September 99 Executions
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Ten killers were executed in the month of September 1999. They murdered at least 14 people.
Nineteen killers had their executions stayed. They have murdered at least 42 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 1, 1999 Texas Su Van Dang, 51 Raymond Jones executed

Raymond James Jones was sentenced to die for beating and hacking to death a Vietnamese immigrant so he could steal the victim's portable stereo from his Port Arthur home. This was the 6/17/88 murder of Su Van Dang, 51, in Port Arthur in east Texas. 28-year-old Jones robbed Su Van in his home, stabbed him to death, stuffed him in a closet and set fire to the house to cover up the crime. Jones was on parole for a robbery conviction at the time of the murder. What former prosecutor McWilliams remembers about the death of Vietnamese immigrant Su Van Dang nearly a dozen years ago is the bloody carnage at the victim's Port Arthur home. "The attack lasted for a pretty long time and at one time the victim was able to escape his house and got as far as almost the curb," said McWilliams, a former Jefferson County district attorney who prosecuted Raymond James Jones. "But Jones got him and dragged him back in," McWilliams said. Jones, 39, a convicted burglar who on parole after serving 2 1/2 years of a 10-year prison term, was set to die tonight for the 1988 killing during a robbery. "Evidence showed he initiated the attack with a knife and a meat cleaver," McWilliams said. "He ended up using a 2nd meat cleaver because the first one wasn't getting the job done.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 1, 1999 Virginia Jose Cavazos, 50 Lonnie Weeks, Jr. stayed

Lonnie Weeks was convicted of murdering a state trooper during a 1993 traffic stop in Dale City, Virginia. Weeks, 26, shot Trooper Jose Cavazos six times in the back, as he was walking away, with a Glock 9mm handgun, using hollow-point bullets known on the street as "man-stoppers." Weeks was a passenger in a car being driven by his uncle, Louis Dukes. The officer had pulled over the car for speeding on Interstate 95. Weeks and Dukes were captured within an hour of the crime, after being tracked by dogs to a nearby motel. Weeks was convicted of capital murder, grand larceny and illegal possession of a handgun. One state trooper describes the upcoming execution as "an eye for an eye." Virginia State Trooper Jose M. Cavazos was assigned to traffic patrol in the Dale City area on Feb. 23, 1993, when he became the 45th state trooper killed in the line of duty. Senior state trooper Richard Powell, who worked the midnight shift along with Cavazos, was called to the scene at the Dale City exit ramp off Interstate 95 after learning his friend had been killed - the victim of hollow-tipped bullets known as "man-stoppers." He said the loss of an officer is always a hard reality to accept. "It's something that you accept when you take the job," Powell said Tuesday. "When it happens, I think, reality sets in." Cavazos, originally from Edinburg, Texas, began working for the state in 1969 with the Department of Motor Vehicles. After entering trooper training in 1985, Cavazos began patrolling Prince William County on July 18, 1986. He was promoted a year later. "He was a good man," Powell said. "He was the kind of person you want wearing a blue-and-gray uniform, out there enforcing the law." In 1993 at age 50, Cavazos could have retired, Powell said, but he wanted to earn money to put his children through college. That aspect of his life made his murder that much more senseless, Powell said. "Jose always had a smile on his face," Powell said. "He was easy-going; he really seemed to enjoy life. ... He was a big man. He was a very impressive figure in uniform. He demanded respect and authority when he walked up to someone." According to court records, at around 12:40 a.m. the morning of the shooting, Cavazos pulled over a speeding 1987 Volkswagen Jetta traveling from Washington, D.C., to North Carolina. The car pulled over on the Dale City exit ramp in Prince William County just off the interstate. When Cavazos approached the Jetta, driven by Weeks' his uncle Lewis J. Dukes Jr., he asked Weeks to get out and the North Carolina man complied. Weeks, carrying a loaded Glock Model 17, 9 mm semi-automatic weapon, fired at least 6 bullets at Cavazos, 2 of which entered his body beside the right and left should straps of the protective vest the trooper was wearing, records state. The car stopped by Casavos turned out to be stolen. "And as I stepped out the car, it was like something had just took over me that I couldn't understand," Weeks testified at his 1994 trial. "It was like something - I felt like something - the best way I can describe it is like something - I can't say something. I knew what it - well, to me, I felt like it was evil - evil spirit or something." Both of Cavazos' children, Leslie Susan Cavazos-Almagia, 26, of California, and Trevor Virgilio Cavazos, 23, of Virginia, have written letters to the governor asking that Weeks' life be spared. The trooper's wife, Linda Cavazos, has expressed her desire for the state's punishment to be carried out. Powell said that in a state agency with 1,500 troopers, it is impossible to know how everyone feels about the scheduled execution of Weeks. If the execution is carried out, he hopes it will act as a deterrent, he said. "To have someone just come out and shoot him because they were afraid to go to jail for a stolen car...," Powell said, pausing before adding, "For me personally, I feel like it's closure. We reap what we sow, I guess. Police put themselves out there every night so people can sleep at night. We have to have something that makes people think twice." Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, said he remembers Cavazos' murder because the case was local, and the trooper's wife has attended several tributes at the D.C. memorial. "I remember how devastating it was, for (Linda Cavazos) in particular," Floyd said. "It shattered a life. A life of a family." He said he hopes Weeks' execution will bring "closure'' to Cavazos' wife. Floyd also spoke about the "solidarity and support" of fellow officers when one of their own is killed in the line of duty. He said officers from all over the country will travel when a fellow officer is killed, as was the case following the murders of Capitol police officers John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut in July 1998. "There is this amazing sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that comes from being a law enforcement officer," Floyd said. "Their mortality is very fragile and when an officer is gunned down in the manner Trooper Cavazos was ... it reminds all of these officers that it could happen to them at any time."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 1, 1999 Missouri James Michaels Sr., 75 David Leisure executed

