October 99 Executions
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Seven killers were executed in the month of October, 1999.  They murdered at least 9 people.
Eleven killers received stays.  They have murdered at least 16 people

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 12, 1999   Texas Melvin Drum, 57  Alvin Crane  executed 

An Ochiltree County sheriff's deputy who stopped a suspect for questioning was shot in the face with a shotgun and killed. Melvin Drum, 57, the county's chief deputy, was killed on a Perryton street, said Sheriff Joe Hataway. Alvin Wayne Crane of Logan, Okla., a former resident of Perryton, was arrested in Beaver, Okla. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 14, 1999 Texas Suzanne Denise Harrison, 18
Brian Boone, 19
Gena Turner, 20
Jerry McFadden executed

In 1979, Jerry Walter "Animal" McFadden was convicted of a double rape for which he spent less than five years behind bars. Released on parole, he hastened to rape again. McFadden's second prison stay also lasted less than five years, after which he was again placed on parole. Within a year, he murdered two teenagers, and raped and then murdered an eighteen-year old girl.  Jerry "Animal" McFadden - a thrice-convicted sex offender whose 1986 jail escape resulted in the state's largest manhunt - was sentenced to die the murder of a Hawkins High School cheerleader. McFadden, 39, appeared emotionless when state District Judge F.L. "Tiny" Garrison read the jury's verdict, reached after only 45 minutes of deliberation. The same jury took four hours earlier to find that McFadden, a former oil field worker and construction worker from Ore City, beat, raped and strangled Suzanne Denise Harrison, 18, in May 1986. Harrison's family members in attendance were pleased with the verdict. "At this point, we're starting to get well," said Glyndia Lane, the girl's aunt, after the court recessed. "We're going to try to put this behind us." Harrison and two friends - 19-year-old Brian Boone and 20-year-old Gena Turner - disappeared from a Lake Hawkins park May 4, 1986. Harrison's body was found the next day by maintenance workers at Barnwell Mountain park, 30 miles from the lake. The decomposed bodies of Brian and Gena, each shot to death, were found six days later near Ore City. Although McFadden was suspected in their deaths, he was not officially charged. Gena's aunt, Ginny Person, at the courthouse when the sentence was announced about 8 p.m., said the death sentence was necessary. "It's not revenge," she said. "It's removal." Standing in the court hallway, she wept. "It's not worth the mental torture to go through this again. Even though a part of us is missing, it's over and we need to go on." Stephen Tokoly, a former assistant district attorney and special prosecutor in the case, said he expected the verdict, calling the evidence overwhelming. But Vernard Soloman, McFadden's appointed defense attorney, said he still believes his client is innocent. Because of the guilty verdict, however, he said he expected the penalty. "It (the verdict) was 10 minutes later than I thought it would be," he said. Dorothy McFadden, the condemned man's mother, was absent when the sentence was read aloud but was visibly shaken when told the news, said a courthouse spectator. McFadden's 17-year-old daughter Rhonda, who begged for his life, declined comment. Arguments and testimony in McFadden's trial took 90 hours over 16 days. The trial was moved here from Gilmer because of pre-trial publicity. Presentation of evidence in the punishment phase of the trial took only 90 minutes. The most damning evidence introduced during that part of the trial, say attorneys for both sides, was court records from McFadden's three previous convictions. The first, in 1973, were two rapes in Denton and Haskell Counties that netted a 15-year prison sentence from which he was paroled in 5 and a half years.  After being released, he received a cumulative life sentence for aggravated robbery and was paroled under mandatory release in July of 1985.  The last case involved a three-county spree in 1979 in which McFadden kidnapped, raped and sodomized a Shackelford County secretary. The crimes resulted in a 15-year sentence, and a half-dozen charges stemming from the same incident went untried. Less than one year after his release in July of 1985, he killed Suzanne, Gena and Brian.  McFadden's lawyer called as his only witness Rhonda McFadden, who lives with her mother in Levelland. "I want to ask you not to give him the death penalty," she said to jurors in a breaking voice. "That's murder. No man has a right to commit murder. He's on trial for that. How can you do that?" The jurors were apparently unmoved, as they were at Solomon's contentions that because of sloppy police work, the real killers went free. That possibility was based on testimony that a nervous, jumpy hitchhiker covered with scratches was seen near the vicinity when the murders occurred, Solomon said. He also cited other testimony that showed differing descriptions of the the vehicle McFadden was driving. When arrested in connection with the Lake Hawkins crime spree, the heavy-set McFadden sported a heavy beard, and shoulder-length hair with its ends bleached. During the trial, he wore conservative clothing. He was clean-shaven, had cut his hair and had lost about 60 pounds. McFadden made national headlines last summer when he escaped for three days from the Upshur County Jail, taking a woman jailer hostage. She escaped unharmed the day after her abduction, and McFadden surrendered when authorities surrounded the vacant house where he was holed up in nearby Big Sandy. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 15, 1999 Utah Richard Ernest, 30 Joseph Parsons executed

