September 2004 Executions

Three killers were executed in September 2004. They had murdered at least 3 people.
killers were given a stay in September 2004. They have murdered at least 2 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 9, 2004 Virginia Annie Lester, 87 James Edward Reid executed

James Edward Reid was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 87-year-old Annie Lester. Annie’s body was discovered on October 12, 1996. She had been brutally murdered; an autopsy revealed that she had suffered 22 scissor stab wounds. One of the wounds punctured a lung, another her heart. Annie had also been beaten about her head with a can of condensed milk, and a bone in her throat had been crushed by strangulation or being struck with a hard object. A trail of blood led from Annie’s kitchen to her bedroom, where her body was found. Annie’s clothing was in disarray, and the room had been ransacked. There was a wine bottle on the floor at the foot of the bed where he placed her frail body. Substantial evidence connected Reid to the murder. Reid was acquainted with Annie Lester and had received an automobile ride to her house in the mid-morning of the day of the murder; on the way, he purchased a bottle of wine. Forensics later determined that Lester had been hit on the head in the kitchen and dragged to the bedroom, where she was stabbed with scissors and strangled with the cord of a heating pad. Late in the afternoon, Reid was seen walking from the area of Annie’s lifelong home, drunk and covered in blood. Blood on his clothes matched Lester’s DNA, his saliva was found on a cigarette butt left in her room, his handwriting was found on a card that said "I’ve gotta kill you," and Reid’s bloody fingerprints were found on the telephone in Annie’s bedroom according to the 4th Circuit’s ruling in the case. Reid said he did not remember the killing. Two mental health consultants testified during sentencing that a brain injury from a car accident in 1968 combined with Reid’s alcohol abuse impaired his judgment. UPDATE: A man who killed an elderly woman with a metal can and a pair of scissors in a drunken attack eight years ago was executed Thursday by injection. James Edward Reid, 58, was pronounced dead at Greensville Correctional Center at 9:12 p.m. The intravenous line carrying the lethal dose of drugs was placed in Reid’s upper groin because veins in his arms, where IV lines are usually placed, apparently had deteriorated from years of drinking. It took medical technicians 12 minutes, three times longer than usual, to place the IV lines.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 21, 2004 Texas Juan Gabriel Moreno, 23 Andrew Flores executed

Andrew Flores was sentenced to death for the murder of Juan Gabriel Moreno during a robbery of a convenience store. Juan was working at the counter when Flores entered the store with an accomplice, Joseph Fritz. The pair demanded money from the register and Juan’s car keys. Juan gave them the money, but asked them not to take his car. He kneeled down on the floor and was then shot in the head. Flores retrieved the car keys but was not able to get the car started, so the two robbers fled on foot with $44 from the register. The robbery and shooting were videotaped by the security camera and showed Juan as he lay dying, trying in vain to move and respond each time an unaware customer would enter the store and look for the seemingly absent store clerk. UPDATE: A contrite condemned killer, Andrew Flores, was executed this evening for fatally shooting a San Antonio convenience store clerk during a $45 robbery 11 years ago. ”Today I go home to the Lord,” he said in a brief last statement. “But first I have to say something. I am real sorry,” he said, looking at the wife of his victim. “I took a family member’s life and I shouldn’t have. I hope that you can move on. I’m just sorry. I can’t bring anyone back. I would if I could. I won’t ask for your forgiveness. God will be my judge.” Flores then turned and expressed his love to his friends and relatives, including his sobbing mother and sister. ”Be strong and I will see you all, hopefully not soon. Keep your head up,” he said. After taking a couple of deep breaths and gasping, he slipped into unconsciousness. Nine minutes later at 6:20 p.m., he was pronounced dead. Flores was 32. The U.S. Supreme Court in April refused to review his case and the inmate’s lawyer said there were no legal avenues left to pursue. On Friday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a commutation request. Flores pleaded guilty to gunning down John Moreno, 23, whose July 1993 murder was captured on videotape by a surveillance camera at the San Antonio store where he worked. Flores and a companion were recognized after the tape was aired on San Antonio television stations. They were arrested within hours of the shooting. At the time, Flores was on probation for car theft and had other arrests for theft and weapons violations. He confessed to the crime and gave to authorities cash taken in the robbery and the.22-caliber handgun used in the slaying. During the punishment phase of the trial, witnesses were told how Flores, who picked up the street name “Showtime,” led a San Antonio gang where he recruited fourth-graders to fight and steal for him. Among the witnesses was a 14-year-old girl who told of how Flores and other gang members had tried to rape her. Jurors also were shown the video, which shows Moreno emptying the cash register but balking at surrendering his keys. Moreno gets on his knees begging for his life and Flores shoots him in the head and runs from the store. Then he returned moments later to go through the victim’s pockets in search of car keys. ”It’s fair to say the jury really had no choice but to reach this verdict,” Mike Cohen, the Bexar County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Flores, said. “It was pretty brutal and senseless.” Flores’ partner, Joseph Fritz, was convicted of capital murder for being the lookout during the robbery and received a life prison term. Testimony at his trial indicated they couldn’t drive off in Moreno’s car because Flores took the wrong keys from the dying man’s pocket. Cohen speculated Moreno was reluctant to surrender his keys because he and his wife had only that one car and it was needed to take their then 10-month-old daughter for frequent medical treatment.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 22, 2004 Tennessee Ronald Oliver, 43 Phillip Workman stayed

