June 2012 Executions

Five killers were executed in June 2012. They had murdered at least 11 people.
Two killers were given a stay in June 2012. They have murdered at least 3 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 5, 2012 Mississippi Shunterica Lonnett Jackson, 2
Dominique Devro Jackson, 5
Andrew Odutola Kuyoro, Jr., 2
Antonio Terrell Jackson, 3
Henry Jackson executed
Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr. murdered four children, two of his nieces and two of his nephews, in an attempt to steal money kept in his mother’s safe in her home. On the evening of November 1, 1990, Jackson’s mother, Martha, and four of her older grandchildren went to church. Martha’s daughter, Regina Jackson, stayed home with her two daughters, five-year-old Dominique whom Jackson murdered that night, two-year-old Shunterica whom Jackson murdered, and four other of their nieces and nephews, three-year-old Antonio whom Jackson murdered and two-year-old Andrew whom Jackson murdered, and eleven-year-old Sarah and one-year-old Andrea who were severely injured during these murders but survived. While Regina and the children were at the house watching television, Jackson parked his car two blocks away, walked to the house, and cut the outside telephone line. He then knocked on the door and was allowed inside. While inside, he picked up the phone and indicated it was not working. Regina headed to a neighbor’s house to place a call to check the phone. Before going very far, Jackson told Sarah to call Regina back. Regina came back in and, followed by her daughter Shunterica, sought Jackson in the kitchen. Jackson told Regina to take Shunterica back into the television room. She did so and upon her return to the kitchen Jackson grabbed her from behind. With one hand around her neck and one around her waist, he walked her down the hall to the boys’ room. He asked for her paycheck. Regina told him she had no money. Jackson then asked for the combination to his mother’s safe. When Regina said she did not know it, he pulled out knives and shoved them into her throat and waist. Regina yelled for eleven-year old Sarah, who came running and jumped on Jackson’s back. The three struggled, during which Jackson told him that he had to kill them. Sarah begged him to just get the safe and leave. Meanwhile, the smaller children had followed Sarah down the hall, and Jackson called them into the room where they obediently remained. He then took Regina into an adjacent room and tried to open the footlocker where he believed the combination to the safe was kept. Jackson then began stabbing Sarah in the neck, then took Regina and Sarah into the boys’ room where he tried to tie them up. Regina, who had already been stabbed several times, picked up some iron rods that Jackson had brought in from the bathroom, and started hitting him with them. Jackson then went and picked up the baby, one-year old Andrea, and used her as a shield. Regina relinquished the rods and let him tie her up with a belt. He stabbed her again in the neck. While Regina watched, Jackson picked up her daughter, two-year old Shunterica, by the hair, stabbed her, killed her, and laid her on a bed. While Regina and Sarah were struggling to stay alive, Jackson started dragging the safe down the hall which awakened five-year old Dominique. Dominique came down the hall calling for her mother, at which time, as Regina testified, Jackson told Dominique that he loved her, but then stabbed her, killed her and threw her on the floor. After killing Dominique, Jackson walked over to Regina and again shoved a knife in her neck. Regina then pretended she was dead. Sarah tried to comfort her baby sister, Andrea, and told three-year old Antonio to run for help. Jackson called Antonio back. Regina had fainted by this time and Jackson was trying to wake her up. He then grabbed Sarah again and began stabbing her in the neck. After the knife broke off in her neck, he ran to the kitchen, retrieved another knife, stabbed her again and threw her on a bed. Sarah, too, then pretended she was dead. She heard Antonio yelling for help and saw Jackson kneeling over him. While Sarah did not actually see Jackson stabbing him, she testified that "I his hand moving when he was over him. I didn’t see but I knew he was doing something cause my little brother was hollering." She likewise did not witness the stabbing of two-year old Andrew, but when she saw him, "he was on the bottom of the bed and his eyes were bulging and his mouth was wide open." Sarah was able to jump from the bed and escape out the front door. She hid behind a tree across the street and watched as Jackson came outside, looked around, and went back inside. Upon Jackson’s last view of the room, Regina and Andrea appeared dead, and the four children, five-year-old Dominique, three-year-old Antonio, two-year-old Shunterica and two-year-old Andrew, were all dead. Shortly after the murders, Angelo Geens, Martha Jackson’s cousin and neighbor, returned to his home at about 8:30 pm. Sarah ran to him from where she had been hiding and told him that Regina and the others were in the house and that her uncle Jackson had killed them all. Geens carried her into his house and called the police and an ambulance. Deputy Sheriff J.B. Henry and Deputies Tindall, Berdin and Fondren arrived at the scene and discovered the bodies of the four children. Leflore County Coroner James R. Hankins pronounced the four children dead at the scene. From the house, the bodies of Shunterica, Dominique, Andrew, and Antonio were sent to the Deputy State Medical Examiner for forensic pathology examinations. Meanwhile, Jackson had become the subject of an extensive manhunt. While still at the Jackson residence, Deputy Sheriff Tindall received a call from the Highway Patrol regarding a wrecked car in Eupora just fifty yards from the site where the Eupora Police Department had been conducting a routine license check. The car, a 1977 green Monte Carlo, bore a license tag registered to Martha Jackson’s 1973 brown Ford station wagon. A wallet containing Jackson’s identification was found on the front console, and his own license tag as well as a long, dark trench coat were found in the trunk. Jackson had abandoned the car when he saw the roadblock and took off a foot. Eluding police, Jackson jumped a train from Eupora to West Point. On Monday morning, November 5, 1990, Jackson turned himself in to the West Point Police Department. Jackson gave a statement to Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks, who had been summoned to West Point. Jackson stated that, knowing his mother would be at church, he had gone to her house to get the safe because he needed more money to pay his bills. He had brought a kitchen knife with him that was in the car and when he heard someone in the house, went around the back to cut the telephone line. After stabbing Regina and the children, he tried to move the safe and to find a second safe she had mentioned. Noticing lights at the house across the street, he then climbed out the bathroom window and fled to his car. Dr. Steven Hayne, who performed autopsies on the children, testified that Shunterica suffered three stab wounds to the neck and two shoulder abrasions. Her jugular vein was severed, leading Dr. Hayne to opine that she ultimately bled to death. Andrew sustained three stab wounds to the neck. The first cut through the carotid artery and the jugular vein. Another missed the trachea, but went into his backbone and severed the spinal cord. Dr. Hayne opined that such an injury "would require a considerable amount of strength" and noted the presence of a pinpoint hemorrhage caused by force on the child’s neck. Dominique, too, died of multiple stab wounds to the neck. Three of the four stab wounds cut her jugular vein and trachea. Antonio suffered four stab wounds and two slash wounds which cut through his trachea. Dr. Hayne determined, however, that Antonio died from a stab wound that cut through his heart. Sarah underwent surgery for five serious stab wounds to her abdomen, chest and neck, including a lacerated windpipe. Regina suffered five stab wounds to her neck. One-year-old Andrea suffered a single penetrating stab wound to her neck which caused a tracheal injury and severely damaged her spinal cord. As a result, she is unable to walk and has no fine motor control in her arms. On March 12, 1991, Jackson was indicted on four counts of capital murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of armed robbery by a grand jury of the Leflore County Circuit Court. Under counts one through four, Jackson was charged with the deaths of two-year-old Shunterica, five-year-old Dominique, three-year-old Antonio and two-year-old Andrew. In each count, Jackson was charged with killing while engaged in the commission of the crime of felonious abuse and/or battery of a child. Counts five and six charged Jackson with the armed robbery of Regina Jackson and with "unlawfully, wilfully, feloniously and purposely caus[ing] bodily injury to Regina Jackson, a human being, by stabbing said Regina Jackson with a deadly weapon, to wit: a knife." Jackson was likewise was charged with the stabbing of Sarah. Jackson was arraigned on April 29, 1991, and entered pleas of not guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. Trial was set for August 26, 1991. During voir dire, Jackson’s attorney and the court questioned the jurors regarding their exposure to the media coverage of the murders, especially during the days immediately before the trial. Based on the responses, the court advised Jackson’s attorney that if he sought a change of venue it would be considered. On August 29, 1991, the court entered an order changing venue to Copiah County and setting the trial for September 9, 1991. The Copiah County jury found Jackson guilty on all seven counts 8 and sentenced him to death on each of the four capital murder counts. On direct appeal the state appeals court affirmed Jackson’s conviction and sentence.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 6, 2012 Texas Michelle Wendy Haupt, 26 Bobby Hines stayed
On October 19, 1991, Mary Ann Linch went to the apartment of her friend Michelle Wendy Haupt in Carrollton, Texas, to spend the weekend. Mary Ann brought with her a Marlboro cigarette carton in which only four packs remained. She had purchased the cigarettes at Brookshires’ in Corsicana and the carton contained a stamp showing "Brookshires’ Store" on the side. Mary Ann left the carton at Michelle’s apartment when they left that evening to go to a nightclub. Mary Ann had intended to return to Michelle’s, but instead spent the night with another friend. Mary Ann testified that when they went to the club, Michelle was wearing a gold sand-dollar charm necklace which she always wore. During the evening, Michelle became ill and another friend drove her back to her apartment. When he left, he testified that Michelle locked the door behind him. Meanwhile, at Michelle’s apartment complex, Bobbie Lee Hines appeared uninvited at a party. When the hostess asked him who he was, he identified himself as the brother of the apartment manager. He told another guest that he was part of the maintenance crew at the complex. He pulled out a ring of keys and stated that he could get into any apartment that he wanted to at any time. At about 6 a.m. on October 20, 1991, Michelle’s next-door neighbor heard a woman screaming. He could not determine the source of the screams, but his wife called the police. Two police officers were dispatched to the scene, but the screaming had ended before they arrived. After inspecting the premises, the officers could not determine where the screams had come from and they eventually left. Two other residents in the apartment directly below Michelle’s also heard screaming loud enough to awaken them. One of the residents testified that he also heard other loud noises that sounded "like a bowling ball being dropped on Michelle’s floor." He heard this noise at least 20 times. The screaming lasted for approximately 15 minutes. The resident of an adjacent downstairs apartment also heard the screaming. Just before noon that morning, she and the other residents discussed what they had heard and became concerned for Michelle. Eventually, the apartment leasing manager was persuaded to check Michelle’s apartment. After knocking and receiving no answer, the manager opened the door and saw Michelle lying on the floor just inside the door. A stereo cord was tightly wrapped around her neck, her face was black, and she appeared to be dead. Michelle was found dressed in only a robe and lying face up on the floor. There were puncture wounds to her chest area. The robe was stained with blood, but it had no holes to correspond with the puncture wounds to Michelle’s body, indicating the robe was placed on her body after the wounds were inflicted. Further, the belt to the robe was tied tighter than a person would normally tie it against her