also ordered three boxes of Julio Fiocchi .22 ammunition. Perhaps most incriminating were the parts of the ultra light found during the search. In the garage were two ultra light tires and rims with the name "Tate" scratched in each rim. Another ultra light tire and rim were found in Bower's house. Six pieces of aluminum ultra light tubing were found in the garage. Wadded up on top of a box in the garage were warning stickers that had been removed from the aluminum tubing of an ultra light. In addition, an ultra light harness was found in the house and a fiberglass boat seat was found in the garage. Authorities also removed a pair of rubber boots and a blue nylon bag from Bower's garage after noticing what appeared to be blood stains on these items. Also removed was a sledge hammer and some ashlike debris taken from the trunk of Bower's car. Scientific evidence presented at trial showed that a fingerprint belonging to one of the victims, Jerry Mack Brown, was found on one of the pieces of ultra light tubing found in Bower's garage. In addition, an analysis of the sledge hammer removed from Bower's garage showed that material present on one side of its head was polypropylene, the same material which was used to make the American Aerolight decals. Metallic smears present on the other side of its head tested out to be of the same type of aluminum alloy as was used to make the Cuyuna engine, the reduction unit for a Cuyuna engine, the crank case and the carburetor used in ultra light aircraft. An analysis of the material taken from the trunk of Bower's car also revealed a fragment of this same aluminum [769 S.W.2d 893] alloy. A forensic metallurgist with the FBI determined that this metal fragment was once a portion of a reduction unit for an ultra light engine and it appeared that the reduction unit was fragmented by a smashing action, consistent with a blow from a sledge hammer. Also found in the debris from the trunk of Bower's car were fragments of an American Aerolights decal. Tests on the boots removed from the garage showed the presence of human blood on the right boot but an attempt to type the blood was inconclusive. Tests on the blue nylon bag found in Bower's garage also indicated the presence of human blood. Other testimony was presented to show that Catawba Enterprises dealt primarily in silencer parts and that the Catawba silencer could be easily installed on a Ruger RST-6 semi-automatic .22 pistol with an Allen wrench. Ed Waters, the attorney for Catawba Enterprises testified that ninety-nine per cent of the company's business was selling silencers and thus if Bower had one of the company's form letters acknowledging a transaction, Bower had probably purchased a silencer from the company. Sandy Brygider, the owner of Bingham Limited, the sole distributor of Julio Fiocchi ammunition in the United States testified that the .22 sub-sonic Fiocchi ammunition was not sold over the counter but rather was a specialty item used primarily for suppressed weapons. Brygider testified that in the previous three years, his company had sold Fiocchi ammunition to only ten or fifteen dealers in Texas. He further testified that his company records showed that they had shipped three boxes of Fiocchi.22 long rifle sub-sonic hollow point ammunition to Bower on February 12, 1982 and five more boxes on December 10, 1982. Lori Grennan, the customer service coordinator for American Aerolights, testified that her company manufactured the ultra light owned by Bob Tate. She testified that it was possible for the aircraft to be broken down and put into a thirteen foot carrying case and carried by one person. Grennan also testified that every ultra light manufactured by her company bears three company decals, two on one of the pieces of tubing and one on the engine. However, after examining the tubing removed from Bower's garage, she noted that these stickers decals were not present. She also testified that every ultra light has certain warning stickers. When shown the wadded up stickers found on the box in Bower's garage, Grennan testified that those were the warning stickers that would go on the ultra light manufactured by her company. Finally, Grennan testified that the harness and tire rims found in Bower's garage came from an ultra light manufactured by American Aerolights. Marjorie Carr, the owner of a fruit stand in Sherman, testified that she had seen Bower in the company of Philip Good in Sherman in late September of 1983. According to Carr, Good and Bower had come into her stand and Bower was interested in buying some oranges. Carr related that she spoke with Bower for some ten or fifteen minutes and she remembered Bower telling her that he had moved from Colorado several months earlier and was then living in Dallas. Further testimony showed that Bower had gone to the Arlington Sportsman's Club on September 30, 1983 and had spent fifteen minutes firing .22 ammunition. During the defense case-in-chief, Bower presented several witnesses who testified that Bower's reputation for being a peaceful and law-abiding citizen was good. Evidence was also presented to show that although Bower had bought a Ruger RST-6 semiautomatic .22 pistol in 1982, he had lost it in the mountains of Colorado while backpacking alone in August of 1982. Finally, Bower's wife testified that on the morning of the offense, Bower left their home around 6:30 a.m. to go bow hunting. He returned home around 6:30 p.m.  

