April 2006 Executions

Four killers were executed in April 2006. They had murdered at least 7 people.
killers were given a stay in April 2006. They have murdered at least 10 people.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 4, 2006 Pennsylvania Joan Burghardt, 29
Charlotte Schmoyer, 15
Jessica Jean Fortney, 47
Harvey Robinson stayed

CharlotteSchmoyer smallHarvey Miguel Robinson is thought to be one of the youngest serial killers in history. Joan Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse’s aide, was Robinson’s first victim. She was raped and bludgeoned in her east Allentown home in August 1992. In June 1993, Robinson abducted, raped and stabbed 15-year-old newspaper carrier Charlotte Schmoyer (pictured). One of Charlotte’s regular newspaper customers noticed Charlotte’s cart outside her front window, but when she saw no signs of the girl, she called the offices of the Morning Call. Charlotte’s supervisors could not locate her, and they contacted the police. That same afternoon, Charlotte’s body was found in a heavily wooded area nearby. Charlotte had been raped and stabbed over 20 times. The next month, Robinson raped and strangled 47-year-old grandmother Jessica Jean Fortney. Another victim, Denise Sam-Cali, who was beaten and raped in her home shortly after Schmoyer’s killing, escaped alive. Robinson repeatedly returned to her house. On July 31, a police officer who was waiting for Denise’s attacker exchanged gunfire with Robinson. Robinson was tracked to a local hospital, where he had sought treatment for injuries. Linked to the three killings by DNA evidence, Robinson was convicted in November 1994 and sentenced to death in all three cases. Just 19 at the time, he was thought to be one of the youngest serial killers in the nation’s history. In June 2001, Lehigh County Judge Edward Reibman upheld Robinson’s murder convictions but threw out the death sentences in the Burghardt and Schmoyer killings, saying the trial judge had given improper sentencing instructions to the jury. In December 2004, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence in the Fortney case and the first-degree murder convictions in the other cases, which are now back in Lehigh County Court. Gladys Burghardt says she can no longer afford to dwell on the murderous specter of the man who killed her daughter. ”I’m 83 now and it’s not beneficial to my health, or my husband’s health, to dwell on it. We only have a short time left, and we need to make the most of it.” When Gladys and her husband, Stanley heard that Governor Ed Rendell had set an execution date for Robinson of April 4, Gladys said, ”This is something that’s been waiting to happen, that this monster is put out of the world.” However, the setting of the execution date is simply a formality and will lead to a stay while the next phase of appeals is carried out. ”I wish they would get it over with,” said Gladys Burghardt, who is baffled by the notion that the killer has been able to escape execution this long. ”What good is the legal system if it doesn’t carry out its threats?” she said. ”How can someone like Harvey Robinson control the legal system?” Denise Sam-Cali, who owns a Lehigh Valley transportation company, said she spends little time thinking about Robinson. ”We move on,” she said. ”He’s useless to society, so if they do put him to death, there’s no loss.”

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 6, 2006 Pennsylvania Christine Rohrer
Jim Gilliam
Michael Singley stayed

The execution of Michael Singley, a Chambersburg man who murdered two people in November 1998, has been delayed following an order issued by a federal judge. U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III was required to issue a stay of execution after Singley, 29, requested an attorney during a hearing in Williamsport. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed an execution warrant last month against Singley, scheduling his execution for April 6. Singley pled guilty in August 2000, to first-degree murder and other charges in the stabbing death of Christine Rohrer, the wife of his cousin Travis Rohrer. A month later, Franklin County Judge Douglas Herman found Singley guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his cousin’s neighbor, Jim Gilliam, who confronted him after the incident. Singley raped Rohrer and bound her with duct tape in her home on election night in November 1998, after he told her he had car trouble and needed to use her phone. He stabbed her 20 times and then stabbed and shot her husband Travis Rohrer, when he came home. Travis Rohrer recovered from his wounds. As he left his cousin’s home, Singley fired two shots at Gilliam and his fiancee, Deb Hock. One shot killed Gilliam. Singley was sentenced to death for Rohrer’s murder and life in prison without parole for the murder of Gilliam. He also received up to 94 additional years in prison for attempted murder, rape, criminal trespass and theft.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 11, 2006 Pennsylvania Angelina C. Taylor, 20 Tedor Davido stayed

