July 2012 Executions

One killer was executed in July 2012. They had murdered at least 1 people.
One killers were given a stay in July 2012. They have murdered at least 2 people.
One killer was granted clemency in July 2012. He has murdered at least 1 person.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 18, 2012 Texas Joseph Franklin Meziere, 23 Yokamon Hearn executed
Frank Meziere, murder victimFrank Meziere had watched a Dallas Mavericks basketball game at a restaurant with a friend and before heading home decided to stop at a self-service car wash to clean his black Mustang convertible. The 23-year-old Plano stockbroker, a 1996 Texas A&M University graduate, never made it home. His body was found the next day, March 26, 1998, along the side of a road in an industrial area of Oak Cliff, an area of south Dallas. Evidence admitted at trial established that on March 25, 1998, then 19-year-old Yokamon Laneal Hearn and three others drove to North Dallas for the expressed purpose of making some money. The group carried with them two shotguns, a.22 caliber pistol, and a Tec-9 automatic. At about 10:30 p.m. the group observed Frank Meziere preparing to wash his 1994 Mustang in a coin-operated car wash. Hearn devised a plan to steal the car and instructed his accomplices how to proceed. Hearn and his companions abducted Frank Meziere at gunpoint and drove him to a secluded location where Hearn used the Tec-9 to shoot Meziere in the face. Meziere died as the result of twelve close-range gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. The assailants then took Frank’s wallet and personal items. Hearn then drove away in Meziere’s Mustang in search of a “chop shop” for stolen cars. A city electrician discovered Meziere’s body in a patch of grass in a roadside field around 6:00 am the next morning. Two hours later a patrol officer discovered Meziere’s abandoned Mustang in a shopping center parking lot. Hearn and his companions were caught on videotape by a security camera at a convenience store adjacent to the car wash. Hearn and Delvin Diles were arrested several days later when police acted on a tip they received. Meziere’s father said at the time, "I just hope justice can be done as soon as possible. I’ve always been in favor of the death penalty, and I stand by that now." Dallas County criminal records showed Diles had received 5 years of probation the previous summer after pleading guilty to a felony burglary charge; Hearn had been charged with misdemeanor theft, a case which was still pending at the time of Frank’s murder. Physical evidence linked both Hearn and Diles to the car. Diles, 19 at the time, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to consecutive life terms for Meziere’s death and an unrelated aggravated robbery. Teresa Shirley, then 19, and Dwight Burley, then 20, were arrested more than 8 months later. Each pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and received 10-year prison sentences. At Hearn’s trial, Shirley testified that she was the driver of the second car. She said that Meziere had his arms raised and appeared to be begging for his life as Hearn swung a Tec-9 semiautomatic rifle back and forth. The rifle, Shirley testified, had been stolen in an apartment burglary the previous day. Hearn fired at Meziere and kept shooting him even after he fell to the ground. Diles also shot at the victim several times with his revolver, she testified. Shirley further testified that Hearn later bragged about the killing. She said he waved around a newspaper account stating that Meziere had been shot in the head – or "domed" in street slang, and he told her, "I told you I domed him. I told you. I told you." At age 19, Hearn had no prior felony convictions. Testimony at his punishment hearing indicated that he had an unadjudicated history of burglary, robbery, sexual assault, and other offenses. A jury convicted Hearn of capital murder in December 1998 and sentenced him to death. UPDATE: Frank Meziere’s father, brother and uncle were among those who witnessed Hearn’s lethal injection. “We did not come today to view this execution for revenge or to even the score,” the family said afterward in a statement. “What this does is give our family and friends the knowledge that Mr. Hearn will not have the opportunity to hurt anyone else.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 23, 2012 Georgia Unnamed female victim
Joseph Handspike
Warren Hill stayed
In 1990, Warren Lee Hill and the victim were both serving time at the Lee Correctional Institute. Hill was serving a life sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend by shooting her numerous times with a 9-millimeter handgun. Early in the morning of August 17, 1990, as Joseph Handspike slept, Hill removed a 2"x6" board that served as a sink leg in the prison bathroom and forcefully beat Handspike numerous times about the head and chest as onlooking prisoner pleaded with him to stop. A correctional officer, hearing the noise, rushed to Hill’s cell, where he observed Hill bludgeoning Joseph Handspike as he lay in his bed. By the time the officer called for assistance and returned to the cell, the victim was mortally wounded. Hill surrendered his weapon but the victim was already dying. Handspike arrived at the hospital in a coma and died there. Several prisoners testified that Hill mocked the victim as he beat him. interviews and records indicated that Hill was intellectually slow, suffered fevers and convulsions as a child, suffered from seizures or drug-induced delirium several times in his later life, was kidnapped and possibly molested as a child, was physically abused by his mother as a child, worked and provided money to his family from the age of twelve into his adulthood, advanced quickly in the Navy, becoming a nuclear weapons loader, and suffered a precipitous personal decline upon breaking up with his girlfriend, which resulted eventually in his murdering her in public. Hill’s father was an alcoholic, was abusive to Hill’s mother, and was extremely neglectful of Hill and his siblings’ emotional and physical needs. The trial court authorized funds for all of this investigative work and for psychological testing of Hill, which focused on his family and medical history, his intellectual slowness, and his perception that Mr. Handspike had a sexual interest in him, all of which were testified to by Hill’s psychological expert at trial.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
