May 2011 Executions

Seven killers were executed in May 2011. They had murdered at least 16 people.
killer was given a stay in May 2011. He have murdered at least 4 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 3, 2011 Texas Pamela Leann Frye Horton, 34 Cary Kerr executed
Pamela Horton, murder victimThe victim in this case was Pamela Horton, mother with four children. Although another man was her boyfriend, Pamela had been seen at bars in Cary D. Kerr’s company for about a month. On the evening of July 11, 2001, Pamela Horton socialized with Jennifer York and Kerr at a bar called the Swan Club, and the three later moved to a nearby nightclub called Cowtown. Jennifer briefly danced with Kerr but when he grabbed her arm as she was walking away, she punched him. Jennifer did not like Kerr and told Pamela so, but Pamela defended him as being "a nice guy." Pamela Horton later told Jennifer that she needed a ride home, but Jennifer was not yet ready to leave. Pamela was clearly intoxicated. In her testimony, Jennifer York characterized Pamela Horton as an "impatient" person, who could be predicted to look for someone else to take her home immediately, rather than wait until Jennifer was ready. Later, a bartender noticed Pamela leaving with Kerr. After escorting her from the nightclub, Kerr returned briefly and whispered to Cathy Dawson, "I’m taking this drunk bitch home and I’ll be right back." At 2:00 a.m. on July 12, a taxicab driver spotted Pamela Horton’s dead body, lying in the street. The taxicab driver located an ambulance and notified the paramedics of the body’s location. Pamela was wearing shorts but nothing else: no shirt, socks, shoes, or underwear. Only the top button of the shorts’ button-fly was fastened. There was "fuzz" on the victim’s feet, indicating the victim had recently worn socks. After the paramedics had wrapped the victim’s body, Kerr approached them and asked them to pull back the sheet because he believed he could identify her. The paramedics responded that they would not pull back the sheet but asked Kerr to tell them who it was if he knew. Kerr stated that he was the one who found the body and had called them. The paramedics responded that no one "called" them; they were on the scene because they had been approached by a taxicab driver. Kerr then responded that he had flagged down the taxi. Kerr further stated that he had not stopped his car upon discovering her body because he thought she might be a robbery decoy and that he had seen a black sedan with two male passengers parked nearby. Kerr also stated that he recognized the woman as someone who frequented bars in the area. Police officers arrived at the scene, secured it, and talked to Kerr. The officers saw a purse in Kerr’s car and asked whose purse it was. Kerr first stated it was the victim’s and then added, "If that’s the girl I picked up, maybe it’s hers." The victim’s boyfriend would later identify the purse as one he had bought for her. He became very nervous after this admission. Kerr retrieved the purse from his vehicle for the officers’ inspection. A broken, comb-like hair clip was attached to the handle of the purse. During their conversation with Kerr, the officers noticed a long strand of blonde hair on his face. Kerr did not have blonde hair but the victim did. One of the officers took the strand of blonde hair. The officers later arrested Kerr at the scene. On the way to the police station, Kerr started kicking the back window of the patrol car and began "cussing" and saying he was going to get out of the car. The victim’s body exhibited a large number of injuries, some of which were inflicted before death, and some after death. Injuries to the victim while she was still alive included: bruising of the right temple and the top of the right eye, a bruise on the top side of the left eye or eyelid, tiny pinpoint bruises on the neck and the collarbone, a bruise on the chest above the right breast, and bruises on the arms. Also, the hyoid bone of the neck was fractured. Post-mortem injuries included abrasions on the trunk of the body, the front part of the breasts, the abdomen, the left arm, the right leg, and the right foot. These post-mortem abrasions were "gliding abrasions" that could be found on someone thrown out of a motor vehicle. It was determined that the victim also had semen in her mouth. According to the deputy medical examiner who performed the autopsy, the bruises on the neck indicated that the cause of death was manual strangulation and that the death was a homicide. A forensic anthropologist testified that the broken hyoid bone was also a sign of manual strangulation. The deputy medical examiner indicated that the injuries and sexual activity occurred within a short time of each other, but he conceded in cross-examination that the physical condition of the body was not inconsistent with consensual sexual activity followed by a homicide. DNA testing showed that the semen in the victim’s mouth matched the defendant’s DNA profile. The probability of a match with another person was 1 in 21 trillion for Caucasians, 1 in 159 trillion for those of African descent, and 1 in 615 trillion for Southwestern Hispanics. Hair analysis of the strand of blonde hair picked off Kerr’s face showed similarities to the victim’s hair but with enough differences that the hair examiner could say only that the strand could not be ruled out as having come from the victim. Pamela’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of autopsy was determined to be 0.465 – over five times the legal limit. The deputy medical examiner estimated that the concentration probably had peaked at 0.5 and was on its way down, and that the victim would have to have been a "seasoned drinker" to be able walk around with that much alcohol in her body. A search of Kerr’s home yielded a brassiere, panties, and a plastic "tooth" for a comb or a hair clasp. The brassiere was severely torn in two places. In one place there was a complete separation of the strap from the cups in the front, and in another place there was a tear on one of the cups at the side. A forensic examiner testified that the tears were significant enough to interfere with the brassiere’s function, and he testified that a great deal of force would be required to produce the tears in question. Examination of the comb-like hair clip revealed that it had been manufactured with fourteen teeth but eight had broken off. In addition, part of the gripping surface was missing and the hinging mechanism was damaged. The comb tooth retrieved from Kerr’s residence was the same color as the hair clasp, and microscopic analysis showed a match. The forensic examiner testified that considerable force would be needed to cause the observed damage to the hair clasp. The brassiere and the panties contained DNA from the victim. Pamela Horton’s aunt, Joann Mazyck, who said she helped raise Pamela Horton, wished Kerr would at least show some remorse. "I want him to be punished," she said. "I hate to use ‘dead.’ I just want to know he’s not here." UPDATE: Prior to his execution, Cary Kerr again proclaimed his innocence, saying, "To the state of Texas, I am an innocent man. Never trust a court-appointed attorney. I am ready, Warden."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 6, 2011 South Carolina Louise Etta Olsteen, 73