Joseph Parsons, 35, was sentenced to die for the stabbing death 12 years ago Aug. 31, 1987, of Richard Ernest, a 30-year-old California man who was traveling through Utah on his way to Colorado.  Ernest, from Loma Linda, offered a hitchhiking Parsons a ride near Barstow, Calif., unaware the man had walked away from a halfway house in Nevada, where he had been paroled for armed robbery.  At a rest stop near Parowan in Iron County, Parsons stabbed Ernest at least 18 times and took off with his car and credit cards.  Police caught up with him after he used the credit card to charge merchandise at a discount store.  In July, a judge granted Parsons' motion to fire his attorneys, drop his appeals, and expedite his execution.  "I've been under a sentence of death for 11 years and I honestly don't see anything good coming out of it," Parsons told a magistrate earlier this year. "I've made my peace with myself and my family and it's time to move on."  In August 1987, Parsons, then 23, was hitchhiking outside Barstow, Calif., when Ernest picked him up. That night, as the 2 rested outside Cedar City, Parsons stabbed Ernest at least 18 times, took his wallet and threw the body from the car.  Parsons argued that he stabbed Ernest in self-defense after Ernest made a homosexual advance. Refuting that claim, prosecutors said the medical examiner reported that the wounds appeared to have been inflicted while Ernest was sleeping.  On the anniversary of Ernest's death, the 2 women closest to the murder victim said Parsons' execution will help to close a painful chapter in their lives.  "For 12 years he has been able to talk to his family, see his family, and all I have are two dozen photos of my brother because we were together for a short time," Jana Salais, Ernest's sister, said Tuesday.  Salais said both she and her brother were abandoned by their mother, and it took 15 years to find each other. "My mother left him on the doctor's desk on the day I was born," Salais said.  Salais, who continues to live in San Antonio where her brother was from, said she plans to watch Parsons die.  "I think my brother would have been there if it had been me," Salais said. "With his death, his family will know how I have felt. I feel empathy for them, but it is still justice. There is a large part of me that will celebrate his passing because it is justice after all this time."  Salais, who spoke through her tears, said she is not excited at the coming execution but resolved that it will bring closure and bring peace to her brother.  "It is something I have to do. Once he is executed, I will know it is over. My brother can be at peace, and I can get on with my life."  Salais said she wrote Parsons a letter, which was to be delivered to the death row inmate at the discretion of the warden.  In the letter, Salais said she asked Parsons a lot of questions, but she is unsure if she will ever get answers.  "I asked him, 'What happened in your life to make you do what you did?  Have you made peace with God? Do you feel remorse?' " Ernest's widow also has questions. Beverley Thurston said she plans to watch the execution and wants to hear Parsons' last words.  "There is no question I want to be there. I want to see him go in, and I want to see him come out. I really want to hear his last words, too.  I am hoping his last words answer some questions."  She, too, started to cry.  "And today is very hard day. It is 12 years ago today that it happened. You would think it would get easier after 12 years, but it doesn't."  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 19, 1999 Tennessee Cary Ann Medlin, 8 Robert Coe stayed

