January 2005 Executions

Four killers were executed in January 2005. They had murdered at least 7 people.
killers were given a stay in January 2005. They have murdered at least 11 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 4, 2005 Texas unnamed victim
Rudy Delgado
James Porter executed

James Porter was convicted of burglary in 1990 and was sentenced to eight years of probation and again in 1991, when he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He was paroled and in 1995 was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. Porter shot a 40-year-old male transient two times in the head and dumped his body in a water well. Porter expressed no remorse for this murder and thought he had done society a favor. While in prison, Porter received an additional 5 year sentence for one count of possession of a deadly weapon in a penal institution (homemade knife). While imprisoned, on 5/28/2000 Porter beat to death fellow inmate Rudy Delgado in the prison day room. Delgado was serving a 15-year term for sexually assaulting a child in Dallas County. Porter struck Delgado, who was seated at a table, from behind with a rock sheathed in a pillow case. Delgado fell to the floor and lay helpless on the ground as Porter continued to bludgeon his face and head with the rock. When the pillow case finally ripped, Porter stabbed Delgado in the head and face with a makeshift knife. Porter then stomped on Delgado’s head and face with steel-toed work boots. Once the attack was over, Porter surrendered to a correctional officer. Porter gave a written statement to investigators, confessing to the murder of Delgado. In his confession, Porter admitted that he had been planning to kill someone for some time, and had decided to use the rock and the knife the week before the murder. Porter later added that Delgado was a convicted child molester who had made a pass at him. Porter later bragged about the murder in letters he wrote to other inmates and to the district attorney, and repeatedly stated that he would kill again. In a hearing held outside the jury’s presence at his trial, Porter asserted that he wanted to be convicted and sentenced to death for this murder. Porter put on little defense. Porter said Delgado was gay and made a pass at him, which the former white supremacist didn’t appreciate. “What I done is what I done,” Porter told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I’d taken a 2-pound rock to somebody’s head and spread them all over the place. I guess at that time, I just lost all my cool and didn’t care anymore.” He wrote letters to James Elliott, the Bowie County prosecutor handling his capital murder trial, referring to his victim in epithets and said he should be applauded for ridding society of a child molester. Elliott used the letters at Porter’s trial, telling jurors the convicted murderer was boasting and proud of killing Delgado. “In a way, I was,” Porter said from death row. “That dude never touched any little boys again.” In another letter, Porter warned he would murder again and didn’t care if it was another prisoner or a corrections officer. “The letter where he said ‘I’m going to kill again the next chance I get’ was fairly convincing,” Elliott said. Porter’s attorney said Porter had a difficult childhood that included being raped. He ran away from home when he was about 14 and linked up with supremacists who shared his hatred of gays, Norris said. In prison, Porter claimed allegiance to white gangs and acquired extensive tattoos, including letters that spell “HATE” on four fingers of his right hand. "I’m over that,” Porter said. "I’ve kind of stepped out. There’s too much ignorance that comes with it.” He said he eventually realized he was wrong to re-punish Delgado "for something he was already punished for. I’m just thankful I had the chance to get salvation,” he said, adding that he was convinced he would be going to heaven "although I don’t deserve it. I know where I’m going. I know what’s going to happen,” Porter said. "I’m set. I’m secure in that and I’m at a real peace with it. I’ve never felt that kind of peace. And I like it, instead of all the hate, the chaos, the anger and the aggravation I usually feel.” Before he was executed, Porter made this statement: "I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. I know it is a great loss and I want to apologize. I am sorry. And to my family I love you and I will see you all in heaven." Anna Acevedo, Delgado’s sister, said "I believe he was taken out too easy,” after watching her brother’s killer die. "He didn’t feel the same pain my brother did. I would have been happy to see him feel the same pain my brother felt. His apology wasn’t good enough for me.”

