August 2010 Executions

Three killers were executed in August 2010. They had murdered at least 6 people.
Five killers were given a stay in August 2010. They have murdered at least 5 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 10, 2010 Ohio John Coleman
Tracey Jefferys
Roderick Davie executed
Roderick Davie returned to his former place of employment in Warren, Ohio and ordered three employees, two men and a woman, to lie face down. He shot both men in the head and back. After running out of bullets, Davie chased the escaping woman and killed her. One of the men survived the shooting; Davie tried to kill him by running him down with a truck and then by beating him with a stick. The woman died due to blunt force trauma, the man died of a gunshot to the head. The details are that on June 27, 1991, Roderick Davie killed John Coleman and Tracey Jefferys, and tried to kill John Everett. In a taped confession, Davie admitted that he “flipped out” the morning of the crime and “went down to VCA and shot ’em up.” He described how he entered the building, made his three victims lie on the floor, and shot them. He described how he beat one victim with a chair when he ran out of bullets, and attempted to run down one victim with a truck. He also described his activities after he committed the shootings. At trial, Donna Smith, an eye witness, testified that, as she approached the Veterinary Companies of America (“VCA”) warehouse in Warren, Ohio on the morning of the shootings, she noticed a bleeding man stumble across the parking lot and collapse on a sidewalk. Smith then noticed another man come out of the building and run around to the driver’s side of a truck in the dock area. Thereafter, Smith testified that the truck came “flying out” of the parking lot across both lanes of the street in an attempt to hit the injured man. The injured man was able to shield himself from the truck by falling underneath a bridge, and the truck rammed into the bridge. Smith testified that the man in the truck left the truck and jumped over the side of the bridge. John Everett, one of Davie’s victims and the man that Smith witnessed stumble across the parking lot, testified to the following events. On the morning of the shootings, Everett was in the VCA lunch room. Davie, accompanied by a crying Tracey Jefferys (another VCA employee), came up from behind Everett holding a gun. Davie ordered Everett out of the lunch room and, once in the warehouse area, ordered Everett and Jefferys to “lay face down.” Davie then ordered John Coleman, who was loading his truck at the loading dock, to join Everett and Jefferys. After Everett, Jefferys, and Coleman had complied with Davie’s commands, Davie began shooting. Everett testified that after numerous shots were fired, Jefferys got up and ran away. Davie brought Jefferys back, and Everett heard Davie remark to Coleman “You ain’t dead yet, huh, brother?” and fire another shot. Everett testified that Davie then took Everett’s wallet and told Jefferys that she was lucky that he was out of bullets. At that point, Jefferys again attempted to flee, and Davie followed. Everett heard Jefferys scream for three or four minutes and, eventually, the screaming stopped. Tracey Jefferys died in VCA’s lunch room due to blunt force trauma. A metal folding chair was found next to her body. Coleman died in the warehouse as a result of five bullet wounds—two of which were located in the back of his head. Everett escaped the warehouse and made his way out of the building and to the street. Thereafter, Everett noticed Davie revving the engine of a truck in the parking lot. Davie attempted to use the truck to run Everett down, but Everett escaped by jumping under a bridge. Everett heard the truck crash into the bridge and, shortly thereafter, Davie arrived under the bridge. At that time, Davie began beating Everett with a stick on the left side of Everett’s head, and attempted to gouge Everett’s eyes out with the stick. Everett testified that Davie had the look of “a man on a mission and he was definitely going to kill me.” At some point, Davie stopped beating Everett, looked up over the bridge, and left the area. Everett was treated at the hospital for, among other things, three gunshot wounds—one to the head, one to the shoulder, and one to the arm. The remainder of the trial testimony established overwhelmingly that Davie committed a bloody and gruesome series of crimes on the morning of June 27, 1991.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 12, 2010 Alabama Candace Brown Michael Land executed
The police were called to Candace Brown’s house after her landlord found that a window had been broken and the telephone wires had been cut. Upon entering the house, the police had discovered a puppy with Candace’s unharmed two-year-old child, a note on a bulletin board with Michael Land’s name and phone number, and a shoe print with distinctive tread (spelling out “USA”) on one of the broken windowpanes. Candace had briefly met Land when she was visiting a friend of his in prison as part of a prison ministry. She had named him as a suspect in a prior burglary of her home in which her purse was stolen. Police located Land, who agreed to accompany them to the police station for questioning. He was given his Miranda rights, signed a waiver-of-rights form and agreed to have his statement tape recorded. Land initially claimed not to have seen Candace for a week and provided an alibi to account for the time relevant to her disappearance. During the course of the interview, one detective noticed what appeared to be bloodstains on Land’s shoes and asked to inspect them. The detective saw that the tread on his shoes seemed to match the “USA” print on the windowpane at Brown’s house and took them for further