May 2008 Executions

Three killers were executed in May 2008. They had murdered at least 4 people.
killer was given a stay in May 2008. He has murdered at least 1 person.
One killer died on death row while awaiting execution in May 2008. He had murdered at least 1 person.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 6, 2008 Georgia Ginger Porter Moore , 26
Leslie JoAnn Starkey, 42
William Lynd executed

Ginger Moore, murder victimWilliam Earl Lynd was sentenced to death for the 1988 murder of his live-in girlfriend, Ginger Moore. Lynd and Ginger lived together in her home in Berrien County. Following an argument three days before Christmas of 1988, Lynd shot Ginger in the face and went outside to smoke a cigarette. Ginger regained consciousness and followed him outside. Lynd shot her a second time, put her into the trunk of her car and drove away. Hearing Ginger "thumping around" in the trunk, Lynd got out, opened the trunk and shot Ginger a third time, killing her. Lynd returned home, cleaned up the blood, and drove to Tift County, where he buried Ginger in a shallow grave. He then drove to Ohio. Lynd later killed 42-year-old Detroit resident Leslie Joan Sharkey after attacking her on the side of a road near Chesapeake, Ohio. Leslie, a school teacher, was shot on Christmas Day as she traveled to West Virginia for a family gathering for Christmas. A home economics teacher at a middle school, Leslie was described at the time of her death by her colleagues as a dedicated educator who wanted her students to focus on the positives in life. As she was driving down U.S. 52, Lynd, also in a car, pulled in behind her, flashing his headlights. Concerned something was wrong, Leslie drove into the well-lighted parking lot of the Kmart in Chesapeake. Both got out and Lynd told her there were sparks coming out of the back of her car. He offered to drive to the nearest phone and call Leslie’s parents in Huntington. She agreed. He then returned, claiming he had gotten in touch with her father. Starkey got back in her car and got as far as the West 17th Street bridge at Huntington when she got out of the car again and was attacked by Lynd, who had been following her. Leslie, who had been smoking a cigarette, jabbed the lighted end into Lynd’s face. He retaliated, shooting the young woman three times — in the neck, right shoulder and left hand. Bleeding profusely, she got back into her car, driving as far as the Chesapeake bypass on Ohio 7 where she stopped and somehow got the attention of a motorist. Then taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, Leslie Starkey died a day later just before she was to undergo surgery. However, she was able to give law enforcement officers a relatively complete account of her ordeal. With that statement the manhunt for the 33-year-old Lynd began. Lynd fled and later pawned the gun he used to kill both women. He traveled to Texas and Florida, then eventually returned to Georgia to surrender to Berrien County authorities. The murder weapon was recovered and identified by ballistics examination, and Ginger Moore’s body was located based on information provided by Lynd. Testimony in the punishment phase showed that Lynd had also kidnapped and sexually assaulted another woman. On Sept. 28, 1975, he pleaded guilty to the unlawful imprisonment of a woman abducted from a parking lot on Feb. 25, 1975. In June 29, 1979, he was convicted of sexually abusing a Texas woman at knifepoint and sentenced to 25 years. He was released after the woman recanted the accusation. Almost three years later, he pleaded guilty to forcing a Huntington minor to engage in oral sex in an encounter that occurred the fall before he was sentenced in Texas. UPDATE: William Lynd declined to make a final statement prior to his execution.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 21, 2008 Mississippi Mary Ella Springer Bounds, 56 Earl Berry executed

