February 2010 Executions

Two killers were executed in February 2010. They had murdered at least 3 people
Five killers were given a stay in February 2010. They have murdered at least 10 people.
Two killers died while awaiting execution in February 2010. They had murdered at least 3 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 2, 2010 Nevada Brian Pierce Robert McConnell stayed
Bryan PierceRobert Lee McConnell pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon, sexual assault, and first-degree kidnapping. In doing so, he admitted that he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend’s fiancé, Brian Pierce. In 2001, April had taken out a protective order on McConnell and he had been arrested after violating that order. He subsequently was fired from his job after the arrest, and vowed to make the couple "pay…when you least expect it." Brian was shot nine times with a handgun. Prosecutors said the final shot, to the head, was fired at such close range that it left burns on the victim. Then McConnell dragged Brian’s body into a back bedroom. McConnell tried to dig out some of the bullets that killed Pierce and then stabbed him with a steak knife and placed a tape of the movie "Fear" next to the knife that was buried to the hilt in Brian’s chest. McConnell later testified that he used special bullets designed to cause maximum damage. McConnell then dressed in all black and waited for his ex-girlfriend April to come home from work. When she arrived, he cut off her clothes with a knife, handcuffed her, raped her, and kidnapped her, forcing her to drive to San Mateo. April escaped when they stopped at a gas station. McConnell was later captured in San Francisco. In a subsequent penalty hearing, the jury found three aggravators—the murder was committed during the course of a burglary and a robbery and involved mutilation—and determined that the aggravators were not outweighed by any mitigating circumstances. The jury returned a death sentence for the first-degree murder charge. McConnell had a previous execution date for June of 2005 when he voluntarily gave up his appeals, however he resumed his appeals less than an hour before the execution was to be carried out. In an interview prior to the execution date, McConnell stated that his only regret was that he killed his ex-girlfriend’s fiancé instead of killing her. "I wouldn’t play around and have feelings like I did the last time. I wouldn’t let her get away. She would be tortured and killed." 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
February 4, 2010 Ohio Isam Salman
Hayder Al-Turk
Mark Brown executed
During the evening of January 28, 1994, Mark A. Brown was walking in the Kimmelbrook housing projects in Youngstown, Ohio when Gary Thomas and his nephew Allen Thomas drove by. Allen Thomas, a friend of Brown’s, had Gary Thomas stop the car and pick up Brown. The three men proceeded to a drive-through store at the corner of Albert and Victor Streets, where they purchased beer and wine. Upon leaving the store, the three drove to the residence of Lisa Dotson, a relative of Allen Thomas. En route to the Dotson residence, the three stopped at a convenience store at the corner of Elm and New York Avenues called the Midway Market, to buy "blunt" cigars. These "blunt" cigars were emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. Upon their arrival at the Dotson residence the three men began to play cards. A number of juveniles were at the house at the time including Myzelle Arrington, Marcus Clark, and Antwaine McMeans. While the men played cards Allen Thomas and Brown drank Thunderbird wine into which valium had been dissolved. In addition, Brown smoked some of the "blunt" cigars containing marijuana. While playing cards Brown stated to Allen Thomas that he wanted to do what the characters in "Menace to Society" had done. According to the testimony of Gary Thomas, "Menace to Society" is a movie, at the beginning of which some individuals enter an "Oriental store" and kill two store clerks before leaving with the store’s cash. Gary Thomas also testified that he noticed that Brown had a gun on him while they were playing cards. After several hours, the three men left the house and returned to Kimmelbrooks to purchase more marijuana. After making the purchase, the three then returned to the Midway Market to purchase more "blunt" cigars. At about the same time as the three men were driving towards the store, the juveniles at the Dotson residence began walking to the store. Indeed, Marcus Clark testified that the juveniles were leaving the store just as Brown and Allen Thomas were entering. The Salman family had owned and operated the Midway Market as a family business for over twenty years. On duty in the store on January 28, 1994 were Isam Salman and Hayder Al-Turk. Salman, at the time aged 32 and the father of seven children, was the son of the store owner, and Al-Turk had been an employee at the store for approximately a year. Notably, because a family member was working on the night in question, the video surveillance cameras inside the store were not turned on. When the three men