November 2012 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 6, 2012 Oklahoma Lawanna Gail Titsworth, 24 Garry Allen executed
Gail Titsworth, murder victimGarry Thomas Allen shot and killed his girlfriend, Lawanna Gail Titsworth on November 21, 1986, three days after she moved out with their sons, six-year-old Anthony and two-year-old Adrian. Angry confrontations punctuated those three days, as Allen tried repeatedly to persuade Gail to come back to him. Their last argument occurred when Gail came to pick up their sons at Beulah’s Day Care Center in Oklahoma City. Allen confronted Gail inside the center, and the two moved to an empty room to argue. Allen left just ahead of Gail and the boys. When Gail opened the door of her truck, Allen came up behind her and shut it. She opened it again; again he shut it. This argument ended when Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a.38 caliber snub-nosed revolver, and shot Gail Titsworth twice in the chest. After she was shot, Gail began begging Allen not to shoot her again and then fell to the ground. Allen asked Gail if she was alright. He then lifted up her blouse, apparently attempting to figure out the extent of her injuries. She fell, and he looked under her blouse before walking away. At the time of the shooting, some of the daycare employees were in the parking lot and several of the children were in a van parked a few feet from Gail’s truck. A day care employee ran to Gail to help her into the day care center. Just as she and Gail Titsworth reached the front door, Allen shoved the other woman inside and pushed Gail down on the outside steps. Allen then shot her two more times in the back at close range and walked away. He was captured in an alley less than a block away by the police officer who responded to the 911 call. Officer Mike Taylor of the Oklahoma City Police Department was on patrol in the area and responded to the 911 call within minutes of the shooting. As Officer Taylor was nearing the daycare center, a witness to the shooting directed him to an alley where Allen was apparently hiding. Officer Taylor spotted Allen as he drove into the alley. Officer Taylor drew his service revolver and ordered Allen to stop and remain still. Allen initially complied with Officer Taylor’s order but then began walking away. Officer Taylor followed Allen and reached out to place his hand on him. Allen quickly turned around and grabbed Officer Taylor’s gun. A struggle ensued, during which Allen obtained partial control of Officer Taylor’s gun. Allen attempted to make Officer Taylor shoot himself by applying pressure to Taylor’s finger which was still on the trigger. Ultimately, Officer Taylor regained control of the gun and shot Allen in the face. Allen was rushed to the hospital where a CT scan revealed an air pocket in the front part of his brain and cerebral spinal fluid leaking from his nose and ear. Allen remained in the hospital approximately two months for treatment for injuries to his face, left eye, and brain. As a result of the gunshot wound, Allen lost his left eye and suffered permanent brain damage. UPDATE: Gail Titsworth’s sister-in-law, Susan Titsworth, issued a statement after the execution on behalf of the family. "Our beloved Gail, daughter, sister and mother of two young boys, was taken from our family tragically and senselessly due to domestic violence," the statement said. "For over 25 years, we have waited for justice to be served and for this sentence to be carried out. We are thankful to close the book on this chapter today but we will never stop grieving the loss of Gail."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 8, 2012 Texas Lola Nixon, 44 Mario Swain executed
Lola Nixon, murder victimLola Nixon, the victim, lived in a house on Iris Circle in Longview, Texas. Lola made plans to have dinner with friends on the evening of December 27, 2002, but never arrived at the restaurant. Neighbor Ashley Dulweber noticed a truck parked outside a vacant house on their street at around 9:00 p.m. that evening and reported it to police. A police officer who was dispatched to Iris Circle noted the license plate number of the truck and left about forty minutes later after seeing no unusual activity. Lola Nixon’s friends contacted the police when they were unable to locate her on December 28. When the police arrived at Lola’s house, Lola was gone and there was evidence of forced entry and blood throughout the house. The police checked the license plate number of the truck that had been parked on Iris Circle the previous night. They contacted the registered owner, who told them that his grandson, Swain, had possession of the truck. Swain was not home when the police first attempted to contact him at his residence, but he called Detective Terry Davis about thirty minutes later. Davis told Swain that he wanted to talk to him, and Swain gave him the address of the residential treatment home where he was working as an after-hours house sitter. Davis and Detective Jim Nelson went to Swain’s