In 1997, Tedor Davido was arrested by police and FBI agents on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, rape and weapons charges in Ohio. Davido was convicted of reduced charges of escape and assault from Belmont Correctional Institution in Ohio. He was paroled after serving only two years. He and his girlfriend, Angelina C. Taylor and Angie’s 2 year old son returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in January 2000. Just a few months later, Davido stood accused of beating the 20-year-old woman to death while raping her on May 14, 2000. Testimony during a preliminary hearing revealed a long history of violence between the unmarried couple. A forensic pathologist testified that Taylor died from massive head injuries and brain hemorrhages consistent with a severe beating. He also said Angie Taylor had ligature and scratch marks on her neck, and bruises on every part of her body. Ross said medical evidence indicated Angie was raped. Davido’s younger sister testified that the fight between her brother and Angie Taylor was so violent she fled the home and called police, saying "a guy was beating up a girl." When officers arrived, no one answered the door. Davido testified that he got scared and exited the house via the roof when he heard the police. A lifelong friend of Davido’s testified that Davido had come to her home on the morning of the murder and told her he had beaten up Angie because he was mad. The woman said Davido told her Angie was "breathing funny" when he left their home. Davido said her eyes were wide open, but that she could not stand up, she testified. Police entered the house through a window and found Angie Taylor on a mattress in a 3rd-floor bedroom. She was unconscious and almost nude. Medics transported Angie to Lancaster General Hospital where she was treated for brain swelling, which ultimately squeezed her brain steam, shutting off her vital functions. Angie Taylor was declared brain dead 10 hours later and removed from life support on the afternoon of May 14. Testimony at trial established that Davido told others that he beat Angie on the morning in question and then had sex with her when she wouldn’t respond to him. Davido gave incriminating statements to police and to a fellow Lancaster County Prison inmate, confessing to the killing and the rape.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 18, 2006 Oklahoma Jim Poteet
Terry Shepard
Kevin Smith
Richard Thornburg, Jr. executed

Between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. on September 28, 1996, Richard Thornburg, along with codefendants Glenn Anderson and Roger Embrey, went to Marvin Matheson’s trailer. All three were armed. As they hovered over Matheson, Thornburg accused him of being responsible for shooting Thornburg the month before. Also suspecting Jim Poteet of a role in the shooting, they drove Matheson to Poteet’s house, telling him on the way not to worry about locking his trailer, because he was not coming back. When the four men arrived at Poteet’s house, Thornburg and Embrey went inside while Matheson and Anderson remained in the car. After hearing gun shots from the house, Anderson took Matheson inside. As Matheson entered he saw Terry Shepard sitting on a chair outside the bathroom door and Poteet sitting on the bed in the back bedroom. Poteet, held at gunpoint by Thornburg, had been shot in the foot and his forehead was bruised and bloody. Matheson saw Thornburg shoot again at Poteet’s feet as he attempted to get Poteet to tell him who had shot him. Anderson then instructed Thornburg to take Matheson to Poteet’s rental unit near the house and get Jimmy Scott. Thornburg escorted Matheson to the rental unit with a gun to his back, but he was interrupted when Kevin Smith arrived at Scott’s house to retrieve his girlfriend’s purse. Thornburg instructed Smith to knock on Scott’s door. The door was answered by Donnie Scott, the brother of Jimmy, who was not home. Thornburg forced Scott, Smith, and Matheson to go to Poteet’s house. Once they were inside Poteet’s house, Anderson held the men at gunpoint in the kitchen while Thornburg went to the back bedroom. Matheson could hear Thornburg and Poteet arguing about drugs and money. Then Anderson instructed Embrey to bring everyone back to the bedroom. The men injected Matheson and Poteet with drugs, as Anderson commented that he intended to "OD" them. Anderson and Thornburg also injected themselves. Thornburg continued arguing with Poteet about whether Poteet shot him. He told Poteet that he was going to shoot him, but then said "better yet, I ain’t gonna shoot you," and instructed Matheson to shoot Poteet. Embrey and Anderson pointed their guns at Matheson, threatening to shoot him if he did not shoot Poteet. When Matheson refused to shoot Poteet, Thornburg shot Poteet in the side. Thornburg then told Matheson that Matheson was "going to shoot somebody and that it had a lot to do with if [Matheson left] the house or not." Matheson was told to shoot one of the men in the bathroom. He attempted to shoot Scott in