December 2013 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 3, 2013 Texas Susan Louise Carpenter Canfield , 59 Jerry Martin pending
Susan Canfield, murder victimOn September 24, 2007, Jerry Duane Martin was an inmate incarcerated for a felony offense at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wynne Unit located in Huntsville. He and fellow inmate John Falk were assigned to the same work squad that morning to hoe and aerate the onion patch. The Wynne Unit onion patch is outside the main perimeter fence of the prison and adjacent to the City of Huntsville Service Center. The Service Center was, at that time, separated from prison property by only a chain-link fence in some portions and a barbed-wire fence in others. Four squads had been turned out to work that day, each consisting of twenty inmates with a single armed guard on horseback. Each guard carried a.357 revolver with six bullets. An armed supervising sergeant accompanied the squads in the fields. Finally, a "high rider" also patrolled the squads. The high rider was another guard on horseback who patrolled outside the prison fence on Service Center property and acted as the "last line of defense" in the event of an escape attempt. The high rider carried a.357 revolver with six bullets and a.223 rifle with four rounds. The high rider that day was Officer Susan Canfield, an experienced rider and guard. Martin was part of squad number five, which was assigned to work in the portion of the onion field closest to the Service Center. Officer Joe Jeffcoat oversaw Martin’s squad. Falk was assigned to the row in their squad’s section farthest from the fence, and Martin voluntarily took the row next to him. Jeffcoat testified that Martin and Falk were friends and that they usually worked together. He also noted that he had never had any problems with the pair before that day. After the squads had been working for a while, Martin approached Jeffcoat asked him to hold his watch because it had broken. Jeffcoat agreed. When Martin got about 20 feet from him, Jeffcoat heard something to his left; he turned to see Falk walking towards him from the other side. When he turned back towards Martin, Martin was already at Jeffcoat’s side reaching for his.357 revolver. Martin and Jeffcoat began struggling over the gun, and Jeffcoat yelled for help. Falk then started shoving Jeffcoat out of his saddle. Martin was able to get the gun as Jeffcoat came off his horse on top of him. Jeffcoat began to wrestle with Martin, but Falk came around and Martin tossed the gun to him. Jeffcoat let go of Martin and started after Falk, but Falk pointed the gun at him. At this time, Jeffcoat heard his superior, Field Sergeant Larry Grissom, yell to get down, so he did. Martin and Falk then fled through the barbed-wire fence and onto Service Center property. Grissom and the other guards focused on apprehending Falk because Falk had the gun. Martin ran off in another direction. Grissom fired twice at Falk, but Falk ran behind some equipment. Guards from two of the other squads also fired shots at Falk but to no avail. At this point, the high rider, Canfield, engaged in a gun fight with Falk. Canfield advanced on Falk while firing at him with her revolver. When Canfield expended her bullets, Falk ran at her as she was trying to remove her rifle from its scabbard. The two engaged in a struggle for the weapon while Canfield attempted to turn her horse away from Falk. However, once Falk jabbed his stolen revolver in her ribs, Canfield ceased struggling and Falk took the rifle. Falk then backed away. Meanwhile, during the gunfight, Martin ran to a truck parked outside the Service Center sign shop. Larry Horstman of the City of Huntsville sign shop testified that the truck was a one-ton, flat-bed pick-up truck with toolboxes on the side. He stated that he always parked the truck about 10 feet from the sign shop door and left the keys in it. Jeffcoat testified that he saw the truck parked in the same spot every time he was working in the onion field. Martin got into the truck and sped straight towards Canfield. Horstman testified that he heard his truck take off "real fast." Other witnesses testified that the truck was "floorboarded," "going as fast as it could go," "being revved at high rpms," leaving acceleration marks as it hit Canfield and her horse just after Falk backed away. Canfield and the horse went up onto the hood of the truck. Canfield’s back and shoulders hit the windshield and her head struck the roof. Canfield was then launched into the air and came down on her head, shoulder, and neck. There was no evidence Martin tried to brake before hitting Canfield or that the truck slid into her and her horse; however, he did turn toward the