October 2008 Executions

Six killers were executed in October 2008. They had murdered at least 12 people.
killers were given a stay in October 2008. They have murdered at least 7 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 3, 2008 South Carolina Irene Grainger Graves
Christopher Bryan Lee, 28
Freddie Owens stayed

A man convicted of killing a Greenville store clerk was fairly sentenced to death based on accusations that he attacked prison guards and inmates, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled. The justices unanimously ruled that 30-year-old Freddie Owens was treated fairly when prosecutors told jurors deciding his sentence about his discipline record. Prosecutors cited 28 accounts from prison guards and inmates of Owens breaking prison rules between 2001 and 2006. They included Owens stabbing a guard and possessing at least seven homemade knives. The justices noted prosecutors agreed with the judge to use only about half of the accusations made against Owens during that period and only listed a line about each incident. Prison officials said Monday that Owens has been convicted of 61 disciplinary infractions since January 2000, ranging from setting fires in his cell to sexual misconduct and using vulgar language. Owens’ attorney Joe Savitz said the jury shouldn’t have been told about the incidents because they were just allegations. He said he plans to file another round of appeals for Owens, this time because his trial lawyers didn’t object when prosecutors said during closing arguments that Owens should be put to death so taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for his basic care behind bars. Owens has been sentenced to death three separate times for killing clerk Irene Grainger Graves during a convenience store holdup at the Speedway store on Laurens Road. His first two sentences were overturned. The murder was captured on a videotape surveillance camera. The fatal robbery was part of a crime spree four friends went on that night. Owens and three friends, Stephen Undre Golden, Lester Young, and Nakeo Vance, decided to go on what Golden described as "a robbing spree" to celebrate Halloween 1997. They went to Wal-Mart, bought gloves for their hands and panty hose for their heads. They began at Anthony’s Jewelers, but hesitated when a man in the parking lot saw Owens put on a mask. Undaunted, the group hit a dry cleaning store, then a gas station. They went to Owens’ house and split up the money. While they were there they learned a man in the neighborhood had been in an argument with Owens’ mother. They jumped in the car and rode through the streets of Nicholtown looking for the man. According to Golden, Owens was looking to shoot someone. "He said he was going to ‘kill someone tonight’," Golden said. The four men drove to a motel and rented a room, intending to play cards later in the evening. Within minutes, the four men were parked behind the Starvin’ Marvin Speedway gas station on Laurens Road. Two of the men intended to rob a nearby Waffle House while Owens and Golden robbed the Speedway. They were competing to see who could get back to the car first. "We were racing," Golden said. Golden ran into the Speedway first, clutching a.32-caliber pistol in his hand and demanding money from the store clerk, Irene Graves. Owens ran behind the counter and demanded that Graves open the store safe. She insisted she couldn’t do it and suggested if Owens wanted it open, he could open it himself. Owens said, "Oh, well," and shot Graves in the head. The.32-caliber slug pierced her head and ricocheted off the inside of her skull. A co-worker found Graves in a pool of blood, a ballpoint pen clutched in her hand. Elizabeth Beuhner, another worker at the Speedway store, testified that she was outside in the parking lot when Owens stormed into the store. "I’ve got kids to raise and I thank God every day that I’m here to raise them, that it wasn’t me," Beuhner said in court. "But at the same time, I hurt for the children that’s left behind without her." Golden and Owens ran back outside to find Young and Vance at the car. The two other robbers had again hesitated in their robbery. Owens asked Vance if he had heard the shot. "I shot the bitch," Owens said. It was only a week before word on the street leaked to investigators. A Greenville County SWAT team dragged Owens out of his house on the morning of Nov. 7. He was jailed and charged with murder. Co-defendant Stephen Golden testified against Owens at his 1999 trial and was sent to the same prison with his one-time friend. During one meeting, Golden said Owens threatened to kill him. The next time the two saw each other, Owens tried to kill him, Golden testified. "When I went to walk by, he grabbed my belly chains, pulled me into his shower and stabbed me in the stomach," Golden said in court. According to Golden, Owens’ only comment was "gotcha." Owens committed more than 20 violent acts in prison , including the murder of his cellmate the day after he was convicted of the 1997 murder. Owens is awaiting a murder trial for the death of an inmate in 1999. Authorities said after he was convicted of killing Graves the first time, officers at the Greenville County jail put Owens into a dormitory cell with 10 other inmates, including 28-year-old Christopher Bryan Lee. Lee was in the jail on a 30-day sentence for driving with a suspended license. In the 24-hour waiting period between the guilt and sentencing phases of Owens’ 1999 trial, Owens met Lee in a cell they shared. It was 11 p.m. and the inmates were watching the news on television. Newscasters told the story of Owens’ guilt. Owens shook it off, worked out, took a shower and went to bed. At 3 a.m. officers entered the cellblock to take another inmate to prison. According to a statement given to investigators, Owens said, "While they were getting the guy ready to go to Perry, Christopher Lee said, ‘You won’t be the only one because Freddie’s coming down there with you.’ I told him to ‘shut the f— up.’ He told me his cousin was on the jury.’ " Owens hit Lee in the eye, knocked him to the ground, and stabbed him in the eye with a ballpoint pen. Owens tried to stab Lee in the chest with the pen but it wouldn’t penetrate. So, Owens stabbed Lee in the throat. Blood started to poor from Lee’s mouth. Owens wrapped a sheet around Lee’s neck and started to choke him with it. He pounded the young man’s head on the concrete floor. Fluid started pouring from Lee’s nose and mouth. Owens spotted a cigarette lighter under a bunk, lit it, and burned Lee’s eye and hair. Owens rammed Lee’s head into the floor and walked out of the cell. According to the statement, Owens told investigators, "I heard the crazy moaning again so I grabbed the pen off the floor where I had thrown it and went back into his cell. I got back over him and rammed the pen up his right nostril. I closed his left nostril with my left hand and started choking him with my right hand. I kept checking him to see if he was dead. I would check his pulse on his wrist and I put my ear beside his neck and chest to hear if he was breathing. I wanted him to be dead at that time. I finally thought he was dead so I threw him on his bunk and covered him up. The first time I put him on the bunk he fell off. I then packed my stuff and put my mattress on the table and went to sleep." While Owens slept, his cellmate lay dead nearby. According to investigators, Owens said he wanted to be known as "the person who killed the most people in Greenville." "I’m a real menace," he said. At his sentencing hearing a few days later, Owens told the jury he killed Lee by strangling him with a bed sheet, then stabbing him through the nose with a