January 2000 Executions

Twelve killers were executed in the month of January 2000. They had murdered at least 24 people.
Twelve killers were issued stays of execution. They have murdered at least 24 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 6, 2000 Oklahoma Ura Alma Thompson, 76 Malcolm Johnson executed

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set a Jan. 6 execution date for a man convicted of killing a 76-year-old Oklahoma City woman in 1981. In November, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Malcolm Rent Johnson’s latest appeal of his death sentence. After his appeal was rejected, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date. Johnson, then 23, was convicted of the October 1981 death of Ura Alma Thompson. She was beaten, raped, then suffocated in her home. Edmondson said police found Mrs. Thompson’s furs, a typewriter, watch, key rings, cigarette case, hand mirror, rings, a purse and other valuables at Johnson’s apartment. Hair and semen from the crime scene matched samples taken from Johnson. Johnson had criminal history that included four separate rape convictions and three separate burglary convictions, a robbery conviction and a weapons violation. He was on parole from Illinois at the time of Ura’s murder. "I appreciate the court’s speedy response to our application," Edmondson said. "I see no obstacle to the carrying out of Johnson’s execution on Jan. 6." In December, Johnson opted not to go before the state clemency board to try to have his sentence commuted.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 6, 2000 Indiana Steven Wentlend, 19
Bruce Voge, 19
Anthony Moore, 24
Kevin Conner stayed

On January 26, 1988, in Indianapolis, Indiana, 22-year-old Kevin Conner chased Steven Wentlend from his home and stabbed him to death during an argument over a marijuana cigarette. Anthony Moore and Bruce Voge were both shot to death in order to prevent them from testifying against Conner in Steven’s murder. Conner had a previous conviction for battery. The jury took just 64 minutes to sentence Conner to die. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld Conner’s conviction in October of 1991 and the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 1992. In 1994 Conner attempted to escape from prison and less than six months later he was one of three inmates who attacked two corrections officers. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 7, 2000 Alabama Kathleen Bedsole, 16 David Duren executed

The Alabama Supreme Court set a Jan. 7 execution date for David Duren, convicted in a $40 robbery and murder in Jefferson County, near Trussville. The court said Duren should die in Alabama’s electric chair at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 7 for the 10/20/83 slaying of Kathleen Bedsole, a 16-year-old Huffman High School student, during a robbery and kidnapping. She was parking with her 17-year-old date Charles when 21-year-old Duren and Richard Kinder approached the car, tied the two together, forced them into the trunk of the car, drove around for a couple of hours, then robbed Kathleen of her purse and shot her to death. Charles was wounded but survived. Kinder was sentenced to life without parole. The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to hear Duren’s appeal. The state attorney general’s office then asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set the date. Attorney General Bill Pryor has said he does not anticipate that a re-examination of the electric chair by the U.S. Supreme Court will delay the execution of Duren or two other Alabama death row inmates whose appeals have been exhausted. The Supreme Court, acting in a Florida case, agreed to review whether the electric chair in that state is a legal method of execution or violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Chuck Leonard survived being robbed, kidnapped and shot. His date, Kathleen Bedsole, wasn’t so lucky. The 16-year-old Huffman High School student died after being shot once in the head. More than 15 years later, one of the men convicted of the crime is facing the ultimate punishment. David Ray Duren, now 37, is scheduled to go early Friday to Alabama’s electric chair. As of late Tuesday, Duren had authorized no last-minute pleas to try to stall or block the execution, state authorities said. I accepted Jesus Christ that night." But his spiritual beliefs don’t mean he wants Duren spared from the electric chair. Leonard is careful to say his sympathies are with Miss Bedsole’s parents, Kay and Anthony Bedsole of Vestavia Hills. He said his feelings for them are even more pronounced now that he has 2 children of his own. "It’s a higher law that we’re dealing with," Leonard said. "Even as a Christian, I do believe that there’s justice that has to be done." But he said there’s no joy in seeing it done. "It’s not a situation you’re happy about. It’s a sad day all around," Leonard said. "It’s been so long, I figured it would never happen. It’s kind of come as a shock that this day is upon us."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 10, 2000 Virginia Kathy Wiseman
J.B. Wiseman
Douglas Thomas executed