analysis. Land also complied with a request to change into a jail jumpsuit so his clothes could be inspected for bloodstains. During this period, the police contacted Land’s alibi witness, who did not substantiate his story. The police then confronted Land about the evidence, his inconsistencies, and the lack of corroboration from his alibi witness, telling him he needed to be truthful. He was again informed of, and waived, his Miranda rights. He proceeded to give another statement to the police which was not recorded (hereafter his “second statement”). This time he said he met two men at a service station who asked him if he knew an “easy mark” for a burglary. He suggested Brown’s home and the men paid him $20 to cut the window glass of her residence, after which they all entered the kitchen. During the burglary, Brown woke up from the commotion and appeared in the kitchen, where one of the two men knocked her to the floor. Land claimed he became frightened at this point and left. He also admitted in this second statement that he had lied previously about where his car was and informed the detectives it could be found at the mall where he worked. The detectives then formally arrested Land. The next day Brown’s body was discovered in a limestone quarry on Ruffner Mountain near her residence by a group of high school students who were hiking. She had been shot in the back of her head by a.45 caliber automatic handgun. A search of Land’s car turned up a.45 handgun, and the bullet from her head matched a bullet test-fired from that gun. They also found wire-cutters and a pair of gloves that had imbedded glass fragments consistent with the glass of the broken window in Brown’s house. A DNA profile made from a semen stain, which was found on Brown’s blouse, matched Land’s blood sample with a degree of certainty of roughly one in 20 million. Land was convicted and sentenced to death in Alabama state court for two counts of capital murder-murder during burglary and murder during kidnapping. UPDATE: Candace Brown’s parents, John and Brenda, her son Michael, who is now 19, and her three brothers all plan to attend the execution. "We’ve always sought justice for our daughter, and that is what we’re seeking, justice," her father said. "Eighteen years is what we’ve waited. We aren’t going down there to gloat; I am going down there to represent my daughter." At the time of her death, the 30-year-old Brown was working at an insurance company and doing some prison ministry. Her life, her father said, revolved around her son and helping others. "She loved him to death. She lived for him," John Brown said. "She was so proud of him, and we were so proud of her." Land, whose mother was a Birmingham police officer at the time of the crime and conviction, was just 24 when he killed Brown after burglarizing her home. Forensics test linked Land’s.45-caliber pistol to the bullet that killed Brown. It also linked Land’s DNA to semen found on Brown’s shoulder and identified blood on his shoes as matching the victim. Brown had named Land, who had previously been to prison twice for receiving stolen property, as a suspect in a prior burglary of her home in which her purse was stolen. Authorities have said Brown briefly met Land when she was visiting a friend of his in prison as part of her ministry. John Brown said his daughter’s death left an emptiness in their family. "It’s been a tragedy for us," he said. "You never expect to outlive your child. She was our only daughter." He said he has no animosity toward Land’s family. "I know they are going to hurt," he said. But, he said it’s important the decision of the jury and judge be carried out. "He went in my daughter’s house; he cut the phone lines, and he took her out and shot her," he said. "All of this was done by his choice." Among the greatest loss, he said, is that suffered by his grandson, who he and his wife raised after the slaying. "He never really got a chance to know his mother," John Brown said. "He has been deprived of the relationship they were building." John Brown said his daughter loved to laugh and cut up. She was, he said, a faithful Christian. "I’d like for them to remember her in those ways and the fact that she was a Christian," he said. "That means more to me than anything." UPDATE: Land, 41, was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m. at Holman Prison in Atmore after spending 17 years on Alabama’s Death Row for the slaying of Candace Brown. Gov. Bob Riley this week turned down Land’s request for clemency. Efforts by Land’s attorneys to get the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution failed. When Warden Tony Patterson asked Land if he had any final statements, Land replied "No, thank you though."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 17, 2010 Texas Patricia Lourdes Lopez
Jennifer Ertman
Elizabeth Pena
Peter Cantu executed

ElizabethPenaJenniferErtmanJennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School. On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together and then died together. They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend’s apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth’s neighborhood. The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own. The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls’ pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside. Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as ‘Gonzalez’ called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls’ bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything. The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. ‘Gonzalez’ to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth. Jennifer Ertman’s dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local television reporter when the call came over a cameraman’s police scanner that two bodies had been found. Randy commandeered the news van and went to the scene that was now bustling with police activity. Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back, "Does she have blond hair? Does she have blond hair?!?" Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter’s brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth. The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston’s brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders. The break in solving the case came from, of course, the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned ‘Gonzalez’, he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife’s urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters’ bodies to rest. ‘Gonzalez’ said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls. While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O’Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe’s 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then "jumping in" Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member. Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness. The gang continued drinking and ‘shooting the breeze’ for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul. The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having ‘virgin blood’ on him. The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to "get some". He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile. When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch". Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O’Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O’Brien’s home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn’t die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun". Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again. The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth’s two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer’s ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls’ bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead." The juvenile, Venancio Medellin, pled guilty to his charge and his sentence was reviewed when he turned 18, at which time he was sent to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison. The five killers were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death. See US 5th Circuit Court summary of this case. Six months before Jenny and Elizabeth were murdered, three of their killers murdered another young woman, Patricia Lourdes Lopez. Patricia, a 27-year-old mother of two young children, had run out of gas and was stranded on the side of the freeway on her way home from a football game. She walked to a nearby convenience store, and called someone to come and help her. As she was leaving, she was stopped by Joe Medellin, Peter Cantu and Sean O’Brien, who asked her to buy them some beer since they were underage. They said they would buy her some gas and get her on the road again if she did. She bought the beer and went with the group, unwittingly heading to her death. Instead of taking her back to her truck, the trio took her to a back parking lot in Melrose Park in Houston, where they took turns raping and sexually assaulting her before stabbing her to death. A drunken O’Brien had told Patricia that if she did not cause him to have an erection through oral sex, he would kill her. Her body, nude from the waist down, was found by police on January 4, 1993 with her blood-soaked clothing strewn about her. The medical examiner stated that Patricia was probably on her knees in front of her murderer when she was stabbed, based on the angle of the wounds. She had been stabbed and slashed in the abdomen, throat and back and strangled. This murder was unsolved until after O’Brien was arrested for the murder of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena. Joe Cantu, brother of ringleader Peter Cantu, whose call to police had led to the arrests in the Ertman/Pena murders, had again contacted authorities and told them that he recalled O’Brien bragging about another murder that occurred before the girls were killed. Houston police researched older cases and found a possible match with the unsolved murder of Patricia Lourdes Lopez. When they tested evidence, O’Brien’s fingerprints were matched to some found on a beer can under Patricia’s body at the murder scene. When confronted with the evidence, O’Brien admitted his involvement in Patricia’s murder. A belt of the same type that was used to kill Jennifer Ertman was found underneath Patricia’s neck. Medellin’s DNA matched semen samples taken from Patricia’s body. Her family was present at his trial for the June murders. "I think they should file some more charges," Cathy Lopez, Patricia Lopez’s mother-in-law, said. "I think whatever they did, no matter how much there is, they should stand trial for every single thing." Patricia’s estranged husband suffered through a long period of being considered a suspect in his wife’s murder.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 17, 2010 Oklahoma Earl Short Jeffrey Matthews stayed
