September 2011 Executions

Five killers were executed in September 2011. They had murdered at least 6 people.
Six killers were given a stay in September 2011. They have murdered at least 11 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 13, 2011* Tennessee James Helmet
Tom Harris
Joel Schmeiderer stayed
On October 9, 1998, Thomas Smith and his friend James Helmet initially encountered Joel Schmeiderer at a BP gas station in Belfast, Tennessee. Helmet and Schmeiderer argued, and, when Stout and Helmet tried to drive away, Schmeiderer, two other men, and a woman followed them. Stout said that Schmeiderer’s car approached them at a high speed and stayed close to his back bumper. Stout recalled that a gun emerged from the back window of Schmeiderer’s car and discharged three or four times. The car followed his truck closely as the shooter continued to shoot. Stout drove up to a house, and Schmeiderer rammed Stout’s truck with his car. Stout and Helmet jumped out of the truck and began yelling at the man who lived in the house to call the police. Schmeiderer then began pilfering Stout’s radio and other electronics from his truck. When Stout shouted at him to stop, Schmeiderer pulled out a gun and shot at them. Stout ran into the woods; Helmet died in front of the house from gunshot wounds. On cross-examination, Stout said he could not tell who drove the car chasing him. Ted Olkowski also testified about the events involved in Schmeiderer’s attempted first degree murder conviction, stating that, on October 9, 1998, he lived in a rural area near Shelbyville, Tennessee, with his wife. He said that, on that date, he heard a crash, and he saw a truck on his lawn that had been hit by car. The men in the truck exited and ran behind Olkowski’s house while yelling that someone shot at them and ran them off the road. Olkowski said that he saw the car that rammed the truck come back to the property and that it stopped in the middle of the road. At that point, Schmeiderer, without speaking to Olkowski, "stepped out and walked up to Olkowski, pointed a gun in his chest and pulled the trigger, and it misfired." Schmeiderer tried to un-jam his gun, and then Schmeiderer and his friend vandalized Helmet’s truck. Olkowski said, "The boy who owned the truck, ran from around the back of the house… hollering get out of the truck. So they did. You know, he got out, pulled the pistol back out and fired off a round at him (Helmet), when he was about halfway up the driveway." Helmet fell to the ground, and Schmeiderer aimed downwards towards the body and tried to shoot him again, but the gun jammed. Linda Olkowski testified similarly to her husband, saying that she heard a crash outside the house and saw that a blue truck had crashed into her cedar tree. She saw "two boys… running at me, screaming ‘call the sheriff, somebody is shooting at us.’" She called the sheriff twice, the second time being after she heard gun shots. Linda testified that Schmeiderer, who was fifteen feet from Helmet, aimed and shot Helmet, who then fell back against her house. She saw Schmeiderer try to shoot Helmet again. Schemiderer was 18 years old and was convicted of two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of first degree murder and also pled guilty to aggravated assault. He was in prison on those convictions on the evening of July 11, 2001. Tom Harris, an inmate at the South Central Correctional Center in Clifton, Tennessee, was strangled to death in his cell. Tom Harris’s cell was located on the second floor of a “pod.” The cells belonging to Joel Richard Schmeiderer, and his codefendant, Charles Sanderson, were on the first floor in that pod. Inmates were permitted access to cells within their pod. Tom Harris was last seen alive in his cell at approximately 7:00 p.m. when Jeremy Means, a correctional officer, delivered an educational pass for Tom’s cellmate, Robert Craig. Shortly after 8:00 p.m., inmates returned to their pod for a head court after a period of recreation. Officer Means could not see Tom’s cell from his post at the entry to the pod. Daniel Pollen, who was housed next to Tom’s cell, testified that he heard loud “thumping” noises coming from the cell at approximately 8:10 p.m. Another inmate, Douglas Ford, testified that he saw Schmeiderer and Sanderson quickly leave Tom Harris’s cell at approximately 8:20 or 8:25 p.m. A few minutes later, Craig went to Tom Harris’s cell. Because Craig had been housed in Tom Harris’s cell for only one night, he did not yet have a key. Tom Harris and Robert Craig had been using a piece of cardboard to prevent the cell door from locking, but the cardboard was not in the door. Tom did not answer when Craig pounded on the locked door. Officer Means responded to Craig’s call for help at 8:30 p.m. Officer Means unlocked the cell and found Tom Harris face down on the floor with a sock around his neck. The cell was in disarray. There was blood on the sock, his shirt, the television, the outside door handle, and a towel in the sink. Schmeiderer’s cell was located at the bottom of a stairway, and a blood trail led from Tom Harris’s cell to the top of the stairway. Schmeiderer’s cellmate, Jeffrey Hubert, testified Schmeiderer met in their cell with Sanderson on the day of the murder. The men stopped talking each time Hubert entered the cell. When the guards locked down the prison at 8:45 p.m., Hubert returned to the cell. Schmeiderer told him that “it was going to be a long night.” Schmeiderer also indicated that the guards would find blood on his pants because he had injured himself on the basketball court that day. Hubert saw Schmeiderer remove a shirt from a plastic bag and use his teeth to tear off a part of the shirt containing a blood stain. Schmeiderer flushed the bloody material down the toilet. The blood-stained pants and blood-stained torn shirt were found in subsequent searches of Schmeiderer’s cell. Hubert asked Schmeiderer whether “he had stuck the old man upstairs.” Schmeiderer replied, “The man hadn’t been stuck. He’d been strangled to death.” Schmeiderer told Hubert that the “old man put up a fight” and “bit Chuck [Sanderson] on the hand.” Schmeiderer also remarked that Tom Harris was a “baby raper” whose sentence was not long enough and that the killing would get Schmeiderer back into court, giving him an opportunity to escape. Two agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“TBI”) interviewed Schmeiderer after he waived his Miranda rights. When asked to explain what happened, he responded, “Well, you’re the investigators, you tell me.” The agents then related to him their theory that he and Sanderson had gone into Tom Harris’s cell. A struggle ensued during which Sanderson’s finger was bitten and bled. Schmeiderer punched Tom Harris and ultimately strangled him with a sock. In the process, Schmeiderer’s clothes were stained with both Tom Harris’s blood and Sanderson’s blood. Essentially confirming this theory, Schmeiderer stated, “That’s pretty much it.” When asked if he was bothered by taking a man’s life, Schmeiderer laughed, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “No.” Dr. Charles Harlan, the pathologist who performed the autopsy of Tom Harris, determined that the cause of death was strangulation. In addition to scrapes and bruises, Tom Harris’s body had a line around the neck with broken capillaries, indicating that an object was tied or wrapped around the neck tightly. Serological testing showed that Sanderson’s blood was on the television in Tom Harris’s cell, the outside door handle, and the towel in the sink. The sock used to strangle Tom Harris contained both his and Sanderson’s blood. Schmeiderer’s shirt had Tom Harris’s blood on it. Schmeiderer’s pants contained both Tom Harris’s and Sanderson’s blood. In defense, Schmeiderer presented the testimony given by Sanderson at his separate trial. In that prior testimony, Sanderson stated that on the evening of the murder he went to Tom Harris’s cell to beat up Tom Harris for disrespecting Sanderson earlier that day. Schmeiderer stayed outside Tom Harris’s cell as a lookout. Sanderson knocked Tom Harris against the wall and hit him several times in the face after he bit Sanderson’s finger. Sanderson cleaned his finger at the sink, wiping his hand on the towel. When he left the cell, Tom Harris was alive, sitting on the bunk. Sanderson and Schmeiderer then went their separate ways. Sanderson could not explain how his blood got on Schmeiderer’s pants or on the sock around Tom Harris’s neck. The jury convicted Schmeiderer of first degree premeditated murder. A sentencing hearing was conducted to determine punishment. During the sentencing phase, the State presented the testimony of the warden of the South Central Correctional Center, who confirmed that Schmeiderer was an inmate there on the day of the murder. The State also introduced proof that in August 1999 a jury convicted Schmeiderer of first degree premeditated murder and two counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder and that he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in December 1999. Through the testimony of the two victims of Schmeiderer’s attempted murders and the wife of one of those victims, the facts underlying these convictions and the murder conviction were presented. Their testimony showed that on October 9, 1998, when Schmeiderer was eighteen years old, he argued with two men at a gas station. When the two men left, Schmeiderer and his companions gave chase, shooting at the men’s truck. The chase ended when Schmeiderer’s car rammed the truck. The two men got out of the truck and ran behind a nearby house. Schmeiderer approached the owner of the house and tried to shoot him, but the gun misfired. When the two men returned to the truck, Schmeiderer fired the gun at them. One of the men was fatally shot and fell against the house. Schmeiderer tried to shoot him again, but the gun misfired. In mitigation, Schmeiderer presented the testimony of Joseph Cody Uttmor, who was with Schmeiderer when he committed the earlier murder and attempted murders. Uttmor explained that he and Schmeiderer were high on Xanax at the time. Schmeiderer also presented the testimony of three family members. His mother testified that she never married Schmeiderer’s father, who showed no affection toward Schmeiderer. Schmeiderer started getting into trouble in high school. After he was sent to an alternative school, he began stealing drugs, money, and guns. He entered a juvenile facility at age fifteen and remained there until his eighteenth birthday. Schmeiderer’s maternal aunt and twelve-year-old sister testified that they loved Schmeiderer, and they asked the jury not to sentence him to death. Three witnesses testified about Schmeiderer’s more recent conduct at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison. Mickey Sawyers, a case manager at Riverbend, testified that Schmeiderer had remained discipline-free during the prior two years. Ron Mosby and Adam Olsen, ministerial volunteers at Riverbend, testified that Schmeiderer, who was baptized in February 2004, had much to offer in life and could be fruitful even in the prison environment. Finally, Schmeiderer presented the testimony of Dr. Ann Marie Charvat, a mitigation specialist. She testified regarding her review of Schmeiderer’s school, medical, juvenile, and prison records. Although Schmeiderer was evaluated at a psychiatric facility when he entered the juvenile justice system, he never received the recommended treatment for drug addiction. Just a few months after he was released from state custody, he committed his earlier murder and attempted murders. The “theme” of Schmeiderer’s life was exclusion – exclusion from his father’s family, exclusion from a regular school environment, and exclusion from a normal teenage life. Dr. Charvat believed that Schmeiderer suffered from a cognitive emotional disorder resulting from “extreme psychological abuse.” Based on this proof, the jury found that the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt both statutory aggravating circumstances: Schmeiderer was previously convicted of one or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory elements involve the use of violence; and the murder was committed by Schmeiderer while Schmeiderer was in lawful custody or in a place of lawful confinement. The jury further found that the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the statutory aggravating circumstances outweighed any mitigating circumstances. As a result, the jury sentenced Schmeiderer to death for the murder of Tom Harris. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 13, 2011 Texas Bethena Lyn Brosz
