July 2000 Executions

Four killers were executed in the month of June 2000. They had murdered at least 12 people.
Eleven killers were issued stays of execution. They have murdered at least 17 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 3, 2000 New Mexico Dena Lynn Gore, 9 Terry Clark stayed

Terry Clark, convicted in the 1986 kidnapping and rape-slaying of a 9-year-old Artesia girl, Dena Lynn Gore, has waived his appeals, fired his attorneys and written letters asking to die. He says he’s at peace with his crime and he wants to be executed. In July, the state Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Clark. "I know we still have a long way to go, especially if he’s not going to waive it," said the victim’s mother, Colleen Gore, from the Estancia auto repair shop where she works. But she said the latest ruling was "great. I think this is the start of showing people you can’t hurt our children. Enough is enough," she said. Dena Lynn Gore disappeared July 17, 1986, while riding a bike to an Artesia convenience store. Her naked, bound body was found 5 days later in a shallow grave on a Chaves County ranch. She had been shot 3 times in the back of the head. At the time, Clark was free on bond pending appeal of his conviction for kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old Roswell girl in 1984. Clark, 43, of Roswell, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder in 1986, hoping that his death sentence would be commuted by outgoing Gov. Toney Anaya, a death penalty opponent. But his sentencing was delayed until after Anaya left office. Clark was sentenced to death in 1987, but the state Supreme Court overturned the sentence in 1994, saying his constitutional rights had been violated. The court said the jury wasn’t accurately told how much prison time Clark faced if he were given a life term, and it ordered him resentenced. He was resentenced in March 1996. February 2000: Convicted child killer Terry Clark, who said last year he wanted to end his appeals and be executed for murdering an Artesia girl, told a judge he has changed his mind and now wants to resume his fight against a death sentence. State District Judge David Bonem on Friday set a May 15 execution date for convicted child killer Terry Clark. However, Clark still has 2 appeals pending, one on the federal level and the other in state court. Bonem gave Gail Evans, Clark’s attorney, 30 days to file an amended petition arguing that Clark’s attorney in earlier phases of the case inadequately represented him in a 1997 appeal. If the petition is successful, Clark will be granted a new sentencing on his convictions in the July 1986 murder and kidnapping of 9-year-old Dena Lynn Gore of Artesia. Clark last year said he wanted to end his appeals and be executed for the murder. But Evans announced Thursday he had changed his mind and would continue to fight the death sentence. Evans argued that Clark’s death sentence was based on a 1984 child molestation case, and that he has always maintained he is innocent of that crime. "I think it’s a tactic but this is our system and that’s the way it works," said Dena Lynn’s mother, Colleen Gore, who was in the courtroom when Bonem set the execution date. "So it will be a little bit longer, maybe 20 years longer," she said with tears in her eyes. She said she was excited when she first heard the execution date for Clark, who was in the courtroom, wearing sunglasses and his hair in a ponytail. District Attorney Tom Rutledge also indicated he believes the 13-year-old case will take a lot more time. "I didn’t bring my calendar with me for the year 2010," he told Bonem. Rutledge said lawyers all believe every petition they file is strong, but added, "Quite often, it is nothing more than hot air. They have litigated this issue (Clark’s convictions); they have lost," he said. One reason to invoke the death penalty in New Mexico is the