September 2010 Executions

Four killers were executed in September 2010. They had murdered at least 7 people.
Five killers were given a stay in September 2010. They have murdered at least 5 people.
Two killers received a commutation of their death sentences in September 2010. They have murdered at least 4 people.
One killer died on death row while awaiting execution in September 2010. He had murdered at least 2 people.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 9, 2010 Alabama Ruby Lois Gosha, 34 Holly Wood executed
On the night of September 1, 1993, Holly Wood brutally killed Ruby Lois Gosha, who was Wood’s former girlfriend and the mother of his child. Wood had been released from prison on parole after serving 5 years of a 15 year sentence for shooting another former girlfriend, Barbara Siler, whom he had shot through the window of her home. After he was released on parole, Wood moved in with Ruby but the relationship soured within three months time. About two weeks prior to murdering Ruby, Wood learned that Rudy was seeing another man and he had attacked Ruby with a knife. Ruby managed to escape but not before Wood deeply cut her wrist, causing her to lose the use of two fingers. In addition to the testimony of Ruby’s mother in that regard, the autopsy showed recent bruises on Ruby’s palm and the back of her left hand, two recent trauma-induced scars on her right forearm, and recent scars on her left forearm and upper arm. On the night of the murder, around 5:00 p.m., Wood went to the Gosha home with his cousin. Ruby’s mother answered the door and told Wood to leave her home (where Ruby lived) and not come back. Wood told Ruby, "I will get you some day." Wood returned to Ruby’s mother’s house around 9:00 p.m., snuck into Ruby’s bedroom with his 12-gauge shotgun, placed a shotgun to Ruby’s head as she slept, and shot her in the head and face, fracturing her skull and injuring her brain. There was a gunshot wound near her eye and one near her cheek. Ruby was dead by the time the ambulance got her to the hospital. As his cousin Calvin Salter drove Wood away from the scene of the crime, Wood said, “I shot that bi+ch in the head, and blowed her brains out and all she did was wiggle.” Wood also told Salter that he had attempted to stab Ruby in the heart sometime prior to the shooting, but Ruby had thrown her arm up to protect herself, and he had stabbed her in the arm instead. Thus, although Ruby had tried to escape Wood’s domestic violence and although her mother had tried to keep Wood away from her home, Wood managed to sneak into the home late at night and kill Ruby at point-blank range in her own bed. Wood had another 18 arrests on his record. On October 20, 1994, the jury unanimously convicted Wood of capital murder during a first-degree burglary. The jury recommended a death sentence by a 10-2 vote. After a pre-sentencing report and a separate sentencing hearing, the trial judge sentenced Wood to death.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 9, 2010 Florida Elizabeth Graham
Margo Delimon
James Winkles died on death row
In February of 1998, while incarcerated at Hardy Correctional Institution, Winkles requested to speak with officers from Pinellas County. Winkles was serving a life sentence for the kidnapping of Donna Maltby. Winkles confessed to the Elizabeth Graham and Margo Delimon murders, which took place nearly 18 years earlier. He gave the officers detailed information about both murders. Sometime between September 9, 1980, and July 3, 1981, Winkles abducted and murdered Elizabeth Graham. She worked for Pampered Poodle. Winkles had seen a young woman who worked for the business that excited him. Winkles called the business and requested service to the address of an abandoned house in hopes of abducting the worker. The girl whom he had picked out did not arrive; instead, Elizabeth arrived at the address. Winkles decided Elizabeth was just as good as the original girl he had wanted and carried out his plan. When Elizabeth opened the van’s side door, Winkles attacked her. He pushed her down, put a pistol to her head, handcuffed her, gagged her, blindfolded her and put her in the back of his station wagon. He punctured the right front tire of the Pampered Poodle van and stole 20 dollars out of Elizabeth’s purse. Winkles claims to have held Elizabeth prisoner for four days and nights at his grandmother’s house. At one point, however, he said he might have had her at a motor home on his property in the country instead. During the captivity, Elizabeth was kept in shackles and forced to engage in several sexual acts with Winkles. Winkles feared Elizabeth knew their location from looking at magazines with the mailing address on them and decided he had to kill her. He gave her four Flexeril muscle relaxants, which put her to sleep. Winkles then put an umbrella over Elizabeth’s head to shield blood splatters and shot her three times in the top of her head. He then removed her clothes and the sheets off the bed and burned them. He buried Elizabeth’s body in Pinellas County. Sixteen days later, he returned to dig up the body and removed the head. He took the skull and ran water through it to make sure no spent bullets remained inside, removed the teeth and lower mandible and then threw the skull into the Steinhatchee River in Lafayette county. Elizabeth’s skull was discovered in July of 1981, but was not identified by DNA testing until the late 1990s. Winkles abducted Margo Delimon sometime between October 3 and October 21, 1981. Margo was a realty salesperson. Winkles first met Margo at an open house viewing. He asked her out for a drink and she refused. The next day he invited her to breakfast and she agreed. At breakfast, Winkles asked Margo to show him secluded properties in the country. Margo took Winkles out to the properties and, at this point, he took advantage of the situation and kidnapped her. Winkles held her captive for four days in an abandoned house neighboring his grandmother’s house. During this time, he sexually assaulted her several times. Winkles claims that he had to kill Margo because she knew their location, and she could identify him. Margo was killed by an overdose of 17 sleeping pills. Winkles buried Margo’s body in Pinellas Country. Sixteen days later he decided to move the body to Citrus County. A week after that, he removed the head, took the teeth out and threw it in a wooded area in Hernando County. Margo’s headless body was found on October 21, 1981, and identified by fingerprints on August of 1983. Margo’s toothless skull was found on May 23, 1982. Winkles had been a suspect in both the Elizabeth Graham and Margo Delimon cases; however, there was insufficient evidence to charge him. The cases would have remained unsolved cases if not for Winkles’ confession nearly 18 years later. During the investigation, evidence was discovered revealing that Winkles always planned his abductions. The passenger door of his vehicle was fixed so that it could not be opened, and the passenger window was made so that it could not be lowered to prevent the escape of his victims. Winkles also always carried an “abduction kit” which contained cut rope, handcuffs, gags, sleeping pills, liquor and Vicks Vaporub to put under his nose to prevent smelling the decaying bodies. He also had a collection of female undergarments. Winkles told detectives that he abducted, raped and killed 62 women. He claims to have killed a total of 26 people between 1967 and 1982. Winkles did not provide information on any of these claimed offenses. Winkles was convicted of assault with intent to commit robbery and attempted robbery in Hamilton County, Florida on September 3, 1963 under the name of Jimmy Delano Hawk.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 10, 2010 Washington Holly Carol Washa, 21 Cal Brown executed
Holly Washa, murder victimIn 1984, Cal Coburn Brown was sentenced as a dangerous offender for his attempted assault on a 24-year-old woman in Corvallis, Oregon. Brown, a freshman at Oregon State University at the time, had been introduced to the woman by her babysitter. Brown appeared at the woman’s home wearing a hat and carrying a backpack. He persuaded her to let him rest what he claimed was a sprained leg. When she turned her head to call him a cab, Brown flung a 43-inch leather thong over her head to choke her, but the thong caught on her lip. The victim recalled the thong instantly tightening and she was yanked off her feet backwards. She landed on her stomach six feet away with the thong still around her neck and Brown kneeling behind her. She rolled to her side and saw him wild-eyed staring into her face." He held her, and she screamed and a police officer who happened to be nearby arrested him. Police found a large knife and a roll of two-inch wide duct tape in his backpack. The woman’s two small sons were home during the attack. At the time, Brown already had an extensive criminal record, including a 1977 conviction in California that involved a knife assault on a woman in a shopping center. Brown served the minimum seven-and-a-half-year sentence for the Oregon attempted assault conviction and was released on parole from the Oregon State Penitentiary on March 25, 1991, after receiving a favorable psychiatric evaluation. Upon Brown’s release, he was placed under the supervision of a parole office who specialized in the supervision of sex offenders. The parole officer was given a letter from the district attorney who had prosecuted Brown on the dangerous offender case. In the letter, the DA stated that not only did he consider Brown to be one of the most dangerous criminals whom he had ever prosecuted, but also that "unless he has undergone a remarkable transformation in prison, he will remain a potential mutilator and killer of women." During the first two months of his parole, Brown had enrolled as