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 7, 2005 Virginia Ricky Timbrook Edward Bell stayed

TimbrookThe execution of a man convicted of capital murder in the October 1999 shooting death of a Winchester police officer has been set. A spokesman for the attorney general says 40-year-old Edward Bell is scheduled to be executed January seventh. But Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney Alexander Iden tells the Winchester Star that Bell still has a few appeals left, and he doubts the execution will take place then. Bell was convicted in May 2001 in the death of Sergeant Ricky Timbrook. He has tried unsuccessfully several times to have his murder conviction overturned. Bell’s first federal appeal is expected to be filed soon by the Capital Defense Initiative, which handles death row cases. There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date. UPDATE: He was set to die, but instead Edward Bell`s execution has been postponed by a federal judge. Bell can now appeal his capital murder conviction on the federal level. Bell`s attorneys call this a routine decision that will allow him to exercise federal appeal options, since he has exhausted all state appeals. Bell was sentenced to die in 2001 for the shooting death of Winchester police officer, Sgt. Ricky Timbrook, two years before during a foot chase. Bell, a Jamaican national, will stay on death row at the Sussex Correctional Facility in Waverly.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 19, 2005 California Stacie Benjamin, 19
Patty Geddling, 23
Laura Griffin
Donald Beardsley executed

Stacey BenjaminPatty GeddlingDonald Beardslee, 61, was sentenced be put to death by injection on January 19, 2005 at San Quentin State Prison for the 1981 slayings of two women. More than two dozen public officials, members of the victims’ families and members of the media were scheduled to witness the execution. Beardslee’s appellate challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court were claims that the lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment and that jurors were unfairly influenced when they rendered a death verdict. In his clemency petition, Beardslee’s lawyers claimed he suffered from brain maladies when he killed Stacey Benjamin, 19, and Patty Geddling, 23. The two were lured to his Redwood City apartment to avenge a soured $185 drug deal. At the time of the killings of Patty and Stacie, Beardslee was on parole for a murder in Missouri. Beardslee came forward to police and confessed to strangling an acquaintance named Laura Griffin and drowning her in her bathtub. Beardslee told investigators he was drunk and had little memory of the crime. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 19 years in a Missouri state prison. Seven years later, the Missouri prison system paroled Beardslee to California to temporarily live with his mother, recommending that he undergo mental health treatment. But after a few months, he discontinued the treatment. At a hearing Friday on Beardslee’s request, Former San Quentin Warden Daniel Vasquez called for clemency, saying Beardslee had been a model inmate during his 21 years on death row and contributed to the safety of guards and other prisoners. But Tom Amundsen, victim Stacey Benjamin’s brother, said, "Now it’s time to say goodbye to Mr. Beardslee. That’s what I want, that’s what my family wants." Prosecutors have said that Beardslee was not an unwitting dupe when he committed the murders, as his lawyers say.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 20, 2005 Texas Ben Murray Jose Briseno stayed

Ben MurrayIn late 1990, Ben Murray, the Sheriff of Dimmit County, was investigating a burglary case. The Sheriff met with Briseno to enlist his help in solving the burglaries. Several weeks later, on Sunday, January 6, 1991, the Sheriff was found dead in his home, with numerous stab wounds and a bullet wound to the head. At trial, testimony revealed that over five hundred dollars in cash had been taken from the Sheriff. Additionally, two of his pistols were missing. When Briseno was arrested, he had bandages on both hands. He told police that he had received the cuts in a fight on the previous Friday. While being held, he attempted to escape with several other inmates. After their capture, one of the other inmates told authorities statements Briseno made about the Sheriff’s murder. He testified that on the night of the Sheriff’s murder, Briseno and another defendant, Alberto Gonzales, appeared at the Sheriff’s home offering to sell some rings. Briseno and Gonzales did not have any rings for sale, but used the ring story to gain entry to the Sheriff’s home. A struggle began, and they stabbed the Sheriff. When Briseno and Gonzales could not take the Sheriff down, Briseno grabbed the Sheriff’s