arrived at the store, Gary Thomas stayed in the car listening to music while Allen Thomas and Brown went inside. Allen Thomas and Brown returned to the vehicle but Brown then stated that he had forgotten to do something and went back into the store. Marcus Clark testified that he saw Brown put on a mask before re-entering the store but that Allen Thomas remained in the vehicle. Another of the juvenilles, Myzelle Arrington testified that both Brown and Allen Thomas re-entered the store. Gary Thomas testified that Allen Thomas did re-enter the store with Brown but came back out immediately. In any event, Clark, Arrington, and Gary Thomas all testified that while Brown was in the store they heard gunshots being fired. Brown returned to the vehicle and when questioned by Gary Thomas about the gunshots, Brown responded that it had just been some firecrackers exploding. The three men then left the scene and returned to the Dotson residence where Brown was observed wiping off his gun. In addition, Gary Thomas testified to seeing blood on Brown’s hands and clothing. At approximately 9:55 p.m. the Youngstown Police Department responded to a call concerning the Midway Market. Upon arriving at the scene police officers found the bodies of Salman and Al-Turk behind the counter inside the store. Al-Turk was found laying on the floor and Salman was found kneeling underneath the counter. Both victims had died from multiple gunshot wounds. Brown was arrested on February 3, 1994 at an apartment in Warren, Ohio. At the time of the arrest police officers recovered a 9 mm handgun underneath some cushions on a couch. Brown was transported to the Youngstown Police Department where he was questioned by Detectives Maietta and McKnight. As a result of the questioning Brown made a confession to the killing of Al-Turk but denied shooting Salman. Subsequently, shell casings found at the store were found to have been fired from the handgun recovered during Brown’s arrest.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 12, 2010 Wyoming Lisa Marie Kimmell, 18 Dale Eaton stayed
LisaKimmellAt about noon on April 2, 1988, a fisherman found the murdered corpse of eighteen-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell in the North Platte River southwest of Casper, near what is called Government Bridge. The victim had last been seen alive at 9:08 p.m., on March 25, 1988, in Douglas when she was stopped for a traffic violation. The crime was not solved until 2002, when a DNA match linked Eaton, who was incarcerated in Colorado on a felony conviction, to her murder. On April 17, 2003, an indictment was filed charging Eaton with one count of first degree premeditated murder, three counts of felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and first degree sexual assault, and on June 3, 2003, the State gave notice that it would seek the death penalty. Lisa was last seen alive at approximately 9:08 p.m., on March 25, 1988, just east of Douglas, Wyoming, when she was issued a speeding ticket by a Wyoming State Trooper. That event occurred when she was en route from Denver, Colorado, to Billings, Montana, with a planned intermediate stop in Cody. When she did not arrive in Cody or Billings as scheduled, her mother reported her missing and a search for her began on March 26, 1988. An autopsy was performed shortly after her body was found. It revealed that Lisa had been dead for 36 hours or more, although it was conceded that death may have occurred as much as three to seven days earlier. Because her body was in the cold water of the North Platte River, the time of death was difficult to estimate accurately. Lisa died of internal and external bleeding, secondary to multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen. In addition, a lethal blow was delivered to Lisa‘s head shortly before she was stabbed. That blow would have proved fatal had she not first bled to death. Semen was found in her vagina and on the panties she was wearing, which was the only clothing she had on when her body was found. Samples were taken and preserved. DNA extracted from the semen found on her panties eventually led the authorities to Eaton. Eaton had once lived near Moneta, Wyoming, and a search of that property uncovered various parts from Lisa Kimmell‘s automobile, as well as the remainder of the automobile itself, buried in the ground. At trial, two theories emerged as to how Eaton and his victim came to be together. One, reported by a fellow inmate of Eaton‘s at the Natrona County Jail, was that Ms. Kimmell gave Eaton a ride to help him out. Eaton made sexual advances toward her and Kimmell slammed on the brakes and was going to make him get out of the car ―in the middle of nowhere.