One of the death sentences that U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon reversed, prompting calls for his impeachment, was reinstated by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Nixon wrongly reversed the conviction that Robert Glen Coe received for raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl in rural West Tennessee in 1979. The appeals court reinstated both the conviction and the death sentence that a Shelby County jury gave Coe in 1981 for the torture-murder of Cary Ann Medlin.  In February 1981, Coe was convicted of the Labor Day 1979 kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cary Ann. U.S. District Judge John Nixon in 1996 threw out Coe's convictions for 1st-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. Nixon's ruling -- which angered supporters of the death penalty -- wiped out Coe's death sentence for the murder conviction and his 2 life in prison sentences for the rape and kidnapping convictions. Coe told police in 1979 that he kidnapped the girl, sexually assaulted her and cut her throat. He also said that just before he killed her, she said to him, "Jesus loves you."  He tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the confession and was convicted. Tennessee appeals courts upheld Coe's conviction. But Nixon threw it out, saying the trial jury was given improper instructions on when capital punishment should be applied, including on the issue of whether the killing was done with malice. Medlin's mother, Charlotte Stout of Greenfield, Tenn. said she was "really relieved" by the appeals court action, since Nixon's December 1996 ruling would have given Coe a new trial. "I couldn't imagine going through that again," Stout said.  Coe admitted, three days after Cary Medlin disappeared in September 1979, that he lured her into his car as she rode a bicycle near her parents' home in Greenfield, Tenn. Coe, who had a history of mental illness, told authorities that he sexually molested the girl, then tried to choke her and, when that did not work, stabbed her and watched her bleed to death. Nixon reversed Coe's conviction and death sentence in December 1996 because of what he called errors the trial judge made in instructing the jury. Nixon said the judge at Coe's trial did not give the jury enough guidance when he defined the terms "heinous, atrocious and cruel," "reasonable doubt" and "malice." The 6th Circuit panel disagreed with Nixon on each of those points. Nixon has reversed five death sentences imposed by Tennessee juries, and higher federal courts have affirmed his rulings in four of those cases. But his reversal of Coe's conviction and death sentence stirred a grass-roots campaign, based in Greenfield, calling for his impeachment. Nixon has a well-known anti-death penalty stance and has accepted awards for such.  Both houses of the Tennessee legislature jumped on the impeach-Nixon bandwagon, and Stout went to Washington to testify before a congressional committee. But Congress took no action against the judge. Nixon, 65, has now "taken senior status," or semi-retirement, as a trial judge.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 19, 1999 Virginia Jeffrey Anderson Jason Joseph executed

Jason Joseph was convicted of the October 26, 1992 robbery and murder of Jeffrey Anderson, 22, who worked at a Subway sandwich shop in Portsmouth, Virginia.  According to a Virginia Supreme Court summary of evidence, an accomplice gave Joseph his .45-caliber pistol.  Joseph and his accomplice Kaisi Powell entered the sub shop and Joseph ordered a sandwich.  After the sandwich was made, Joseph took the gun out of his pocket and ordered Anderson to open the cash register and give him the money.  Anderson complied and Joseph ordered him to get down on the floor behind the counter.  Joseph reached over the counter and shot Anderson in the back.  Prosecutors told jurors at a sentencing hearing that Joseph had committed other crimes, including the armed robbery and abduction of 2 convenience store clerks.  The cold-blooded murder was caught on the store's video camera system.  In addition to the death sentence, Joseph also received a life sentence and an additional 100 year sentence.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 19, 1999 Pennsylvania Nicoletta Casserta, 12 Henry P. Fahy stayed

Henry P. Fahy of Philadelphia was convicted of 1st-degree murder for the 1981 torture murder and rape of his girlfriend's 12-year-old niece, Nicoletta Casserta. Fahy was formally sentenced to die on Nov. 2, 1983. The conviction has been upheld by the state Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Fahy was scheduled to be executed the week of Jan. 13, 1992 but received a stay that day.  He received a second warrant of execution for the week of July 9, 1995 but received a stay two days before he was to be executed.  This is the third time he has been scheduled for execution.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 21, 1999 North Carolina Wanda Hartman Arthur Martin Boyd, Jr. executed

Arthur Boyd, on death row since 1983, was convicted for the Aug.7, 1982, stabbing death of Wanda Hartman outside a shopping mall in Mount Airy in Surry County. Hartman was stabbed 37 times in front of her young daughter and mother. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 21, 1999 Texas Ollie "Sammy" Childress Pedro Sosa stayed

An Oct. 21 execution date has been set for capital murderer Pedro Sosa, who has been on death row since 1984 for the execution-style slaying of a Wilson County deputy sheriff.  "Without a doubt, this is our oldest capital murder case," District Attorney Lynn Ellison said.  "There is no telling how long it is going to be on appeal (in federal court). This just puts the defense's feet to the fire," Ellison said.  State District Judge Olin Strauss set the execution date during a brief hearing in Floresville earlier this week at Ellison's request.  Sosa's 2 other execution dates in 1987 and 1993 were stayed because of appeals, and Ellison predicted the October date also will be stayed.  "There are still some issues that have been raised in the federal level that the state court must address," he said. If the original conviction is ever overturned, Ellison said, he's prepared to try Sosa again for the Nov. 4, 1983, execution-style slaying of Deputy Ollie "Sammy" Childress. Childress was handcuffed, ordered to crawl into the trunk of his patrol car and shot twice in the neck with his own .44-caliber service revolver.  Sosa's nephew, Leroy Sosa, testified against his uncle, telling a Wilson County jury they planned to rob the LaVernia State Bank and kidnapped Childress as part of the effort. After killing the deputy, Sosa wore the officer's shirt and badge while robbing the bank of $50,000, his nephew testified. Leroy Sosa pled guilty to bank robbery and received a life sentence in return for his testimony. His uncle was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Ellison said his predecessor, Alger Kendall, allowed Sosa to remain on death row for about 4 years without bringing him back to Wilson County for the setting of an execution date. "I just want to make sure this case moves ahead as quickly as possible," the district attorney said.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 21, 1999 Pennsylvania Davis Kelly James Melvin Smith stayed