own body. An object appearing to be an ice pick was found on the nearby couch. Hines’ palm print was found inside Michelle’s apartment in what appeared to be blood, and his thumbprint was found on the inside of the front door. Later that same day, Hines was found to be in possession of Michelle’s gold sand-dollar charm. He had blood on some of his clothing and some other objects from Michelle’s apartment, including the Brookshires’ cigarette carton, were found under the couch where he had been sleeping. When Hines was arrested, he had a scratch under his right eye, scratches to the left side of his neck, and a scratch on his cheek. DNA testing conducted on a bloodstain found on Hines’ underwear indicated that the blood was consistent with Michelle’s blood. The Dallas County Chief Medical Examiner testified that the cause of Michelle’s death was strangulation and puncture wounds. Michelle had abrasions to her neck and jaw, contusions on her neck, and a fractured hyoid bone from being strangled. She had about 18 puncture wounds. She had rectal tears with hemorrhaging. Barnard testified that the puncture wounds could have been made by the object found on the couch in Michelle’s apartment. Hines had a string of juvenile convictions. He was arrested for car theft in 1984 at the age of twelve for which he received a year of juvenile probation. His probation was revoked and he was confined for three months in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). In 1986 he received ten years of juvenile probation for burglary of a building, which was revoked in 1990. He was then confined in TYC for nine months. In February 1986, Hines was placed on juvenile probation for getting into a school fight, and was committed to TYC for assault. He was confined for 6 months and placed on probation, which he violated in 1987. His probation was revoked and he was confined for another 6 months in TYC. In January 1989, Hines was committed to TYC for attacking an elderly lady and burglarizing a church. In June 1990, Hines received a 10-year prison sentence for a count each of burglary of a habitation and burglary of a building. Under a "shock probation" policy, Hines was sent to prison for 83 days, then released on 10-years probation. Michelle Haupt was murdered one year later. UPDATE: In February of 1999, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals denied a habeas corpus appeal from a Dallas County death row inmate convicted of strangling a 26-year-old woman in 1991. The court upheld the death penalty against Bobby Lee Hines who said in his appeal that the autopsy photos used in court were not only irrelevant but "inflammatory and prejudicial" because of their gruesome nature. The pictures used in court included close-up color photos and nudity. The judges decided that since the photos were not enhanced in any way and the nudity did not detract from the wounds, the trial court had not "abused discretion to admit any of the exhibits." Bodily fluids found on a robe the victim was wearing were identified as belonging to Hines. In his appeal, he asked that the DNA be retested. The court denied his request. Hines came within two days of execution in 2003 before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped the punishment so he could pursue claims he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under Supreme Court guidelines. His appeal before the 5th Circuit was intended to challenge the findings of lower courts that since then have ruled he’s not mentally impaired. The appeals panel said there’s no indication to show the findings were unreasonable and cited a state court opinion that found “broad and consistent evidence that Hines lied frequently and well when his self-interest demanded it.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2012 Ohio Latife Awkal
Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz
Abdul Awkal stayed
On January 7, 1992, Abdul Hamin Awkal shot and killed his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and his brother-in-law, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, at the Family Conciliation Services Department of the Cuyahoga Domestic Relations Court. Awkal was captured in the courthouse basement not far from where the shooting took place. Awkal arrived in the United States from Lebanon about 1984, when he was twenty-four. He lived with family members in Detroit, Michigan, and worked as a dishwasher and gas station attendant. In 1985, Awkal suffered a mental breakdown at the gas station after he believed he had been accused of theft by his employer. He became hysterical, cursing and breaking things, vomited and then collapsed. He was taken to Detroit Medical Center in a straitjacket. Awkal was apparently released into his brother’s custody later that same day, but disregarded instructions to follow up with a psychiatrist. Later, Awkal began working at a General Motors factory in Michigan. He was eventually transferred to the Chevrolet plant in Parma, Ohio. He had difficulty sleeping during this period, and was prescribed medication to help him sleep. Awkal’s family arranged for him to meet his wife, Latife, after his arrival in Cleveland. This type of arranged marriage was common in his Islamic faith. Awkal’s need for sleeping pills diminished after he met his wife. Awkal and Latife were married under Islamic law in March 1989 and under Ohio law in April 1989. Later in 1989, Awkal went to Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital complaining of numbness down his side. Although Awkal was again told to talk to a psychiatrist, he never did so. Awkal and Latife had a daughter, Zaynab, born in September 1990. On their honeymoon, Latife told Awkal she did not love him, but that she understood that love would follow. He unsuccessfully attempted to improve their relationship by opening a bank account for her, teaching her to drive, encouraging her to attend school, and helping her parents with various household tasks. Latife and her brothers felt that Awkal was not a good Muslim. Awkal did not spend sufficient time in daily prayer and he enjoyed music and celebrating Christian holidays, such as Christmas. Latife and her brothers did not listen to music, or celebrate Christian holidays, and prayed five or six times a day. Latife’s brother, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, tried to teach Awkal the tenets of their family’s Islamic faith, but Awkal viewed Mahmoud’s actions as interference with his freedom, and believed