David R. Leisure, whose involvement in a series of car bombings and gangland violence rocked St. Louis in the early 1980s, is scheduled to die by injection Sept. 1. Leisure would become the 1st organized-crime figure executed in modern times in the United States. Leisure was sentenced to death in 1987 for his role in the car bombing murder of underworld leader James Michaels Sr., 75, as Michaels was driving along Interstate 55 in south St. Louis County in 1980. Leisure, 49, was just one of many players in an organized-crime feud that left 3 dead in St. Louis, 1 maimed in a car bombing, and the grandson of Michaels wounded in a shotgun ambush. Yet while many involved in St. Louis' organized-crime faction were convicted of state or federal crimes and sent to prison, only Leisure will be executed. None of the others received the death penalty. Law enforcement sources say that Leisure was simply a follower in the Leisure gang, headed by his cousins, Paul Leisure and Anthony Leisure. Michaels Sr. was a longtime organized-crime figure and boss of the Syrian-Lebanese crime faction in St. Louis. David Leisure, also of Syrian descent, helped kill Michaels so the Leisure clan could gain power over a local union, Laborers Local 110. David Leisure's lawyer, John William Simon of Jefferson City, is fighting to avert the execution. "The courts aren't finished with David's case," Simon said Tuesday. Appeals are pending before the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. One of the main arguments is that David Leisure's punishment is disproportionate to those of others alleged to have been involved in the underlying crime. There is no account in which David Leisure was the leader. The U.S. government, in a pre-sentence investigation report, ranked Paul Leisure 1st and Anthony Leisure 2nd in culpability. Both men are serving life in prison without parole. David Leisure's execution would be a record 9th of the year for Missouri. It would be carried out at Potosi Correctional Center. On Sept. 17, 1980, David Leisure crawled beneath Michaels' car and planted a remote-controlled bomb as the car was parked outside St. Raymond's Maronite Church. Michaels was inside eating lunch. The state alleged that Leisure had practiced the technique several times on an identical car until he could do it flawlessly in under a minute. After planting the device, David Leisure was present when his cousin Anthony Leisure detonated the bomb on I-55. Pieces of Michaels' car were scattered over a 200-foot radius by the force of the explosion. Michaels' body was dismembered, and part of it was hurled against a passing car. It took police years to unravel the story behind the mysterious crime and the retaliations that followed. To avenge Michaels' murder, friends and members of his family bombed Paul Leisure's car as he was parked outside a home in south St. Louis. Paul Leisure survived the attack, but it cost him part of his legs, hands and face. In October 1981, in retaliation for the bombing of Paul Leisure, the Leisure gang killed George M. "Sonny" Faheen by attaching a car bomb to his Volkswagen Beetle. Faheen was a nephew of Michaels'. Faheen's car was in the parking garage of the Mansion House Center. David Leisure was sentenced to life in prison for Faheen's murder. Leisure was convicted of federal racketeering charges in 1985. His state trial for his role in Michaels' murder was held in St. Louis city circuit court in March 1987. The state's case rested primarily on the testimony of 2 accomplices, John Ramo and Richard Joseph Broderick. The jury took a little more than 5 hours to find Leisure guilty of capital murder. Edward Rogers, the assistant circuit attorney for St. Louis who prosecuted Leisure at the state trial 12 years ago, declined to comment. 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 2, 1999 Pennsylvania Anthony Patrone
John Amato
Anthony Bonaventura, 27
unnamed man, 79
Carmen D'Amato stayed

On Feb. 9, 1983, Joseph D'Amato was convicted of one count of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to die for shooting Anthony Patrone on March 19, 1981 in Philadelphia, PA.  Anthony was shot in the head, hand and chest. D'Amato was formally sentenced to die on July 25, 1984. The state Supreme Court upheld the judgment on May 22, 1987 and petitions for post-conviction relief have been pending for over 10 years. D'Amato also killed three other people; John Amato who was shot to death in February of 1981, Anthony Bonaventura, 27, who was shot in the head in March 1981 and a 79 year old man. D'Amato received additional sentences of Life and 10-20 years in two of the cases and charges were never prosecuted in the last one.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 3, 1999 Illinois Virginia Johannessen, 76
Gerald "Jerry" Weber, 24
Mary Jill Oberweis, 56
Edward Tenney stayed