Service Center exit while, or immediately after, striking her with the truck. Witnesses also testified that there was enough room in the Service Center lot that Martin could have avoided hitting Canfield. After striking Canfield and her horse, Martin stopped the truck and Falk ran to the passenger side and got in. Jeffcoat testified that they then "took off as fast as the truck could go." Jay Miller, a fire hydrant technician with the Service Center, saw Martin take the truck and managed to follow it as it left the Service Center lot. Miller called 9-1-1 and remained on the phone during the chase. Miller testified that at one point the truck’s passenger sat up in the windowsill of the truck and pointed a rifle at him. Miller further testified that the passenger fired at him, but his vehicle was not hit. Miller continued to chase them on and off the highway until the truck pulled into a parking lot and the inmates got out and ran into some nearby woods. Miller parked his vehicle to block the road and then chased the inmates on foot to see if they were going to come out on the other side of a fence at the bank next door. The police arrived at this time and Miller directed them towards the bank. Walker County Deputy Brian Smallwood arrived at the bank to see Martin and Falk run to a red truck that was in the drive-thru lane. Falk entered through the driver’s door and shoved the female driver over. Martin, who now had the rifle, jumped into the bed of the truck. Huntsville Police Sergeant Ron Cleere also observed this and got out of his vehicle with his gun drawn, but the inmates drove off before he could attempt to stop them. Cleere fired at the truck’s tires seven times hitting one of them, but the truck did not stop. Both Smallwood and Cleere pursued the red truck. Falk drove the truck onto the interstate but exited after only 3/4 of a mile. He pulled onto a grassy field next to some woods because the right front tire was shredded. Smallwood pulled his car into a ditch 50 yards away from the red truck. Martin stood up in the bed of the truck and pointed the rifle at Smallwood. Smallwood heard a shot as he opened his door. Smallwood fired at Martin as Martin ran into the woods. Cleere arrived and fired at Martin as well. Falk got out of the truck and also ran for the woods. Cleere saw Martin again on the edge of the woods, using the base of a tree to steady the rifle. Cleere went to retrieve his own rifle from his car, but when he returned he did not see Martin. Martin then stood up and Cleere fired at him with his rifle, but Martin got away. When other officers arrived, they set up a perimeter around the wooded area. The owner of the truck was unharmed. Huntsville Police Lieutenant Daryl Slaven apprehended Falk behind the Walmart on the other side of the wooded area. When Falk heard the police car, he stopped and put his hands in the air. The authorities searched for Martin in the wooded area on horseback and using dogs. The rifle was found lying in the woods with three rounds still in it. After approximately two hours, Martin’s boots and some clothing were found hidden in the dirt of a creek bed. Martin was eventually discovered hiding in a tree wearing only his underwear. Dallas County Medical Examiner Tracy Dyer testified that Canfield died from a significant impact that caused an unsurvivable hinge fracture to her skull which went from ear to ear. Viewing photos of the damage to truck, Dyer opined that it would have taken a "significant amount of velocity" for Canfield’s body to have caused the dent at top of the windshield. She noted that Canfield also sustained a depressed skull fracture as well as external injuries including bruising and lacerations to her head, hands, arms, trunk, and legs. Veterinarian Richard Posey testified that Canfield’s horse had extensive injuries from a bullet wound, plus trauma to its left hip, scrapes on its hips and hock, and a swollen joint on its front leg from the impact. The horse had to be put down. Officer Canfield had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for seven years. She is survived by her husband Charles, two daughters Kara and Christina, her son Christepher, two grandchildren, her mother, and three siblings.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 3, 2013 Florida Sydney Gans
Lillian Gans
Richard James Burke , 48
Askari Muhammad (Thomas Knight) stayed
