February 2011 Executions

Three killers were executed in February 2011. They had murdered at least 5 people.
killer was given a stay in February 2011. He has murdered at least 1 person.
One killer died on death row while awaiting execution. He had murdered at least 1 person.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 15, 2011 Tennessee Edith Ivey Russell, 62 Edward Harbison stayed
On January 15, 1983, Frank Russell returned home from work to discover that his wife, Edith, had been murdered. The Russells rented an apartment at the back of their Chattanooga, Tennessee, house to a tenant who, at that time, was away on vacation, and Edith’s body was found inside this apartment. Medical examiners determined that the cause of her death was "massive multiple skull fractures with marked lacerations of the scalp and head, expelling brain tissue and literally crushing the victim’s face and disfiguring her beyond recognition." Edith was last seen that afternoon at a neighborhood market, where witnesses spoke with her between approximately 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. Bags of groceries and ignition keys were found in Edith’s car, which was parked in the driveway, when her body was discovered near midnight. Nothing in the record indicates a precise time of death. The logical inference is that Edith was killed a short time after purchasing the groceries in the middle of the afternoon, or else she would have taken them and her keys out of her car. Moreover, the porch lights were off. Her husband said she always left the outside lights on for protection. The Russells’ house and the rented apartment were burglarized. Missing items included "an RCA XL-100 television, two cable television converters, a quartz heater, a Polaroid 210 camera, a silver Cross pen and pencil set, a jeweler’s loop, a jewelry box, antique jewelry, a marble vase, and Edith’s purse." Harbison became a suspect because he had been hired to do repair work on the Russell home from time to time. The police later found the quartz heater, the Polaroid camera, the pen and pencil set, and the jeweler’s loop in the residence of Janice Duckett, who was Harbison’s girlfriend and co-defendant David Schreane’s sister. The jeweler’s loop was found in Harbison’s shaving kit. In an adjacent unoccupied apartment, the police found Edith’s purse, a jewelry box, and two large paper bags containing antique glassware and brassware. The stolen television was found in the residence of Schreane’s girlfriend. Schreane was taken into custody and questioned on February 21, 1983, when he led police to the missing marble vase. Chemical testing later revealed the presence of blood on the vase. Furthermore, debris that was vacuumed from the carpet in Harbison’s car revealed crystalline calcite fragments that were consistent with the marble vase. Harbison also was arrested on February 21, 1983. In a taped statement, he confessed to killing Edith. Harbison stated that after he drove his girlfriend home from work, he and Schreane went to the Russell home, determined that it was empty, and used a screwdriver to break into the residence. While he and Schreane were carrying the stolen items from the house and the apartment to their car, Edith returned home. Harbison contended that he thought Edith was reaching for a gun, so he grabbed her. He stated that he hit her with the marble vase, "at the most" two times. At his trial, Harbison testified that he had not killed Edith and that he was not at the Russell house on the day of the murder. He said that he was at his girlfriend’s home that afternoon and evening. He asserted that his confession was coerced, and that the police had threatened to arrest his girlfriend and take away her children if he did not confess. He further testified that the police had told him what to say and that his taped confession, which was played to the jury, had been altered. Finally, he testified that he had purchased the jeweler’s loop at a pawn shop. Harbison was convicted and sentenced to death. Harbison is also suspected of murdering Carolyn Jean Garmany, 29, in Dayton, Ohio in 1975. Carolyn Garmany’s body was found face down in a creek by fishermen. Carolyn was the mother of an five young children and was pregnant at the time of her murder. UPDATE: This execution date was stayed due to challenges of the new lethal injection procedures.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 15, 2011 Texas Amy Robinson, 19 Michael Hall executed
Amy RobinsonEighteen-year-old Michael Wayne Hall and his friend Robert Neville decided to kill someone because Hall was angry that he had a "sucky-ass" life. They started searching for the right victim and preparing for their crime by obtaining rifles, pellet guns, a crossbow, and ammunition. After much looking, Hall and Neville finally chose nineteen-year-old Amy Robinson, a friend and former coworker, because she trusted them and they "didn’t have to put bruises on her to get her in the car." The evidence also revealed that Amy had a genetic disorder that made her small and mentally and physically slow. She stood four feet five inches tall and had the mental capacity of a third or fourth grader. On February 15, 1998, Hall and Neville went looking for Amy in order to carry out their murderous plan. They checked her schedule at the Kroger grocery store and then lay in wait for her to ride by on