Edward Tenney was sentenced to die for the January 2, 1993 robbery and murder of 76 year old Virginia Johannessen in Aurora Illinois. Virginia was killed during a burglary of her home by ex-con Tenney. Virginia was beaten with a hammer and then shot in the head and the chest. Her home was ransacked and her car was stolen. She was found three days later by her brother. Tenney, who had previous convictions for burglary and armed robbery, received the death penalty and an additional life sentence in this murder. The jury found him guilty in less than 5 hours and sentenced him to die in one. Tenney also received a sixty year sentence for the murder of Jerry Weber, 24, in DuPage Co. Jerry had a flat tire and was robbed of $6, shot and killed on the side of the road on April 17, 1992. Tenney also received a life sentence for the murder of 56 year old Mary Jill Oberweis in Aurora. Tenney and his accomplice, his cousin Donald Lippert beat and shot to death Mary during a home invasion on October 1, 1993. Lippert received a 60 year sentence.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 7, 1999 Ohio Donald Danes, 39
Karen Danes, 39
Rodney Danes, 15
Danny Hooks stayed

Danny Hooks killed three people during a robbery in 1984. This is not a "serious" execution date as Hooks is still pending state appeals. In Lee's Creek Ohio, on March 28, 1984, 39-year-old Hooks and his accomplice Terry Coffman robbed and murdered a family during a home invasion. Donald Danes, 39, was beaten and his throat was cut in his van outside his home. Karen Danes, 39, was beaten and stabbed inside the house and their son, Rodney Danes, 15, was tied up and stabbed. Three guns were stolen along with approximately $300 in cash. Donald was a tools salesman and over 1000 tools were stolen from the warehouse shed on his property. Coffman was also sentenced to die for these murders but had a heart attack and died in prison in 1985.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 7, 1999 Pennsylvania William Graham, 63
Gavin Anderson
Kevin Anderson, 19
Otis Reynolds, 22
Christopher Williams stayed

Christopher Williams was convicted in the 1989 murders of 3 men in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Otis Reynolds, 22, Kevin Anderson, 19, and Gavin Anderson, were drug dealers from New York. They had come to the Philadelphia area with $26,400 in drug money to buy guns. The three men were shot and their bodies were dumped in different various locations. The jury recommended three death sentences. On 2/18/89, Williams had killed William Graham, 63, a cab driver who was shot in the back of the head. Williams received a life sentence in this case. Testimony showed that he killed William Graham to prove that he could kill an innocent person. The state Supreme Court upheld Williams' death sentence on Oct. 2, 1998. Williams' execution had been scheduled for March 23, but he received a stay. The US Supreme Court denied his petition and the stay was lifted.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 8, 1999 Arkansas Joe Joyce
Martha Joyce
Sara Joyce McCurdy
Mark Gardner executed

Mark Gardner was sentenced to die for the Dec. 12, 1985 murder of three people in Sebastian County, Arkansas.  Gardner was 29 at the time and killed Joe Joyce, his wife Martha and raped and murdered their adult daughter, Sara Joyce McCurdy. Joe had just returned home from a funeral and Sara had gone to her parents' home for lunch while her husband was away on Air National Guard duty. The family was tied up and they were suffocated with tape that was placed over their mouths and noses. Martha was found with a wire coat hanger around her neck. Their house was ransacked and jewelry and a car was stolen. Gardner was on parole for an armed robbery conviction and was under an arrest warrant out of Illinois for another armed robbery. Some of the family's jewelry was found on Gardner when he was arrested and he told police that he had also killed a man in NY state. At his trial he claimed that "demons" made him do it.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 8, 1999 Arkansas Eric Willett, 13
Roger Willett
Alan Willett executed

Alan Willett was sentenced to death for convictions in the 1993 Johnson County killings of his 13-year-old son, Eric, and his mentally retarded brother, Roger. Alan Willett's daughter and another son survived the attack.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 9, 1999 Pennsylvania Damon Banks
Gregory Banks
Roderick Johnson stayed

In November 1997, Roderick Johnson and Shawn Bridges were convicted and sentenced to die for shooting 2 cousins, Damon and Gregory Banks in Berks County. Both were sentenced to die. Bridges believed that the brothers had robbed his girlfriend. They were taken to a remote area on the pretense of getting drugs and shot to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 9, 1999 Louisiana Donna Ponsano, 31 Feltus Taylor stayed