In November 1991, Douglas Christopher Thomas was sentenced to death for the November 1990 capital murders of Kathy and J.B. Wiseman. Thomas was 17 years old at the time of the crime. Thomas had been dating 14 year old Jessica Wiseman, the daughter of Kathy and “J.B.” for a while before the murders. Their relationship was serious and her parents did not approve. They pressured Jessica to break-up the relationship with Thomas, however, Jessica was unwilling to do so. She became angry with her parents and stated that she wished they were removed from her life. In his confession Thomas stated that he had smoked some marijuana on his way over to the Wiseman house on the night of the murders. He also carried with him a shotgun. He said Jessica helped him in the window and they then arranged some drugs on the floor to make it appear to be an attempted robbery. Thomas then went down the hall to the Wiseman’s bedroom and shot them as they slept. Thomas said Mrs. Wiseman did not die from the first shooting and Jessica implored Thomas to shoot her again. He did, killing her instantly. Jessica was tried as a juvenile and was released when she turned 21.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 11, 2000 Pennsylvania Lucilla Horner, 88
Minnie Warwick, 87
Sarah Kuntz, 84
Roland Steele stayed

Roland Steele, 38, was convicted of 3 counts of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death for the 1985 beating deaths of 88-year-old Lucille Horner, 86-year-old Minnie Warwick and 85-year-old Sarah Knutz in East Washington, PA. They were kidnapped from a parking lot, taken to a wooded area and beaten to death, "karate-style." Steele was formally sentenced to death on March 25, 1988. On June 5, 1999, the state Supreme Court affirmed those sentences. Steele’s petition for post-conviction relief has been pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County since June 1996. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 11, 2000 Ohio Charles Weaver Richard Bays stayed

Richard Bays was 28 years old and a friend of elderly, wheelchair-bound Charles Weaver when he beat and stabbed him to death in order to get money for drugs on 11/15/93. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 12, 2000 Texas Rena Whitton Rogers, 27
Jacy Rogers, 2
Earl Heiselbetz, Jr. executed

Earl Heiselbetz Jr. was sentenced to die for the kidnapping and murders of his next door neighbor and her young daughter. Rena Rogers and her two-year-old daughter Jacy were kidnapped from their home in Pineland, Texas and driven to Tyler County on May 30, 1991. Rena and Jacy were both strangled and their decomposed bodies were not found until one month later. Heiselbetz was their 40-year-old unemployed next-door neighbor. Heiselbetz stole a change jar containing about $8, a handgun and Rena’s purse. The purse and the jar were later found in a pond near the home. Heiselbetz failed three lie detector tests before confessing to the murders. Heiselbetz had said he could not remember killing the woman and child, who were his closest neighbors in a secluded area near the Sabine National Forest in east Texas. Mrs. Rogers and her daughter disappeared after returning home from a midmorning trip to the grocery store. Their remains were found a month later in a barn. Rena Rogers and her 2-year-old daughter, Jacy, disappeared the morning of May 30, 1991, after grocery shopping. The woman’s husband found her car keys, purse and a jar of coins missing from their secluded home close to the Sabine National Forest. No signs of foul play were evident. The victims’ skeletal remains were found June 27 in a barn in nearby Tyler County. The mother and daughter were identified by medical and dental records and were believed to have been strangled. Prosecutors said Heiselbetz, the Rogers’ nearest neighbor who had been a suspect since the 2 disappeared, confessed after a 2nd round of questioning the day the bodies were discovered. "He was kind of a loner-type of person who had gotten into making sweepstakes (toll) calls. He went over to (Ms. Rogers’) house to make 1-900 calls for some kind of sweepstakes," said Charles Mitchell, the Sabine County district attorney who prosecuted Heiselbetz. "We theorize maybe he was caught there in the house after they got home from the grocery store, they got into an altercation and he killed the woman and killed her child." Mitchell noted that the unemployed truck driver weighed nearly 3 times as much as the 90-pound woman.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 12, 2000 Ohio Mustafa Sammour, 28 Michael Goodwin stayed

Michael Goodwin was sentenced to death for the 9/13/94 robbery and shooting death of Cleveland Big Star Market grocer Mustafa Sammour, 28. Goodwin, 19 at the time, confessed to the robbery and shooting but said the gun fired accidentally and he didn’t mean to shoot the victim. Mustafa’s hands were over his head when he was shot. His accomplices were James Johnson and James Padgett. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 13, 2000 Texas Pamela Moseley Carpenter, 22 John Penry stayed

Johnny Paul Penry was tried and sentenced to death twice for the rape slaying of Pamela Moseley Carpenter. Penry has been on death row for almost 20 years after being convicted in the 1979 rape-slaying of Livingston housewife Pamela Moseley Carpenter. She was the sister of former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley. Pamela, a 22-year-old mother, was raped and then murdered as Penry sat on her chest and stabbed her with scissors. His conviction was overturned but Penry later was retried and again sentenced to death in 1990. That conviction and sentence was upheld in 1995. Penry was out on parole for a rape conviction when he killed Pamela. This execution date was stayed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 13, 2000 Virginia Mary Ann Hughes, 70 Steve Roach executed