killing of a witness to a crime. Rutledge said Clark testified during his trial that Dena Lynn told him she was going to tell on him, and that Clark then had to kill her. Bonem said he had the right to summarily deny Clark’s petition that he had inadequate counsel, but would not do that. "I’m not inclined to delay this matter unnecessarily, either," he said, adding that he was not going to consider the validity of the 1984 conviction. A hearing on the petition is set for May 5. March 2000: Terry Clark, the New Mexico inmate closest to execution, on Thursday won a 2-month delay in his date with death. State District Judge David Bonem postponed Clark’s execution date from May 15 to July 3 to give Clark’s lawyer more time to prepare her argument that his life should be spared. Gail Evans, a lawyer in the office of the New Mexico Public Defender, had a deadline of March 20 to make written arguments to support Clark’s allegation that his death sentence for the kidnapping and murder of a 9-year-old Artesia girl was due to the incompetence of his defense attorney. She asked for and was granted an extension until April 24, based on the necessity of hiring a second lawyer to help on the case; 10 boxes of documents to read through; a delay in receiving trial transcripts; and a planned vacation. In her motion, Evans said her request was not meant simply to delay Clark’s execution. The district attorney who has prosecuted the case said Thursday that further review was unnecessary. "2 different juries of 12 people determined that the death penalty was appropriate. This has been reviewed twice by the New Mexico Supreme Court," prosecutor Thomas Rutledge said. "At what point in time do we say, ‘Enough’?" Rutledge also termed the incompetent defense argument "just bizarre." Clark was defended by Gary Mitchell, an ardent opponent of the death penalty and one of the most successful death penalty defense lawyers in the state. He dropped out of the case in November after Clark told the state Supreme Court he was ready to die and wanted no further appeals. The case fell to Evans at that point. Then last month Clark had a change of heart. Days before a hearing to set an execution date, Clark told Evans he wanted to live and fight his death sentence. Dena Lynn Gore was kidnapped in 1986 as she rode a bicycle to a convenience store near her home. She was raped, shot to death and buried in shallow grave on a Chaves County ranch where Clark was employed. Clark pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and murder and was sentenced to death by a Quay County jury in 1987. The New Mexico Supreme Court threw out that sentence, finding that jurors might have misunderstood how much time Clark would have spent behind bars if he had received a life sentence. A 2nd jury, this one in Grant County, decided in 1996 that Clark should die for the crimes. The Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal. Both juries considered Clark’s conviction for the 1984 kidnapping and rape of a 6-year-old Roswell girl when they sentenced Clark to die. Clark has always maintained his innocence in that crime, and Evans plans to argue that Mitchell should not have agreed that the juries be told about the conviction. Bonem set a court schedule that gives prosecutors until May 22 to respond to Clark’s petition and calls for a hearing on the arguments for June 13. He moved the execution date to July 3. An execution date at this point in Clark’s case is "a legal fiction," according to Evans’ motion. And Rutledge said he has told Gore’s parents to expect further delays. If Clark’s arguments before Bonem fail, he still may ask the state Supreme Court to hear a further appeal. And if that were denied, Clark could pursue appeals in federal courts.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 6, 2000 Virginia Lam Van Son
Wendell Parish
Karen Sue Rounds
Abdelaziz Gren
Michael Clagett executed