pen. The coroner testified that Lee appeared to have been stomped in the chest, neck and face, and that the pen went through his nostril into his brain. During his trial, Owens spent his time rolling his eyes at witnesses and sketching notes on paper napkins. During his third trial, Owens took the stand and told the court room "I don’t live for society, I live for me. If I went out and I tried to slaughter every white man in the world, why would I be wrong?" Under South Carolina law, Owens was allowed to make a final statement to the court. As he began his final statement, Owens started to contradict his attorneys’ case. "I don’t think (my history) played a role in my actions," Owens said. During a statement that lasted for more than half an hour, Owens said that as a black person he came from a long line of persecuted people. He said white society created him. "You fear me because I’m black. You fear me because I’m conscious," Owens said. "You fear me because you don’t know what to do with me." Owens said he holds a great deal of hatred toward a great many white people and that traditional laws don’t intimidate him. He said people who challenge him should be ready to defend themselves. "If you feel that you are man enough to make a challenge toward me and disrespect me as a man, then you need to be man enough or woman enough to take the consequences that come with it," Owens said. In the end, Owens, claims to have converted to Islam and changed his name to Kahlil Salaam, said he answers to no one but Allah. Owens said the trial court judge may judge him but the judgment is irrelevant. "You’re not my peer. They’re (prosecutors) not my peer," Owens said. "They don’t have anything to do with me. They don’t have any common identity with me." After a day and a half of deliberation, Judge Kittredge decided to send Owens back to South Carolina’s death row. Kittredge described his day-and-a-half of deliberations on the sentence as "painful and agonizing." "Mr. Owens correctly describes himself as a menace," Kittredge said in pronouncing the sentence. "He has a total and utter disregard for the rights and safety of others." Owens’ face showed no emotion as the judge read the sentence. 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
October 7-13, 2008 South Dakota Chester Allan Poage Briley Piper stayed

Chester Allen PoageOn March 12 -13, 2000, Briley Piper and two others, Elijah Page and Darrell Hoadley, kidnapped and killed Chester Allan Poage so that they could steal property from the home Poage lived in with his mother and sister in Spearfish, South Dakota. Piper, Page and Hoadley, all of whom were friends with each other and with Poage, met up with Poage at approximately 8:00 p.m. on March 12, 2000. Piper had informed another friend that Poage would give him a ride to the Job Corps facilities. Poage complied with the request for the ride, and he, along with Piper, Page and Hoadley, picked the friend up and dropped him off at Job Corps. The remaining four then went to Poage’s house and played PlayStation games. Poage’s mother and sister were on vacation in Florida at this time. While there, Piper, Page and Hoadley convinced Poage to leave his house, and the four left in Poage’s 1997 Chevrolet Blazer. Testimony as to the origin of the plot to kill Poage and steal his property varies. It is unclear whether all three of the assailants planned on stealing items in the house so they could buy LSD, or whether Piper pulled Page outside to inform him he was going to steal stereo equipment from Poage’s vehicle. It is also unclear whether they initially planned to kill Poage, or just beat him up. However, it is clear that the initial discussions as to killing Poage were limited to Piper and Page, and only after it was decided to kill him was Hoadley informed of the plan. All four ended up at the house in which Piper, Page and Hoadley had been staying. Once there, Page exposed a.22 caliber pistol, which he had stolen from Poage’s mother’s room at the Poage residence, and ordered Poage to get on the floor. Once Poage was on the floor, Piper kicked him in the face, knocking him unconscious. While Poage was unconscious, he was tied up with a cord and sat upright in a chair. After he regained consciousness, Piper laid a tire iron across his feet to prevent him from moving, while Page made him drink a mixture containing crushed pills, beer and hydrochloric acid. During this time, Poage begged for an explanation as to why his alleged friends were doing this. In response, Page hit him in the face and told him to “shut up.” While Piper and Page discussed their plan to kill Poage, which included slitting the victim’s throat, Poage pleaded for his life and offered to give them everything he owned in exchange for his release. At this point, Page asked Poage for the personal identification number for his ATM card, and Poage gave it to him. Next, the group escorted Poage to his own vehicle, placed him in the back seat and threatened his life if he attempted to escape. Piper got in the driver’s seat. The group stopped at a gas station, and then Piper drove the group to Higgins Gulch in the Black Hills, a wooded area about seven miles away from the house where Piper, Page, and Hoadley had been staying. Upon arriving at Higgins Gulch, the group forced Poage out of his vehicle into twelve-inch deep snow. Poage was forced by Piper and Page to take off all of his clothes, except his tank-top style undershirt, shoes, and socks in temperatures of about twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit. The three young men then took Poage’s wallet. Thereafter, the three tried holding Poage down and covering him up with snow. Poage was then escorted to an icy creek, just over fifty feet from the road they had driven on to reach the gulch. Page and Piper admitted kicking him numerous times in various parts of his body and head. Page said he kicked Poage in the head so many times it "made his own foot sore." At one point in the 3-hour attack, Poage did try to escape, but upon Piper’s urging, Page recaptured him and continued to beat his near-naked body in the freezing temperatures. Poage was also made to lie in the icy creek water for a lengthy period of time. Piper later stated he had kicked Poage at the gulch a couple of times in the body and a couple of times in the head. Throughout the beatings, Piper laughed and said things like “Ohh… like that would suck” and “Ah, that’s got to hurt.” At one point, Poage asked to be let into his vehicle to warm himself. The record indicates that Poage said he preferred to bleed to death in the warmth rather than freeze to death in the cold. Piper agreed to grant his request, so long as he washed the blood off of his body in the creek. After rinsing in the icy waters, Piper refused to let him warm himself in the vehicle. Instead, they continued beating and taunting Poage. Next, Poage was dragged back into the creek, where Piper and the others attempted to drown the victim. The co-defendants’ stories diverge somewhat on the final fate of Poage. One witness stated that Piper admitted standing on Poage’s neck to help Hoadley drown him, then Piper stabbed him twice or more — once by the ear and then under the chin. Piper’s brief contends he did not participate in the drowning attempts or stabbings, but instead that he went back to Poage’s vehicle. After the drowning attempts, stabbings, beatings and stoning, Poage was still moving. According to Piper, Hoadley threw the final basketball-sized rock that killed Poage, but at that point Piper was not there to personally witness this act. Both Page and Hoadley admitted they jointly dropped large rocks on Poage’s head, actions which they believed