a student at Oregon State University and had met with his parole officer. Towards the end of that period, the parole officer could not get in touch with Brown and on May 23, 1991, requested that an arrest warrant be filed on Brown. On the very same day, Brown carjacked Holly Carol Washa in the parking lot of a hotel near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and demanded at knifepoint that she "drive or die." He later forced her into the passenger seat, tied her hands behind her back and drove her to his motel nearby. In his motel room, Brown forced Holly to remove her clothing, then tied her to the bed and raped and tortured Holly repeatedly for the course of several hours. The next day, Brown forced Holly to call in sick at her job at TCI Cablevision. He again tied Holly to the bed, gagged her and sexually assaulted her with foreign objects, including a bottle. He whipped her and shocked her with an electrical cord. Eventually, Brown put Holly Washa in the trunk of her car, slit her throat, stabbed her repeatedly and left her to bleed to death in a parking lot. Several days later, Holly’s body was found in the trunk of her car. After stabbing Holly, Brown then flew to Palm Springs, California, to rendezvous with his next victim, a woman named Susan, whom he had met on an airplane a few days earlier and with whom he had made weekend plans. While inside their hotel room, Brown offered to give Susan a backrub. He was rubbing her back when he suddenly jerked her arms behind her back in a "very fast, brutal way. He said, ‘Don’t scream." I did scream and…he slit my throat." Brown handcuffed Susan with her arms behind her back. She saw blood on the pillow. "At that point he lowered the knife so that I could see it. It was down near my heart, pointed toward me." Brown stopped the bleeding with a makeshift bandage of sanitary napkins held against her throat with her nylons, and then sexually assaulted Susan. Then he forced her to write a check for $4000 to him. He left the room to get more bandages. Amazingly, Susan was able to call the front desk and summon the police, who arrived and obtained a description of Brown from Susan, and arrested Brown in the hotel parking lot. Brown quickly gave audio-taped confessions to both the rape and attempted murder of Susan in California, and the rape and murder of Holly Washa in Washington. After pleading guilty in California and receiving a sentence of life imprisonment, Brown was tried in Washington. A jury convicted Brown of aggravated first-degree murder, and sentenced him to death. In 2007, when the US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Brown, Holly’s family expressed their frustration. "Here he is, all these years later, enjoying the life that some people don’t have," said Ruthcile Washa, the grandmother of Holly Washa, a 21-year-old Nebraska native who came to Seattle to follow her big-city dreams and was murdered by Brown. "The death penalty will give us peace of mind that he won’t get out and do this to someone else." Washa left tiny Ogallala, Nebraska because she wanted to be a flight attendant. Washa left Ogallala in February 1988 to attend a three-month course at the International Air Academy in Vancouver, Wash. Three months later, she moved to Seattle. She worked part-time as a dispatcher at TCI Cablevision and two weeks before her murder began a second job in a Hickory Farms store in Southcenter mall. Her former boyfriend, Don Briscoe, said he and Holly had met in the Vancouver school and lived together until the month prior to her murder. He said they had decided to take a break from their relationship but remained close friends. "She was the sweetest person; she cared about people so much," Briscoe said. In 2005, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Brown’s death sentence, but it was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 2007. Brown had a prior execution date in March 2009 but received a stay.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 14, 2010 Pennsylvania Creed D. Vincent, 4
James A. Dick, 19 mos
Anthony Dick stayed
Creed Vincent and James Dick, murder victimsAnthony Dick was living in the Stone Castle Motel with his family; wife, Betty, 19-month-old son James and 4-year-old stepson Creed Vincent. In the early morning hours of January 24, 2006, Dick was watching television and drinking beer as the rest of the family slept. He had drank six beers over the course of four hours and was not under the influence of any illegal drugs or other medications. Seemingly unprovoked, he retrieved a.22 caliber handgun and shot each of his family members twice, once in the head and once in the chest or back. Dick then turned the gun on himself and shot himself in the stomach. The two children died instantly. Betty Dick miraculously survived. Upon waking, she was unaware of her injuries but had trouble breathing and seeing. She called out for her husband who told her to let him die. Unable to find the telephone, she felt her way out of the hotel room and over to the adjacent room. The neighbor called an ambulance and police arrived shortly after. Dick waived his Miranda rights and told police he shot his wife, then the two boys, and himself. He told police he had thought about killing his family for months, he was not sorry for what he had done, and he felt "absolutely nothing" when he pulled the trigger. Upon being told his wife survived, he said he wished she had died. Dick told police he was upset with his wife for obtaining a Protection From Abuse order against him. He also stated he and his wife had argued at some time prior to the murders, though he did not remember exactly what the argument was about. Dick further stated that he meant to plead guilty and hoped to be executed for his crimes. Dick was charged with two counts of first degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. He waived his right to a jury trial, pled guilty to all charged and asked to proceed directly to sentencing. Dick waived his right to a jury at the penalty phase and refused to present any mitigating evidence. Various witnesses testified about the cause of death for the boys and the murder weapon. Betty Dick also testified, corroborating the officers’ testimony and Dick’s confessions. Betty remains permanently disabled as a result of the gunshot wounds she sustained. She has no peripheral vision in her left eye, suffers chronic headaches and will require continued treatment for symptoms associated with her injuries, including the eventual installment of a metal plate in her head. The neurosurgeon who operated on Betty stated that bone fragments remained in her skull and a bullet still remains in her chest. He indicated these defects could cause additional problems in the future, including seizures, lung function problems and pulmonary disease. The court found three aggravating circumstances and no mitigating circumstances, and sentenced Dick to 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
September 15, 2010 Ohio Marichell Chatman
Linda Chatman
Marchae Chatman, 7
Kevin Keith commuted
Kevin Keith was sentenced to death for the aggravated murders of Marichell Chatman, Linda Chatman, and Marchae Chatman and his convictions for the attempted aggravated murders of Quanita Reeves, Quinton Reeves, and Richard Warren. On the evening of February 13, 1994, Marichell Chatman, her seven-year-old daughter, Marchae, and Richard Warren, who had been living with Marichell and Marchae for several weeks, were at Marichell’s apartment in the Bucyrus Estates. At the time, Marichell was babysitting her young cousins, Quanita and Quinton Reeves. At approximately 8:45 p.m., Marichell’s aunt, Linda Chatman, arrived at the apartment to pick up Quanita and Quinton, Linda’s niece and nephew. A few minutes after Linda arrived, Warren, momentarily diverted from a basketball game he was watching on television, noticed a man standing outside the apartment door. Although the man began to walk away without knocking, Warren opened the door. The man turned and asked for Linda. While Linda went outside and spoke with the man, Marichell told Warren the man’s full name. Although Warren could recall only the first name, Kevin, he later identified Keith as the man at the door. Marichell also mentioned that Kevin had been involved in a big drug bust. After a short time, Linda and Keith returned to the apartment, where Keith and Warren had a brief conversation. According to Warren, Keith appeared to have his turtleneck shirt pulled up over the bottom part of his face and even drank a glass of water through it. After drinking the glass of water, Keith pulled a nine-millimeter handgun from a plastic bag he carried and ordered everyone to lie on the floor. Keith repeatedly scolded Marichell for using his first name when she asked what he was doing and why. Despite Marichell’s pleas with Keith on behalf of the children, Keith placed the gun to her head. After ordering Marichell to be quiet, Keith said, “Well, you should have thought about this before your brother started ratting on people.” Marichell responded, “Well, my brother didn’t rat on anybody and even if he did, we didn’t have anything to do with it.” Testimony at trial confirmed that Marichell’s brother, Rudel Chatman, was a police informant in a drug investigation involving Keith. According to the presentence report, the month prior to the murders, Keith was charged with several counts of aggravated trafficking. Next, Warren heard a gunshot but was forced to turn away when a bullet struck him in the jaw. Warren heard ten to twelve additional shots, two more striking him in the back. After he heard the apartment door close, Warren ran out of the apartment, across a snow-covered field to Ike’s Restaurant, yelling for help. Four or five more shots were fired, one striking him in the buttocks and knocking him down. Warren