that he was harassed and threatened by Mahmoud because of his religious beliefs. Awkal’s marital life was dissolving. Latife spent many nights away from Awkal and eventually asked for an Islamic divorce. According to Awkal, a Muslim husband may divorce his wife merely by telling her, "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you." Awkal granted her request on October 13, 1991, but then Latife agreed to remarry him under Islamic law. Latife felt that she had been shamed and that her baby had been made illegitimate by the divorce. On October 16, 1991, Latife found out that she had contracted a venereal disease from Awkal. The next day, Latife moved out of the marital home, moved in with Mahmoud, and started divorce proceedings. A divorce complaint and motions for spousal support, child support, visitation and restraining orders were filed in October 1991. Latife talked of returning to Lebanon with the baby. Awkal was hurt by his family problems and sought counseling, but declined medication. Awkal had counseling sessions four times in November 1991, because he was depressed and suicidal. These feelings were brought on by the divorce and Awkal’s belief that Latife’s brothers and their religion had interfered with his life and his marriage. Awkal’s psychological records reflect that he was very angry with Latife and her brothers because of the divorce. On November 8, 1991, Awkal bought a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, allegedly to defend himself from Latife’s brothers. The evening of that same day and the morning of the next, Awkal called Latife and her brother, Omar Abdul-Aziz, threatening to kill her and her entire family if the divorce was not dismissed. Latife reported the call to her divorce attorney, who sent a letter to Awkal’s attorney regarding the threats. Awkal attended hearings in his divorce case on December 10, 17, and 19, 1991, without incident. During this period, Awkal and Latife agreed to a child visitation schedule and temporary child and spousal support. At Latife’s insistence, the visitation order prohibited Awkal from participating in any Christmas-related activities with the baby during his visitation. Awkal also agreed that the family checking accounts, containing approximately $4,800, which had been frozen by the domestic relations court, were to be equally divided between Latife and Awkal. A meeting was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on January 7, 1992, at the Family Conciliation Services Department, Room 52, located in the basement of the old Cleveland courthouse. Latife came early to the meeting with her brother, Mahmoud, and her baby. They waited in the hall outside for Awkal to arrive. Awkal arrived at the courthouse parking garage at 1:48 p.m. from Michigan, where he had spent the weekend with relatives. On his person were copies of the baby’s medical records, which had been checked out from the treating HMO over a month earlier, and numerous childcare supplies, including diapers, baby food, and clothing. Prior to the meeting, Awkal wrote a check to his brother for nearly the entire contents of the frozen checking accounts, and changed his address at the post office to his brother’s house in Michigan. Awkal confronted Mahmoud and Latife in the hallway at approximately 2:00 p.m. No harsh words or raised voices were heard from the hall before the shooting. However, "panicky" voices were heard immediately before the three entered Room 52. Awkal chased Latife and Mahmoud into the room, where he shot his wife and her brother at close range. Five shell casings were found inside the room; one shell casing was found in the hall outside the room. Awkal then picked up the baby from the bench outside the room and walked quickly through the basement halls of the courthouse with her in his arms. Several armed deputies confronted Awkal in the hallway. Awkal pointed his gun at his head and then at his daughter’s head, threatening to kill her and then himself. Awkal vowed that nobody was going to take his baby. When a deputy tried to grab Awkal’s gun, Awkal backed further down the hall with the baby. While proceeding down the hall, Awkal was confronted by another deputy, who attempted to disarm Awkal. Awkal evaded this attempt, but was shot in the back while trying to escape. When Awkal was taken into custody, his pistol was cocked, ready to fire, and contained six live rounds (one in the chamber; five in the magazine). Awkal also had another magazine containing thirteen rounds of live ammunition in his coat pocket. The bullets retrieved from Mahmoud’s body and from Room 52 were fired from Awkal’s gun. At the hospital the next day, Awkal, after being advised of his Miranda rights, told police that he had confronted Mahmoud in the hallway and demanded that Mahmoud "profess that Allah was the only God." When Mahmoud did not do so, Awkal shot the victims. Awkal stated that he thought that he had shot himself. Awkal was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder with prior calculation and design, including the multiple-murder death penalty specification. He was also indicted on two counts of felonious assault, including a firearm specification. Awkal pled "not guilty" and "not guilty by reason of insanity" to the charges against him. While awaiting evaluation by a court-appointed psychiatrist to determine whether he was sane and competent to stand trial, Awkal reportedly had hallucinations involving his wife, who spoke to him and told him to join her. Two psychiatrists had examined Awkal at the county jail and found him to be depressed and angry. Awkal was prescribed anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs. These drugs did not stop him from having the hallucinations, and he was prescribed different anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications. Awkal was found sane at the time of the murders in the preliminary sanity report. However, the severity of his depression rendered him incapable of aiding with his defense, and the trial court found Awkal not competent to stand trial. He was ordered to the Dayton Mental Health Center, Forensic Unit, for treatment and further evaluation. During his stay in Dayton, Awkal continued to receive anti-psychotic medication, but at greater levels. He was also placed on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. On September 3, 1992, the trial court found Awkal competent to stand trial, but returned him to Dayton for further treatment until the trial