On June 30, 1994, Michael Clagett and his girlfriend, Denise Holsinger, carried out the robbery and slayings of Lam Van Son, Wendell Parish, Karen Sue Rounds, and Abdelaziz Gren at the Witchduck Inn in Virginia Beach. The owner’s 5-year-old son, asleep in a back room, was unharmed. The evidence at trial showed that Holsinger engineered the crime about a month after she was fired from a job at the Inn and that she urged Clagett to fire the shots while she emptied the tavern’s cash register of about $400. Holsinger received 5 life sentences plus 23 years for her role in the crimes. Clagett’s first wife, who was married to him for eleven years and has a son by him, testified at his trial about a history of domestic abuse. 7/8/00 – Shortly after landing on death row, executed Witchduck Inn killer Michael Clagett quietly married his 1st cousin in a jailhouse wedding ceremony, court records show. The marriage was a secret Karen Elaine Sparks desperately sought to keep from her family. Reached at her Columbus, Ohio, home Friday, hours after returning from her husband’s execution, Sparks, 41, said she told only four people about the 1996 marriage for fear of reprisals from family members and co-workers. “I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t true, if our love wasn’t true,” Sparks said when asked why she married Clagett, a quadruple murderer. “I can’t explain it. There’s just no way to put it into words." Clagett and his then-girlfriend, Denise Holsinger, robbed the Virginia Beach bar of $400 on June 30, 1994. Clagett confessed to shooting 4 people in the head that night and died at age 39 in Virginia’s electric chair Thursday. Holsinger, 35, is serving 5 life terms. Sparks downplayed the significance of marrying a first cousin by saying that Clagett’s father and her mother "barely knew each other. They were born 14 years apart. She also said they never consummated the marriage. Prison policy forbids conjugal visits. Virginia law does not prohibit 1st cousins from marrying. The state prohibits marriages between brothers and sisters; aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews; and “ancestors and descendants." Sparks, who said she has worked for Time-Warner for 22 years, had twice been married before, court records show. Sparks said she told only 2 close friends, a sister and Clagett’s mother — her aunt and mother-in-law — about the marriage. "When I first brought the subject up with my family, when I told them we were thinking about it,” she said, "they just went off." Sparks’ marriage came to light Thursday, when Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said Clagett had been visited by his mother, Iris M. Etter, and his wife. News of the marriage stunned Karen’s father, Maurice Sparks Jr., who said he talked to his daughter just two weeks ago and was aware that she was accompanying Etter to the execution. He said he had no idea why she would marry Clagett. "That’s a good question," he said, his voice trembling. “I don’t know what she’s doing." Karen Sparks and Etter spent 2 hours with Clagett on Thursday before prison officials made them leave at 3 p.m. Reached at her Galloway, Ohio, home Friday, Etter declined to say whether she knew that Sparks was her son’s 1st cousin. Etter said only that it was wrong for the state to kill her son and that his ashes had been returned to her after his autopsy. “It was a very sad thing to me," Etter said. "I think they did a terrible thing. I think Michael would have made a really good person to go around to the prisons and talk to people." Witnesses in the viewing room with the victims’ families said they stood silently through the electrocution, except for one woman, who began to cry. Some family members were relieved. Others said the execution did nothing to ease their pain. Jim Garcia, brother-in-law of Abdelaziz "Aziz" Gren, a patron of the Witchduck Inn who was slain by Clagett, watched Clagett die. As soon as Clagett was pronounced dead, “all the anger that built up all these years went away,” Garcia said. "Suddenly I wasn’t angry anymore." His wife, Gren’s sister Fatna “Fouzia” Garcia, feels differently. "It doesn’t bring Aziz back,” she said. “It doesn’t bring any one of them back." Another sister of Gren’s, Khadija Johnson, thought she was going to faint during the electrocution. She felt better later: "It helped me to be there. It helped me to see what I saw. For me it is a sense of relief. So much changed. I do not feel the way I did yesterday." Garcia and Johnson said Clagett’s apologies just before his death fell on deaf ears. "It’s not up to anybody to forgive him. If God forgives him then he’s forgiven. It’s not up to me or anybody else,” Johnson said. They said the other witnesses in the room with them included Gren’s nephew; Lanna Le Son, whose husband Lam Van “L.V.” Son owned the bar; Kevin Rounds, the husband of slain bartender Karen Sue Rounds; and two members from the family of Wendel G. “J.R.” Parrish Jr. Lanna Le Son forgave Clagett in a Thursday phone call approved by Gov. Jim Gilmore, according to news reports. But Friday, she told a television reporter, "I think the execution is a lot easier for him than for me. It’s really sad to stand there and watch somebody dying and also feel that he deserve it." Garcia said that on the way back from Jarratt, the family stopped at the cemetery where Gren is buried to tell him that Clagett had been executed.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 11, 2000 Pennsylvania William Lloyd, 51 Samuel Carson stayed