the head, but the gun did not have a bullet. Anderson took the gun into the hallway, presumably to put a bullet in it, and returned, insisting that Matheson shoot Scott or he would kill Matheson. Matheson shot Scott in the chest. Embrey then gave his gun to Anderson, telling him that he did not want to be involved in shooting anyone, and escorted Matheson back to the car. Matheson heard three or four more shots coming from the house. As Matheson was sitting in the car, Embrey opened the trunk and Matheson could smell gas as if Embrey was siphoning gasoline. The men removed a sack of "Longneck Budweiser" bottles from the back seat. Then Matheson heard someone throw something through a window and saw that Poteet’s bedroom window was broken. After setting the house on fire, the men drove away. Thornburg dropped Anderson and Embrey off by the side of the road so that they could stash their guns. After driving further, Thornburg told Matheson to get out of the car, hide for a bit, and keep his mouth shut or the others would blame him for killing everyone. Scott, still alive in the burning house, attempted to help Poteet crawl out but was unsuccessful. He made it out himself and lay down in the grass. A man and his son drove past the burning house shortly after 5 a.m. and saw Scott. They took him to a convenience store and called the police. Scott survived, but Smith, Poteet, and Shepard perished in the fire. When Matheson heard that officers wanted to arrest him in connection with the murders, he turned himself in. He gave the above account of his activities to officers once he learned that his family was under police protection.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 21, 2006 North Carolina Vallerie Ann Roberson Dixon Willie Brown executed

Willie Brown was sentenced to death in 1983 for the fatal shooting of a woman, Vallerie Ann Roberson Dixon, during the robbery of the convenience where she was working. Brown forced her to get in her car and then drove Vallerie to a rural area. Brown shot Vallerie to death and dumped her body. He was arrested shortly after the murder, driving Vallerie’s car. At 5:47 am on March 6, 1983, the Williamston Police Department received a call to the effect that the Zip Mart on Main Street seemed to be open for business, but the clerk was not there. A police officer hearing the call told dispatchers that he had just seen the clerk, Vallerie Ann Dixon, in the store while patrolling the area at 5:20 am. Several officers were immediately dispatched to the store and confirmed that Vallerie and her car, a 1973 brown and tan four-door Plymouth sedan owned by her mother, were missing. The officers also found her pocketbook and a small amount of change scattered on the floor near the cash register. The store’s manager was summoned, and upon her arrival, she reported that approximately $90 was missing from the register and safe. At this time, the police initiated a concerted effort to find Vallerie Dixon and sent a patrolman to look for her vehicle. At approximately 6:20 am, the patrolman reported over the radio that he had spotted the car on Highway 64. The car was heading towards town at a speed of five to ten miles per hour, and a check of the license plate number confirmed that it belonged to a member of Vallerie’s family. The officer then pulled up behind the Plymouth and activated his flashing blue lights and siren. In response, the driver increased his speed and drove for several blocks in an apparent attempt to evade the patrolman. However, the car rolled to a stop just as another police vehicle arrived to cut it off. The officers remained by their vehicles with guns drawn and demanded that the driver immediately exit the vehicle. After a delay of 10 to 20 seconds, Willie Brown, Jr. got out of the car. He was immediately placed under arrest and advised of his rights. A search of the car resulted in the discovery of a.32 caliber six-shot revolver and a paper bag containing approximately $90 in cash and a small change purse containing money, identification, and other items belonging to Vallerie Dixon. The revolver contained four live cartridges, one spent shell, and an empty cylinder. A search of Brown’s person produced a toboggan cap with eye holes cut out of it and a pair of ski gloves. The exterior of the car was examined and found to be partly covered with fresh mud. At the police station, Brown was again advised of his rights and questioned by local police and special agents from the State Bureau of Investigation. Brown admitted that he had walked to the Zip Mart and robbed the clerk while wearing a toboggan cap and using a.32 caliber revolver. He stated that he ordered the clerk to give him her car keys, and he proceeded to make his escape in her vehicle until being apprehended by the police. Brown, however, denied having any knowledge of the present whereabouts of the clerk and stated that he had left her unharmed at the store. At approximately 10:00 am, an automobile belonging to Brown’s mother was discovered approximately 100 yards from the Zip Mart. When