Ronald Whitehead
Steven Woods executed
Ron Whitehead, murder victimBethena Brosz, murder victimSteven Michael Woods and Marcus Rhodes shot Ronald Whitehead and Bethena Brosz in a secluded area in The Colony, Texas, in the early morning hours of May 2, 2001. Early in the morning of May 2, 2001, two golfers driving down Boyd Road at the Tribute Golf Course near The Colony, Texas, found the bodies of Ron Whitehead and Beth Brosz. Beth was shot in the right knee, her throat was slashed three times, her shoulder was sliced and she had been shot in the head twice. Ron Whitehead was dead when emergency personnel arrived on the scene at 6:55 am and was shot in the head 6 times, and his throat was cut. Beth died about 24 hours after she was taken to the hospital. That evening, police received several anonymous tips that Woods was involved in the killings, along with Marcus Rhodes. Detectives interviewed Woods, who admitted to being with the victims the night before their bodies were found. He said that he and Rhodes had agreed to lead Ron and Beth to a house in The Colony owned by someone named "Hippy," but that their two vehicles became separated during the trip, so he and Rhodes returned to the Deep Ellum section of Dallas. Woods was not arrested as a result of his interview. Detectives then interviewed Rhodes, and after a search of his car revealed items belonging to Ron and Beth, Rhodes was arrested. Woods left the Dallas area, traveling to New Orleans, Idaho and California, where he was finally arrested. Several witnesses testified that before the killings he told them about his plan to commit the murders, and after the killings, he told them about his participation in them. Woods, Rhodes, Ron Whitehead, David Samuelson, and Staci Schwartz all knew each other from Insomnia, a coffee shop they frequented in downtown Dallas. Samuelson testified that he had talked to Rhodes at Insomnia on the evening of May 1, and Rhodes stated that “he had a job to do” for Woods that night and that he did not want to do it. Schwartz testified that she had had a conversation with Rhodes at Insomnia on the afternoon of May 2, during which Rhodes stated that he and Woods had used Beth’s credit card to make an online purchase of tickets to an anime festival. Rhodes told Schwartz that they had attempted to make Samuelson look responsible for the murders by buying the tickets in his name and having them sent to his house. On April 18, 2002, Woods was indicted for capital murder for the killing of more than one individual in the same criminal transaction, for which he was found guilty by a Denton County jury. During a separate punishment hearing, the State, in addition to evidence about the circumstances of the crime and Woods’s moral culpability, presented evidence that Woods was involved in the murder of another individual in California one-and-a-half months prior to the murders of Ron Whitehead and Beth Brosz; that Woods got into a fight with another inmate in the Denton County Jail; that Woods, Rhodes, and two other accomplices planned to rob a clothing store in Deep Ellum; that Woods may have planned to murder a woman who was coming to pick up vials of "acid" to sell; and that Woods made "bottle bombs" as a juvenile. The jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) there was a probability that Woods was a continuing threat to society; (2) Woods actually caused the death of the victims, intended to kill the victims, or anticipated that the lives of victims would be taken; (3) there was no sufficient mitigating circumstance to warrant a sentence of less than death after taking into consideration the circumstances of the crime and the evidence of Woods’s character, background, and personal moral culpability. In accordance with state law, the trial judge sentenced Woods to death.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 15, 2011 Texas Debra Gardner, 32
Kenneth Butler, 33
Duane Buck stayed
Early one morning in July 1995, Duane Edward Buck’s ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and several of her friends, including Kenneth Butler, his brother, Harold Ebnezer, and Buck’s sister, Phyllis Taylor, gathered at Debra’s house after having spent the previous night out playing pool. Buck and Debra had ended their relationship about one week earlier. At some point that morning, Buck arrived at the residence, banged on the front door, and kicked it open, after which he argued loudly with Debra and struck her before retrieving some of his possessions and leaving. Several hours later, Buck returned with a rifle and a shotgun. After forcing the front door open, Buck fired at — but missed — Harold Ebnezer, who immediately fled the house through the back door. Buck then approached Phyllis Taylor, pressed the muzzle of the rifle directly against her chest, and fired. Phyllis fell to the ground but survived her injuries. As she lay on the ground, she heard several more gunshots coming from the area of the bedrooms. When she was able to stand and make her way through the house, she discovered Kenneth Butler’s body slumped over and bleeding in the hallway. After hearing the first gunshots, Devon Green, Debra’s then-11-year-old son who had been sleeping in the back bedroom, hid in the hallway closet. From his hiding place, Devon listened as Buck confronted Kenneth in the hallway and accused him of sleeping with Buck’s “wife.” Gunshots followed. Both Devon and his teenage sister, Shennel Gardner, then ran outside, where they witnessed Buck shoot their mother as she attempted to flee in the street. Buck placed both guns into the trunk of his car, which was parked outside Debra Gardner’s residence, and attempted to start the vehicle. When his car did not start, Buck began walking away from the residence. Police arrived just as he was leaving, and both Devon Green and Harold Ebnezer identified him as the shooter. Police then took Buck into custody and recovered a shotgun and a.22 caliber rifle from the trunk of his car. Both Debra and Kenneth died from their gunshot wounds.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 20, 2011 Ohio Mari Anne Pope Billy Slagle stayed
In the early morning hours of August 13, 1987, the victim Mari Anne Pope was awakened in her home by Billy Slagle. Two children, whom she had agreed to watch for her neighbors, were also awakened. The children awoke to the voice of Mari Anne inquiring as to who this person was that had entered her home. A man’s voice angrily threatened her and ordered her to roll onto her stomach. The man asked if there were others in the house, to which she replied that there were two children upstairs. The man told Mari Anne not to move and that he had a knife at her back. The children then heard Mari Anne begin to pray. The man responded by ordering her to stop praying. The children recognized the voice and knew the man as Billy Slagle, who lived next door. They first sought to hide, and then to escape. They scurried through the hall and out the back door. One of the children looked into the bedroom and observed Slagle sitting on top of Mari Anne, who was lying upon her stomach. Slagle had on only his underwear. As the children exited, Mari Anne could be heard screaming. The children were admitted into a neighbor’s home and police were called. Police officers arrived momentarily and as they moved around the house, shining a flashlight into the windows, one officer observed a man standing in the rear bedroom. The officer entered and observed Slagle attempting to hide in the dining room, armed with blood-covered scissors. After ordering Slagle to discard the scissors and lie face down on the floor, the officer placed handcuffs on him. The officer then went into the bedroom. He observed Mari Anne Pope lying across the middle of the bed. Her nightgown was pulled up around her neck.   