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 11, 2015 Ohio Debra D. Ogle
Cynthia Tincher    
William Montgomery stayed
On February 20, 1986, Montgomery purchased a Bursa .380 automatic handgun from Cleland's Gun Shop in Toledo, Ohio. This gun was subsequently identified as the weapon that was used to kill both Debra D. Ogle and Cynthia Tincher. At approximately 5:00 a.m. on March 8, 1986, after an apparent argument with his girlfriend, Montgomery went by taxi with Glover Heard to an apartment shared by Debra and Cynthia. Montgomery was acquainted with the victims but Heard was not. At this time, Montgomery was wearing a dark blue pinstriped suit jacket that he had borrowed from Randolph Randleman, his uncle. Subsequently, Montgomery asked Debra to give him a ride home. After Debra agreed, she, Montgomery and Heard left in her car. Before arriving at the destination, however, Montgomery had Debra stop the car. He then walked her into a wooded area along Hill Avenue in Toledo, Ohio, while Heard remained in Debra's car, and then, for no apparent reason, Montgomery shot Debra three times with the fatal wound inflicted while the gun was in direct contact with the top of her forehead.  Montgomery then returned to the car and he and Heard drove back to the girls' apartment.  Montgomery instructed Heard to take Debra's car. Heard took the car but then abandoned it approximately one block from his residence. Montgomery returned to the girls' apartment and shortly thereafter left with Cynthia Tincher in her car. After leaving the apartment, Montgomery had Cynthia pull to the side of the road and thereupon shot her through the head from a range of twelve inches or less. Several witnesses testified that they saw a man of approximately [Montgomery's] height and weight leaving Cynthia's car on the morning of March 8, 1986 at approximately 7:15. Those witnesses testified, however, that the person they saw was wearing a dark jacket with a hood pulled up around his face. Cynthia's body was discovered in her car at the corner of Wenz and Angola Roads in Toledo, Ohio at approximately 7:30 a.m. on March 8, 1986. Montgomery lives approximately one-half mile from that location. Thereafter, at approximately 12:00 noon on March 8, 1986, Montgomery, Heard and two friends, Sidney Armstead and Eric Wilson, got together to go to a mall.  Montgomery, however, was carrying a plastic bag and directed Armstead to first drive him to a dry cleaner. Armstead drove Montgomery to One Hour Martinizing where Montgomery got out of the car with the bag. Although they were unable to identify Montgomery, employees of the laundry testified that on March 8, 1986, a black male showed them a soaking wet dark blue pin-striped suit jacket that he wanted cleaned in one hour. The employees explained that the jacket would have to dry out before it could be cleaned. They then hung the jacket to dry. One employee testified that as it dried, the jacket made a “brownish dripping mess on the floor.”   She further testified that the jacket was badly stained and that she had to clean the jacket three times using a chemical cleaner. She could not identify, however, what the stains were. Subsequently, the jacket was picked up. Several days later, police officers obtained the jacket from Randolph Randleman who identified the jacket in court as the one which he had loaned to Montgomery. As stated above, on March 8, 1986 at approximately 7:30 a.m., Cynthia's body was discovered in her car at the corner of Wenz and Angola. Soon thereafter, Debra was listed as missing. The following day, however, Debra's car was discovered behind an abandoned house at 1031 Norwood. Thereafter, on March 10, 1986, Crime Stoppers received a telephone call from a Michael Clark who was at that time incarcerated in the Lucas County Jail. Upon interviewing Clark, officers obtained the name of Glover Heard. Officers located Heard and from Heard they obtained the name of Montgomery. Officers then gained permission from Montgomery's mother to search her home, where Montgomery also lived. That search revealed a black leather jacket with a hood and the manual to the Bursa semi-automatic handgun. Subsequently, on March 12, 1986, officers went to Randolph Randleman's home in an attempt to locate Montgomery. At approximately 12:00 noon, Montgomery arrived at the home and told officers that he knew the officers were looking for him and he wanted to talk about the homicide. He was then arrested and taken to the police station for questioning. During the interrogation, Montgomery initially stated that Heard had killed both girls with his, Montgomery's, gun. He then changed his story but ultimately admitted that he had gone to the girls' apartment for a ride home. He continued to insist, however, that Heard had killed the girls and that he did not know where Debra's body was. Finally, however, Montgomery admitted that he might be able to show officers where Debra's body was and stated that it was on Hill Avenue near a market. Officers then took Montgomery to Hill Avenue and ultimately to a wooded area that Montgomery identified as the location. Several officers began searching the area while Sergeant Larry Przeslawski stayed in a patrol vehicle with Montgomery. After the officers searched one wooded area for a few minutes, Montgomery told Sergeant Przeslawski to direct the officers to search a different wooded area. Within five minutes, the officers located the body of Debra Ogle. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Montgomery guilty of the aggravated murder of Debra Ogle with the specifications that said action involved the purposeful killing of two or more persons and that Montgomery was the principal offender while attempting to commit aggravated robbery. The jury further found Montgomery guilty of the lesser included offense of murder of Cynthia Tincher. At the conclusion of the mitigation phase, the jury recommended that Montgomery be sentenced to death. The trial court agreed with the jury's recommendation and ordered that Montgomery be executed.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 11, 2015 Ohio Sheila Marie Evans, 3 Ronald Phillips stayed
On January 18, 1993, Sheila Marie Evans, age three, died as a result of cardiovascular collapse due to, inter alia, severe, blunt force trauma to her abdomen. At the time, Sheila's mother, Fae Evans, was dating and occasionally cohabiting with Ronald Ray Phillips. In addition to Sheila, Evans had two other children, Sara, twenty-nine months old, and Ronald, Jr., Phillips's infant son. Shortly after 10:00 a.m. on the morning of January 18, 1993, Fae Evans took Ronald, Jr. to see the family physician for a routine physical examination. Phillips remained at Evans's apartment to care for Sheila and Sara. Evans returned to the apartment at approximately 11:2a.m. and found Phillips sitting in the kitchen. Soon thereafter, Evans called out to her daughters, but they failed either to respond or to appear. Phillips walked into the girls' bedroom and found Sheila lying on her bed motionless, pale and cold. He then lifted Sheila and carried her downstairs to his grandmother's apartment. Hazel Phillips, Phillips's grandmother, telephoned the 9emergency operator, reported that Sheila was not breathing, and relayed instructions on performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Phillips. Phillips in turn attempted to revive Sheila until medical assistance arrived. Paramedics from the city of Akron responded to the 9call within four minutes of being dispatched and immediately transported Sheila to Children's Hospital in Akron. Upon her arrival at the emergency room, Sheila was not breathing and had no pulse. The first physician to examine Sheila, Dr. Eugene Izsak, noted that she had multiple bruises on her torso, a distended stomach, apparent internal abdominal injuries, and a stretched anus with some acute, recent changes. Dr. Izsak's medical team continued cardiopulmonary resuscitation and was eventually able to obtain a pulse. Sheila was transported to the operating room after spending approximately one hour in the emergency room. Dr. Robert Klein performed emergency abdominal surgery, which revealed that Sheila's abdominal cavity was filled with a significant amount of free air and blood, and that a portion of her intestine, the duodenum, was perforated and gangrenous. Dr. Klein removed the dead portion of the intestine, and attempted to control the internal bleeding. Based upon his observations, Dr. Klein determined that the injury to the duodenum had been inflicted at least two days prior to Sheila's admission into the hospital. Despite the significant medical efforts performed at Children's Hospital, Sheila died later that day. On January 19, 1993, Dr. William Cox, the Summit County Coroner, conducted an autopsy on Sheila. During his external examination of Sheila, Dr. Cox documented more than one hundred twenty-five bruises, many of which he identified as acute injures that had been inflicted within a few hours of death. The bruising indicated that Sheila had been severely beaten about her head, face, upper and lower torso, arms, legs, and genitalia. He also detailed that the blows to Sheila's abdomen had resulted in severe internal trauma, including hemorrhaging in her stomach, intestine and other internal organs. Dr. Cox examined the section of Sheila's bowel that had been surgically removed, and determined that the injury to the duodenum had occurred approximately forty-eight hours prior to her death. During that forty-eight-hour period, Dr. Cox opined, Sheila