gun off a table and shot the Sheriff. Afterwards, Briseno and Gonzales stole some money from the Sheriff’s home and hid it. Basaldua also testified that during the escape Briseno showed him the spot where Briseno had buried the gun used to kill the Sheriff. Briseno dug up the gun but soon disposed of it in the same general area before the police caught the escapees. Upon being recaptured, Basaldua led the officers to the location where Briseno had hidden the gun, and the gun was recovered. At trial, the state introduced evidence demonstrating that blood taken from the Sheriff’s carpet compared positively with that of Briseno. The state’s serologist testified that the enzyme markers found in the blood are shared by Briseno and a little more than one percent of the Hispanic population in the United States. Additional evidence submitted at trial included bloody clothing that was found behind a sofa in a shed in which Briseno had been staying. That clothing contained enzyme markers consistent with Briseno’s and the Sheriff’s. Furthermore, a bullet of the same caliber and brand as that used in the stolen pistol utilized to kill the Sheriff was discovered at the shed. Moreover, a bloodhound tracked a lighter found near the Sheriff’s residence to the shed where Briseno had been staying. A jury convicted Briseno of Sheriff Murray’s murder and sentenced him to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 25, 2005 Texas Steven Horton, 31 Troy Kunkle executed

stephen horton smallTroy Kunkle was sentenced to die for fatally shooting Steven Horton, 31, during a robbery in Corpus Christi in 1984. On the night of August 11, 1984, Kunkle and his girlfriend Lora Lee Zaiontz, Russell Stanley, Aaron Adkins, and Tom Sauls, left San Antonio and drove to Corpus Christi. All five were under the influence of alcohol and L.S.D. While en route, Stanley removed a.22 caliber pistol from the glove compartment of the vehicle, fired it into the air, and asked Adkins if he wanted to make some money. Sauls told Stanley that “guns and acid don’t mix,” and Stanley returned the gun to the glove compartment. During the course of the trip, Stanley took out the gun several more times. Stanley and Adkins discussed committing a robbery and slowed the vehicle several times to assess potential victims. When the group arrived in Corpus Christi, they drove to the beach. Kunkle and Zaiontz kept to themselves. Stanley, Adkins and Sauls went for a walk, and Stanley and Adkins again discussed robbing someone. The group left the beach and went to a convenience store to buy beer. There, Stanley and Adkins robbed a man in a phone booth at gunpoint, while Kunkle, Zaiontz, and Sauls remained in the car. Stanley and Adkins obtained only seven dollars from this victim, so they left the store to search for another victim. They spotted Stephen Horton walking along the road. They pulled up next to Horton, and Zaiontz asked him if he needed a ride. Though he resisted at first, Horton was eventually persuaded to get into the car. Horton sat in the front seat, next to Zaiontz. Once inside the car, Stanley put the gun to the back of Horton’s head and told him to give them his wallet. Horton turned to look at Stanley, but Zaiontz scratched his face and told him to look forward. Kunkle told Stanley to kill him, but Stanley refused. Kunkle then took the gun from Stanley, put it to Horton’s head, and said, “We’re going to take you back here and blow your brains out.” Adkins drove the car behind a skating rink, and Kunkle shot Horton in the back of the head. They pushed his body out of the car, and Zaiontz took his wallet. After the shooting, Kunkle quoted the following line from a song called "No Remorse" from an album "Kill ‘Em All" by the heavy metal rock group Metallica: “another day, another death, another sorrow, another breath,” and told the group that the murder was “beautiful.” On February 22, 1985, a jury convicted Kunkle for the capital murder of Horton. He was sentenced to death on February 26, 1985. Lora Lee Zaiontz received a life sentence for capital murder. Russell Stanley and Aaron Adkins were both sentenced to 30 years for murder. More than 20 years later, Horton’s widow has remarried. His now-grown daughters have moved near Dallas. And his parents have become too infirm to attend the execution. I just hope they get it over with," Horton’s father, Nolan, said. UPDATE: For a second time this year, condemned inmate Troy Kunkle avoided the Texas death chamber when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped his scheduled execution the same day he was supposed to receive a lethal injection. About 40 minutes after he could have been put to death Thursday night, Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials in Huntsville received word the high court had blocked the