October 2000 Executions

One killers was executed in the month of October 2000. He had murdered at least 2 people.
Two killers were issued stays of execution. They have murdered at least 2 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 4, 2000 Texas Dennis L. Price, 44 Stacey Lawton stayed

Stacey Lawton was sentenced to be executed for the shotgun slaying of 44-year-old Dennis L. Price during a burglary at the victim’s home in the Indian Creek addition, west of Tyler on Christmas Eve, 1994. Dennis was shot in the chest when he confronted Lawton and two accomplices outside his home. He died at a Tyler hospital 15 minutes after arrival. Lawton and his accomplices fled in two stolen pickups which were later abandoned. They then stole a third pickup and were apprehended following a high-speed chase. Accomplice Karlos Ranard Fields is serving a life sentence; the other burglar was a 14-year-old juvenile. UPDATE: A federal judge stayed the execution until November 14.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 10, 2000 Virginia Mohammad Z. Kayani
Darrell Ferguson, 19
Robert Ramdass executed

Robert Ramdass was given a death sentence in 1993 for the robbery / murder of a convenience store clerk, Mohammad Kayani on September 2, 1992. Ramdass said he jumped the counter and pointed a.38-caliber snub-nose pistol at Kayani’s head. "I told the dude to open the safe," Ramdass recalled. "He didn’t say nothing. He was just pushing buttons and looking at me…. I told him to stop looking at me. He was scared. I felt he was scared by the way he was looking at me." A witness testified at his trial that Ramdass looked at Kayani lying on the floor after he had been shot and remarked: "That’s for taking too long." 3 days before that killing, Ramdass shot an Arlington cab driver in the back of the head and left him for dead after robbing him. In addition, he gunned down 19-year-old Darrell Ferguson in an alley on July 15, 1992. Ferguson was dealing drugs, Ramdass said. Drug dealers carry a lot of cash. Ramdass wanted it. But Ferguson had the audacity to try to run, Ramdass said during a prison interview, so he pumped 2 bullets into the man. In an 8-day crime spree that year, Ramdass was linked to 6 armed robberies, including an incident in which he pistol-whipped a clerk at Bragg Towers.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 24, 2000 Ohio Sohail Darwish, 29 Vernon Smith stayed

On the evening of May 26, 1993, Vernon Smith, (n.k.a. Abdullah Sharif Kaazim Mahdi), and Herbert Bryson robbed the Woodstock Market located at the corner of Woodstock and Avondale in Toledo. During the robbery, Smith fired a single shot at the upper chest of Sohail Darwish, causing his death. During the afternoon of May 26, 1993, Smith met up with Herbert Bryson and Lamont Layson at a dirt basketball court in a park at Highland and Maplewood in Toledo. The trio discussed "hitting a lick," i.e., committing a robbery. The group got in Bryson’s car, and Smith directed them to the corner of Woodstock and Avondale, where the Woodstock Market was located. Layson remained in the car while Smith and Bryson headed toward the carryout. A man who was two houses down from the Woodstock Market at that time saw Smith and another person enter the carryout. Bryson testified that after he and Smith entered the carryout, they noticed only two people in the store, both of whom were behind the counter. Bryson asked about a type of beer, and the storeowner, Sohail Darwish, came around the counter and walked over to the cooler to assist him. Darwish retrieved a forty-ounce beer bottle from the cooler and placed it on the counter. Bryson did the same. As Darwish was ringing up the sale on the cash register, Smith brandished a black gun and ordered Darwish to "open the cash register, motherf***er." Darwish, who was standing next to Bryson, put his hands up in the air and did not resist. Bryson went behind the counter and hit several buttons on the cash register, trying to open it. Bryson then ordered Darwish to open the cash register, which he did. Darwish then put his hands back up in the air. A former co-worker who was visiting Darwish at the carryout at that time testified that the gunman then told Darwish to "move and empty your wallet, motherf***er." As Darwish was reaching for his wallet, Smith fired a single shot, hitting Darwish in the chest. Smith then ordered the other man to empty his wallet as well, and the two assailants then fled the scene. Darwish was able to push the alarm button before he fell to the floor. As a result of the single gunshot wound to the upper left side of his chest, Darwish bled to death. After Smith and Bryson left the carryout, Layson, who was waiting in Bryson’s car, noticed Smith holding a gun in his hand when he and Bryson climbed back into the automobile. According to Layson, Smith exclaimed, "Dang, I forgot the beer." When Bryson asked Smith why he did it, Smith replied that he shot the man "in the arm" because he moved too slow, and that he took too long opening the cash register. According to Layson, Smith then said, "F*** him, he in our neighborhood anyway. He shouldn’t be in our neighborhood with a store no way." Later, Smith and Bryson split the money taken in the robbery, which was apparently over $400. They also gave Layson all the stolen food stamps from the robbery plus $50. On June 9, approximately two weeks after the murder, police received information that persons possibly involved in a homicide were incarcerated in the Sandusky County Jail. Based on this and other information from sources, police made up an eight-man photo array, including a photo of Herbert Bryson, to show to Tahboub. The next day, upon viewing the array, Tahboub selected Bryson’s photo as "not the guy with the gun, but the other guy." Police compiled a second photo array that included a picture of Smith and showed Tahboub the second photo array, and Tahboub immediately selected Smith’s photo as that of the gunman. Consequently, Smith was arrested, and along with Bryson and Layson, was indicted by the grand jury in the Darwish murder. Prior to trial, defense counsel informed the trial judge that the prosecution had offered Smith a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. However, Smith declined the plea offer contrary to the advice of defense counsel. At an in-chambers conference, Smith reiterated his desire to decline the plea bargain and proceed to trial. A jury trial was held wherein both Bryson and Layson testified for the state as a result of plea agreements. Bryson, who was in the carryout at the time of the shooting, testified that Smith fired the gunshot that caused Darwish’s death. Layson testified that Smith exhibited no remorse when he admitted that he had shot the carryout owner. Tahboub also testified and identified Smith as the murderer. The trial lasted one day. Subsequently, Smith was found guilty as charged by the jury and sentenced to death. Smith contended that his watching the film “Menace II Society” resulted in the robbery-murder.

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