On January 27, 1994, at around six o′clock in the morning, Minnie Short was awakened by a noise in her home in McClain County, Oklahoma. As she walked from her bedroom into the living room to investigate, an intruder wielding a knife attacked. The intruder cut Mrs. Short’s throat, but still she remained conscious. When Mrs. Short’s husband, Earl, followed her into the living room a few moments later, another intruder shot him in the head. Mr. Short died within minutes. The attackers then ordered Mrs. Short to lie still. They asked her where she hid her money. The two men kept Mrs. Short prisoner in her home while they searched it for nearly two hours, eventually leaving in the Shorts’ truck with $500 cash and a.32 caliber Smith and Wesson taken from the house. After the intruders left, Mrs. Short walked down a nearby road to seek help. A passing ambulance came to her aid, and police were notified of the attack. In response to police questioning, Mrs. Short recalled that the man who stabbed her wore a dark jacket and that the man who shot Mr. Short wore tan, loose-fitting clothes. Mrs. Short also told police that the man who stabbed her made a telephone call from the kitchen just prior to leaving. Police traced this phone call and determined it was made at 8:16 a.m. to a Bill Guinn in Oklahoma City. Police promptly contacted Mr. Guinn, who told them he received a call at that time from his nephew and employee, Tracy Dyer. Dyer had called to say that he would be late to work that morning because of car problems. Police then located Dyer and took him to the sheriff’s office for questioning. There Dyer admitted that he and Jeffrey Matthews, a great-nephew of Earl and Minnie Short, went to the house to look for money they thought was hidden there. Dyer blamed Matthews for the attacks on the Shorts. Police arrested Dyer and secured an arrest warrant for Matthews. They also executed a search of Matthews’s home, where they seized a pair of brown coveralls, three $100 bills found in the freezer, and a prescription pill bottle for Xanax issued to Minnie Short. Officers also searched the backyard, but found nothing. Five months later, however, in June of 1994, one of Matthews’s neighbors found a.32 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver buried in a field directly behind Matthews’s house. The gun was later identified as the gun taken from the Shorts’ home by their attackers. The police then returned to the same field with metal detectors and found another buried gun, a.45 caliber Ruger pistol, that tests proved was used to kill Earl Short. In due course, Matthews was charged with first degree murder and various other crimes. At trial, Dyer testified against Matthews, implicating him as Dyer’s accomplice in the crime. At the close of evidence, the jury found Matthews guilty and sentenced him to death.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 17, 2010 Pennsylvania Michelle Cable, 41 James VanDivner stayed
Jessica Cable and her mother Michelle Cable lived in Grindstone, Fayette County. On July 5, 2004, Jessica was babysitting at a neighbor’s home. Between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m., Jessica saw VanDivner driving in the direction of her home and immediately ran home. When she arrived, she saw VanDivner get out of his vehicle and walk to the back porch of her home. As Jessica followed, VanDivner entered the home through the back door and, while walking through the home, encountered a family friend, Larry Newman, in the living room. VanDivner asked Larry where Michelle was, and Larry pointed to the front door. VanDivner then opened the door and walked onto the sun porch. On the steps leading to the sun porch from the outside, VanDivner met Michelle and her son, Billy Cable. As VanDivner walked onto the porch, Billy told him, “Dude, get off my property.” VanDivner then pointed a gun at Michelle, at which point, Billy pounced on VanDivner in an attempt to wrestle the gun from his hand. VanDivner managed to keep the gun and pointed it at Larry Newman’s head. Larry’s relative, Kenneth Newman, then rushed VanDivner, and the gun fired. VanDivner, who still had the gun, walked quickly to Michelle and told her he was going to kill her. He grabbed her by the hair, shot her in the head, and, as she fell to the ground, stated, “There, you bitch, I said I was going to kill you.” VanDivner smiled and walked away. A motorist who was passing by saw VanDivner grab Michelle by the hair and shoot her in the head. Meanwhile, after unsuccessfully attempting to take the gun from VanDivner, Billy had gone inside the home to look for a weapon to protect his family. When he was unable to find a weapon, he left the home. As he stepped off the back porch, Billy saw VanDivner walking toward him with the gun in his hand. VanDivner pointed the gun at Billy, who turned to run away. VanDivner shot Billy in the neck and then left the scene. Police subsequently apprehended VanDivner in a field and recovered a Jennings J22 handgun. As VanDivner was being taken into an interview room at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks, he blurted out to Trooper James Monkelis, “This is a death penalty case and I don’t want the needle, life for a life. Tell the DA I will plead guilty to life. I would have killed myself if I knew Michelle was dead.” On July 8, 2004, Dr. Cyril Wecht performed an autopsy on Michelle and determined that the manner of death was homicide in that she “died as a result of anoxic and cephalopathy, diminution of oxygen to the brain tissue with degeneration, early necrosis, death of brain tissue, produced as a result of the gunshot wound to the head.” Dr. Wecht recovered the bullet from Michelle’s brain and provided it to the State Police for analysis. Corporal David J. Burlingame, an expert in the field of firearm and toolmark examination determined that the bullet recovered from Michelle’s brain was fired from the Jennings 22 handgun found in VanDivner’s possession at the time of his apprehension. Prior to trial, VanDivner filed a petition to bar the death penalty, alleging that he is mentally retarded and has significant limitations in adaptive skills. He argued that the execution of a mentally retarded person constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and requested a pretrial hearing to determine whether the death penalty should be barred in this instance. Judge