July 99 Executions
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Six killers were executed in the month of July, 1999.  They murdered at least 9 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 1, 1999 Pennsylvania Sherry Miller Dennis Miller stayed
Dennis Miller was given the death penalty for the 1995 murder of his 28-year-old wife in Chatham PA.  The couple had recently separated after Sherry Miller told her husband to move out after enduring a long history of abuse and threats to her life.  Miller was jailed for aggravated assault and during his prison term, predicted to a cellmate that he would be back in prison for killing his wife.  When he was paroled in September, Sherry allowed him to move back into the home with her and their two children, 12 and 4 years old.  Just before Thanksgiving, while spending an evening at a local bar, 32-year-old Miller became jealous and when they returned home, he raped his wife and then stabbed her more than 30 times. Miller was not arrested until May of 1996, in Arcadia Florida, after being featured on the television show America's Most Wanted.  DNA evidence from blood and semen as well as finger and footprints and the testimony of his own daughter at his trial convinced the judge to sentence Miller to die.  Miller sent a letter to the judge in which he blamed his wife for her own murder.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 1, 1999 Texas Johnnie Gray, 34 Emanuel Kemp stayed

A man convicted of raping and stabbing to death a female passenger on a city bus received the death penalty after a jury deliberated three hours.  Emanuel Kemp Jr. was convicted of capital murder in the stabbing death of Johnnie Gray, 34, who was a medical clerk at a local hospital.  Gray was the only person aboard the bus when the assault occurred, police said. David V. Jeanfreau, the bus driver and only witness, said Kemp robbed him and Gray at knifepoint and then ordered the bus be driven to a local park.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 1, 1999 Texas Catherine Harris Charles Tuttle executed
Charles Tuttle robbed and beat to death Catherine Harris of Tyler on 2/24/95.  Catherine was the aunt of a friend of Tuttle's and had allowed Tuttle to stay at their home. However, the 30-year-old Tuttle had been kicked out for not paying rent.  He returned 5 days later and was let into the home by his friend who left him watching television.  Catherine returned to the home and was beaten to death by Tuttle with a claw hammer.  He then stole her jewelry, credit cards, gun and truck.  Her nephew found her the next day, stuffed into a closet and hidden by a blanket.  Tuttle was arrested four days after the murder, attempting to use Catherine's credit cards in Beaumont, Texas.  Tuttle had previous convictions for forgery and drugs.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 4, 1999 Texas Manuel Aguirre, 77
Merced Aguirre, 65
Michael Gonzales stayed
Michael Gonzales was convicted of the stabbing deaths of his longtime neighbors, Manuel and Merced Aguirre during a robbery. Merced, 65, was stabbed countless times while fighting for her life and Manuel, 77, was stabbed 11 times.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 6, 1999 Pennsylvania Deborah Dudley, 23
Sandra Lindsay, 24
Gary Heidnik executed
Over a six month period in 1986-87, Gary Heidnik kidnapped and tortured six women by various forms of physical abuse and starvation.  Heidnik, 53, a former licensed practical nurse, was sentenced to death in 1988 for the torture, rape and murder of two of the six women he had held captive, half-naked and in chains, in the basement of his Feltonville home between November 1986 and March 1987. He hack-sawed one woman and fed her flesh to others; he electrocuted another by touching live wires to her chains.  Heidnik was sentenced to die by a Philadelphia jury for the murders of Deborah Dudley, 23, and Sandra Lindsay, 24. Deborah's body was found in a Camden County woods. In 1987, the torture chamber was finally discovered when the woman who had been captive the longest gained Heidnik's trust and convinced him to take her with him to help lure another victim.  She got out of the car and ran screaming into the night and then contacted the police. When investigators went to Heidnik's house, they were stunned to find three women, naked or partially clothed, chained in the basement. The survivors later testified that Heidnik not only kept them restrained in holes filled with water, but that he also periodically shocked them by dropping live electrical wires into the water.  Prosecutors presented even more hideous testimony and evidence at the trial. Heidnik, they said, used a screwdriver to gouge the women's ears and played loud music to prevent them from knowing when he was in the house.  The survivors said Heidnik killed Dudley by touching the live wires to her while she was in a water-filled pit. The jury was told that Sandra Lindsay, who was retarded, died due to a sock stuffed in her throat while her arm was attached to a rafter in the basement. Police discovered Sandra's limbs in Heidnik's freezer and her head in a pot on the stove.  The survivors also told investigators that Heidnik had mixed her flesh with dog food and fed it to them.  Finally on July 6 1999, at 10:29p.m., Gary Michael Heidnik was executed by lethal injection.  At the time of his death, no member of his family had made arrangements to claim his body.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 7, 1999 Florida William Wilkerson Thomas Provenzano stayed