punishment. Vote from the court was 5-4 on an appeal where Kunkle’s lawyers were seeking a review of the case. The justices in July also blocked the execution, although the ruling in his case then came about nine hours before he was scheduled to die. The same court last month had refused to review his case, clearing the way for setting of Thursday night’s execution date. Kunkle was in a small holding cell next to the Texas death house when he received word. He was condemned for a fatal shooting in Corpus Christi 20 years ago. "Ecstatic," Kunkle said when asked to describe his feeling. "Praise God." "He seemed completely surprised," Michelle Lyons, a Texas prison spokeswoman said. According to testimony at his capital murder trial, Kunkle was 18 when he fatally shot Stephen Horton, 31, then chanted: "Another day, another death, another sorrow, another breath" — the refrain from the Metallica song "No Remorse" on an album called "Kill ‘Em All." A pool of blood is depicted on the album cover. "Well, to be honest with you, it was basically just a situation to where it was a juvenile mistake made with juvenile peer pressure," Kunkle, 38, told San Antonio television station KENS Wednesday from death row. "There’s nothing about this to be proud of. Really, it’s kind of a shame and an embarrassment." Prosecutors also remembered him at one point playing an air guitar in the courtroom at his trial as lawyers discussed whether the Metallica song could be admitted into evidence. Defense lawyers contended Kunkle, born in Nuremberg, Germany, where his father was stationed in the military, was raised in a troubled home environment and left mentally scarred by parents who had been treated for depression. They said jurors were not properly allowed to consider. In their appeal, Kunkle’s lawyers argued the execution should be stopped in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that held some capital murder defendants in Texas were not given enough chance to present such mitigating evidence. "Plainly, Mr. Kunkle’s sentencing hearing was marred by the same constitutional flaw," attorney Robert McGlasson said. "The jury heard evidence that could have persuaded it to spare Mr. Kunkle’s life, but was limited to instructions that gave it no vehicle for expressing that conclusion." Nolan Horton, 74, whose son was killed in the attack, said he was angered by the appeal. "The most stressful part to me is, I’m very upset with the court system, the people sitting on those appeals courts," he said. "My name for a lot of them is do-gooders. They’re afraid they’re going to step on toes. Some of those toes need to be stepped on. It takes so long — the little trivial things they come up with as excuses." Court records show on the evening of Aug. 11, 1984, Kunkle and four friends got high on drugs and beer and drove from San Antonio to the beach at Corpus Christi, 140 miles to the southeast. They robbed a man of $7 at a convenience store, then drove around looking for someone else to rob. Stephen Horton was walking home after playing pool at a bar and they offered him a ride. When he got into their car, testimony showed Kunkle shot Horton in the back of the head with a.22-caliber pistol. His body was pushed out of the car and his wallet taken. It contained $13. Kunkle and his friends were arrested in San Antonio. Three companions received prison terms ranging from 30 years to life. Kunkle got death. No charges were filed against a fifth person in the car. UPDATE: A condemned killer who twice avoided execution last year when courts halted his punishment on the day he was to die was executed Tuesday for a slaying in Corpus Christi more than 20 years ago. The execution came after the U.S. Supreme Court refused on a narrow 5-4 vote to block Troy Kunkle’s execution. Kunkle was contrite as he looked toward the daughter and son-in-law of his victim, Stephen Horton, and sought their forgiveness. "I would like to ask you to forgive me," he said. "I made a mistake and I am sorry for what I did. All I can do is ask you to forgive me." Kunkle then turned his head toward an adjacent window in the death house and expressed love to witnesses he selected to watch him die, including his mother and his wife. "I love you and I will see all of you in heaven," he said. "I love you very much. Praise Jesus." Kunkle recited the Lord’s Prayer and then indicated to the warden he had finished. In the seconds before the lethal drugs began taking effect, he repeatedly mouthed "I love you" to his friends and relatives. He exhaled slightly and gasped before he slipped into unconsciousness. Eight minutes later, at 8:12 p.m. CST, he was pronounced dead.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 25, 2005 Georgia Keith Patrick Young, 17 Timothy Carr executed