Clyde Lloyd Camby, 79
Charles Martin
Jeffrey Motts executed
In 1997, a Spartanburg County jury convicted Jeffrey Brian Motts of the armed robbery and murder of his great-aunt and great-uncle. Motts’ great aunt, 73-year-old Louise Etta Olsteen, and of 79-year-old Clyde Lloyd Camby, were killed on April 3, 1995. Motts, at the time 19 years old, had cut the telephone cord in the house, tied the legs of the couple with a shirt and shot Olsteen in the back and shot Camby in the face. He wanted money to buy crack cocaine. The trial judge sentenced Motts to life imprisonment for each murder conviction and twenty-five years’ imprisonment for the armed robbery conviction. While Motts was serving his sentences at Perry Correctional Institution in Greenville County, his cell-mate, Charles Martin, was found dead on December 8, 2005. Motts confessed to the killing. Subsequently, a Greenville County grand jury indicted Motts for Martin’s murder. Based on Motts’s prior murder convictions, the State sought the death penalty. Several witnesses at trial, including Motts, testified regarding the events surrounding Martin’s murder. Angered that Martin had lied to another inmate about Motts’s involvement in "planting" a knife in the inmate’s cell, Motts confronted Martin during the early morning hours of December 8, 2005. According to Motts, the verbal exchange escalated to a physical altercation with Motts hitting Martin in the head. Martin fell against the wall and started shaking. Motts then picked up Martin and bound his hands and feet using strips of cloth from his bed sheets. When Martin regained consciousness, he begged Motts not to hurt him. Motts responded by choking Martin to death. Because Martin continued to make what Motts described as a "death rattle," Motts proceeded to tie some sheets around Martin’s neck to stop this noise. Martin died as the result of asphyxia due to strangulation. Motts then pushed the body under his bed in the cell. After killing Martin, Motts smoked a cigarette, ate breakfast, smoked another cigarette, and watched television. Motts then dragged Martin’s body to a common area known as "the rock." Before placing Martin’s body on "the rock," he kicked Martin and stated "this is what snitches get." Motts then reported to prison guards that he had killed Martin. After the guards found Martin’s lifeless body, officers with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division initiated an investigation by questioning Motts. During the questioning, Motts waived his Miranda rights and then confessed to the murder. After the jury found Motts guilty of murder, the State sought to establish the statutory aggravating circumstance that "the murder was committed by a person with a prior conviction for murder." Accordingly, the State presented evidence regarding Motts’s 1997 convictions for the murder of his great-aunt and great-uncle. Ultimately, the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder of Martin was committed by a person with a prior conviction for murder. As a result, the jury recommended that Motts be put to death. The trial judge denied all of Motts’s post-trial motions and ordered on June 4, 2008 that Motts be put to death as a result of the conviction. In March of 2011, the state Supreme Court ruled that Motts can drop his appeals. Charles Martin was only three weeks away from finishing a five year sentence when Motts murdered him. Martin could have been paroled five months before his death but he had opted to finish his sentence so he would be free and clear to move back with his family in North Carolina. UPDATE: Prior to his execution Jeffrey Motts apologized to the families of his victims, and also issues a warning to kids about the dangers of drugs, saying Motts said, "First I want to apologize to the Martin family, the Osteen family and the Camby family and anyone I have hurt along the way. Second, I want to warn kids of the dangers of drugs. I was the child everyone wanted their children around until I got on drugs. Drugs will destroy your life." Motts also apologized to his family. "I know this is a sad one but let us remember the good times. I am finally free and at peace in heaven."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 10, 2011 Mississippi Wesley Lee Reid, 38
Glenda Lee Reid, 38
Heath Pounds, 10
Dylan Lee Reid, 11
Benny Stevens executed
The murders of Wesley Reid, Glenda Reid, Heath Pounds and Dylan Lee, as well as the aggravated assault of Erica Stevens, took place on Sunday, October 18, 1998, in Marion County. Erica is the daughter of Benny Joe Stevens, and she lived with her mother, Glenda Reid, with her stepfather, Wesley Reid, and her brother, Dylan, in a trailer home in Marion County located on Shiloh Firetower Road in Foxworth, Mississippi. Glenda and Stevens had divorced when Erica was three years old. Benny Joe Stevens subsequently married Lauren Stevens in 1993 and thereafter gained custody of his daughters, Erica and Angela, in 1996. However, in August of 1998, Glenda regained custody of Erica. At trial, Lauren Stevens testified that her husband was expecting a workers’ compensation settlement from a back injury claim and that he anticipated he would have to pay back child support from the settlement check. At the time of the murders, Stevens was unemployed and so was his wife. On Sunday, October 18, 1998, Stevens and his brother, Ricky Stevens, had gone in Stevens’s Ford pick-up truck to play pool. Thereafter, Lauren received a telephone call from Ricky on a cell phone that afternoon to the effect that Stevens had driven into a ditch and wrecked the truck. Stevens appeared drunk to Lauren when she arrived to assist them. Stevens’s truck was pulled out of the ditch, and Stevens went back home. Later that evening Lauren entered Stevens’s bedroom, she saw her husband with his gun belt laid out on the bed and putting shotgun shells in the gun belt. Lauren also remembered seeing his.357 handgun. Stevens then took his guns and left the home in his truck. On Sunday, October 18, 1998, Erica, Dylan, Wesley, Glenda and Dylan’s friend Heath, who was spending the night, were all at the trailer and had finished eating supper when Erica saw Stevens park his truck beside Wesley’s truck in the backyard. No one was with Stevens. Erica saw Stevens get out of his truck. According to Erica, Wesley opened the sliding glass back door wide enough to stick his head out the door and called, "Benny Joe, Can I help you?" Erica then heard a gunshot and Wesley scream, "$hit, he shot me." Erica heard