February 2006 Executions

Three killers were executed in February 2006. They had murdered at least 5 people.
killers were given a stay in February 2006. They have murdered at least 12 people.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 1, 2006 Missouri Ann Harrison, 15 Michael Taylor stayed

The Missouri Supreme Court has set a Feb. 1 execution date for a man who pleaded guilty to killing a Kansas City teenager more than 15 years ago. Michael Taylor, 38, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, forcible rape, armed criminal action and kidnapping for the March 1989 killing of Ann Harrison. Court documents state that Ann, 15, was waiting for her school bus when Taylor and his accomplice, Roderick Nunley, forced her into their stolen vehicle. According to court records, Taylor raped Harrison in Nunley’s mother’s basement and Nunley facilitated the rape and then helped Nunley kill her because they were afraid she would identify them. Nunley entered guilty pleas to first degree murder, for which he was sentenced to death; armed criminal action; kidnapping; and forcible rape. Nunley pleaded guilty to the four charged offenses without a sentencing recommendation from the state, which had indicated it would seek the death penalty even if he pleaded guilty. Both were sentenced to death in 1991 and then, after their sentences were overturned, were again sentenced to death in 1994.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 6 – 10, 2006 Maryland David Scott Piechowicz
Susan Kennedy
Vernon Evans, Jr. stayed

On April 28, 1983, Vernon Evans, for a fee of $9,000 to be paid by his friend, Anthony Grandison, murdered David Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy, deliberately, willfully, with premeditation, in cold blood. Grandison wanted Piechowicz and his wife, Cheryl, killed to prevent them from testifying against Grandison in a pending drug case in Federal Court, and he hired Evans to do the job. The Piechowiczes were employed at the Warren House Motel. Unbeknownst to Evans, Cheryl was not at work that day; her sister, Susan Kennedy, was substituting for her. Evans drove to the motel, walked into the lobby with a machine pistol, and fired nineteen bullets at the two victims. For those crimes, he was twice sentenced to death. The first sentence was imposed following his trial in 1984. In 1991, that sentence was revoked on appeal because the sentencing form used during the sentencing had been declared unconstitutional in 1988. Following a new sentencing proceeding, Evans was again sentenced to death. Evans claims he did not kill the couple, however, several witnesses, including his girlfriend, testified against him.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 6, 2006 Tennessee Brenda Blanton Lane, 28 Gregory Thompson stayed

On New Year’s Day 1985, Thompson and a juvenile accomplice abducted Brenda Blanton Lane at knife point from the parking lot of a Shelbyville Wal-Mart and forced her to drive to a remote location outside Manchester. There, Thompson stabbed Lane multiple times in the back and left her alone to die. Thompson’s only motive for the murder was to obtain Lane’s car. At the time of her death, 28-year-old Brenda Lane was married and a budding journalist, having worked as a reporter and columnist for the Shelbyville Times- Gazette and, later, for United Methodist Communications in Nashville. In 1982, Lane was named the “Outstanding Young Woman of Bedford County.” Lane was also the niece of Chief Jesse Blanton, the police chief here at the time. Sue Allison, a former editor of the Times-Gazette, recalls Lane as a "wonderful, soft-hearted person who would help the down-trodden." In that way, Lane was probably the perfect mark for McNamara and Gregory who held a knife on Lane and forced her to drive them to a remote place in Coffee County where he stabbed Lane to death. It was just to get a car to drive back to Marietta, Ga., where the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier was found burned. Lane’s sister, Barbara Brown, says Lane "was praying even in the last minute and I know she was scared. She was a very strong Christian, highly intelligent and sweet, an all-around good person." Marietta Police reported McNamara said that at the isolated place in Manchester, Thompson told McNamara "not to look but she did look" and saw the stabbing. McNamara told police where to find Lane’s body. Lane and Allison "shared a lot of religious and philosophical beliefs and had a lot of conversations," said Allison, now spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court and the state courts of appeal. "I suspect Brenda was born good and stayed good and kept that child-like sweetness," said Allison, who’s also worked as a wire service reporter. "She never got hard," like many journalists. "Faith and prayer" said Barbara Brown on how she deals with the loss of a sister. "It’s not peace," she said. "It’s more acceptance of something I can’t change. I think about Brenda every day."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 7, 2006 Ohio Cynthia Sedgwick, 26
Trina Bowser, 21
Glenn Benner executed