Solomon held a four day hearing on VanDivner’s petition at which VanDivner presented the testimony of two expert witnesses and several lay witnesses, and the Commonwealth offered the testimony of a psychiatrist and an official of the Department of Transportation. Judge Solomon determined that VanDivner had failed to meet his burden of proving that his limitations, if any, began before he was 18 years of age, as required by the standards for determining mental retardation in Pennsylvania. Thus, based upon VanDivner’s failure to establish this element, the court denied the petition. A jury found VanDivner guilty of the first-degree murder of Michelle, criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide with respect to Billy and the aggravated assault of Larry Newman. At the penalty phase hearing, the Commonwealth presented evidence of two aggravating circumstances: (1) that, in the commission of the offenses VanDivner knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim; and (2) that VanDivner had a significant history of felony convictions involving the use or threat of violence. The jury found both aggravating circumstances and one mitigating circumstance related to VanDivner’s character and the circumstances of his offense, (the “catchall” mitigator), and determined that the two aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstance. Thus, the jury returned a sentence of death. On February 12, 2007, the trial court formally imposed the death sentence as well as a consecutive sentence of 20 to 40 years for the attempted homicide of Billy Cable and a sentence of 10 to 20 years to run consecutively to VanDivner’s sentences for first-degree murder and attempted murder, for the aggravated assault of Larry Newman. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 18, 2010 Pennsylvania Vaughn Christopher Anthony Fletcher stayed
Anthony Fletcher was sentenced to death for the shooting death of Vaughn Christopher on March 2, 1992, at approximately 1:00 a.m., in the 2000 block of South 60th Street in Philadelphia. Fletcher shot Christopher because Christopher failed to pay for drugs Fletcher had given him. The shooting was witnessed by several persons including Natalie Grant, Angelic Kirkman, and Ronald “Skeet” Williams. In summary, the witnesses testified that Fletcher approached Christopher and asked him for the money Christopher owed him. Without giving Christopher an opportunity to respond, Fletcher reached into his coat, pulled out a silver.380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and then fired one shot at Christopher’s feet. Christopher immediately began walking away from Fletcher. When Christopher was about seven feet from Fletcher, Fletcher fired two more shots at him. One of the bullets hit Christopher in his thigh and the other hit him in his right flank. The bullet that struck Christopher in his flank caused damage to his right kidney, liver, and chest wall. Christopher stumbled away and collapsed against a parked car. He asked Williams to help him but Williams declined. Christopher managed to rise to his feet and walk several steps but then fell to the ground and lapsed into unconsciousness. Police arrived soon thereafter and transported Christopher to a nearby hospital where he died a day and a half later. Following the shooting, Fletcher returned to his home and changed his clothes. He then returned to the scene of the shooting and remarked to Grant and Williams that, “You all better tell that boy he better not tell who shot him.” Almost a week later Fletcher approached Grant and warned her not to speak to the police. Afraid for her own safety and that of her family, Grant promised Fletcher that she would not speak to the police about the shooting. Police arrested Fletcher on March 10, 1992, and charged him with murder and possessing an instrument of crime. Fletcher then agreed to speak to police. After receiving Miranda warnings, Fletcher told the police that he approached Christopher and punched him in the head because Christopher and another man had robbed him during a dice game. Fletcher further remarked that Christopher pulled out a gun, which prompted him to grab for Christopher’s weapon. Fletcher stated that he was able to gain control of Christopher’s weapon and fired it twice at Christopher’s legs. On January 29, 1993, a jury convicted Fletcher of first-degree murder and PIC. Following the recording of the verdict and a penalty hearing, the jury found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances and fixed the penalty at death. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 19, 2010 Pennsylvania Sherry Miller Dennis Miller stayed
Dennis L. Miller resided with his wife, Sherry, and their two children, Barbara and Dennis, who at the time were twelve and four, at 301 Church Alley, Londongrove Township, Chester County. Miller’s marital relationship was, however, strained as a consequence of drug use, as well as jealousy and physical abuse directed toward his wife. Notably, in July of 1994, Miller pled guilty to harassment and disorderly conduct arising from an altercation with Sherry, and, in April of 1995, he pled guilty to aggravated assault in connection with an incident in which he held a gun to Sherry’s head. As a result of the latter conviction, Miller was imprisoned for a term of nine to twenty-three months. While in prison, Miller professed a desire to kill Sherry, and on the day of his release in September of 1995, he told his cellmate, “I’ll be back for killing my wife.” Following his release from prison, Miller resumed living with his wife and children. On November 18, 1995, Miller made arrangements with his mother, Agnes Miller, to supervise his children while he and Sherry visited a local tavern, Trib’s Waystation. At