July 26, 2012 Ohio Ihsan Aydah John Eley commuted
During the early afternoon of August 26, 1986, John J. Eley was visiting Melvin Green at the home of Green’s girlfriend in Youngstown. According to Eley, he and Green were just sitting around when Green suggested that they go down to the "Arab store." Eley and Green left the house and proceeded down a path through the woods leading to the Sinjil Market. Along the way, Green showed Eley a "Black Snub nose gun," and told Eley he "was going to take the Arab off." Since the proprietor of the store, Ihsan Aydah, knew Green’s face, Eley agreed to go in alone and rob the store while Green waited outside. Eley entered the store and told Aydah to put his hands up and to turn and face the wall. Green had told Eley that Aydah had a gun under the store counter, so when Aydah lowered his hands and went under the counter, Eley fired a shot. Eley claimed that he aimed at Aydah’s shoulder. However, the shot hit Aydah on the right side of his head, approximately four inches above the earlobe. Aydah died the next day of shock and hemorrhage due to a gunshot wound to the head. Just before Eley fired the gun, Green entered the store. After the shot, Green ran behind the counter and got into the cash register. He took Aydah’s wallet while Aydah lay wounded on the floor. As the two left the store, Green gave Eley a brown paper bag with the money and wallet. According to Eley, they went up the street, "got to the path and run up the woods." Several days after the murder, Eley was arrested by Youngstown police at the residence of his cousin’s girlfriend, Carlotta Skinner. After his arrest, Eley told police that he and Green had split the money taken in the robbery, which was around $700. However, Eley later gave the money back to Green "because he said it was all on him and he had to get out." After being arrested, in his voluntary statement Eley admitted that he and Green had robbed the Sinjil Market, and that he shot Aydah. The arresting officer testified that Eley did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the interview and was "very calm" and "passive." The grand jury indicted Eley on one count of aggravated murder with a specification that the murder was committed during, or immediately after, the commission of an aggravated robbery and that Eley was the principal offender. This count also carried a firearm specification. In addition, Eley was indicted on one count of aggravated robbery and one count of conspiracy. Each count carried a firearm specification. In May 1987, Eley waived his right to a jury trial and opted for a trial before a three-judge panel. Eley pled not guilty to the charges against him, thereby withdrawing a prior plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Trial was held before a three-judge panel on May 11-12, 1987, but the defense chose not to present any evidence. The panel found Eley guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, the felony-murder capital specification, and two of the three firearm specifications, but not guilty of conspiracy. During the mitigation hearing, several family members testified on Eley’s behalf. Eley’s mother, Cecilia Joseph, divorced Eley’s father when Eley was seven or eight years old, and stated that Eley had "not much" of a relationship with his father. Joseph testified that on Christmas night 1964, her second husband had been drinking and began choking her and her daughter. At that time, Eley stabbed the second husband with a knife in order to stop him. Joseph testified that Eley dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, but later entered the Job Corps and learned to be a welder. Eley sent money home to his mother during this time, and gave her money to help her finish paying for nursing school. Joseph stated that while Eley has had problems with drugs and alcohol, he is a better person when he is not under the influence. She characterized Eley as "church oriented," and believed he had been "born again." Eley’s sister, Susan Laury, testified that Eley had helped the family financially while he was in the Job Corps, and that Eley is normally a "quiet, sweet, gentle person that wouldn’t hurt anybody." Dr. Douglas Darnall, a clinical psychologist, found Eley to be of borderline intelligence, and ranked him in the twelfth percentile on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test. According to Darnall, Eley has a history of chronic alcohol and polysubstance abuse, but exhibited "no evidence of psychosis or major defective disorder." In addition, Darnall testified that Eley understands the difference between right and wrong. Darnall found Eley to be remorseful, but Eley never mentioned that he felt remorse for the victim. However, two police officers who witnessed Eley’s confession testified that Eley was remorseful before he made that statement. Eley made a short unsworn statement at the mitigation phase that consisted of several biblical quotations from the Book of Romans. After deliberation, the panel unanimously found that the aggravating circumstance outweighed the mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt, and sentenced Eley to death. Upon appeal, the court of appeals affirmed the convictions and sentence of death. UPDATE: Ohio Governor John Kasich commuted Eley’s death sentence to life without parole.

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