On July 17, 1974, Askari Abdullah Muhammad (who then was named Thomas Knight) kidnapped and murdered Sydney and Lillian Gans near Miami, Florida. When Sydney arrived at work that Wednesday morning and parked his Mercedes Benz car, Knight ambushed him and ordered him back into the car. Knight commanded Sydney to drive home and pick up his wife, Lillian, and then to drive to a bank and retrieve $50,000 in cash. Sydney went inside the bank to retrieve the money, but he also told the bank president that Knight was holding him and his wife hostage. The bank president alerted the police and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Knight then forced Sydney and Lillian to drive toward a secluded area on the outskirts of Miami. Police officers in street clothes shadowed the Mercedes in unmarked cars. A helicopter and a small fixed-wing surveillance airplane also eventually joined the surveillance. The officers followed the vehicle, but they lost sight of the car for about four or five minutes. During that time, Knight killed Sydney and Lillian with gunshots to the neck that he fired from the back seat of the car. The police found the vehicle sitting in a construction area with the front passenger door, the right rear passenger door, and the trunk open. Police saw Knight running away from the vehicle and toward a wooded area with an automatic rifle in his hands. Police found the dead body of Lillian behind the steering wheel and the dead body of Sydney about 25 feet from the vehicle. About four hours later, police apprehended Knight about 2,000 feet from the vehicle. Knight had blood stains on his pants; buried beneath him in the dirt were an automatic rifle and a paper bag containing $50,000. In September 1974, Knight escaped from prison. After a massive nationwide manhunt, police finally captured Knight in December 1974. In 1975, a Florida jury convicted Knight of the murders of Sydney and Lillian, and the trial judge sentenced him to death. In 1980, while Knight’s petition for post conviction relief was pending before Florida state courts, Knight killed again. This time, he fatally stabbed a prison guard, Officer James Burke with the sharpened end of a spoon. Knight killed Burke because he was upset that he had been denied permission to meet with a visitor. Knight was convicted and sentenced to death for that murder too. Richard Burke had only been an officer at the Florida State Prison for four months when he was killed. He was survived by his wife and two children. UPDATE: Stayed pending a challenge over the drugs to be used in the lethal injection. These challenges are routinely failing so this stay is expected to be lifted.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 10, 2013 Oklahoma Anna Laura Fowler , 83
Zelma Cutler, 93
Ronald Lott pending
Sometime after 10:30 p.m., September 2, 1986, Anna Laura Fowler was attacked in her home, raped and murdered. Mrs. Fowler was 83 years old and lived alone. As a result of the attack, Mrs. Fowler suffered severe contusions on her face, arms and legs, and multiple rib fractures. She died from asphyxiation. Zelma Cutler lived across the street from Mrs. Fowler. Mrs. Cutler was 93 years old and lived alone. During the early morning hours of January 11, 1987, Mrs. Cutler was attacked, raped and murdered in her home. Mrs. Cutler suffered severe contusions on her arms and legs as a result of the attack. She also suffered multiple rib fractures. Mrs. Cutler died from asphyxiation. In both instances, the victims were vaginally raped and orally sodomized. Further, the evidence presented at trial suggested that Mrs. Fowler was anally raped and that the perpetrator attempted to anally rape Mrs. Cutler as well. Lastly, the evidence presented at trial suggested that the rib fractures sustained by both women occurred as a result of the perpetrator sitting directly on their chests and either orally sodomizing them and/or suffocating them with pillows after the attack. Another individual, Robert Miller, was initially arrested, charged, and convicted of the Fowler and Cutler murders. But, notwithstanding Miller’s arrest, two additional elderly women living in the Oklahoma City area were attacked and raped in their homes, in a manner similar to the attacks on Fowler and Cutler. And Lott proved to be responsible for those crimes: Subsequent to Miller’s arrest, Grace M. was attacked and raped in her home on March 22, 1987. Eleanor H. was attacked and raped in her home on May 7, 1987. Both Mrs. M. and Mrs. H. were elderly ladies who lived alone. With the exception that Mrs. M. and Mrs. H. were not killed after being raped, there were striking similarities between the attacks on the four women. Lott was arrested, charged, and ultimately pled guilty to committing the rapes against Mrs. M. and Mrs. H. In the early 1990s, DNA testing established that Lott, rather than Miller, had raped Mrs. Fowler and Mrs. Cutler. At that time, Lott was still incarcerated and serving time in connection with the other rape convictions. The state trial proceedings On March 10, 1995, an amended information was filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, jointly charging Lott and Miller with two counts of first-degree malice aforethought murder (Count 1 was for the murder of Mrs. Fowler and Count 2 was for the murder of Mrs. Cutler) and, in the alternative, with two counts of first-degree felony murder. On January 30, 1996, however, those charges were dismissed at the request of the State. On or about March 19, 1997, the State reinstated the case by filing a third amended information against Lott and Miller. The trial court appointed the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) to represent Lott. On March 20, 1998, the State filed a bill of particulars asserting that Lott “should be punished by death due to and as a result of” the existence of three “aggravating circumstance(s)”: (1) the murders were “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel”; (2) the murders were “committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution”; and (3) “[t]he existence of a probability that [Lott] would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.” On November 13, 2000, the State filed a fourth amended information. Although the fourth amended information continued to charge Lott with two counts of first-degree malice aforethought murder and, in the alternative, two counts of first-degree felony murder, the charging language differed significantly from that of the third amended information. Whereas the third amended information alleged that the first-degree malice aforethought murder counts, as well as the felony murder counts, were “feloniously committed ․ by Robert Lee Miller Jr. and Ronald Clinton Lott acting jointly and willfully,” the fourth amended information (a) omitted from the first-degree malice aforethought murder charges the allegations that Lott acted jointly with Miller, thus leaving only Lott as the named defendant in those counts, and (b) altered the felony murder counts to allege that Lott was “aided and abetted by Miller.” The case proceeded to trial on October 29, 2001. But a mistrial occurred: In the middle of trial, the State requested a continuance when the medical examiner revealed he had evidence in his possession that had never been tested. The State requested the continuance so LabCorp could test the newly discovered evidence. The defense requested a mistrial. The State agreed to the mistrial if the defense would agree to stipulate to a continuance and stipulate to the chain of custody. The mistrial was granted and the trial rescheduled for December 3, 2001. The December 2001 trial proceeded as scheduled. At the conclusion of the first-stage evidence, the jury found Lott guilty of both murders. At the conclusion of the second-stage proceedings, the jury found, with respect to each of the counts of conviction, the existence of two of the three alleged aggravating circumstances: that the murders were especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and that the murders were committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution. The jury in turn fixed Lott’s punishment at death for each of the two counts of conviction. On January 18, 2002, the state trial court formally sentenced Lott to death for each of the two murder convictions.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 11, 2013 Missouri Richard Drummond , 42
Joseph Babcock , 47
Charlene Babcock , 38
Allen Nicklasson pending
On August 23, 1994, Allen Nicklasson, Dennis Skillicorn and Tim DeGraffenreid decided to return to Kansas City after a trip east along Interstate 70 to obtain drugs. They drove a 1983 Chevrolet Caprice. It broke down near the westbound Danville exit on I-70. Sergeant Ahern and Trooper Morrison of the Missouri State Highway Patrol came upon the disabled auto, helped push the car to the side of the road and left the men. The troopers last saw the trio as they walked toward a pay phone. By the next morning, August 24, 1994, Nicklasson, Skillicorn and Degraffenreid and their car had made 17 miles’ progress further west. Near Kingdom City the Caprice broke down again. In an effort to find jumper cables, the three approached a Missouri Highway and Transportation Department employee working in the median of the interstate. He could not assist them. They spotted Merlin Smith’s nearby home, decided to burglarize it, and took four guns, ammunition, a skinning knife, money, a pillow case, some change and a cracker box. They stashed most of the stolen property in the bushes, then called for a tow truck to take their car to Roger Redmond’s garage. Redmond’s mechanic found major problems with the car but was able to restart it. The men paid Redmond with a cracker box full of change and left in the car. Nicklasson and his cohorts