her bicycle on her way to work. When the pair saw Amy, they coaxed her into the car, promising to drop her at work after they circled around in the country. As Neville drove, Amy complained that she did not want to be late for work. Neville then pretended to have a flat tire and pulled the car over on a dirt road by a remote field. Hall and Neville got out of the car and walked into the field carrying their weapons while an unsuspecting Amy waited in the car listening to the radio. At some point, Hall persuaded Amy to get out of the car, telling her she needed to go talk to Neville near a tree. As Amy walked toward Neville, he fired a crossbow at her several times. Neville missed each shot, but Amy became angry when the last arrow grazed her hair. When Amy started walking back to the car, Hall shot her in the back of her leg with his pellet gun. Hall and Neville laughed while Amy cried in pain. Meanwhile, Neville returned to the car and got his.22 caliber rifle. When Hall managed to maneuver Amy back into the field, Neville shot her in the chest. Hall then shot her in the chest "three or four or six times" with the pellet gun. Amy fell to the ground making loud noises and shaking. Hall then stood over her and stared for five to ten minutes. The pair worried that someone would hear Amy, so Neville shot her in the head, killing her instantly. Hall and Neville then left Amy and her bicycle in an area where they would not be easily discovered. A few days later, they returned to the scene. Neville fired shots into Amy’s dead body, and Hall took keys and money from her pocket. When Amy’s family and coworkers realized she was missing, a massive search ensued. More than two weeks later, authorities focused on Hall and Neville. Fearing they would be caught, the pair fled Arlington but were soon arrested when they attempted to cross the border into Mexico. The authorities found Amy’s body on the day of the arrest.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 16, 2011 Florida John Pope Lloyd Duest died on death row
On 02/15/82, witnesses saw Lloyd Duest carrying a knife in the waistband of his pants. Later that day, he told a witness that he was going to a gay bar to “roll a fag.” Duest was later seen at a bar with the victim, John Pope, and the two later left in Pope’s gold Camaro. When Pope’s roommate, David Shifflett, returned home, he found the house unlocked, the lights on, the stereo on with the volume turned up, and blood on the bed. The roommate called the Sheriff’s Department, and when the deputy sheriff arrived, Pope was found on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood, having suffered multiple stab wounds. At trial, Duest presented documentary and testimonial evidence that he was in Massachusetts on the day of the murder and did not arrive in Florida until 04/05/82. At trial, the State presented testimony from seven witnesses who claimed that they had seen Duest with John Pope in the hours before his death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 17, 2011 Ohio Horace T. Rickerson
Timothy Sheehan, 50
Brian Warford, 17
Frank Spisak executed
On February 1, 1982, the body of the Reverend Horace T. Rickerson was discovered by a fellow student on the floor of a restroom on the Cleveland State University campus. Horace had been shot seven times by an assailant from a distance of more than eighteen inches. Four spent bullet casings were recovered from the scene. On the evening of June 4, 1982, John Hardaway was shot seven times while waiting for an RTA train at the West 117th Rapid Station in Cleveland. He observed a man walking up the platform steps and had turned away when the man opened fire on him. Hardaway survived the shooting, and was later able to identify his assailant as Frank G. Spisak, Jr. Three pellets and seven shell casings were recovered from the scene. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on August 9, 1982, Coletta Dartt, an employee of Cleveland State University, left her office to use the restroom. Upon exiting the stall, she encountered Spisak, holding a gun, who ordered her back into the stall. Instead, Coletta shoved Spisak out of the way and ran down the hallway. Spisak shot at her, but missed. A pellet was later removed from a wall in the hallway. Coletta Dartt identified Spisak as her assailant. On August 27, 1982, the body of Timothy Sheehan, an employee of Cleveland State University, was discovered in a restroom at the university by a security guard. The guard had been searching for Sheehan after his office reported that he had failed to answer his beeper page. Timothy had been shot four times, and two pellets were retrieved from the scene. On the morning of August 30, 1982, the body of a young student, Brian Warford, was discovered in a bus shelter on the campus of Cleveland State University. Brian died from a single gunshot wound to the head, although five spent.22 caliber casings were recovered from the scene. On September 4, 1982, Cleveland police answered a call that a man was firing shots from a window at 1367 East 53rd Street. The police were directed to Spisak’s apartment and Spisak, after admitting he had fired one shot, invited the officers inside. A shotgun and a.22 caliber automatic pistol were observed in the room. Spisak made a suspicious move toward the couch but was stopped by one of the officers who discovered a loaded.38 caliber