Thomas Provenzano was convicted of killing an Orlando court bailiff in 1984.  Provenzano, 50, was convicted of the shooting death of bailiff William Wilkerson at the Orange County courthouse. Provenzano was there for a hearing on a disorderly conduct charge when he went on a rampage in 1984.  He shot Wilkerson, bailiff Harry Dalton, and correctional officer Mark Parker. Wilkerson died; Dalton suffered brain damage and was partly paralyzed and died in 1991. Parker was paralyzed from the neck down.  This was the second death warrant for Provenzano.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 7, 1999 Texas Andrea Lea Duke Tyrone Fuller executed
Tyrone Fuller was sentenced to die for the Paris, Texas robbery, rape and murder of Andrea Lea Duke.  On 1/20/88, 24 year old Fuller and two accomplices stabbed Andrea to death during a home invasion burglary.  Andrea was beaten, raped and stabbed multiple times.  When they left, she attempted to reach her neighbor's house to get help but died just outside the front door.  A pathologist determined she likely lived for several hours after the attack but couldn't scream for help because among her 44 wounds was one that severed her vocal chords.  Three other potentially fatal stab wounds were inflicted to her chest. Fuller and his accomplices drove off with her car, jewelry and credit cards. Fuller was arrested after using the credit cards in Dallas, about 100 miles to the southwest. He had been paroled 26 months earlier after serving less than 2 1/2 years of a 12-year sentence for burglary. It was his 2nd prison term for burglary.  At his 1989 trial, prosecutors used the then-new technology of DNA testing on body fluids and hairs recovered from the victim to tie Fuller to her attack and murder. The tests also eliminated Fuller's two companions as participating in the woman's rape. "When this first started, we thought Fuller was going to be a lesser player and we thought we'd make a deal with him," Wells said. "When the DNA results came back, all of a sudden he jumped from being somebody involved into the lead player." A bloody footprint found in the victim's home also was linked to Fuller and prosecutors had evidence he used the victim's credit cards. His fingerprints were found in her car, which was discovered a block from his home in Paris. One of Fuller's companions, John McGrew, received a life prison term in a plea bargain. Charges against a third man were dropped because there was no evidence to tie him to the crime, authorities said. Wells said the woman apparently had been targeted after her attackers broke into her car the previous week, stole her purse and obtained her address. Then they stalked her and waited until she was alone at home. that on a scale of 10 he would rank 12 or 13. Defense attorneys argued Fuller came from a dysfunctional family where his mother had stabbed and shot his father in separate incidents.  While awaiting trial for Andrea's murder, Fuller was caught gathering materials in preparation for an escape attempt.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 8, 1999 Florida Nancy Weiler, 37
Kristina Weiler, 9
Katherine Weiler, 5
Allen Lee Davis executed

Allen Lee Davis was convicted of killing a pregnant Jacksonville woman and her two young daughters on May 11 in 1982.  Davis, 54, was convicted of murdering Nancy Weiler, a Westinghouse executive's wife in Jacksonville who was three months pregnant when she was killed in 1982. Mrs. Weiler was "beaten almost beyond recognition," with a .357, hit over 25 times in the face and head. Her 9-year-old daughter Kristina was tied up and shot twice in the face, and her 5-year-old daughter Katherine was shot as she was trying to run away and then her skull was beaten in with the gun.  The murders occurred the day before Kristina's 10th birthday.  The Weilers were neighbors of Davis's parents and after the murders, Davis stole a camera and some jewelry.  The Weiler family was about to move and Nancy's husband John had gone ahead to Pennsylvania to await his family.  Two other death warrants have been issued in the case in last 13 years.  37 at the time of the murders, Davis had a string of felony convictions to his credit and was on parole for armed robbery at the time. 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 8, 1999 Oklahoma Lawrence Donnell Buckley Norman Newsted executed

Norman Lee Newsted was condemned for the Feb. 20, 1984, killing of Lawrence Donnell Buckley, 26. He hailed Buckley, who had only been driving a cab for a couple of months, at the Tulsa International Airport and asked the driver to take him to his sister's house, but they had trouble finding the address. Testimony at trial indicated they stopped at Calvary Temple Assembly of God to ask for directions, where Newsted made a phone call, then returned to the cab and shot Buckley twice in the back of the head.  The church pastor found the cab, with Buckley's body inside, partially submerged in a creek near the church the next day. Investigators said Newsted was arrested at his sister's home with Buckley's empty wallet nearby. Newsted maintained he shot Buckley in self-defense.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 9, 1999 Alabama Linda Griffith
Willie Griffith, 74
Pernell Ford stayed