This is the fourth execution date for Feltus Taylor, who was sentenced to die for the 3/27/91 robbery and murder of Donna Ponsano, 31, who worked at Cajun's Fabulous Fried Chicken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. An East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutor says he does not believe Taylor's life will be spared again. "I think there is a good chance it will go through," said John Sinquefield, the parish's first assistant district attorney. "It's probable." Then 30-year-old ex-con Taylor had previously worked at the restaurant and did not want to leave any witnesses to the robbery of $1300. Donna was shot repeatedly but did not die until three days later. Also shot was Keith Clark, the 33-year-old manager of the business. Keith was paralyzed from the neck down but survived the murder attempt. Taylor was arrested within hours of the robbery and shootings. Keith Clark now rarely leaves his parents' home in Hammond, but he will make a trip today to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola -- to watch Taylor be executed by lethal injection. "We're looking forward to it," said Clark, who plans to attend the execution with his father, Paul. "It's been 8 years. We are ready for some closure." Taylor, 38, has been on death row since a Baton Rouge jury in 1992 convicted him of 1st-degree murder in the killing of Donna Ponsano on March 27, 1991. Keith, the former manager of Cajuns Fabulous Chicken, had hired Taylor and fired him twice before the shootings. That day, Clark came in to the restaurant again, looking for work. Clark had already filled one job but wanted to help Taylor, so he gave him 35 cents to buy a newspaper. The 2 of them then went through the classified ads, trying to find some kind of work. They found a job at another restaurant and the 2 made plans to drive there together, Clark said. As the 2 sat there, Ponsano, a restaurant employee, walked by. Taylor reached out and grabbed her hands, demanding that Clark open the restaurant safe, Clark said. When Clark refused, Taylor pulled out a pair of handcuffs, locked them around Ponsano's wrists, and eventually locked up Clark. "I opened the safe then and gave him the money," Clark said. "He said he had debts that he had to pay and that he needed the money. I said I would go and get my checkbook, 'just tell me how much you need.' He just turned around and started shooting ... He said he wasn't going to leave any witnesses that day," Clark said.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 10, 1999 Texas Helen Greb, 84 Willis Barnes executed

Willis Barnes was sent to death row from Harris County Texas for the burglary and strangulation murder of an 84 year old woman. He was 39 at the time of the murder of Helen Greb and on parole from a thirty year sentence that he had only served three years of. Her family found her nude body in her ransacked home. Abrasions were found on numerous portions of Helen's body and her backbone and every rib had been fractured before she was strangled by her assailant's hands. Her chest was crushed and she had been sexually assaulted and strangled. At his trial, Barnes claimed self-defense saying that she had confronted him with a rifle and that he pushed her back and she struck her head. However, her injuries were obviously not explained by this version and the jury did not buy it. In the seconds before he was put to death, Willis Barnes expressed love to his family and then asked for forgiveness from the survivors of his victim. "To the victim's family, I hope you find in your heart to forgive me as I have forgiven you." Earlier in the week, Barnes had insisted he didn't kill Helen Greb the night of Feb. 11, 1988, but acknowledged taking a television and 2 guns from her home. "They're putting to death an innocent man," he said in an interview this week. "God knows the truth." Five members of Mrs. Greb's family stood in the death chamber and watched the execution through a window. They declined to speak with reporters. Barnes, now 51, blamed a $350-a-day cocaine addiction for a string of Houston burglaries that put him in prison in 1984 with four 30-year terms. Three years later, however, with Texas prisons bulging and parole officials looking to ease crowding, he was freed when records showed it was his 1st prison stint and that his offense was a property crime. What the records didn't show was that his burglary conviction was a plea bargain that included dropping a sexual assault charge where the victim was an elderly woman. Less than 4 months after he was released, Mrs. Greb was viciously murdered in a home where she lived since 1937. Barnes was arrested soon afterward. "It's partly my fault," he said this week. "I had no business walking into that house." Barnes first told police, and repeated in an interview this week, that he never saw the woman. In a subsequent confession, though, he told detectives the woman confronted him with a rifle and a can of pepper spray when she discovered him in the house, that they struggled and she hit her head on a bed as she fell. He said he tried to revive her, panicked and fled. Barnes this week characterized the statement to police as a "fabricated confession after 18 hours of interrogation." Evidence, however, showed Mrs. Greb was strangled with hands, that she suffered 20 broken ribs, a broken back, a crushed chest, numerous lacerations and had been sexually assaulted. Three days later, Helen's adult grandson,

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 14, 1999 Texas Richard Walter Lang William Davis executed

William Prince Davis was sentenced to death for the killing of a Houston ice cream company worker. In 1978, Davis was convicted in the robbery and murder of Richard Walter Lang during a heist at the Red Wing Ice Cream Co.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 14, 1999 Illinois Tara Sue Huffman, 5
Christopher Meyer, 9
Timothy Buss stayed