Steve Roach was sentenced to die for the December 1993 death of Mary Ann Hughes. Hughes, a 70-year-old neighbor of Roach’s along U.S. 33 in Greene County, was slain with a sawed-off shotgun. Although Roach confessed to the killing after the verdict, he since has claimed that he admitted to the slaying only to have his life spared. His appeals to state and federal courts failed and the Supreme Court of Virginia in April dismissed his petition to have his trial and sentence thrown out on constitutional grounds. Hughes was found dead Dec. 3, 1993, in the doorway of her home outside Stanardsville. After Hughes was killed, Roach, then 17 years old, fled south in her Buick Regal. Two days after the slaying, a trooper in the South Carolina Highway Patrol pulled Roach over for speeding. Roach eluded arrest by running into nearby woods. He later talked to his aunt, who persuaded him to turn himself in. A day later, he returned to Virginia and confessed to Greene County Sheriff William Morris. A Greene County jury sentenced Roach to death based, in part, on his threat to society. That threat was partially based on his criminal record of 2 auto thefts and a burglary. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Roach’s appeal.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 13, 2000 Pennsylvania Raymond Gambrell, 30
Steven Brown, 28
James Reynolds, 22
Noble Green, 30
Craig Murphy stayed

Craig Murphy was convicted of the March 1981 stalking and fatal shooting of Raymond Gambrell, 30, who Murphy said stole some copper tubing from him. Murphy was arrested shortly after the crime in 1981, but charges were dropped when a witness, Steven Brown, 28, fled to Maine. Brown returned to Philadelphia and was killed 2 weeks later, shot six times. Murphy was not convicted of Gambrell’s murder until 1988. Murphy was also responsible for the 1983 murders of James Reynolds, 22, a low-level drug dealer who was shot 7 times, and Noble Green, 30, killed due to a drug war.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 13, 2000 Oklahoma Eddie O. Cash, 63
Valerie Shaw-Hartzell, 25
Jane Hilburn, 35
Janet Jewell, 32
Margaret Bell Lydick, 36
DeRonda Gay Roy, 24
Gary Alan Walker executed