‖ Things spun out of control and Eaton ended up subduing her, raping her, killing her, etc. This theory was presented to the jury during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. [¶8] The second theory was presented by Eaton during the sentencing phase. It came into evidence through a physician who had examined Eaton for the purpose of preparing a mental evaluation. Eaton reported that he returned to his home late on March 25, 1988 and observed Ms. Kimmell‘s car parked on his land. He thought there were two people there and that he was being robbed. Eaton was in an angry state of mind to begin with, and upon finding her there, he got even more angry. He approached her with a gun and took her to his makeshift home. The further details of this version suggested that circumstances then spun out of 7 control, and Eaton ended up raping and killing her after keeping her on his property for several days so that he would not be alone at Easter. The guilt/innocence phase of this case was tried to a jury on February 23, 2004 through March 15, 2004. The penalty phase lasted from March 18, 2004 until March 20, 2004. A sentencing hearing was held on May 20, 2004, and a warrant of execution was entered of record on that date. The judgment and sentence were entered of record on June 3, 2004. The death sentence has been stayed since June 22, 2004.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 12, 2010 Arizona David J. Woodhurst
Gregory West
Viva Leroy Nash died on death row
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Viva Leroy Nash spent much of his life in and out of prison for crimes including transporting stolen vehicles, robbery, and attempted murder. He was first imprisoned in 1930 at 15 years old for armed robbery. In 1947 at 32 years old, he was sentenced to prison again after shooting a Connecticut police officer. He spent almost 25 years behind bars. In 1977 he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for having robbed and murdered postal carrier David J. Woodhurst, but escaped from a prison work crew in 1982, at age 66. Three weeks later, he went into a coin shop in north Phoenix, Arizona, demanded money from an employee, Gregory West, and then shot West three times with a.357 Colt trooper. Another employee was in the line of fire but was not hit. As Nash fled, the proprietor of a nearby shop pointed a gun at him and told him to stop. Nash grabbed the weapon, and the two men struggled over it. Police officers soon arrived and arrested Nash. Nash was sentenced to death in 1983. His attorneys claimed that senility had rendered him legally incompetent to be executed, describing him as a "doddering old man, who can’t hear, can’t see, can’t walk, and is very, very loony". The sentence was never carried out. Nash died of natural causes on February 12, 2010, at the age of 94. While serving two consecutive life sentences for murder and robbery in Utah, Nash escaped. Three weeks later, on Nov. 3, 1982, he entered a coin shop in north Phoenix, demanded money from an employee, Gregory West, and then shot West three times with a.357 Colt trooper. Another employee was in the line of fire but was not hit. As Nash fled, the proprietor of a nearby shop pointed a gun at him and told him to stop. Nash grabbed the weapon, and the two men struggled over it. Police officers soon arrived and arrested Nash.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 16, 2010 Florida Margaret "Peggy" Park, 26 Martin Grossman executed
peggy parkMartin Edward Grossman, then 19, and a companion, Thayne Taylor, 17, drove to a wooded area of Pinellas County on the night of December 13, 1984, to shoot a handgun which Grossman had recently obtained by burglarizing a home. Grossman lived in neighboring Pasco County at his mother’s home and was on probation following a recent prison term. Wildlife Officer Margaret Park, known as Peggy, patrolling the area in her vehicle, came upon the two men and became suspicious. She left her vehicle with the motor, lights, and flashers on, and took possession of Grossman’s weapon and driver’s license. Grossman pleaded with her not to turn him in as having a weapon in his possession and being outside of Pasco County would cause him to return to prison for violation of probation. Officer Park refused the plea, opened the driver’s door to her vehicle and picked up the radio microphone to call the sheriff’s office. Grossman then grabbed the officer’s large flashlight and struck her repeatedly on the head and shoulders, forcing her upper body into the vehicle. Officer Park reported "I’m hit" over the radio and screamed. Grossman continued the attack, and called for help from Taylor, who joined in the assault. Officer Park managed to draw her weapon, a.357 magnum, and fired a wild shot within the vehicle. Simultaneously, she temporarily disabled Taylor by kicking him in the groin. Grossman, who was a large man at 6’4" and 220 pounds, wrenched the officer’s weapon away, breaking her fingers as he did so, and fired a fatal shot into the back of her head. The spent slug exited her head in front and fell into a drinking cup inside the vehicle. Blood stains, high velocity splatters, the location of the spent slug, and the entry and exit wounds show that the victim’s upper body was inside the vehicle with her face turned inward or downward at the moment she was killed. Grossman and Taylor took back the seized handgun and driver’s license, and fled with the officer’s weapon. They returned to the Grossman home, where they told the story of the killing, individually