After being released on parole from the 1981 murder of a five-year-old girl, 27-year-old Timothy Buss murdered another child, Christopher Meyer, 9, who was riding his bike home from a boat ramp at a community park on August 7, 1995. Christopher was kidnapped, sexually mutilated and stabbed over 50 times, then buried in a shallow grave in a state park 20 miles away. He was not found until August 15. Christopher lived in Walla Walla, Wash., with his father Jim Meyer, but spent summer months with his mother, Mika Moulton. His death helped win passage of a law requiring community notification about sex offenders living in the area. In 1993, Buss had been paroled after serving 12 years of a 25 year sentence for the murder of Tara Sue Huffman. Tara was sexually abused and murdered in Bradley, Illinois in 1981. While in prison, Buss bragged about Tara's murder. Buss was seen lurking around the boat ramp while Christopher was there and his distinctive car was reported to have pulled out in front of a car near where Christopher's body was buried. He claimed that the murder was actually committed by another man who looked like him and drove the same kind of car however, hair and DNA testing on the blood found in the trunk of Buss's car and on a pair of boots he tried to get rid of proved different. Tara's brother attended Buss's trial for Christopher's murder. The jury found Buss guilty in 4 hours and sentenced him to death in less than three hours. The Illinois Supreme Court rejected Buss's appeal in April of this year.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 14, 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.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 14, 1999 Pennsylvania Calvin Hawks, 30
Anthony D'Amore, 60
Willie Sneed stayed

Willie Sneed was sentenced to death for the 10/14/80 murders of in Philadelphia, PA committed when Sneed was 30. Calvin Hawks was shot to death after selling Sneed $50 of aspirin that he said was cocaine. Sneed returned with a shotgun and shot Calvin several times. In the same month, Sneed robbed and murdered 60-year-old Anthony D'Amore by shooting him five times. Sneeds original sentencing hearing was delayed after he escaped from custody for several hours.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 16, 1999 Virginia Charity Powers, 10 Everett Mueller executed

In August 1993, Everett Mueller was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Charity Powers, a ten-year-old. Mueller was 42 years old at the time of the crime. Mueller confessed to killing Charity and led police to the scene of the crime and to where Charity's body was buried.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 17, 1999 Ohio Catrise Gregory, 17 Shawn Williams stayed

In May of this year, Judge James D. Jensen of the Lucas County Court sentenced Shawn Williams to be executed for the aggravated murder in the course of committing the rape of his pregnant girlfriend in December of 1995. Williams denied guilt. The judge also turned down defense motions for a new trial based on a juror's attempts to recant her verdict of guilty as to the rape. Catrise Gregory was only 17 years old and was 3 months pregnant when she was strangled after breaking off their relationship. Williams had picked Catrise up at work in her car and she was found dead 2 days later. After the guilty verdict, Williams attacked his defense attorneys. It took the jury 16 hours to return a death sentence in this circumstantial case and one juror says she felt pressured into the death sentence and doubts that Williams raped Catrise, which was the aggravating factor that allowed the death sentence.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 20, 1999 Ohio Amber Garrett Jeffrey Wogenstahl stayed
Jeffrey Wogenstahl kidnapped and murdered a 10-year-old girl in 1992.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 20, 1999 Ohio Denise Maxwell, 22
Leroy Ensign, 26
John Gilliard stayed

John Gillard shot and killed two people and wounded another on New Year's Day 1985. The victims were shot, execution-style, after a New Year's Eve party at which an argument had erupted with William Gillard. John entered the home while William fired a shot in the air outside and then murdered Denise Maxwell, 22 and Leroy Ensign, 26. Wounded was Ronnie Postlewaite.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 20, 1999 Ohio Joseph Wilkerson, 34
Danita Gulette, 18
Wendy Cottrill, 16
Marvin Washington
Sarah Abraham, 38
Jeffrey Wright, 19
Marvallous Keene stayed