would have suffered from intense abdominal pain, an inability to eat, vomiting, a high temperature, and listlessness. The beating Sheila suffered on the morning of January 18, 199 caused the already necrotic and gangrenous duodenum to rupture. Dr. Cox concluded that Sheila died as a result of cardiovascular collapse stemming from the severe, blunt force trauma to her abdomen, and the numerous related complications. Dr. Cox also discovered during the autopsy evidence of acute anal penetration. Based upon the presence of contusions and lacerations, Dr. Cox determined that Sheila had sustained repetitive anal penetrations over a period of time, and that the most recent anal trauma had occurred sometime during the morning of January 18, 1993. Given the absence of abrasions within the rectum, Dr. Cox further concluded that Sheila had been anally penetrated by a penis rather than by a finger or some other foreign object. At approximately 3:00 p.m. on the day Sheila died, Detective Jan Falcone, an officer with the Juvenile Bureau of the Akron Police Department, interviewed Phillips at the police station. Although Phillips was not placed under arrest, Falcone read Phillips his Miranda rights, which he waived. During the interview, Phillips admitted that on Friday, January 15, 1993, or Saturday, January 16, 1993, he had spanked Sheila three times with an open hand. After the spanking, Phillips noticed bruises on the girl's bottom, which surprised him. He said, "I really didn't think I spanked her that hard but I told Fae I would not do it any more." Phillips indicated that Sheila had not felt well during the weekend, and that she had vomited several times. Phillips also told Falcone that Sheila had been injured on several previous occasions. He recalled one incident in which Sheila fell on a railroad spike which penetrated either her vagina or anus. On another occasion, Phillips claimed that Sheila hurt her "vagina and stomach area" when she jumped from a dresser to a bed and struck the corner of the bed. Sheila bruised her eye and cut her lip when she fell down a flight of stairs. Phillips denied having ever touched Sheila or Sara in their "private areas." At some point during the interview, Phillips was informed that Sheila had died. Falcone then asked Phillips again what had happened to Sheila. Phillips responded that the night before Sheila's death, he had observed Evans in the girls' bedroom standing over Sheila with both fists clenched after hearing Sheila scream, "Don't beat me." The interview ceased after that exchange, and Phillips left the police station. In total, the interview lasted approximately seven hours, during which time Phillips was provided with food, beverages, and several breaks. On Wednesday, January 19, 1993, Phillips telephoned the Akron police station in order to speak with the detectives who were investigating Sheila's death. Detective Ronald Perella, a detective assigned to the case, was attending Sheila's autopsy at the time Phillips's call was received and thus was unable to immediately speak with Phillips. The next morning, Perella and his supervisor, Sergeant Dye, drove to South Alternative School, where Phillips was enrolled as a student. The officers met with Phillips and asked him to return to the police department for further questioning. Phillips complied, was driven to the Juvenile Bureau of the police department, and taken to an interviewing room. Perella read Phillips his Miranda rights, which he again waived, and asked Phillips to share whatever additional information he wished to convey. Phillips then repeated the same information he had given to Detective Falcone on the previous day. The detectives questioned Phillips as to why he had telephoned them if he simply wanted to reiterate his earlier statement. They also informed Phillips that the coroner had performed an autopsy on Sheila, and therefore knew everything that had happened to her. At that point, Phillips asked Sergeant Dye to leave the room so that he could speak with Detective Perella alone. Dye agreed. Once they were alone, Phillips told Perella, "I don't want to go to jail, I don't want to get pumped in the butt." Perella responded that "not everybody who gets arrested goes to jail, that there could be counseling but without knowing what [Phillips] wanted to talk about, that [Perella] couldn't promise him anything except to tell the prosecutor and the judge that he cooperated." Phillips then confessed that on the morning of January 18, 1993, he "lost it" and repeatedly hit Sheila. Phillips explained that he had called Sheila three times for breakfast and she had failed to respond. As a result, Phillips went to the girls' bedroom, pulled the covers off Sheila, and began hitting her, throwing her against the walls, and dragging