handgun and a two-shot derringer under the couch cushions. Spisak was arrested for possession of unregistered handguns and discharging firearms within city limits, but was later released on bond. The weapons, however, were confiscated. Early the next day, an anonymous caller told police that the confiscated weapons had been used in the Cleveland State University shootings. Ballistics tests confirmed the tip. A warrant was obtained, and the police returned to Spisak’s apartment, confiscating several items including newspaper clippings of the homicides and Nazi-White Power paraphernalia. Spisak was later arrested, hiding in the basement of a friend’s house. During a brief search of Spisak’s suitcase at the scene, police discovered the beeper pager belonging to Timothy Sheehan. Spisak later admitted to shooting Horace Rickerson for allegedly making a homosexual advance toward him; to killing Tim Sheehan as a possible witness to the Horace Rickerson shooting. The prosecution suggested it was the other way around, with Spisak making the overture and being rejected. Spisak also admitted to killing Brian Warford while on a "hunting party" looking for a black person to kill; and finally, to shooting at Coletta Dartt and to shooting John Hardaway. He also told police he had replaced the barrel of the.22 caliber handgun in order to conceal the murder weapon. More information on the victims in this case can be found here . Tim Sheehan’s son Brendan Sheehan grew up to become a prosecutor and was seated as a trial court judge in Cuyahoga County in 2009. His father was murdered on Brendan’s 15th birthday. UPDATE: For his final statement, Spisak recited Biblical verses from the book of Revelations. In German, he read the first seven verses of the 21st chapter of Revelations. The passage deals with the end of the world, the return of Christ and the elevation of everyone to heaven. "He’s making it up," Sheehan’s daughter, Cathy Sheehan Daley, said during Spisak’s recitation. Eric Barnes, another of Warford’s brothers, was also skeptical of Spisak’s grasp of the German language. "You don’t know German," he said as he looked through the glass window that separated the inmate from the witnesses. "Speak English, you fool." As Spisak walked into the death chamber, he looked at the witnesses through the window. Barnes was holding up two photographs of his brother Brian, one as a child and one as a young man. Spisak quickly looked away after he took notice. Interestingly, Spisak’s final statement included the first seven verses of the 21st chapter of Revelations, but did not include the eighth verse which mentions "the abominable, and murderers,… and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." Media witnesses say that, at the end of his statement, Spisak said, "Heil Herr," which is roughly translated to English as "Praise God." Those were his final words.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
February 22, 2011 Texas Timothy Wayne Adams, Jr. Timothy Adams executed
Timothy Adams and Emma Turner were married in March of 2000. In July, Adams and Emma had a son, Tim. On Friday, February 15, 2002, when Emma discovered that Adams was keeping a gun in their apartment, she decided to move out. That morning Emma took Tim and her fifteen-year-old son from a previous relationship, Andrew, and moved in with her friend, Karen. Accompanied by a police officer, Emma retrieved some of her things from the apartment on Saturday while Adams was not there. Emma spoke with Adams on the phone on Sunday and informed him that she was moving out. Adams agreed that Emma could return to the apartment on Tuesday to get more of her belongings, and he agreed that he would not be there. After removing some of her property on Tuesday, Emma told Adams that she needed to return another time for more belongings. Adams agreed that she could return the following day, and he told her that he would not be there. Emma made arrangements to meet her son Andrew at the apartment on Wednesday, February 20, after school. Andrew arrived at the apartment before Emma and Tim. Adams, who was already in the apartment, came up behind Andrew with a gun in his hand. Adams pointed the gun at Andrew and said, "I should shoot you now." Adams ordered Andrew to sit on the floor, and accused Andrew of stealing videotapes from him. Adams then angrily asked Andrew why Emma was "doing this" to him. Adams told Andrew that Emma was "going to pay." As they waited for Emma to arrive, Adams wrote her a note and read it aloud to Andrew. The first page of the note states: Look what you and your selfish pride did. You thought I was playing. Now you see I whaten. Don’t ever tell me what I can’t do with my own child. You wish you had let me spend time alone with my child now. You wish you had been calling our son Tim Jr. now. You wish you had not called me those names now. You wished you had washed my clothes and fixed me something to eat now. Page two of the note states: You will never forget this will you Bitch! You wish you had just been a wife now don’t you. You should of never tried to take my son away from me. I told you Bitch! I hate you to! You should of loved your husband Bitch. Adams testified at punishment that he wrote the first page of the note while he and Andrew were waiting for Emma, and he wrote the second page after he killed Tim. There are blood smears on the second