The Ohio Supreme Court set a February 7th execution date for a man sentenced to die for raping and killing two young women during a five-month period in 1985 and 1986. Glenn Benner apparently was a "serial killer in-training" and has been on death row since 1986 for the killings that took place almost 20 years ago. Benner was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Cynthia Sedgwick, 26, in August 1985 in woods at the Blossom Music Center near Akron where she had attended a concert. He also was convicted of raping and murdering 21-year-old Trina Bowser in Akron in January 1986. In addition, Benner was convicted of raping and trying to kill two other women in the months between those killings. Benner has no appeals left and the execution will likely take place according to his attorney, Kate McGarry. UPDATE: On the night of August 6, 1985 Cynthia Sedgwick and three friends attended the George Thorogood concert at Blossom Music Center in Summit County. While she was in what was described as a “tipsy” condition, Cynthia wandered away from her companions several times. Glenn L. Benner II, also attended the concert accompanied by a group of friends, some of whom worked with him for a construction company. One of the group with Benner testified that he saw Benner talking with a girl who was “fairly drunk or high.” When the concert ended, the witness and another man in Benner’s group saw Benner walk through one of the music center’s parking lots and into the adjoining woods accompanied by the girl with whom Benner had been talking earlier. According to the second witness, Benner “had his arm around her until he got to the parking lot, then he picked her up and carried her.” The man testified that both men followed Benner into the woods but could not find him. Both witnesses testified that they called out for Benner in the woods, but heard no response. Consequently, they went home. The next day, Benner told a Robert L. Tyson, a co-worker at the construction company, that “he killed a girl at Blossom last night. He said he raped her and then choked her to death.” The day following the Thorogood concert, Cynthia’s purse was found in the woods surrounding the Blossom Music Center. Subsequently, on August 12, 1985, a Blossom parking lot attendant found Cynthia’s decomposed body in the woods. A Summit County deputy sheriff who was called to the scene shortly thereafter testified that a partial pack of Winston Cigarettes was found near the body. Other testimony indicated that neither Cynthia nor anyone in her group smoked Winston cigarettes. Robert Tyson testified, however, that Benner smoked Winstons. It was also testified that a knotted brassiere, a pair of socks tied together, and a tooth were found around Cynthia’s body. The Portage County Sheriff’s Office received a call on August 29, 1985, at approximately 7:50 p.m., to investigate a possible abduction and attempted rape. At the scene, the victim advised that she was riding her bike on Ranfield Road. She saw the suspect standing along the road but thought nothing of him. As she rode by the suspect, she was pulled from her bike. The suspect then covered her mouth, and dragged her across a ditch into a cornfield. The woman continued to fight the suspect for several minutes until he was scared off by a passing motorist that had stopped because of her bike being left in the road. After a search of the area, Glenn L. Benner II was arrested a short time later, and was positively identified by the victim. On September 26, 1985, Benner and Robert Tyson entered the Akron home of a woman who lived in a neighborhood where the construction company had been working. Benner grabbed the woman by surprise and proceeded to rape her orally, anally and vaginally. While Benner was raping Hale, Tyson was asking for money from her. Upon ceasing the rape, Benner began to choke her with his hands. At that time, Tyson somehow got Benner to let go of the woman’s neck. Subsequently, Benner and Tyson left the woman’s home. She told law authorities that her life had flashed before her eyes. After he was apprehended by the Akron police, Glenn L. Benner confessed to raping her. On the evening of November 19, 1985, a University of Akron Student was jogging along Howe Road in Tallmadge, Ohio. Suddenly, she was hit from behind and landed face down on the side of an embankment. She testified that her attacker told her to “shut up,” not say anything and not look. The assailant then began to wrap tape around her head, covering her eyes. The victim stated that she was able to see her attacker’s profile for around five seconds before he taped her eyes shut. At that time, the assailant dragged her into the woods, whereupon he took off her shirt, brassiere, and the tape around her eyes, and began to fondle her. As he stood up and began to undo his pants, the woman tried to run away. However, the assailant pounced on her from behind and began to choke her with his hands. The woman then became dizzy and lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she was lying naked in mud. She noticed that something was tied tightly around her neck and mouth, which impeded her breathing. She climbed up the embankment towards Howe Road and proceeded to a house nearby for help. Upon reaching the house, she was admitted by the occupants, who called the Tallmadge