Samuel Carson was sentenced to die for the 11/22/92 murder of 51-year-old William Lloyd. Carson mistook William for a rival drug dealer and shot him 7 times. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 11, 2000 Ohio Debra Ogle, 20
Cynthia Tincher, 19
William Montgomery stayed

William Montgomery was sentenced to die for the March 8, 1986 murders of Debra Ogle and her roommate Cynthia Tincher in Toledo, Ohio. Both woman were robbed, bound and shot in the head. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date. After an argument with his girlfriend, Montgomery went to Debra Ogle’s apartment in Lucas County to get a ride home. On the way, Montgomery had her stop the car, at which point he fatally shot her three times. Montgomery returned to the apartment in the victim’s car, left with the victim’s roommate, Cynthia Tincher, had her pull over to the side of the road, and fatally shot her. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 11, 2000 Texas Rena Radcliff, 92 William Murray stayed

William Murray was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman, Rena Radcliff on February 10, 1998. Officers responded to a call concerning the woman and found her home in a ransacked state. Rena was found in her bedroom, nude from the waist down and with wounds and bruises on her head. The cause of death was found to be strangulation and blunt force injury. Residents of Kaufman, population 5,000, anxiously waited 7 days in February 1998 for the arrest of the elderly woman’s killer, said Bill Conradt, Kaufman County District Attorney. "For a while, it had a lot of people scared," he said. On Feb. 17, police arrested William Murray for the crime. After taking a lie detector test, Murray confessed to the rape and murder. He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in June 1999. Murray did not contest the conviction in his appeal, which is automatic in death penalty cases. He also waived any future appeals, according to an opinion from the appeals court. However, there are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 12, 2000 Missouri Kent Bicknese
James Schneider
Sol Marks, 80
Mose Young stayed

At 9 a.m. on February 8, 1983, Lee Rascover opened his pawn shop in St. Louis, and admitted Mose Young who had been waiting in front of the store. Young attempted to pawn a gold-plated stickpin and wanted $1800 for it so he could buy his girlfriend a used Cadillac. Lee told Young that it was worthless and threatened to have Young arrested for attempting to steal by deceit. A heated exchange ensued during which Young attempted to push Lee. Lee pushed Young back and drew his gun from a hip holster and ordered Young to leave, which he did. Lee telephoned his other pawn shop and warned Ronnell Bennett, one of his partners, that Young was bringing the pin there. Young did go to the second pawn shop and attempted to get several thousand dollars for it. Having been forewarned, Ronnell would not take the pin. Young then engaged in an argument with James Schneider, another partner in the pawn shop. Eventually they all agreed that Young might have luck pawning a gun or rifle. Young left after attempting to steal some jewelry which he had asked to examine. Sometime later, Young returned to the second pawn shop carrying a rifle. At the time four people were present. Ronnell, Sol Marks, who was Lee’s grandfather, Kent Bicknese, who was taking the semester off from his aerospace engineering studies at the University of Missouri-Rolla to work for his brother’s billboard company, and James Schneider. Ronnell saw Young as he entered the store, apparently sensed danger and sent the 80-year-old Marks to the back of the store. About this time, Young raised the rifle and fired in the direction of Bennett. The shot killed Kent, who was standing directly in front of Ronnell. At that moment, James emerged from the office and Young turned and killed him. Ronnell retreated with Sol Marks to the back of the store. When Sol hesitated and fell from Ronnell’s arms, Ronnell left him and escaped to the basement where he hid in the vault. While in the basement, Ronnell tripped an alarm. Ronnell remained in the vault until he heard police radios sometime later. The police found three bodies, Bicknese, Schneider and Marks. Young was convicted on three counts of capital murder by a jury and was sentenced to death. 7/12/00 – A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted a stay of execution for convicted killer Mose Young just hours before he was scheduled to die by injection. The U.S. Supreme Court refused the state’s request to vacate the stay early Wednesday morning, postponing the execution indefinitely. Young, on death row since 1984, had been scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing three men inside a St. Louis pawn shop 17 years ago. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled about 6 hours before the scheduled execution that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Dee Joyce-Hayes violated Young’s right to due process by interfering with a witness. The court ordered U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton of St. Louis to reconsider Young’s appeal. Hamilton had rejected it Monday. Young’s attorney, Joseph Margulies, argued that the witness, an attorney now working for Joyce-Hayes named Jane Geiler, wanted to offer information that could help Young receive clemency from Gov. Mel Carnahan. They alleged that Joyce-Hayes threatened to fire Geiler if she did so. "The Constitution of the United States does not require that a state have a clemency procedure, but, in our view, it does require that, if such a procedure is created, the state’s own officials refrain from frustrating it by threatening the job of a witness," the court ruling said. "Indeed, there is reason to think that what the circuit attorney did here amounts to the crime of tampering with a witness,” the appeals panel wrote. "Such conduct on the part of a state official is fundamentally unfair." Joyce-Hayes has denied threatening to fire Geiler. "I never threatened to fire her, and some of the things Mr. Margulies alleges she and I discussed were in fact never discussed by us," Joyce-Hayes said Tuesday night. "It was never my intention to interfere with Mose Young’s due process of law." The state immediately appealed, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to set aside the ruling. The court had made no ruling by late Tuesday. A spokesman for Carnahan said the governor would not decide on clemency until after all appeals were exhausted. Margulies claimed that in Young’s 1984 trial the jury was racially stacked against him and his lawyer was ill-prepared. Margulies said prosecutors moved to strike 9 prospective jurors only because they were black. Eventually, the jury consisted of 8 whites and 4 blacks. Young is black; all 3 victims were white. Young told the AP in an interview Tuesday that he 1st met his attorney, Jack Walsh, 4 days before the trial began. Walsh warned the court that he hadn’t had time to prepare. Margulies also claimed that Geiler, an associate of Walsh’s at the time of the 1984 trial, would have been willing to describe how poorly Young was represented if not for the threat from Joyce-Hayes. "Mose Young is a brutal triple murderer who committed three heinous crimes and is an example of why juries in Missouri need to have the option of the death penalty," Attorney General Jay Nixon said.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 12, 2000 Texas Carol Lynette Huckabee, 26
Eva Marie DeForest, 29
Orien Joiner executed