started. In October 1992, a jury was impaneled. During the trial, defense counsel complained to the court that Awkal’s condition had deteriorated and suggested that a new competency evaluation be undertaken. The trial court refused to have Awkal reevaluated, but stated that it would watch Awkal closely to see that he was paying attention to the trial and helping with his own defense. After the state closed its case in chief, the trial court dismissed one of the felonious assault charges. Several witnesses testified on Awkal’s behalf during the guilt phase. Dr. Paul E. Hewitt, a psychologist, was called to give an opinion on the issue of prior calculation and design. However, when the court learned that Dr. Hewitt was not a licensed psychologist in Ohio, his testimony was stricken from the record. Dr. Magdi S. Rizk, the psychiatrist who conducted Awkal’s pretrial sanity and competency evaluations, testified that Awkal was sane at the time of the murders. Finally, Dr. Eileen S. McGee, a psychiatrist awaiting board certification, testified that Awkal was insane at the time of the shooting, that he did not know what he did was wrong, and that Latife and Mahmoud had provoked the incident. Awkal testified on his own behalf. He stated that Mahmoud and Latife’s other brothers were religious fanatics, and had harassed him and interfered in his life. Awkal testified that he purchased the gun to protect himself from Latife’s brothers, who had threatened him and, on one occasion, forced him to kneel down before them, swearing allegiance to their religious sect. He denied threatening Latife or her brother. Awkal stated that on the morning in question he met Latife in the hallway of the courthouse, and asked her to come back to him. She refused, and he went back to his car to get his gun, intending to kill himself in front of Latife to make her regret her decision to divorce him. When Awkal returned he asked Latife if he could hug his daughter one last time. Latife agreed, but Mahmoud confronted Awkal, stating that the baby was not Awkal’s, and that Awkal would never see her again. Awkal testified that Mahmoud’s face "turned into that of a monster" and that the walls then collapsed. The next thing Awkal knew, he awoke in the hospital. On rebuttal, the prosecution presented Dr. Edward Dutton, a forensic psychiatrist, who testified that Awkal was malingering, that he understood what he had done was wrong, and that he had acted out of anger. The jury found Awkal guilty as charged on the aggravated murder charges, but not guilty on the remaining felonious assault charge. Several witnesses, including Drs. Paul Hewitt, Eileen McGee, and Salah Samy, testified on Awkal’s behalf during the penalty phase. Dr. Hewitt testified that Awkal’s problems were part of a life-long anxiety problem, and believed that Mahmoud’s threats and religious fanaticism were extremely strong provocation and had facilitated the shooting. Dr. Hewitt believed that Awkal’s reaction was spontaneous and that he did not have the ability to conform his conduct to the requirements of Ohio law when he committed the murders. Dr. McGee testified that the religious interference of Mahmoud and his brothers was a strong provoking force in the murders. Dr. McGee also testified that Awkal’s reaction was triggered by Mahmoud’s provocation, and that Awkal did not have the ability to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law of Ohio when the murders occurred. Dr. Samy, Awkal’s treating psychiatrist in Dayton, testified that Awkal was not malingering, and that he lost his judgment and control and awareness of what he was doing just prior to the murders. Dr. Samy testified that Awkal was not sane at the time of the murders. Dr. Samy also believed that Latife and Mahmoud facilitated the incident. Awkal gave an unsworn statement, in which he explained his childhood situation, his religious problems with his brothers-in-law, and how these religious problems caused his marital problems. He also talked about how after Mahmoud’s face became that of a monster, the walls collapsed down upon him. The next thing Awkal knew, he woke up in the hospital. The prosecution rebutted this testimony with Dr. Edward Dutton, who believed that Awkal was malingering. The jury found Awkal guilty of the aggravated murder charges and recommended death. The trial court agreed and imposed the death penalty. The court of appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. UPDATE: Awkal’s execution date was stayed pending Akwal being "restored to compentency."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2012 Idaho Danette Elg Richard Leavitt executed
Danette Elg, murder victimIn the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho, on July 17, 1984, the victim of this brutal crime, Danette Elg, was viciously attacked in her own bedroom by a knife-wielding assailant. The relentless and merciless assault took place on her waterbed and with such implacable force that the bed itself was punctured and torn, while Danette sustained up to fifteen separate cuts, stabs and slashes as she fought for her life. One thrust caused the knife to enter her right lung, another the right side of her heart, still another her left lung, and others penetrated her stomach, her chest cavity, and her neck. One even went through her eye and into her brain. Another exceedingly peculiar and unique wound inflicted during this attack was a cut made by the attacker through which he then removed her sexual organs. He did that in a manner that showed that he had some knowledge of female anatomy, for it was done in a manner that is difficult to accomplish. Leavitt and Danette Elg were both residents of the city of Blackfoot and knew each other. On the night of July 16, Danette had been severely frightened and shaken when a prowler tried to enter her home. She called the emergency 911 number and the police came. She advised them that the prowler, thought to be Leavitt, had tried to enter her home. During the incident the intruder had cut a window screen on the victim’s home. Police then searched the area and the town but failed to find Leavitt. During the interim between the murder and its discovery, Leavitt had contacted friends of Danette Elg and also the police, expressing curiosity as to Danette’s whereabouts. He claimed that Danette’s coworkers and her employer had called him after she failed to appear at work. No such callers were ever located. After the murder and before the body was discovered, the