the bar, Miller and his wife drank beer and, at one point, ingested methamphetamine. Although Miller did not appear to be intoxicated, during the course of the evening he became angry whenever his wife either spoke to another man or used the telephone. Sherry used the telephone at the bar to page Sean Smith, a man she dated during Miller’s incarceration. Smith then telephoned Sherry in response to the page. At approximately 12:30 a.m. Miller and his wife left the bar. On Sunday, November 19, Agnes Miller was surprised when Miller and his wife did not arrive during the breakfast hour as planned to retrieve their children. As the day progressed, she became increasingly concerned. Miller’s daughter, Barbara, repeatedly telephoned the family residence, but no one answered. In addition, Agnes Miller drove to Miller’s home on two or more occasions. On each occasion, she observed that the house was locked, no one answered the door, and Sherry’s vehicle was missing. Initially, Agnes Miller was concerned because Barbara was asthmatic and her medicine was located in Miller’s home. Indeed, later that day, Barbara was taken to the hospital for treatment of an asthmatic attack. Ultimately, on Monday, November 20, Agnes Miller contacted Sherry’s mother, Mary Folk, to determine whether she had heard from her daughter. As Ms. Folk had not, she filed a missing persons report with the Pennsylvania State Police. In response to this report, the investigating trooper contacted the employers for Miller and his wife, checked with the local prisons and hospitals, and interviewed family members. Both Agnes Miller and Ms. Folk related to the police that Miller and his wife had used illicit drugs and speculated that they might have traveled to Philadelphia to purchase drugs. The police also went to the Miller home, knocked on the door, and after receiving no response, checked the doors, finding them locked. When these efforts failed, the troopers asked Agnes Miller to meet them at the residence. Once there, Agnes Miller again expressed concern that something may have happened to her son and daughter-in-law because of their history of drug abuse. The troopers who met Agnes Miller were familiar with Miller’s drug problem and were aware of Miller’s history of spousal abuse. At Agnes Miller’s request, and after receiving an assurance from her that she would be responsible for the property, the troopers agreed to forcibly enter the residence. The troopers gained access through a basement window, checked the basement area, climbed a set of stairs to the kitchen, and briefly surveyed the kitchen. Upon hearing a fan on the second story, the troopers announced themselves and proceeded upstairs. In the master bedroom, the troopers observed the contents of a purse strewn about the floor, an open suitcase, and the naked, blood-spattered body of Sherry Miller lying on a bed with her legs spread, knees bent, and with a bloody pillow over her face. After confirming that Miller was not also in the bedroom, the troopers left, secured the house, and waited until investigators arrived with a search warrant. An autopsy of Sherry Miller revealed that she died as a result of more than thirty stab wounds to her head, neck, chest, arms, and hands. The murder weapon, a knife, was found in a trash can;  the tip had been broken off and was recovered from the shoulder of Sherry Miller. In addition to determining the cause of death, the forensic pathologist conducting the autopsy concluded that Sherry Miller had been subjected to forcible intercourse at the time of her death. This finding was premised, in part, upon the position in which her body was found, the defensive wounds on her hands and arms, the seminal material recovered from her vaginal vault, the absence of such material outside her vagina, and the absence of blood spatter in the area just above her vagina and between her legs. From the crime scene, the police recovered Miller’s bloody handprints on the pillow that was used to cover Sherry Miller’s face. Furthermore, the police discovered a bloody footprint of Miller and a bandage with Miller’s bloody fingerprint in the bathroom area. In addition, the police obtained a partial thumbprint from the murder weapon. Although this print contained several characteristics consistent with Miller’s right thumb, the partial print was insufficient for a positive identification. The police noted that the box spring from the bed where Sherry Miller was found was broken, and the bed frame was bent. On the kitchen table, the police found a partially empty cup of coffee next to a vengeful note in Miller’s handwriting. In his note, Miller stated: Now I hope some of Sherry’s whore friends learn something from this. I didn’t want for it to go this far, but you people don’t understand what she put me through. Some know, but they don’t want to say something about her. Everybody told her everything I did, but me, I had to find out for myself what she did. All of my so-called friends f— me one way or another. I had no friends. And I wish I had more time to get even with some of you assholes. I just want to say that you, Larry Brown, I would have killed you, and you, Sean Smith, I told Donny one time before to tell you to leave her alone. I don’t know if he did. And if he did, the next time somebody tells you something, you better do what they say. I would have got you too. I hope somebody in my family takes care of Barb, Dennis. I do love you all. I will see some of you in hell. The police continued to search for Miller, contacting his friends and family members in an effort to locate him. Although their efforts were unsuccessful, the police were able to trace Miller’s flight from the crime scene to Maryland from his use of his wife’s automatic teller machine