The execution of serial killer Gary Alan Walker, sentenced to death for the 5/7/84 murder of 63-year-old Eddie Cash of Broken Arrow, is scheduled for Jan. 13. Eddie was on his way to visit relatives in Collinsville when he offered a ride on a hot day to the hitchhiking Walker. During their conversation, Walker learned where Eddie lived and repaid the kindness by going to his house that evening and robbing Eddie, strangling him with a vacuum cleaner cord and beating him with a brick. The jury rejected the insanity defense. He also was handed 6 life sentences plus 700 years for crimes he committed in 1984. Walker also confessed to killing Jayne Hilburn of Vinita, Janet Jewell of Beggs and Margaret Bell Lydick of Poteau. He raped, tortured and murdered Margaret Ann Bell Lydick in Poteau, Oklahoma. Jane Hilburn, 35, was strangled and her car was stolen in Vinita, Oklahoma on May 14. Valerie Shaw-Hartzell, 25, a Tulsa radio reporter, was killed after being kidnapped and raped on May 24. His death sentence in this murder was overturned and with a second trial, Walker was sentenced to life without parole. On May 23, he raped and murdered 32-year-old Janet Dee Jewell in Tulsa. He stripped and attempted to rape DeRonda Gay Roy, a 24-year-old mother of 4, then strangled her with her bra in Rogers County, Oklahoma. Walker was convicted of approximately 35 additional felonies. 30 people bound by the horrors of Gary Alan Walker’s 1984 killing spree planned to witness his scheduled execution early Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The 5-time killer was scheduled to receive a lethal dose of drugs for the slaying of Broken Arrow rancher Eddie Cash. Walker already had given up the crocheting that filled his days on death row and created afghans and baby booties that he sometimes gave as gifts. "We’ve gone everywhere we can go. We’ve done everything we can do," said Walker’s lawyer, Gloyd McCoy, who fought for 14 years to win a reprieve. Walker requested that McCoy not view the execution because he didn’t want him traumatized to the point of rejecting future death penalty cases, McCoy said. A dozen members of Cash’s family planned to witness the execution from behind the tinted glass in the witness room of the death chamber. There aren’t enough chairs inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary death chamber to hold all the people who want to see Gary Alan Walker die. Mothers, daughters, sons, grandchildren — 30 people bound by Walker’s 1984 murder spree and the loss of loved ones — plan to witness the five-time killer’s execution. For 15 years, they’ve been lumped together — their loved ones landing on Walker’s list of victims apparently because of chance encounters with him. "I’d like to hear him admit that he done wrong. Maybe ask for forgiveness," said Doug Hilburn, who was 18 when his younger sister found their mother strangled in their home near Vinita. "I don’t know whether I’ve forgiven him or not." Mothers, brothers and children of Walker’s other victims could watch in an overflow room via closed-circuit TV. Testimony in Walker’s defense told of beatings as a child at the hands of his stepfather and of an incestuous relationship with his mother. But Doug Hilburn said a miserable childhood was no defense for Walker’s actions. "I think there’s a lot of good people out there that had bad childhoods," said Hilburn, adding that the death of his mother, Jayne, when he was 18 cost him direction in his own young life. Several family members of victims said before the execution that they wished they could ask Walker why he killed their loved one. They said they had never seen him express remorse. "I’d like to hear him admit that he done wrong. Maybe ask for forgiveness," said Hilburn, whose younger sister found their mother strangled in their home near Vinita. "I don’t know whether I’ve forgiven him or not." Several also were hopeful that viewing the execution would bring them peace. "I’m hoping it will close this long, long chapter of our lives," said Emilie Pearson, Shaw-Hartzell’s mother. Walker’s execution ends what has been a long and often halting road to justice for the victims’ family members. Pearson said that family members had toured death row. "You know. It didn’t affect me," she said. "It was just a long hall with nothing to see." Pearson attended the execution with her husband, James, her daughter and her husband, Valerie’s uncle and the family’s pastor. Pearson said that as she got closer to McAlester on Wednesday she began getting nervous that "surely nothing can happen now at this late date." Edmondson apprised the victims’ families of the legal status of Walker’s case, he said. He expected no last-minute appeals. Asked about the mood among the other victims’ family members as midnight grew nearer, Pearson said: "I think everyone is glad it has finally gotten here. It’s taken too long." She continued: "Everybody’s hugging each other. We may not have met, but we know what each other’s gone through." For herself, she said, she hopes the execution "will finally put an end to this 16-1/2 years of pain, grief and sadness. We’ll never forget Valerie, and this certainly won’t bring her back."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 17, 2000 Nevada Kippi Jenea Vaught , 16
Rhonda Lee Martin Scheffler, 17
Brenda Judd, 14
Sandra Colley, 13
Stacey Redican
Karen Chipman-Twiggs
Lina Aguilar, 21
unborn child of Lina Aguilar
Virginia Mochel
Craig Miller, 22
Mary Elizabeth Sowers, 21
Gerald Gallego stayed

staceyredican smallrhondascheffler smallkippivaught smallkarenchipman smallPrior to kidnapping, torturing and killing ten young women in his search for the perfect sex slave, Gerald Albert Gallego had been charged 27 times and convicted 7 times on felony counts. Gallego was charged in four of the murders. Charges were not filed in the other 6 cases. Gallego’s father Gerald Armando Gallego was sentenced to death for the murder of two lawmen in two separate incidents. In 1955, when his son was 9, he became the first man to die in Mississippi’s gas chamber. In 1999, skeletal remains of Brenda Judd and Sandra Colley were found by a rancher who was running a tractor on his property and turned up the shallow grave. The girls disappeared from a county fair in Reno in 1979. Lela Lee, mother of Brenda Judd and Jewel Martin, mother of Sandra Colley, were the only families of Gallego’s victims who did not have their loved ones remains to bury before the discovery. "Now the mothers will be able to put their daughters to rest," said John Compston, a retired investigator who had spent hours with Charlene Gallego, searching for the bodies. Gallego denied killing the girls but his wife and accomplice, Charlene Gallego, admitted to the abduction and murders in order to keep from going to death row herself. After testifying about 10 murders she helped her husband to commit in order to fulfill his sexual fantasies, Charlene Gallego was sentenced to 16 years and was paroled in 1997. She had given details about luring the young women from malls and other busy places while Gallego waited to subdue them back in the couple’s vehicle. College students Mary Beth Sowers and Craig Miller were engaged to be married when they were kidnapped during a fraternity dance in 1980. Craig was shot and his body was dumped and Mary Beth was raped before being killed. UPDATE: Convicted sex-slave killer Gerald Gallego, facing execution the week of Jan. 17, got an expected stay Wednesday from a district court judge. District Judge John McGroarty of Las Vegas had imposed the death sentence in Lovelock in mid-November. His stay was automatic because all death penalties are automatically appealed in Nevada. Gallego was sentenced to die in Nevada for two 1980 murders that authorities believe were part of killing spree of as many as 10 people. It marked the 2nd time he has been ordered to be executed. The resentencing was necessary after the Nevada attorney general’s office missed a deadline in response to an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over jury instructions in the original sentencing. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. UPDATE: In July 2002, Gerald Gallego died of rectal cancer which had spread to his liver and lungs.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 18, 2000 Texas Cecile Ham, 48 Spencer Goodman executed