Timothy Don Carr is a Monroe County man who was convicted of fatally stabbing and beating a Warner Robins youth in 1992. Carr was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder of 17-year-old Keith Patrick Young. Prosecutors said Carr cut Young’s throat, stabbed him numerous times and bludgeoned him with a baseball bat in the head and face. He also stole Young’s wallet and Pontiac Grand Prix after they had all left a party with Carr’s girlfriend, Melissa Leslie Burgeson. Burgeson, who allegedly goaded Carr into killing Young, also was convicted of murder. A judge in Butts County, where Carr had been on death row since his conviction, had overturned Carr’s death sentence on grounds that his trial attorney was ineffective. But the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in a unanimous ruling in March 2001, saying Carr did not show that his lawyer’s actions affected the outcome of the trial. UPDATE: A man was executed Tuesday for fatally stabbing a teenager and beating him with a baseball bat as he pleaded for his life during a robbery. Timothy Don Carr, 34, received a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson for killing 17-year-old Keith Patrick Young in October 1992. Carr was pronounced dead at 8:37 p.m. "It’s time for justice to be served," Carr said in his final statement. He also apologized to the victim’s mother for any grief he may have caused her and told his family that he loved them. Last-minute appeals and a clemency petition to the state parole board were denied.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 26, 2005 Connecticut Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25
Paula Perrera, 16
Tammy Williams, 17
Debra Smith Taylor, 23
Robin Stavinksy, 19
April Brunias, 14
Leslie Shelley, 14
Wendy Baribeault, 17
Michael Ross stayed

Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25Paula Perrera, 16 Tammy Williams, 17Debra Taylor, 23Robin Stavinsky, 19April Brunais, 14Leslie Shelley, 14Wendy Baribeault, 17Click photos for
larger image.

The sentencing of serial killer Michael Ross for the 1982 killing of 16-year-old Paula Perrera marked a strange ending to a nearly two-decade old case. Orange County Court Judge Nicholas DeRosa sentenced Ross, who is to be returned to death row in Connecticut, to 8ยค to 25 years in prison for the 1982 rape and strangulation of the Valley Central High School girl. DeRosa said he had nothing to say to Ross. So, he spoke to Paula’s family instead. He said Ross will ultimately be judged in the next life. "That’s the only comfort," he said, "if you can take comfort in anything." Ross was tied to the case by DNA evidence last year, after state police investigators secured a confession in a Connecticut prison. "Paula’s now been dead longer than she was alive," said Alicia Catlos, Paula’s aunt. Catlos spoke for the family, saying that many of Paula’s family "just don’t even want to be in the same room as Michael Ross." Ross, 42, never looked up from the defense table as Catlos spoke. The pasty-faced man wore his longish brown hair combed straight back, big eyeglasses, a white shirt, and jeans turned up about four inches at the cuff. He has been convicted in Connecticut of six killings of young girls. Ross’s brutal killing of Paula Perrera on March 1, 1982, damaged the girl’s family and the effects linger to this day, Catlos said. Paula’s younger brother left home soon after the killing. Her grandmother had to live with burying a granddaughter. John Geidel, the Orange County senior assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, noted that Ross’s sentencing won’t have any effect on his ultimate fate. But, he said, it still was important. Paula Perrera "could have been the sister, daughter of anyone in this community," he said. Defense lawyer Gary Abramson, the chief attorney of the Orange County Legal Aid Society, thanked Geidel and the district attorney’s office for bringing the case to a close. The plea Ross took last month to first-degree manslaughter spared the Perrera family of what would have been "an emotionally damaging" trial. Ross spoke briefly, saying he never denied killing Paula Perrera, that he had confessed as far back as 1987. Still, he said, he thanked state police Investigator Charles Auld for the detective work that led to Ross’ return to Orange County. "I’ve never hidden what I’ve done," he said. "I regret that this has taken so long to be taken care of." List of victims: Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25, a Cornell University student, killed May 12, 1981. Paula Perrera, 16, of Wallkill, N.Y., killed in March, 1982. Tammy Williams, 17, of Brooklyn, killed Jan. 5, 1982. Debra Smith Taylor, 23, of Griswold, killed June 15, 1982. Robin Stavinksy, 19, of Norwich, killed November, 1983. April Brunias, 14, of Griswold, killed April 22, 1984. Leslie Shelley, 