was able to get up and obtain help from the restaurant. Another Bucyrus Estates resident, Nancy Smathers, heard several popping noises at approximately 9:00 p.m. As she looked out her front door, Smathers saw a large, stocky black man run to the parking lot and get into a light-colored, medium-sized car. As the car sped away, it slid on the icy driveway and into a snowbank. When the driver got out of the car, Smathers noticed that the car’s dome light and the light around the license plate did not work. The driver rocked the car back and forth for nearly five minutes before he was able to free the car from the snowbank. Several weeks later, Smathers informed Bucyrus Police Captain Michael Corwin that, after seeing Keith on television, she was ninety percent sure Keith was the man she had seen that night. When medical personnel arrived at the Bucyrus Estates apartment, Linda and Marichell Chatman were dead, having suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including fatal wounds to the neck or head. All three children initially survived the attack. However, Marchae’s two gunshot wounds to her back proved fatal. The Reeves children each sustained two bullet wounds and serious injuries. Approximately eight hours after the shootings, Warren was recovering from surgery at a Columbus hospital. During a postoperative interview with a nurse, Warren wrote “Kevin” on a piece of paper as the name of his assailant. Later that day, Bucyrus Police Captain John Stanley had two telephone conversations with Warren. During the second conversation, Stanley mentioned three or four possible last names for Kevin. At trial, Stanley could only recall that he mentioned the names Kevin Thomas and Kevin Keith. Warren stated that he was seventy-five percent sure the name he heard from Marichell was Kevin Keith. When shown a photo array of six suspects, Warren chose Keith’s picture and told police he was ninety-five percent sure that Keith was the murderer. Investigators recovered a total of twenty-four cartridge casings from the crime scene area, which had all been fired from the same gun. In addition to those, investigators recovered a casing found on the sidewalk across from the entrance to a General Electric plant. On the night of the murders, Keith picked up his girlfriend, Melanie Davison, from work at the entrance to the General Electric plant where the casing was found. At the snow bank where Smathers witnessed the getaway car slide, investigators made a cast of the tire tread and of the indentation in the snow bank made by the car’s front license plate number—“043.” The indentation from the license plate matched the last three numbers of a 1982 Oldsmobile Omega seized from Melanie Davison shortly after she visited Keith in jail, under the pseudonym of Sherry Brown, a few weeks after the murders. The Oldsmobile was registered to Alton Davison, Melanie’s grandfather, and was also regularly used by Melanie. Davison had put four new tires on the Omega six months prior to the murders. Davison estimated that by February 1994, the new tires had been driven less than 3,000 miles without any problems or need for replacement. Although the cast taken of the tire tread at the crime scene did not match tires found on the Oldsmobile Omega one month later, the cast did match the tread of the tires purchased by Alton Davison as shown on the tire’s sales brochures. Additionally, the tires found on the Oldsmobile Omega had been manufactured in January 1994 and showed a minimal amount of wear. The grand jury indicted Keith on three counts of aggravated murder, each carrying a specification that the murder was committed as part of a course of conduct involving the killing of two or more persons. Keith was also indicted on three counts of attempted aggravated murder. After a two-week trial, a jury found Keith guilty of all counts. Following the verdict, defense counsel requested a presentence investigation and a post-conviction sanity hearing. During the penalty phase of the trial, defense counsel waived both opening and closing statements. The court submitted, without objection, the presentence investigation report and the results of the psychological examination to the jury. The jury recommended and the trial court imposed a death sentence for each of the aggravated murder counts.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 16, 2010 Pennsylvania Marlee Reed, 4 Brentt Sherwood stayed
Brentt Michael Sherwood was sentenced to death for the beating death of Sherwood’s four year old step-daughter, Marlee Reed, on December 7, 2004. At about 1:00 p.m. that day, Sherwood, who was home baby-sitting Marlee, called 911 and reported that she had passed out. When EMTs arrived, they observed that the child’s skin showed cyanosis, and that she had significant bruising on her abdomen, chest, arms, legs, neck, and face, she did not have a discernible heartbeat, and was not breathing. The EMTs asked Sherwood what had happened to the child and he told them that he had just awakened and found her in that condition. He then added that she had fallen. The EMTs tried, unsuccessfully, to revive the child for thirty minutes and then took her to Sunbury Community Hospital where additional efforts were made to revive her. Although doctors were able to restore some vital functions, Marlee did not regain consciousness. Marlee was then flown by helicopter to Geisinger Medical Center where she died the next morning having never regained consciousness. When Marlee arrived at Geisinger Medical Center, she was in critical condition and underwent exploratory surgery which revealed that most of her internal organs had been damaged and that she had suffered several broken ribs. She had nineteen observable bruises and well over fifty discrete bruises according to one of the doctors who treated her. Many of the bruises on her arms were likely inflicted while Marlee was attempting to defend and protect herself from Sherwood. The injuries she suffered, according to one of the doctors who treated her, were comparable to injuries seen in children ejected from automobiles travelling at sixty-five miles an hour. She lost so much blood that it could not clot and during the course of treatment she received several total blood transfusions. In addition to calling 911, Sherwood had also telephoned his wife Heather Goodeliunas, Marlee’s mother, and told her that she had to come home immediately because Marlee was not breathing. (After Marlee’s death, her mother divorced Sherwood and took back her maiden name.) Ms. Goodeliunas hurried home and as she entered the residence, Sherwood began apologizing to her, saying repeatedly, “I’m so sorry baby.” In addition, Ms. Goodeliunas received a telephone call from Sherwood after he had been taken to police headquarters during which he stated, “Do you think I would put myself at risk for going to jail for the rest of my life for manslaughter?” Although Sherwood never spoke to Ms. Goodeliunas again, he did send her letters. In a letter dated December 10, 2004, he wrote, “I am so sorry about what happened. I know that a million sorries wouldn’t make up for what happened.” Sherwood added, “Right now I feel like the lowest piece of **** that I could ever think of, and rightfully so. I feel like I let you down.” Sherwood ended the letter by writing, “I hope I hear from you soon so I can explain myself.” Sherwood told one of the first police officers to arrive at the scene on December 7, 2004, that he did not know what had happened to Marlee and remarked that an eight year old child had fallen on her a few days before. Marlee had apparently been injured by an older child on December 4, 2004, while attending a party with her grandparents. They took her to a hospital emergency room on December 5, 2004, because she was complaining that her arm and elbow hurt. The doctor who examined Marlee found nothing seriously wrong with her and did not observe any bruises or other injuries on her body. Sherwood then prepared a handwritten statement at the scene where he wrote that a ten-year old child had been carrying Marlee and had dropped her during a recent dinner party at Marlee’s grandparents’ residence. Sherwood also wrote that Marlee had fallen off a small play table earlier that morning and had complained that she felt dizzy and had pains in her stomach. Sherwood added that he entered the living room and panicked when he found Marlee unconscious. Sherwood stated he immediately splashed some water on her and then placed her in the bathtub but when that failed to resuscitate her, he called 911. After Sherwood prepared this handwritten statement, police asked him if he would agree to go to the police station with them. Sherwood agreed but asked during the ride to the station if he was under arrest. Police told him that he was not in custody.   Sherwood was not restrained during the ride to the police station. Police headquarters was located inside the borough hall and Sherwood was placed in the borough hall meeting room, a large room having four doors located adjacent to police headquarters. When a tape recorder was brought into the room and Sherwood was asked if he minded if the interview was tape recorded, Sherwood affirmatively stated: “I feel like I should have an attorney.” The interview ended immediately. Approximately five minutes later, and after the chief of police was advised that Sherwood had appeared to request the assistance of an attorney, an agent with the county’s probation department asked to speak to Sherwood, who was under county supervision for a previous drug conviction. Upon the arrival of a probation officer and two United States Marshals, Sherwood was told that he was being detained because he had violated the rules of his supervision. Sherwood then spoke to the probation officer. Sherwood told him that Marlee had fallen off a table. Sherwood also said that the bruises observed on the child were not caused by him but were the result of her having been dropped by an older child at her grandparents’ home a few days earlier. Sherwood was then transported to county prison. At no time was Sherwood given Miranda warnings prior to being incarcerated. On December 9, 2004, Corporal Richard Bramhall of the Pennsylvania State Police went to county prison to speak to Sherwood.   