Marvallous Keene murdered five people during a killing spree in Dayton, Ohio. This is not a "serious" execution date as Keene still has state appeals pending. The Ohio Attorney General comments that Keene's initial appeal to the Court of Appeals was pending two years and nine months. Keene was reportedly upset over the murder of his older brother and, along with three accomplices, embarked on a three day crime spree over the Christmas holiday in 1992. Joseph Wilkerson, 34, was shot to death during a home invasion after being robbed and tied to his bed. Danita Gulette, 18, was found shot to death in an alley. Wendy Cottrill, 16, was found murdered in a gravel dump. Sarah Abraham, 38, was a store clerk who was shot and died after being removed from life support. Accomplice DeMarcus Smith, 18, pled guilty to 4 of the murders and received four life sentences plus 255 years for 11 other felony charges related to the crime spree. He will not be eligible for parole until 2118. Aura Jeane Taylor, 17, received a life sentence, Heather Matthews, 21, pled guilty and received a life sentence with a 53 year minimum.  UPDATE: Marvallous Keene was sentenced to death for the aggravated murders of five victims. The offenses occurred in Dayton, OH on December 24 and 26, 1992. In December 1992, Keene was consorting with a group of people, including several juveniles, who at various times stayed at Bill McIntire’s apartment. This group included Laura Taylor, DeMarcus Smith, Nicholas Woodson, Heather N. Mathews, Wendy Cottrill, Marvin Washington, and Jeffrey Wright. On December 24, 1992, Keene and Taylor enlisted Mathews to help them rob Joseph Wilkerson, an acquaintance of Taylor’s. Taylor told Mathews that she had arranged for the three of them to go to Wilkerson’s house on the pretext of having an orgy with Wilkerson. Mathews agreed to take part in the robbery. Keene, Taylor, and Mathews walked to Wilkerson’s house. After a drink, Wilkerson and Taylor went to the bedroom. After waiting briefly, Keene and Mathews followed them. Wilkerson began to take his clothes off. Taylor and Mathews pretended to do the same. Keene began to remove his own pants, then pulled them back up and drew a gun. He ordered Wilkerson onto the bed, then commanded Taylor and Mathews to tie Wilkerson’s hands to the bed. While Keene watched Wilkerson, Taylor and Mathews went through the house, looking for things to steal. They took a microwave oven, a TV, a cordless phone, a curling iron, and a blow dryer, which they loaded into Wilkerson’s Buick. Wilkerson told Keene that he kept a .32-caliber derringer in the garage. Keene found it and brought it back to the bedroom. Keene subsequently confessed that he shot Wilkerson in the chest with the derringer, after covering him with blankets to muffle the noise. Taylor and Mathews, hearing the shot, returned to the bedroom and saw Keene holding the derringer. Wilkerson’s feet were shaking. Keene handed the derringer to Taylor, but it would not fire again. So Keene gave Taylor his own gun, and Taylor shot Wilkerson in the head. Wilkerson stopped shaking. Keene and his accomplices then left in the Buick. Keene warned his accomplices not to tell Cottrill and Washington. Later that evening, Keene, Taylor, and Smith went walking. Keene and Smith were carrying guns. Keene later confessed to police that, as they were walking, they saw Danita Gullette at a public telephone. Smith and Keene drew their guns, and Smith forced Gullette at gunpoint to take her shoes off. Smith and Keene then shot Gullette. Smith took her shoes and jacket. When they returned to the apartment, Taylor was wearing Gullette’s jacket and Smith was carrying Gullette’s shoes. Later that night, Smith shot Mathews’s boyfriend, Jeffrey Wright, outside 159 Yuma. Keene, Mathews, Taylor, and Smith then left in Wilkerson’s Buick. On December 25, Keene returned to Wilkerson’s house and stole more items, including Wilkerson’s other car, a Pontiac. Also on December 25, Taylor robbed and murdered her former boyfriend, Richmond Maddox. Early in the morning of December 26, Mathews drove the Pontiac to a BP service station, where appellant and Smith stole Kathie Henderson’s car at gunpoint. Appellant and Smith drove off in Henderson’s car; Mathews followed in the Pontiac. Later that morning, Mathews drove the Pontiac to the Short Stop Mini-Mart, with Keene, Smith, and Taylor in the car. Taylor went into the store, then came back to report that there were only two people inside. Mathews handed a .32-caliber revolver to Smith; Smith and Keene were also carrying .25-caliber automatic pistols. Keene and Smith went into the store. Sarah Abraham, whose family owned the store, was working behind the cash register. Keene ordered her at gunpoint to open it. Abraham did so and removed $40, which she handed to Keene. Keene shot Abraham in the head. Several days later, Abraham died of her wound. Smith also shot at two other people, Jones Pettus, a customer, wounding him, and Edward Thompson, a helper, both of whom survived and testified against Keene. Later that day, Taylor and Mathews discussed "jumping" Cottrill because they "thought she was telling on us." According to Mathews’s testimony, there was no discussion of shooting her. However, in a subsequent conversation with Keene, Taylor, Mathews, and Woodson, Smith said that "he was going to unload a clip in [Marvin Washington’s] ass." According to Keene’s confession, Smith "thought that Wendy and Marvin were going to snitch about [Smith] shooting Jeff Wright." The group discussed picking Washington and Cottrill up and taking them "to a park or something." The group drove to 159 Yuma and picked up Washington and Cottrill. They dropped Woodson off at his home, then drove to a gravel pit. At the gravel pit, Smith ordered Washington out of the car, and Keene dragged Cottrill out. Washington and Cottrill protested that they had not gone to the police or "snitched." Keene and Smith forced them at gunpoint to walk behind a pile of gravel. There, Keene shot Cottrill, and Smith shot Washington. The grand jury indicted Keene on eight counts of aggravated murder — two counts each for Wilkerson, Washington, and Cottrill; one count each for Gullette and Abraham. The Wilkerson counts each carried six death specifications (course of conduct, escaping detection, two aggravated robbery, two aggravated burglary). The Cottrill counts each carried four death specifications (course of conduct, witness-murder, two kidnapping). The Washington counts each carried three death specifications (course of conduct, witness murder, kidnapping). The Gullette and Abraham counts each carried two death specifications (course of conduct, aggravated robbery). The indictment also included six counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of burglary, two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of attempted aggravated murder. All counts carried a firearm specification. Waiving a jury, appellant was tried to a three-judge panel, which found him guilty on all counts. The panel found four death specifications as to Wilkerson’s aggravated murder counts (course of conduct, escaping detection, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary); however, the panel merged the "escaping detection" and felony-murder specifications. The panel found three death specifications on the Cottrill murder (course of conduct, kidnapping-principal offender, witness murder), three on the Washington murder (same), and two on the Gullette and Abraham murders (course of conduct, aggravated robbery). The Wilkerson, Washington, and Cottrill aggravated murder counts were merged so that only one remained for each victim, a total of five. After a mitigation hearing, the panel sentenced appellant to death on each of the five counts. The judgment was affirmed. Accomplice DeMarcus Smith, 18, pled guilty to four of the murders and received four life sentences plus 255 years for 11 other felony charges related to the crime spree. He will not be eligible for parole until 2118. Aura Jeane Taylor, 17, received a life sentence, Heather Matthews, 21, pled guilty and received a life sentence with a 53 year minimum.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 21, 1999 Texas Karen Birky, 38 Richard Smith executed