Carol Huckabee, 26, and Eva DeForest, 29, were waitresses and roommates in Lubbock Texas. They were found murdered inside their apartment and both women had been bound with duct tape and stabbed repeatedly. Carol was raped, and suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest, back and face before having her throat slashed. Eva was beaten, stabbed 41 times in the chest and her throat was cut. A broken knife blade was found sticking out of her chest. Joiner lived in the apartment next door and initially told police that he saw two assailants fleeing from the apartment and gave conflicting statements about how he found the murdered women. A photograph taken of Joiner’s right hand immediately after the murders showed cuts on his hand and fingers. During the trial, Joiner’s estranged wife presented testimony of Joiner’s violent nature, which had escalated prior to and during the couple’s separation. She said that Joiner had repeatedly beaten her and, towards the end, had put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. One resident of the apartment complex where Joiner and the two waitresses lived testified that he had seen Joiner near the women’s apartment on the night of the murder with blood on his shirt. Tests done on the blood stains showed that the blood was, in fact, that of both Huckabee and Deforest. A friend who knew Joiner well also testified that Joiner had a violent temper and had, on numerous occasions, threatened him and others with a knife that he carried.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 12, 2000 Texas Lori Burch Caruthers Alexander stayed

On April 23, 1981, Lori Burch was attacked while leaving her job as a waitress at a Perrin-Beitel Road nightclub. Caruthers "Gus" Alexander was convicted of raping and strangling Lori. Alexander had previous convictions for arson, for which he served only 7 months of a two year sentence and involuntary manslaughter for which he served only 10 months of a 3 year sentence. Alexander was first convicted of capital murder and given a death sentence in October 1981. Lori’s nude body was found by two children in a rain-clogged gutter in front of Flower Mound School. Her hands and feet were bound and rope was tied around her neck. In 1987, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Alexander’s conviction. He was retried in May 1989 and received the A Bexar County judge on Friday halted the execution of a convicted killer set to die next week so that hair found on the victim can be examined with modern DNA testing techniques.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 13, 2000 Pennsylvania David Bolasky George Lopez stayed

Lopez was formally sentenced to death for killing David Bolasky, who was the landlord of Lopez’s nephew, in January 1995 in Allentown. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 19, 2000 Texas Kelly Elizabeth Donovan Oliver Cruz stayed