finally killed him. Approximately four hours after the three kidnapped Poage, and about three hours after the beatings began at the gulch, Poage was left for dead in the creek. Piper drove the three away from the secluded area in Poage’s vehicle, and they proceeded to discuss how they would divide Poage’s property. They went to Poage’s house and stole numerous items. The group then drove to Hannibal, Missouri, together. There, they visited Piper’s sister, but upon her refusal to let them stay, they headed back to South Dakota. The group returned to Rapid City, South Dakota, using Poage’s ATM card for cash and pawning some of Poage’s property throughout the trip. Records from Poage’s bank show the ATM card was used six times in various locations in South Dakota and Nebraska. Some of Poage’s property was later found at pawnshops in Wyoming and Missouri. When the trio returned to Spearfish, Hoadley’s juvenile girlfriend testified that she saw the three unpack the stolen PlayStation, video games and many other items from Poage’s house. She also testified that Piper confessed the murder to her in detail. She said Piper laughed about the killing as he told her about it, “and thought it was just like a really cool neat thing.” Another friend of Piper’s testified that Piper confessed to him as well and confirmed the nonchalant attitude, stating, Piper acted “a bit cocky” while telling the story of the beatings. Eventually, the three went their own ways. Piper ultimately ended up in his home state of Alaska. On April 22, 2000, over a month after the three left Poage for dead, a woman who owned land near Higgins Gulch spotted what was later determined to be Poage’s remains in the creek. His body was found, clad in a sleeveless t-shirt, socks and shoes. A forensic pathologist from the Clinical Laboratory in Rapid City performed an autopsy on the body. He discovered numerous head injuries and stab wounds. Some examples of the head injuries inflicted included: a stab wound that nearly severed the jugular vein, another stab wound through the skull and into the brain, and a complex, spider-web shaped skull fracture that measured five inches. Poage’s ears were almost torn off from being kicked repeatedly. He determined the cause of death was the “stab wounds and the blunt force injury to the head.” After the body was discovered, Piper became a suspect. Law enforcement from South Dakota tracked him down in Alaska, questioned him and arrested him for first degree murder. While still in Alaska, he gave a detailed statement describing Poage’s murder and his participation in it to South Dakota law enforcement. He was subsequently extradited to South Dakota. Piper was then jailed in Lawrence County, South Dakota. He later pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, first degree felony murder; kidnapping; robbery in the first degree; burglary in the first degree; and grand theft. The circuit court ruled that the death penalty would be imposed for the first degree murder conviction. Thereafter, co-defendant Page, who had been arrested in Texas, also pleaded guilty to the same charges, and after an extensive sentencing hearing, he was also sentenced to death by the same judge. Hoadley then stood trial in front of a jury on the same charges. He was found guilty of the same charges but the jury sentenced him to life in prison. "The sheer brutality of this crime places it among the worst of the worst," assistant attorney general Sherri Sundem Wald stated in written arguments to the high court. Piper was enthralled when describing the abduction and slaying to fellow jail inmates after he was arrested, deputy attorney general Craig Eichstadt said. Piper feigned remorse only when he felt it would result in a more lenient sentence, the deputy attorney general said. While waiting to learn his fate, Piper tried to recruit inmates to help him kill a guard and break out of jail. Assistant attorney general Gary Campbell said said Page was a merciless killer who inflicted the greatest punishment on Poage. "We’re not talking about a passive follower here." Elijah Page was executed in July of 2007 after dropping his appeals.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 7, 2008 Pennsylvania Luis Santos
Willam Townes
Bernard Cousar stayed

On April 5, 1999, Bernard Cousar shot and killed Luis Santos on a street corner at point-blank range, and stole a gold chain necklace from around Santos’s neck. Three weeks later, on April 26, 1999, Cousar was seen arguing with William Townes as Cousar stood on a street corner and Townes sat in his vehicle. Cousar drew a gun and shot Townes three times at close range, killing him. Thereafter, on May 6, 1999, Cousar, together with three compatriots, forcibly entered Frank Schoenberger’s home, robbed and beat him at gunpoint, and fled when the police arrived. An officer apprehended Cousar as he was running from the scene. The following day, Schoenberger discovered that the intruders had left a handgun inside his home. Police firearms experts identified the gun as the weapon used to kill Santos and Townes. All three incidents took place within several blocks of Cousar’s place of residence in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia. Cousar was charged by three separate bills of information with two counts of criminal homicide (as to Santos and Townes) and two counts of robbery (as to Santos and Schoenberger). The Commonwealth pursued trial of all of the offenses on a consolidated basis, which the trial court permitted over Cousar’s objection. Cousar proceeded to trial before a jury, which took place from May 2-11, 2001. In its case concerning the Santos killing, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of four eyewitnesses to the shooting, which occurred at approximately ten o’clock a.m. on a clear, sunny day. As these witnesses described the events, Santos pulled up and parked his car along the street to use an outdoor payphone, leaving his two-year-old son in the automobile nearby. As Santos returned to his vehicle, Cousar approached him and began speaking with him. From the gestures of the two individuals, it appeared that Cousar was demanding the thick gold chain Santos was wearing around his neck, but Santos was refusing to comply. As Santos turned toward his car, Cousar shot him once in the back, and then grabbed and pocketed the gold chain as Santos fell. Cousar then calmly walked away from the scene, leaving Santos mortally wounded on the pavement. According to the medical examiner, the single bullet pierced Santos’s spinal cord, lungs, and aorta, causing his death. All of the eyewitnesses to the shooting positively identified Cousar in court as the shooter, and each also stated that the black, “puffy” down jacket that the police retrieved from Cousar at the time of his arrest matched the coat that the individual who shot Santos was wearing. Additionally, one of these witnesses, Ms. Diaz, testified that she recognized Cousar at the time of the shooting because she knew him and his family from the neighborhood. Several weeks after the incident, she positively identified Cousar as the shooter from a police photographic array. Another eyewitness, Ms. Carrasquillo, also selected Cousar from a photographic array a few weeks after the incident. She, too, testified that she recognized Cousar at the time of the shooting because she had previously seen him in the neighborhood. Ms. Khabir, on the other hand, failed to select Cousar from a police lineup conducted on June 16, 1999, but she did make a positive identification in court the following day at the preliminary hearing, a fact that was relayed to the jury. Finally, the fourth eyewitness, Mr. Abdu, saw the