On Feb. 6, 1985, Smith was convicted of 1st-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime for the 1979 revenge shooting of Davis Kelly. Smith was formally sentenced to death on May 6, 1986. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 26, 1999 Pennsylvania Sherrill Ann Hall, 31 Alexander Keaton stayed

Alexander Keaton was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1992 brutal strangulation of 31-year-old Sherrill Ann Hall. He also was convicted of kidnapping and possessing an instrument of crime, and two counts each of rape, aggravated assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, false imprisonment and unlawful restraint, for assaulting two other victims who survived. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 26, 1999 Florida George Pfeil, 55 Terry Sims stayed

Terry Melvin Sims killed a Seminole County reserve deputy sheriff more than 20 years ago.  Sims, 57, was condemned to die for the slaying of Deputy George Pfeil, 55, at the Longwood Village Pharmacy on Dec. 29, 1977.  Pfeil was in uniform and on his way home when he entered the pharmacy on State Road 434 to pick up a prescription. Inside, Sims and Curtis Baldree were robbing the store while accomplices B.B. Halsell and Clarence Eugene Robinson waited in a getaway car.  Pfeil exchanged gunfire with Sims and was shot twice. He died a short time later. Sims, who was shot in the hip, was not arrested until June 1978, after an attempted armed robbery in California.  Baldree and Halsell testified against Sims during his 1979 trial and said he bragged that he "killed a cop with one shot." Sims was convicted of 1st-degree murder and robbery. Baldree and Halsell were both killed after being released from 2-year prison terms.  Robinson, who was indicted in absentia for murder in the pharmacy shooting, remained at large until June 1983 when he surrendered after being charged with shooting two FBI agents in Volusia County.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 27, 1999 Florida George Wilson, 60 Anthony Bryan stayed

On May 27, 1983, Anthony B. Bryan robbed a bank in Grand Bay, Alabama with a sawed-off shotgun. He was not caught after the crime and spent the next three months as a fugitive from the law. In June 1983, Bryan met Sharon Cooper in Jacksonville, Florida and the two hitchhiked to Mississippi. After obtaining a truck in Mississippi, they drove back to Florida, stopping en route to retrieve the sawed-off shotgun that Bryan had used in the bank robbery. In Florida, Bryan obtained a cabin cruiser in order to travel back to Mississippi. The boat became damaged and Bryan and Cooper stopped in Pascagoula, Mississippi to make repairs. Bryan borrowed tools from George Wilson and unsuccessfully tried to repair the boat. Needing transportation and money, Bryan robbed George at gunpoint and tied him up for the night. Bryan then took George's keys and robbed the seafood wholesaler where George worked as a night watchman.   After returning from the seafood wholesaler, Bryan placed George in the back of his car. Bryan and Cooper then drove him to Santa Rosa County where the three stayed in a motel. Leaving the motel, Bryan drove George to a secluded spot in the woods. He marched George, with his hands tied, at gunpoint to a spot beside a creek. Fearing for his life, George pleaded that he not be crippled. Bryan knocked George over the head with the shotgun and as he fell into the creek, Bryan shot him in the face with the sawed-off shotgun. Bryan then pushed his car into a nearby river.  In August 1983, Bryan and Cooper were arrested in Madison County, Florida for driving a stolen car. Following her release, Cooper went to offices of the FBI to report that Bryan had robbed, kidnapped, and murdered George Wilson. After being arrested by authorities, Bryan escaped from the Santa Rosa County jail in July 1984. He was re-arrested in Colorado in October 1985. At trial for the murder of George Wilson, Cooper was the state's chief witness. A jury convicted Bryan of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm, kidnapping with a firearm, and felony murder.   At the sentencing, Bryan called seven witnesses to testify on his behalf; including his mother, grandmother, ex-wife, a co-worker, and people who knew Bryan when he was a fugitive between July 1984 and October 1985. Bryan also introduced written reports prepared by four separate mental health experts as well as the deposition of a psychiatrist. The jury returned an advisory sentence of death. On May 16, 1986, Judge Wells accepted the jury's recommendation, finding numerous aggravating factors and two mitigating factors, and sentenced Bryan to death in Florida's electric chair.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 27, 1999 Ohio Lisa Filiaggi, 27 James Filiaggi stayed