Oliver Cruz and Jerry Kemplin were convicted in the abduction, rape and murder of 24-year-old Kelly Elizabeth Donovan, a senior airman stationed at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. Donovan was abducted by the pair after she had left the base to take a walk. She was taken to an isolated area in the western part of Bexar county, sexually assaulted and then stabbed to death. Cruz and Kemplin later told police that they decided to kill Donovan so that she couldn’t testify against them in her abduction and rape. Kemplin was sentenced to 65 years in prison. Stayed until August 9th.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 20, 2000 Oklahoma Gwendolyn Sue Miller, 31
Barbara Kochendorfer, 27
Mary Raines, 28
Pete Spurrier, 54
Geraldine Valdez, 48
Gregg Braun executed

Gregg Braun was sentenced to die for the 7/21/89 murder of Gwendolyn Sue Miller in an $80 flower shop robbery in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A customer was shot in the head and robbed of $600 and the bookkeeper was also shot. He also murdered four other people in a multi-state crime spree. Each of the five murder victims was found shot in the back of the head with a.25-caliber handgun. Miller’s husband, Dusty, and their 3 children planned to watch Braun die on the eve of the anniversary of her July 21, 1989, death. "After all the pain and being helpless to protect my kids and family, this is the only thing I can do," Miller said. On July 19, 1989, Braun, a 28-year-old college graduate with a degree in criminal justice, kidnapped Barbara Kochendorfer, 27 and Mary Raines, 28, during a robbery of two different convenience stores, on opposite sides of town in Garden City, Kansas. Both women were shot and dumped on the side of the same rural road. Between them they left eight young children. Braun later told police that just after the first murder he felt he had to kill again. The next day, July 20, 1989, he also murdered 54-year-old Pete Spurrier, the owner of the One Hour Photo store in Pampa, Texas. On July 23, 1989, Braun killed Geraldine Valdez, 48, twice in the head during a gas station robbery in Springer, New Mexico. He was caught 40 minutes after her murder with the gun still in his car. "You guys must be proud," he told police. "You don’t know what kind of famous criminal you caught." Braun told a deputy of his murderous spree, "it wasn’t as good as shooting craps in Vegas, but it was all right." Lelyn Braun says he didn’t know this Gregg Braun. Yes, the son he raised had his troubles with drugs. Yes, the youngest Braun ran with the wrong crowd. But he had seemed ready to get his life on track when he came to live with his parents. Lelyn Braun blames the murder spree on a combination of drugs and alcohol. He said he wrote the victims’ families to tell them that he wished Gregg had never been born. Lelyn Braun doesn’t defend his son’s actions. But says "They’re going to kill a good man. And they’re going to do it illegally." Braun’s father was a prominent Garden City lawyer at the time of the crimes. Mr. Braun wanted to have his son returned to New Mexico to serve a life sentence there. Dusty Miller understands why a father would fight for his child. He raised 3 children to adulthood alone. But Mr. Miller can’t comprehend how a 28-year-old Mr. Braun could walk into an Ardmore, Okla., floral shop and shoot his sweet-natured wife, Gwendolyn Sue Miller. And Mr. Miller doesn’t believe that a man like that can change as Lelyn Braun claims. "I don’t understand how he could meet somebody like Gwen and still make a decision that the world didn’t need her anymore," Mr. Miller said Monday. Dolores Spurrier doesn’t want to see the execution of Braun, who pleaded guilty to the shooting death of her husband, Pete. "Any delay would be too much," Dolores said Tuesday before the execution. "I’ll handle it better here (in Pampa). I just want it over with," she said of the execution. The victim’s son, Bill Spurrier of San Antonio, said he will attend the execution, but the coming event invoked painful memories. "The execution brought everything back like it was yesterday, and it’s not only for me, but for my wife and my mother," Spurrier said Tuesday. Bill Spurrier said the execution will bring him a sense of closure. "I know he’ll never be able to commit another murder," he said. Dolores Spurrier said she went to every one of Braun’s trials and got to know relatives of the other victims. "I think everybody is just glad that it’s going to happen," she said. "It will be some closure. But I don’t think you would ever really get over it." Other representatives of the victims’ families are planning to be at the execution. The families have stayed in touch and said they always planned to attend the execution, no matter how long it took. 39 family members of Braun’s 5 murder victims came to witness the execution, but only 12 of them were able to witness it from inside the death chamber. The remaining 27 watched from a nearby room on closed-circuit television. "I’m glad to get this over with," said Dusty Miller, Gwendolyn Miller’s husband. "I feel sorry for him (Braun) that he’s chosen to take his life and do something like this,… but I’m still very angry that he’s taken my wife and my children’s mother away. I can’t forgive him tonight. Maybe I can sometime down the line." Thursday’s execution of Gregg Francis Braun brought a sense of justice to Bill Spurrier but will not completely mend the emotional rips and tears from his father’s murder. "I’ve been asked several times whether I feel that watching the execution would be revenge for me," Spurrier said Thursday. "My answer is after 11 years, there is no revenge; that is justice." Braun was pronounced dead at 12:17 a.m. Thursday, 6 minutes after receiving a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. "I think that the execution was very humane," said Bill Spurrier, a San Antonio resident. "It looked like he just went to sleep." Spurrier thanked the Oklahoma Department of Corrections personnel and everybody who was there for the victims. "They handled a very tough situation in a professional manner," he said. "I feel very sorry for Braun’s family, but they did get the opportunity to say goodbye, which I never got that opportunity. I had to say goodbye to my dad at the grave." Spurrier said there is never complete closure to the loss of his father. "When my son was born in Sicily when I was stationed there, my dad traveled all the way to Sicily to hold his grandson," Spurrier said. "He’ll never have the chance to hold my grandson."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 2000 Ohio Richard C. Myers, 51 Warren Henness stayed