Police. The officer responding to the call aided her and untied the knotted brassiere that was wound tightly around her neck. Subsequently, the victim identified Benner as her attacker, both at trial and in an array of photographs. The bra and panties were so tightly wound around her neck, the treating physician at that time stated she was as near death as anyone he had ever seen. Robert Tyson testified that he discussed the attack on the rape victim with Benner after hearing a radio report that a “Tallmadge jogger was attacked and raped.” Tyson further testified that Glenn L. Benner admitted he was the attacker, but denied he raped her “because he ran into complications.” On January 1, 1986, Trina Bowser, who had known Benner since the two were children and who lived in the same neighborhood, was visiting her friend. The friend testified that Trina left her home at 9:45 p.m., stating that she wanted to go home because she was tired. Between 12:15 and 12:20 a.m., January 2, 1986, a man was driving home from work when he found Trina’s car on fire on the Akron expressway. The man flagged down a truck to help put out the fire, and afterwards phoned Trina’s residence. After Trina’s parents arrived on the scene, the trunk of the car was opened wherein Trina’s corpse was found. Her ankles were bound with curtain tiebacks resembling those from Benner’s new home on Butterbridge Road in Canal Fulton. In addition, Trina’s underpants and brassiere were tied around her neck, and her jeans were wrapped around her head. A single set of footprints in the snow was found going away from Trina’s car to a point on Southwest Avenue, just north of Newton Street. A man who owned an auto shop at that location testified that he had seen a pickup truck with a broken grille in his parking lot at midnight on January 2. He further stated that at 1:20 a.m. he noticed that the truck was gone. Benner’s truck was later identified by the man as the truck he had seen that night. The Summit County Coroner testified that tests indicated the presence of spermatozoa in Trina’s anus and vagina. A criminalist employed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation testified that Benner could have been the source of the sperm. It was also testified that fibers and a green paint chip were found on Trina’s coat, and that fibers were found on and around her corpse. Shortly after the murder of Trina Bowser, Robert Tyson phoned the Tallmadge police, and stated that he knew the perpetrator of the murders of Cynthia Sedgwick and Trina Bowser, and of the attack on Powell. After Tyson met with the coroner and several detectives, he told them of the Hale rape. On January 10, 1986, both Tyson and Glenn L. Benner were taken into custody by Akron police. That same day, Benner confessed to the Hale rape. On January 12 and 14, 1986, police executed warrants to search Glenn L. Benner’s residence on Broadview Road, his new home on Butterbridge Road, and his truck. The executing officers seized clothing, vacuum sweepings, dryer lint, carpet fiber samples and two chips of green paint. On the clothing, in the dryer lint, and in the vacuum bag, blue bilobal acrylic fibers and green trilobal nylon fibers were found with the same characteristics as those fibers found on Bowser’s body and coat. On some of the clothing, white modacrylic fibers with the same characteristics as the fibers in Trina Bowser’s fake fur coat were also found. At a clemency hearing, James Sedgwick, the father of Cynthia Sedgwick, stated that Benner’s execution will give the survivors physical relief, but the mental anguish will live with them forever. Bradley Bowser, Trina Bowser’s brother, shared his feelings concerning the delay in Benner’s execution. He asked that the Board imagine the fear that his sister went through before her death. Scott Bowser, Trina Bowser’s nephew, presented a power-point that chronicled Trina Bowser’s life from birth to early adulthood. The presentation consisted of information regarding Trina being born with dislocated hips and her having to wear a body cast. She was in treatment for this condition the first three years of her life. She was very well liked, helped the elderly and was hard working. She was born on Christmas day and had just turned twenty-one before her tragic death. Rodney Bowser, Trina Bowser’s brother indicated that he, along with his parents, opened the trunk of Trina’s car and found her body. Mr. Bowser was visibly emotional as he attempted to read from a letter he wrote about his sister and their relationship. In summary he described the anguish his family experienced upon loosing Trina the way they did and the anguish they feel because the man who killed their loved one has not paid for the crime. In speaking for Trina, he states “she would ask that the image of her death, engraved into the minds of her mother, father, and brother, be erased.” UDPATE: Glenn L. Benner II, 43, was executed by lethal injection at 10:15 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Benner smiled at relatives and nodded toward the victims’ families when he entered the execution chamber. "Over the last 20 years I’ve caused you unimaginable pain and I’m sorry. Trina and Cynthia were beautiful girls who didn’t