Spencer Corey Goodman had been on parole less than 24 hours when he abducted 48-year-old Cecile Ham, 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 appealed his conviction saying 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 Ham 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. The jury deliberated only 3 hours before sentencing Goodman to death. Cecile’s husband Bill and her mother, Louella Autrey of Waxahachie, were present when the sentence was read 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 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, 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 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. Prosecutors 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. Just as often, this man has spit in the face of society."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 18, 2000 Pennsylvania Brenda Jo Stevens, 40
Michael Love, 28
Andre Stevens stayed

In April 1993, Andre Stevens was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death for murdering his estranged wife, Brenda Jo Stevens, and one of her acquaintances, Michael Love. They were shot to death as they were leaving the dance floor of a nightclub. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 19, 2000 Nebraska Reuel Eugene Van Ness Jr.
Maynard Helegland
Carey Dean Moore stayed

Carey Dean Moore was sentenced to die for the 1979 murders of 2 Omaha taxicab drivers. Moore devised a plan to rob Omaha cabdrivers. From a telephone booth in downtown Omaha, Moore called a cab and waited to see how quickly the cabdriver responded to that call. If the responding cabdriver was suitable for Moore’s plan, that is, "an older man" rather than a young man, Moore planned to shoot the cabdriver and take the driver’s money. Pursuant to his plan, Moore shot and killed one cabdriver on August 22, 1979, and another on August 26, 1979. When he was arrested for the crimes, Moore also told officers that he chose older victims because they would be easier to kill. He confessed to killing Reuel Eugene Van Ness Jr. on August 22, 1979, and to the murder of Maynard Helegland 5 days later.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 20, 2000 Texas Ocolor Hegger, 87 David Hicks executed

David Hicks had previous convictions for aggravated assault and burglary, kidnapping and fleeing from a police officer. He had been on parole for just 8 months when he raped and murdered his own grandmother. Ocolor Hegger was 87 years old and was sexually assaulted and then beaten to death by her grandson, Hicks on April 25, 1988. The murder occurred at her home near Teague, Texas. Ocolor was killed by being beaten in the head with 8 to 10 blows with a ball-peen hammer. A neighbor found Ocolor Hegger sprawled on the kitchen floor of her small frame house in Teague on the morning of April 26, 1988. Her head was crushed, her blood splashed onto the walls. "It’s the most vicious case I’ve ever tried,” said Freestone County District Attorney Bob Gage. "It was absolutely sickening.” On death row, Hicks continued to insist he is innocent. "I’ve got to get my name back,” he said recently. Hicks was an unemployed 26-year-old in 1988, released from jail and hanging around the rural community where he grew up. There was a highway nearby and not much else. Hicks and his cousin Lester dropped by his grandmother’s house on the night of the murder. Lester handed Mrs. Hegger some money, settling a debt between the two. Then the cousins took off, leaving their grandmother watching television in her housecoat. Later that night, prosecutors believe, Hicks returned to Mrs. Hegger’s house with plans to steal the money. Instead, he beat the elderly woman unconscious and left her for dead in the bedroom, Gage said. Hicks spent that evening drinking beer with his cousin and three friends. He left after a few hours, but returned to his grandmother’s house on the way home, Gage said. "She’d dragged herself to the kitchen,” Gage said. "I think she was laying there injured for two or three hours before he came back to check.” Hicks then raped the elderly woman, beat her viciously and shattered her skull with a wooden doorstop, Gage said. DNA tests revealed Hicks’ semen in his grandmother’s body and smeared on her robe. Introducing genetic material as courtroom evidence was still a revolutionary technique in 1989, when Hicks was found guilty of the murder. His conviction set off a flurry of articles in scientific journals. DNA was inconclusive in Hicks’ case, some scientists argued, because his hometown was inbred and isolated, and because he shared some genetic patterns with his grandmother. Those arguments were silenced last year, when a Waco judge agreed to reevaluate the evidence. For the second time, scientists pointed to Hicks. The DNA match was even more conclusive. "So we’re not hearing any more about his innocence,” Gage said. "They dropped all that.” However, some supporters still claimed he was innocent and the DNA match was related to voodoo.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 20, 2000 Pennsylvania Marsha Smith, 38 Daniel Gwynn stayed

