February 2008 Executions

Two killers were given a stay in February 2008. They have murdered at least 2 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 21, 2008 Texas Felicia Prechtl Karl Chamberlain stayed

Karl Eugene Chamberlain lived next door to Felicia Prechtl, a single mother, and her five-year-old son. On August 12, 1991, Chamberlain observed Felicia’s brother leaving with Felicia’s son. Chamberlain went next door “to borrow a cup of sugar.” Upon gaining entry to Felicia’s apartment, Chamberlain bound her with duct tape and sexually assaulted her. Chamberlain then shot Felicia in the forehead, killing her. Felicia’s semi-nude body was discovered on the bathroom floor some thirty-five minutes later by her brother and son upon their return to the apartment. Chamberlain walked his dogs after the murder. Chamberlain’s guilt was not uncovered until 1997. In the meantime, he confessed the murder to others, relating that he had gone to borrow a cup of sugar from his neighbor and that she had answered the door naked and seduced him. Chamberlain further elaborated that Felicia had delighted in their sexual intercourse and explained that he had killed her in a panic only when she threatened to inform his wife of their sexual encounter. While Chamberlain says his non-violent past supports his contention that the evidence is insufficient to show that he is a continuing threat to society, the evidence does show a history of violence. The State introduced evidence that Chamberlain had attacked a fellow soldier with a knife and a woman at a shopping mall with a stun gun. The State also introduced evidence that Chamberlain broke into a pornography shop when, seeking pornography, he had found the shop closed. In addition to this evidence of a violent past, the State introduced the testimony of Dr. Kenneth DeKleva, a psychiatrist. DeKleva asserted that the facts of the offense reveal a sexually sadistic, antisocial personality disorder. DeKleva noted that the crime scene revealed that the perpetrator needed to inflict humiliation, degradation and pain to achieve sexual gratification. DeKleva testified that leaving Felicia uncovered and exposed evinced a lack of regard for her humanity and utter lack of remorse. Similarly, DeKleva testified that the fact that Chamberlain walked his dogs after committing the offense also revealed a disturbing lack of remorse. The subsequent fantasies blaming Felicia for seducing him, along with Chamberlain’s claims that she enjoyed the assault and then blaming her for the murder because she was going to tell his wife, were all, according to DeKleva, evidence of a dangerous personality disorder. DeKleva noted the evidence of Chamberlain’s overpowering sexual urges, i.e., that as a teenager he kept a mannequin with the crotch cut out, that he burglarized the pornography store when he found it closed and had stolen inflatable sex dolls. DeKleva testified that there is no known treatment for a sexually sadistic killer and no evidence that their fantasies eventually subside. DeKleva testified that these traits reveal a dangerous person, particularly when that person had already fulfilled some of his violent fantasies. DeKleva concluded the evidence established that Chamberlain would probably commit criminal acts of violence constituting a continuing threat to society. At trial, evidence showed that a number of obscene calls were traced by the phone company to Chamberlain’s telephone at work. A phone company spokesperson testified that after receiving complaints about obscene phone calls to two Pennsylvania establishments, they traced a number of subsequent calls to a telephone extension registered to a telemarketing firm. The owner of the company testified that each salesman’s telephone was limited to an assigned geographical area. He testified that a computer system recorded each salesman’s calls, so that supervisors could see from what extension a call was made, what time it was made, the number dialed and the length of the call. When he was informed by the police about the obscene calls to Pennsylvania, he ran the two phone numbers given to him by the police through his computer system. Chamberlain’s extension was shown as the number from which the calls originated. Chamberlain was confronted with these facts and though he never admitted to the phone calls, the calls ceased after he was confronted.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 28, 2008 Pennsylvania Joelle Marie Donovan, 3 Michael Bardo stayed

Michael Bardo was sentenced to die 15 years ago for the sexual assault and strangulation his 3-year-old niece, Joelle Donovan, at her grandmother’s home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He put her body in a plastic bag and hid it. Bardo had a prior execution date in January 1999 but received a stay.

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