and collectively, to a friend who lived with the Grossmans. The friend, Brian Hancock, and Taylor buried the two weapons nearby. Grossman, who was covered with blood, attempted unsuccessfully to burn his clothes and shoes which Taylor, later disposed of in a nearby lake. Approximately a week later Grossman and Taylor, individually and collectively, recounted the story of the murder to another friend, Brian Allan. Approximately eleven days after the murder, Hancock told his story to the police and Grossman and Taylor were arrested. Taylor, upon his arrest, recounted the story of the murder to a policeman and, later, Grossman told the story to a jail-mate, Charles Brewer. Grossman and Taylor were tried jointly over Grossman’s objection. At trial, the state introduced the testimony of Hancock, Allan, and Brewer against Grossman. The state also introduced Taylor’s statement to the policeman against Taylor only. In addition, the state introduced the charred shoes, the two weapons, prints taken from the victim’s vehicle, testimony from a neighbor who observed the attempted burning of the clothes, Grossman’s efforts to clean the Grossman van, and the changing of the van tires. Expert testimony as to the cause of death and the significance of blood splatter evidence was also introduced by the state. The jury was instructed that Taylor’s admissions to the policeman could only be used against him, not Grossman. The jury was instructed on premeditation and felony murder based on robbery, burglary, and escape. A general verdict of first-degree murder was returned against the Grossman and Taylor was found guilty of third-degree murder. The judge followed the jury’s twelve-to-zero recommendation that the Grossman be sentenced to death. Taylor was sentenced to seven years for his part in the murder and served nearly three years in prison before being paroled into a supervised program. UPDATE: Peggy Park’s mother, Margaret, and her son and daughter plan to witness the execution. Retired schoolteacher Margaret Park, now 79, said Grossman’s death is "long overdue. He had very good representation all the way through. I think he’s been treated very fairly by the state of Florida. I don’t take any pleasure in an execution, but it’s time. Every time something has come up, it has been like a wave coming up and knocking you back down, and you go over all the emotions again. We just need to have an end to this coming back and hitting us again." Margaret said the execution wouldn’t “bring closure,” but it would “prevent him from ever, under any circumstances being released and injuring other people. I spent 25 years teaching kids that they had to take responsibility for their actions,” she said. “And I think he needs to be held accountable for what he did.” Peggy’s father died in 2000. Margaret described Peggy as "the type of person who was everyone’s friend." Peggy grew up in Ohio and went to Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in natural resources and wildlife management in 1981. The next year she graduated from wildlife officer training school and was assigned to Pinellas County. The family had Peggy’s body cremated and her ashes were scatter near the eagles nests she worked to protect. A nature trail was named for her in Pinellas County park and a memorial plaque was installed near the place where she was murdered.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 17, 2010 Florida Frank Budnick McArthur Breedlove died on death row
McArthur Breedlove was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Frank Budnick on 11/06/78. In the early morning of 11/06/78, Breedlove broke into a Miami residence and stabbed Budnick as he lay sleeping in his bed. Breedlove apparently obtained a butcher knife from inside the home, and killed Budnick with a single wound inflicted to his upper chest, puncturing Budnick’s lung, which caused him to drown in his own blood. Breedlove was also charged with the attempted murder of Carol Meoni, a second occupant of the home, but was later acquitted of that charge. Additional Information: Breedlove was previously convicted of two rapes in California, as a mentally disordered sex offender. In addition, Breedlove was convicted of Second-Degree Murder (while in the commission of a felony) in Broward County, Florida. The crime was committed in 1974; however, Breedlove was not sentenced until 04/26/82, after he was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Frank Budnick. Breedlove received 25 years on the Second-Degree Murder charge.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 18, 2010 Alabama Tamika Collins, 18
Nathaniel Baker, 17
Darrell Collier, 23
Robert Melson stayed