shooting from approximately twelve feet away as he was in his car stopped at a traffic light. He then reported the matter to the police over his cell phone as he followed the shooter in his car while the latter walked away from the scene. Mr. Abdu continued his pursuit until the shooter entered a row house on the 3900 block of North Percy Street. Although he could not tell exactly which row house the assailant went into, the location he provided to the police was the approximate site of Cousar’s known place of residence. Mr. Abdu, who testified that he got a good look at the shooter’s face at close range, also stated that he had positively identified Cousar from a police photographic array and at the preliminary hearing. As for her failure to identify Cousar at the lineup, Ms. Khabir explained at trial that she suffered from claustrophobia and, because the lineup occurred in a locked detention facility from which she had no ready means of egress, she became extremely anxious and her thinking was substantially impaired. She also testified that, several hours after returning home, when she had calmed down, she visualized the lineup in her mind and became certain that the perpetrator was in the number one position. The police lineup supervisor, moreover, who never spoke with Ms. Khabir after the lineup, confirmed at trial that Cousar was indeed in the number one position. As to the matter of the killing of William Townes, a woman who sold drugs for Townes testified that, the night before the murder (that is, the night of April 25, 1999), she was robbed at gunpoint of drugs and cash belonging to Townes. Immediately after the robbery, she gave Townes a description of the individual who had robbed her, and Townes appeared to know who this was. In court, she identified Cousar as the robber, and additionally stated that he was acting in concert with another individual who was identified as Shiem Gary. This account of the April 25th incident was corroborated by another person who also saw the robbery occur and was friendly with Townes. A third witness, Ms. Redden, stated that she saw the killing of Townes the evening of April 26, 1999, as she was walking home from a store. She indicated that she was near where Townes and Cousar were arguing as Townes sat in the driver’s seat of his car and Cousar stood on the street next to the vehicle; she stated that another individual was with Cousar but was not participating actively in the argument. According to Ms. Redden, Townes began to pull away, but then stopped his car at Cousar’s request. Cousar then fired several shots at Townes from close range, which resulted in the car suddenly lurching forward at high speed, hitting a number of parked cars and then flipping onto its side. She stated that, immediately after the shooting, Cousar and his companion walked past her as she sat on a porch, and Cousar stated, “That’s what the f— he get.” Ms. Redden identified Cousar as the shooter from a police photographic array several weeks later, and identified him in court as well. Additionally, a young woman testified that, at the time of the incident, she was sitting in the front passenger seat of Townes’s car when a black male who was arguing with Townes repeatedly shot Townes at close enough range to give her gunpowder burns on her legs and face. Townes was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner stated that two of the three bullets recovered from his body pierced his lungs and aorta, causing his death. Finally, the Commonwealth proffered evidence concerning Cousar’s apprehension after he fled the scene of the Schoenberger home invasion, and the discovery of the Santos/Townes murder weapon by Mr. Schoenberger in his basement the following day. This evidence tended to show that one of Cousar’s accomplices in the Schoenberger incident was Shiem Gary, the individual who had assisted Cousar in his April 25th street robbery of one of Townes’s employees. Mr. Schoenberger identified Cousar in court as the leader of the group of armed intruders, and stated that he had also identified Cousar as such at the preliminary hearing one week after the crime. Additionally, at the time the police arrived on the scene of the robbery, Cousar was wearing a coat matching the description given by witnesses to the Santos killing of the “puffy” jacket that the shooter in that matter had been wearing. When the police apprehended him, they recovered from one of his pants pockets a pager that had been taken from Mr. Schoenberger’s house. The police also apprehended from Cousar’s co-conspirators other items of value — including cash and a gun and holster — that were stolen from the Schoenberger home during the incident. During the Commonwealth’s case, the trial court permitted it, over Cousar’s objection, to adduce evidence that Cousar bore on his neck a tattoo with the letters “M.O.B.” There was additional evidence, which was not challenged, that Shiem Gary had a tattoo — also with the letters “M.O.B.” — on his forearm. Cousar was arrested twice, once on the street after the robbery, and again at his home approximately one week later after the police suspected him of homicide. (After his first arrest, Cousar was released on bail.) Each time, Cousar had the dark, “puffy” down jacket matching the one described by the witnesses to the Santos killing. In his defense, Cousar called Detective William Wynn, the lineup supervisor for the Philadelphia police, who testified concerning the lineup procedure, as well as Ms. Khabir’s failure to identify Cousar at a lineup on June 16, 1999. Over Cousar’s objection, the trial court excluded testimony from Detective Wynn regarding any other purported eyewitness to the murders who may have participated in the police lineup.3 Cousar’s mother also testified for the defense, stating that she had left Cousar at home at approximately 8:30 a.m. on the day of the Santos murder, and that when she returned later that day, he was still at home. Because she could not recall what time she returned, however, the defense conceded that her testimony did not provide an alibi but, instead, went to the weight of the identification evidence. Similarly, Cousar’s sister testified that she called Cousar’s residence at approximately 9:00 on the morning of the Santos shooting, and spoke to Cousar briefly. Again, however, this was insufficient to constitute an alibi, as the killing occurred at least an hour later a short distance from Cousar’s house. The jury reached verdicts on May 9, 2001, finding Cousar guilty of two counts each of first-degree murder, robbery, and possession of an instrument of crime, as well as one count each of burglary, aggravated assault, and criminal conspiracy. In the penalty phase of the trial, as to the murder of Santos, the jury found one aggravating circumstance — that Cousar committed the killing in perpetration of a felony, — and no mitigating circumstances. With regard to Townes’s killing, the jury found two aggravators — that Cousar had been convicted of another offense for which a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable, and that he had been convicted of another murder, — and no mitigators. Accordingly, by operation of law the jury returned two sentences of death. 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
October 14, 2008 Ohio Wendy Offredo, 21
Dawn McCreery, 20
Richard Cooey executed