card, and the police found Sherry’s vehicle in Maryland;  the vehicle contained a baseball cap belonging to Miller and a number of ATM receipts. Miller was ultimately apprehended six months later in Florida, after a tip following a description of the unsolved crime on the America’s Most Wanted television program. Prior to trial, Miller sought to suppress the evidence seized from his residence, alleging that the initial entry of the police was illegal as it was not authorized by a warrant or supported by probable cause. The trial court denied the suppression motion, finding that the actions of the police were justified in response to the concerns, expressed by Agnes Miller and Ms. Folk, that either Miller or his wife may have been in need of immediate aid. After an extensive colloquy, Miller elected to proceed with a non-jury trial. At trial, the Commonwealth presented testimony from a forensic pathologist, Richard Callery, M.D., regarding the cause of and circumstances surrounding Sherry Miller’s death. Dr. Callery opined that she died from massive internal bleeding resulting from multiple stab wounds, and that she had been subjected to forcible intercourse during the homicide. The Commonwealth also presented testimony from Agnes Miller, as well as a number of witnesses who had seen Miller and his wife at Trib’s Waystation on the evening of November 18. In addition, Miller’s cellmate during his incarceration for aggravated assault testified to incriminating statements made by Miller. Finally, both sides stipulated to a number of forensic findings, namely, fingerprints, footprints, blood tests, and the results of DNA testing, which linked Miller to the murder. The defense presented one witness, who testified that Miller’s cellmate fabricated the statements he had attributed to Miller. The trial court found Miller guilty of all offenses. In the penalty phase, the Commonwealth alleged as aggravating circumstances that Miller committed the murder during the perpetration of a felony, rape, and that the murder was committed by means of torture. After the Commonwealth incorporated the record from the guilt phase, the defense sought to establish mitigating circumstances by presenting psychological testimony regarding Miller’s background, upbringing, and psychological profile, as well as testimony from his family members. The trial court found one aggravating circumstance and one mitigating circumstance, that Miller lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. However, the trial court concluded that the aggravating circumstance outweighed the mitigating circumstance. On October 27, 1997, the trial court formally imposed the death sentence with a consecutive term of incarceration of ten to twenty years related to the rape conviction. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 24, 2010 Pennsylvania Kristofer Kolesnik Bryan Galvin stayed
At approximately 3:00 a.m. on January 31, 2006, Officer Nicholas Hine, Sr. of the Cumru Township Police Department, on patrol in the Borough of Kenhorst, Berks County, Pennsylvania, observed a maroon 1988 Ford Aerostar van travelling on New Holland Road. The van was heading toward Nolde Forest, a wooded public park and operating without its headlights illuminated. Based upon this violation of the Motor Vehicle Code, Officer Hine activated his overhead lights in an attempt to stop the van. The van made numerous evasive turns through the streets and alleyways of Kenhorst before ultimately coming to a stop. An individual, later identified through his driver’s license as Galvin, exited the van, and walked toward Officer Hine’s patrol car. After being ordered twice to return to his vehicle, Galvin returned to the van. Officer Hine radioed for assistance. While waiting for the backup officers to arrive, Officer Hine observed through the window of the van what appeared to be a human leg with a peace sign tattooed on the skin, with a white sneaker on the foot. After observing this body, Officer Hine instructed Galvin, through the P.A. system of his patrol car, for Galvin to turn off the engine of the van and throw the key out of the window with his left hand. The key was on a ring with a “Jello” key fob. Officer Hine also noticed that a piece of plastic was broken off of the van’s bumper. Shortly thereafter, Officer Hine was joined by Sergeant Scott Bechtel and Officer James Griffith. As the officers approached the van, Sergeant Bechtel observed a large, approximately 400-pound white male, later determined to be Kristofer Kolesnik, lying in the back of the van. Kolesnik was wrapped in a large white sheet or tarp which was tied with yellow electrical cord. There appeared to be blood on Kolesnik’s chest and on the sheet, and he did not appear to be breathing. After directing Galvin to exit the vehicle and lie on the ground, Officer Hine asked if there was anyone else in the van, to which Galvin responded, “just a dead guy,” or “only the dead guy.” Subsequently, EMS personnel who were summoned to the scene confirmed Kolesnik was not breathing and had no heartbeat, and determined that he was dead. Also at this time, Officer Hine and Sergeant Bechtel observed a red gasoline can placed on the front passenger seat, which was later determined to be full of gasoline. Additionally, Sergeant Bechtel saw a Motorola cellular telephone lying in the center console of the van. After Galvin was taken into custody, Sergeant Bechtel noticed blood on Galvin’s pant leg, boot, wrist watch, and glasses. The officers transported Galvin to the Cumru Township Police Department. There, Galvin was placed in a holding cell and instructed not to wash his hands in the sink. Later, however, Galvin was observed by a surveillance camera, dunking his hands into the toilet bowel and rubbing