confronted with this information, Brown admitted that he did not walk from his mother’s house, but that he drove the car to that point. At approximately 4:00 pm that same day, searchers discovered Vallerie’s body in an area consistent with the location Brown was headed away from when spotted that morning. The body was discovered more than one-tenth of a mile up an unpaved and muddy single-lane logging path located within five miles of town. The fully clothed body was lying face down across some washed-out tire tracks. A purple cord was tied around one wrist. Vallerie’s mother, with whom she lived, could not identify the cord as belonging to her daughter. A forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy on the body of the victim. The pathologist testified that Vallerie had been shot six times. Entrance wounds were found in the chin, the back side of the upper right arm, at the back base of the neck, the lower central part of the back, the right breast, and the back of her right thigh. Assuming that Vallerie’s upper body was in an upright position when struck by the bullets, the shot to the chin traveled on a slightly downward plane, while the remaining bullets traveled at an upward angle of approximately 30 degrees. The pathologist testified that the paths of the bullet wounds to the back were consistent with the wounds having been administered to the victim as she lay face down on the ground. He testified, however, that he could not be certain as to the position of the body when the shots were fired. Although he could not ascertain which bullet was fired first, he was able to conclude that Vallerie slowly bled to death as a result of all six wounds over a period of approximately 15 minutes and would have lost consciousness shortly before she died. He also discovered a series of scratch marks approximately three and one-half inches long on Vallerie’s left forearm. A Special Agent from the State Bureau of Investigation testified that he performed test firings with the gun which was discovered in the car at the time of Brown’s arrest. He stated that, in his opinion, a comparison of the test-fired bullets with the bullets removed from Vallerie revealed that she had been shot with that gun. He had also examined the blouse the victim was wearing when she was shot. He testified that the fabric ends surrounding the bullet hole to the right front mid-section of the blouse were melted. This indicated that the muzzle of the gun was pressed into the blouse at the time that shot was fired. He could not accurately determine the range involved with the other shots. Willie Brown took the stand and testified that he was living in Williamston with his mother on March 6, 1983. He testified that he awoke at approximately 6:00 am and left the house in his mother’s car in order to pick up his girlfriend and take her to work. Upon realizing that he was too early to take his girlfriend to work, Brown stated that he parked his mother’s car and began to jog. As he did so, he saw another man run past him and away from another automobile parked on Carolina Avenue. Brown stated that the door to that car was open and that a gun and a bag full of money were visible on the front seat. He stated that he sat down in the car but before he could leave, the police arrived and arrested him. Brown denied that he either robbed or killed Vallerie and also denied making any admissions to the police. He acknowledged that he had been to the Zip Mart on prior occasions and that he knew Vallerie as the sister of a former classmate. On cross-examination, Brown admitted that he had been convicted of breaking or entering in North Carolina and that he had been convicted of five armed robberies and an assault on a police officer in Virginia. However, he denied having actually committed any of those crimes. Following the presentation of all the evidence, the jury found Brown guilty of first-degree murder and of armed robbery. At the sentencing phase of the trial, the State introduced evidence of Brown’s record of prior convictions. In 1963, Brown was convicted in Martin County of six counts of felonious larceny and six counts of breaking or entering. In 1965, Brown received an 80-year sentence in Virginia on five counts of armed robbery and one count of felonious assault. The victim of this assault, a former Portsmouth, Virginia police officer was permitted to testify regarding the details of Brown’s former crimes. He stated that on March 5, 1965, Brown, in an attempt to avoid arrest, shot him three times, causing him to fall to the floor paralyzed. As Brown ran away, he shot at the officer twice more but missed. The victim stated that he had yet to fully recover from his injuries. The defense presented evidence of Brown’s close relationship with his mother and of his poor scholastic record in school. At the close of the sentencing phase of the trial, the trial court submitted three possible aggravating and seven possible mitigating circumstances for the jury’s consideration. The jury found each of the aggravating factors and none of the mitigating circumstances and returned a recommendation that Brown be sentenced to death. Following the recommendation, the trial court entered judgment sentencing Brown to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 25, 2006 Texas Ollie “Sammy” Childress Pedro Sosa stayed