deserve what I done to them. They are in a better place. I pray that God will grant you peace," Benner said just before he died. Bradley Bowser, one of Trina Bowser’s three brothers who witnessed the execution, was heard to say, "That won’t get you into heaven, ace." Ohio Governor Bob Taft accepted the unanimous recommendation against clemency by the Ohio Parole Board, with one member calling the crimes "pure evil." Benner refused to ask for his life to be spared because he said the process does not consider whether a person changes in prison. Trina Bowser’s brother Rodney, and his parents discovered her car along the highway on a winter night after the young secretary didn’t return from visiting a girlfriend. Rodney Bowser, 48, is still haunted by nightmares of what he saw in the trunk. A three-judge panel sentenced him to death for the two murders. Benner killed to avoid getting caught so he could continue assaulting women, said Phil Bogdanoff, an assistant Summit County prosecutor, who called Benner a serial rapist and killer at his clemency hearing last month. He was a football player and well-liked in his middle-class neighborhood. He began abusing marijuana and alcohol at age 13, tried to commit suicide at 17 and was most likely intoxicated when he raped and killed, according to James Siddall, a psychologist who evaluated Benner two weeks after his conviction. Siddall wrote that Benner had below average intelligence, experienced major depression and was prone to impulsive behavior that included a lack of anger control. Benner agreed to DNA testing and the 2003 results clearly established that he raped and killed Bowser. Three of Bowser’s brothers and a brother and the parents of Sedgwick witnessed the execution, along with Benner’s aunt, his lawyer and a woman from Ireland who became his pen pal in prison. In a statement read after the execution, the Bowser family slammed opponents of the death penalty. "It is a shame that you spend your time honoring the murderers instead of their victims," the statement said. They also said that prison officials did not accommodate all family members who wanted to view the execution. They asked Attorney General Jim Petro to seek a change in the law that limits attendance to three witnesses for each victim and three for the inmate, in addition to media observers. Spokeswoman Kim Norris said Petro would support a change. She also noted that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has discretion in opening executions as it did with Alton Coleman in 2002. A total of 28 people from three states — family members of eight victims — were allowed to witness, most by closed-circuit television.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 8, 2006 Texas Amy Robinson, 19 Robert Neville, Jr. executed

AmyRobinson smallEighteen-year-old Michael Hall and his friend Robert Neville decided to kill someone because Hall was angry that he had a "sucky-ass" life. They started searching for the right victim and preparing for their crime by obtaining rifles, pellet guns, a crossbow, and ammunition. After much looking, Hall and Neville finally chose nineteen-year-old Amy Robinson, a friend and former coworker, because she trusted them and they "didn’t have to put bruises on her to get her in the car." The evidence also revealed that Amy had a genetic disorder that made her small and mentally and physically slow. She stood four feet five inches tall and had the mental capacity of a third or fourth grader. On February 15, 1998, Hall and Neville went looking for Amy in order to carry out their murderous plan. "I think they just thought of her as you would think of a cat or dog or something," said Alan Levy, the man who prosecuted Amy’s murderers. They checked her work schedule at the Kroger grocery store and then lay in wait for her to ride by on her bicycle on her way to work. When the pair saw Amy, they coaxed her into the car, promising to drop her at work after they circled around in the country. As Neville drove, Amy complained that she did not want to be late for work. Neville then pretended to have a flat tire and pulled the car over on a dirt road by a remote field. Hall and Neville got out of the car and walked into the field carrying their weapons while an unsuspecting Amy waited in the car listening to the radio. At some point, Hall persuaded Amy to get out of the car, telling her she needed to go talk to Neville near a tree. As Amy walked toward Neville, he fired a crossbow at her several times. Neville missed each shot, but Amy became angry when the last arrow grazed her hair. When Amy started walking back to the car, Hall shot her in the back of her leg with his pellet gun. Hall and Neville laughed while Amy cried in pain. Meanwhile, Neville returned to the car and got his.22 caliber rifle. When Hall managed to maneuver Amy back into the field, Neville shot her in the chest. Hall then shot her in the chest "three or four or six times" with the pellet gun. Amy fell to the ground making loud noises and shaking. Hall then stood over her and stared for five to ten minutes. The pair worried that someone would hear Amy, so Neville shot her in the head, killing her instantly. Hall and Neville then left Amy and her bicycle in