place of employment that evening and asked him why his truck had been on the victim’s street the night before. He first stated that he parked the truck on Iris Circle while he went riding around with a friend. Davis responded that he did not believe him, and then Swain changed his story. He stated that he and a man named Casey Porter broke into a house on that street, that Porter beat the female homeowner who arrived home in the middle of the burglary, and that they placed her in the trunk of her black BMW, drove her to a remote location in southern Gregg County near the airport, and left her there alive. He then signed a consent form authorizing a search of his truck and agreed to show the detectives where he and Porter left the victim. They got into Davis’ car, where Davis read Swain his Miranda warnings. Swain then directed the detectives to an area off Highway 349 near the airport. Lola was not there, but they found blood on the grass and a black trash bag and a piece of a tire jack on the ground. Davis took Swain to the Longview Police Department, where he again read Swain his Miranda warnings and took his first written statement shortly after midnight. Swain stated that Porter beat a woman when they were burglarizing her home and that they left her at a secluded area "near Jerry Lucy Road and Farm-to-Market 349." Davis obtained a warrant to arrest Swain for burglary of a habitation at around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Police also arrested and questioned Porter, but released him when they verified his alibi. At 6:30 a.m. on December 29, Davis read Swain his warnings and took his second written statement, in which he said that Brian Mason Woods beat a woman while they were burglarizing her home, and that "she was alive when [they] left her off Highway 349." The police then contacted Woods and excluded him as a suspect after confirming his alibi. Woods testified that Swain came to his house on the morning of December 28, told him that he had robbed a woman, and gave him some jewelry that he took during the robbery. Swain also used credit cards that he took during the robbery to withdraw cash and fill Woods’ car with gas. Swain was charged with burglary of a habitation and was taken before a magistrate for his statutory warnings at 10:30 a.m., at which time he requested the appointment of counsel. He was then taken to the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office, where he was questioned by Detective Monty Gage and Mike Augustine, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office. He left the office with Gage and Augustine and directed them to Lola’s body, which was located in an abandoned vehicle within a mile of where Swain first led the police. Lola had been beaten over the head and stabbed in the chest. The medical examiner testified that "[t]he cause of death was homicidal violence, including sharp force injuries, blunt force injuries, and probable strangulation." Swain was taken back to the Longview Police Department, where Davis again read him his rights and took his third written statement at 1:00 p.m. In this statement, he admitted that he alone burglarized the victim’s home, hit her in the head with a tire tool, attempted to clean her up in the bathroom, and placed her in the trunk of her black BMW. He drove her to a secluded area and placed her in an abandoned car, believing that she was still alive when he left. He then returned to the victim’s house, attempted to clean up the scene, and left on foot. He later disposed of the tire tool in a dumpster at a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant, used the victim’s credit cards for gas and money, and gave Woods some jewelry. Police found the tire tool in a dumpster located across the parking lot from CiCi’s Pizza. Police also searched Swain’s truck and found black jeans, tennis shoes, and batting gloves stained with Lola’s blood, as well as keys to Lola’s car and her garage door opener.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 13, 2012 Ohio Winda Snipes, 46 Brett Hartmann executed
Winda Snipes, murder victimBrett Hartmann met Winda Snipes at a bar in Akron, Ohio, sometime during 1997. Subsequently, they engaged in sexual intercourse on several occasions. During the late afternoon of September 9, 1997, Hartmann went to Wanda’s apartment and brutally murdered her by tying her to the bed, stabbing her one hundred thirty-eight times, slitting her throat, and cutting off her hands. Around 2:20 a.m. on September 9, 1997, Hartmann met Wanda at the Bucket Shop, an Akron bar. Hartmann kissed Wanda on the cheek and they talked. Thereafter, Hartmann and Wanda left the bar and they went to her apartment across the street. Around 3:00 a.m., David Morris, an acquaintance of Hartmann and Wanda, left the Inn Between, another Akron bar. While walking past Wanda’s apartment on his way home, Morris observed Wanda and Hartmann through the upstairs window of her apartment. Morris testified that Wanda was yelling at Hartmann about touching