She was drenched in blood with large holes in her body. On the floor lay Mari Anne’s broken rosary, and Slagle’s tank-top T-shirt. The officer called to his companion, telling him to call for medical treatment and to take custody of the handcuffed man on the dining room floor. The other officer responded that there was no one on the dining room floor and both officers began to search. Slagle had gotten up and hidden himself in a hallway closet. When the officer passed the closet door in this as yet darkened home, Slagle burst from the closet and sought to escape. The first officer to react testified that Slagle was very quick and agile. The officer was unable to subdue Slagle until two other officers entered the fray. Slagle was observed to have blood on his hands and clothing. He also had a number of superficial scratches and bruises. Despite efforts to save her, Mari Anne Pope was pronounced dead at 6:00 a.m. The coroner reported that she had been stabbed seventeen times, with many of the stab wounds having been inflicted in and around her chest area. There were four stab wounds in her abdomen, five in the upper and lower extremities, with eight to the chest area, including wounds to the right atrium, pulmonary artery and right lung. She had also been severely beaten about her head and face. At 10:00 a.m. the same day, Detective John J. McKibben interviewed Slagle, after having first advised him of his Fifth Amendment rights. At first, Slagle claimed to have no knowledge of the events of that morning. After being reminded that he had been arrested in Mari Anne’s home, Slagle described his actions on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13 in some detail. Slagle told Detective McKibben that he entered through a window and proceeded to the basement, looking for something to steal. Slagle said that he took his shoes off and then went upstairs to the room in which the children were sleeping. He next went to Pope’s bedroom. As he was searching in her purse, Pope woke up and began screaming. He placed his hands on her mouth to quiet her. Slagle said that they began fighting for the sewing scissors that were next to the bed, and that he ultimately stabbed her “maybe 3 times.” Slagle also admitted that he tried to rape Pope, but he said that he could not get an erection. After the murder, he saw a flashlight shining into the window, so he ran into a kitchen closet, where the police found him. He said that he was sorry for what had happened. Slagle provided the patrolmen with the name and address of his friend Mike Davis, and with Slagle’s social security number, date of birth, and residence. Detective McKidden said that, although Slagle’s eyes were glassy, McKidden smelled no alcohol on Slagle’s person at the scene or the next morning. At trial, the evidence revealed that eighteen-year-old Slagle spent the afternoon and evening of the murder with his friends Mike Davis, Kim Jones, and William Vivolo. It is unclear how much Slagle drank that night. Davis testified that he had about twenty beers that day and night and that he and Slagle “always kept up with each other.” Slagle also had shots of whiskey and smoked about $50 worth of marijuana. Mike Davis’s sister, Andrea, arrived later. She testified that by the early morning Slagle’s eyes were bloodshot and that he was slurring his speech. Slagle, according to Mike Davis however, was not staggering, vomiting, or falling over. He left in the early morning on a bicycle and rode for two miles to get home. Slagle chose to testify. He stated that he broke into Pope’s house to steal something so that he would have money for alcohol the next day. He did not recall any events after entering Pope’s house until he was fighting with her and holding bloody scissors. He only recalled stabbing Pope once, and he testified that he did not know why he killed her. On cross-examination, the prosecution asked several questions that Slagle now challenges. The prosecution asked Slagle about his education and work history.   The State then asked Slagle how he made money when he was not working. Slagle responded that he sold marijuana to anyone. The State asked whether he sold marijuana to children, and Slagle testified that he did not. When the State asked, over defense counsel’s objection, whether Slagle had ever broken into a house to get money, Slagle responded that he had done so twice. The prosecution also asked whether he supported his family or whether his family supported him. Slagle answered that he was not responsible for anyone. Throughout the trial, the defense’s primary argument was that Slagle was too drunk to form the intent to murder. The defense called expert witnesses to testify to Slagle’s alcoholism and to the fact that a high level of intoxication can preclude one from being able to form intent. The State responded with its own expert who testified that alcohol is processed rapidly in the body and that consumption of a large amount of alcohol does not guarantee that an individual will remain intoxicated at a future time. The trial judge instructed the jury that evidence of intoxication was “admissible for the purpose of showing that the defendant’s mind was in such condition that he was not capable of forming the specific intent to kill Pope.” After the guilt phase of the trial, the jury convicted Slagle of aggravated murder with two death-penalty specifications of committing murder in the course of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. The jury also convicted Slagle of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. The jury, however, acquitted him of attempted rape. UPDATE: The execution was stayed by Ohio Governor Kasich until August 7, 2013 because of challenges to the lethal injection process in Ohio.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 20, 2011 Texas Rachel Urnosky, 22
Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, 28
Cleve Foster stayed
Rachel Urnosky, murder victimMary Pal was a native of Sudan and lived with her aunt and uncle in Fort Worth. She worked at River Crest Country Club. On February 13, 2002, Cleve Foster and Sheldon Ward met Mary at Fat Albert’s, a Fort Worth pool hall where all three were regular customers. According to the bartender, Pal interacted primarily with Ward until the bar closed at 2:00 a.m. She then walked to the parking lot with Ward where they talked for a few minutes. Afterwards, Pal left in her car, which was followed closely by Foster and Ward driving in Foster’s truck. Approximately eight hours later, Pal’s nude body was discovered in a ditch far off a road in Tarrant County. She had been shot in the head. A wadded-up piece of bloody duct tape lay next to her body. Her unlocked car was later found in the parking lot of the apartment complex where she lived. The police investigation focused on Foster and Ward once police learned that they had been with Pal that night. On February 21, 2002, police searched the motel room shared by Foster and Ward. Only Foster was present. He directed the police to a dresser drawer that contained a gun Ward had purchased from a pawn shop in August 2001. Later that day, Foster voluntarily went to the police department to give a statement and to provide a DNA sample. In his statement, Foster first denied Pal had been inside his truck. However, he then admitted that she may have leaned inside. Finally, he admitted that "they" went cruising, but that "they" brought Pal back to her vehicle at Fat Albert’s. Police also obtained a DNA sample from Ward sometime on the night of February 21, 2002. In the early morning hours of February 22, 2002, Ward called a friend to ask if he could stay with him. Ward told the friend over the phone that he was in trouble because he killed someone. The friend arrived at the motel around 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. to pick up Ward. While in the truck, Ward told his friend that he followed a girl home from a bar, forced her into a truck at gunpoint, took her out to the country, raped her, and shot her. Ward did not mention Foster. The friend stopped the truck at a store and got the police to arrest Ward. Ward then told police that he had been drinking heavily and using cocaine the night of the offense. He claimed that he and Pal arranged to meet after Fat Albert’s closed. Ward also told the police that he drove alone to Pal’s apartment in Foster’s truck to pick up Pal, and that he and Pal had consensual vaginal and anal sex on the front seat of Foster’s truck before they drove back to the motel room where Foster was "pretty much passed out" on the bed. Ward claimed that he and Pal had consensual vaginal sex again in the motel room before they left to drive around. Ward recalled standing over Pal’s body lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to her head and a gun in his hand. Ward claimed not to remember firing the gun. He told police that he stripped her body and dumped her clothes in a dumpster. Ward explained that he left a note in the motel apologizing to Foster for involving him. Ward also stated that he told his friend a few hours earlier that he had sex with a girl and killed her. On March 22, 2002, Foster gave another written statement to police in which he claimed: (1) he and Ward followed Pal to her apartment after meeting her at Fat Albert’s; (2) Pal voluntarily went with them to their motel room in his truck; (3) after taking sleeping pills and drinking beer, Foster fell asleep watching television while Ward and Pal kissed; and (4) Foster awoke to Pal performing oral sex on him. In addition to Foster’s and Ward’s statements, physical evidence also linked the two to the offense. DNA tests established that semen found in Pal’s vagina contained Foster’s DNA, and semen found in Pal’s anus contained Ward’s DNA. Ward may also have been a minor contributor to the semen found in Pal’s vagina. DNA testing also revealed that Pal’s blood and tissue were on the gun recovered during the motel room search. In addition, a police detective and medical examiner testified that Pal was not shot where her body was found because there was no blood splatter in the area. Since the soles of her feet indicated that she had not walked to the location where her body was found, the detective testified that he was "very comfortable" with stating that two people carried Pal’s body to that location. In support of his testimony, the detective noted that the raised-arm position of Pal’s body suggested she may have been carried by her feet and hands. In addition, the detective noted that Pal was five-seven and 130 pounds and Ward is only five-six and 140 pounds, while Foster is six feet tall and around 225 pounds. In February 2004, Foster was convicted of the rape and capital murder of Mary Pal. Based on the necessary jury findings during the punishment phase, the trial court sentenced Foster to death. Sheldon Ward was also sentenced to death for Mary Pal’s murder but he died of a brain tumor in prison in May 2009. The gun that was used as the murder weapon was also identified as the gun used in December 2001 to kill Rachel Urnosky , 22, at her apartment in Fort Worth. Both men were charged in Rachel’s murder, but never tried. Foster told police they were both at her apartment but they left after she refused to have sex with them. When she did not report for work at Buckle, a clothing store at a local shopping mall, her manager called police. They found the door to her apartment open and Rachel was found shot to death in her bed. Rachel was a magna cum laude graduate from Texas Tech and an officer with the Baptist Student Mission and spent her spring breaks on mission trips. She had recently gotten engaged. In April 2011, the US Supreme Court granted a stay of execution to Cleve Foster a few hours before he was supposed to face his punishment for the murder of Mary Pal. The court granted the stay based on claims that Foster’s attorneys were ineffective. The state has 30 days to respond to the petition. This was the second time Foster received a stay on the day of execution. Rachel Urnosky’s family had traveled to Huntsville from Lubbock. "I just want it to be over," said Rachel’s mother, Pam to the Star Telegram. "This is astounding to me. The irony is that my daughter didn’t get such consideration. I have been so upset. Sickened. We buried her four days before Christmas. I have not done as much good as she did in her short life." She also said, "It’s not about revenge. To us, it is about justice. I’m not his judge, but I know what he did, and they both had a part in it, and it happened not only once, but twice. I want him to admit he did it. Admit his guilt." Read more: UPDATE: Cleve Foster received a third stay of execution at the last minute from the US Supreme Court. In a statement to KAMC 28 news, Rachel Urnosky’s father said “At this moment we are indeed saddened and sorely grieved that the legal and punishment phase of this tragedy is still not over. My family and I are very appreciative of all of the thoughts and prayers that have helped to sustain us through the past ten years. We are resolved to rebuild our lives as a family and continue to overcome this evil with good.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 21, 2011 Georgia Mark Allen MacPhail, 27 Troy Davis executed