an area where they would not be easily discovered. A few days later, they returned to the scene. Neville fired shots into Amy’s dead body, and Hall took keys and money from her pocket. When Amy’s family and coworkers realized she was missing, a massive search ensued. More than two weeks later, authorities focused on Hall and Neville. Neville was on parole from a burglary conviction after serving two years. Fearing they would be caught, the pair fled Arlington but were soon arrested when they attempted to cross the border into Mexico. The authorities found Amy’s body on the day of the arrest. Prosecutors described Amy as "easy prey," which is how Neville and Hall, days after their arrest, characterized their victim as they spoke with reporters and laughed about how Robinson died as she pleaded to live. "We had a bet going to see who could shoot and kill the most people between the two of us," Neville told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram two weeks after his arrest, explaining that he and Hall wanted to become serial killers whose victims were racial minorities. "No matter if it was blacks or Mexicans – anybody as long as they weren’t our color." UPDATE: Robert Neville, Jr., who claimed he wanted to be a serial killer of minorities, was executed for the murder of 19-year-old Amy Robinson, a mentally impaired woman. Neville, now 31, apologized to members of Amy’s family as they watched from an observation room. "I hope you can find it in yourselves to forgive me, and I hope all this here will kind of settle your pain…. I just want you to know I am very sorry for what I have done," he said. "If I see Amy on the other side, I will tell her how much you love and miss her. And we will have a lot to talk about."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 15, 2006 Texas David Jacobs
Victor Bilton
Clyde Smith, Jr. executed

Smith was sentenced to death for the 1992 capital murder of Yellow Cab driver David Jacobs in Houston. On Feb. 7, 1992, Jacobs’ body was found in his cab in the parking lot of a Houston apartment complex. An autopsy revealed Jacobs died after being shot three times in the back of his neck with a.38 caliber pistol. Smith was charged in Jacobs’ death after an April 5, 1992, incident in which Smith shot himself in the leg at another apartment complex in Houston. While police were investigating, they found a.38-caliber pistol, which ballstic tests linked to the fatal shootings of Jacobs and another cab driver, Victor Bilton, who was shot three times during a March 22, 1992, robbery. Smith confessed to shooting both Jacobs and Bilton. At the punishment phase of Smith’s capital murder trial, a woman testified she accompanied Smith when he robbed cab driver Victor Bilton. Smith’s tape-recorded statement, introduced into evidence at the punishment of his capital murder trial, offered his confession to shooting Bilton and taking $120 and a watch from the cabbie. UPDATE: Clyde Smith, Jr. was pronounced dead 7 minutes after the lethal injection procedure began. Family members of cab driver Victor Bilton said their loved one’s death was senseless. Victor’s brother Dwayne said, "We were standing maybe three or four feet from the right arm that ruined our family, ruined his family, ruined the Jacobs family," referring to the other murder victim attributed to Smith. "Neither death had to happen. What we were watching didn’t have to happen. What he did did not have to happen." Victor’s nephew Kenneth said that justice was accomplished by the execution. "It just took a long time to get there."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 16, 2006 Pennsylvania Damon Banks
Gregory Banks
Shawnfatee Bridges stayed

On Saturday, December 7, 1996, the girlfriend of Shawnfatee M. Bridges was robbed at gunpoint while she was staying at Bridges’s home. Bridges was working at the Casablanca Club and not home at the time. Bridges returned home and the girlfriend related to Bridges that during the robbery “a whole bunch of guys ran in with masks and hoodies." Bridges then returned to the Casablanca Club and told Co-Defendant Richard Morales what had happened. At approximately 12 noon on Sunday, December 8, 1996, Shawnfatee Bridges, and Co-Defendant Richard Morales drove Bridges’s blue minivan to the home of a mutual friend, George Robles. Also present at the Robles’ home that day was the third Co-Defendant, Roderick Johnson. When Bridges and Morales first arrived, they spoke with Co-Defendant Johnson, but soon thereafter, they called Robles downstairs. Robles testified at trial that Bridges explained, “… how the Banks’ boys went in his house with guns to his girlfriend’s head and his kid was there and how he was going to take care of them right now." During the same conversation, Bridges said, “I gotta take them out. I am gonna get them and I’m gonna kill them and I’m going to put an end to this forever. Because if I let them get away with it now they are going to try to do it again so I’m going to have to do what I have to do." Then all three co-defendants tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Mr. Robles to join them. Despite Mr. Robles’ refusal, the conversation continued with all three codefendants saying, “we are gonna kill them. We are going to put an end to this." At approximately this point in the conversation, Bridges pulled out a 9 mm. Glock handgun and continued to say how he was “gonna kill them.”’ As the planning progressed, the three talked about when the killings would take place. According to Robles, Roderick Johnson wanted to implement their plan immediately, but Bridges wanted to “wait until it gets dark because then we don’t have to worry about as many people." Later that afternoon, at approximately 5:30, Bridges, Morales and Johnson arrived at the Banks’ house. Shawnfatee Bridges went in the house and talked with the victims, Damon and Gregory Banks. Before leaving, Damon Banks went upstairs and, unbeknownst to Bridges, loaded a.32 caliber automatic handgun which he took with him. The three codefendants and the two victims left the home of Damon and Greg Banks at approximately 6:00 PM. All five of them left in the blue Plymouth Voyager owned by Bridges. According to Bridges’s statement, the five occupants of the van, “drove down Neversink, pulled in to a little cut in a road." Roderick Johnson was in the driver’s seat. Bridges, Shawnfatee Bridges was in the front passenger seat. Richard Morales was seated next to the sliding door. Damon Banks was seated behind Roderick Johnson and Greg Banks was seated between Morales and Damon Banks. According to Shawnfatee Bridges’ own statement, after they had pulled over to the side of the road, Roderick Johnson began shooting both victims. Then Johnson ran around the side of the van opened the door and pulled the victims out of the van and continued to shoot. At that point, again according to Bridges’ own statement, Bridges saw a gun on the floor and began to shoot in the direction of Johnson. When Johnson began to run away from the van, Bridges returned to the van and left. Bridges drove to a street corner in Reading and poured gasoline in the van and set a match to it, completely gutting the van. At that point Bridges returned home. Subsequently, Johnson was located approximately four miles’ away from the scene of the shooting, at the Queen City Restaurant. He was transported to the Reading Hospital, where the bullet was surgically removed. Eventually, Bridges went to the home of Richard Morales and stayed there overnight. The next day, as news about the Banks shooting, the shooting of Roderick Johnson, and the burning of the van began to spread, Bridges called a friend of his to take him to the airport in Philadelphia, ostensibly to visit relatives. Meanwhile, members of the Exeter Police Department, the Reading Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police began the process of piecing together what had happened. At approximately 7:20 PM, on the night of the murders, officers from Exeter arrived at the scene. They secured the area and began the process of collecting evidence. Among the evidence collected were eight 9 mm. shell casings. In addition, in a separate location, officers located a 9 mm. bullet and another shell casing. In addition, Officer Rowe, of the Reading Police Department, was dispatched to the scene of the van fire. That night officers collected one spent shell casing and one shotgun. Subsequently, investigators sifted through the charred remains of the van and discovered an additional bullet. Both of the bullets were analyzed and found to be 9 mm. projectiles. The bodies of Damon and Gregory Banks were transported to Reading Hospital so that an autopsy could be performed. Dr. Nell Hoffman, Forensic Pathologist, testified that the body of Gregory Banks was riddled with five gunshot wounds. The most fatal of which were the two head wounds. Additionally, he testified that, the body of Damon Banks sustained thirteen bullet wounds. One of the thirteen projectiles was bullet “D” which entered the victim at the back, right side of the neck where it severed the spinal cord. According to Dr. Hoffman, this instantaneously rendered Damon Banks a quadriplegic. Dr. Hoffman testified that the manner of death for both Damon and Gregory Banks was homicide. Finally, Trooper Kurt Tempinski of the Pennsylvania State Police Laboratory, Ballistics Section, examined two bullets recovered from the van, two bullets recovered from the body of Gregory Banks, and eight bullets recovered from the body of Damon Banks and found that all the marks exhibited by the bullets were consistent with each other and therefore had to have been fired from the same gun. In addition, Trooper Tempinski stated that, in his expert opinion, a Glock is the only weapon that demonstrates the particular markings found on both the bullets and shell casings recovered in this case. There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 21, 2006 California Terri Winchell, 17 Michael Morales stayed