Mary Bounds, murder victimMary Bounds was reported missing on November 29, 1987. A few days later, on December 1, her vehicle was located in Houston, Mississippi. Inspection of the vehicle revealed spattered blood around the driver’s side door. Mary Bounds’ body was found nearby; she had been severely beaten. It was later determined that she died of head injuries from repeated blows. Berry’s confession provided the details of what transpired. On the evening of November 29, 1987, while driving through Houston in his grandmother’s vehicle, Berry saw Mary Bounds near a church. As she was preparing to enter her vehicle, he approached, and hit, her and forced her into his vehicle. Berry then drove out of town. Berry took Mary Bounds into a wooded area and ordered her to lie down, intending to rape her. Berry did not do so; he took her back to the vehicle, telling her they would return to town. Instead, Berry drove to another wooded area where they exited the vehicle. Mary Bounds pleaded with Berry, but he beat her with his fists and forearm. Afterwards, he carried her further into the woods and left her. Berry drove to his grandmother’s house, disposing of a pair of mismatched tennis shoes along the way. At his grandmother’s house, he burned his bloodied clothes and wiped the vehicle he had used of any blood stains with a towel, which he threw into a nearby pond. Berry’s brother, who was at the house, witnessed some of this suspicious behavior. On December 5, 1987, he called investigators and told them what he had observed. The next day, Berry was arrested at his grandmother’s home and soon confessed to the crime. Police found the mismatched tennis shoes Berry had discarded; in the above-referenced pond, they found a bloodied towel. The following is an excerpt from the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi): Berry was convicted of murder and first sentenced to die in 1988. He originally had been scheduled to die in October, but his execution was halted just 19 minutes before he was to have received the lethal dose. The U.S. Supreme Court had decided to review challenges to Kentucky’s lethal injection method. Last month, when the nation’s highest court upheld lethal injection, Berry’s execution was rescheduled. Wednesday he became the second person in the U.S. to be executed following the court’s decision. He also became the fifth death-row inmate in Mississippi to die by lethal injection. Berry’s execution went smoothly and by the book, Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said. The U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday denied Berry’s appeals. Berry’s attorneys had argued that Berry should have been spared because he was mentally retarded and because Mississippi’s lethal injection process is unconstitutionally cruel. Epps said Berry was somber and serious in the hours leading to his execution. "I used to be his case manager. So, I’ve been knowing him for a while," Epps said before the execution. "He’s pretty serious now. He’s not grinning like he was in October." Though Berry had requested that two of his brothers witness his execution, no one from his family did. His mother, another brother and sister-in-law visited him earlier in the day. No one from Berry’s family spoke to the media. Several dozen members of Bounds’ family, however, were at Parchman. Chickasaw County Sheriff Jimmy Simmons was a deputy investigating Bound’s death. "He knew exactly what he was doing," said Simmons, who witnessed the execution. The sheriff is still haunted by the killing. "Anybody who seen that lady up there with a shoeprint still in the side of her face…," he later said. "I can still see it like it was yesterday." Gov. Haley Barbour, who denied Berry clemency, said after Berry died, "Justice has finally been rendered for this horrible crime." Berry uttered his last words – "no comment" – just minutes before he was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. Though Berry had confessed, Epps said he never expressed any remorse for the crime. Epps said he stood in front of Berry’s cell Wednesday afternoon and asked, "Inmate Berry, do you have any remorse for what you did to Mrs. Bounds? "He said he had no remorse and felt that after 21 years, he had paid for it," Epps continued. "He understood the question, and that was the answer he gave." Following the execution, Bounds’ widower, Charles Bounds, spoke to reporters. "I don’t have much to say. I just think it took too long," he said. "I have had this on my mind for 20 years, and it really takes a lot out of me."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 27, 2008 Virginia Patricia L. Vaughan Kevin Green executed