Tamika CollinsIn April 1994, Robert Bryant Melson fatally shot three employees and wounded another while robbing a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant in Gadsden, Alabama, with his accomplice, Cuhuatemoc Peraita. The crimes occurred sometime between 11:15 P.M., when the cashier left for the night, and 12:26 A.M., when Bryant Archer called 911. Both assailants wore bandannas over their faces. Archer recognized Peraita as one of the robbers because he was a recent former employee and had a distinctive hairstyle. Archer identified the other assailant as a black male but gave no other physical description at trial. Police officers went to Peraita’s house and then followed Peraita’s car when it left. At 1:20 A.M., police officers arrested Peraita and Melson, who was driving the car. Melson at first told the police that he had been with Peraita the entire night up until his arrest. Two days later, Melson changed his story, claiming that Peraita dropped him off in an area called Green Pastures around 11:50 P.M. and picked him up again at 1:00 A.M. Melson said they then changed clothes at Peraita’s house because they had gotten wet in the rain. At a jury trial in April 1996, Laura Laverty testified that Melson and Peraita were at her residence from 11:00 P.M. to 11:30 P.M. the night in question. Melson was wearing a University of Alabama sweatshirt, blue jeans, tennis shoes, and a hat when he left. Laverty also stated that Melson had asked her to see if Melissa King would provide him with an alibi. King testified that Melson wrote her three letters from jail asking her to provide a false alibi. In the letters, which were introduced at trial, Melson bemoaned the fact that King was not at a place called Frankie’s the night of the murders but urged her to say in court that she had seen him leave there between 12:30 and 12:45 A.M. Inside Peraita’s house, authorities found a bag of money and some clothes, including a University of Alabama sweatshirt and blue jeans. Police also recovered a gun thrown into the Coosa river by Peraita’s brother, Edmundo. Plaster casts of shoeprints at the scene matched one of Melson’s tennis shoes that he was wearing when arrested. Melson presented one alibi witness, Tyrone Porter, 3 who testified that he saw Melson at Frankie’s the night of the robbery between 11:00 P.M. and midnight (even though he had no watch). Melson was found guilty and sentenced to death for three robbery-murder convictions, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on a fourth capital murder conviction, forty years in prison on an attempted murder conviction, and forty years in prison on a first-degree robbery conviction.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 23, 2010 Georgia Martha Chapman Matich, 31
Lisa Renee Chapman, 11
Melbert Ford stayed
After his relationship with 31-year-old Martha Matich broke up, Melbert Ray Ford, Jr. began harassing her by telephone. Two weeks prior to her death, Ford told a friend of his that he “was going to blow her… brains out.” The day before her death, Ford unsuccessfully tried to convince a friend to drive him to the convenience store where Martha worked, owned by her family. Ford told the friend that he planned to rob the store and work revenge upon Martha by killing her. On March 6, 1986, Ford talked to several people about robbing the store. He told one that he intended to kidnap Martha, take her into the woods, make her beg, and then shoot her in the forehead. Ford tried to talk another into helping him with his robbery (Ford had no car). When this effort failed, Ford responded that “there wasn’t anybody crazy around here anymore.” Finally, Ford met 19-year-old Roger Turner, who was out of a job and nearly out of money. By plying him with alcohol, and promising him that they could easily acquire eight thousand dollars, Ford persuaded Turner to help him. They drove in Turner’s car to Chapman’s Grocery, arriving just after closing time. Ford shot away the lower half of the locked and barred glass door and entered the store. Turner, waiting in the car, heard screams and gunshots. Then Ford ran from the store to the car, carrying a bag of money. At 10:20 p.m., the store’s burglar alarm sounded. A Newton County sheriff’s deputy arrived at 10:27 p.m. Martha Matich was lying dead behind the counter, shot three times. Martha’s 11-year-old niece Lisa Chapman was discovered in the bathroom, shot in the head but still alive, sitting on a bucket, bleeding from the head, and having convulsions. She could answer no questions. She died later. Ford and Turner were arrested the next day. Turner confessed first and was brought into Ford’s interrogation room to state to Ford that he had told the truth. Ford told him not to worry, that Turner was not involved in the murders. Afterwards, Ford told his interrogators that the shooting began after Martha Matich pushed the alarm button. He stated that, had he worn a mask, it would not have happened. Ford claimed at trial that he was too drunk to know what was happening, and that it was Turner who entered the store and killed the victims. A Newton County, Georgia, grand jury indicted Ford for malice murder and felony murder of Lisa Chapman, malice murder and felony murder of Martha Chapman Matich, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, and burglary. Following trial in October 1986, the jury found Ford guilty on all counts. At the sentencing phase, the jury found statutory aggravating circumstances as to each murder. The jury found that the malice murder of Lisa Chapman was committed while Ford was engaged in the commission of another capital felony – armed robbery – and during the commission of a burglary. The jury found that the malice murder of Martha Matich was committed while Ford was engaged in the commission of the capital felonies of armed robbery and murder and during the commission of a burglary. The jury recommended that Ford be sentenced to death for the two malice murders. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Ford to death on both malice murder counts, to run consecutively to each other; merged the two felony murder counts into the malice murder counts; and imposed a consecutive 20-year sentence for armed robbery, a consecutive five-year sentence for the firearm possession, and a consecutive 20-year sentence for burglary. UPDATE: A 90-day stay was ordered for Ford. According to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole, a 90-day stay was granted due to the fact that there is a vacancy on the board. A court has previously held that to go forward with an execution without a full five-member board is a violation of the Georgia Constitution.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 24, 2010 Texas Twila Busby
Randy Busby
Elwin Caler
Hank Skinner stayed
Henry Watkins Skinner lived with Twila Busby and her two adult sons, Randy Busby and Elwin Caler, both of whom had mental retardation. Between 10:15 and 10:30 p.m., on December 31, 1993, Howard Mitchell came to the residence to take Skinner and Twila to a New Year’s Eve party. Howard found Skinner asleep on the couch and was unable to wake him. Skinner had apparently been drinking. Leaving Skinner on the couch, Twila and Howard went to the party, but Twila soon asked to be taken home because her uncle, Robert Donnell, was drunk and was following her around, making rude sexual advances, and generally agitating her. Howard drove Twila home between 11:00 and 11:15 p.m., and left. At around midnight, Elwin showed up on a neighbor’s porch with stab wounds, from which he subsequently died. Twila was found dead on the living room floor of her home, and Randy’s dead body was found lying face down on the top bunk bed in the sons’ bedroom. Skinner was found by police at Andrea Reed’s house, located three-and-a-half to four blocks away, at around 3:00 a.m. When the police found him, Skinner was standing in a closet and wearing clothing that was heavily stained in blood on both the front and back. At trial, Andrea testified that Skinner arrived at her house at around midnight and that they conversed for three hours. She did not know how he entered her trailer, but when she saw him, he took his shirt off and laid it on a chair. Skinner had a bleeding cut in his right hand. He heated up sewing needles and attempted to bend them to sew up his hand, and then he asked her to sew it, and she agreed. At some point, he went to the bathroom by himself. During their conversation, Andrea attempted to leave the room and call the police, but Skinner stopped her and threatened to kill her. Skinner told Andrea multiple stories about what happened at his home. He claimed that a Mexican came to the door and pulled a knife, that Twila was in bed with her ex-husband with whom Skinner got into a fist-fight, that Skinner thought he had killed Twila by trying to kick her to death, that Ricky Palmer broke into the house, and that cocaine dealers were looking for Twila and wanted her really bad. The medical examiner found that Twila had been strangled into unconsciousness and subsequently beaten at least fourteen times about the face and head with a club. DNA testing matched the blood on Skinner’s clothing to Twila and Elwin. Three bloody handprints matching Skinner’s were found in the house: one in the sons’ bedroom and two on doorknobs leading out the back door. A toxicological test of Skinner’s blood, conducted at 5:48 a.m., showed that Skinner had 0.11 milligrams of codeine per liter of blood and a blood alcohol level of 0.11. Defense counsel presented three defenses at trial. First, defense counsel focused on the State’s failure to test some of the DNA evidence to show that the State engaged in a sloppy investigation. Second, defense counsel painted Robert Donnell as an alternate suspect who could have committed the murders. Finally, defense counsel presented evidence that Skinner was too incapacitated by his intoxication to have committed the murders. Dr. William Lowry, the defense toxicologist, testified that most people at Skinner’s level of intoxication would be comatose or asleep, and in any event, between 12:00 and 3:30 a.m., Skinner would have been in a stupor, with impaired consciousness, general apathy, and an inability to stand or walk. Dr. Lowry believed that Skinner was too incapacitated to travel to different rooms to kill the victims. However, Dr. Lowry was surprised that Skinner could locate Andrea’s house at midnight and that he asked her to sew up his hand. Skinner was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. UPDATE: There was a stay issued and this execution has been rescheduled for March 24, 2010.

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