page of the note and the writing is less uniform than it appears on the first page. Adams watched out the window for Emma. When he saw her coming he hid behind the front door and opened it for her. When Emma came in, carrying the year-and-a-half-old Tim, she saw Andrew sitting on the floor and then saw Adams with a gun in his hand. She put Tim down on the floor and asked Adams what was going on. Adams picked up Tim. He told Emma that Andrew had confessed to stealing from him, and he yelled at Andrew to tell Emma the truth. Emma asked Adams why he was doing this, but he continued yelling and pointing the gun. She picked up the phone and called 911. Adams yelled at Emma to put the phone down, but she continued to talk with the 911 operator. Adams pointed his gun at her. Andrew attempted to jump between Emma and the gun. As Adams fired a shot, Emma dropped the phone, and she and Andrew ran for the door. The bullet went through Emma’s shirt and grazed her back. The gun jammed. Adams attempted to un-jam it as Emma and Andrew ran from the apartment. Andrew returned a couple of minutes later and pounded on the door. He begged Adams to hand over Tim, but Adams did not answer the door. In the meantime, police officers, including a S.W.A.T (special weapons and tactics) team, were dispatched to the apartment complex. Adams could be seen looking out of the apartment window, holding Tim on one arm and a gun in the other hand. One witness standing outside of Adams’s apartment saw Adams hit Tim on the head with the butt of the gun. Adams had numerous phone conversations with friends, relatives, co-workers, and police officers while in the apartment. Adams told one police officer with whom he spoke that he wasn’t giving himself up and that if anyone tried to enter the apartment, he would kill himself. He told this officer that he had already shot himself in the stomach. Adams told another officer on the phone that he hated his wife, that she mistreated him, and that she threatened to take his son away. He told this officer that he was considering suicide. Adams told another officer during a phone conversation that he would shoot anyone who came in the door. Emma’s friend Karen called Adams when she saw the coverage of the hostage stand-off on television. Adams told her "he was going to make Emma hurt the rest of her days on the earth like she made him suffer." He also told her that he had shot Tim twice in the chest and shot himself in the stomach. Houston Police Officer Gordon Michael Garrett, a volunteer member of the hostage negotiation team, was at the apartment complex talking to Adams’s employer, Ms. Garcia, when she received a call on her cell phone from Adams at around 7:25 p.m. Ms. Garcia handed the phone to Officer Garrett. Adams told the officer that he had killed Tim an hour earlier. Officer Garrett talked Adams through a surrender plan, and twenty minutes later Adams surrendered. Tim was found dead on the floor inside the apartment. He died from two bullet wounds to his chest. The medical examiner testified that the muzzle of the gun had been placed loosely against the surface of the skin, either close to or touching the victim’s body, when fired. Both bullets passed through the child’s body and exited out his lower back. At the punishment stage of trial, Sergeant James Lee Ramsey testified that Adams gave him a tape-recorded statement after his surrender. The tape was admitted into evidence and played for the jury. Sgt. Ramsey allowed Adams to give a narrative of his version of what had happened. Adams immediately began by complaining that Emma had "mentally abused" him, citing examples of this perceived mental abuse and mistreatment. He claimed that when he told Emma that Andrew was stealing from him, she called him a liar even though she knew he was telling the truth. He stated that Emma would not allow him to do "simple things" with Tim. Adams described an incident in which he was given a chair for Tim from a woman at work. Adams said Emma put toys in the chair so that Tim could not sit in it "just basically to be mean so he couldn’t have the gift that I gave him." Adams stated that Emma was "mean and evil." He stated that "whatever I try to give my son, do for him and be there for him, she would not let him have it." Adams claimed that Emma would untruthfully tell others that he would not give her money for things such as diapers and food. He claimed "that was just her mean, evil way of being mean to me." Adams stated that he remained at work for hours after the time he was scheduled to get off because he did not want to go home and face the terrible treatment from Emma. He claimed the worst thing Emma did was to tell him that he could not be with Tim, that she "was gonna use the child to hurt [him]." After allowing Adams to speak at length about the abuse he suffered from Emma, Sgt. Ramsey asked Adams to tell him what had happened that afternoon. Adams stated that he went home from work early that day so he could "catch ’em at home." He stated that he made Andrew confess to Emma that he had been stealing from Adams. He stated that when Emma picked up the phone and called the police like "she done many times," he "snapped" and shot at her. When Sgt. Ramsey asked him why he shot Tim, Adams explained: My wife was hurtin[g] me, she was keeping him away from me. I was gonna take him out and me too. Cause I didn’t