After the Corporal told Sherwood that he considered Sherwood’s remark two days earlier about feeling as though he needed an attorney to be ambiguous and not a clear invocation of the right to counsel, the corporal administered Miranda warnings to Sherwood. Sherwood waived his Miranda rights and provided a statement wherein he admitted that he had beaten the child to death. In this statement, Sherwood said that he was home watching Marlee and became angry because she said that she did not want to be there with Sherwood. Marlee had recently begun visiting her natural father which apparently caused friction in her relationship with Sherwood; Sherwood said in the December 9 statement that Marlee’s rejection of him hurt his feelings. As a result, he slapped the child in the face. Sherwood said that a couple of hours after he slapped Marlee, they watched a movie. Afterwards Marlee said to Sherwood that she felt sorry for him.   When he asked why, she said, “Because you’re mean.” Upon hearing Marlee’s response, Sherwood said he “snapped” and punched Marlee in the stomach with a closed fist and kicked her in her stomach or back, which caused her to fall to the floor. He then kicked her several times more in her stomach and back and also punched her as she lay on the floor. Marlee asked him to stop and tried to stand. She was unable to get to her feet and fell back to the floor where she was struck some more by Sherwood. Marlee eventually got up and ran into a bedroom where Sherwood punched her again and caused her to fall; he continued to kick and punch her. The beating, Sherwood stated, continued even though Marlee pleaded for him to stop. According to Sherwood, the beating lasted ten minutes in total and he stopped hitting Marlee a couple of times before again resuming his assault. Sherwood had no explanation as to why he resumed the assault after twice stopping and indicated that when he finally ended the assault, he knew that he had “done something bad.” Marlee stood up after the beating and Sherwood picked her up and placed her on the living room couch. At various times she told him that she felt dizzy and that her stomach hurt. After 15-20 minutes, he noticed that she was no longer moving or breathing so he placed her lifeless body in a tub of cold water in an attempt to resuscitate her. When this failed to revive Marlee, Sherwood took her from the tub, called 911, and began to perform CPR on her. Sherwood admitted that he had used drugs the previous evening, but stated that he was not “high” when the beating occurred. In addition to Sherwood’s various statements, there was additional evidence presented by the Commonwealth. Police obtained three search warrants for Sherwood’s residence. Those searches yielded various pieces of evidence containing blood spatter that was later tied to the victim. Also, Ms. Goodeliunas testified at trial. She stated that she had left for work about 8:45 a.m. on December 7, 2004 and left Marlee in Sherwood’s care. At that time Marlee appeared to be fine. She admitted that she and Sherwood had used illegal drugs the previous evening but that when she awakened Sherwood that morning to tell him that he had to babysit Marlee, he did not appear to be under the influence of the drugs. Following hearings on various motions, including a motion to suppress the statements Sherwood gave to authorities and the physical evidence seized from Sherwood’s residence, which was granted in part and denied in part, Sherwood was tried before the Honorable Harvey Wiest of Northumberland County and a jury. At trial, the Commonwealth introduced evidence showing that no one who had come in contact with Sherwood on the day of the murder observed anything indicating that Sherwood was under the influence of an intoxicating substance or that he was not in complete control of his faculties. Several people did observe bruises and other injuries to Sherwood’s hands. An autopsy revealed that Marlee died from significant blunt force trauma that could have resulted from kicks and punches to her torso which caused extensive splenic lacerations, contusions of and bruises to her pancreas, kidney, small intestine, and liver and a laceration of the colonic mesentery with accompanying marked intra-abdominal hemorrhage. Other injuries included multiple abrasions and contusions to her face and extremities and fractures of several ribs and a compression fracture of her seventh thoracic vertebral body. The injuries were consistent with her having been kicked and punched over a period of approximately ten minutes. The Commonwealth also introduced evidence showing that Sherwood struck Marlee on several occasions prior to December 7, 2004. Immediately following a few of these prior incidents, during which Marlee had been struck hard enough to cause her to bleed, Marlee told her mother, who was not present to witness them, that Sherwood had given her a “knuckle sandwich.” Sherwood testified in his own defense. After Sherwood told the jury about the problems he had while attending school and his long-time abuse of alcohol and drugs, he testified about the day Marlee died. According to Sherwood, after his wife left for work, he slapped Marlee because she stated that she did not want to be there with him. He then played with her for a while and had her watch a movie. When the movie ended, Marlee approached him and stated that she did not like him because he was mean. Sherwood testified that he was hurt by the remark and began to strike her uncontrollably for about two and one half to three minutes at which time he regained control of himself and stopped striking her. After he stopped hitting Marlee, Sherwood, who testified that he was “really high,” played on the computer for about an hour while thinking about remarks his wife had made to him before leaving for work concerning his failure to take responsibility for chores around the house. After playing on the computer, Sherwood decided to give Marlee a bath. When she began asking Sherwood why he was giving her a bath because he was not her father, Sherwood again “lost it” and began hitting Marlee for about two and one half to three minutes. He then bathed her and when he finished and was drying her off, Marlee began repeating that Sherwood was mean and was not her father. In response, Sherwood testified, he began striking and kicking her again for approximately two and one half to three minutes. Although he realized that he had hurt Marlee, Sherwood testified that he did not believe that her injuries were serious because she did not lose consciousness. Sherwood then placed Marlee on the living room couch. When he observed that she had stopped breathing, he attempted to revive her by placing her in cold water. When that failed, he called 911. Sherwood explained that he told authorities that Marlee had fallen and had been hurt the previous weekend because they were the first things that came to his mind. He testified that when he gave his statements, he had no recollection of the incident, and that as time passed he remembered more of it. He blamed the incident on a loss of control precipitated by Marlee’s statements that she did not like him. Sherwood testified that he did not intend to kill Marlee. Sherwood also introduced expert testimony that it was possible that he was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis at the time of the murder and that he was incapable of forming specific intent to kill at the time of the murder because of the combination of mental disorders and drug-induced intoxication. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury convicted Sherwood of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of children. At the penalty hearing the Commonwealth presented the aggravating circumstances related to the murder of a child under the age of twelve and torture. Sherwood presented four mitigators:  1) he was under the influence of extreme mental and emotional disturbance; 2) his capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law was substantially impaired; 3) his age; and 4) the catch-all mitigator. The jury unanimously found both aggravating circumstances and no individual juror found any mitigating circumstance. As statutorily required, the jury sentenced Sherwood to death. Sherwood was formally sentenced to death on July 30, 2007.   In addition, the trial court imposed a consecutive sentence of three and one half to seven years incarceration and imposed a fine of $2500.00 on Sherwood on the endangering welfare of children 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
September 16, 2010 Kentucky Deborah Pooley Gregory Wilson stayed