Wesley as he called out for help and asked God for help. Erica tried to rescue her brother and his friend but Stevens shot her in the back. She then hid in the trailer’s master bath and watched helplessly as her mother was shot by Stevens. She then heard Benny Joe say, "Bi+ch, I told you that I’d kill you one of these days." Erica climbed through a small window in the bathroom where she had been hiding and heard more gunshots while she was running away from the trailer. Erica went to a neighbor’s house for help and collapsed at the door. Erica told the neighbors that her father had shot her mother, stepfather, brother and friend. Wesley was shot four times with two different guns. Glenda pleaded for her children’s safety before being shot in the head. The two young boys, Heath and Dylan, were both brutally murdered. Heath, age twelve, was shot twice, the first shot to the face with the second fatal shot to the chest severing his spine. Dylan was age eleven when he died. Stevens returned to his home where his wife inquired, "What did you do?", to which Stevens replied, "I just killed a family." UPDATE: After witnessing the execution of Benny Stevens, Kathy Pounds, mother of Heath Pounds, said, "Heath was our ray of sunshine. Nothing will every fix the hole left in our hearts by his death. For us, today is not about Benny Joe. It is about Heath…we are celebrating his life and memory, not the destruction of another mother’s child. Now 28 years old, Erica Stevens, the only survivor of the attack, also witnessed her father’s execution with her sister Angela and several other members of her family. Benny Stevens asked his victim’s families for forgiveness but said he didn’t think they could. "What I’ve taken from God and you, I can’t replace. I’m sorry." Glenda Reid’s brother Mike Lee said, "While this does not bring closure to our pain, it is a step in the healing process."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 17, 2011 Ohio Gwen Toepfert, 25
John Smith, 27
Daniel Bedford executed
In 1978, Daniel Lee Bedford met Gwen Toepfert, whose father owned the bar where Bedford worked, and for the next several years the two were involved in an “on-again, off-again” relationship. Gwen graduated from Colerain High School in Cincinnati in 1978. By 1984, the couple was estranged. Bedford’s feelings for Gwen remained, however, prompting him to try to “rekindle our prior romance.” On April 21, 1984, he visited her apartment bearing a gift and hoping to make amends—only to learn that Gwen’s new boyfriend, John Smith, was already there. Three days later, Bedford tried again. At around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24, Bedford, who had spent the evening working at one bar and patronizing another, telephoned Gwen’s apartment—only to learn from her roommate, Jo Ann, that Gwen was asleep and that Smith was with her. Later that morning, Jo Ann woke to the sounds of “gunshots and screams.” Apparently overcome by Gwen’s rejection, Bedford entered her apartment armed with a.38 revolver and a shotgun, shot John Smith after a brief struggle and shot Gwen. During the melee, Gwen ran into Funk’s bedroom, screaming that she had been shot. Bedford found her there and shot her again with the revolver and the shotgun. John and Gwen both died from the gunshots. Bedford fled to Tennessee. Once there, he visited an acquaintance, to whom he confessed his crime, and who reported Bedford to the police. After Tennessee police arrested Bedford and Mirandized him, he gave a statement admitting the crimes and eventually gave a similar statement to Cincinnati authorities. An Ohio jury convicted Bedford of the aggravated murder of Gwen Toepfert and the murder of John Smith. After a mitigation hearing, the jury recommended the death penalty, and the trial court agreed. Bedford, who was 36 at the time of the murders, is now 63 years old. UPDATE: Daniel Bedford declined to give a final statement prior to his execution for the murders of Gwen Toepfert and John Smith. Relatives of the victims expressed support for the execution, saying they believe the killings were merciless and Bedford knew what he was doing. "From day one, there was never any doubt that Bedford committed this brutal, double murder," they said in a statement Tuesday. "Unfortunately, it has taken 27 long years to get to where we are today." Toepfert’s uncle and her brothers, Robert and Rick Toepfert, watched the execution. The men were silent and stoic throughout the process, resting their chins on their hands. Rick Toepfert held a large photo of his sister, a smiling, feather-haired blonde in a striped shirt, and aimed it toward the death chamber. He didn’t turn it around until Bedford was pronounced dead. Robert Toepfert later said he felt justice had been served. Read more:
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 17, 2011 Mississippi Grace Blackwell, 79 Rodney Gray executed
On the morning of August 15, 1994, 79-year-old Grace Blackwell drove to the drive-through teller window of her bank in Jasper County. Grace presented a blank check and asked the teller to fill the check out in the amount of $1200. The teller’s view of the car’s back seat was blocked by hanging clothes. The teller testified that after giving her the money, she heard Grace say, "I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying." The teller notified the police, and they went to Grace’s home only to find the front door open and the phone disconnected. Witnesses testified that they saw Grace’s car around noontime being driven by a young black male, and one witness identified the driver as Rodney Gray. Police found Grace Blackwell’s body at the end of a bridge in Newton County at 1:40 p.m. Her car was found elsewhere in Newton County. Investigators determined that Blackwell had been killed by a shotgun blast to the mouth. Later, an autopsy revealed that Grace had also been raped and that her body had been run over by a car. Investigators questioned Rodney Gray on August 15 about Grace Blackwell’s disappearance and arrested him that same day. While in jail, Gray phoned his girlfriend, Mildred Curry, to tell her that he had hidden money in a bathroom vent. A search of Curry’s trailer turned up $1,123 hidden in the bathroom air duct. The clothes and boots which Gray had been wearing on the day of the murder were found in a bucket behind Curry’s trailer. A Newton County grand jury indicted Gray for the capital murder of Grace Blackwell, with the aggravator of murder while engaged in the commission of the crime of kidnapping/and/or rape. Attorneys Thomas D. Lee and B. Jackson Thames, Jr. represented Gray in the trial court. At trial, FBI experts testified that the foot print at the Blackwell home came from Gray’s boot and that tests on DNA samples taken from Grace Blackwell’s undergarments showed that Gray was the likely source. The probability that the semen came from someone other than Gray was 1 in 446,000,000. Further testimony came from one of Gray’s cell mates, who testified that while in jail Gray told him that he had forced Blackwell to withdraw money from the bank, raped her and then shot her with a.410 shotgun. The jury found Gray guilty of capital murder and then heard evidence as to mitigating and aggravating circumstances pertinent to the determination of the sentence which should be imposed on Gray. After hearing testimony from several witnesses from the State and the defense, the jury reached a unanimous verdict finding that Rodney Gray should suffer death for the capital murder of Grace Blackwell.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 19, 2011 Alabama Gerald Paravicini, 46