terri winchellMichael Morales was convicted of raping and murdering 17-year-old Terri Winchell in January 1981. On January 8, 1981, twenty-one-year-old Michael Morales murdered and raped seventeen year-old Terri Lynn Winchell, with his nineteen-year-old cousin, Rick Ortega. In early 1980, Ortega and a seventeen-year-old male named Randy had a homosexual relationship. During this time, Randy also had a dating relationship with Terri Winchell. While Terri didn’t know about the homosexual relationship of Randy and Ortega, Ortega knew about Randy’s and Terri’s relationship. Ortega was extremely jealous of this relationship. Ortega and Morales conspired to murder Terri as “pay back” for Terri’s involvement with Randy. Ortega and Randy had a stormy relationship. Ortega reacted in threatening manner to Randy’s attempts to end their relationship. Ortega was also openly hostile towards Terri. In the weeks before the murder, Ortega set up a ruse to trick Terri into believing that Ortega wanted to make amends and become her friend. Morales “practiced” how he was going to strangle Terri, and told his girlfriend on the day of the murder how he was going to strangle and “hurt” someone. The day of the murder, Ortega tricked Terri into accompanying him and Morales in Ortega’s car to a remote area near Lodi, California. There, Morales attacked Terri from behind and attempted to strangle her with his belt. Terri struggled and the belt broke in two. Morales then took out a hammer and began hitting Terri in the head with it. She screamed for Ortega to help and attempted to fight off the attack, ripping her own hair out of her scalp in the struggle. Morales beat Terri into unconsciousness, crushing her skull and leaving 23 identifiable wounds in her skull. Morales took Terri from the car and instructed Ortega to leave and come back later. Ortega left and Morales then dragged Terri face-down across the road and into a vineyard. Morales then raped her while she lay unconscious. Morales then started to leave, but went back and stabbed Terri four times in the chest to make sure she died. Morales then left Terri, calling her “a fucking bitch,” as he walked away. Terri died from both the head and chest wounds. Her body was left in the vineyard naked from the waist down, with her sweater and bra pulled up over her breasts. Morales confessed to killing Terri to a jailhouse informant, as well as to his girlfriend and his housemate. Morales threatened both women prior to his trial so they would not testify about what he told them. Specifically, he admitted that he sat behind Terri after she had been lured into Ortega’s car, he put his belt around Terri’s neck and strangled her until the belt broke, he repeatedly hit her over the head with a hammer until she was unconscious, he took her out of the car and dragged her into a vineyard, he raped her, and he left her but then returned to be “sure” she was dead. Within two days of the murder, Morales was arrested at his residence. The police found Morales’ broken belt, containing Terri’s blood, hidden under a bedroom mattress. The police also found three knives, the hammer bearing traces of blood hidden in the refrigerator vegetable crisper, and blood-stained floor mats from Ortega’s car in the trash. Terri’s purse and credit card were also in the house. Ortega’s blood-spattered car was impounded. Morales had used $11 from Terri’s purse to buy beer, wine, and cigarettes on the night of the murder. Ortega, tried separately, was sentenced to life in prison. Morales had been previously convicted of felony burglary on October 4, 1979 and sentenced to prison. Shortly after killing Terri Lynn Winchell, Morales was convicted of two counts of robbery for which he was eventually sentenced to state prison. In that case, Morales entered a market to purchase beer. When a store clerk would not allow him to purchase beer, he left and later returned with two companions. Morales and the two others held the clerk, put a knife to his face, hit him with a milk crate and kicked him. One of his companions then knocked down a pregnant female clerk who suffered numerous head and facial cuts. The total loss of money, merchandise and equipment damage was $2,529. Terri Winchell’s family and friends, who expect that the execution will happen, gathered Saturday at her grave – some with flowers, others with balloons – to celebrate her life and say a final goodbye. “When we graduated high school, a lot of us put a white rose in our bouquet in honor or Terri. We’re still carrying our white rose for Terri,” said Trish Costa, a classmate of Winchell’s. “We’re gonna go to our high school reunion. We’re gonna look for our fellow classmates, the first thing on your mind is, Terri is not here.” Terri Winchell’s mother, Barbara Christian said, “I’m so glad this is coming to a close. All the news and notoriety is just making it like the crime happened yesterday.” Terri’s father, Mack Winchell, said she was a “lovely, vivacious young lady,” who always found time to spend with both her parents, who divorced when she was young. “In all of these years, no one has contacted our family and said sorry,” said Bradley Winchell, brother of the victim. Brian Pratt, another relative, is unsympathetic to arguments by Morales and his attorneys that the execution ought to be called off. “I think they ought to bring back hanging or electrocution for this type of crime,” said Pratt. “He’ll get what he deserves.” Jacqueline Miles, a family friend said, “He’s the monster that killed the beauty, and he needs to pay for a crime that was senseless. We need to actually show the world that people can’t get away with murdering people just because they get mad.”