mark macphailTroy Anthony Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989. On August 19, 1989, Troy Anthony Davis was at a Burger King restaurant with friends and and struck a homeless man named Larry Young in the head with a pistol when Young refused to give a beer to one of Davis’s friends. Officer MacPhail, who was working an off-duty security detail at the Greyhound bus terminal next door, heard Young cry out and responded to the disturbance. Davis fled and, when Officer MacPhail, wearing his full police uniform, ordered him to stop, Davis turned and shot the officer in the right thigh and chest. Although Mark MacPhail was wearing a bullet-proof vest, his sides were not protected and the bullet entered the left side of his chest, penetrating his left lung and his aorta, stopping at the back of his chest cavity. Davis, smiling, walked up to the stricken officer and shot him in the face as he lay dying in the parking lot. The officer’s gun was still strapped in his holster and his baton was still on his belt. Davis fled to Atlanta and a massive manhunt ensued. The next afternoon, Davis told a friend that he had been involved in an argument at the restaurant the previous evening and struck someone with a gun. He told the friend that when a police officer ran up, Davis shot him and that he went to the officer and "finished the job" because he knew the officer got a good look at his face when he shot him the first time. After his arrest, Davis told a cellmate a similar story. He was arrested after surrendering a few days after the murder. Trial began exactly two years to the day of Officer MacPhail’s murder. This resulted in Davis’ conviction for murder after less than two hours of deliberation by the jury, and in the imposition of a death sentence after seven hours of deliberation. He was also convicted of obstruction of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. One of the two counts of aggravated assault arose from an incident where Davis shot into a car that was leaving a party an hour before the murder of Officer MacPhail. Michael Cooper was struck in the head by a bullet, severely injuring him and leaving the bullet lodged in his jaw. Ballistics tests matched the shells from the murder of the police officer to shells found at a party earlier in the evening where Michael Cooper had been shot. Cooper identified Davis as the shooter. Even though the US Supreme Court rejected his final appeal without dissent in June of 2007, Davis received a 90-day stay from the state pardons and parole board just one day before his July 17, 2007 execution date. The stay was granted to examine claims by witnesses that they had given erroneous testimony or were no longer certain about their identification of Davis. Mark MacPhail’s son, 18-year-old Mark Allen MacPhail Jr. spoke against the 2007 stay to members of the Board of Pardons and Parole. "I told them how it felt having him ripped away from me at such an early age. Picture having Father’s Day and having no one to give anything to," MacPhail said he told the board. Anneliese MacPhail, mother of the slain officer, commented to a reporter after learning that Davis’s request for a new trial was denied in March 2008. "I wonder, what do all those witnesses remember after 18 years? There is no new evidence. No mother should go through what I have been through." Mark’s wife Joan MacPhail said she has lost her best friend, the father of her two children and now her peace of mind as appeals for Davis have drawn on for almost two decades. "It’s like another punch in the stomach," she said. "You have to relive that night over and over. That’s so wrong. Why shouldn’t we have peace in our lives?" About the changing witnesses, the Georgia Supreme Court stated that most of the witnesses who recanted "have merely stated they now do not feel able to identify the shooter." The majority could not ignore the trial testimony, "and, in fact, we favor that original testimony over the new." The son of a U.S. Army Ranger, Mark MacPhail was a graduate of Columbus High School in Georgia. His mother, Anne, still lives in Columbus, Georgia. Davis received another stay of execution before his September 23, 2008 execution date. UPDATE: After a delay of approximately three hours, the U.S. Supreme Court denied without comment a request for a stay of execution for Troy Davis.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 21, 2011 Texas James Byrd, Jr. Lawrence Brewer executed
George Mahathy, a life-long acquaintance of the victim, James Byrd, Jr., saw him at a party on Saturday night, June 6, 1998. Byrd left the party around 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning. Byrd asked Mahathy for a ride home, but Mahathy was riding home with someone else. As Mahathy was leaving the party, he saw Byrd walking down the road towards home, which was about a mile from the party. Steven Scott, who had known Byrd for several years, also saw him walking down the road that night. After arriving home a few minutes later, at around 2:30 a.m., Scott saw Byrd pass by in the back of an old model, step-side pickup truck painted primer-gray. Three white people were riding in the cab of the truck. On June 7, 1998, police officers responded to a call to go to Huff Creek Road in the town of Jasper. In the road, in front of a church, they discovered the body of an African-American male missing the head, neck, and right arm. The remains of pants and underwear were gathered around the victim’s ankles. About a mile and a half up the road, they discovered the head, neck, and arm by a culvert in a driveway. A trail of smeared blood and drag marks led from the victim’s torso to the detached upper portion of the victim’s body and continued another mile and a half down Huff Creek Road and a dirt logging road. A wallet found on the logging road contained identification for James Byrd Jr., a Jasper resident. Along the route, police also found Byrd’s dentures, keys, shirt, undershirt, and watch. At the end of the logging road, the trail culminated in an area of matted-down grass, which appeared to be the scene of a fight. At this site and along the logging road, the police discovered a cigarette lighter engraved with the words “Possum” and “KKK,” a nut driver wrench inscribed with the name “Berry,” three cigarette butts, a can of “fix-a-flat,” a compact disk, a woman’s watch, a can of black spray paint, a pack of Marlboro Lights cigarettes, beer bottles, a button from Byrd’s shirt, and Byrd’s baseball cap. Chemical analysis revealed a substance on James Byrd’s shirts and cap consistent with black spray paint. The following evening, police stopped Shawn Berry for a traffic violation in his primer-gray pickup truck. Behind the front seat, police discovered a set of tools matching the wrench found at the fight scene. They arrested Berry and confiscated the truck. DNA testing revealed that blood spatters underneath the truck and on one of the truck’s tires matched Byrd’s DNA. In the bed of the truck, police noticed a rust stain in a chain pattern and detected blood matching Byrd’s on a spare tire. Six tires that were on or associated with Berry’s truck were examined. Three of the four tires on the truck were of different makes.   Tire casts taken at the fight scene and in front of the church where the torso was found were consistent with each of these tires. An FBI chemist detected a substance consistent with fix-a-flat inside one of the six tires. Shawn Berry shared an apartment with Lawrence Russell Brewer and John William King. Police and FBI agents searched the apartment and confiscated King’s drawings and writings as well as clothing and shoes of each of the three roommates. DNA analysis revealed that the jeans and boots that Berry had been wearing on the night of the murder were stained with blood matching Byrd’s DNA. An analyst with the FBI lab determined that a shoe print found near a large blood stain on the logging road was made by a Rugged Outback brand sandal.   King owned a pair of Rugged Outback sandals and had been seen wearing them on the evening of the murder.   Shawn Berry also owned a pair of Rugged Outback sandals that were a half size different from King’s. One of the pairs of these sandals confiscated from the apartment bore a blood stain matching Byrd’s DNA. A Nike tennis shoe with the initials “L.B.” in the tongue also was stained with blood matching Byrd’s. Although Shawn Berry’s brother, Lewis Berry, stayed at the apartment from time to time and shares the same initials as Lawrence Brewer, Lewis Berry testified that the shoes were not his and demonstrated that his foot was significantly larger than Brewer’s. DNA analysis was also conducted on three cigarette butts taken from the fight scene and logging road. DNA on one of the cigarette butts established King as the major contributor, and excluded Berry and Brewer as contributors, but could not exclude Byrd as a minor contributor. The FBI forensic examiner explained that a minor contributor deposits less DNA than a major contributor. This occurs, for instance, when another person takes a “drag” off of a cigarette.  Brewer was the sole contributor of DNA on the second cigarette butt. The third cigarette butt revealed DNA from both a major and minor contributor. Shawn Berry was established as the major contributor of DNA on the third cigarette butt;  however, King, Brewer, and Byrd were all excluded as possible minor contributors of the additional DNA. Tommy Faulk testified that Berry, Brewer, and King frequented his home and had played paintball in the woods behind his trailer. Police conducted a search of these woods and found a large hole covered by plywood and debris. Underneath the cover, they discovered a 24-foot logging chain that matched the rust imprint in the bed of Berry’s truck. The evidence reveals that Byrd’s body was severed about a mile and a half down the logging and asphalt roads, resulting in death, but that his torso was dragged another mile and a half before it was deposited in front of the church. Byrd’s injuries reveal not only that he was alive during half of his tortuous journey, but also that he was conscious for most, if not all, of that time-attempting to hold up his head and relieve the pain of the asphalt scraping and tearing his skin. Byrd was made to suffer the most cruel and horrific pain before his body was finally torn apart by the culvert.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 22, 2011 Alabama Angela Michele Cagle Derrick Mason executed