James Filiaggi, 28, fatally shot his ex-wife in the head, and attempted to kill her step-father. Filiagi surrendered to police after an eight-day manhunt. Filiaggi was convicted of chasing his former wife, Lisa Filiaggi, 27, from her Lorain home and shooting her twice after trapping her inside a neighbor's home on Jan. 24. He then allegedly drove to Amherst Township and took shots at Lisa Filiaggi's stepfather, Delbert Yepko. Police lost Filiaggi in the fog in southern Lorain County. Lisa Filiaggi had wondered aloud to her family about when authorities would take her complaints seriously. "What's it going to take?" she asked her sister. "One of us dead?" The 27-year-old mother of two tried for months to stop an obsessive ex-husband from harassing her. She told police that he sprayed tear gas on her car and threw a can of motor oil and rocks through her front window. But there was never enough evidence to prosecute. On Jan. 24, 1994 he broke down the back door of her house. Lisa ran out the front and into a neighbor's home, where she was gunned down.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 27, 1999 Arizona Manuelita McCormack Ignacio Ortiz executed

Ignacio Ortiz had been involved in an affair with Manuelita McCormack, the mother of his 3-year-old godson. When Mrs. McCormack reconciled with her husband, Ortiz attempted to rekindle the affair. On the evening of December 21, 1978, Ortiz went to the McCormack home while Mr. McCormack was away. After strangling and stabbing Mrs. McCormack, he also stabbed her 9-year-old and 8-year-old daughters. Ortiz then poured gasoline throughout the house and over the body of Mrs. McCormack, and placed a delayed ignition device at the foot of the 3-year-old's bed. Before igniting the gasoline, Ortiz instructed the children to stay in the house until the fire department arrived. The children survived, but Mrs. McCormack did not. These events occurred in Pima County.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 28, 1999 Virginia Morris Keller, 45
Mary Elizabeth Keller, 35
unnamed man
unnamed man
unnamed man
unnamed man
Michael Williams stayed

Michael Wayne Williams was sentenced to die for the slaying of a Cumberland County, Virginia couple who were robbed and shot to death and whose house was set on fire on Feb. 27, 1993.  After the slaying of Morris Keller Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Keller, Williams and an accomplice fled to Fredericksburg in the Kellers' stolen Jeep. The accomplice, Jeffrey Alan Cruse, who was 25 at the time, testified against Williams and received a life sentence.  Williams was tried in January 1994. In addition to the Keller murders, the jury also heard evidence that Williams had killed 4 men in Prince George County in December 1992.  Williams, now 31, was convicted of capital murder in the Kellers' deaths, along with burglary, rape, arson, 2 counts of robbery and 2 counts of abduction. He was sentenced to death for the slayings and is scheduled to die by injection at 9 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center.  He later pleaded guilty to 1 count of capital murder and 3 counts of 1st-degree murder for the Prince George slayings and was sentenced to life in prison for each slaying.  Cruse and Williams planned to rob customers in a market in Cumberland County between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. with Williams' .357 caliber revolver but the store was closed when they arrived. They decided to rob the nearby home of the Kellers. Morris Keller, 45, operated Gibralter Wood Co.; Mary Elizabeth Keller, 35, worked for an insurance company.  Cruse knocked on the door and the 2 men entered the Kellers' home.  Williams, who was holding the gun, ordered the Kellers to take off all their clothes and he stayed in the kitchen with them as Cruse searched the house for valuables.  Cruse found a .38 caliber handgun. The Kellers were tied up and placed in closets. After some of the Kellers' property was assembled in the living room, first Williams and then Cruse raped Mrs. Keller. Williams told the Kellers they were all going "to take a walk."  Hearing that they planned to burn the house, Mrs. Keller took her marriage certificate with her as they were marched to a thicket in a wooded area near the house. Williams shot Mr. Keller and Cruse shot Mrs. Keller.  "After Mrs. Keller fell, Mr. Keller stood up and Williams shot him again . . . As Cruse started to walk away, Williams said, 'Wait . . . (w)hat if they ain't dead?' and he shot each of the Kellers 'a couple more times apiece' with the .38 caliber handgun."  The 2 gunmen then loaded stolen property into the Kellers' Jeep, set fire to the house and then drove to Fredericksburg where they sold some of the property. They threw the remaining property and the .357 caliber handgun into the Rappahannock River and then set fire to the Jeep.  Both men testified at Williams' trial. Each admitted to firing one shot but blamed the rest of the 7 shots on the other. The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay less than an hour before Williams was scheduled for execution.  In a final appeal, attorneys for Williams argued that Williams' constitutional rights were violated when the prosecutor used the fact that he had heard other witnesses' testimony to impeach his testimony.  However, the appeal was granted based on a second issue raised by the appeal -- that Williams was denied a federal evidence hearing on claims the state suppressed facts and denied discovery requests and investigative resources during state court proceedings.  Barbara Hartung, one of Williams' attorneys, said the high court agreed to review a portion of a 1996 federal law that restricts a U.S. district court's ability to conduct evidentiary hearings.  "It will affect a lot of people,'' she said.  David Botkins, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Earley, said several relatives of Williams' victims had gone to Jarratt to witness the execution. "It's unfortunate at this particular juncture that the victims' family members have to relive the horror of the last few years,'' Botkins said. He said the state would argue vigorously to uphold the death sentence.  Williams did not seek clemency from Gov. Jim Gilmore. Ms. Hartung declined to say why.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 28, 1999 Texas Suda Elder Jones, 94 Domingo Cantu executed