Richard Cooey is on death row for kidnapping, raping, assaulting, and murdering 20-year-old Dawn McCreery and Wendy Offredo, 21, on Sept. 1, 1986. They were University of Akron sorority sisters who were leaving their jobs as waitresses when 17-year-old Clint Dickens threw a chunk of concrete off an I-77 overpass, striking the windshield of the car that Wendy was driving. Cooey, who was on leave from the Army, was hanging out with a longtime friend, Kenny Horonetz, and Dickens. The three got into the car Cooey had borrowed from his grandmother and offered the two women help. The five drove to a shopping mall and Wendy used a pay phone to call her mother. "I’m game if you’re game," Cooey said as Dickens suggested they rob the two women, according to court records. They had $37. Cooey pulled a knife on the women when they realized they were not being driven back to their car. Horonetz demanded to be let out of the car after Cooey told him to tie Dawn McCreery’s hands. Driving to a wooded area in nearby Norton, Dickens raped Wendy. "Hey Clint, put on the Bad Company tape," Cooey said, court records say. That led Dickens to say the women should be killed because they knew his name, records show. Dickens grabbed Wendy in a chokehold, and Cooey used a shoelace to strangle her as Dickens strangled Dawn with his other shoelace. Cooey beat both women with a club. A coroner’s report said they died from the blows. In an interview, Cooey maintained that Dickens, who could not receive the death sentence because he was 17 at the time of the murders, killed the two women. Dickens is serving two life sentences at the Ross Correctional Institution. Cooey claimed that his attorney let a plea agreement fall through in which he would have pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Cooey said he raped Wendy Offredo, but he said it was ‘rape under duress.’ "I was looking at it – you know when you’re a kid and you’re high and bombed – I was looking at it at the time as getting laid. In hindsight now, I’ve matured and I’ve got a clear head and I’ve seen that it wasn’t," he said. Cooey said he had drunk a dozen beers, snorted cocaine, and smoked opium and marijuana that night. He said Horonetz, who served eight months in prison on a felonious assault and obstructing justice conviction, probably could have prevented the killings if he had "talked some sense into me." Mark Gribben, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said in 2003 that there is no doubt about Cooey’s involvement in the robbery, the assaults, the rapes, and the murders. "The judicial process in this matter has been exhausted and complete. His case has been considered by state and federal appellate courts, as well as the state parole board," Mr. Gribben said. In July 2003, federal judge Dan Aaron Polster postponed Cooey’s execution with less than 24 hours left. Judge Polster of the U.S. District Court in Cleveland granted the request of Cooey’s lawyer for more time to study the case.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 14, 2008 Texas Jerry Glenn Morgan, 30
Brenda Gail Morgan, 25
Devin Glenn Morgan, 2
John Ford
Alvin Kelly executed

On the morning of May 1, 1984, in Gregg County, Texas, the bodies of Jerry Morgan, his wife Brenda Morgan, and their twenty-two month old son Devin Morgan were discovered in their home by other family members. Each victim died of gunshot wounds. Various items were missing from the victims’ home, including a 1977 Pontiac Catalina, a.22 caliber revolver, a.380 semi-automatic pistol, a 7-millimeter rifle, a Remington 870 pump action shotgun, a.38 caliber derringer, a television set, a video recorder, a stereo, decorative brass butterflies, and a coffee maker. These murders went unsolved for six years. In 1990, a man named Chris Vickery called the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and indicated that Cynthia May Kelly Cummings, Alvin Kelly’s former wife, had information for the authorities. At that time, Cynthia lived in Michigan, and Kelly was serving a 30-year sentence in Texas for the murder of John Ford. Kelly pleaded guilty to the unrelated murder of John Ford which occurred after the Morgan murders. The authorities contacted Cynthia, and ultimately obtained an indictment charging Kelly with the capital murder of Devin during the course of the robbery of Jerry. At trial, Steven Kelly, Alvin Kelly’s younger brother, testified that Kelly and he were in the business of selling drugs. Kelly’s source of drugs was Walter Shannon. Several days prior to the murders, Steven drove with Kelly and Ron Wilson, a fellow drug trafficker, to the Morgans’ home. Prior to exiting the vehicle, Kelly instructed Steven to remain in the vehicle. Disregarding that instruction, Steven walked around to the back of the house because he heard an argument. Steven observed Kelly pointing a gun at Jerry and threatening, “I want you to know that I can kill you at any time.” Kelly noticed Steven watching and angrily ordered him back to the vehicle. As Steven returned to the vehicle, he heard Wilson arguing with a woman inside the home. Kelly and Wilson then returned to the vehicle. As the three men drove away, Wilson, obviously upset, said to Kelly, “I told you not to bring him because… we’re supposed to take care of some business, and… we didn’t take care of it,… we’re supposed to prove a point, and now, that they’re going to be upset with us.” Kelly responded, “We can always come back later and take care of it… there’s no problem there.” Steven further testified that a few days later on the night of April 30, 1984 (the night of the Morgan murders), Kelly, Wilson, and Cynthia arrived at his house after he and his wife went to bed. Appearing very nervous and in a hurry, Kelly said he was in serious trouble and needed money. Kelly confessed that he had killed the family Steven had seen him threaten, and the child was “involved.” Kelly then opened a briefcase, handed Steven a pistol, and asked for “five hundred dollars to get out of town.” Kelly was wearing a pistol when he entered Steven’s house but he did not give that gun to Steven. Steven gave Kelly five hundred dollars and Kelly left with Cynthia and Wilson. Cynthia testified that she met Alvin Kelly sometime in 1982 or 1983, and that they began living together in Tyler, Texas. Cynthia and Kelly were married in 1985, after the Morgan murders. Cynthia thereafter became addicted to methamphetamine. She frequently accompanied Kelly when he sold drugs. Kelly carried a firearm and had Cynthia carry a pistol to “watch his back.” On the evening of April 30, 1984, after drinking beer and injecting methamphetamine, Cynthia, Kelly, and Wilson drove to the victims’ home. Upon arrival, Kelly ordered Cynthia to remain in the vehicle. Cynthia had been unaware of both the destination and the purpose of this trip. While waiting for the men, Cynthia heard gunfire and a baby crying. She entered the home and saw that Kelly had a woman, Brenda Morgan, pinned against the wall and that a baby, Devin Morgan, was crying. Cynthia picked up the child and shielded him from the sight of his mother struggling with Kelly. Kelly shot Brenda in the back of the neck and dragged her to a bedroom. Cynthia put the baby in a chair and followed Kelly to the bedroom. Brenda’s husband Jerry had already been shot, and Kelly placed Brenda next to him. Brenda begged Cynthia for help, and Cynthia responded by retrieving a towel and placing it under Brenda’s head. Cynthia returned to the living room and attempted to comfort the crying baby. Kelly grabbed the crying infant from Cynthia and shot him in the head. Kelly aimed his gun at Cynthia and ordered her to return to the vehicle. As she left the house, Cynthia heard Kelly again fire a shot. Cynthia testified that Kelly used the same gun, a.22 caliber pistol, to shoot both Brenda and the baby. Kelly and Wilson took several items from the victims’ home, including guns, decorative brass butterflies, and a coffee maker. Kelly, with Wilson as a passenger, drove the victims’ car and ordered Cynthia to follow him in their vehicle. Pursuant to Kelly’s instructions, Wilson and Cynthia assisted Kelly in wiping the victims’ car to destroy any fingerprints evidence. They abandoned the car in a hospital parking lot in Tyler, Texas. Subsequently, while driving, Kelly and Wilson discussed needing money, and the three “ended up at” Steven’s home. Cynthia testified that her memory became “blurry” after that point. She did remember, however, that Kelly and Steven retreated to the pool room to have a conversation. She did not hear the conversation. The State introduced evidence corroborating several points of Cynthia’s testimony, including the location of Brenda’s and Devin’s gunshot wounds, the caliber of the murder weapon, the location and position of the bodies in the home, the towel that was found under Brenda’s head, and the location of the victims’ car, devoid of fingerprints. The State also introduced evidence that Jerry and Brenda had been City Marshal Reserve Officers. The state argued that Kelly killed the Morgans because they were providing information to law enforcement. Additionally, Cynthia’s sister Violet Brownfield testified that Kelly “bragged” about killing a family, including a child. Danny Moore, who met Kelly through Moore’s cousin, testified that Kelly said that he collected “debts at a forty-sixty split” for Walter Shannon. Moore further testified that Kelly said he had “taken care of that job… and needed to go see the man about some money.” Kelly went on to say, “that man, his old lady, and the kid… they’re not coming back.” Kelly became angry and said, “I warned them, they had a chance. They wouldn’t do nothing.” Kelly warned, “There’s going to be a lot more people end up like this if they don’t pay up.” Kelly’s defense theory was that the victims were killed by an unidentified black assailant. He relied on the following evidence: (1) hairs with Negroid characteristics were found in vacuum sweepings from the Morgans’ home; (2) a pick-up truck was stolen from a parking lot near the victims’ abandoned car; (3) two black males were apprehended for the theft of that truck; and (4) a necklace was recovered from the black males that two of the victims’ family members initially identified as belonging to Brenda. Kelly’s theory was that Cynthia had a relationship with a black man and that she fabricated her story to protect that man or to attempt revenge against Kelly or both. In October of 1991, a Gregg County jury found Kelly guilty of capital murder. At the punishment phase of the trial, the state introduced evidence that Kelly had a bad reputation for violence and a record of criminal convictions, including burglary, unlawful weapon possession, controlled substance delivery and possession, aggravated sexual assault, and murder. The jury affirmatively answered the special issues set forth in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Accordingly, the trial court sentenced Kelly to death. UPDATE: A former East Texas truck repair shop owner was executed Tuesday evening for fatally shooting a 22-month-old boy in a spree that also killed the child’s parents. Alvin Kelly thanked God, expressed love to friends and relatives and denied committing the murder that led to his execution. "I pray this gives you some peace," Kelly said from the death chamber gurney, looking at four relatives of the slain family. "I know you believe that you’re going to have closure tonight. As I stand before God today, the true judge, I had nothing to do with the death of your family." Kelly, 57, said he would ask God to not hold that against them. At the same time, he acknowledged killing another man for whom he was serving time when he was charged in the death of the 22-month-old, who died in 1984 in Gregg County, about 100 miles east of Dallas. As the drugs were administered, he began singing a hymn praising God for coming into his life. "I thank you Lord Jesus for remembering me…," he sang as the drugs took effect and he slipped into unconsciousness. Twelve minutes later, at 6:30 p.m. CDT he was pronounced dead. Lori Kubecka, who was 10 when her aunt, uncle and nephew were killed, represented her family witnessing Kelly’s execution. "When it comes to what he did to our family, I think he deserves it," she told the Longview News-Journal. "But it’s been so long. He has sat behind bars for so long now."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 16, 2008 Texas Hak Po Kim, 30
Yuan Tzu Banks, 52
Chae Sun Shook, 59
Kevin Watts executed

On the morning of March 1, 2002, Watts entered the Sam Won Gardens restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, brandishing a Tec-22 pistol. Before demanding any money, Watts murdered restaurant employees Hak Po Kim, Yuan Tzu Banks, and Chae Sun Shook, shooting them execution-style in the back of the head. He then ordered the wife of Hak Po Kim to retrieve her dying husband’s wallet and car keys from his pants pocket. Watts told her to empty the cash register. The take was only $100. Holding Mrs. Kim at gunpoint, Watts ordered her into the Kims’ vehicle and fled the scene with her. For several hours, Watts sadistically tortured and sexually assaulted Mrs. Kim both in the vehicle and later in his mother-in-law’s apartment – at one point allowing his roommate to rape her. Watts himself repeatedly sodomized Mrs. Kim, forced her to ingest narcotics, and attempted to rape her with the Tec-22 pistol. Acting on a phoned in tip from a neighbor who had seen a TV story about the murders and the missing vehicle, San Antonio Police captured Watts only after he unsuccessfully attempted to escape by ramming the Kims’ vehicle into two police cruisers. Kim’s wife survived and testified against Watts at his capital murder trial in 2003, identifying him as the gunman and her attacker. At his trial, defense lawyers didn’t deny Watts was responsible for the slayings but tried to show he didn’t intend to kill the victims and was high on drugs. In his written confession, Watts told police he shot the three because they were yelling at him. "I did what I had to do," he wrote. "I needed fast money, because that’s what I’m used to." When the execution date was set, Watts was removed from the courtroom twice because of epithet laced tirades to the judge.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 21, 2008 Texas Robert Ratliff, 64 Joseph Ries executed

Joseph Ray Ries was condemned to death for breaking into a rural home, fatally shooting the man who was sleeping there and driving off in his car. A jury in Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County took only seven minutes to convict Joseph Ray Ries of capital murder, then decided he should die for the 1999 slaying of 64-year-old Robert Ratliff. Authorities identified Ries as the triggerman in the killing of Ratliff, who was shot three times with a small-caliber gun in the bedroom of his home in the small town of Cumby, about 65 miles northeast of Dallas. Another 19-year-old, Christopher Lee White, also was arrested for his involvement. White was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Both Ries and White were from the Commerce area, about 10 miles north of where Robert lived. White already had been wanted by police on a burglary warrant and Ries was being sought for taking Robert’s pickup truck a week before the killing. Ries lived with Robert months earlier, but the man kicked him out after some items turned up missing. A week before the killing, authorities believed Ries stole Robert’s pickup for a trip to San Antonio. Because the truck apparently didn’t get good fuel mileage, he and White came back to take his Lincoln Continental. Robert wasn’t home, so they broke