Deborah Pooley - murder victimDeborah Pooley was a restaurant employee in Newport, Kentucky. On Friday, May 29, 1987, at 11:45 p.m., Deborah left her best friend’s house and said she was going straight home. The prosecution presented evidence that Deborah had just parked her car outside of her apartment in Covington when she was abducted by Gregory Wilson and co-defendant Humphrey at knife point. Testimony at trial from various sources, including accomplice Brenda Humphrey, indicated that the victim was forced into the back seat of her own car. Humphrey drove the car to the flood wall in Covington. Wilson took Deborah out of the car and took her up on the flood wall and made her lie down with her eyes closed while Humphrey went to put gas in the car. After Humphrey returned from the gas station, Wilson again forced Deborah into the back seat of the car. Wilson made Deborah unbutton her blouse. Wilson finished undressing Deborah and raped her. He then tied her hands with a lamp cord, and Deborah began begging for her life. Wilson told her she would have to die. Humphrey said, “You have seen us. You know who we are, and you have to die.” Deborah kept begging, “Please don’t kill me. I don’t want to die.” Wilson robbed her and strangled her to death before they crossed the state line into Indiana. Wilson and Humphrey disposed of Deborah’s naked corpse in a wooded thicket in rural Hendricks County, Indiana. Later that same morning, Saturday, May 30, Wilson and Humphrey stopped at a Holiday Inn in Crawfordsville, Indiana. According to a registration card, Humphrey and a guest checked into the hotel at 4:19 a.m. Two of the maids there identified the pair as Wilson and Humphrey. Wilson and Humphrey proceeded to a Payless Shoe Store in Danville, Illinois where Deborah Pooley’s credit card was used to purchase two pairs of women’s shoes and some hosiery. Later that same day, May 30, 1987, Wilson and Humphrey went to a K-Mart in Danville where the victim’s credit card was used to make purchases totaling $227.46. Included in these purchases were a man’s Seiko watch and a woman’s Gruen watch for $68.00 each. Wilson and Humphrey also paid cash for a number of cosmetic items and some clothing. Later that day, Deborah’s credit card was used to make a $24.50 purchase at an Amoco gas station in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. On Sunday, May 31, Wilson and Humphrey returned to the home of Humphrey’s best friend, Beverly Finkenstead. Finkenstead testified that Humphrey had a K-Mart bag with a blouse in it. They both had a watch on and were each wearing a necklace. On Sunday, June 7, Humphrey visited Finkenstead and told her details of the crimes in which she and Wilson had participated the previous weekend. Eight days later, on June 15, Finkenstead reported to the police what Humphrey had told her. Also on June 15, the Hendricks County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department was summoned to a wooded thicket where a corpse had been discovered. Authorities were able to determine the identity of the corpse only by comparing its remaining teeth with Deborah’s dental X-rays. The cause of death could not be determined due to the absence of internal organs. A forensic entomologist testified that, based on the extent of blowfly maggot development in and on the corpse, the estimated time of death had occurred 15 to 19 days prior to his June 16 examination of the corpse. Wilson told cell mate Willis Maloney details of the crimes including that the initial intent had been to “snatch” Deborah and rob her; that Deborah was still alive when her money was taken from her; that the victim was killed before they crossed the state line into Indiana; that the corpse would be so badly decomposed that no sperm would show up; and that they had used Deborah’s credit card to purchase, among other things, a watch Wilson was wearing at the time of his arrest which Humphrey later obtained by signing it out from one of the jailers. Wilson also told Maloney, “I bet they can’t find what I used to strangle her with.” Maloney’s and Humphrey’s account of the rape was corroborated by the presence of semen on the back seat of Deborah’s car. Head hairs similar to those belonging to Humphrey were found inside the victim’s car. Pubic and head hairs similar to those belonging to Wilson were also found inside Deborah’s car. A handwriting expert established that Humphrey had authored the forged credit card receipts. A search of the hotel room where Wilson and Humphrey were arrested produced various items of clothing, all bearing K-Mart price tags. Humphrey was the only defense witness during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. Wilson gave his own closing argument in which he told the jury he was not guilty, he “never met nor knew the victim” and that Humphrey told her sister that she killed Deborah Pooley. The jury returned guilty verdicts against both defendants. After the penalty phase, Wilson was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder. He was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 20, 20 and 10 years respectively for first-degree rape, first-degree robbery and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. Humphrey was sentenced to life in prison.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 27, 2010 Georgia Steven Moss, 37
Bryan Moss, 11
Kristin Moss, 15
Brandon Rhode executed
Steven, Kristin and Bryan Moss, murder victimsBrandon Joseph Rhode was sentenced to die for the murders of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin during their burglary of their Jones County home. His co-conspirator, Daniel Lucas, was also sentenced to death in a separate trial and he remains on death row." Rhode and his co-perpetrator, Daniel Lucas, burglarized the home of Steven and Gerri Ann Moss on April 23, 1998, fled the scene when Rhode discovered an alarm system, and returned later that day to burglarize the home again. While Rhode and Lucas were ransacking the home searching for valuables, eleven-year-old Bryan Moss arrived, observed Rhode and Lucas through a front window, and entered through a back door, armed with a baseball bat. Rhode and Lucas subdued Bryan at gunpoint, sat him in a chair, and began discussing what to do with him. Lucas turned and fired at the boy, inflicting a non-fatal shoulder wound. As Kristin Moss was approaching the house, Lucas took Bryan into a back bedroom. Rhode met Kristin as she arrived, sat her in a chair, and shot her twice with a.357 caliber pistol. Lucas repeatedly shot Bryan in the face with a.25 caliber pistol. Rhode later shot Steven Moss with the.357 caliber pistol when Steven arrived. Finally, Lucas obtained a.22 caliber pistol from Rhode’s automobile and shot Bryan and Kristin again. Chad Derrick Jackson, Rhode’s roommate, testified that he observed Rhode and Lucas handing rifles and other items out of Jackson and Rhode’s bedroom window and loading them into Rhode’s automobile on the evening of the crimes. Jackson further testified that Rhode and Lucas admitted to him the next day that Lucas first shot Bryan in the shoulder, that Lucas then shot Bryan while Rhode simultaneously shot Kristin, that Rhode next shot Steven Moss, and that lastly Lucas shot each victim to ensure their deaths. Danny Ray Bell, who also lived in the same house as Rhode, testified that Rhode and Lucas spoke to him between the two burglaries and that Bell advised Rhode not to return to burglarize the same home. Bell testified that, at the time of this conversation, Rhode had a.357 caliber pistol in his waistband. According to Bell, when Rhode returned from the second burglary, Rhode said that he had “messed up big time” and needed to dispose of some weapons and other items. Rhode admitted to Bell that Lucas shot a young boy and that Rhode shot a girl and a man. Several witnesses testified that they saw an automobile similar to Rhode’s at or near the victims’ home on the day of the murders. A search of Rhode’s automobile revealed damage to the front and rear bumpers and a spare tire in the trunk that showed signs of use. A photograph of the crime scene suggested a vehicle had backed into a gas tank at the victims’ home. Expert testimony disclosed that paint on a cement block at the victims’ home matched the paint on Rhode’s automobile, including two layers applied at the factory and a third layer likely applied later. Additional expert testimony indicated that a crime scene imprint could have been made by Rhode’s spare tire. Rhode made a statement admitting he fired two times at Kristin with the.357 caliber pistol, and he led law enforcement officers to two locations where he and Lucas had secreted weapons and other items. Expert testimony matched the found.357 and.25 caliber pistols to bullets retrieved from the crime scene and the victims’ bodies. UPDATE: Because Rhode attempted to commit suicide just hours before his scheduled execution on Wednesday, his execution was delayed until Friday. As of Sept 23, requests for an additional stay have been denied. UPDATE: On Friday, Brandon Rhode received another stay from the Georgia Supreme Court so that his attorneys could try to prove that he is not competent to be executed. This time the stay is extended to Monday at 4:00 pm.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 23, 2010 Virginia Julian Lewis, 51
CJ Lewis, 25
Teresa Lewis executed