ronald oliverPolice Lieutenant Ronald Oliver, 43, was killed on the night of Aug. 5, 1981 while responding to a holdup alarm at a Wendy’s restaurant in Frayser. Ronald Oliver approached the robber as he was leaving the restaurant. Testimony indicated Workman broke away from Oliver, who ordered him to stop. Oliver and Officer Aubrey Stoddard then grabbed Workman, who broke free again, shot Oliver once in the chest and Stoddard in the arm. Workman was found hiding in bushes nearby with the.45 caliber murder weapon. Workman admitted during his trial that he fired the shot that killed Oliver. Workman, who wounded another officer and was shot himself, said he had been using cocaine that day and that he did not intend to kill Oliver. The robbery netted about $1,170. Workman was convicted of first-degree murder in the perpetration of a robbery and sentenced to death. Workman’s attorneys argue that Oliver could have been shot by another policeman during the shootout in the Memphis restaurant’s parking lot. "Its weighed heavily on my mother, but she’s a strong one and she’s coped over the years,” said Oliver’s stepson, Capt. Vic Finger of the Bartlett Police Department. "We haven’t really said it, but I think an execution would be sort of a closure for us." Finger and his mother, Sandra Noblin, plan to attend Workman’s execution. One of two police officers who struggled with Phillip Workman 19 years ago said he had no doubt Workman fatally shot the other officer, Lt. Ronnie Oliver. "I think that it’s clear that Workman did it. He admitted he did it. Over the years, he’s just trying everything he can to get out of it, changing his story," said retired police officer Aubrey K. Stoddard. Workman’s attorneys say they have affidavits from a Georgia medical examiner and a ballistics expert that indicate the bullet that killed Oliver may not have come from the.45-caliber pistol Workman admits he was carrying at the time and fired at least once. "Where else would it come from?" Stoddard asked. Oliver was holding Workman from behind, Stoddard said, as he and Workman were wrestling for control of the gun Workman had pulled. "I had him hugged up next to me. The gun was between my belly and his belly. And he squeezed it up into my arm. That’s what pulled me loose of him. When it did, his gun hand was free," Stoddard said. At that point Stoddard was shot. He slid across the pavement backward 10 to 15 feet with a gunshot wound to the right arm. He never pulled his gun. "Mine was never removed from the holster. In fact, it shaved the grip off where I slid across the blacktop. It shaved it down flat," Stoddard said. "What happened when he fired that first shot, it tore me loose. So, I don’t know that split second what might have happened. I just spun around. He just kept shooting, that’s what it sounded like." Stoddard said the other gunshots followed so closely that Workman must have fired the shots. "The shooting never stopped. It was over probably in a matter of 10 to 15 seconds. All of them shots were just all at one time," Stoddard said. Oliver’s gun was empty. Police said they believed that Oliver had fired as a reflex and that none of the shots hit anyone. Stoddard retired from the police department in 1986. During his trial, Workman claimed his memory was clouded because he had injected cocaine in his arm earlier in the day. "I pulled out the gun to give to them and I was hit and grabbed. The gun went off," Workman testified. "The next thing I knew, I heard a noise, gunfire. I guess I shot again."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 28, 2004 Arkansas Marie Elaine Cholette, 46 Ricky Dale Newman stayed