The victim, Patricia L. Vaughan, and her husband, Lawrence T. Vaughan, owned and operated a small grocery store in Brunswick County. As part of their grocery store operation, the Vaughans regularly cashed checks for employees of several nearby businesses, including a lumber company that paid its employees on Friday of each week. Consequently, Mr. Vaughan routinely went to a bank on Fridays to obtain sufficient currency to cash payroll checks for the lumber company employees. And, he did so on Friday, August 21, 1998. Upon returning from the bank on that Friday, he placed $10,000 in a bank bag that he kept in a cabinet underneath the cash register, another $10,000 elsewhere in the store, and the remaining cash in a safe. On the day in question, as Mr. Vaughan was starting to eat lunch and to file an invoice, two men entered the store. Mr. Vaughan saw them and recognized the taller of the two men as Kevin Green, the defendant. Green had worked for the lumber company for approximately eight to ten weeks during the preceding spring, and had frequented the Vaughans’ grocery store at lunchtime, after work, and on Fridays to cash his payroll checks. When the two men entered the store, Mrs. Vaughan had her back to the door and was standing five or six feet from Mr. Vaughan. Thinking that the shorter man was going over to the "drink box," Mr. Vaughan turned around to finish his filing. As he did so, he heard his wife scream, "Oh, God." At trial, Mr. Vaughan described what he then heard: "It was four bangs. Bang, bang and I was hit. I didn’t know where I was hit, but I was hurt. I turned a complete turn and fell on the floor, sit down on my right foot and broke my right ankle. And about time I went down, I looked up and I realized it was a gun being fired. I could see him, he shot toward my wife with the fourth shot. I saw his hand with a pistol in it. He was holding like he was target practicing. Mr. Vaughan testified that Green, after firing the four shots, walked back to the door and stood there "as a lookout" while the other man came around behind the counter and tried to open the cash register. When the drawer on the cash register jammed, Green directed the shorter man to look under the counter. Upon doing so, he found the bank bag containing approximately $9,000 in cash and Mr. Vaughan’s pistol, which he then used to shoot through the key hole in the cash register drawer. Taking the bank bag and the pistol, the shorter man exited the store, but Green walked a few steps over to where Mrs. Vaughan was lying on the floor and pointed the gun at her again. According to Mr. Vaughan, the gun misfired, and Green ejected a live cartridge onto the floor. Green then fired two more shots in the direction of Mrs. Vaughan. Lowering his head, Mr. Vaughan heard the gun "snap" one more time, but he did not know whether Green was pointing the gun at him or his wife. Only then, when the gun was empty, did Green leave the store. After Green left, Mr. Vaughan dragged himself approximately five feet across the floor of the store to a telephone and dialed the "911" emergency number, but he was too weak to reach his wife who was still lying on the floor. One of the first police officers to arrive at the scene testified that he observed "puddles of blood just pouring out of her nose, her mouth, her head." A local volunteer medical examiner determined that Mrs. Vaughan had died at the scene of the shooting. A subsequent autopsy of Mrs. Vaughan’s body revealed that she sustained four gunshot wounds. One bullet penetrated the left side of her head, passed through the temporal and frontal lobes of her brain, and lodged in the inner frontal sinus of her face. Another bullet entered the right side of her chest and went into the upper lobe of her right lung. A third bullet penetrated the left side of her back. This was the only non-lethal wound. The fourth bullet entered the right side of Mrs. Vaughan’s back and penetrated two lobes of her right lung. According to the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, Dr. Jose Abrenio, this wound caused hemorrhaging in her thoracic cavity, which led to difficulty in breathing and had the effect of suffocating her. Dr. Abrenio also opined that Mrs. Vaughan survived "seconds to minutes" after she was first shot. Four days after the murder, a warrant was issued to search Green, his residence, and automobile. During the search of his home, six bullets were retrieved from the trunk of a tree in his yard. The bullets were found behind a "makeshift target" hanging on the tree. Forensic testing on those six bullets and the four bullets recovered from Mrs. Vaughan’s body during the autopsy revealed that all ten "caliber 25 Auto full metal jacketed bullets" had been fired from one weapon. About 35 to 50 feet from the tree, 16 25-caliber empty cartridge casings were also recovered. After Green was arrested, he executed a form waiving his Miranda rights and agreed to be questioned by law enforcement officers. During that interrogation, Green admitted that he and his cousin, David Green, robbed the Vaughans’ grocery store and that he selected their store because he knew the Vaughans kept a lot of money there. Green and his cousin had originally planned to wear masks to conceal their faces. However, they discarded the masks after they had to wait behind the store in their automobile for about an hour because other people were in the grocery store. Green also admitted that he shot both of the Vaughans, hitting Mrs. Vaughan four times. Green was sentenced to death for this crime twice, once in 2000 and again the next year after the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a new trial because of issues with the jury. UPDATE: Kevin Green was pronounced dead at 10:05 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center. Asked if he had any last words, Green said, "No, I don’t got nothing to say." Before Green was executed, Marsha Brown, daughter of the Vaughans said, "I feel like we’re the puppets and they’re being the puppeteers. It’s just a fine line between being hopeful and helpless. I really regret that another life has to be involved — that an execution has to happen — but I just think it needs to be carried out." She planned to witness Green’s execution along with her father, sister, husband and stepmother. Lawrence Vaughan, 68, still has a bullet in his neck and one in his elbow from the robbery. Reached by telephone after the execution, Mr. Vaughan said, "I think justice has been done… he got what the 12 jurors said he should get."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 27, 2008 Pennsylvania Robert Daiss, 41 William Tilley committed suicide on death row