On March 20, 1992, parolee Warren Henness kidnapped, robbed and murdered a 51-year-old volunteer substance-abuse counselor, Richard C. Myers, in Columbus, Ohio. Henness asked the counselor to pick him up at his home, then took him to an abandoned water treatment plant in Columbus, where he bound him with wire, shot him in the head 5 times, stabbed him in the neck, and amputated his left ring finger. Henness stole his car and used the counselor’s credit cards to get money to buy crack cocaine. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 2000 Ohio Alfonda Roy Madison Jr., 21
William Lamont Dent, 23
Eric Howard, 20
Theodore Wynn Jr., 23
William Williams stayed

William Williams Jr., convicted of murdering 4 men in a dispute over control of drug trafficking in a housing project in east Youngstown. On Labor Day 1991, William (Willie) Williams enlisted three teenage accomplices to re-establish his control of drug sales in Youngstown’s Kimmelbrooks housing project. With the teens’ aid, Williams lured one of the men who had taken over drug sales in the area into a house. When three other men, also involved in the take-over of drug sales, arrived looking for the first, all four were murdered. Williams strangled two of his victims and shot all four in the head. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 25, 2000 Ohio Daniel Lee Baker, 40 Herman Ashworth stayed

In Newark, Ohio, on September 10, 1996, Herman Ashworth met Daniel Lee Baker at a bar. The pair went out drinking and had an argument. Ashworth beat Daniel to death with a 2′ x 4′ board and stomped on him until he was dead and robbed him of $40, commenting later that Daniel "looked like he wasn’t going to need it." Ashworth pled guilty to the murder, refused any mitigating evidence and asked to be executed quickly, "next weekend." However, Ashworth subsequently filed an affidavit with the Ohio Supreme Court stating his wish to pursue appeals. There are still appeals pending and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 26, 2000 Texas Allen E. Bolden, 17 Juan Soria executed