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 23, 2006 Texas Robert Read
James Davis
Steven Staley stayed

In April 1991, Steven Kenneth Staley was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the murder of Robert Read during an armed robbery in October 1989. Steven Kenneth Staley, Tracy Duke and Brenda Rayburn went to a west Fort Worth Steak and Ale on October 14, 1989, to rob the restaurant at gunpoint. The trio had dinner and desert, then Staley and Duke pulled semiautomatic pistols from Rayburn’s purse and rounded up employees. Staley forced restaurant manager Robert Read to open the cash registers and the safe and stuff money into a briefcase. In the confusion, an assistant manager slipped out a rear door and called police. Police arrived during the robbery, so Staley, Duke and Rayburn took Read, who had offered himself as a hostage instead of his employees and hijacked a car about a block away from the restaurant. As the car sped away, police heard several gunshots. During the chase, the robbers tossed out of the car a briefcase containing some of the stolen money and both semiautomatic pistols. The car broke down, and the three robbers tried to flee. All were captured. In the back seat of the stolen car, police found Read’s body. The medical examiner testified that Read had been struck with a blunt object on the forehead. Read had also been shot three times, including once in the right temple. Staley had a prior criminal record which included a vicious attack on a man who was selling a car. In March 1984, Staley and a friend answered a classified ad for a Camaro in Denver, Colorado. During a test drive of the vehicle, Staley’s friend kicked the owner in the back of the head, smashed his face against the windshield, and forced him out of the car at gunpoint. About five months later, Staley answered another ad for a Camaro. Again, he and the owner went for a test drive. When they reached a secluded area, Staley pulled a gun on the owner and told him to start running. Staley fled in the car. Staley also was implicated in the death of James Davis, a fellow inmate at the Denver correctional center from which Staley escaped on September 18, 1989, just a month before Robert Read’s murder. Davis disappeared from the correctional center two days after Staley escaped. Davis’s body was found about a month later, with a fatal gunshot wound to the head and another gunshot wound to the back. Staley acknowledged helping Duke kill Davis, but named Duke as the gunman. Brenda Rayburn received a 30 year sentence in exchange for her testimony. Duke pled guilty to 1 count of murder for Robert’s death and 2 counts of attempted capital murder for shooting at the police officers and received three life sentences. UPDATE: Steven Staley won a stay from state district judge Wayne Salvant. Staley’s lawyer’s argued that Staley is mentally ill and unable to fully appreciate the severity of the punishment. In March of 2005, Staley was just hours from execution when he won a similar reprieve. However, recent psychiatric examinations have shown that Staley fully understands that he is to be executed for the killing Robert Read.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 28, 2006 Pennsylvania Joseph Healy, 71
Emil Sanielevici, 20
John Kroll, 55
Ronald Taylor stayed

In November 2001, Ronald Taylor was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death for the murders of 71-year-old Joseph Healy, 20-year-old Emil Sanielevici, and 55-year-old John Kroll. Taylor also shot and seriously injured two other men. Taylor was formally sentenced to three death sentences on Jan. 11, 2002. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed Taylor’s death sentences in an opinion dated June 21, 2005. Taylor did not file a petition for a writ of certiorari. Taylor, 45, is an inmate of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

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