During the morning of November 4, 1983, Pedro Sosa, who was then 31-years-old, and his then 17-year-old accomplice Leroy Sosa, flashed the lights of their vehicle to flag down Wilson County Deputy Sheriff Ollie “Sammy” Childress while they were driving on a rural road in Wilson County, Texas. When Deputy Childress stopped his car, Sosa pointed a handgun at him and told him to move to the passenger seat of his patrol vehicle. Sosa then drove Deputy Childress’ vehicle to a dirt road where he directed Deputy Childress to exit his vehicle, remove his shirt, place himself in his own handcuffs, and climb into the trunk of his patrol car. Sosa and Leroy Sosa then drove the patrol vehicle to the LaVernia State Bank where they robbed the bank and unsuccessfully attempted to take two women as hostages. Sosa wore the officer’s shirt and badge while robbing the bank of $50,000, his nephew testified. After robbing the bank, Sosa and Leroy Sosa drove back to the isolated location where they had parked their vehicle. Sosa then opened the trunk of the patrol car and shot Deputy Childress in the neck and head from close range because Deputy Childress had seen Sosa’s face. After Sosa and Leroy Sosa had driven a short distance away, Sosa directed Leroy Sosa to return to the patrol car so that they could wipe off the trunk of that vehicle. When they returned, Sosa saw that Deputy Childress was still moving, so he again shot him in the neck and head from close range. Soon after police arrested Sosa on February 3, 1984, he signed a written confession admitting his guilt. Leroy Sosa also signed a written confession soon after his arrest on December 19, 1983, which was consistent with the key elements of Sosa’s confession. Additionally, Leroy Sosa testified at Sosa’s trial that Sosa shot Deputy Childress. Leroy Sosa pled guilty to bank robbery and received a life sentence in return for his testimony. A jury found Sosa guilty of capital murder on November 27, 1984. The next day, the jury answered both of the Texas capital sentencing special issues affirmatively and the state trial judge sentenced Sosa to death by lethal injection.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 26, 2006 Texas Jerry Robert Williams, 21 Marvin Wilson stayed

Marvin Wilson is on death row for the 1992 kidnapping and murder of a police informant, 21-year-old Jerry Williams. On November 4, 1992, police officers entered Wilson’s apartment pursuant to a search warrant. Jerry Williams was the confidential informant whose information enabled them to obtain the warrant. Williams entered and left the apartment minutes before the police went in. Wilson, another man and a juvenile female were present in the apartment. Over 24 grams of cocaine were found, and Wilson and the other man were arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Wilson was subsequently released on bond, but the other man remained in jail. Sometime after the incident, Wilson told a friend that someone had “snitched” on Wilson, that the “snitch” was never going to have the chance to “to have someone else busted,” and that Wilson “was going to get him.” On November 9, 1992, several observers saw an incident take place in the parking lot in front of a grocery store. In the parking lot, Wilson stood over Williams and beat him. Wilson asked Williams, “What do you want to be a snitch for? Do you know what we do to a snitch? Do you want to die right here?” In response, Williams begged for his life. A friend of Wilson’s, Andrew Lewis, was pumping gasoline in his car at the time. Williams ran away from Wilson and across the street to a field. Wilson pursued Williams and caught him. Lewis drove his car to the field and while Williams struggled against them, Wilson and Lewis forced Williams into the car. At some point during this incident, either in front of Mike’s Grocery, across the street, or at both places, Lewis participated in hitting Williams and Wilson asked Lewis: “Where’s the gun?” Wilson told Lewis to get the gun and said that he (Wilson) wanted to kill Williams. They drove toward a Mobil refinery. Two other witnesses drove back to their apartments, which were close by, and when they arrived, they heard what sounded like gunshots from the direction of the Mobil plant. Sometime after the incident, Wilson told his wife, in the presence of Lewis and his wife, “Baby, you remember the n***** I told you I was going to get? I did it. I don’t know if he dead or what, but I left him there to die.” When Lewis’s wife looked back at her husband, Wilson stated, “Don’t be mad at him because he did not do it. I did it.” On November 10, 1992, a bus driver noticed Williams’ dead body on the side of a road. The autopsy report concluded that Williams died from close range gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 26, 2006 Nevada Betty Jane May, 55