Freddie Barber, 50
Linda Barber, 45
Bryan Barber, 22
Jason Williams executed
Jason Oric Williams was adopted by his aunt and uncle at infancy. His aunt and uncle did not disclose to Williams that they were not his biological parents. Williams grew up in poverty, performed poorly academically, and felt he was snubbed by his family and peers. When Williams turned seventeen years old, he attempted to obtain identification documents so that he could work. During this process, Williams learned that he was adopted. This news devastated Williams, and he began experimenting with alcohol and drugs such as LSD, crack, marijuana, ecstacy, and prescription medications. In 1990, Williams married Sandra Ellzey. Williams and Ellzey remained married for about ten months, divorcing in 1991. On a few occasions, Williams slapped Ellzey in the face, pulled her hair, and broke her glasses. Williams, however, continued to live with Ellzey after they were divorced. In January 1992, Ellzey discovered needles for drug use in her home, and learned that Williams had been taking her tranquilizers. Ellzey then asked Williams to leave. When Ellzey forced Williams to move out, Gerald and Clair Paravicini, who had known Williams for about eight years, allowed Williams to move into their home with them and Clair’s minor son, Jeffery Carr. Williams resided in the Paravicini home for approximately two weeks. Shortly after moving in with the Paravicinis, Ellzey and Williams agreed to re-unite and move in together. On February 14, 1992, they arranged a date. The couple went to a club and had a few drinks. Afterwards, they bought sandwiches at a deli. By 11:00 p.m., Ellzey was ready to return home. However, Williams was not, and he asked Ellzey to drop him off at another club. Ellzey advised Williams to call her when he was ready to leave the club so that she could give him a ride home. At the club, Williams purchased LSD, and prescription drugs, and he drank a large amount of liquor. Rather than call Ellzey to pick him up as they had agreed, Williams met with some friends, and they drove to a drug-house to smoke crack cocaine together all night. Early the next morning, Williams’ friend dropped him off at a corner store. Williams then walked about a half-mile back to the Paravicinis’ trailer home. On February 15, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Williams arrived at the Paravicinis’ home, and he knocked, either on Jeffery’s window or on the side of the trailer that corresponded with Jeffery’s room. Jeffery let him in and asked him about his plans for the day. Williams told Jeffery that he had a “side job” to do. Jeffery thought that Williams seemed normal and did not appear to be drunk because he was neither tilting his head nor slurring his speech. Williams then called Ellzey on a cordless telephone. Ellzey was upset with Williams because she had wanted him to return to her house and because they had planned for her to come and pick him up from the bar. Ellzey, who had observed Williams inebriated many times in the past, did not believe that Williams was intoxicated. According to Williams’ statement to law enforcement officials on February 16, 1992, the day after the murders, he had a few drinks with Ellzey and then drank liquor all night at the club. While at the club, he bought two round, yellow pills from someone named Teddy. He did not know whether the pills were ecstacy or LSD, but believed that they were LSD. On February 15, he believes that he took the pills between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. Jeffery watched Williams pacing while he talked to Ellzey. While still on the phone with Ellzey, Williams walked into the Paravicinis’ bedroom, where Clair was in bed, and retrieved a.22-caliber automatic rifle. While still on the phone with Ellzey, Williams shot Jeffery in the face and in the hand. When Gerald came to Jeffery’s aid, Williams shot Gerald in the base of the left neck and in the upper left chest area. Jeffery ran to a neighbor’s house to get help. Gerald also ran out of the home. Clair came out of the bedroom when she heard the second gunshot. She saw Jeffery running away and Gerald in the yard. Her husband told her to get help. Clair ran to George Evans’ house next door. She then ran back to her husband, who fell by the road. Evans followed Clair, holding a shotgun. He looked to his right and saw Williams standing in the doorway of the trailer, with no more than 100 feet of open ground between them, with the rifle in his hand. George Evans brought up his shotgun and aimed at Williams, warning Williams not to shoot. Williams ducked back into the trailer, and Evans ran back to his trailer. Meanwhile, Ellzey remained on the telephone. She heard two cracking, popping noises. When Williams picked the phone back up again, she started to say his name. Williams dropped the phone without saying anything. Clair found that she could not get Gerald to stand. She went back into the trailer to find something to stop Gerald’s bleeding and for her car keys. There, she found Williams, who waved the rifle at her and told her to get back and leave him alone, or else he intended to kill her. Clair replied that Gerald was hurt. She asked Williams to please help her with him. Williams then struck her in the face with the rifle, breaking her jaw. He left with the rifle and her purse, which contained her credit cards, a checkbook, and over $500 cash. Meanwhile, Buford Billedeaua was driving a truck past the Paravicinis’ trailer. He saw Jeffery and Gerald run out of the trailer. He then saw Williams follow them, holding a large black purse. When Williams took a shot at Gerald, Billedeaua stopped his truck. Williams then approached Billedeaua, telling him that he needed the truck because he had an emergency. Billedeaua noted that Williams looked as though he had been taking dope. Billedeaua got out of the truck with his keys and began to run into the woods. Williams then began shooting at Billedeaua, who avoided being shot. Unable to flee in Billedeaua’s truck without the keys, Williams turned and walked 100 yards up the road to the home of Linda and Freddie Barber. Williams was barely acquainted with the Barbers, having only played basketball with their