Derrick O’Neal Mason was convicted in 1998 for the murder of Angela Michele Cagle, who was found dead in the back room of a convenience store in Alabama on March 27, 1994. Mason became a suspect in the Cagle murder after an unidentified man told the police that Mason had committed the crime, described the gun used, and told the police that Mason "was out of control" and "trying to make a name for himself." A few days after the murder, on March 29, 1994, the unidentified informant led the police to Mason’s car where Mason was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor assault. As part of an inventory search, police searched Mason’s car and found a gun that laboratory results later indicated was the same gun used in Angela Cagle’s murder. After arresting Mason around 10:00 p.m., police held him in an interrogation room, first interrogating him on the assault for which he was arrested, then on an unrelated prior robbery, and then on the murder. Approximately two hours later, Mason confessed to committing the murder. Mason was tried, found guilty, and the jury voted 10-2 to sentence him to death, a recommendation the trial court accepted.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 27, 2011 Tennessee Renee Jordan
Jerry Hopper
David Gordon
David Jordan stayed
David Lynn Jordan was convicted by a jury of the first degree murders of Renee Jordan, Jerry Hopper, and David Gordon, and the attempted first degree murders of James Goff and Larry Taylor, as well as leaving the scene of an accident. The jury sentenced the defendant to death for each of the first degree murders. The trial court sentenced the defendant to twenty-five years for each of the attempted murders, to be served consecutively, and to thirty days for the misdemeanor. On January 11, 2005, at the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) facility in Jackson, David Lynn Jordan killed three people: Renee Jordan, his thirty-one-year-old wife who was employed at TDOT; Jerry Hopper, an employee of the Tennessee Division of Forestry who was at the TDOT office; and David Gordon, a motorist Jordan ran off the road en route to the TDOT garage. Jordan also shot and injured two other TDOT employees, James Goff and Larry Taylor. Jordan first threatened and then decided to murder his wife because he believed she was having an affair with a co-worker, Johnny Emerson, and because she told him she wanted a divorce. Johnny Emerson testified that he was employed as a mechanic at the TDOT garage where Renee worked. Emerson explained that he and Renee were “just real good friends,” but acknowledged that their relationship had developed “a little bit” beyond a co-worker relationship. Physically, their relationship was limited to hugging and kissing. Emerson said that Renee had been talking about getting a divorce. On one occasion, Jordan telephoned Emerson at home regarding his relationship with Renee. Jordan told Emerson that he was “too old” for Renee and that he “needed [his] ass whooped.” Emerson agreed with Jordan that he “didn’t have no business doing what [he] did.” Jordan also contacted Emerson’s wife on numerous occasions. At some point prior to January 11, 2005, Emerson informed Renee that he was not going to divorce his wife. Emerson testified that he was not at work on January 11, 2005, because he was on medical leave. Linda Sesson Taylor, an attorney in Jackson, testified that Renee hired her on December 14, 2004, to represent her in divorce proceedings against Jordan. She said she initially prepared the necessary documents for a contested divorce, and Renee told her she would have the money to pay her fee after the Christmas holiday. Taylor said she also prepared the paperwork to obtain a restraining order against Jordan, and Mrs, Jordan had an appointment scheduled for January 12, 2005.2 Taylor identified a page out of her phone message book indicating that Renee had called her office on January 11, 2005, at 9:56 a.m. wanting to know how much Taylor charged for an uncontested divorce. Kevin Deberry, the next-door neighbor of Jordan and Renee, testified that Renee called him on the night of January 10, 2005, and was upset with Jordan. About an hour later, Jordan came to Deberry’s house and asked Deberry to take Renee’s dog to their house and get his house key, but Deberry refused to do so. Jordan then told Deberry if he did not take Renee’s dog to her, he “was gonna take it over there and shoot it in the driveway.” As Jordan turned to walk away, Deberry noticed what he believed to be a “snub-nose.38” in Jordan’s back pocket. Jordan then turned around and told Deberry that he “better watch [his] back, you never kn[o]w which way the bullets are gonna fly.” Deberry called Renee and told her to take her child and leave the house because Jordan was on his way over there. Renee told Deberry that Jordan had left some threatening voice mails on her phone. Jordan later called Deberry and apologized. The two men talked “for awhile” and Deberry offered Jordan a drink. Jordan declined but called back later and accepted Deberry’s offer of alcohol. Deberry said that he took a half-gallon bottle of vodka to Jordan’s house at about 1:00 a.m. and put it in the freezer. Although Jordan and his children were still up when he arrived, Deberry did not stay and returned home. Kenneth Evans, Renee’s cousin, testified that he was aware that Jordan and Renee were having marital problems and, on January 10, 2005, Renee called and told him that “she was about to have a nervous breakdown, and she was scared of [Jordan], that he was calling threatening her.” Renee told Evans that Jordan “was on his way out to the house and that he said ․ it didn’t matter how many lawyers she had and how much money she had, that what he had for her wasn’t going to do her any good.” Evans advised Renee to leave the house and go to the police department, but she refused to do so, saying that Jordan had “had run-ins with the police department before. He would shoot me there whether the police was there or not, and he would probably shoot them, too.” Evans then told her to come to his house, which she did. After she arrived, they took Renee’s three-year-old daughter to Renee’s mother’s house. Evans later hid Renee’s car at a friend’s house, and they returned to Evans’ home around 10:30 p.m. The following morning, January 11, 2005, Renee and Evans, a TDOT “[p]arts runner,” went to work. Renee worked in the office of the TDOT garage, which was commonly referred to as “the crow’s nest.” That morning, Evans was in the crow’s nest with Renee until approximately 11:10 a.m., when he left to go pick up some parts. Ricky Simpson and James Goff were in the office with Renee when he left. Vernon L. Stockton, Sr. testified that on January 11, 2005, he was employed as an equipment mechanic at the TDOT garage which was located in the same building as the crow’s nest where Renee worked. He said he knew that Renee and Jordan were having marital problems. Between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. on the morning of January 11, Renee handed Stockton her portable phone when it rang and asked him to answer it. Stockton recognized the caller’s voice as that of Jordan. Jordan asked to speak to Renee, but Stockton told him that she was in the restroom because she did not want to talk to him. Stockton said he later left TDOT to pick up some parts and was not present when the shooting occurred. Sonny Grimm testified that he was riding in a Ford pickup while Paul Forsythe was driving it westbound on Lower Brownsville Road on January 11, 2005. The two men worked for Ralph’s Trailers and were on their way to pick up some starter fluid for a backhoe. A green car was traveling in front of them. As they approached Anglin Lane, Grimm saw Jordan, who was driving a red pickup truck, run a stop sign and strike the green car, knocking it off the road. Grimm wrote down the license plate number of Jordan’s vehicle; he said that Jordan continued traveling toward the TDOT garage. Grimm, Forsythe, and the driver of the green car followed Jordan to the garage. There, Grimm saw people running everywhere. Forsythe gave the driver of the green car the license plate number of the red pickup truck. Jordan came out of the garage and told the driver of the green car, “You better leave.” The driver responded, “I’m not going [any] where.” Jordan said, “yes, you are, too,” reached inside his truck, pulled out a rifle, and shot the driver. Paul Forsythe testified that, on the morning of January 11, 2005, he and Sonny Grimm were traveling west on Lower Brownsville Road behind a green car when they saw a red Mazda pickup truck come down Anglin Lane, run a stop sign, and strike the green car, knocking it off the road. Forsythe followed the truck to get its license plate number for the driver of the green car. Because he was driving, Forsythe called out the license number to Grimm, who wrote it down. The pickup truck then ran a four-way stop and turned into the main entrance of TDOT. Forsythe called 911 and pulled into the TDOT parking lot. The green car then pulled up, the driver got out, and Forsythe gave the driver, David Gordon, the tag number of the pickup truck. As Gordon was walking back to his car, Jordan came out of the TDOT building and told Gordon to leave. When Gordon said, “I’m not going [any] where,” Jordan said, “You will” and then reached inside his truck and pulled out a long gun. Gordon threw his hands up in the air and told Jordan, “Please don’t shoot. Wait a minute.” However, Jordan started shooting, and Forsythe and Grimm fled the scene. Randy Joe Perry, a TDOT employee, testified that on January 11, 2005, Jordan came to the TDOT garage and pushed Perry out of his way as he approached the steps leading up to the crow’s nest where Renee worked. David Pickard, another TDOT employee who was standing near Perry, said, “Who was that son-of-a-bitch?” Jordan, who had his right hand in his coat pocket, turned around and gave Perry and Pickard a “hard look” before going upstairs to the crow’s nest. Perry then heard three or four gunshots and, looking through the window in the crow’s nest, saw Jordan pointing a gun at Jerry Hopper who was sitting in a chair. Perry heard another gunshot and saw Hopper slump over. Hearing more gunshots, Perry ran and got behind his truck. Shortly thereafter, Jordan calmly walked outside to his vehicle. Perry next noticed a man get out of another vehicle and walk toward Jordan. Jordan reached inside his truck and retrieved a rifle. The man who had been walking toward Jordan stopped and raised his hands. A few seconds later, Jordan fired several shots at the man. Perry described the shots as coming from a “fully automatic” and so quick that he could not count them. The man Jordan shot “went out of sight down behind the vehicle.” Jordan walked over to the fallen man, shot again, “and then he turned and just calmly walked back towards his