decided to try and make it back to Kansas City in their ailing vehicle. First, however, the three men coaxed the car back toward Smith’s house to recover the stolen goods they had previously hidden in the bushes alongside the road. The car gave out again, this time on the south outer road, east of Kingdom City. Between 4:00 and 5:00 p. m., Richard Drummond saw the stranded Nicklasson, Skillicorn and Degraffenreid, stopped, and offered to take them to a telephone. They accepted. Drummond drove a white, 1994 Dodge Intrepid that belonged to AT&T, his employer. Drummond was a technical support supervisor. Nicklasson told Drummond to back up the Intrepid to the Caprice. Nicklasson and his friends loaded the stolen property from Smith’s home into the trunk of Drummond’s car, keeping a.22 caliber handgun and a shotgun with them when they got into Drummond’s car. Nicklasson and Skillicorn sat in the back seat. Degraffenried sat in the front, passenger seat. When Drummond took his place in the driver’s seat, Nicklasson put the pistol to the back of Drummond’s head and said, "You’re going to take us to where we want to go." While Nicklasson held a gun to Drummond’s head, Skillicorn asked Drummond questions in order to calm him down, including whether Drummond’s "old lady" was going to miss him. Nicklasson and his pals wanted to go back toward Kansas City. As Drummond drove east, Skillicorn "got to thinking…if we let this guy off, he’s got this car phone." So they disabled the car phone. Skillicorn stated that he later determined they would have to "lose" Drummond in the woods. At some point during this time, Nicklasson and Skillicorn discussed what they should do with Drummond. Skillicorn, in his sworn statement, claimed that Nicklasson said "he was going to, you know, do something to this guy. I tell him -you know, now, we’re trying to talk on the pretenses that-that, uh, this guy in the front seat don’t hear us too. Right? Right. ‘Cause, uh, I didn’t want him panicking." East of Higginsville, they told Drummond to take the Highway T exit. Four miles north of the interstate they turned onto County Road 202. Finding a secluded area, Nicklasson ordered Drummond to stop the car. Skillicorn took Drummond’s wallet. Nicklasson walked Drummond into the woods, ordered Drummond to kneel, told him to say his prayers, and shot him in the head twice. Drummond’s badly decomposed body was found and identified eight days later. Nicklasson, Skillicorn and Degraffenreid continued west on I-70 in Drummond’s car. They stopped at Joe Snell’s house in Blue Springs. Kelly McEntee, who had dated Degraffenried, came to Snell’s house, looking for Degraffenreid. She knocked on the door. Nicklasson answered, then came outside and said, "Don’t nobody touch my car," referring to Drummond’s car. With that Nicklasson went to the trunk of the Intrepid and removed a shotgun to assist him in assuring those watching that he did not want them to touch the car. He put the shotgun to Kelly McEntee’s head and announced that he would kill her. He did not kill her, apparently satisfied that he had made his point after he hit her in the face. Sometime later, Nicklasson, Degraffenried and Skillicorn left Snell’s and went to Annie Wyatt’s house. Nicklasson told Wyatt that he had killed someone in the woods and described the murder. After a planning session at a local restaurant, Nicklasson and Skillicorn decided to drive to Arizona. Degraffenreid stayed behind. Authorities arrested the two in California, where they were hitchhiking. Arizona authorities found the Intrepid stuck in a sandbar. It contained a letter Nicklasson had written and some of Richard Drummond’s and Melvin Smith’s property. Authorities also found shell casings near the Intrepid that matched those recovered at the Smith burglary scene and the Drummond murder scene. When the car became stuck in the sandbar, another good Samaritan, Joseph Babcock, 47, tried to help. Nicklasson murdered him and his wife, Charlene, 38. Nicklasson and Skillicorn were convicted of first-degree murder. Skillicorn was executed by lethal injection in Missouri on May 20, 2009. DeGraffenreid, who was 17 when the crime took place, served time for second-degree murder.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
December 17, 2013 Oklahoma Cecil Martin
Bill Pogue , 54
Johnny Black pending