William Tilley was sentenced to death in 1987 for shooting to death Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Daiss during a July 27, 1985 burglary at the officer’s Northeast Philadelphia home. At trial, Tilley testified that he had forcibly entered the Mayfair home of Philadelphia police officer Robert Daiss with the intention of committing a burglary. Tilley stated that during the burglary Officer Daiss returned home and he fled to the basement with a.38 caliber service revolver that he had removed from Officer Daiss’ bedroom. He was unable to exit the home through the basement so he hid behind a refrigerator. Officer Daiss then proceeded into the basement with his handgun drawn whereupon Tilley sprang from behind the refrigerator and shot Officer Daiss in the chest and in the jaw/neck. Thereafter, as Officer Daiss lay paralyzed and unable to speak, Tilley shot Officer Daiss in his left nostril to assure that he was dead. Tilley also stated that after he killed Officer Daiss, he secured the keys to Officer Daiss’ home in order to return later whereupon he took a video cassette recorder, and a briefcase containing seven gold rings, four bags of marijuana, photographs of persons involved in drug transactions, and cash. Thereafter, the Philadelphia Police were able to confiscate the video cassette recorder and some of the rings that had been stolen from Officer Daiss’ home. These items were obtained from people who stated that Tilley had given the items to them. Other witnesses testified that the remaining contents of Officer Daiss’ briefcase were divided among several individuals in order to secure their silence concerning Tilley’s commission of the murder of Officer Daiss. In addition, no less than six witnesses testified at trial that Tilley had confessed to them that he had killed Officer Daiss during the commission of the robbery/burglary. Tilley maintained that he shot Daiss in self-defense after the officer confronted him with a gun. "I did not want to be arrested," Tilley tearfully testified at his trial. "I was scared. I ran to the basement and couldn’t find a way out." After the verdict, the son of the slain police officer said, "He deserves what he got. Justice was done," said Robert Daiss Jr., 20. UPDATE: The body of William Tilley, 46, was found hanging in his cell in May of 2008.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 31, 2008 Indiana Kelly Eckart , 18 Michael Overstreet stayed

Kelly Eckart, murder victimMichael Dean Overstreet was sentenced to death for the murder of Kelly Eckart. On September 30, 1997, the partially clothed body of Kelly Eckart was discovered in a ravine near Camp Atterbury in Brown County. She had been strangled to death with a strap from her bib overalls and a shoestring from her shoes. Three days before, in the early morning hours of September 27, 1997, Overstreet telephoned his brother Scott and asked Scott to meet him at a motel in Franklin. Scott complied and met Overstreet in the motel parking lot. Overstreet informed Scott that he needed Scott to drive him in his van to Edinburgh. About fifteen minutes into the ride, Overstreet told Scott that he had changed his mind and now wanted to go to Camp Atterbury. When questioned why he wanted to go to Camp Atterbury, Overstreet replied, “I took a girl.” Scott drove to a gravel turnaround in a remote area of Camp Atterbury where he left the girl and Overstreet. Before doing so Overstreet asked Scott to return in a couple of hours and pick him up. Scott refused, and Overstreet instructed him to contact Overstreet’s wife Melissa and tell her to drive the van and pick him up in a couple of hours at a nearby rifle range. Melissa arrived at the rifle range around 3:30 a.m. As Overstreet approached the van, he was sweating, his shirt was unbuttoned, and he was carrying a blanket and a rifle. When Melissa asked why he was out so late at the rifle range, Overstreet responded that if anyone asked concerning his whereabouts she should tell them that he was out drinking with friends. Melissa drove Overstreet home, and he went to bed. The following day, Melissa accompanied Overstreet to a car wash where he cleaned the back of his van. Despite the fact that the front part of the van was described by Melissa as “trashy,” Overstreet spent over an hour cleaning only the back of the van. About a month after Kelly’s body was discovered, police received a tip that led to the questioning of Scott about Kelly Eckart’s disappearance. Scott led police to the gravel turnaround at Camp Atterbury, where police found several of Kelly’s personal items. As a result of a search warrant, investigators recovered evidence from Overstreet’s home, including the blanket Overstreet was carrying the night Melissa picked him up at the rifle range. They also recovered a hand drawn map of an area of Brown County near Camp Atterbury depicting the same area where Kelly Eckart’s body was discovered. Fibers recovered from Kelly’s shirt were consistent with fibers taken from the blanket. And fibers found on Kelly’s overalls were consistent with fibers recovered from inside Overstreet’s van. DNA testing revealed that sperm found inside Kelly’s body and on her underwear was consistent with that of Overstreet. After his conviction, Overstreet’s four children requested and were granted the right to change their last name to their mother’s maiden name. Enduring Legal Process Doesn’t Change Parents’ Desire For Justice

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Page last updated 05/20/13