in and stole two rifles, drove the pickup into a pond until it sank, then waited behind a barn until he returned home and went to sleep, according to court records. They went back inside, where Robert was shot, then drove off in his Lincoln. Robert’s body was found later by a relative. When he was arrested, Ries gave a videotaped confession to police. UPDATE: Joseph Ries was executed for the slaying of a 64-year-old Northeast Texas man during a burglary almost a decade ago. Ries expressed love to friends who watched through a death chamber window and urged them to stay strong because "Jesus is coming back soon." Looking toward another window, he told two daughters of his victim he was "really sorry for what I’ve done." Ries said he prayed that they would find peace through God. "I hope he heals your heart. The truth is that you are going to feel empty after tonight. Standing with Christ in your heart, he can only give you peace. I pray you can find it. I really do." As the lethal drugs began flowing, he started to sing a hymn. "Our God is an Awesome God," he sang. "Lord I lift your name on high." He then slipped into unconsciousness and was pronounced dead seven minutes later.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 23, 2008 Texas Sarah Patterson, 11 Bobby Woods stayed

In 1998, a Texas state jury convicted Woods and sentenced him to death for the murder of eleven-year-old Sarah Patterson during the course of a kidnapping. In the early morning hours of April 30, 1997, Woods, then 31, went to the house of his former girlfriend, Schwana Patterson, in Granbury, Texas. Though they had previously lived together, the two had split up and Woods had been kicked out of the Patterson home days before the attack. Woods later admitted to having used drugs before going to the house, including "crank" and PCP. Schwana was not at home when Woods arrived, but he found an open window into the bedroom where Schwana’s two children, Sarah, 11, and Cody, nine, were sleeping. He grabbed Sarah by the foot; Cody awoke to Sarah’s screams as Woods beat her chest. Later investigation found Woods’s semen on Sarah’s bedcover, indicating that he had had prior sexual contact with her. This was borne out in other evidence, including statements by Woods himself, Sarah’s friends, notes she had left in her diary indicating that she hated Woods and wanted him gone. "Dear Diary. Guess what? Bobby moved out and we are so, so, so, so happy," says an entry dated two months before Sarah was killed.Also entered into evidence was the fact that she had contracted the sexually-transmitted disease Human Papilloma Virus ("HPV"). Woods was also infected with HPV. When Sarah’s body was later found, forensic evidence including larvae development in her traumatized genitals also indicated that she had been sexually molested. Woods took the children in his car to a cemetery. Enroute, Cody, in the back seat, noticed a black-handled knife in the back of the car. At the cemetery, Woods took Cody out of the car and asked him if his mother was seeing anyone else. He hit Cody and commenced strangling him in front of the car. Cody later testified that he thought he was going to die. Cody told police to "kill Bobby Woods for me." He awoke later, crawled over a fence, and attracted the attention of a horseback rider who called the police. The police later found Woods and told him that they had the "whole story" from Cody. They asked him to tell them where to find Sarah, hoping that she was still alive. Woods told them, "You will not find her alive. I cut her throat." He then led the police to Sarah’s body and gave them two written statements. In the statements, he admitted to having had sexual contact with Sarah before leaving the house, that he had taken drugs, and that after Cody fell unconscious in the cemetery, Sarah had started screaming. He left with her in the car toward a bridge on highway 144. She continued to yell that she would tell the police that he had hit Cody. He attempted to quiet her by holding a knife to her throat. According to his statement, Sarah jerked and the knife cut her throat. Her body was clothed in an inside-out shirt, a sports bra, and a pair of shorts, without panties. Her throat had been deeply cut, severing her larynx and several major arteries and veins, causing massive external bleeding that was the cause of her death. In addition to finding Woods’s semen on Sarah’s blanket, investigators found a large butcher knife, stained with Sarah’s blood, inside a trash bag that Woods had borrowed from a neighbor the morning after he abducted Sarah and Cody. The bag also contained a pawn ticket bearing Woods’s signature and address for items he admitted stealing from the Patterson home. Sarah’s blood was on Woods’s jersey, which was in the back of his car; her panties were on the car’s floorboard. There was evidence that Woods had scratches on his face and arms on the day after the murder that were not there the day before. Woods was arrested and charged with capital murder and was indicted on June 4, 1997, in Hood County, Texas. The indictment charged him with the murder of Sarah Patterson in the course of committing or attempting to commit the kidnapping of Sarah and Cody Patterson, or in the alternative, the murder of Sarah in the course of committing or attempting to commit the aggravated sexual assault of Sarah. He was also indicted for the attempted capital murder of Cody, arising out of the same criminal transaction. On Woods’s motion, venue was changed to Llano County, where he pleaded not guilty. At trial, Woods testified on his own behalf and admitted to the general contours of that morning’s events, including the abductions, but not to the murder. Instead, he offered a version which tended to implicate his cousin, Jody Milton, who had committed suicide by hanging himself shortly after the murder. Woods was found guilty by the jury on May 21, 1998. Following a punishment hearing, the jury returned affirmative answers on May 28 on the issues relating to Woods’s future dangerousness and intent to commit murder, and a negative answer on the existence of mitigating circumstances to justify a life sentence. The Llano County trial court sentenced Woods to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 28, 2008 Texas Nicole Benton, 7 Eric Nenno executed

nicole bentonEric Charles Nenno was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl, Nicole Benton. On March 23, 1995, Nicole Benton disappeared from her father Buddy Benton’s birthday celebration. Buddy was playing with his band, and Nenno lured Nicole to his home on the pretext of getting a guitar to join the group. Nenno, a former plumbing supply salesman, was questioned two days later, after neighbors told police that Nenno had previously been accused of fondling a neighborhood child. When police showed up at his house down the street from the Benton home, he invited them in and appeared nervous when they asked about the girl. He agreed to go to a police command post that had been set up nearby and agreed to talk with authorities, who asked him what he thought happened to the girl. His response was that he thought she was abducted, raped and murdered. When he was asked what kind of person would do something like that, he replied it would be someone like him. He then agreed to submit to a polygraph and signed a release form. After the test, authorities remained silent for six or seven minutes, prompting Nenno to finally say: "I failed it, didn’t I?” When the examiner told Nenno he needed to disclose where the girl was, Nenno told him, "I think she’s still in the attic.” Then he said, "They’re going to kill me for this, aren’t they?" Nenno gave written consent for police to search his home. That’s where her body was found and Nenno was arrested. She had been raped repeatedly and choked to death. In his confession to police, Nenno admitted having sexual fantasies involving young girls for most of his life and raping and strangling the girl in his bedroom. The Harris County jury that considered the case deliberated about 11 hours before deciding on the death penalty.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 28, 2008 Florida Lisa DeCarr, 15 Wayne Tompkins stayed