Ford was given the death penalty for the robbery and murders of Linda Griffith, 42 and her mother, Willie Griffith.  74-year old-Willie was stabbed 10 times in the face, neck and chest and Linda was stabbed six times in the head and neck.  The murders occurred in Jacksonville Alabama on December 2, 1983 and Ford was apprehended in Illinois, driving Linda's car and still had on the clothing that was stained with the Griffiths' blood.  At the time, he was 18 and a high school dropout. Prosecutors said Ford admitted to police that he broke into the house to rob the women, but he surprised Linda Griffith and stabbed her when she tried to prevent him from leaving. Willie Griffith watched her daughter die, prosecutors said, then the killer turned on her. She suffered from arthritis and needed a walker to get around. Ford was stopped for speeding near Springfield, Ill., the day after the killings, while driving Linda Griffith's car. Blood stains were found on his shoes, socks, pants and shirt, which later were matched to the victims, prosecutors said. In the car, investigators found a .38-caliber pistol, credit cards, purses, a gold necklace, a coupon file, a key ring and other possessions belonging to the Griffiths.  If Ford is put to death as scheduled, Wayne Griffith plans to be there watching. The victims were his mother and sister, and he said the execution is a fitting and overdue end for Ford, whose former defense attorney contends he is too mentally ill to be executed. But Griffith doesn't buy it. He describes Ford as "crazy like a fox." Witnessing the execution is something Griffith, 60, says he has to do to carry out a personal vow, made when he accidentally saw crime-scene photographs of his mother's and sister's bodies during Ford's 1984 trial. He can still recall the bloody images vividly. "I made a promise to myself right there, that I'm going to be there, I'm going to see him suffer," Griffith said. "You have to forgive me -- I want to see him suffer a little. I made myself a promise that if I was on this earth I would see it." Ford, now 33, gave up appealing his conviction and death sentence last year and dismissed his attorney, LaJuana Davis. The U.S. District Court in Birmingham found him competent to make the decision. Griffith, a golf pro in Gadsden, was present at Ford's 1984 trial and has followed the appeals process closely. He said he has no doubt that the convicted killer knew what he was doing when he entered the home of his disabled mother, 74-year-old Willie "Bill" Griffith, and sister, Linda Gail Griffith, 42, to rob them. Prosecutors said Ford beat and stabbed Gail Griffith when she surprised him after he entered an unlocked side door, then stabbed her mother to stop her screaming. He was arrested the next day in Illinois, driving Gail Griffith's car and wearing blood-spattered clothes. "It was a very vicious attack on them, my mother being an invalid," Griffith said. "He could have walked out the door but he chose not to walk out the door." Griffith's mother, a widow, was retired from the Jacksonville city school system, where she was an elementary school dietician for many years. Gail Griffith had worked as one of several secretaries to German rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun, who led the Saturn team at Redstone Arsenal, for years, her brother said. But when their father died and their arthritic mother underwent knee replacement surgery, Gail moved back to Jacksonville to take care of her and took a job at the Social Security Administration in Anniston, Griffith said. Both women were amateur athletes who delighted in following Jacksonville State University and local high school football and basketball, he said.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 7, 1999 Florida William Wilkerson Thomas Provenzano stayed
Thomas Provenzano was convicted of killing an Orlando court bailiff in 1984.  Provenzano, 50, was convicted of the shooting death of bailiff William Wilkerson at the Orange County courthouse. Provenzano was there for a hearing on a disorderly conduct charge when he went on a rampage in 1984.  He shot Wilkerson, bailiff Harry Dalton, and correctional officer Mark Parker. Wilkerson died; Dalton suffered brain damage and was partly paralyzed and died in 1991. Parker was paralyzed from the neck down.  This was the second death warrant for Provenzano.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 13, 1999 Texas Cecile Ham, 48 Spencer Goodman stayed

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction and death sentence of the man condemned to die for the July 2, 1991 Houston robbery-slaying of Cecile Ham, the wife of a rock group manager. Spencer Corey Goodman had been on parole less than 24 hours when he abducted the wife of Bill Ham, manager of the rock group ZZ Top. He kidnapped her from the parking lot of a drugstore because he was tired of walking and wanted her red Cadillac.  Goodman had challenged his conviction, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he intentionally killed Ham and that he posed a future danger - elements that must be proved in a capital murder case.  The court disagreed, and pointed in particular to the confession he made after he was arrested in Eagle County, Colo., where authorities spotted him driving Ham's car more than a month after her disappearance.  In his confession, Goodman told police that rather than reporting to a parole halfway house in Houston when he was released from prison, he walked the streets of Houston for hours. He said he saw his victim leave a drugstore.  ""I decided at that point that I wanted to take her car from her," his confession states. ""I had been walking for a long time and my feet hurt."  Goodman knocked Cecile unconscious by striking her in the back of the head and later ""used martial arts and broke the lady's neck," according to court records. He then stuffed the body in the trunk of her car, and drove to Colorado, using the woman's credit cards to buy beer and cigarettes. He dumped the body in a remote area; after his arrest, Goodman led authorities to the body.  Her husband, Bill Ham, and her mother, Louella Autrey of Waxahachie, were present when Goodman was sentenced to death and released a written statement before leaving the courthouse.  "The goodness that was Cecile will never again touch our lives," the statement read. "The sweetness of her smile and humor in adversity will never strengthen us again except as a memory. "Every good and gracious trait that was Cecile is gone but will never be forgotten." The statement thanked law enforcement officers and prosecutors and challenged the community to work for a system that "considers the rights of victims to be of supreme importance. In memory of our beloved Cecile, the charge is to work toward a system dedicated to the freedom to live our lives unharmed and safe."  The trial lasted two weeks and included the testimony of dozens of witnesses.  Goodman 's adoptive father, Barnard Goodman Sr., 62, testified that his immediate family fears the defendant -- who, at his own request, remained outside the courtroom during his father's testimony. Under cross-examination by Goodman's attorney, Steven Rosen, the father said he placed the decision of life in prison or death in the jury's hands. "At this point, he's broken the heart of our family, and we would rather not be any further involved in this than we have to," he said.  In a letter written earlier this year, the elder Goodman told his son the whole family loved him when he was taken in at age 1.  "I tried so hard when you were young to turn you around," the letter read. "We couldn't turn you around and you continued to do things that were against our laws, God's laws and the laws of society." The father and other family members left the courtroom after his testimony.  Assistant District Attorney Fred Felcman, in closing arguments, called the defendant "society's worst nightmare."  He reminded jurors of Goodman 's courtroom conduct during the trial when he tried to leave during testimony.  "Even then, for some reason, he feels he has the right to leave whenever he wants to," Felcman said.  Rosen pleaded with the jury for mercy in closing arguments, reminding them of a string of witnesses who testified to the good in Goodman.  "Shame on the state of Texas for saying you should take this young man's life," Rosen said.  Briscoe, however, reminded jurors that the two-time ex-con received countless chances from his family and from the criminal justice system.  "Time and time again, leniency has been extended to this man through our criminal justice system," Briscoe said. "Just as often, this man has spit in the face of society."  On parole for auto theft, burglary and probation violations at the time of the murder, Goodman decided not to check in at a Houston halfway house July 1 as ordered. He wandered the streets and spotted Cecile outside a Walgreen drugstore at Memorial and Dairy Ashford.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 14, 1999 Texas Ashley Estell, 7 Michael Blair stayed
Seven-year-old Ashley Estell was playing at a park in Plano, TX when she was kidnapped, raped and strangled on September 5, 1993.  Michael Blair was out on parole after serving only a year and a half of a ten year sentence for burglary and indecency with a child, an 11-year-old girl.  He was caught after returning to her home to rape her a second time.  Blair remains a suspect in several other crimes in the Plano area.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 21, 1999 Texas Jenny Lynn Weeks, 14 Reginald Reeves stayed
Reginald Lenard Reeves was convicted in the 1993 rape/murder of fourteen-year-old Jenny Lynn Weeks, who was strangled during an aggravated sexual assault in Red River County.  1Jenny's body was found dumped in a vacant home in Clarksville in Red River County.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 21, 1999 Virginia Leanne Whitlock, 19 Thomas Strickler executed

Thomas Strickler was sentenced to death for the January 1990 kidnapping, robbery and murder of 19-year-old Leanne Whitlock. She was beaten to death by Strickler and an accomplice. Strickler was convicted of abducting Leanne, a James Madison University student, from a Harrisonburg Virginia shopping mall, taking her to a field in Augusta County and killing her by dropping a large rock onto her head. He had an accomplice, Ronald Lee Henderson, who was arrested after Strickler's trial and has been sentenced to life in prison. Strickler had been scheduled to die Sept. 16, 1998, but, 2 days earlier the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the execution to determine whether his constitutional rights had been violated at his trial. The court heard arguments in March of 1999 and affirmed the conviction and sentence in June. 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 1999 Pennsylvania ??? Otis Peterkin stayed
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