sons, Brad and Bryan, at their church on a couple of occasions. Williams attempted to enter the Barbers’ home. Linda Barber was getting ready for work at the US Postal Service and answered the front door. Williams inflicted gunshot wounds to her head. Williams then went into the kitchen where Freddie Barber was drinking coffee and also shot him in the head. Next, Williams shot their son, Bryan, who was asleep in his bed. It was later discovered that Bryan had multiple gunshot wounds, at least two of which were found in his head. Each victim was shot at close range. Brad was asleep in the back bedroom. He awoke to the sound of gunshots and screaming. Brad got up and opened his door. Williams then proceeded down the hall to Brad’s room. Brad closed and locked his door, but Williams kicked it in. When Brad grabbed the barrel of the gun, Williams shot him in the left hand. The two struggled, but Brad managed to escape through the backdoor, and ran through the woods to his sister’s house. Williams took the Barbers’ keys and took their van. On the afternoon of February 16, he reached the Mississippi-Louisiana border and called Ellzey, who advised him to surrender. When Williams was apprehended, he told the law enforcement officers that he had thrown the rifle off an unknown bridge into the water. He had also disposed of Freddie Barber’s wallet, after taking all the money it contained. Williams spent the money he stole from the Barbers and Clair Paravicini on crack cocaine after leaving the crime scene. On April 12, 1992, Williams was indicted on two counts of capital murder. Williams was also charged with and convicted of attempted murder on the lives of Clair Paravicini and Brad Barber. During the trial on November 10, 1992, Williams testified that he did not remember all the events of February 14 and 15, 1992. Williams testified that he had a few beers with Ellzey, and then drank a “pretty good bit” of beer after she dropped him off at another club. At the club, he purchased three hits of LSD for seven dollars ($7) each from someone he did not know and remembered taking two of them. Williams testified that he did not remember killing anyone. He only recalls that he went into the bathroom, and that he began to feel very scared. He said that he saw the walls move, and he saw a larger-than-life apparition walking towards him that made him fear for his life. Regarding the day of the killings, Williams further testified that he began flipping out even before he called Ellzey, and that he tried to disguise his drug use from her to keep her from getting angry with him. He testified that he did not remember anything that occurred between the time that he dialed her number and when he found himself driving a van in Mississippi a day later. However, Williams did not mention seeing the apparition to the Mississippi or Alabama law enforcement officers with whom he spoke on February 16. Williams did tell the officers that he did not remember killing anyone the night before. Williams said that he remembered seeing blood on his pants and throwing the rifle in the water near the bridge. Dr. Claude L. Brown, a psychiatrist, met with Williams in August 1992. At trial, Dr. Brown testified for the defense. His testimony was based on his meetings with Williams. He diagnosed Williams with borderline personality disorder (“BPD”), which he testified is a mental disorder characterized by inner emptiness, dissatisfaction, and impulsive actions undertaken in an effort to feel better, such as suicide attempts. Persons with BPD have limited, but intense, fluctuating relationships. He testified that individuals with BPD can be thrown into psychotic behavior by increases in anxiety from any source. Dr. Brown testified that Williams’ BPD dated to his childhood and was unrelated to his use of drugs before the murders. Dr. Brown also testified that LSD is, per weight, the most psychogenic drug in the world. He testified that LSD causes frightening distortions and detachment from reality—i.e., psychosis. Furthermore, using alcohol and cocaine with LSD exaggerates these responses. Dr. Brown opined that Williams was psychotic at the time of the killings. He further opined that Williams was suffering from a mental disease or defect that rendered him unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts. He opined that this destructive psychosis resulted from a combination of his preexisting personality structure acted upon by the heavy overload of drugs that he had been taking all night. Lastly, he opined that Williams’ BPD in and of itself probably did not trigger his conduct and that, had Williams been sober, the murders probably would not have occurred. Dr. Harry McClaren, a psychologist, testified for the State. He also diagnosed Williams with BPD, as well as with anti-social personality disorder and substance abuse. Dr. McClaren testified that, given Williams’ account of his drug and alcohol ingestion, he was very intoxicated at the time of the killings. He testified that psychosis resulting from LSD can last from eight to twelve hours and that Williams’ amnesia was probably chemically induced. He also testified that when some individuals are highly intoxicated from hallucinogenic drugs, they may display some symptoms of psychosis. Dr. McClaren testified to meeting Williams in August and September 1992. During those sessions, Williams recounted the events of the night before the killings. Dr. McClaren testified that Williams told him that he had a few drinks with Ellzey. After she dropped him off at the club, he bought three hits of LSD. He also ingested a long, purple tablet, and drank whiskey over the course of the evening. He also told Dr. McClaren that he went to a house on Dixon’s Corner where, in two trips, he bought crack. He remembered arguing with Ellzey on the phone and that he then began to flip out and feel frightened. He claimed that he heard someone holler his name and felt like everyone was against him. He told Dr. McClaren that he thought the only way out was to shoot his way out. Williams claimed again that he had no other memories before he found himself driving the van in Mississippi. Dr. McClaren testified that when someone has taken LSD, he or she may see distortions of things that are there. In contrast to Dr. Brown, Dr. McClaren opined that, because Williams deliberately shot each victim twice in or near the head, Williams was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts. Dr. McClaren further opined that, because Williams had no significant psychiatric history other than attempted suicide, he knew the wrongfulness of his acts. Dr. McClaren testified that since the drugs and alcohol exacerbated Williams’ BPD, without the intoxication, Williams probably would not have killed Gerald Paravicini or Linda, Freddie, and Bryan Barber. At trial, other witnesses testified that they thought Williams had taken drugs. Gregory Rockwell testified that he worked