Blackfoot police received two telephone calls stating facts thought to be capable of being only known to the murderer. The caller gave the name "Mike Jenkins" but no person by the name has ever been located. The prosecution asserts that logically Leavitt was the only person who could have made the calls because of his detailed knowledge. On July 21 Leavitt obtained permission from Danette’s parents to enter the home which had been locked and apparently unattended. With the help of the Blackfoot police, entry was made into the house and Danette’s body was discovered. Unfortunately, because Danette’s body was not found for three or four days following the killing, this caused the destruction of some evidentiary markers. It is clear that the murder took place on Danette’s waterbed which was punctured and torn by the attacker’s knife. The combination of the body decomposition, together with the mixture of body fluids and the waterbed liquid, made impossible any determination of rape as a motive for the killing. The evidence pointing to Leavitt as the murderer was largely circumstantial in nature. Leavitt sustained a serious incise wound to his left index finger, and on the night of July 18, 1984, he was treated for that wound at the emergency room of the Bingham Memorial Hospital. Blood samples were gathered from the scene of the crime, and serology tests showed that two distinct blood types were present. Danette’s blood was type A, and tests of the blood samples from the crime scene reveal that type O blood had been found along with that of Danette’s type A blood. The blood of sixteen suspects was tested and it was the serologist’s opinion that Leavitt was the only likely source of the type O blood. Leavitt initially denied that his blood could be in Danette’s bedroom, but during trial changed his story to admit he had been in Danette’s bedroom and suffered a nosebleed, but contended the incident had happened one week prior to the murder. It also supposedly explained how his blood was elsewhere in her room — on the walls and at the window, and even on her underclothes — he wiped his nose on them — as well as on shorts that she had worn between the date of the “nosebleed” and the date of her death. No explanation could be offered as to how his blood became mixed with that of Danette. Leavitt asserted that he had cut his finger while in his own home attempting to upright a toppled fan. Laboratory tests of the Leavitt fan concluded that it lacked any blood residue or any indication it had been recently cleaned, and furthermore tests conducted with the fan were unable to duplicate the type of wound on Leavitt’s finger. That "fan explanation" was abandoned by Leavitt for the first time at trial wherein he admitted that he and his wife had perjured themselves and stated that the injury in fact had been sustained while he was attempting to prevent his wife from attempting suicide. While confined in jail, Leavitt wrote a letter to his wife containing specific instructions involving her future testimony. That letter was discovered and confiscated during a routine inspection of the jail. At trial the court ruled that the letter had been properly seized and it was used for impeachment purposes during the testimony of Leavitt’s wife, and further used to impeach Leavitt’s testimony as inconsistent statements. At trial two witnesses testified to events offered to show Leavitt’s alleged morbid sexual curiosity, and his frequent possession and use of knives. Leavitt’s former wife testified that she had seen Leavitt excising and then playing with the female sexual organs of a deer when he was unaware she was watching. It was noted that Danette Elg’s murderer had similarly mutilated her body by removing her sexual organs during the fatal attack. The former mistress of Leavitt testified that Leavitt displayed a hunting knife prior to their engaging in sexual intercourse, suggesting that Leavitt used knives to increase his satisfaction during sexual intercourse. Within a few days of Danette’s murder, Leavit contacted a friend who was an ambulance attendant and asked how long it would take a body to start smelling. The jury found him guilty, and an Idaho judge sentenced him to death. In 1989, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the guilty verdict but sent the case back to the trial court for resentencing. In 1990, Leavitt was again sentenced to death. UPDATE: She was called "Nettie" by her family and close friends. Danette Elg worked at the Idaho National Laboratory after graduating from Blackfoot High School in 1971 and Idaho State University in 1983. Her leisure pursuits were all centered around the outdoors – camping and hiking, swiming, skiing, jogging and photography. Notes from the police file at the time of the investigation said, “Danette was carefree, adventurous and to some degree restless. Danette didn’t want to get married and have children. She didn’t want the stereotype life.” According to former employers, Danette was a dedicated worker and enjoyed odd jobs that included chimney sweeping and fixing up the houses she lived in. Danette Elg’s family issued a statement after the execution of Richard Leavitt, who was convicted of her brutal murder more than two decades ago. "We want to express thanks to everyone who has labored faithfully to uphold the laws of Idaho so that justice and retribution may be served. Closure is now possible for those of us who have lived with the horror of Danette’s murder constantly overshadowing the joyful memories of her life. As family and friends of Danette we never have to think of Richard Leavitt again. Our memories can now focus on the brief time she was here sharing our lives and the joy of loving her."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2012 Mississippi Martha Jane Jayco Craft, 47
Barbara Faye Craft Brawner, 23
Candice Paige Brawner, 3
Carl Albert Craft, 47
Jan Brawner executed