In March or April 2000, Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis met Julian Lewis at Dan River, Inc., where they were both employed. Julian was a recent widower, having lost his wife and the mother of his three adult children to an extended illness in January of that year. In June 2000, Lewis moved in with Julian. They married soon thereafter and Lewis quit working. In December 2001, Julian’s son, Jason Clifton Lewis, was killed in an accident. Julian received life insurance proceeds in excess of $200,000, which he placed in an account with Prudential Securities that was only accessible by him. In February 2002, Julian purchased five acres of land and a mobile home where he and Lewis began to live. In August 2002, Julian’s son CJ, an Army reservist, was required to report for active duty with the National Guard. Prior to leaving, CJ made estate arrangements, including executing a will and obtaining a life insurance policy in the amount of $250,000. He designated Julian as his primary beneficiary and Lewis as his secondary beneficiary. It was also in the fall of 2002 that Lewis first met Matthew J. Shallenberger and Rodney L. Fuller, who would become her co-conspirators in a plot to murder her husband and stepson. Lewis met Shallenberger, who was 22 years old, and Fuller, who was 19 years old, at a Wal-Mart store. Before long, Lewis began a sexual relationship with Shallenberger, who was 11 years her junior. On at least one occasion, however, Lewis performed a "lingerie show" for both men, and had sexual intercourse with Fuller as well as Shallenberger. On another occasion, Lewis took her 16-year-old daughter with her to meet the men at a parking lot. Lewis introduced her daughter to Fuller and the two had sexual intercourse in one car while Lewis and Shallenberger had sexual intercourse in the other vehicle. At some point, Lewis and Shallenberger began discussing a plan to kill Julian and share the money that Lewis would get upon his death. The first plan was put into motion on October 23, 2002. Lewis withdrew $1,200 from the bank and gave the money to the men to purchase the necessary guns and ammunition. Shallenberger gave the money to an acquaintance who purchased two shotguns for the conspirators. Lewis told Shallenberger and Fuller the route that Julian would travel from work to home that evening. The plan was for the men to stop and kill Julian on the roadway and make the murder look like a robbery. The presence of another vehicle close to Julian during the trip home, however, made execution of the first plan impossible. Undeterred, the conspirators quickly hatched a second plan to kill Julian. They also added a plan to murder CJ when he returned home for his father’s funeral in order to share the proceeds from his life insurance policy as well. However, when Lewis learned that CJ would be visiting at the mobile home on the evening of October 29-30, 2002, the decision was made to murder Julian and CJ at the same time. In the early morning hours of October 30, 2002, Shallenberger and Fuller, armed with the shotguns purchased with Lewis’ money, entered the mobile home through a rear door that Lewis had left unlocked for them. Upon entering, Shallenberger woke Lewis, who had fallen asleep next to Julian while waiting, and told her to get up. She went into the kitchen where she waited while Shallenberger shot Julian several times with the shotgun. She then reentered the bedroom, where Julian lay mortally wounded but still alive, retrieved Julian’s pants and wallet, and returned to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Fuller went to CJ’s bedroom and shot him several times with the second shotgun. When Fuller returned to the kitchen, he saw Lewis and Shallenberger removing the money from Julian’s wallet. Apparently there was some uncertainty as to whether CJ was dead, so Fuller took Shallenberger’s shotgun and returned to shoot CJ two more times. After retrieving some of the shotgun shells, Shallenberger and Fuller left the mobile home. For approximately 45 minutes after the last shots were fired, Lewis remained in the mobile home with the victims. She made at least two telephone calls to other persons, but did not call authorities. At approximately 3:55 a.m., a 911 operator fielded a call from Lewis reporting that a single intruder had entered her home at approximately 3:15 or 3:30 a.m., and shot her husband and stepson. She told the 911 operator that the intruder entered the bedroom where she was sleeping with Julian and told her to get up. She claimed that Julian told her to go into the bathroom, where she hid while the intruder fired four or five times. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Lewis home at approximately 4:18 a.m. Lewis told the deputies that her husband’s body was on the floor in the master bedroom and that her stepson’s body was in the other bedroom. When the officers entered the master bedroom, however, they found Julian badly wounded, but still alive and talking. He "‘made slow moans’ and uttered, ‘Baby, baby, baby, baby.’" Julian told the officers his name and, when asked "if he knew who had shot him,… responded, ‘My wife knows who done this to me.’" While trying to assist the victims, one deputy observed Lewis talking on the telephone and heard Lewis "state, ‘I told CJ about leaving that back door unlocked.’" Julian died shortly thereafter, while still in the mobile home. When informed that Julian and CJ were dead, Lewis did not appear to the officers to be upset. Investigator Barrett and Investigator Isom with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Lewis during their investigation of the murders. During one interview, Lewis claimed that Julian had physically assaulted her a few days before the murders, but denied killing him, having him killed, or knowing who killed him. Lewis told the investigators that she and Julian had talked and prayed together before he went to bed that night, and that she told him she was going to the kitchen to pack his lunch for the next day. A lunch bag was found in the refrigerator with an attached note stating "’I love you. I hope you have a good day.’" She had also drawn a picture of a "smiley face" on the bag and inscribed "‘I miss you when you’re gone,’" in the smiley face. Later that morning, Lewis called Mike Campbell, Julian’s supervisor at Dan River. She told Campbell that Julian had been murdered and asked for Julian’s paycheck. Campbell told Lewis that she could pick it up after 4:00 p.m. that day. The following day, Lewis contacted Campbell again, apologized for not picking up the check the day before, and again asked when she could get it. Campbell later testified that Julian brought his lunch to work in a blue and white cooler and did not use lunch bags. He also testified that when he went to pay his respects to Lewis in person a couple of days later, Lewis told him that Julian had bought her a red sports car before he was killed, but that she was going to trade it along with one of his vehicles for a larger car. She also told Campbell that she planned to sell Julian’s land and mobile home. Also on the day of the murders, Lewis spoke with Lieutenant Michael Booker, CJ’s commanding officer. When Lt. Booker called Lewis to express his condolences, Lewis told him that she was "‘still in shock’" and that the police had been questioning her. She told Lt. Booker that "there is no way I would have killed my husband and stepson. They guessed that because I didn’t get shot that I might have done it. My husband told me to go into the bathroom, so I did." Lewis then informed Lt. Booker that she was the secondary beneficiary of CJ’s military life insurance policy and that she had been told that she would be contacted within 24 hours of his death with information regarding when she would get her money. On November 4, 2002, Lewis contacted Lt. Booker and requested CJ’s personal effects and a photograph of CJ that she had given Lt. Booker for a memorial service. Lt. Booker told Lewis that he would return the photograph to her, but that the personal effects would be given to CJ’s sister Kathy Clifton, his immediate next of kin. Lt. Booker testified that Lewis became "very angry" and "insisted that [Lt. Booker] bring them to her as soon as possible." When Lt. Booker refused, Lewis again asked about the life insurance money and "reminded him that she was the secondary beneficiary." When Lt. Booker told Lewis that she would still be entitled to the life insurance, Lewis responded, "‘that’s fine, Kathy can have all of his effects as long as I get the money.’" Julian’s daughter Kathy also testified about her dealings with Lewis immediately after the murders. Lewis told Kathy that she had waited 45 minutes after the murders to call 911, and that she called her ex-mother-in-law, Marie Bean, and her best friend, Debbie Yeatts, prior to doing so. Lewis also called Kathy on the night of the murders and told her that she had already gone over the necessary arrangements with the funeral home. Lewis told Kathy that all she needed were the names of some of Julian’s family members, and that Kathy need not even come to the funeral home the following day. When Kathy joined Lewis at the funeral home the next day anyway, she recalled Lewis saying that "she was the sole beneficiary of everything" and that "money was no object." On the day of the funerals, Lewis called Kathy prior to the services and told her "that she had just left the hairdresser’s and had gotten her nails done, and that she had bought a beautiful suit to wear to the funeral." She also offered to sell Julian’s mobile home to Kathy. In addition to her attempts to obtain Julian’s paycheck, Lewis also made a quick attempt to withdraw $50,000 from Julian’s Prudential Securities’ account by presenting a forged check made payable to her at the bank. The bank employee refused to cash the check because the signature did not match Julian’s signature in the bank’s records. Finally, and consistent with Lewis’s immediate attempts to obtain the cash payoff from the murders, the investigators learned that Lewis was aware prior to the murders that she would handsomely profit from the deaths of her husband and stepson. She had earlier told an acquaintance that she was "just ‘using Julian for money and that he would buy her things.’" Another acquaintance overheard her saying a couple of months before the murders that "if Julian died, ‘she would get the money, and if CJ was killed and Julian was dead, she would get that money, too.’" On November 7, 2002, Lewis, presented with the rapidly accumulating evidence against her, confessed to Investigator Isom that she had offered Shallenberger money to kill Julian. Lewis told Isom that she met Shallenberger at Wal-Mart and let him into their home on the night of the murders. However, she falsely claimed that Shallenberger shot both Julian and CJ before taking the money and leaving the mobile home. She told Isom that Shallenberger had expected to receive half of the insurance proceeds, but that she had changed her mind and decided to keep all of the money. Lewis then accompanied Isom to Shallenberger’s residence, where she identified him as her