Case Summaries For Inmates Executed in Virginia
Between 1982-1990


Other Pages: 1991 to 1995 - 1996 to 1999 - 2000 to 2006
For more information on a particular case - click on the victim's name.

Murderer: Frank Coppola
Execution Date: August 10, 1982
Jurisdiction: City of Newport News

Victim: Muriel Hatchell

Hatchell was murdered during a 1978 robbery at her home in Newport News. After Hatchell allowed a coconspirator disguised as a flower delivery woman to enter her home, the woman pulled out a pistol from amidst the floral display which she was carrying, allowing cover for Coppola and others to rush into the home.

Hatchell was bound with venetian blind cords and then had her head was slammed repeatedly into floor by Coppola until she died. The group fled with $3,100 in cash and some rings from the crime scene. After his September 26, 1978 conviction, Coppola dropped appeals and volunteered to have his sentence carried out. He was the first inmate executed in Virginia since Carroll Garland was executed for a Lynchburg murder in 1962.

Murderer: Linwood Briley
Execution Date: October 12, 1984
Jurisdiction: City of Richmond

Victim: John Gallaher

Gallaher was abducted during a smoke break outside of a bar in the city of Richmond. After being stuffed into the trunk of his car, he was driven to Mayo's Island where he was shot dead and then robbed. He was one of eleven victims of Briley gang rampage in 1978.

Murderer: James Briley
Execution Date: April 18, 1985
Jurisdiction: City of Richmond

Victims:
Judy Barton
Harvey Barton


Judy Barton, eight months pregnant, was raped by the members of the Briley gang. She, her husband Harvey Wilkinson and her five year old son Harvey were then shot dead during a robbery of their home. This triple homicide marked the end of the Briley rampage in the City of Richmond.

Murderer: Morris Mason
Execution Date: June 25, 1985
Jurisdiction: Northampton County

Victim: Muriel Hand

Morris Mason murdered 71 year old Muriel Hand and another elderly woman in Northampton County in 1978. He broke into their homes, tied them up, sexually assaulted them, nailed their feet to the floor before robbing the homes and then burning them to the ground.

Defense lawyers attempted to portray their client as being mentally retarded and incapable of comprehending or premeditating his actions. However, prosecutors successfully argued to the contrary, noting that Mason reentered the burning home to retrieve evidence which would have identified him as a culprit if it were to be found by investigators.

Murderer: Michael Smith
Execution Date: August 31, 1986
Jurisdiction: James City County

Victim: Audrey Weiler

Weiler was accosted by Smith at a beach along the Colonial Parkway in James City County on May 23, 1977. She was accosted by Smith, who lived on a farm near the Parkway and had recently been released from prison after serving time for a rape conviction. He removed some briars from Weiler's feet, then led her into the adjacent underbrush, where he produced a hunting knife. Smith then proceeded to rape the divorced 35 year old mother of two at knife point and then choked her to death.

Smith was the first defendant condemned under Virginia's new death penalty law, which was reinstated by the General Assembly earlier that year.

Murderer: Richard Whitley
Execution Date: July 6, 1987
Jurisdiction: Fairfax County

Victim: Phoebe Parsons

On July 25, 1980, Whitley went to visit his next door neighbor, 63 year old Phoebe Parsons in the Pimmit Hills section of the county. Parsons had previously hired Whitley to do repair work around her three bedroom house. Whitley began to discuss the recent separation from his wife with Parsons and then inexplicably choked his neighbor down to the floor, where he tied a rope around her neck and then cut her throat with a pocketknife, killing her.

Whitley stripped his victim naked and then proceeded to ransack the house of valuables. He then fled in Parsons' car and was arrested several months later in Tampa, Florida, where he admitted to committing the murder. 

Murderer: Earl Clanton
Executed April 14, 1988
Jurisdiction: City of Petersburg

Victim: Wilhelmina Smith

Clanton murdered Smith, a Petersburg neighbor who was a school librarian in a 1981 robbery that netted $8. He was found by police at the scene hiding under her bed in blood soaked clothing. This was not Clanton's first violent brush with the law. In 1972, the then 17 year old Clanton was convicted of participating in a robbery and murder of a woman in New Jersey.

He was given a 26 to 28 year sentence, but was paroled 8 years later. Upon his subsequent move to Virginia that year, Clanton was arrested and convicted in Petersburg Circuit Court on a count of malicious wounding when he struck a teenager repeatedly with brass knuckles.

Murderer: Alton Waye
Execution Date: August 30, 1989
Jurisdiction: Lunenburg County

Victim: Lavergne Marshall

On October 14, 1977, 34 year old Alton Waye stabbed 61 year old widow Lavergne Marshall 42 times with a butcher knife in her Lunenburg County home. Waye then proceeded to rape her and then poured bleach over her nude body. Her face was beaten beyond recognition.

Murderer: Richard Boggs
Execution Date: July 19, 1990
Jurisdiction: City of Portsmouth

Victim : Treeby Shaw

Boggs murdered his 87 year old neighbor in Portsmouth on January 25, 1984. After having struck and killed a pedestrian during a hit and run accident earlier that day, Boggs went to Shaw's house on the pretense of borrowing a book. After having the third cup of tea offered by Shaw, Boggs hit her over the head with a round hunk of steel. She was knocked unconscious by the blow, but continued to breathe.

Boggs went into her kitchen, where he picked up a butcher knife and fatally stabbed her in the heart. Police questioned Boggs about the crime a month later, where they found silver stolen from Shaw's house in his vehicle when he was arrested for the hit and run accident committed earlier on the day of the murder.

Murderer: Wilbert Evans
Execution Date: October 17, 1990
Jurisdiction: City of Alexandria

Truesdale, an Alexandria City sheriff's deputy, was shot with his own gun by Wilbert Evans on January 27, 1981 while leading Evans back to jail after a hearing in the adjacent courthouse. Evans was on a brief flight of freedom, running around the Old Town area of the city. When an officer in pursuit attempted to arrest Evans, the escapee pointed the gun he had taken from Truesdale at the approaching officer. Evans pulled the trigger -- but the gun jammed and he was quickly arrested thereafter.

Murderer: Buddy Justus
Execution Date: December 13, 1990
Jurisdiction: Montgomery County

Victim: Ida Mae Moses

Justus was sentenced to death for murders in three seperate states, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. He murdered Moses, a nurse who was one week from delivering a baby, in her trailer in Ironto in 1978. Justus was the last inmate to be executed at the now demolished Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond.


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