her by her hair. During the beating, Phillips noticed that Sheila was not wearing underwear, which caused him to become sexually aroused. After beating Sheila, Phillips stated he put Vaseline on her anus and inserted his fingers. While Phillips admitted that he thought about anally penetrating the three-year-old girl with his penis on that morning, he denied doing so. Phillips did confess to anally penetrating Sheila with his penis on two prior occasions, but claimed that Evans had paid him to perform those acts. Toward the end of the approximately three- hour interview, Phillips prepared a handwritten statement detailing the events to which he had verbally confessed. Shortly after he completed the written statement, Phillips was arrested. On February 1, 1993, the Summit County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Phillips for one count of aggravated murder, one count of felonious sexual penetration, three counts of rape, one count of felonious assault, and one count of endangering children with a physical harm specification. Phillips entered a plea of not guilty to each count. Prior to trial, the state dismissed the felonious assault and child endangering charges. On August 18, 1993, a jury found Phillips guilty on each of the remaining charges. Following a mitigation hearing, the jury recommended that Phillips be sentenced to death for his conviction of aggravated murder. The trial court agreed with the jury's recommendation and sentenced Phillips to death. Additionally, the trial court imposed life sentences for each of the three rape charges and the charge of felonious sexual penetration.  

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 11, 2015 Missouri Jill Frey, 42    Walter Storey executed
Jill Frey, murder victimOn Friday, February 2, 1990, Walter Storey became upset over his pending divorce. After finishing all of his beer, he decided to steal money for more beer from Jill Frey, a special education teacher who lived in a neighboring apartment. He climbed her balcony and entered an unlocked sliding glass door. Storey stole her car keys, entered her bedroom, and, in his words, “struggled” with her. Jill Frey died of blood loss and asphyxiation from two neck wounds, which cut through both of her jugular veins, her airway, her esophagus, and into her spine. Before she lost consciousness, she had her eyelid torn off and suffered injuries to her forehead, nose, cheeks, scalp, lips, and tongue. She also had defensive wounds to her arms and hand. Jill suffered an abrasion on her right knee, a six-inch stab wound to her abdomen, four internal impact injuries to her head, and five fractured ribs. Storey struck Jill Frey a minimum of twenty times before cutting her throat to the spine. The next day he returned to her apartment, wiped it down, scrubbed Jill's fingernails with her own toothbrush, and attempted to remove any other incriminating evidence. When her body was found, she was lying face down in a pool of blood, naked below the waist, with her arms behind her back. The walls were splattered with blood, and her shirt had a tennis shoe imprint on it. The police found Storey's bloody palm print in the room. After searching the dumpster, the police also found Jill's briefcase along with a paper bag containing a bloody t-shirt, a tank-top, and a pair of white gloves. Jill's blood was on the gloves, and Storey's blood was on the t-shirt. Storey's sneakers also had blood on them. UPDATE: Jill Frey's brother, Jeff Frey, was among the 14 witnesses to the execution. He read a statement which said in part: "This guy had no mercy on Jill but now we are expected to have mercy on him." He said his sister had dedicated her life to helping children with special needs. "To say Jill was a special person is an understatement." Jeff said that waiting 25 years to watch Storey executed had been excruciating for Jill's loved ones and that their parents had passed away before they could see their daughter's killer die. Jill's father died shortly after the third trial. Her mother had complied three binders full of anything related to the trials. Jeff Frey said, "It's sad that the courts play politics and support murderers when surveys show that 60 to 70% of Americans support the death penalty. Why are we arguing over what is cruel and unusual punishment of a murder, of a terrorist?"

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 19, 2015 Alabama     Tommy Arthur stayed
 
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 19 , 2015 Oklahoma     John Grant stayed
 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 25 , 2015 Georgia     Kelly Gissendaner stayed
 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 26 , 2015 Florida     Jerry Cornell stayed
 

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