In November 1995, Daniel Gwynn, then 24, was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death for setting fire to an abandoned building in Philadelphia, killing Marsha Smith, a 38-year-old squatter who was trapped inside. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 21, 2000 Texas Bruce Gardner, 33
Rick Bryant, 31
Scott Reed, 11
Georgia Ann Reed, 24
Earline Barker, 55
Larry Robison executed
Bruce Gardner smallRickey Bryant small Scotty ReedGeorgia ReedEarline Baker smallLarry Robison was sentenced to die for the August 10, 1982, murder of Bruce Gardner, a General Dynamics assembly line worker. Robison, a former construction worker from Abilene, was arrested Aug. 11, 1982, in Wichita, Kan., driving the car of 33-year-old Bruce Gardner of Lake Worth. The previous day, Bruce was one of five people found mutilated, shot or stabbed in neighboring cottages near Lake Worth. Also killed were Bruce’s girlfriend, Georgia Ann Reed, 34; her mother, Earline Barker, 55; and Georgia’s 11-year-old son, Scott. Robison, who has acknowledged a history of drug abuse, was convicted of capital murder for Bruce’s death. But before Bruce arrived at the Shore View Drive cottage, Robison had slain Rickey Lee Bryant in the bathroom of the home they briefly shared. Rickey, 31, had been shot twice in the head, decapitated, sexually mutilated and stabbed 49 times. His penis was found in the kitchen sink and his testicles were never found. Robison then went next door and killed Georgia Ann Reed in her bed. Reed’s son Scott, who in two days would have been 12, was killed in the living room. Under his body was a hammer, which authorities suggested may have indicated that the boy had intended to defend his mother. Reed’s mother, 55-year-old Earline Barker, was also killed in the living room. She had been recuperating from surgery to correct a brain aneurysm. Bruce was killed when he arrived to pick up Georgia for a date. Rickey’s mother found her son’s body, posed with his head in the crook of his arm. Authorities then found the bodies of the other victims. Greg Pipes, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Robison, said the idea that he was insane is an illusion. “They did diagnose him (as schizophrenic),” Pipes said. “But there are an awful lot of people diagnosed as schizophrenic that aren’t killing people." Pipes also stated that if Robison’s sentence were to be commuted to a life sentence, he would be released from prison in a few years since mandatory release laws were in effect at the time of his crime. Mandatory release requires an inmate to be given "good time" credit of one and a half days for every day served in prison. When the inmate’s time served plus his good time credits equal his sentence, he must be released, regardless of his potential as a future danger to society, after only one third of the actual sentence is served.Inside the death chamber, Rhonda Kreps, whose mother, sister and nephew were slain by Robison, dabbed her eyes as she watched him die. She sobbed heavily and was comforted by the other 5 witnesses and by prison officials as she was helped outside. After the execution, relatives of the 5 people Robison killed issued a statement saying, "Justice has been done. Larry Robison has paid with his life for the 17-year nightmare of trauma and heartache he caused for the families of his victims," the family said. "We will cherish the memories of our loved ones. We are grateful for the support of our friends and families, the community and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victims Services Division."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 24, 2000 Texas Mark Frederick, 25 Billy Hughes executed

Mark FrederickOn the evening of April 4, 1976, two Texas state troopers pulled over the 1975 Ford LTD Billy George Hughes was driving on Interstate 10 near Sealy, Texas. The troopers were responding to a dispatcher’s report that a man driving a similar car had attempted to use a stolen credit card at a nearby motel. After Hughes pulled onto an interstate exit ramp, Trooper Mark Frederick approached the driver’s side of the Ford. Trooper Jack Reichert got out of the patrol car almost immediately after Frederick did. Approaching the Ford behind Frederick, Reichert heard a “muffled shot” and saw Frederick “lurch” to the side. Frederick had sustained a fatal wound. As the Ford sped away, Reichert shot several times at the car. An abandoned car with matching description was found several miles away. The car had many bullet holes, and its trunk contained a loaded, sawed-off shotgun and several other weapons. Two days later, a helicopter approached a field where a suspect was reportedly seen. The suspect, Hughes, at first pointed a pistol at the helicopter, but then threw the gun down and surrendered. Ballistics experts identified the pistol as the murder weapon. The jury took only 47 minutes to sentence Hughes to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 24, 2000 Nevada George Sullivan, 43 Siaosi Vanisi stayed