In December 1997, Jan Michael Brawner married Barbara Craft, and in March 1998, their daughter, Paige, was born. Brawner and Barbara divorced in March 2001, she was awarded custody of Paige, and they lived with Barbara’s parents, Carl and Jane Craft, at their home in Tate County. Brawner also lived with the Crafts off and on during his marriage to Barbara. At the time of the murders, Brawner was living with his girlfriend June Fillyaw, in an apartment in Southaven. Barbara was an assistant school teacher at Como Elementary School where her mother Jane was a teacher. Carl was an auto body tech. According to Brawner, they were having financial difficulties, and on top of that, he had also been told by Barbara that she did not want him around Paige. He testified that pressure on him was building because nothing was going right. On April 24, 2001, the day before the murders, Brawner left his apartment in Southaven at 3:00 a.m. and headed toward the Crafts’ house, about an hour away. He testified that he thought he might be able to borrow money from Carl, although in a prior statement he said he had planned to rob Carl. While waiting on the Craft’s front steps from approximately 4:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., he took a 7-mm Ruger rifle out of Carl’s truck and emptied the bullets from it, because “he didn’t want to get shot.” A dog started barking, and Brawner hid until Carl went back inside, then ran away, thinking Carl might be getting a gun. He then drove back to his apartment. Around noon the following day, April 25, 2001, Brawner again drove to the Crafts’ house, and knocked on the door, but no one was home. He then put on rubber gloves that he had purchased earlier that day, “took the slats out of the back door,” entered the house, and took a.22 rifle. He then went to Carl’s workplace and asked him if it would be OK to go out to the house to wait for Barbara and Paige so that he could see his daughter, to which Carl agreed. Since Barbara and Paige did not return, Brawner decided to leave, and as he was doing so, Barbara, Paige, and Jane pulled into the drive. After a brief conversation with Jane and Barbara, Brawner became agitated and went to the truck and brought back the rifle that he had taken from the Crafts’ house earlier that day. Just as he told Barbara that she was not going to take Paige away from him, he saw Jane walking toward the bedroom and shot her with the rifle. He said he then shot Barbara as she was coming toward him, and went to where Jane had fallen and “put her out of her misery.” After this, he shot Barbara again and took Paige, who had witnessed the murders, to her bedroom and told her to watch TV. After Brawner determined that Paige would be able to identify him, and in his words, he “was just bent on killing,” he went back into the bedroom and shot his daughter twice, killing her. He then waited in the house until Carl came home from work, and when Carl walked through the door, Brawner shot and killed him. Brawner stole approximately $300 from Carl’s wallet, Jane’s wedding ring, and food stamps out of Barbara’s purse. He took Windex from the kitchen and attempted to wipe away any fingerprints he may have left. Brawner then returned to his apartment in Southaven, where he gave the stolen wedding ring to Fillyaw, asked her to marry him, and told her that he bought the ring at a pawn shop. Brawner was suspected of the murders and detained by the police. While he was being held at the Tate County jail, Brawner admitted to the shootings in a statement made to the Chief Deputy of the Tate County Sheriff’s Department. Brawner also testified on his own behalf at trial and gave essentially the same account of the events as described above. UPDATE: In his final statement, Jan Brawner said he wished to apologize to the victims’ family, adding he could not change what he had done. "Maybe this will bring you a little peace. Thank you." Kathy Jaco Sigler, Jane Craft’s sister, issued a statement after the execution. "Man has a choice of good and evil. Michael chose evil while my family chose good. God’s peace prevails over this evil because we know in our hearts that my sister and her family dwell in heaven with the Lord."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 20, 2012 Mississippi Jeffrey Wolfe Gary Simmons executed
The murder occurred in Gary Carl Simmons’s house early in the morning of August 13, 1996. Jeffrey Wolfe had traveled with his companion, Charlene Leaser, from Houston to Mississippi in order to collect a drug-related debt from Simmons and Timothy Milano, Simmons’s ex-brother-in-law. Wolfe and Leaser arrived at Simmons’s house late in the evening after Simmons asked Sonny Milano, Timothy’s brother, to call Wolfe and ask him to come to the house. Shortly after, Timothy Milano arrived as well. While Simmons and Leaser went into the kitchen to smoke a joint of marijuana, Leaser heard several shots.   She saw Wolfe fall to the floor and saw Timothy standing behind him with a gun. Simmons immediately seized Leaser, told her not to look, and brought her into a bedroom where he lay down on top of her.   He then questioned her about why they were there, whether she had any drugs, and who knew that they were there. After he finished questioning her, he tied up her hands and feet and placed her in a large metal box. After Simmons left the room, Leaser managed to free herself from the rope and was attempting to knock the lid off the box. Simmons returned at that point, stripped her of her clothes and jewelry, retied her, and placed her back in the box. When Simmons returned again, he raped her, then retied her and placed her back in the box. Later, after hearing nobody answer the ringing phone, Leaser surmised that nobody else was in the house and managed to force the lid off of the box. She then ran across the street to a neighbor, who called the police. Although Leaser’s suitcases were still inside Simmons’s house when she reentered with the police, her money was gone. Shortly after police arrived on the scene and secured a search warrant, they noticed a small boat docked on the bayou behind Simmons’s house, and in it, a piece of flesh. They also discovered several buckets, a bushhook, and a knife, all of which had blood on them. Shortly after this discovery, they began collecting body parts from the bayou, a task that took several days. Testimony from trial established that officers and coroner’s office officials collected eighty-five pounds of human remains on the first day and forty-one pounds on the second day. Several portions of the body had bullet holes, and Dr. Paul McGarry testified that the body parts had been cut sharply and precisely and the bones separated from flesh.   