co-conspirator. The following day, Lewis asked to speak with Isom and admitted that she had not been totally truthful the day before. Lewis confessed Fuller’s involvement in the murders and advised Isom that her minor daughter had assisted during the planning process as well. During the ensuing search of the mobile home where Shallenberger and Fuller resided, officers recovered two pairs of rubber household gloves containing primer residue caused by the firing of a firearm shell and two shotguns, one of which was determined to have fired the shotgun shells found in Julian’s bedroom. According to the autopsies, Julian and CJ both died as a direct result of the multiple shotgun wounds. Julian was struck in "the upper left arm, shoulder, abdomen, pelvis, penis, thighs, legs, arms, and chest. The bullets destroyed or removed large areas of tissue in his upper arm, shoulder, and upper chest, and fractured several ribs." In addition, "plastic wadding from a shotgun shell was lodged in Julian’s left lung tissue." However, none of Julian’s injuries were immediately fatal, and Julian instead "died from extensive blood loss" approximately 45 minutes to an hour after the shootings. CJ was struck in the "back, abdomen, chest, neck, left upper arm and shoulder, elbow, left thigh, face, and forearm," but died almost immediately from his wounds. Shortly after Lewis was charged for her participation in the murder-for-hire plot, the trial judge appointed attorneys David Furrow and Thomas Blaylock to represent her, both of whom had experience in capital murder cases. After investigating the case, counsel became extremely concerned about the heinous facts surrounding this intimate, murder-for-hire and -profit crime and their dim prospects for preventing a death penalty verdict by a Pittsylvania County jury. Given their knowledge of the assigned trial judge and of juries generally in the county, they became convinced that Lewis’ best chance of avoiding the death penalty would be to submit to sentencing by the trial judge, who had never imposed the death penalty on a capital defendant and who would be sentencing Fuller, a triggerman, to life imprisonment under an agreement he had made with the prosecution for his cooperation against Shallenberger and Lewis. Accordingly, counsel recommended that Lewis plead guilty and invoke her statutory right to be sentenced by the trial judge. Prior to the guilty plea proceeding, a competency assessment of Lewis was performed by Barbara G. Haskins, M.D., a board-certified forensic psychiatrist, who also arranged for an IQ test to be performed by Dr. Bernice Marcopulos. According to the testing, Lewis had a Full Scale IQ of 72, with a Verbal IQ of 70, and a Performance IQ of 79. This placed her in the borderline range of intellectual functioning, but not at or below the level of mental retardation. Dr. Haskins reported that Lewis was competent to enter the pleas and able to understand and appreciate the possible penalties. At the guilty plea proceeding, the trial judge questioned Lewis and ensured that she understood that she was waiving her right to a jury and that she would be sentenced to either life imprisonment or death by the trial judge. Satisfied that Lewis was entering the plea voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently, the trial judge accepted the plea and scheduled the sentencing proceeding. At the sentencing proceeding, the Commonwealth relied primarily upon a written summary of evidence that would have been presented against Lewis had the case proceeded to a jury trial, and sought the death penalty based upon Virginia’s statutory aggravating factors of vileness (based upon both depravity of mind and aggravated battery to the victims) and future dangerousness. In mitigation, the defense presented evidence that Lewis had no previous history of violence and had only a single, non-violent conviction for prescription forgery for which she was on probation. Lewis’ probation officer testified that Lewis had been compliant with the terms of her probation and had never demonstrated any type of violence. The probation officer who prepared the presentence report also testified that Lewis seemed remorseful when he interviewed her. A long-time family friend and schoolmate of Lewis’, who was engaged to be married to Lewis’ sister, testified that he had never observed Lewis behaving in a violent manner. Finally, an official at the Roanoke City Jail provided a statement that there had been no incidents of violence involving Lewis, nor even minor infractions while she was incarcerated there awaiting trial. Lewis’ father, brother and sister were in the courtroom during the sentencing, and the trial judge was advised that they would all testify that they loved and cared about Lewis and did not want her to receive the death penalty. At the conclusion of the sentencing proceeding, the trial judge rejected the future dangerousness aggravator, based upon the lack of any significant criminal history or violent behavior. However, he imposed sentences of death for the capital offenses based upon the vileness aggravator, finding that Lewis’ conduct involved both depravity of mind and aggravated battery. The judge called her "the head of this serpent." David Grimes, the prosecutor who saw the scene shortly after the crimes occurred said, "I can frankly say that Teresa Lewis is as evil a person as I’ve ever met. I would wager with some assurance that you wouldn’t find anyone who knew her before this event occurred who thought she was mentally retarded or had a limited mentality — that it would ever cross their minds." UPDATE: Teresa Lewis was executed for the for-profit murders of her husband and stepson. Asked if she had last words, Lewis said, "I just want Kathy to know I love her. And I am very sorry." She was referring to her stepdaughter, Kathy Clifton, daughter of murder victim Julian Lewis and sister of victim C.J. Lewis. Kathy witnessed the execution.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 28, 2010 Tennessee Ronald Owens Gaile Owens commuted
The evidence shows that over a period of months, Gaile K. Owens solicited several men to kill her husband, Ronald Owens. One of these men was Sidney Porterfield. She met with him on at least three occasions, the last being at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, 1985. At that time, she told him that her husband would either be home alone that night or would be at the church playing basketball. That evening Ronald and Gaile Owens and their two sons attended evening church services. Afterwards, when Ronald remained at church to play basketball, the boys asked, as they usually did, to stay with their father. Gaile Owens refused their request and took them to a restaurant for dinner and then to the home of Gaile Owens’ sister, where they stayed until approximately 10:30 p.m. When they arrived home at about 11:00 p.m. Ronald’s automobile was in the driveway. The doors were open, the interior light was on and Ronald’s coat and tie were on the seat. They found the back door to the house partially open, and the keys in the lock. There were signs of a struggle in the kitchen and blood was splattered on the wall and floor. Ronald was found in the den unconscious, his head covered with blood. Ronald died some six hours later from multiple blows to his head. The autopsy revealed that Ronald had been struck at least twenty-one times with a blunt instrument, described by the forensic pathologist as a long, striated cylinder such as a tire iron. The blows had driven his face into the floor, crushed his skull and driven bone fragments into his brain. Ronald also had sustained extensive injuries to his hands and strands of hair between his fingers indicated he had been covering his head with his hands when he was beaten. After the killing, George James, one of the men solicited by Gaile Owens to kill her husband, contacted the police and told them of Gaile Owens’ offer. James then assisted the police by permitting them to record telephone conversations he had with Gaile Owens. After one of 4 the calls, James met Gaile Owens in the Raleigh Springs Mall in Memphis. James was wearing a hidden body microphone, which was being monitored by police in a nearby automobile. Gaile Owens paid James sixty dollars to keep quiet, telling him that it was all the money she had. She also stated that she had had her husband killed because of "bad marital problems." Gaile Owens was placed under arrest at the conclusion of her meeting with Mr. James. At first, Gaile Owens claimed that she only had hired people to follow her husband and "to rough him up." She did admit paying out some $4,000 to $5,000 to various men for expenses. Later she confessed to offering three men $5,000 to $10,000 to kill her husband and to talking with a man known as "little Johnny" at 2:30 p.m. on the day of the murder about killing her husband. She had promised to pay him three or four days after the murder. When asked why, Gaile Owens stated, "We’ve just had a bad marriage over the years, and I just felt like he had, mentally I just felt like he had been cruel to me. There was very little physical violence." The man who met Gaile Owens on Sunday afternoon was identified by witnesses as Sidney Porterfield. A witness also placed Porterfield in the vicinity of the Owens’ house a week before the killing. Porterfield also made a statement to the police which was entered into evidence. According to Porterfield, he met with Gaile Owens on three occasions to discuss plans for the killing of Ronald, the last being at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, 1985. He stated that Gaile Owens offered him $17,000 to kill her husband, and that he told her he would have to check out the situation. (Shortly after her husband’s funeral Gaile Owens had asked her father-in-law for $17,000 "to pay some bills.") He further