Sgt. George Sullivan, a 43-year-old father of five, had been with the University of Nevada – Reno Police Department for 19 years when he was murdered by Siaosi Vanisi on January 13, 1998. George was sitting in his patrol car filling out paperwork when he was attacked with a hatchet by Vanisi. He suffered over 20 separate wounds and Vanisi then stomped on his face and stole his gun and gun-belt. Within hours of George’s murder, Vanisi used his weapon in two different convenience store robberies. He was arrested the next day after stealing a car and engaging in a shoot-out with police. Vanisi, a native of Tonga, had repeatedly told friends that he wanted to kill a white police officer. He did not like whites or police officers because his wife had left him for a white officer. He later bragged to a cousin about the murder. The jury at his trial found him guilty of murder in less than two hours and sentenced him to death within less than 4 hours. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 25, 2000 Texas Leta Ann Wilkerson, 30 Glen McGinnis executed

Leta Ann WilkersonGlen McGinnis was convicted in the robbery and murder of Leta Ann Wilkerson, 30. Leta was working as a clerk at a dry cleaners in Conroe. Just five days before the killing, McGinnis was released on probation for auto theft. He said he entered the Conroe laundry to steal cash for his imprisoned mother. "I used to have no respect for people," McGinnis said. "I never had no compassion." McGinnis entered the store and shot her once in the head and three times in the back with a.25 caliber handgun he had stolen from his aunt. He stole money from the cash register and took Leta’s van. His thumb print was found on Leta’s wallet. McGinnis had been placed on probation for an auto theft charge just five days before Leta was murdered. McGinnis had an extensive juvenile record. Karen Newsum hopes the final image her sister’s killer sees at his execution Tuesday is the face of his victim. "I want him to know that she still matters," said the older sister of Leta Ann Jones Wilkerson, who was killed Aug. 1, 1990, by 17-year-old Glen McGinnis during a robbery at Wilkerson’s dry cleaning store. Newsum and three other family members, including Wilkerson’s 21-year-old daughter, will be watching from the death chamber’s visiting room when McGinnis, now 26, is executed. She said she is not seeking vengeance. "I forgave him first for my sister, and I knew before I went to his execution I would have to forgive him for myself," she said. "Leta would have been the first to forgive him and would have turned right around and have helped him." From Attorney General’s account of case: On the afternoon of August 1, 1990, a customer walked into Wilkins Dry Cleaners in Conroe, Texas, to pick up some cleaning. He waited at the counter, but no one approached to wait on him. He left, then reentered with another customer. Finally, noticing that the cash register was open, the man walked around the corner of the counter toward the back room of the store where he discovered Leta Wilkerson lying face up on the floor, her eyes open and her body covered with blood. He immediately notified the police and called for an ambulance. Wilkerson was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. She had been shot once in the face and three times in the back. Upon arriving at the scene, investigating officers found spent.25-caliber bullets and bullet casings lying on the floor near where the body was found. Officers also discovered blood on the front counter next to a pile of jeans with the name "McGinnis" written in the pockets. The telephone on the front counter had been left off the hook, objects were in disarray and about $140 was missing from the cash register. Additionally, police were informed that the 1985 silver-gray GMC minivan the victim had driven to work that day was missing. Two individuals picked Glen Charles McGinnis out of a photographic lineup, identifying him as the man they had seen at or near Wilkins Dry Cleaners around the time of the offense. Late that evening, police found Wilkerson’s minivan abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. Between the two front seats of the van, they discovered Wilkerson’s wallet, from which investigators lifted McGinnis’s fingerprint. The following morning, three employees of various businesses in the shopping center where the van was found picked McGinnis out of a photographic lineup as the man they had seen the afternoon before requesting assistance because his van was broken down. Early on the morning of August 2, 1990, police were dispatched to Williams Square Apartments, just two blocks from Wilkins Dry Cleaners, where McGinnis was thought to be residing with his aunt. Police arrested McGinnis for the capital murder of Leta Wilkerson and transported him to the police station, where they discovered $105 in his possession. Later that morning, police returned to his aunt’s apartment to search for a.25-caliber weapon. The aunt told police that her nephew had been living with her in the apartment since July 27, 1990. She also told police that she owned a.25-caliber semi-automatic pistol; however, when she discovered that the gun was not where she had left it, she agreed to let police search the apartment. Police found a.25-caliber Raven semi-automatic pistol in a laundry hamper in the hall closet. The aunt identified the gun as her own, but stated that she did not know how it had gotten in the laundry hamper. Firearms examiners testified at trial that shell casings recovered from the scene and bullets recovered from both the victim’s body and the scene had been fired from the aunt’s gun. Almost two months after the offense, McGinnis’s aunt contacted police to inform them she had found a set of keys in her apartment. The keys were later identified as the keys of Leta Wilkerson. In addition, when asked at trial about the jeans found at the cleaners, the aunt identified them as hers, but testified that she had not taken the jeans to the cleaners. Rather, the jeans had previously been stored away in a closet in her apartment because she did not wear them anymore.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 26, 2000 Texas Sherry Kay Jones, 40 Anzel Jones stayed