stuff that was not his. Hartmann closed the window blinds and “obviously she wasn’t very happy about it” because she “scolded” him and reopened the blinds. That afternoon, at around 4:30 p.m., Wanda was observed crossing a street in a nearby business district. She was never seen alive again. Hartmann had the day off from work on September 9. According to Richard Russell, a bartender at the Inn Between, Hartmann entered the bar at around 8:00 p.m. and appeared nervous and hyper, and talked excessively. Thereafter, Hartmann was in and out of the bar five to six times between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. Hartmann first contacted the police on September 9 with a series of anonymous 911 calls, which he later admitted to. His first 911 call at 9:59 p.m. reported the location of a mutilated body. The police officers dispatched to Wanda’s address entered Wanda’s apartment building and checked around, but left after finding nothing unusual. Meanwhile, Hartmann viewed the police unit’s arrival and departure while hiding behind a tree across the street. Hartmann then made another 911 call telling the police to return to the apartment building and provided further instructions on the body’s location. Akron police officers responding to this call entered Wanda’s unlocked apartment and found her naked, mutilated body lying on the bedroom floor. Wanda’s leg was draped across the bed, a pair of pantyhose tied her ankle to the bed leg, and a white plastic chair was on top of her body. Wanda’s hands were cut off and have never been found. Around 10:45 p.m., Hartmann was at the Inn Between with Morris, while police units were across the street investigating Wanda’s murder. Morris, having learned that Wanda had been murdered, suggested to Hartmann that he should talk to the police, since Morris had observed Hartmann at Wanda’s apartment the previous evening. Shortly before midnight, Hartmann approached Detective Gregory Harrison while he was at a mobile crime lab parked outside Wanda’s apartment.   Hartmann walked up to Harrison and said, “I hear it’s pretty bad in there,” and asked if Harrison had “ever seen anything so gruesome.” Later that evening, Hartmann approached Harrison a second time and spontaneously mentioned that Wanda was a whore, “that she slept around a lot,” and that “he had slept with her * * * and he had even slept with her the night before at 3:00.”   In their final contact at around 3:00 a.m., Hartmann was “kind of mumbling to himself” and Harrison heard Hartmann say that “she was a whore, she was a big whore, she got what she deserved.” Between 11:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m., Hartmann also approached Akron Police Lt. John A. Lawson near the murder scene and, “rather abruptly said, ‘You’re going to find my semen in her and my prints over there.’ ” When Lawson asked why, Hartmann said he “had been with her earlier that morning, the morning of the 9th,” and that he had had sex with her. At 12:15 a.m. on September 10, Hartmann spoke to Detective Joseph Urbank in front of the apartment building. Hartmann began their conversation by announcing that “he had sex with the victim the night before.” Moreover, Hartmann said he did not know her name but “only knew her as psycho bitch and that everybody knew that if you got drunk and were horny you went to go see her, you went to go see psycho bitch.” Hartmann also told Urbank that he went to Wanda’s apartment at 2:30 a.m. on September 9, and “she started dancing a little bit.” He “lifted her onto the bed, undressed her,” and “they started having vaginal intercourse.” Hartmann said that he was disappointed because Wanda refused to have anal intercourse, and he left her apartment around 3:30 a.m. However, Hartmann claimed that he did not know anything about the murder until the bartender at the Inn Between told him about it on the evening of September 9. Around 6:00 a.m. on September 10, police took Hartmann to the Akron police station, where he was interviewed by Lawson and Urbank. During his interview, Hartmann denied making the 911 calls, and denied hiding behind a tree across from Wanda’s apartment. Then, Hartmann changed a part of his story and admitted hiding behind a tree near the murder scene. Following the September 10 police interview, the police searched Hartmann’s apartment with his consent. The police seized Hartmann’s bloody tee-shirt from underneath the headboard of his bed, a pair of his jeans, and his boots. Police found a knife on his dresser and Wanda’s wristwatch on Hartmann’s bed stand. Police took Hartmann to the police station after the search of his apartment. While awaiting transfer to the Summit County Jail, Hartmann approached Detective John R. Gilbride and blurted out, “I was the one that called the police” and “I’m the one that found the body.” Hartmann told Gilbride he had been sexually involved with Wanda since February 1997, and had sexual intercourse with Wanda during the early morning hours of September 9. Hartmann stated that “after having