A five-time loser addicted to drugs and alcohol was sentenced to die by lethal injection for murdering a Baytown convenience store clerk in a robbery that netted him less than $100. Two people, driving up at that moment, told police they heard Karen scream as the man shot her. He then drove away in a Cherokee, police were told. Patrolman Russell Krutsinger responded to the holdup alarm as the Jeep was leaving, officers said. "At first, he didn't know what had happened until he saw the witnesses who had gone to Karen's aid," Parker said. "So he didn't stop the Jeep from leaving but had made a note of the license number. He was a few numbers off but was close." Karen was only able to tell police that she didn't know her attacker before she was taken to Hermann by Life Flight helicopter, Parker said. Karen, a special-education teacher at Lamar Elementary School where she had worked since October 1991, died about 1:30 a.m. after being flown to Hermann Hospital in Houston. An HISD spokesman said Karen's family lives in Michigan, and that she was single and had no children. She had been employed by the Stop N Go chain since July 1991 as a night clerk. When Smith took the stand, he was shown the surveillance photos, acknowledged that the bearded man with the gun resembled him, but then said he didn't remember doing it. Nor was he fully able to recall details of his 40 arrests and five trips to prison since the 1970s. He remembered his bad conduct discharge from the Army in 1975 but said his memory was fuzzy about his 1978 arrest in Bossier City, La., for forgery and his 1978 arrest in Nacogdoches for stealing a rental car. Mount said he was arrested against in Santa Cruz, Calif., in December 1978, but Smith said he thought it happened in Missouri. His testimony also recounted arrests in Nevada for stealing trucks and prison sentences in Louisiana for armed robbery. 

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 22, 1999 New Jersey Anna Mary "Paulie" Duvall
Unnamed victim, his own aunt
Unnamed victim, his aunt's husband
Teresa Marie Dempster, 27
David Richard Uhl, 42
Irving Flax
John Martini stayed

Martini was sentenced to die for the 1989 kidnap and murder of businessman Irving Flax of Fair Lawn, and since 1995 he has asked the courts to permit him to stop his appeals and bring on his execution date because he found prison existence intolerable. However, with less than 6 weeks to go before his appointment with the death chamber, Martini changed his mind and decided he does not want to die, resuming his appeals. Since his death sentence, Martini has been convicted of 3 other murders in Arizona and Philadelphia. In January of 1987, Martini allegedly killed his aunt and her husband at their home in Atlantic City, although these are crimes for which he was never brought to trial. He subsequently divorced his wife, Alice, and leaves his home in Glendale, Ariz., where he worked in a bar, to return to the Bronx, his birthplace. In November of 1988, Martini killed Teresa Marie Dempster, 27, a suspected drug supplier, and salesman David Richard Uhl, 42, near Glendale. In January of 1989, Martini abducted warehouse executive Irving Flax in Fair Lawn, evidently an acquaintance from years past, then collected $25,000 in ransom from his wife, Marilyn, at a Paramus diner. The following day Flax was found dead in a car in a mall parking lot, shot 3 times in the head. Martini and a girlfriend inexplicably remained in the immediate area, where 2 days later they were recognized and arrested by Fort Lee police at a local motel. In November of 1990, Martini was tried for this murder. He did not deny the crime but blamed drug addiction. Alice came from Arizona to testify. He was convicted and sentenced to death in Dec. 1990. In April of 1991 a jury convicted girlfriend Therese Afdahl of felony murder and other charges in Flax's death but not of the maximum murder charge. Part of her defense was the claim Martini had beaten her and intimidated her. She was sentenced to 50 years. In August of 1992, Martini pled guilty in Arizona to the Dempster-Uhl murders in a deal to spare him the death penalty. He got 50 years. In 1994, Martini was moved to 114-year-old Holmesburg prison in Philadelphia to stand trial for a 4th murder charge. It is there he decided death was preferable to life behind bars. In October of 1995, he told Superior Court Judge Bruce Gaeta, who handled his trial, that he wants to die and wants all appeals stopped. A psychiatrist subsequently testified Martini was competent to understand the choice he made. In Nov. of 1997, Martini was convicted in Philadelphia of the execution-style murder of Anna Mary "Paulie" Duvall, with whom he had business dealings, in 1977 near the airport.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 24, 1999 Delaware Maurice Dodd, 78 Willie Sullivan executed