A jury convicted Ricky Dale Newman of killing a woman at a "hobo camp." Governor Mike Huckabee set a September 28th date for Newman`s execution. In 2001, a jury found Newman guilty of stabbing to death 46-year-old Marie Elaine Cholette. Police found her body under a makeshift tent at the camp in Van Buren. Newman waived his appeals, asking a judge for death. A police report said Newman told investigators he had multiple personalities, but a state hospital report found Newman mentally competent to stand trial. UPDATE: A clemency application filed on behalf of death-row inmate Ricky Dale Newman was denied Thursday by the Post Prison Transfer Board because it was not filed by his attorney and Newman has indicated he wants be executed. The clemency request was made by Betsey Wright, an advocate for death-row inmates and gubernatorial chief of staff for Bill Clinton. Wright served as Newman’s spiritual adviser until Friday, the same day she filed the application seeking executive clemency on Newman’s behalf, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Correction. Newman, convicted in the 2001 stabbing of a woman near what authorities described as a “hobo camp” in Crawford County, is scheduled to be executed Sept. 28. “We’ve never had this happen before,” Post Prison Transfer Board Chairman Leroy Brownlee said during Thursday’s meeting. He was referring to someone other than the inmate or the inmate’s attorney requesting clemency. He said the board has no written policy on the issue. “I think we could open ourselves to a Pandora’s box if we don’t set restrictions on who we can receive applications from,” he said. Board member Bill Walker, the only board member to vote for Wright’s clemency application request, suggested that attorneys, spiritual advisers and family members be the only ones allowed to seek clemency for inmates who refuse to on their own. Brownlee questioned allowing family members to seek clemency applications, adding that could become a problem if there isn’t a restriction on which family members can apply. “Family members are hard to deal with,” Brownlee said. “We need to know what family.” The board, after lengthy discussion, unanimously voted to develop a written policy on who can file a clemency application for an inmate. The written policy, to be discussed by the board in October, would include attorneys, spiritual advisers and possibly immediate family of the inmate, board members agreed. Once the policy is approved, it would have to approved by Legislative Council. Wright, who did not attend the meeting, said Thursday afternoon that she wasn’t surprised by the board’s decision. “I’m trying to make people aware… of some of the fatal flaws of his trial,” she said. “Of course, any inmate who wants to commit suicide isn’t going to apply for clemency.” In the papers Wright filed seeking clemency for Newman, she said his own statement to police contradicted evidence found at the crime scene. Newman wrote in a letter to the board that he opposed the clemency application. “I do not want my executive clemency,” Newman wrote. “Thank for your time, but no thanks. I want my execution. I hope this will end it.” Newman, who has waived his appeals in the case, has said he is ready to die for the death of Marie Elaine Cholette, 46, who was found dead in February 2001. A circuit court judge has ruled that Newman was competent to waive his appeals, and Attorney General Mike Beebe asked Gov. Mike Huckabee to set the execution date. The state Supreme Court also conducted an automatic review of his conviction and sentence and affirmed them in June 2003. A police report said Newman told authorities after his arrest that he had multiple personalities. Newman originally attempted to plead guilty at his arraignment, but a judge rejected the plea, appointed a public defender and held a trial. A state hospital evaluation said Newman did not suffer from any mental disease or defect and had the capacity to knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waive his right to have an attorney advise him of his post-conviction rights. UPDATE: The State Supreme Court announced today that a death row inmate scheduled to die will not be executed tonight. Ricky Dale Newman was sentenced to death for the 2001 murder of a homeless woman. Newman has said he wants to die for the crime he committed, but the high court says it needs time to consider a new claim that Newman is mentally retarded. Newman has been sitting in prison, awaiting his death. He was convicted of the 2001 stabbing death of a homeless woman in Crawford County. Newman has said he wants to be executed for the crime, but the state supreme court issued a temporary stay of execution and announced that it will block the execution, at least for now. The high court says it will consider a claim that Newman is mentally retarded and whether his aunt can file court papers for him. The State Department of Correction began execution preparations, but had to put all of that on hold. Newman remains on death row at the maximum security unit at Varner. Both sides have been ordered to submit written arguments, and the stay will continue until the court makes a ruling.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 30, 2004 Alabama Jerry Wayne Robinson David Hocker executed

The Alabama Supreme Court has set a September 30th execution date for an inmate convicted in Henry County of killing his boss and stealing his money to buy crack cocaine. According to assistant state Attorney General Clay Crenshaw, 33-year-old David Kevin Hocker waived his right to further appeals of his conviction of the 1998 murder. A jury found Hocker guilty in the March 1998 stabbing death and robbery of his boss, Jerry Wayne Robinson of Houston County. Hocker dumped Robinson’s body in neighboring Henry County and then used his bank card to get cash to purchase $400 worth of crack cocaine. Hocker then traveled to Mobile, used the crack cocaine and turned himself in to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department. Hocker filed one appeal in his case, which the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected in April 2002. UPDATE: David Kevin Hocker has been put to death for the 1998 stabbing death of his boss. The 33-year-old Hocker refused to file appeals on his conviction saying he was guilty and wanted to die for his crime. There were no protesters in Atmore, but there were several in Montgomery. With every capital punishment case comes the appeal process, a mechanism that can leave an inmate on death row for decades before his or her execution, some even die waiting in prison. David Hocker was executed only about four years after the conviction, but that’s because he had his attorney dismissed and waived his right to an appeal.

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