Ultimately, the body parts collected were identified as Wolfe’s. At trial, Simmons’s co-worker in the meat department of the grocer where they both worked testified that Simmons had taken his butcher’s knives home with him on the evening of the murder, which he found unusual. During both a pre-trial suppression hearing and during the trial, Lee Merrill, an investigator with the Moss Point Police Department who was involved with removing Wolfe’s remains from the bayou, testified about the bayou and his collection of the body parts. He testified that although he began finding body parts twenty to thirty feet from where the boat was located, he ultimately found body parts as far as 150 yards away.   He further noted that the bayou was approximately eight to nine feet wide and four feet deep, and contained fish and crabs, and that he had seen an alligator once during his time there. He also stated, and the Mississippi Supreme Court later found as fact, that the bayou had a current and ran into a tributary that itself eventually flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Simmons’s neighbor and friend Rita Taylor also testified at trial about the bayou, which she referred to as the “canal,” and the surrounding area. She stated that their neighborhood was “somewhat rural,” and that she had seen alligators in the bayou. Taylor noted that Simmons would “play around with them,” and on one occasion she saw him shoot at one a few times. At trial, Simmons’s friend Dennis Guess also provided crucial testimony. He described returning from work on August 14, the day after the murder, to find Simmons in his house. Guess testified that Simmons told him that he had “whacked a drug dealer” and then had “deboned him, cut him up in little pieces, and put him in the bayou.” Guess noted that Simmons was disappointed because Wolfe only had one thousand dollars on his person, but that Simmons was hoping that he would have much more. After confiding to Guess that he felt his only options were to run, commit suicide, or turn himself in, they decided that Simmons would turn himself in. Simmons then called a Jackson County deputy who picked him up. One issue of contention during the trial and sentencing was a videotape Simmons recorded for his ex-wife, Lori, and his two daughters on the morning of the murder before turning himself in. In the videotape, he expressed remorse without ever referring directly to Wolfe’s murder. He made, among others, the following statements: "I guess it’s a real mess, isn’t it? It wasn’t supposed to go like that. Things got pressing in. I was in a bind three or four different ways. To my way of thinking, I didn’t have much of a choice. I mean, I’d already taken his money. There’s no excuses. It’s hard sitting here doing this, knowing under what conditions you’ll probably be watching it. I’m so dreadfully sorry. I didn’t think about it until after it was done. And then it couldn’t be undone. There was nothing in the world I could do to make it undone. And I would have. Oh, God, I would have. You never realize how close you are to the edge until you actually step over it. I don’t know how it happened, I really don’t. And after it had happened, I would have gave anything to take it back, even my life." After Simmons sent the videotape to Lori, she turned it over to Simmons’s attorneys. At trial, the State moved to compel Simmons to turn over the videotape, and the court granted the motion. Simmons attempted to introduce the videotape during both the guilt and sentencing phases of the trial, but the court ruled it inadmissible. After a trial that lasted most of one week, the jury found Simmons guilty of capital murder, kidnapping, and rape. Simmons received life sentences for the kidnapping and rape, and the trial proceeded to the sentencing phase for capital murder. The court instructed the jury that in order to return the death penalty, it must first find that Simmons either (1) killed Wolfe; (2) attempted to kill Wolfe; (3) intended that the killing of Wolfe take place; or (4) contemplated that lethal force would be employed. If it found one of the four, it must then decide whether one or both of the two aggravating circumstances the State had submitted applied, and if so, weigh the aggravating and mitigating circumstances. The court submitted the following two aggravating circumstances to consider: (1) Simmons “knowingly created a great risk of death to many people”; and (2) “the capital offense was committed for pecuniary gain during the course of a robbery.” During the sentencing hearing, the State called no witnesses and did not make an opening statement other than to introduce forty-six exhibits from trial, including the tools used to dismember Wolfe. Simmons called six mitigation witnesses, including his ex-wife, his half-brother, and his half-sister. The witnesses generally testified that he was a “family man” who cared deeply for his daughters and often worked several jobs at a time to provide for his family. Further, they noted that the crimes Simmons was charged with were totally out of character for him. Simmons’s step-brother also testified that Simmons had a difficult childhood, and that Simmons’s step-father beat him almost every day and beat their mother. The jury returned a verdict of death for Simmons.  
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 27, 2012 Arizona Estafana Holmes, 59 Samuel Lopez executed
On October 29, 1986, Samuel Villegas Lopez broke into the apartment of 59-year-old Estafana Holmes. Lopez raped, beat, and stabbed Estafana. Overturned and broken furnishings in the blood-splattered apartment indicated that a tremendous struggle took place prior to the murder. Her body was found nude from the waist down. A lace scarf had been crammed tightly into Estafana’s mouth, and she had been blindfolded with her pajama pants. An autopsy revealed that her throat had been slashed, and she had been stabbed twenty-three times in her left breast and upper chest and three times in her abdomen and her throat was cut. Seminal fluid was found in both her vagina and anus. When the officers arrived at Estafana’s residence, the apartment’s condition evinced that a bloody battle had raged throughout every room in the apartment. Blood was splattered throughout the apartment and there were blood drops on the bathroom and kitchen floors. A concentration of blood drops in the kitchen, as well as the stream of dried blood down the victim’s body and onto her bloodstained feet, indicated she stood for some time while being stabbed. Estafana had three lacerations on her scalp and a stab wound to the left cheek. These injuries, although not fatal, caused a considerable amount of bleeding. Lopez’s body fluids matched the seminal fluids found in Estafana’s body.

Page visited times since 4/7/12

Page last updated 12/06/12