Willie Sullivan was convicted of the 1991 slaying of an elderly nursery worker. Sullivan, 27, pled guilty as an accomplice to 1st-degree murder in the 1991 slaying of 78-year-old Maurice Dodd of Frederica, who was stabbed and crushed by a concrete block during a robbery. Lenny Harrison, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an earlier, unsuccessful attempt by the two to rob Ms. Dodd, was not implicated in the murder. According to court records, on Dec. 27, 1991, Sullivan lured Mr. Dodd into a greenhouse and bludgeoned him with a metal ice scoop before stabbing him 10 times. As the victim lay wounded on the ground, Sullivan threw a concrete block on his chest. Sullivan then took money from Mr. Dodd's pockets, and entered the victim's home, where he found more money. In addition to stealing $300, Sullivan also found the victim's car key and fled in his vehicle. While state detectives investigated the murder, Sullivan used the car to joy ride with friends and spend money on them, while buying sneakers, a Walkman and some music cassettes for himself. A few days after the murder, Sullivan abandoned Mr. Dodd's vehicle, which police soon found. The investigation led detectives to Sullivan, who was arrested Jan. 3, 1992, near the Maryland and Delaware border. Originally, Sullivan confessed to police that he had carried out the murder alone. Despite later trying to change his story and implicate another person in the murder, Sullivan pleaded guilty on Dec. 2, 1992, and his case never went to trial. A Kent County jury voted 9-3 in favor of putting Sullivan to death. Superior Court Judge Henry duPont Ridgely followed that recommendation and ordered the convicted murderer to be put to death by lethal injection, calling the murder a "vicious, brutal, and premeditated senseless killing."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 24, 1999 North Carolina Sheila Marlene Bland, 17
John Michael Edmundson, 33 
Harvey Green executed

Harvey Lee Green pled guilty to the murders of a school girl and a customer during the robbery of a dry cleaning store in Pitt County in 1983. On December 19, 1983, while committing a robbery at Young's Cleaners in Bethel, North Carolina, Green bludgeoned to death Sheila Marlene Bland, a seventeen-year-old high school student who was working as the store cashier, and John Michael Edmondson, a thirty-three-year-old church organist who was a store customer at the time. Within a matter of weeks, Green confessed to the crimes to the police. He also showed the police where he hid the murder weapon, which tested positively for blood and the victims' hair, and he turned over to the police the pair of blood-splattered pants that he wore at the time of the killings. Green had been scheduled for execution in March, but received a stay.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 24, 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.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 27, 1999 Nevada Ilona Strumanis, 51 Terry Dennis stayed

A man who said he wanted feel what it is like to kill somebody, then shunned all efforts to save his life, faces execution during the week of September 27. A 3-judge Washoe District Court panel set the date for Terry Jess Dennis, 52, who admitted he strangled Ilona Strumanis, 51, in a Reno motel. The sentence faces an automatic appeal, which will vacate the execution date. Dennis pleaded guilty to 1st degree murder on the condition that the death penalty be sought, saying that life in prison was not living at all. The most compelling evidence presented against Dennis during the 2-day sentencing hearing was a tape-recorded confession he made to Reno police shortly after he called 911 on March 9 to report he had killed a woman. He said he had for some time been comtemplating killing someone and the woman he befriended before taking her to his motel room as a "perfect victim." "It was just something I'd had in mind for a while and I found a victim and I acted on impulse," he told police. "I'd wanted to do it for a long time. It was perfect."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 28, 1999 Texas Wynona Lynn Harris Michael Lynn Riley stayed

Michael Lynn Riley was charged in Wood County with killing Wynona Lynn Harris during a robbery on Feb. 1, 1986.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 29, 1999 Missouri Jerry Oestricker James Chambers stayed

Jessica Oestricker Coplin of Herculaneaum said the May 1982 shooting death of her brother Jerry Oestricker by James Wilson Chambers "should never have happened." Chambers had received a 3-year sentence in July 1972 for the felony of 2nd-degree burglary. Then-Gov. Christopher Bond freed Chambers through commutation about halfway through his sentence. A few weeks later, Chambers was arrested for shooting a man in the stomach outside a bar in Jefferson County. In April 1975, Chambers received a 15-year sentence for felony assault with intent to kill, according to state records provided by Nixon's campaign. 7 years after beginning his second prison sentence, Chambers received a Memorial Day weekend pass and killed Jerry Oestricker while outside prison walls. In September 1982, while awaiting trial for the Oestricker killing, Chambers' sentence for shooting Griffin was commuted by Bond. Chambers is now on death row for the Oestricker slaying. Ms. Coplin said no commutations should have been approved by Bond: "This was senseless and should never have happened." Chambers received a stay that rescheduled his execution for November 10. 

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