them together. Through Galvin’s driver’s license, the police were able to obtain the address of Galvin’s residence at 312 South 18th Street, Reading, Pennsylvania. Investigators were dispatched to Galvin’s residence to search for pieces of broken bumper from the van, which had been impounded after the removal of the victim’s body. Upon his arrival at Galvin’s residence, Sergeant Guy Lehman of the Reading Police Department observed fresh blood leading from the sidewalk to the front door of the residence, and a wooden broom with blood on it, on the sidewalk. Michael Miller, who lived in the apartment above Galvin, was later charged in connection with the disposition of Kolesnik’s body. Evidently, Galvin asked for Miller’s assistance in moving a “heavy object” into the van. Miller helped Galvin slide the body into the van. Based upon his observation of what he believed to be fresh blood spread across the front of the residence, and his fear that there may have been other victims inside the residence who may require medical attention, Sergeant Lehman called for assistance and determined that it was prudent to conduct a security check of the residence. Thereafter, Criminal Investigators William Strickler and Andrew Shearer arrived at Galvin’s residence. Investigator Strickler knocked on the front door of the residence. Initially, there was no response. After knocking a second time, Investigator Strickler heard a faint muffled voice coming from inside the residence. Investigator Strickler pushed open the front door, and three officers entered the residence. The officers proceeded room-by-room in search of individuals in the apartment. The officers checked a living room, a kitchen, a rear bathroom, and a bedroom where they encountered William Galvin, Galvin’s father, who was lying on a bed. Galvin’s father was not injured or in need of medical care. The officers explained why they were in the apartment, gave him an opportunity to dress, and then escorted him from the apartment so that the security check could be completed. Proceeding to the next room, which was later determined to be Galvin’s bedroom, the officers observed a bullet shell casing and blood on the carpet. After assuring themselves there were no additional victims or persons requiring medical attention, the officers vacated the residence. Outside the residence, the officers found a piece of plastic bumper along the curb and sidewalk directly beneath a damaged porch post, which later was determined the match the damage to the van. Investigator Shearer prepared a search warrant, and a magisterial district judge issued the warrant authorizing a search of the premises. Pursuant to the search of the residence, the officers recovered from Galvin’s bedroom a rifle shell casing, a shell casing on a dresser, a discharged bullet projectile, an impact indentation on the wall directly above the bullet, yellow electrical wire (which later was determined to have been the source of the wire wrapped around Kolesnik’s body), yellow wire cutters (which later were determined to have cut the wire used to secure the tarp around the victim’s body), a pool of blood at the foot of the bed, a pool of blood on the mattress, and a larger pool of blood on the underside of the mattress. Additionally, the search uncovered a Brinks lock box, which was located underneath the bed in Galvin’s bedroom. Subsequently, a district judge issued a second search warrant authorizing the seizure of the contents of the lock box, which we discuss below. Dr. Samuel Land, a certified forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy of Kolesnik’s body. The autopsy revealed that Kolesnik’s death was a result of a gunshot wound to the head. No gun was ever recovered related to Kolesnik’s murder. The autopsy also disclosed that a boot lace was wrapped around Kolesnik’s left arm in a fashion associated with intravenous drug use. Injection sites on Kolesnik’s arms were observed and toxicology reports revealed the presence of morphine, codeine, and alcohol in Kolesnik’s body. Finally, additional evidence adduced at trial established that, on January 27, 2006, at an A-Plus minimarket on Perkiomen Avenue in Reading, Galvin and Kolesnik engaged in a heated argument regarding $20 and a cellular telephone. Three days later, on January 30, 2006, Wendy Hess, the victim’s girlfriend with whom he lived, picked up Kolesnik after he finished his shift with the Reading Metro Taxi Company. The two returned to their home in Reading. After eating a meal, Hess and Kolesnik went to bed. When Hess awoke at 1:45 p.m., Kolesnik was gone and had evidently taken Hess’ maroon van with him. In the interim, at approximately 12:15 p.m., Kolesnik went to the A-Plus minimarket on Perkiomen Avenue where he was confronted by Galvin regarding the return of a cellular telephone. Galvin was tried before a jury, commencing August 6, 2007. The jury found Galvin guilty of the above-stated crimes, including first-degree murder. On August 13, 2007, the jury found the aggravating circumstance that Galvin had a significant history of felony convictions involving the use or threat of violence to the person. The jury also found as a mitigating circumstance that Galvin committed three of his prior felonies when he was a juvenile. The jury concluded that the aggravating circumstance outweighed the mitigating circumstance and rendered a verdict of death. On September 6, 2007, the trial court formally sentenced Galvin to death and a consecutive, aggregate sentence of no less than 5 nor more than 11 years’ imprisonment for the convictions for abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and theft by unlawful taking. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.

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