Kim Parks
Daryl Mack executed

Betty Jane MayA neighbor found 55-year-old Betty Jane May murdered in her room at a boarding house. An autopsy determined that Betty died by strangulation and suffered a traumatic sexual penetration just prior to her death. Semen and blood samples were taken from Betty’s body and clothing at the time of her death, and after twelve years passed, a detective ordered DNA testing of the evidence. Daryl Linnie Mack was serving life in prison for the 1994 strangulation killing of Kim Parks in a Reno motel when he was linked through the DNA tests to the 1988 murder of Betty Jane May. Law enforcement obtained a blood and saliva sample from Mack at two different times during the investigation. Both the semen and the blood stains matched Mack’s DNA. Additionally, blood and tissue found under Betty’s fingertips matched Mack’s DNA. Mack was charged with first-degree murder with deliberation and premeditation and/or during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a sexual assault. In 2000, the State sought the death penalty, alleging two aggravating circumstances: (1) Mack committed the murder while under sentence of imprisonment, and (2) he committed the murder while committing or fleeing after committing sexual assault. Mack had a lengthy prison record, having served four sentences before he was convicted of the murder of Kim Parks. At the time of Betty’s murder, Mack was on probation on a California burglary conviction. In the early 1990s, Kim Parks was a prostitute in downtown Reno and Mack was her pimp, according to police. On April 8, 1994, Mack helped Parks move from one hotel to another, and expected to receive some money she had earned, he claimed. He became angry when she refused to hand it over. Mack told police he back-handed Parks, which drew blood, took the money and left. But the prosecutor said Mack wrapped the woman’s brassiere around her neck and strangled her, then took her money and left. The judge in Mack’s bench trial agreed, found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Then-Chief Deputy District Attorney David Stanton had argued strongly for the life term, saying Mack was a hopeless criminal with 20 adult arrests and 14 convictions, six of which were felonies. "He is a cold-blooded, premeditated murderer, thief, pimp and drug addict," Stanton said at the sentencing hearing. But Mack told the judge that Parks had been his friend and he would never hurt her. "This terrible atrocity has been committed by a necrophiliac killer, not by a thief or burglar like myself," Mack said. Confused about the punishment he faced, Mack told the judge to go ahead and sentence him to death. "No, I do not have a death wish," Mack said. "I love my life. I will gladly put my life on the line to express my total innocence. Give me justice or give me death." Washoe District Judge Mills Lane told Mack that capital punishment was not an option in this case, and the judge sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. As Mack sat in prison for the Parks murder, the unsolved murder of Betty Jane May languished in the file cabinets at the Reno Police Department. Then in 1999, her case saw new light. David Jenkins, a homicide detective, was investigating a murder claim and began reviewing inactive cases when he discovered that there was biological evidence from the May case that had never been submitted for DNA testing. Such testing had not been developed at the time of her 1988 murder. DNA profiles created by the samples of blood and semen taken from May’s clothes were submitted to a database, he said, and suddenly they had a hit. The samples matched profiles that had been created by blood samples submitted from Mack during the investigation into Parks’ murder, Jenkins said. The May case was reopened and investigators hoped for resolution. Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Greco ordered a new DNA sample from Mack to recheck the findings. The match was confirmed and Mack was indicted on a new murder charge. "This was an interesting case in that it was the first case where the only evidence was DNA evidence," Greco said. The case was old and memories had faded, but the DNA match was powerful enough to take it to court. Again, Mack asked for a bench trial before a judge, not a jury, and again, he was convicted. But this time the prosecutor had sought the death penalty. Since Mack had a judge try his case, a three-judge panel was seated to decide his punishment. Betty May’s son Charles testified at May’s trial that he last saw his mother just a few nights before she was murdered and he gave her an extra hug when he said good-bye, not realizing that it would be their last. “She became a victim of a cold-blooded, soulless person who had no regard for human life,” he said. “I am still angry and bitter after all these years. Some nights my sleep is disturbed with visions that my mom is still alive.” Alana Coy, the daughter of Betty May, said, “We lost something that we can never get back. We lost a mother. We