14, of Griswold, killed April 22, 1984. Wendy Baribeault, 17, of Griswold, killed June 13, 1984. UPDATE: If serial killer Michael Ross gets his wish, he will become the first person executed in New England in 45 years. Connecticut’s governor and most state residents agree he should be. But a group of death penalty opponents and religious groups are trying to put the brakes on Ross’ scheduled execution Wednesday with a flurry of legal maneuvers that have dominated the state’s headlines and newscasts for weeks. Protesters have scheduled daily events. Roman Catholics, who make up about a third of the state’s population, have been asked to sign petitions and speak out against the death penalty. But polls find a strong majority want the execution to go forward. "People are still angry about it (the murders) today," said Pat Blain, a former school teacher who said she found it hard to sit through Mass when her priest read a letter from Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell condemning the death penalty. Others walked out, outraged. "It was so close to home," she said. Ross, a 45-year-old Cornell University graduate, is scheduled to die by lethal injection. His arrest in 1984 ended a three-year spree of attacks that stretched from Connecticut to New York, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio. He raped most of his victims, and killed eight of them, six in Connecticut. Last year, he surprised observers by firing his public defenders and hiring a private attorney to help him expedite his execution. He urged Gov. M. Jodi Rell not to grant him a reprieve — and she did not. "It has been over 20 years since my arrest, these people deserve, they have the right to finally be able to put this behind them," Ross wrote in a letter the governor, referring to the families of his victims. His would be the 947th execution in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, but the first in New England. Of the six New England states, only Connecticut and New Hampshire have the death penalty. New Hampshire has nobody on death row and has not executed anyone since 1939; Connecticut has not since 1960. In December, Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford declared Ross mentally competent to forgo his appeals. Since then, the public defender’s office, the American Civil Liberties Union (news – web sites) of Connecticut, the Missionary Society of Connecticut and even Ross’ father have sought to stop the execution. "Any possible avenue to put the brakes on this rush to execute will be explored," said Jon Schoenhorn, an attorney for Ross’ father, Dan Ross. "And we’ll keep doing it until Wednesday at 1:30 in the morning." The U.S. Supreme Court (news – web sites) already rejected one appeal from the public defenders because it was not signed by Ross. And the state Supreme Court ruled this month that public defenders have no "meaningful evidence" that Ross is incapable of making his own decisions. But in concurring opinions, two justices argued that while the defenders have no standing in the case, Ross shouldn’t be executed until Connecticut completes an ongoing study on whether the death penalty is racially, ethnically or geographically discriminatory. "I don’t know how it will turn out," Ross’ attorney, T.R. Paulding Jr. "At least so far, every court has ruled that Michael Ross is competent and that nobody else has standing to bring appeals." The state’s highest court also heard three other challenges last week, including one from a religious group that claims nobody in the state should be executed until the state sets up regulations to give death-row inmates clemency hearings. A hearing is scheduled Monday for an appeal by Ross’ father and the public defenders to get Ross declared incompetent. A throng of protesters, many bused in from other states in the region, are expected to stand along the snowy road outside the prison all night Tuesday. Sister Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun whose anti-death penalty campaign has been chronicled in an Oscar-winning movie, will be at Ross’ side. But a Quinnipiac University poll of Connecticut residents this month found 85 percent of respondents thought that Ross should be allowed to forgo his appeals. Seventy percent said they supported the death penalty for Ross. "We spent thousands of dollars trying to find him, thousands of dollars to prosecute him and now we’re spending thousands of dollars trying to keep him alive?" said John Denis of Jewett City, where Ross lived. "They were our girls. Most locals don’t care about him living." Edwin Shelley, father of 14-year-old victim Leslie Shelley, says any sympathy for Ross is misplaced. "If you recall what he did to eight young women, it’s hard to have sympathy for a man like that," he said. "I don’t care how he