sex the psycho bitch threw him out of the apartment stating that her boyfriend was coming over.” He left around 3:30 a.m. and returned to his own apartment. According to Gilbride, Hartmann said that he slept until 6:00 p.m. on September 9, and then took the bus to the Inn Between bar around 7:30 p.m. Gilbride testified that while going into the Inn Between bar, Hartmann noticed a light on in Wanda’s apartment and decided to visit her. According to Gilbride, Hartmann gained entry to the apartment through an unlocked door and claimed that he found her dead body in her bedroom. Hartmann said that he unsuccessfully tried to pick her body off the floor, noticed that her hands had been cut off, and “freaked out.” Thinking “I’m going to get busted for this,” Hartmann washed her blood off his hands and clothes, tried wiping down everything he touched, removed evidence linking him to her apartment, and went home. Wanda was stabbed one hundred thirty-eight times. Bruising on her ankles indicated that she was alive when she was tied to the bed. Additionally, sperm was found in her vagina and anus. The medical examiner concluded that Wanda had died from strangulation and a slit throat either in the late afternoon or early evening of September 9. Police found Hartmann’s bloody fingerprint on the leg of the white chair draped over Wanda’s body, and police found another of Hartmann’s fingerprints on Wanda’s bedspread. An expert witness testified that the long linear blood patterns found on Hartmann’s tee-shirt and Wanda’s bedspread were applied by a long-bladed knife. Further, the blood patterns found on Hartmann’s tee-shirt were applied while the tee-shirt was lying flat, and not while Hartmann was wearing it. At trial, the prosecution introduced a set of Hartmann’s knives, including a meat cleaver, a knife, and a knife sharpener that Hartmann kept at the Quaker Square Hilton, where he worked as a chef. Christopher Hoffman, a Hilton co-worker, testified that he talked to Hartmann in August 1997 about the O.J. Simpson trial. According to Hoffman, Hartmann said that Simpson could have disposed of evidence against him by cutting off the victim’s hands and eliminating “fibers and hair and skin that might be found on the fingernails.” Bryan Tyson, a fellow inmate at the Summit County Jail, testified that during a jailhouse conversation, Hartmann admitted that he had killed Wanda. According to Tyson, Hartmann said that “he pushed himself on her, something in his mind snapped, she was hitting him, he lost his temper, did things he regretted, killed her.” Then, Hartmann said that he had “tried to make it look like a burglary,” admitted cutting off Wanda’s hands, and mentioned a hacksaw, and jokingly said “ ‘Don’t leave home without it,’ like the credit card commercial.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 14, 2012 Texas Sarah Beth Gonzales, 13
Priscilla Almares,12
Rosa Maria Rosado, 37
Ramon Hernandez executed
Rosa Rosado, murder victimPriscilla Almares, murder victimSarah Beth Gonzales, murder victimRamon Hernandez was classified as a sex offender in 1991 after admitting in court to breaking into a house intending to commit sexual assault. Hewas indicted on one count encompassing several crimes, including killing Rosa Rosado (a) as part of a common scheme or course of conduct along with killing two middle school girls in 1994, (b) in the course of an aggravated sexual assault, (c) in the course kidnapping her, and (d) in the course of robbing her. Relating to the common-scheme aspect of the one-count indictment, two middle school girls, cousins Sarah Gonzales and Priscilla Almares, were abducted in San Antonio a week before Christmas, in December 1994. They were walking to a friend’s holiday party. The next day, their bodies were found in the brush by a road. Both had been sexually assaulted and asphyxiated. An anal swab of Gonzales found sperm, but a vaginal slide found none. DNA testing could not match the sperm at the time, but a 2001 test showed Hernandez’s DNA was a match. Relating to the remaining parts of the indictment, Rosado disappeared in San Antonio in March 2001. The facts are in dispute, but according to Hernandez’s confession, while driving with his pregnant girlfriend, Abel Abdygapparova, Hernandez, and fellow parolee Santos Minjarez saw Rosado at a bus stop in the same area of town where the young girls were kidnapped years earlier. Minjarez tried to grab Rosa’s purse, and when she resisted, he pulled her into the car and covered her head, and Hernandez drove away. They stopped at Hernandez’s house to get tape to bind Rosa, gagged her, and went to a motel, where she was raped and killed. Her body was cleaned using bleach and a douche. Abdygapparova was sent to get a shovel, which was used to bury the body. Hernandez and Abdygapparova took Rosado’s possessions and items used to cover her and burned them or dispersed them by tossing them from the car as they drove after her death. Two crucial statements were made to police. Abdygapparova provided a