Juan Salvez Soria and two others were arrested June 30, 1985, near Del Rio in a car last driven by Allen E. Bolden, a 17-year-old Boy’s Club lifeguard who disappeared two days before. Soria confessed to the robbery-slaying after Bolden’s body was found. Bolden had agreed to give Soria and the others a ride from the Boy’s Club. Earlier this year, a volunteer prison chaplain was attacked and his arm severely lacerated by Soria. As the execution date for Juan Soria nears, friends and teachers recall with sadness his victim – a top area swimmer who was killed by thieves wanting his car. In June 1985, Allen Edward Bolden was a fresh-faced 17-year-old Lamar High School graduate who chose to teach underprivileged children in Fort Worth to love the water sport. Soria, the son of a migrant worker, had a 9th-grade education and had worked sporadically in construction and at an auto body shop. He had never before been in legal trouble but conspired with an older teen to steal Allen’s car, drive it to Mexico and sell it. Soria, 33, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday for abducting and fatally stabbing Allen after the teen gave him a ride from the Fort Worth Boys Club. The killer’s execution date brings a flood of memories to family and friends who mourn not only Allen’s death, but the loss of what might have been for the nationally ranked athlete who wanted to become a doctor. It also has made some who grew up with liberal leanings about the death penalty embrace it as a legitimate means of punishing people who callously dispose of others. "Allen could have chosen any path and he would have been successful," said Jon Ivonen, the district swim coach for Arlington high schools. "He’s been gone for a long time but not forgotten. He was an outstanding young man." Mr. Ivonen said he doesn’t expect to feel any differently if the state carries out its plans to kill Soria by lethal injection. The peace that has eluded him for 15 years will not likely come if Soria is executed at 6 p.m. Wednesday. "It won’t bring Allen back," Mr. Ivonen said. Allen, an honor student at Lamar, had just received a scholarship to Texas Christian University when he was killed June 28, 1985. He had been captain of the swim team that included all 3 Arlington high schools. He had set his sights on becoming an Olympian, his friends said. "He was a nice guy, a real charmer," said Andrea Gross, a former schoolmate and swim team member. On the night Allen disappeared, he had planned a party at a hotel. "He was the host, and he didn’t show up. We weren’t sure what to think," said Ms. Gross, who manages a brokerage firm in Denver. For 2 days, Allen’s whereabouts were unknown. His body was found in a wooded area of north Fort Worth. He had been stabbed in the head and neck. Prosecutors said Soria and his co-defendant, Mike Lagunas, had planned for several days to attack Allen. Both were found with the car in Del Rio. Lagunas, who was 19 at the time of the slaying, pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Soria was found guilty and has been serving time since his 1986 trial. He has 2 appeals pending. One is to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis of trial error and exclusion of Hispanics from the jury. The other is to the 18-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking for a stay of execution or a commutation to a life sentence. Members of Soria’s family said they believe that he has become mentally unstable, as evidenced by his recent attack on a prison chaplain. Last month, Soria was placed in the psychiatric unit after attacking a volunteer chaplain visiting death row at the Terrell Unit in Livingston, said his attorney, Gary Taylor of Austin. Myrna Soria, 30, of Fort Worth, the convicted murderer’s sister, said she and members of her family are hoping that her brother can be awarded clemency or at least a stay of execution. "We feel he does not deserve it [the execution] because he didn’t have a fair trial. "We want to say to the family of Allen Bolden that we are very sorry this happened, and we apologize and hope they can forgive my brother for what he did." The Boldens say they have forgiven Soria but believe it is important for him to be punished. "I feel I have already forgiven him, but I want to see justice done," Allen’s mother, Laurie Bolden, said. Edward Bolden, Allen’s father, said that 2 months ago he was planning to not witness Soria’s execution. "But then because of the attack on the prison chaplain, I decided I should," the 53-year-old father said. "It just seems that as a parent this is the final step I need to take to put this behind. Not in terms of closure, but that I need to step forward and do this." Jeff Brannen, another Lamar schoolmate, said Allen’s death challenged his idealistic view of a society where good triumphs over evil. "When it happens to somebody you know, it’s hard to have a utopian view of society," said Mr. Brannen, a Dallas lawyer. "There was no reason for Allen Bolden’s death. He was killed for his car."

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