the door at the club. He saw Williams arrive at around 11:30 p.m. and leave around 1:00 a.m. Williams returned within an hour appearing disheveled, sweating profusely, jumping, and dancing around. Rockwell thought that Williams appeared as though he were tripping on LSD. Kelso Stewart testified that Williams asked him if he knew where some LSD or crack cocaine could be located. Stewart left the bar between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and when he returned, he found Williams disheveled, sweaty, and hyper. On November 11, 1992, the jury returned a guilty verdict on one count of intentional murder during the course of a robbery for the deaths of Freddie Barber and Linda Barber. The jury also returned a guilty verdict for the capital offense of intentional murder for the deaths of Gerald Paravicini, Freddie Barber, Linda Barber, and Bryan Barber. The jury recommended, by a 10–2 vote, that a death sentence be imposed for the murder convictions. On December 1, 1992, the State trial court sentenced Williams to a punishment of death. UPDATE: Prior to his execution, Jason Williams said, "I hope that the families of the victims forgive me for what I’ve done." Ten family members of the four victims witnessed the execution. One of the witnesses was a survivor of the shooting rampage. The older brother of victim Freddie Barber said that his family has suffered for the past two decades sine the murders. He said Brad Barber, who was 16 years old at the time, still has nightmares about the massacre. "I never did think I’d live to see this day, but I did and I thank the good Lord for it," said Louie Barber, now 75. "We’re going to try to put it behind us and go on with our lives. You don’t never really want to see somebody die, but I think justice was served."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 23, 2011 Mississippi Charlotte Parker, 9
Carl Parker
Bobbie Joe Parker
Gregory Parker, 12
Robert Simon, Jr. stayed
Carl and Bobbie Joe Parker, and their children Charlotte and Gregory, were last seen alive leaving the Riverside Baptist Church around nine o’clock the evening of February 2, 1990, to return to their home in Marks, in Quitman County, Mississippi. Two hours later, a passing motorist saw their house burning. The man went to the house and tried to open the unlocked carport door but was driven back by the fire. He left the home and drove to the house of the nearest neighbor to call for help. He did not pass any vehicles on his way to the neighbor’s house but as he looked back toward the Parker’s house from the neighbor’s front door, he saw two vehicles leave the Parker house. Fireman Jerry Wages with the Lambert Volunteer Fire Department received the call reporting the Parkers’ fire between 11:00 and 11:20 p.m. It was raining heavily that evening. Wages was the first to arrive at the scene of the fire, and he found the southwest corner of the house on fire. The back door was unlocked, and he crawled into the house. He recovered the body of Carl Parker. Wages went back into the house and recovered the bodies of Charlotte and Gregory. Wages recalled that Carl and Gregory were bound at their feet and ankles and their wrists were tied behind their backs. There was also a remnant of a binding on Charlotte’s wrist. Charlotte was undressed from the waist down beneath the dress she was wearing. Wages said she had a wound on her hip as well. Gregory was beaten before his hands and feet were bound. Carl and Gregory were shot at point-blank range two times each in the back. The killers then cut off Carl’s left ring finger in order to take his wedding ring. Father and son both bled to death on the floor. The attackers then shot Bobbie Joe in the chest and took her into a bedroom which they then set on fire. Bobbie Joe died from the gunshot wound. Nine-year-old Charlotte, although shot three times, died of smoke inhalation. The body of Bobbie Jo Parker was not discovered until the early morning hours after the fire was finally extinguished. Her body was found in the southwest corner of the house and was burned beyond recognition. Quitman County Sheriff Jack Harrison arrived at the scene and notified authorities that Carl Parker’s red Silverado pick-up truck was missing. He saw the bodies and noticed the hands and feet of Carl and Gregory were bound. Charlotte had a red ribbon tied around her arm. Her knee high stockings were partially burned off, and she did not have on underclothes. Bobbie Jo Parker’s body was found lying on some springs around 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. Around midnight that same night, Eddie Lee Spralls, a Clarksdale resident, looked out his back window after hearing a door slam and observed a red truck backing up between two abandoned houses. Spralls called the police. Upon arrival, the Clarksdale police put a spotlight on the truck. Two black males jumped out of the truck and ran toward Highway 61. The truck, identified by the police as Carl Parker’s, was parked close to the home of Robert Simon’s mother-in-law. It was filled with household items, furniture, appliances, and other valuables, all belonging to the Parkers. A shotgun was found in the back of the truck, and a pillow case containing two revolvers and other items belonging to the Parkers was found near the truck. Martha Simon, Robert Simon’s wife, had left Memphis and had driven to Clarksdale to see her mother on February 2, 1990. She said that Carr had been living with her and Robert in their Memphis apartment for the previous three weeks. Around 12:30 a.m. on February 3, 1990, Martha was in her car when she saw Carr walking down the street. Carr asked Martha if she had seen Robert. Martha replied that she thought Carr and Robert had been together, but Carr told her that he had come on ahead and Robert was behind him. She asked Carr how he got to town. Carr responded that he was driving a truck and pointed in the direction where the Parker truck was later found. Carr told her that he had parked the truck on 9th Street and that the truck had "stuff" in it. He also told Martha that he had some money. Carr said that he had put the keys to the truck along the railroad tracks and some coveralls in a dumpster, the location of which Carr told her. Martha again saw Carr looking for Robert around 8:00 a.m. at her mother’s house. The next time she saw Carr, Robert was with him. They came to Martha’s mother’s house and told her they were going to Memphis. Carr was wearing a black jogging suit each of the three times Martha saw him. Coahoma County Sheriff Andrew Thompson, Jr., received information from Martha Simon that led to the recovery of a pair of coveralls and a pair of work gloves from 4 a locked dumpster near Simon’s mother-in-law’s house in Clarksdale. The coveralls were wet and smelled of smoke. The gloves were identified by Dean Parker, Carl Parker’s son, as the same type gloves he had given his father. Ken Dickerson, an