truck, put the rifle in his truck, just eased in there and drove off just as easy” toward the front gate. David Thomas Pickard testified that he was standing near the stairs with Randy Perry and other employees when Jordan came in the garage and shoved him and Perry backwards as he walked past the group of men. Pickard responded by saying, “Who does that crazy son-of-a-bitch think he is?” Jordan, who smelled of alcohol, turned around and got in Pickard’s face “like he wanted to whoop [him].” Jordan then proceeded upstairs to the crow’s nest where Renee was facing the window. Pickard saw Jordan shoot Renee and described the shooting: “The first time it went ‘Pow’ and she went like this and come back and he went ‘Pow, Pow, Pow,’ like that.” Pickard ran out of the garage to his office located across from the garage. After instructing the employees in his office to lock the door, Pickard went back outside and saw Jordan, pistol in hand, exit the garage and go to his truck and retrieve a rifle. Pickard went back inside the office and, a few minutes later, saw Jordan leave in his truck. Pickard then went to the crow’s nest where he saw Renee and Jerry Hopper lying on the floor. He said he looked at Renee and knew she was dead, but Hopper was still alive and a man was trying to resuscitate him. Outside in the parking lot, Pickard saw another man lying on the ground. He said the man was not dead at that time, but he “was turning real yellow-looking and blood was everywhere.” James Goff testified that he was in the crow’s nest with Renee, Larry Taylor, and Jerry Hopper when Jordan came in, raised his shirt, and pulled out what appeared to be a nine-millimeter pistol. Renee had her back to the door, and Jordan called out her name. Renee turned around, and Jordan started shooting. Goff stated that Jordan was about 6 feet away. Jordan shot Renee in the chest and fired additional shots, including what appeared to be a shot to the forehead. Jordan then shot Hopper. Taylor dove under a desk, and Jordan shot Goff in the leg, the right side of the neck, the arm, and the stomach. Although he did not see Taylor being shot, Goff heard two more shots and heard Taylor grunt. As Jordan was leaving the crow’s nest, Goff heard him mutter, “I love you, Renee.” After Jordan left the room, Goff got up and asked Taylor about his condition. He saw Hopper lying on the floor “in bad shape” and Renee was dead. Goff was then able to make his way to the main office for help. He said he was hospitalized for three days as a result of his injuries. Larry Taylor testified that he was ending a telephone call inside the crow’s nest when Jordan entered the room, stood there “for a moment or so,” pulled his coat back, brandished a weapon, and took a “police stance.” Jordan then called Renee by name and, when she turned to face him, shot her. One gunshot struck her in the stomach area. She fell back in a chair, and Jordan fired two additional shots, with the second shot striking her torso “a little higher up” and the third shot striking her in the head. Renee fell to the floor, and Taylor could tell that she was dead. Taylor dove under a desk for protection, heard more gunshots, and saw Goff fall. He then heard more gunshots and felt pain in his legs. Taylor heard the door close, and Goff asked him if he was all right before leaving the room. Taylor then got up and saw Hopper on the floor on his knees with his face in his hands and saw Renee on the floor with her face in a pool of blood. He called 911 and was trying to assist Hopper when he heard the door open and saw Jordan with “a rifle-type gun.” Taylor looked Jordan “square in the eye” and stood back up, holding both his hands in front of him. He asked Jordan if he could leave, and, after a brief pause, Jordan said, “Yeah, you can go out now.” After Taylor got downstairs, he heard gunshots’ in rapid succession and hurriedly went out the door. He saw Goff, who was “kind of delirious” and holding a towel to his neck, and told another employee, Alvin Harris, to drive Goff to the hospital in the parts truck. Taylor then got in his car and drove himself to the hospital where he was treated for the gunshot wounds to his legs. Fred die Ellison, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and a mechanic at TDOT, testified that when he returned to the garage from his lunch break around 11:30 a.m., people were running out of the garage. He then observed Jordan, whom he had known for approximately twenty years, walk out the roll-up doors of the garage. Ellison asked Jordan what he was doing. Jordan raised his right hand and Ellison saw two semi-automatic handguns. Jordan said, “Go on. Back off. Just go on. Back off.” Jordan had his hand on one of the guns. Ellison retreated to the back of the building where he observed David Gordon pull up in a green car. Gordon announced that “[t]he guy in the red pickup truck has run over me,” and Ellison advised Gordon to “back off” because Jordan had a gun. Gordon refused, stating that he had the police on the way. Ellison then heard “automatic” gunfire and called the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. He and Willie Martin left TDOT and went “out on 223.” He saw Jordan leave in his red pickup truck, driving normally and headed toward Jackson. Shortly thereafter, Ellison observed an unmarked police unit and advised dispatch to instruct the unit to follow Jordan. Ellison then returned to the TDOT garage and saw David Gordon on the ground. Gordon had been shot multiple times. Inside the crow’s nest, Ellison discovered “blood all over the floor” and saw Renee lying on the floor with multiple gunshot wounds. He described Renee as being “shot all to pieces,” including being shot in the forehead. Jerry Hopper had been shot several times in the chest. Alvin Harris, a “store clerk” at TDOT who picked up and delivered parts, testified that he heard gunshots and went to the garage where he encountered Goff who was holding his throat and bleeding. He also saw Taylor who was “real pan icky” and pointed to his legs when Harris asked him if he was hurt. Taylor told Harris that Jordan had shot Renee and that she was “gone.” Because Goff was losing a lot of blood and Harris feared death was imminent, Harris decided to drive Goff to the hospital rather than wait for the ambulance. Darrell Vaulx, a TDOT mechanic, testified that as he was leaving the shop on January 11, 2005, he saw Jordan, Renee, Hopper, and Taylor through the glass window in the crow’s nest. Jordan pointed a gun at Renee, and she fell. Vaulx heard two more gunshots and saw Jordan turn toward the men in the crow’s nest. Vaulx said he and other employees ran outside to the parking lot where Vaulx saw Jordan’s red Mazda pickup truck. Vaulx then saw Jordan come outside and calmly walk to his truck. Thinking that Jordan was leaving, Vaulx ran inside to the crow’s nest where he found Renee on the floor with three gunshot wounds to the head. Someone yelled, “He’s coming back,” and Vaulx ran back outside to the parking lot and noticed that Jordan’s truck was still there. He then heard a noise that sounded like an airgun or a rifle. After someone said Jordan was getting in his truck and leaving, Vaulx went back inside and found Hopper who was “breathing just a little bit” and “squirming” like he was in pain. Vaulx administered CPR to Hopper until the paramedics arrived. George Washington Bond, a TDOT employee who worked in the car wash room in the garage, testified that he heard “three pops,” looked out the window in the garage door, and saw Jordan standing over “the victim.” Jordan then looked at Bond and shook his head, which Bond interpreted to mean “don’t get involved.” Bond saw what appeared to be the grip of a gun in Jordan’s hand. Jordan then walked into the garage and went to the crow’s nest. Bond saw Jordan pointing a long gun toward where Renee sat. Bond then ran to another building and did not return to the garage. On cross-examination, Bond acknowledged that he did not see Jordan shoot “the victim.”3 Barbara Surratt, Renee’s mother-in-law from a previous marriage, testified that, even after Renee and her son divorced, she remained “very close” with Renee. During the early part of 2005, Renee was staying with Surratt at her home on Old Pinson Road. On January 11, 2005, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Surratt received a telephone call from Jordan. Jordan told her that he knew Renee was not there and asked her to tell Renee “happy birthday” the next time she saw her. Surratt stated that Renee’s birthday was not until February. Around 11:30 a.m., Surratt telephoned Renee at work and, during their conversation, heard an “ungodly racket, loud noises” and a sound like “a chair go across the room.” She screamed Renee’s name, but got no answer. After it became quiet, Surratt heard Jordan say, “Renee. Renee. I hate you.” Jackson Police Sergeant Mike Thomas testified that he was on patrol in an unmarked cruiser on Vann Drive when he received a call about the shooting at the TDOT garage. En route to the scene, Sergeant Thomas was advised that the suspect had a machine gun. Before reaching the TDOT garage, he observed a red Mazda pickup truck matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle and began pursuit of the truck. The truck ran a stop sign. Shortly thereafter, a marked patrol unit, driven by Sergeant Sain, passed the truck on Anglin Lane. Sergeant Sain turned his cruiser around and joined the pursuit. Another unmarked unit, driven by Captain Priddy, joined the pursuit after the suspect’s vehicle forced Captain Priddy’s vehicle off the road. Officer Maxwell placed his patrol cruiser in position to do a partial roadblock. The suspect’s vehicle hit Officer Maxwell’s car, and Sergeant Thomas pulled in behind it to block it from leaving. The suspect, identified as Jordan, was taken into custody. A search of Jordan’s person revealed a loaded.45 caliber pistol and a loaded nine-millimeter pistol. Inside Jordan’s truck, the officers discovered a rifle and a shotgun. Officer Ted Maxwell of the Jackson Police Department testified that he responded to a call concerning the shooting at the TDOT garage. En route to the scene, he encountered Jordan, driving a red pickup truck, followed by two police units. Officer Maxwell said he was traveling north on Anglin Lane, and Jordan was traveling south. Ultimately, Maxwell managed to stop Jordan by ramming the front of his vehicle. Jordan got out of his vehicle, and Maxwell noticed a gun in the small of his back under his belt. Sergeants Sain and Thomas placed Jordan on the ground and removed two handguns from him that Maxwell identified as an Intra Arm Star.45-caliber semi-automatic with a clip containing six live rounds and one live round inside the chamber, and an Intra Arm Star nine-millimeter semi-automatic with a clip containing two live rounds and one live round in the chamber. Maxwell said that eight.45-caliber and nineteen nine-millimeter rounds were recovered from Jordan’s pockets. Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Johnny Briley testified that he initially received a call regarding a hit-and-run accident on Lower Brownsville Road at Anglin Lane involving a red Mazda pickup truck. While proceeding to that location, he received another call about the shooting at the TDOT garage. He received information that there were multiple victims involved. Before he reached the TDOT garage, he observed that the suspect vehicle had been pulled over by Jackson police officers. He stopped at the scene. Sergeant Briley said that he had known Renee and her family for thirty years and also knew Jordan. As Jordan stood up, he told Sergeant Briley, “She fucked me over, Johnny.” Sergeant Briley responded, “No, she didn’t, David.” Sergeant Briley, who was standing within a foot of Jordan, detected an odor of alcohol on Jordan’s person. Jordan was subsequently placed in the backseat of a police car. Jackson Police Officer Rodney Anderson testified that, en route to the scene of the shooting, he received a call that the suspect was headed down Anglin Lane. Officer Anderson turned onto Anglin Lane where he observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle between two patrol cars. The driver of the vehicle, Jordan, was taken into custody and placed in the backseat of Officer Greer’s marked police unit. As Officers Greer and Anderson were transporting Jordan to the Criminal Justice Complex, Jordan spontaneously told them that: he could have cut the police in half with his weapon, that he had full auto. He stated that his wife’s dead and she’s full of holes. He stated she drove him crazy ․ by fucking around on him, and he advised that he shot her with her brother’s gun. He also stated that he feels sorry for his daughters, and that Renee wouldn’t be fucking around on anybody else. Jordan also said that the other people “just got in the way” and asked how many people were hurt. Jordan also said that his wife “hurt him and tore his heart out” and that he had been “going crazy” for a month. Officer Anderson said that Jordan smelled of alcohol. Investigator Jeff Shepherd of the Jackson Police Department testified that, as part of his investigation, he retrieved and recorded voice mail messages left on Renee’s cell phone. The audiotape of the messages was entered into evidence and played for the jury; a transcript of the messages was also provided. The messages included one left at 10:48 p.m. on January 10, 2005, stating “You’re the only a$$hole on the face of this earth that I truly hate”; one left at 2:11 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “I’ll see you at work, bi+ch”; one left at 2:17 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “I hope you go to work tomorrow, bi+ch, ‘cause you’ll be there one day. It may not be tomorrow, but I will catch up with your raggedy a$$. Your day is coming.”; and one left at 2:19 a.m. on January 11, 2005, stating “You home wreckin’, low life, sorry mother f***in’ bi+ch. Your a$$ is gonna pay.” Additionally, Investigator Shepherd was involved in the booking process of Jordan, during which Jordan asked him if Renee was “real bad messed up.” Jordan started crying and told Shepherd that most people probably thought he was crazy, but he was not crazy, he was “driven to crazy.” Jordan also said that the assault rifle he used in the shooting belonged to his brother-in-law, Dale Robinson. Trent Harris, a paramedic at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, testified that he and Corey Shumate, an emergency medical technician, responded to the scene at the TDOT garage, arriving at 11:39 a.m. They first attended David Gordon, who was lying on his back in the parking lot and appeared to have gunshot wounds to the upper right and upper left portion of his abdomen. Gordon was not breathing but had a faint pulse. Harris intubated Gordon and immediately began transportation to the hospital. En route, Gordon lost a pulse and CPR was initiated. Upon their arrival at the hospital, Gordon’s care was transferred to the hospital’s trauma team. Dr. Herbert Lee Sutton, a trauma surgeon at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, testified that he tried to save David Gordon’s life once he arrived at the hospital. Dr. Sutton was able to regain a heartbeat on Gordon and performed surgery to try to stop the bleeding in his abdomen and perineum. Dr. Sutton described what he saw when he surgically opened Gordon’s abdomen: “The blast injury from what he was shot with had almost morselized his intestines. It was like soup. And I’m quite sure even if I had stopped him from bleeding and he had regained everything, he probably wouldn’t have had any small intestine left from what I could see.” Despite all of Dr. Sutton’s lifesaving procedures, Gordon died at 12:47 p.m. Dr. Sutton testified that he also treated James Goff on January 11, 2005, for multiple gunshot wounds which he described as wounds to the left arm, abdomen, left thigh, and neck. The gunshot wound to the neck “went anterior to the trachea and the carotid vessels which are the main vessels that go to his brain.” The bullet did not hit any major arteries or veins. Dr. Sutton stated that Goff remained hospitalized until January 13, 2005. Eric Leath, a paramedic with the Medical Center EMS, testified that he was also dispatched to the TDOT garage. Upon his arrival, he was directed inside to an office where he observed a man lying on the floor on his back and a woman lying inside the door to the left. The woman had “a massive injury to her head that had blood tissue lying all around, pooled around her head” and had no signs of life. The other victim, Jerry Hopper, was very pale and had “some gasping or agonal, gasping-type breaths, just very shallow, slow.” Hopper had a faint carotid pulse. Leath inserted a breathing tube, but Hopper was unresponsive. A Jackson police officer offered assistance to Leath and began CPR. Hopper was then moved to an ambulance and transported to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, Hopper exhibited no signs of life. Dr. David James testified that he treated Jerry Hopper, who had two gunshot wounds to his abdomen. Upon Hopper’s arrival at the hospital, he was not breathing and all attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. Hopper was pronounced dead at 12:34 p.m. Dr. James also treated Larry Taylor at the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Taylor had suffered gunshot wounds to both of his upper legs. Dr. Tony R. Emison, the medical examiner and coroner for Madison County, testified that he requested autopsies on the bodies of the three deceased victims. The bodies were sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Nashville. Dr. Staci Turner testified that she performed the autopsy on Renee. Dr. Turner found that Renee had been shot eleven times, resulting in wounds to the head, torso, and right leg. Dr. Turner found injuries to the scalp, the skull, the bones of the face, the brain, multiple ribs, the right lung, the diaphragm, the liver, the right kidney, the stomach, the small intestine, the urinary bladder, and the uterus. Dr. Turner recovered multiple bullets, bullet jackets, bullet cores and white plastic disk fragments during the autopsy. The gunshot wound to Renee’s forehead was fired from a handgun within a foot of the body. Dr. Turner discovered a visible bullet in a partial exit wound in the back of Renee’s head. She recovered the bullet and the jacket that had separated from the bullet. The bullet was identified as a Black Talon-type bullet, one fired from a handgun. She described the bullet as having a bullet core and a jacket, “and when it enters the body, the jacket usually opens and forms sharp points that look like talons.” Other fragments discovered in Renee’s body were identified as coming from a high-powered assault rifle. Dr. Turner described the wounds associated with the bullets fired from the assault rifle: “They went through multiple ribs on the right side of the body, through the right lung, through the diaphragm ․, through the liver and the kidney and into the spinal column and then lodged in the muscle of the back with some fragments scattered throughout the organs.” Two notes were found in the victim’s clothing, both addressed to Renee. One note was signed, “Your faithful faithful worried David.” The second note was signed, “Your forgiving husband, David Lynn Jordan.” Dr. Turner concluded that the cause of Renee’s death was multiple gunshot wounds. Dr. Amy R. McMaster testified that she performed the autopsy on Jerry Hopper. Hopper had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and had multiple abrasions and lacerations resulting from these wounds. Dr. McMaster discovered a gunshot wound to the right wrist and two gunshot wounds to the right side of his abdomen. She recovered two projectiles from Hopper’s body. The projectiles were large caliber deformed hollow point bullets, which were consistent with those fired from a nine-millimeter weapon. Dr. McMaster concluded that the cause of Jerry Hopper’s death was multiple gunshot wounds. Dr. McMaster testified that she also performed the autopsy on David Gordon. Gordon had multiple gunshot wounds and injuries associated with the wounds. Although no exact number of wounds could be determined, Gordon had been shot at least thirteen times. He had wounds to his right thigh, right forearm, right lower abdomen, right and left sides of the torso, buttocks, and left hip. The projectiles recovered from these wounds were consistent with a 7.62 millimeter round. Dr. McMaster concluded that the cause of Gordon’s death was multiple gunshot wounds. Sergeant Mike Turner of the Jackson Police Department testified that he collected evidence from the red Mazda pickup truck. Among the items he recovered were: a loaded Norinco SKS 7.62 assault rifle with twenty-six rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber; a black bag containing a large quantity of assorted ammunition; a loaded Mossberg twelve-gauge shotgun with two rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber; loose ammunition; a 7.62 magazine with fourteen rounds of ammunition; two spent 7.62 casings; and a.38 special caliber Winchester spent casing. Agent Cathy Ferguson of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) testified that, on January 11, 2005, she was employed as a violent crimes investigator with the Jackson Police Department. She said she responded to the scene at the TDOT garage and was directed to the crow’s nest area where she found Renee lying in a large pool of blood that contained brain matter. Realizing that she could not help Renee, Ferguson assisted with the CPR on Jerry Hopper. Ferguson subsequently recovered evidence found inside the crow’s nest and outside the garage, including nine-millimeter and 7.62 shell casings, bullet fragments, and a note on which Grimm had written Jordan’s license tag number. She said that fifteen 7.62 shell casings were recovered from the exterior crime scene and four from inside the crow’s nest. Nine nine-millimeter