Domingo Cantu was sentenced to die for the murder of Suda Elder Jones, a 94-year-old woman who was beaten, raped and killed by being hit with a concrete block.  Cantu was arrested shortly after the murder and gave police a statement about the crimes.  Cantu's lawyers recently demanded and received DNA testing they claimed would prove his innocence, however, the tests only reinforced his guilt.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 29, 1999 North Carolina John Simmons Joseph Keel stayed
Joseph Timothy Keel, 35, has twice been convicted of killing his father-in-law, John Simmons in 1990.  Keel was convicted in 1991 and in 1993 for the shooting death of his father-in-law on an Edgecombe County hog farm where Keel worked.  He received the death penalty because of a previous conviction in the beating death of his young son.  In 1987, Keel was convicted by a jury of involuntary manslaughter after his son’s death. 
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 29, 1999 South Carolina Bruce K. Smalls Richard Johnson stayed

Richard Johnson was convicted twice for the Sept. 27, 1985, murder of Highway Patrol trooper and Beaufort, S.C. native Bruce K. Smalls after the trooper pulled over a motor home on Interstate 95 near the South Carolina Welcome Center outside Hardeeville.  Johnson and 2 hitchhikers had already murdered the owner of the mobile home and stuffed his body out of sight; testimony in Johnson's trials showed he shot the trooper to prevent him from finding the body.  Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of the mobile home's owner, C. Daniel Swansen, 52, of Virginia.  Johnson, 38, of Morehead City, N.C., was convicted of Smalls' murder after a 1986 trial, but that conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that both the solicitor and the judge made improper statements to the jury. He was convicted again and sentenced to death 2 years after his 1st trial.  That decision was also appealed, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Johnson's final appeal in September of 1999.  Johnson pleaded guilty to killing Swansen in 1985. Testimony in the later trials showed that Johnson killed the trooper -- with Swansen's handgun -- to prevent him from finding the body.  According to testimony from the trials, Johnson met Swansen in Morehead City in late September 1985. As Hurricane Gloria approached the Carolinas, Swansen decided to drive his motor home southward. Johnson went along.  They began drinking heavily on the way south. They picked up two hitchhikers on Sept. 26 from a rest stop near Florence -- Connie Hess, then 17, of Omaha, Neb., and Curtis Harbert, then 20, of Moorefield, W.Va.  Somewhere near Manning, while Swansen slept in the back of his motor home, the trio decided to kill him and take his jewelry, cash and guns, Hess and Harbert testified. Johnson pleaded guilty to shooting Swansen with one shot. They then wrapped his body in a blanket and stuffed him behind the bed.  Hess and Harbert received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony against Johnson. Hess testified only at Johnson's 1st trial. Harbert testified at both.  Truckers later noticed the motor home being driven recklessly down the interstate and called police. Smalls, who had stopped a Georgia woman for speeding, responded to the call. He approached the motor home after pulling it over, apparently noticed the empty liquor bottles and asked permission to enter.  Johnson shot him 5 times.  

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