investigator with the Highway Patrol, and Sheriff Thompson, with Martha Simon’s permission and in her company, went to Memphis to search the apartment she shared with her husband, Robert Simon. They found the wet, black jogging suit Carr was wearing earlier that day. Other items including a man’s and a woman’s wedding rings, a money clip, and ammunition were also found in the apartment. Martha identified items in the apartment that had not been there earlier. Scott Parker and Dean Parker, Carl’s sons from a previous marriage, identified many of the items found in the truck, the pillow case, and the apartment in Memphis. Carr’s fingerprint was found on the shotgun found in the truck. On February 3, 1990, two arrest warrants were issued in Marks, Mississippi. Anthony Carr and Robert Simon, Jr., were arrested around 3:30 p.m. that day in Clarksdale. According to Anthony Washington, an inmate at the Tate County jail in the early part of February, 1990, Carr came in around midnight and was put into the cell next to his. Washington asked who he was and what he was in for, and Carr told him. Washington had been reading about the crime in the newspaper and offered to read the story to Carr. Washington said that he and Carr were playing cards when Carr stopped and said "we had a ball," as he held his hand to his head like a gun. Carr was later taken for a blood test. Upon his return, Carr asked Washington "are you straight?" and whether he could tell Washington something "brother to brother." Carr asked Washington if they could tell if he raped that little girl, and Washington asked him what happened. Carr told Washington that he and his partner had raped the little girl and that one of them had to burn the house down to destroy the evidence. Dr. Steven Hayne, a pathologist, testified to the cause of deaths of each of the Parkers. Carl and Gregory, both shot twice, died of gunshot wounds. Bobbie Jo, burned beyond recognition and with one bullet retrieved, died of a gunshot wound. Charlotte, shot three times, died of smoke inhalation. Dr. Hayne testified that there was evidence of sexual battery, both vaginally and anally, to Charlotte. Also, the fourth digit of Carl Parker’s left hand was missing. The Parkers’ stolen pickup truck was found parked near the residence of Robert Simon’s mother-in-law, in nearby Clarksdale, Mississippi. Police spotted two black men fleeing the cab of the truck almost an hour after the house fire was discovered. In the bed of the pickup were several items taken from the Parkers’ residence. A shotgun and two revolvers were found near the pickup. The Parkers had been shot with revolvers of the same caliber as the revolvers found near the truck. A witness identified Simon as one of two men who had stolen those two guns from her less than a week earlier. Acting upon a tip provided by Simon’s wife, police discovered a pair of wet coveralls and work gloves smelling of smoke locked in a dumpster near the pickup truck. The gloves belonged to Carl Parker. Simon and Anthony Carr were arrested the next day. Simon was wearing boots taken from the Parker residence when he was arrested. Later, more property taken from the Parkers’ home, including two wedding rings, was found inside an apartment leased by Simon and his wife in Memphis, Tennessee. After his arrest, Simon was read his Miranda rights and confessed to killing the Parkers to police at the Quitman County jail. He also discussed the Parker murders with inmates of the Quitman County jail who later testified against him. Carr, in a trial conducted separately from Simon’s trial, was convicted of four counts of capital murder. Chronologically, Carr’s trial occurred three months after Simon’s trial for the murder of Charlotte Parker, which resulted in a life sentence, and one month before Simon’s trial for the murders of Carl, Bobbie Joe, and Gregory Parker, which resulted in three death sentences.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
May 25, 2011 Arizona Christy Ann Fornoff , 13 Don Beaty executed
Christy Ann Fornoff, murder victimOn May 9, 1984, thirteen-year-old Christy Ann Fornoff disappeared at a Tempe, Arizona apartment complex while making collections for her newspaper route. Donald Beaty, a maintenance person for the complex, actively assisted the police in searching for Christy Ann. Although the police located her collection book near the complex, she was nowhere to be found. In the early morning of May 11, Joseph Kapp, a tenant, encountered Beaty while throwing out his trash. Beaty told Kapp that he had found a body behind the dumpster and that he had called the police. Kapp observed the body, spoke with Beaty for a few minutes, and then returned to his apartment. The police later arrived and determined that the body was Christy Ann’s. A medical examiner concluded that Christy Ann had been asphyxiated by smothering and that she had been sexually assaulted, either contemporaneously with or shortly after her death. The examiner also opined that she had died within two hours of her disappearance. The police focused their investigation upon Beaty. Vomit smeared on the body matched a substance found in Beaty’s closet. The blood, semen, and hair found on the body was consistent with Beaty’s. Hair found on Beaty’s closet carpet, couch, bedroom, and bathroom was consistent with Christy Ann’s. Fibers found on the body matched Beaty’s carpet and a blanket in his bedroom. Ferret hair was found on the body; the tenant who lived in Beaty’s apartment a few months prior to the murder owned a ferret. Police records showed that Beaty had called the police at 5:52 a.m. According to Kapp, he had returned to his apartment at 5:50 a.m. The timing suggested that Beaty had lied to Kapp about having called the police. The police also speculated that Beaty had moved the body after speaking with Kapp. Robert Jark drove his truck in front of the dumpster at approximately 4:50 that morning. As with Kapp, Jark was sure that a body was not visible from in front of the dumpster. However, when the police arrived, the body stuck out noticeably beyond the dumpster’s edge. Beaty told police that he was with George Lorenz, a tenant, at the time Christy Ann disappeared, and that Teresa Harder, another tenant, saw them together. However, Lorenz denied being with Beaty that night, and Harder similarly denied seeing them together. Beaty also claimed that the police had searched his apartment the night Christy Ann disappeared. However, the two officers who searched the complex claimed that they did not enter Beaty’s apartment. Finally, the police found it suspicious that Beaty had attempted, unsuccessfully, to borrow a friend’s car at 11:30 p.m. the night after Christy Ann disappeared. The police speculated that Beaty wanted to borrow a car to move the body. On May 21, 1984, Beaty was arrested and charged with Christy Ann’s murder and sexual assault. A day later, Dr. George O’Connor, a prison