shell casings and one live nine-millimeter round were found inside the crow’s nest. TBI Agent Scott Lott testified that he and other agents executed a search warrant at Jordan’s house on January 11, 2005. Among the items recovered were: a Thompson Center Firearms.50 caliber muzzle loader, a Montgomery Ward 30/30 rifle, a Remington 20-gauge pump shotgun, a Remington 30.06 rifle, a Remington Caliber.243 rifle, a Ruger.22-caliber rifle, a Savage Firearms.22-caliber rifle, a Ruger.44 magnum rifle, a Springfield.410-gauge shotgun, a Pioneer 750.22-caliber rifle, a Bauer Firearms.25-caliber automatic handgun, a.38 Special revolver, five live rounds of Winchester.38 Special ammunition, and a trigger group assembly. TBI Agent Shelly Betts, accepted by the trial court as an expert in ballistics, testified that she examined evidence collected in this matter, including a 12-gauge shotgun, a Norinco SKS rifle, a Star.45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and an Inter Arms Star nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol. She said that the safety feature functions on the SKS rifle had been converted to fire in fully automatic mode, rather than the semi-automatic mode, which was how it had been manufactured to function. She explained that several modifications had been made to the rifle’s trigger housing assembly, causing the weapon to fire continuously once the trigger was pulled. Agent Betts tested several cartridge cases recovered from the crime scene and determined that they had been fired from the SKS rifle. Additionally, she tested nine-millimeter cartridge cases recovered from the interior crime scene and determined that they had been fired from the Star nine-millimeter pistol. She examined bullet fragments recovered from David Gordon’s right thigh and determined that one had “conclusively been fired through the barrel of the SKS rifle.” Agent Betts further determined that some of the fragments recovered from Gordon’s right hip and abdomen had been fired through the barrel of the SKS rifle. She also examined nine-millimeter projectiles recovered from Jerry Hopper’s back and pelvis and determined they had been fired from the Star nine-millimeter pistol. Her examination of the nine-millimeter projectiles recovered from Renee Jordan’s leg and uterus revealed they had been fired from the Star nine-millimeter pistol. Agent Betts said that the nine-millimeter projectile recovered from Renee’s brain had “probably” been fired from the Star pistol. Fragments recovered from Renee’s liver and chest were conclusively identified to the SKS rifle. Agent Betts explained that the 7.62 rounds found in the bodies of Renee and David Gordon were hollow point bullets, meaning that as soon as they struck the skin they fragmented into numerous pieces. She examined the 7.62 magazine found inside Jordan’s truck and described it as “an SKS-type detachable magazine that would function in this SKS rifle, and it holds approximately 31 rounds.” Madison County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Chad Lowery testified that, shortly after Jordan was apprehended, he went to Jordan’s home to check on the welfare of any children who may have been at the home, but no children were present when he arrived. Sergeant Lowery discovered a loaded pistol on top of the refrigerator and saw several other weapons in the home. On the kitchen counter, Sergeant Lowery observed a handwritten note, which stated: “Renee got what she deserved. Bi+ch. I’m sorry. I love you. Thanks for being so good to me. Love you Shelby, Sydney, Deanna. Thanks, Mom and Dad. You did all you could.” On cross-examination, Sergeant Lowery acknowledged that, during Jordan’s apprehension, he “smelled alcohol, or what I thought to be alcohol” on Jordan.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 29, 2011 Pennsylvania Brian Steven Gregg, 46 Robert Flor stayed
Brian Steven Gregg, murder victimOn September 29, 2005, Robert Anthony Flor, 38, and his then-girlfriend, Patricia Kairis, had an argument at his grandmother’s home, to which police responded following a 911 call. Both Flor and Ms. Kairis had been drinking alcohol, and their argument stemmed at least partially from their recent loss of custody of their young daughter. Prior to the arrival of police, Flor got into his vehicle and drove away with Ms. Kairis in the passenger seat. As Flor was driving, he repeatedly struck Ms. Kairis, who unsuccessfully attempted to escape from the vehicle. Joseph Carcaci, an off-duty state trooper, stopped Flor’s car after he observed Flor driving erratically, recklessly, and at high speed while repeatedly assaulting his female passenger. Officer Brian Gregg, of the Newtown Borough Police Department, arrived on the scene to assist Trooper Carcaci shortly after the vehicle stop. The officers arrested Flor, handcuffed him, placed him in the back of a patrol car, and drove him to the police station. By this time, Officer James Joseph Warunek, also of the Newtown Borough Police Department, had arrived at the station to assist Officer Gregg. Detecting an odor of alcohol on Flor’s breath and believing that Flor had been driving under the influence of alcohol, Officers Gregg and Warunek transported Flor to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne for collection of blood and urine samples for testing. Flor was calm and cooperative, conversing with the officers and with the emergency room personnel. Officer Warunek then accompanied Flor to a lavatory in the emergency room in order to obtain his urine sample. After Flor gave Officer Warunek the urine sample, the officer started to re-handcuff Flor, at which time Flor suddenly grabbed the officer’s gun out of its holster and immediately shot Officer Warunek in the chest at close range. When Officer Gregg ran to assist, Flor shot him in the abdomen. Flor also shot Joseph Epp, an emergency medical technician on duty at the medical center. At some point during this initial gunfire, one of the bullets also struck Flor’s own hand. Flor then walked to the spot where Officer Gregg was lying wounded on the floor, and fired the gun twice at close range into the officer’s head. Finally, Flor returned to Officer Warunek, who was also lying on the floor, pointed the gun at the officer and pulled the trigger; however, by this time there were no more bullets in the gun. Flor ran from the scene, leaving a trail of blood, but shortly thereafter police found him lying in a vehicle parked in the hospital garage. They re-apprehended him and returned him to the emergency room for treatment of his hand injury. During his re-apprehension and medical treatment, Flor acted in a threatening, hostile, and verbally abusive manner toward hospital and law enforcement personnel, and he stated that he shot the officers, who, he said, "got what they f**ing deserved." Officer Gregg died almost immediately from massive brain injury caused by the gunshots to his head. Officer Warunek remained in the hospital for two days and subsequently underwent surgery to remove the bullet from his chest. Mr. Epp was unconscious for approximately two days, spent a total of six days in the hospital, experienced excruciating pain, and underwent five surgeries to repair extensive damage to his shoulder and collarbone. The Commonwealth filed a criminal complaint and then an amended complaint, charging Flor with murder in the first-degree as well as numerous other offenses, including two counts of attempted murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault and robbery, two counts of terroristic threats, ten counts of recklessly endangering another person, escape, former convict not to possess a firearm, simple assault, unlawful restraint, driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting arrest, and disarming a law enforcement officer. On December 1, 2005, the Commonwealth filed notice of intent to seek the death penalty, and the following day, Flor entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. On September 15, 2006, Flor filed a petition for evaluation of competency, alleging that he was suffering from a mental illness that rendered him unable to assist in his own defense. After a competency hearing on October 13, 2006, at which three expert witnesses testified for the defense and one expert witness testified for the Commonwealth, the court found Flor competent to stand trial, outlining in detail its reasons for the decision. On October 23, 2006, Flor withdrew his previously entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges and entered pleas of guilty to first-degree murder and of nolo contendre to thirty other counts. The court then conducted a lengthy penalty phase hearing before a jury on the murder conviction, following which, on November 17, 2006, the jury found four aggravating circumstances and no mitigating circumstances and accordingly returned a sentence of death. The aggravating circumstances that the jury found applicable were the following: the victim was a peace officer; the defendant committed the murder during the perpetration of a felony; while committing the offense, the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim; and the defendant had a significant history of violent felony convictions. The court imposed the death sentence, as well as a consecutive aggregate term of imprisonment of not less than sixty-five years nor more than one hundred and thirty years for the non-capital offenses. Officer Gregg had just started as a full-time officer with the Newton Borough Police Department after serving as a part-time officer with the four-person department for one year. He was survived by his wife Kella Ann and their four-year-old son Kyle.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
September 28, 2011 Florida Louis Pena Manuel Valle executed
Officer Louis Pena, murder victimOn April 2, 1978, Officer Louis Pena of the Coral Gables Police Department was on patrol when he stopped Manuel Valle and Felix Ruiz for running a red light. The car was stolen. The events that followed were witnessed by Officer Gary Spell, also of the Coral Gables Police Department. Officer Spell testified that when he arrived at the scene, Valle was sitting in the patrol car with Officer Pena. Shortly thereafter, Spell heard Pena use his radio to run a license check on the car Valle was driving. According to Spell, Valle then walked back to his car and reached into it, approached Officer Pena and fired a single shot at him, which resulted in his death. Valle also fired two shots at Spell and then fled. He was picked up two days later in Deerfield Beach. Valle provided a detailed confession of killing Officer Pena and shooting at Officer Spell. Following his jury trial, Valle was also found guilty of the attempted first-degree murder of Spell and after a non-jury trial, he was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Louis Pena had been on the police force for 12 years and was married with four children; a son and three daughters.

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