Anzel Keon Jones (no relation to his victims) was sentenced to die for the May 1995 murder of Sherry Kay Jones in Paris Texas. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date. Sherry and her mother heard dogs barking and when Sherry went to investigate, Jones appeared at the back door. Sherry offered Jones the keys to two vehicles that were parked in the garage and also gave him $125 in cash if he would not harm the women. He took the cash and then attacked them both with a kitchen knife. Sherry was stabbed eight times and he tried to slit the mother’s throat. He left her bleeding in her bed and then set the house on fire but neighbors saw the smoke and the mother was rescued. Sherry died from her wounds at the scene. Jones, a neighbor’s son, was arrested 10 days after the attack. UDPATE: Jones had another execution date set for April 29, 2004, but again received a stay. In March of 2005, a divided Supreme Court ruled that persons who were under 18 years of age at the time of their crime could not be executed. On June 24, 2005, Jones’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison with a mandatory 40 years before parole eligibility. He is serving his sentence at the Telford Unit and will be eligible for parole in June of 2036, when he is 57 years old.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 27, 2000 Texas Clinton Corbet, 53
John Royce Cravey, 41
James Moreland executed

On October 9, 1982 James Moreland stabbed to death two men, 53-year-old Clinton Corbet and 41-year-old John Royce Cravey during a robbery. The men were stabbed multiple times in their backs. The 39-year-old Indiana native never denied killing Clinton Corbet Abbott and John Royce Cravey. The 2 friends were stabbed repeatedly in the back, robbed and left to die in a Eustace trailer home after a day of beer drinking on Oct. 9, 1982. Instead, Moreland maintained he acted out of fear after Cravey, a 41-year-old iron worker, allegedly made homosexual advances toward him. The claim is similar to the "gay panic" defense used last year in the trial of one of the men accused of fatally beating Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student. A judge disallowed the strategy. Relatives of Moreland’s victims rankle at the suggestion. "My brother was by no means a homosexual. I know this for a fact," said Robert Cravey. "Neither was Clint. He’d have fought you if you even mentioned it to him." Jurors also rejected the idea, convicting Moreland of capital murder for Abbott’s death on June 15, 1983. He was indicted but never tried for Cravey’s killing. Meanwhile, the victims’ relatives remained steadfast in their determination to see Moreland receive a lethal injection. "I look at his picture in the paper, and he looks like a mad dog to me," said Fane Abbott Morton, Abbott’s 72-year-old sister. "He needs to be put out of his misery." Abbott, a retired soldier, was 53 when he and Cravey were murdered in Eustace, a town of about 660 people 40 miles southeast of Dallas. In a written confession and on the witness stand at his trial, Moreland said he had been drinking heavily and was hitchhiking to buy beer when the men offered him a ride and invited him back to Cravey’s trailer. Moreland said after about an hour and a half of drinking, he was left alone with Cravey, who began rubbing Moreland’s leg and then attacked him. Moreland said he feared being raped or injured, so he grabbed a knife from the kitchen table and stabbed Cravey. He also stabbed Abbott when the older man confronted him. Prosecutors told a different story, though, producing evidence to suggest Moreland stabbed the 2 drunken men as they slept. A medical examiner testified that, at the time of their deaths, Cravey had a blood-alcohol level of.19 %, more than twice the legal standard of intoxication in Texas, while Abbott’s blood tested at.24 %. The victims each had 7 stab wounds to the back in a pattern consistent with an attack from above while they slept on their stomachs, he testified. And prosecutors said that other than shallow cuts on the victims’ hands, there was little evidence of a struggle in the trailer. Two bloody kitchen knives were found on a dresser. Moreland, whose previous criminal history included burglaries in Texas and Florida, was arrested in Bedford, Ind., three days after the murders. Warrants were based on information a cousin provided. Authorities searched his sister’s home in Bedford and found a shredded pair of boots belonging to Cravey in a trash can. Moreland’s father gave authorities a medicine bottle he found with Cravey’s name on it.

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