psychiatrist, met with Beaty for about an hour. O’Connor routinely met with newly admitted, high-profile inmates to determine whether they were a threat to themselves. The record does not reveal much about their conversation. O’Connor apparently inquired whether Beaty felt depressed and whether he wished to talk with someone on a regular basis. O’Connor and Beaty also discussed a medical problem Beaty was having with his foot and Beaty’s family’s reaction to his arrest. After the conversation, O’Connor concluded that Beaty was not suffering from any significant psychiatric problems. Nonetheless, O’Connor decided that he would occasionally drop by and check up on him. The following day, O’Connor spoke with Beaty about his foot and arranged for him to be seen by an orthopedic doctor. The record does not reveal whether O’Connor and Beaty discussed anything other than Beaty’s foot problem. Approximately two months later, O’Connor recommended transferring Beaty from the main jail to the jail’s psychiatric facility. O’Connor’s supervisor approved the recommendation, and Beaty did not object to the transfer. Several factors motivated O’Connor’s recommendation to transfer Beaty. First, Beaty needed space to rehabilitate his injured foot. Beaty had been confined to his cell from the time of incarceration because of several death threats from other inmates. Second, the jail’s psychiatric facility offered a safer place for Beaty because it was isolated from the jail’s general population. Third, Beaty was becoming increasingly agitated and depressed, perhaps because of his confinement to his cell. Indeed, Beaty underwent a hunger strike, and he also repeatedly complained that inmates were harassing him. The record is unclear as to the nature and the extent of the treatment Beaty received while at the psychiatric unit. In any event, Beaty participated in a “counseling group” moderated by O’Connor. The group consisted of five female and five male inmates, including Beaty. The purpose of the group was to foster respect between male and female inmates by bringing them together in a small group. O’Connor described the group’s purpose as “bringing men and women prisoners together to explore the difficulties that they may have had in interrelating with members of the opposite sex in their personal lives.” O’Connor chose Beaty for the group;  while Beaty had the option of not participating, he likely would have been transferred back to the main jail if he had refused. Beaty, along with the rest of the group participants, signed a document entitled “Interpersonal Relationships Group Contract.” The document stated that any information disclosed to the group would be kept confidential. Specifically, it stated, “I understand that all group communication is confidential and therefore group business cannot be discussed outside of group. Only in this way can I feel free to express my feelings.” The group met twice a week and each session lasted between an hour and an hour-and-a-half. During these sessions, group members occasionally harassed Beaty regarding the nature of his crime. In particular, some group members called him “cold blooded.” After a few weeks, Beaty approached O’Connor at the end of a session. It was about five to ten minutes after the session had formally ended, but some of the group was still milling around. Beaty and O’Connor were conversing casually when Beaty suddenly complained that the group had unfairly labeled him a “terrible thing.” He told O’Connor that he did not mean to kill Fornoff. He explained that he accidentally suffocated her when he put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. While O’Connor was surprised by Beaty’s confession, he described the statement as an “overflow of feelings from that particular group.” O’Connor did not immediately disclose Beaty’s confession to anyone, and the case proceeded to trial. The state’s case rested primarily on the physical evidence tying Beaty to the crime. The state also stressed the events surrounding Beaty’s discovery of the body and the fact that two witnesses discredited his alibi. Beaty, in turn, attacked the reliability of the state’s physical evidence. He stressed that Kapp had been playing a “drinking game” that morning. Beaty suggested that another unknown tenant committed the murder and he faulted the police for not thoroughly investigating the other tenants. Finally, Beaty emphasized that he had actively assisted the police in searching for Fornoff the night she disappeared. On March 18, 1985, the trial court declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked ten to two in favor of guilt. On May 8, 1985, Beaty’s second trial commenced. Two days later, O’Connor went to state court to testify in an unrelated case. While waiting to testify, O’Connor spoke casually with a detention officer. During the course of the conversation, O’Connor disclosed Beaty’s confession. The prosecution quickly learned about the conversation and contacted O’Connor. O’Connor refused to testify but, after an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ordered him to do so. During the second trial, the state presented much of the same evidence as it had offered at the first trial, but with the addition of O’Connor’s testimony. The jury unanimously found Beaty guilty of first degree murder and sexual assault. The judge thereafter conducted a sentencing hearing without a jury. The judge imposed the death penalty after finding one aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstances. Specifically, the judge found that the murder was committed in an especially cruel, heinous, or depraved manner. The judge also sentenced Beaty to a consecutive twenty-eight-year term for sexual assault. Christy Ann’s parents, Carol and Roger Fornoff , became involved in victims support groups such as Parents of Murdered Children and created "Christy’s House in the Pines," a mountain retreat for victims’ family members. They also worked for the passage of a Victim’s Bill of Rights in Arizona in 1990. They described Christy Ann as a "dream child" and decorated their cabin with butterflies, which remind them of Christy. UPDATE: An emotional Donald Beaty used his last words to apologize to the family of his victim, 13-year-old Christy Ann Fornoff, moments before he was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday at Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry," Beaty, 56, said, his lips quivering as he lay on the death gurney awaiting the injection of a lethal three-drug cocktail. "God will let you see her again." After the execution, Fornoff’s family spoke to the media. "We are here to bring closure to the loss of our beloved daughter and sister, Christy Ann Fornoff," said the victim’s mother, Carol. "Her life was not in vain. Even in death, she has brought light to the darkness of evil that surrounded her when she was murdered."

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