On January 4, 1998, Cal Shankles went to the trailer home of Jesse Black where Jesse, his brothers Jimmy Black and Johnny Dale Black, Robert Seale and several others were watching football playoffs. A nervous Shankles wanted the Black brothers and Robert Seale to accompany him while he went to find his brother. Shankles told the Blacks and Seale that he needed them to watch his back because Justin Hightower was looking for him over an affair he had been having with Hightower’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Thereafter, Shankles, the Black brothers and Robert Seale left the trailer in Shankles’ mother’s green Neon with Johnny Black driving and Shankles on the lookout for Hightower’s black Blazer. Meanwhile, horse trainer Bill Pogue and his son-in-law, Rick Lewis, drove to Ringling in Pogue’s black Blazer to buy some chewing tobacco at a local convenience store. On their way back to Pogue’s home, they passed the Neon at an intersection and one of its passengers yelled something at Pogue’s Blazer. The Neon turned around and pulled in behind Pogue traveling at a high rate of speed and flashing its lights. Shortly thereafter, the Neon passed Pogue’s Blazer and stopped in front of it. It was disputed at trial whether the Neon blocked the roadway. According to Rick Lewis, the surviving victim, he and Pogue exited the Blazer. Lewis went around the back of the Blazer and came up behind Pogue.   The four doors of the Neon opened and Jimmy Black, who was seated in the rear on the driver’s side, got out and ran barreling towards them. In response, Pogue hit Jimmy Black in the face and the two began to wrestle towards and into the east bar ditch. Jesse Black and Johnny Black then ran towards Lewis, who hit Jesse Black, momentarily knocking Jesse down. Lewis was able to sidestep Johnny Black and throw him into the front of the Blazer. Johnny Black and Jesse Black then began fighting with Lewis in the west bar ditch. During the fight, Lewis looked up to see Cal Shankles with some type of club and felt a couple of blows to the head. Lewis did not remember seeing Shankles during the entirety of the fight and the evidence showed Shankles went from bar ditch to bar ditch alternately hitting Lewis and Pogue with some type of club. Lewis remembered seeing Robert Seale standing at the back of the Neon holding what looked like a tree branch, but never saw him fighting with anyone. After several minutes of fighting, Lewis was able to break free and make his way to the east bar ditch where he saw Pogue on top of Jimmy Black and Johnny Black over Pogue’s back. Lewis pushed Johnny Black off of Pogue and helped Pogue stand up and head toward the Blazer. Jesse Black then hit Lewis in the side of the head and said “that’s for bustin’ my lip.” The Black brothers, Seale and Shankles then lined up behind the Neon yelling obscenities and taunting Lewis and Pogue.   While Lewis assisted Pogue, who had been stabbed eleven times, into the Blazer, the Neon sped away. Although Lewis did not realize it during the fight, Johnny Black had stabbed him thirteen times with wounds to the back of Lewis’ head, spine, chest, side, buttock, leg and arm. After loading Pogue into the Blazer, Lewis raced him back to the Pogue barn, where family members took over and rushed both men to the Healdton hospital. Lewis was treated for his injuries and was later transferred to Ardmore for care. Pogue died at the Healdton hospital. The morning after the fight Johnny Black fled to Texas, where he was later apprehended and voluntarily confessed. Jesse and Jimmy Black, Robert Seale and Cal Shankles were also arrested and made voluntary statements. In Johnny Black’s voluntary statement to police, he claimed he did not go with Shankles to fight, but to see “what the deal was.” He claimed he never intended to kill Pogue and he did not understand why Lewis and Pogue attacked his brothers. He maintained he did not remember stabbing Lewis and that he simply reacted because he was afraid for his brothers, Jesse and Jimmy. He claimed when he went to Jimmy’s aid, he told Pogue to get off his brother or he would “stab” or “cut” him. When Pogue did not move, he stabbed him. According to Johnny Black, he and Pogue began to wrestle and roll around and Pogue kept rolling onto the knife. He maintained there was no intent to kill anyone and that his brothers did not know he used his knife. Black was also convicted of manslaughter in 1984 in the shooting death of Cecil Martin. At Black’s clemency hearing in 2013, the victim’s son, Charles Pogue, became emotional as he recalled pleading with his father not to die as he lay bleeding to death in the hospital. "I was holding his hand and he just looked up at me and died," Charles Pogue said. Turning to members of Black’s family in the audience, he said: "You guys took a great man that night. You took a good man." Bill had been a mechanic for Arco Pipeline and was well-known for training horses and kids, teaching many young people to rope and ride. Survived by his wife Lonnetta, son Charles, daughter Shelly and mother Ruth.

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