stated that he went to the Owens’ house that evening at about 9:00 p.m. On leaving his automobile, he put a tire iron in his pocket in case he encountered a dog. Porterfield stated he was walking in the back yard of the Owens’ house when Ronald Owens came home; that Ronald would not accept his explanation that he was looking for a house, but informed him he was going to hold him until the police arrived; that Ronald grabbed him by the arm and attempted to pull him into the house. According to Porterfield, Ronald had a briefcase in one hand and was grasping Porterfield with the other. (No attempt was made to explain how Ronald, with his hands thus occupied, unlocked the door to the house.) Porterfield said he tried to break away and, when he was unsuccessful, struck Ronald with the tire iron. The men were then in the kitchen. Ronald threw his hand up for protection, but would not release Porterfield. Porterfield then continued to strike Ronald with the tire iron, with the result that he did extensive damage to both of Ronald’s hands and to his head. On leaving the Owens’ house, Porterfield threw the tire iron and the gloves he was wearing into a dumpster. They were never recovered. Defendant Porterfield offered no evidence in his defense. Gaile Owens presented the testimony of a neighbor, who testified that Gaile Owens was almost hysterical after her husband was found. A funeral home employee also testified. He stated that a large balance was owing on Ronald’s funeral bill, presumably to show that Gaile Owens did have large debts to pay after her husband’s death as she had represented to her father-in-law in attempting to secure a loan. In the bifurcated sentencing hearing, the forensic pathologist again testified for the state concerning the circumstances of Ronald’s death, such as blood being inhaled, bone fragments being driven into his brain, and the fact that Ronald had lived six hours after the beating. Two photographs showing the head wounds suffered by Ronald also were introduced. In addition, the state presented proof that Porterfield had been convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon in 1968 and of simple robbery twice in 1971. The state also relied on the circumstances of the killing as shown by evidence in the guilt phase of the trial. In mitigation, the defendant Owens presented evidence that she had been treated by a psychiatrist on one occasion in 1978 for severe behavioral problems. She also called two jail employees who testified that Gaile Owens was a good prisoner who caused no problems, volunteered to work, and attended Bible study classes. Porterfield presented no evidence in mitigation. In imposing the sentence of death, the jury found three aggravating circumstances with respect to Porterfield, and two with respect to Gaile Owens. No mitigating circumstances were found. Specifically, the jury found that Porterfield (1) had been previously convicted of one or more felonies involving the use or threat of violence to the person; (2) that he committed the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration, or employed another to commit the murder for remuneration, or the promise of remuneration; and (3) that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel in that it involved torture or depravity of mind. The jury found the same aggravating circumstances in sentencing Gaile Owens, except for the finding of previous conviction of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 29, 2010 California Susan Jordan, 15 Albert Brown stayed
Susan Jordan, murder victimOn October 28, 1980, about 7:30 a.m., 15-year-old Susan Jordan left her home to walk to Arlington High School. She never arrived, and efforts throughout the day to locate her were unsuccessful. That evening, Susan’s mother answered the telephone and a caller asked “Hello, Mrs. Jordan, Susie isn’t home from school yet, is she?” Mrs. Jordan replied that she was not. The voice then declared, “You will never see your daughter again. You can find her body on the corner of Victoria and Gibson.” At Mrs. Jordan’s request, the caller repeated the information, then hung up. Within a half-hour, another call said, “On the corner of Gibson and Victoria, fifth row, you will find a white Caucasian body of a young girl in the orange grove.” While police officers were at the Jordan home later that evening, a third call was received. The caller said, “You can find Sue’s identification in a telephone booth at the Texaco station at Arlington and Indiana.” Officers were sent to the Texaco station, where they discovered two Arlington High School identification cards belonging to Susan and a library pouch from a book. Meanwhile, a police dog found Susan’s body lying face down in the orange grove, with dirt piled up on both sides of her head. The body was nude below the waist except for socks, and Susan’s bra was partially pulled out from under her blouse. Her jeans were located elsewhere in the grove. A shoelace, apparently from one of her shoes, was wrapped tightly around her neck. Homicide investigators found signs of a struggle and indications that the body had been dragged for some distance. About 9:30 p.m., another call was received at Susan’s home, stating “In the tenth row, you’ll find the body.” The Jordans were able to record this call. Two acquaintances of Brown later identified the voice on the taped call as that of Brown. Early the next morning, the police set up roadblocks on the streets near the grove and questioned passersby. Witnesses recalled seeing a black man approaching Susan on the bike trail, standing in the grove as she walked by, or following her. Witnesses also reported seeing a brown Trans Am in the vicinity on that date, which matched the description of Brown’s car. Witnesses also described the man they had seen in the area as wearing jogging clothes, some particularly describing green running shorts and a green and white shirt. The investigation quickly focused on Brown. About a week after the murder, the authorities obtained a search warrant for Brown’s residence. Inside the house, a telephone directory was turned back to the page containing the Jordans’ listing. There were newspaper articles about Susan’s death under Brown’s bed, and two of her missing schoolbooks were found in the den. The library pouch found in the telephone booth had come from one of the books. Green running shorts and a green and white shirt were found in Brown’s work locker, and undershorts found in the locker had semen stains. At trial, three witnesses positively identified Brown as the man they saw near the grove on the day of Susan’s death. Brown presented an alibi defense. His mother testified that Brown was at home with her on the morning of October 28, leaving the house for only about eight minutes to get milk, and then leaving for work at 8:14 a.m. The jury convicted Brown of first degree murder and of the special circumstance of murder in the course of rape. At the penalty phase, the prosecution presented evidence that Brown had previously raped a fourteen-year-old girl in her home as she prepared to leave for school. The defense presented psychiatric and background evidence suggesting that Brown suffered severe emotional problems, including sexual maladjustment and dysfunction. Brown’s defense psychiatrist opined that Brown killed Susan out of shame for raping her, and that the phone calls indicated shame and a desire to be caught. The psychiatrist opined that Brown was not violent by nature, but was only a threat to women, and that he would not present a problem if sentenced to life in prison. Several of Brown’s family members testified on his behalf. Brown also took the stand, expressed remorse for the prior rape, and asked the jury for mercy. After deliberating for less than three hours, the jury returned a death verdict. Brown had been paroled from state prison just four months earlier after being convicted of a 1977 rape of a 14-year-old girl. The victim in that case, Kelly, was getting ready for school when Brown threw a coat over her head and dragged her to her mother’s bedroom, choking her with his arm. He told her, "If you don’t do what I say, I’ll kill you." She told him that if he hurt her, God would get him, which only made him squeeze her neck tighter. While he checked to make sure no one else was in the house, Kelly managed to get away and ran for the door, but he caught her and told her not to try that again. She again told him God was going to get him and in response he choked her until she passed out and he dropped her to the floor. He took off her shoes and pants and put her on her back on her mother’s bed. He again told her he would kill her if she did not do what he wanted. After raping Kelly, he told her to count to 200 and not to move. With the coat still over her head, she did what she was told, then got dressed and went to a neighbor’s house, asking them to call her mother and the police. Brown was spotted and arrested only moments later. He later told a psychiatrist that he did not intend to rape anyone when he broke into the house but when he realized Kelly was there and alone, he thought, "Why should I let this grand opportunity go to waste?" UPDATE: This execution date was stayed because of a shortage of sodium thiopental, one of the drugs used in a lethal injection. Karen Jordan Brown, the sister of Susan Jordan, made a statement after hearing of the delay; "The appeals process in California has proven to be nothing more than a never-ending war of attrition against justice and the rights of victims and their families. The distress that this process has brought upon the Jordan family is profound and unfathomable, but has only tempered our convictions in favor of capital punishment." An excellent article about the family’s 28+ year journey can be found here .

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