want him, gonna raise him to teach him don’t love your Daddy, he was this and he was that. She was gonna do that. My parents couldn’t even see my son, my Mother, my Daddy. She know what she done, she gonna sit up there and change it all around. She knows what she did. Adams stated that he shot Tim twice in the chest as he was holding him. Sgt. Ramsey then asked Adams if there was anything else he would like to say. Adams stated, "I could go on forever" and then continued to talk some more about Emma’s "abusive behavior." He stated that Emma would not open his card on Mother’s Day, and made up an excuse not to go out with him on Mother’s Day. She also did not buy him a birthday present and would not sing happy birthday to him. He complained that he rode the bus to work while Emma drove her Trooper. He cited these as examples of Emma’s "just mentally abusing me in just all kind of ways." Sgt. Ramsey then stated to Adams, "Okay let me, let me get this straight. You, you shot your son because [Emma] wouldn’t let you have your son. So you were just gonna take your son away from her, too, since you couldn’t have him. Is that what you’re trying to tell us?" Adams responded, "My wife got in my head. I was gonna take me and my son out." Emma testified at punishment that Adams was very suspicious and jealous and accused her of seeing other men. He told her he had followed her to see if she was meeting anyone. He once told her that he was hoping to catch her with another man so he could kill them "right then and there." On the evening of Valentine’s Day 2001, Adams listened in on a phone conversation between Emma and a male co-worker. After the phone call, Adams screamed at Emma and beat her on her head with his fists. Emma also stated that at times Adams told her that if she ever left him, she would never see Tim again, and that "no man would ever raise his child and she wouldn’t raise him either." Emma said there was no food in the house, and Adams would not give her money for food and would get angry if she asked him for money. Karen Farr testified at punishment that in the months before the offense, she talked often with both Emma and Adams, separately, about their marital problems. Adams told her about two movies he had watched in which the plot was that a man murdered his wife and did not get caught. Ms. Farr stated that Emma and the children often came to her house to eat because Emma said there was no food at her house. Adams called numerous witnesses at punishment who testified that they knew Adams from work, that he was an excellent employee, a proud father, and a nice and caring person, that they were shocked to hear of the charges against him and they did not believe Adams would be a future danger. The mother of Adams’s fifteen-year-old son testified that she had known Adams for nineteen years, that she had lived with Adams for about a year after he returned from the service, that she was very surprised about the charges, and that she had never had any disagreements with Adams over their son. Other punishment witnesses who testified for Adams included jail personnel, fellow inmates, a criminal justice professor, Adams’s mother, and a forensic psychiatrist. Adams also testified on his own behalf. Adams testified that he purchased a handgun about month before the offense. He also put a rifle in "lay-away." He stated that he planned to use both weapons for hunting in the fall. Describing the events surrounding the offense, Adams stated that when Emma came home and he began yelling about what Andrew had stolen, Emma "did what she always did, she picked up the telephone to call the police." He explained that "Emma would always provoke me and try to get me into – you know, angry and into a rage then she would call the cops, so when she did that, to me she was doing it again, and I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to shoot but I did want to shoot." Adams stated that after he shot at Emma, he wanted to fire again but the gun jammed. By the time he managed to get it un-jammed, Emma had run from the apartment and down the stairs. After Emma and Andrew fled the apartment and the police began to arrive outside, Adams decided to kill himself and Tim because otherwise he would go to prison and "Emma would be successful in separating me from him and not letting me love him and him love me." He further explained, "She was not going to get a chance to hurt me or my son anymore, she wasn’t going to keep us apart, she wasn’t going to teach him not to love me, and me, I couldn’t love him." On cross-examination Adams admitted that his gun was fully loaded with eleven bullets on the day of the offense. Adams also admitted that he took the gun to work with him on the day before and the day of the offense so that Emma would not remove it from the apartment. Adams agreed that his parents knew that his marriage was volatile and begged him not to keep the gun at the apartment. Adams denied purchasing the gun for the purpose of shooting Emma. He insisted that he bought it to use for deer hunting, even though he acknowledged that deer season was eight or nine months away at the time of the purchase. Adams admitted that he shot Tim a second time when he did not die after the first shot. He also agreed that after shooting Tim, he wrote the second page of the note to Emma.

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