written statement of the abduction, robbery, sexual assault, and murder of Rosado. She also led police to the body, the motel where the events occurred, and the car she had sold after using it in the crime. Although Hernandez initially denied participating and asked for an attorney, thus ending his first interrogation, the next day he asked to speak to the detectives again. He gave a statement confessing to participation in the crime but saying it was Minjarez who had raped and killed Rosado. A jury found Hernandez guilty of the crimes charged in the indictment, and he received a sentence of death. Minjarez was also sentenced to death and died on death row in January 2012 of septic shock and multiple organ failure. Abdygapparova received a life sentence in the crime and gave birth in jail. Her sentence was overturned in 2007 and she remains in the county jail awaiting a new trial. UPDATE: Family members of Priscilla and Rosado also witnessed the execution. Standing up to the glass, Priscilla’s sister Brenda Ayala had tears in her eyes as Hernandez spoke his last words.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 15, 2012 Texas La Shandra Charles, 15
Marcell Taylor, 3
Preston Hughes executed
At Hughes’s 1989 trial, the State presented evidence that Preston Hughes stabbed both of the victims, La Shandra Charles, 15 and Marcell Taylor, 3, in the neck and chest, severing their aortas and jugular veins. When the police arrived at the scene, La Shandra Charles was still alive. She told a police officer that a man named “Preston” had stabbed her after trying to rape her. The police officers went to an apartment complex near the vacant field in which the victims were found. The manager of the complex gave them a list of tenants. The only tenant named “Preston” was Preston Hughes. The police officers went to Hughes’s apartment around 2:30 a.m. He agreed to accompany the officers to the police station, where he later gave two written statements in which he admitted that he had stabbed both of the victims. In the first statement , Hughes said that he had been carrying a knife with him because some people had been talking about trying to kill him. He said that, as he was walking home through the vacant field, someone came up behind him and touched him on the shoulder. He said he turned and “just started sticking with the knife.” It was dark, and he could not tell who was there, but after he “stuck the first two times,” he saw that it was La Shandra Charles (Hughes called her “Shawn”). He said, “I was “f***ed up and I just got scared and kept sticking.” In the second statement , Hughes said “Shawn” did not come up behind him and tap him on the shoulder, as he had said in his first statement. Instead, he said that he saw her walking with a little boy. He said that when they met in the middle of the trail through the field, she told him that she was on her way to his apartment to borrow his contact lenses. When he told her that she was not going to wear his contacts, he said that she kissed him, and then started rubbing his crotch. He described in detail the events that occurred next. Suffice it to report that he said heavy sexual activity followed, which became unsatisfactory to Hughes. When “Shawn” demanded money, he refused. She threatened to accuse him of rape and when she hit him, he pulled his knife and began stabbing her. The little boy with “Shawn” looked up at him and started crying. When the boy ran between Hughes and “Shawn,” Hughes stabbed him several times. While in jail, Hughes made incriminating statements during phone calls to multiple people, including his probation officer. At the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, Hughes took the stand in his own defense. He denied that he killed the victims, claimed that he was framed by the police, and testified that he confessed to the crimes only because the police officers struck him and threatened him, causing him to fear for his life. The jury found him guilty of capital murder. At the punishment phase, the State called Tracy H. She testified that Hughes had raped her in 1985, when she was thirteen years old. She testified further that Hughes had threatened her with a gun in an attempt to prevent her from testifying against him about the rape. The State also presented evidence that, at the time of the murders, Hughes was serving two ten-year probated terms for the aggravated sexual assault and aggravated assault of Tracy H. Hughes had also been charged with the first degree sexual assault of a 1g-year-old girl in New York state but the charge was dropped after the victim failed to appear in court. Evidence examined for DNA testing after his conviction and at his request found traces of Shandra Charles’ blood on Hughes’ clothing. Hughes claimed police took the blood evidence from the crime scene, planted it in his apartment, illegally searched his apartment, coerced his confessions and copied his signature to them from another document.

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