lost a friend and a confidant. Because of one thoughtless, ruthless, despicable person we lost our mom.” In October of 2005, after two of three psychiatrists who evaluated Mack had found him to be competent to waive his appeals, Mack, then 47, told the judge that he no longer wanted to appeal his death sentence. Mack’s attorneys explained that Mack was sick and tired of being on death row and has requested to drop his appeals since July of 2004. In March of that year, Mack had come within a week of being executed when he filed a petition to stay the execution and proceed with his appeals. The Washoe County Deputy District Attorney Gary Hatlestad asked the judge to formally ask Mack’s lawyers if there was any legal reason why the execution should not go forward. This will reduce the likelihood of any successful future appeals. Mack’s lawyers said there was none. On a web site where Mack asks pen pals to write to him, he says he is on death row "for a crime that does not warrant the death penalty." However, the scheduled Dec. 1, 2005 execution was stayed by the Nevada Supreme Court after the court was petitioned by Mack’s mother to stop her son’s lethal injection at the Nevada State Prison. The court ordered another hearing to determine whether he was competent to waive available appeals. The stay was lifted in February when the high court dismissed a petition filed by Viola Mack, the condemned inmate’s mother, who claimed her son didn’t get a fair competency hearing. UPDATE: Washoe County Assistant District Attorney Dan Greco assumed he was the target of Daryl Mack’s eerie smile a few minutes before the 47-year-old inmate was executed. "He was looking right at me, so I think it was. I didn’t think under the circumstances a smile back at him would be appropriate, so I simply nodded at him," Greco said. May’s children, Charles May, 48, of Reno, Denise Notinelli, 44, of Los Angeles, and Alana Coy, 42, of Kentucky, witnessed Mack’s execution. Charles May said, "You probably are going to edit this, but I thought, `That rotten son of a bitch. How can he have the gall to do that at the last second and get away with it?’ We’re glad he is gone." Charles May read a statement from the family that said: "Daryl Mack will never harm anyone ever again. It has been a long and very rough road for us all. Tonight that journey ends and closure begins. Justice has been served. A weight was lifted off our shoulders," he said. "Life starts over. We don’t have to worry about Daryl Mack occupying our lives, controlling our lives, wondering when the next appeal is going to come. It is a new beginning. Mom couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day gift. Rest in peace, mom." Alana Coy of Kentucky, had previously said Mack’s death is "a good thing. This has been a 17 year nightmare for me and my family," Coy said. "The pain never goes away and will follow us the rest of our lives. But knowing that he can never get out and do it to someone else, there’s a measure of peace in that. I don’t want to see this happen to anybody else." Betty Jane May had never learned to drive. Instead, she rode her bike or walked when she had errands around town. Described as a tiny, quiet woman by her daughter, May had "a tender heart for cats," loved reading mystery books to her kids and introduced them to music. After her children were grown, she and her military husband divorced and she moved into a room at a boarding house in southwest Reno. Two dozen death penalty opponents gathered outside the prison to protest the execution despite Mack’s desire to die. Three family members of a victim of another convicted murderer on death row quietly stood beside the protesters with their own signs reading ‘Peace and comfort to the Mays,’ ‘Standing with the May family’ and ‘To honor and remember Betty Jane May.’ "I’m here to support the May family. It has nothing to do with the death penalty," said Pam McCoy, whose 25-year-old son Brian Pierce was murdered in 2002 by Robert Lee McConnell. McConnell came within 34 minutes of being executed last June before he filed an appeal that won him an immediate stay. He remains on death row in Ely State Prison. Pierce’s grandparents, Jim and Dee Tresley of Reno, joined McCoy. "We had a grandson murdered a while back, so we’re for the death penalty," Jim Tresley said. "I think that’s the only way you can stop crime."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 27, 2006 Virginia Renee Fulton, 25 Dexter Vinson executed