dies, as long as he does." UPDATE: New England’s first execution in 45 years was abruptly put on hold early Saturday after a federal judge reprimanded the serial killer’s attorney, saying he was "terribly, terribly wrong" for trying to help end his client’s life. Michael Ross — who has asked to die and has dropped all appeals — was to be put to death by injection early Saturday. But with an hour to spare, state officials rescheduled the execution for Monday at the request of Ross’ lawyer, T.R. Paulding. "The request made by Mr. Paulding today is appropriate and we have no choice but to honor it," Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano said. Paulding said he needed to address a possible conflict of interest. Ross, 45, hired him last year to help expedite his execution. Ross, an Ivy League graduate who terrorized eastern Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s, has confessed to eight murders. Family members of his victims said they were shocked by the turn of events. "He’s guilty. He wants to die. So if he isn’t executed, whom would you execute?" said Lan Manh Tu, whose sister, Dzung Ngoc Tu, was Ross’ first known victim. Raymond and Ellen Roode, whose daughter, April Brunais, was killed by Ross, said they don’t believe he will ever be executed. "It’s been 20 years for those girls who are in their graves," Ellen Roode said. "It’s too bad." Although Ross has said he does not want to die, he decided last year to drop his appeals to spare the victims’ families additional agony. His father and state public defenders, however, took up his appeals, fighting against his will to save his life. On Friday, state officials believed they had cleared the last hurdle in the case, when the Supreme Court rejected pleas by Ross’ father to spare his son’s life. But then Paulding asked for the delay, disrupting execution plans at the last moment. Earlier in the day, Paulding had been reprimanded by U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny, who threatened to strip him of his law license, according to court documents released by the U.S. Supreme Court. "I see this happening and I can’t live with it myself, which is why I’m on the phone right now," Chatigny said in a telephone conference with Paulding, according to court records. "What you are doing is terribly, terribly wrong." Chatigny, who had tried to delay the execution to hold a competency hearing but was overruled, accused Paulding of ignoring new information from another inmate, Ramon Lopez, and a prison guard who say Ross only wanted to die because of deplorable death row conditions. "You better be prepared to live with yourself for the rest of your life," Chatigny said. "And you better be prepared to deal with me if in the wake of this an investigation is conducted and it turns out that what Lopez says and what this former program director says is true, because I’ll have your law license." Paulding would not say what he needed to consider this weekend, although he noted that his client did not ask for the delay. "I feel that it is imperative I take the appropriate steps," Paulding said. "I will be taking those steps with all due diligence in the next two days." The state has to execute Ross by 11:59 p.m. Monday or its death warrant expires. That would force officials to go back before a judge and ask for a new one.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 27, 2005 Texas Forrest Hall George Jones stayed

On April 13, 1993, George Jones and three accomplices went to the Red Bird Shopping Mall in Dallas to rob someone. They forced their way into Forrest Hall’s car as he was leaving the mall, then drove to a secluded road in South Dallas. Once parked on the side of the road, Jones ordered Forrest out of the car, forced him to lie face-down in a grassy ditch and shot him twice in the back of the head. Jones left Forrest Hall in the ditch and rejoined the others at a nearby restaurant. The day after the slaying, Dallas authorities recovered Hall’s car, stripped of its tires, wheels, and stereo equipment near Fair Park in Dallas. Within a week of the killing and during the course of another stolen vehicle investigation, authorities recovered the weapon used to murder Forrest Hall. Five months later, as part of a separate investigation, one of Jones’ accomplices confessed to being involved in the Hall murder and implicated Jones. Jones was arrested and subsequently confessed. Jones blamed his accomplice, but he claimed he “accidentally” shot Hall once with the gun in self-defense. Jones also admitted that a car stereo and speakers found in his house belonged to Hall. At trial, a forensic document examiner testified that Jones had signed a pawn slip for the tires and rims from Hall’s car at a Dallas pawn shop.

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