The victim, Lisa DeCarr, aged 15, disappeared from her home in Tampa on March 24, 1983. In June 1984, Lisa’s skeletal remains were found in a shallow grave under the house along with her pink bathrobe and jewelry. Based upon a ligature (apparently the sash of her bathrobe) that was found tied tightly around her neck bones, the medical examiner determined that Lisa had been strangled to death. In September 1984, Wayne Tompkins, the victim’s mother’s boyfriend, was charged with the murder. At trial, the state’s three key witnesses testified as follows. Barbara DeCarr, the victim’s mother, testified that she left the house on the morning of March 24, 1983, at approximately 9 a.m., leaving Lisa alone in the house. Lisa was dressed in her pink bathrobe. Barbara met Wayne Tompkins at his mother’s house a few blocks away. Some time that morning, she sent Tompkins back to her house to get some newspapers for packing. When Tompkins returned, he told Barbara that Lisa was watching television in her robe. Tompkins then left his mother’s house again, and Barbara did not see or speak to him again until approximately 3 o’clock that afternoon. At that time, Tompkins told Barbara that Lisa had run away. He said the last time he saw Lisa, she was going to the store and was wearing jeans and a blouse. Barbara returned to the Osborne Street house where she found Lisa’s pocketbook and robe missing but not the clothes described by Tompkins. Barbara then called the police. The state’s next witness, Kathy Stevens, a close friend of the victim, testified that she had gone to Lisa DeCarr’s house at approximately 9 a.m. on the morning of March 24, 1983. After hearing a loud crash, Stevens opened the front door and saw Lisa on the couch struggling and hitting Tompkins who was on top of her attempting to remove her clothing. Lisa asked her to call the police. At that point, Stevens left the house but did not call the police. When Stevens returned later to retrieve her purse, Tompkins answered the door and told her that Lisa had left with her mother. Stevens also testified that Tompkins had made sexual advances towards Lisa on two prior occasions. Kenneth Turco, the final key state’s witness, testified that Tompkins confided details of the murder to him while they were cellmates in June 1985. Turco testified that Tompkins told him that Lisa was on the sofa when he returned to the house to get some newspapers for packing. When Tompkins tried to force himself on her, Lisa kicked him in the groin. Tompkins then strangled her and buried her under the house along with her pocketbook and some clothing (jeans and a top) to make it appear as if she had run away. UPDATE: The execution was stayed pending further appeals.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
October 30, 2008 Texas Donna Duncan Vick, 52 Gregory Wright executed

The evidence at trial established that Donna Vick was stabbed to death in her home in DeSoto, Texas, about 15 miles south of Dallas, in the early hours of March 21, 1997. On March 22, 1997, John Wade Adams placed an emergency 911 call to the Dallas Police Department stating that he had witnessed a murder the night before. Adams subsequently led the authorities to an abandoned white Chrysler New Yorker registered to Donna Duncan Vick. This led to the discovery of Ms. Vick, found murdered in the master bedroom of her home with a pillow covering her face and lying in a pool of blood. The lack of evidence to demonstrate a struggle elsewhere in the room indicated that the attack occurred on Ms. Vick’s bed with her assailant straddling her on the bed during the murder. Ms. Vick sustained multiple stab wounds, bruises, and cuts to her face, neck, chin, hands, and throat area. A fifty-two-year-old widow known for ministering to and aiding the homeless, Ms. Vick had invited Gregory Wright, a homeless person and panhandler, to reside in her house in exchange for doing yard work. Wright had been staying there as a guest for about one week prior to the night of the killing. On the day before the killing, Wright and Ms. Vick drove in her car to a house in north Oak Cliff where Wright purchased and used crack cocaine before leaving with Ms. Vick. Later that evening Wright and Ms. Vick returned to the house, where they met up with Adams. The three left together in Ms. Vick’s car. The evidence reflects that they all went to the VFW lodge around midnight where they stayed until 2:00 a.m. The three men returned to Ms. Vick’s home, where Ms. Vick cooked some food for Adams and Wright. Ms. Vick then went to bed. At some point thereafter, Wright held up a paper towel toward Adams with the words "Do you want to do it?" written on it. The two men, armed with Adams’ pocket knife and a butcher knife from Ms. Vick’s kitchen, went back to her bedroom where they proceeded to stab Ms. Vick repeatedly to her death. Wright and Adams then gathered up items in the house belonging to Ms. Vick, including her microwave, portable CD player, TV, VCR, computer equipment, and newly purchased weed-eater and placed them in her car where they transported them to the crack house to trade for drugs. Llewelyn Mosley testified that Adams and Wright arrived at his house on the night of the murder and told him that they had some things from a woman in DeSoto that they wanted to get rid of, including a television, a weed eater, a rifle, a color printer, and a microwave. Several of these items were later identified as belonging to Donna Vick. Wright negotiated with the dealer. After exchanging some of the items, Wright and Adams appeared cheerful and exchanged “high fives.” The next day, Adams asked an employee at a video store to call the police because he wanted to turn himself in. Adams directed the police to Donna Vick’s house and assisted in recovering her car. DNA testing revealed that blood found on the steering wheel belonged to Wright. At the house, the police found Donna’s body on her bed and Wright’s bloody fingerprint on her pillowcase. In a trash can, the police found a handwritten note reading, “Do you want to do it?” Adams also led the police to a shack that Wright sometimes stayed in, where they arrested Wright and seized a bloody and gold-paint splattered pair of blue jeans. Outside the shack, the police found a bloody knife. DNA evidence established that the blood on the knife and jeans was Donna’s. Several cans of gold spray paint were found in Wright’s home, and witnesses testified that Wright had previously been seen with gold paint on his face and clothes. It was theorized that Wright had inhaled spray paint to get high. The police also found mail addressed to Adams at the shack. After Wright was arrested, he phoned a friend from jail and asked her to remove any of his clothing from the shack. Adams also led the police to a knife in a vacant lot near Mosley’s home. DNA testing revealed that the knife had Donna Vick’s blood on it. A medical examiner testified that Donna could have been stabbed by more than one knife. At trial, the prosecution argued that both Adams and Wright attacked Vick. The jury found Wright guilty, and he was sentenced to death.

Page visited times since 7/19/08

Page last updated 11/21/08