Convicted killer Dexter Lee Vinson was executed for the 1997 abduction and murder of Angela "Renee" Felton, a 25-year-old mother of three. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine denied an appeal for clemency and issued the following statement: “Having carefully reviewed the Petition for Clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reasons to doubt Mr. Vinson’s guilt or to invalidate the sentence recommended by the jury and imposed, and affirmed, by the courts.” Nine years ago, Renee Felton’s nude, mutilated body was found May 20, 1997 inside a vacant house. She had been abducted the morning before. Felton’s older sister, Beth Willis of Richmond, said the death penalty was made for cases like this one. “I’ve seen her body,’’ Willis said in a telephone interview before the execution. “I’ve seen what he did to her. I think God is weighing down on all of this.’’ Renee had twin boys who are now 16, and a 14-year-old daughter. “The last nine and a half years we’ve been waiting for this and it’s finally here,’’ Willis said. “The case is a good example of what the death penalty was put in place for. This is a good example of that.’’ Willis, who left the area after her sister’s death, said she met her sister’s ex-boyfriend twice. “Just a real shady character,’’ she said. “You could tell she was almost terrified of him.’’ Renee had lived with Vinson for more than a year but had moved out a few weeks before her death. On the morning of her abduction, she had gone back to the home she once shared with Vinson to retrieve mail. Upon seeing Vinson, Renee attempted to drive away. Vinson followed in his car, ramming her car from behind until she stopped. After beating her, Vinson drove Renee to a nearby boarded-up house where she bled to death. She had been sexually mutilated, suffering massive cuts and tears to the genital area. She also had cuts to the neck, forearms, trunk and buttocks, and blows to the head and face. Renee’s former mother-in-law, Wilhelmena Gatling, said Wednesday she hoped Vinson’s death would bring some comfort to Felton’s children, now teenagers.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
April 27, 2006 Texas Betsy Nutt, 41
Cody Nutt, 15
Derrick Frazier stayed

A Refugio District Judge set execution dates for Derrick Frazier and Jermaine Herron. The men shot 41-year-old Betsy Nutt and her 15-year-old son Cody Nutt at their ranch in Refugio County in 1997. Both victims were shot in the head several times. On June 26, 1997, Jerry Nutt had found his wife Betsy and son Cody. They had been killed in the family’s mobile home at the Dos Amigos Ranch in Refugio, Texas. A pickup truck had been stolen, and a neighboring residence had been burglarized and set on fire. The pickup truck was found outside a Victoria apartment complex later that day, and Derrick Frazier was arrested there and brought in for questioning. An arrest warrant was issued for another suspect in the case, Jermaine Herron, and Herron turned himself in a few days later. Jerry Nutt testified that he had found his wife and son dead. Members of the family whose house was burglarized and burned testified that Frazier and Herron had paid a visit to their ranch the day before the murders, on the pretense of looking for work. Herron knew the family because his father had once worked for them, and he introduced Frazier as his cousin Kenny. An 18-year-old female testified that she and her boyfriend had driven the men to the Dos Amigos Ranch that day, and that her boyfriend had driven them there the following day when the burglary and the murders had taken place. The men had spent the morning at the mobile home, gathering up items they planned to steal, including guns and jewelry. They planned to kill the family, but got tired of waiting and walked the quarter mile to the Nutt home. The men told Betsy they were stranded and asked for drinks. Betsy offered to give the men a ride into Refugio. She left Cody in the house and went to the pickup truck with Frazier and Herron. As she started the truck, Herron said he needed to go to the bathroom, and returned to the house. Shortly thereafter, he enticed Betsy to return to the house, saying she had a phone call. Frazier made a videotaped confession where he admitted to killing Betsy Nutt using a 9 mm pistol they had stolen from the other house. Then Herron shot Cody with the same weapon. Victoria Texas police spotted the Nutt’s green Ford pickup truck later that night at an apartment complex and arrested Frazier. Both men had execution dates set at the same hearing. After their execution dates were set, Jerry Nutt, the husband and father of the victims, said, "This is one of the happiest days of my life in the past 81/2 years. Only two days are going to be better and you know which two days those are going to be," Nutt said. Nutt says he will travel to Huntsville to witness the executions. "Well the first three years after it happened, until I met my wife…I was going downhill. I’m not going to kid you. I didn’t do anything," he said. Nutt remarried five years ago. The couple said said Betsy and Cody are still a big part of their lives. Jerry Nutt said, "We still have a shrine for Betsy and Cody up in the house. I told her, ‘You can take that down; we’re starting a new life.’ She said, ‘Cody and Betsy made you who you are…so they are always going to be part of our lives’. Jane Nutt said, "Betsy and I have actually become quite good friends. When Jerry does something that is frustrating, I talk to Betsy’s picture…I say, ‘okay Betsy you should’ve straightened him out on this…’," Jane said.

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