June 2013 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2013 Texas John Henry Sepeda , 78
Etta Mae Stallings, 86
Cheryl DeLeon, 40
Albert Bolden, Jr., 35
Willie Ryman, III, 38
Elroy Chester pending
Willie Ryman III, murder victimCheryl DeLeon, murder victimOn the evening of February 6, 1998, Chester broke into a home in Port Arthur while seventeen-year-old Erin D. was at home alone with her one-and-a-half year old son, Tony. Unbeknownst to Erin, Chester was outside the house, watching her. He had been walking through her neighborhood, searching for a place to burglarize. He had with him a pair of gloves, a knitted hat in which he had cut two holes to make a ski mask, and a gun which he had stolen in a previous burglary. He had scratched the serial numbers off of the gun. Upon reaching the Ryman home, he recognized it as one he had burglarized previously. He watched Erin through the open window blinds and, when it appeared that she was home alone he went around the side of the house and cut the phone lines, which he later said was his normal practice when committing a burglary. He checked the side door to the house and found it unlocked. Chester put on his mask and gloves, and entered the house through the side door. That door opened into the kitchen, which he entered, and then came into the living room where Erin was. Chester grabbed Erin by the hair, held the gun to her head, and demanded money and jewelry. Erin replied that they had a little jewelry, but no money, in the house. He then took her through the house, still holding her by the hair, searching her mother’s and sisters’ bedrooms to confirm that no one else was at home. He asked Erin where her mother was and if she was coming home. Erin said her mother would be home in the morning. He then asked Erin who she had been on the phone with earlier. Erin replied that she had spoken with her boyfriend. After that Chester took Erin into her mother’s bedroom, from which he took some jewelry. He then did the same in her sisters’ and in Erin’s own bedroom. He took her to the dining room, and then had her turn off all remaining lights in the home. He then took her into the garage, still pulling her by her hair. Once in the garage, Erin offered to turn on the lights but Chester refused. Instead, he began feeling around in the dark until he found a roll of duct tape. Erin later testified that she believed by the way he was feeling around that the he knew exactly what he was looking for in the dark garage. As they re-entered the house, Erin’s sister Claire was arriving at the side door with her boyfriend Tim. They attempted to enter through the side door but Chester had made Erin lock it, so Claire knocked on the door. Chester pulled Erin by her hair toward the door and, while hiding behind her with his gun pointed at her head, ordered Erin to unlock the door and let her sister into the house. When Claire entered the house, he pushed Erin forward and yelled at Claire to not say anything or he would "blow her [Erin’s] head off." Claire began to babble incoherently and Erin tried to quiet her. Tim, still unaware of what was happening, was outside on the porch and asked Claire what was wrong. Chester ordered Claire to tell Tim that nothing was wrong and that he should leave. Claire complied, but Tim persisted, and Chester told him directly to come into the house. Tim’s car was still running, so he asked Chester if he could turn it off first, and Chester told him yes, but if Tim attempted to leave that he would kill both girls. Tim went to turn off his car ignition, and then entered the house. Once inside, Chester was still holding Erin by her ponytail, and with the gun pointed at her head demanded jewelry or money from Claire and Tim. They said they had none. Tim showed Chester his empty wallet, and Claire went to her mother’s bedroom to confirm that there was no more jewelry in the house. When Claire returned, Chester asked Tim what kind of car he had, and specifically whether it was an automatic or a stick shift. Erin later testified that she presumed from those questions that Chester was thinking of using Tim’s car to escape. Chester then ordered Claire and Tim into the bathroom. Alone with Erin in the dining room, the gunman ordered her to remove her clothes. Erin began to do so. Chester tried to remove her bra himself, and did remove her underwear himself. Erin was now kneeling and wearing only her socks, and Chester used the duct tape to blindfold her. He then called for Tim to come out of the bathroom. He ordered Tim to strip, and Tim removed all of his clothes except for his underwear and socks. The applicant then used the duct tape to blindfold Tim, and to bind his wrists and ankles. After that, Chester dragged Tim into Erin’s bedroom. He returned to the dining room and ordered Claire to come out of the bathroom. He ordered Claire to remove her clothes, and she complied. He then blindfolded Claire with the duct tape, and seated her on the floor next to Erin. Erin then removed the tape over her eyes enough to see the applicant unzipping his pants and removing his mask, but Chester came over to push the tape back down over her eyes. Then Chester raped Erin vaginally, on the floor, next to her sister. When he was done and had removed himself from on top of her, Erin tried to get up, but he pulled her over to where he was now sitting in a chair, and forced her to perform oral sodomy on him. Chester kept the gun next to Erin’s forehead and threatened to shoot her if she tried to bite him. After the oral sex, Erin moved to the floor area at one side of the room, and Chester ordered Claire to perform oral sex on him, which she did. The applicant repeated the same threat that he would shoot her if she bit him. Then a car pulled up outside. Chester heard the car, ran into the kitchen to dress himself, then went to stand by the side door to wait for the person approaching, who turned out to be Willie ("Billy") Ryman, Kim Ryman’s brother, the girls’ uncle and a local firefighter. Billy would often come to the house to check on the girls, when he knew their mother was at work. Billy opened the door and turned on the light. Chester yelled at him to come inside and, upon entering, he shot him. Billy fell to the ground immediately, and Chester dragged his body into the kitchen, where he eventually died. Chester then ran out of the house. Claire got up and locked the side door, locking him out of the house. Billy’s girlfriend Marcia Sharp had been waiting outside in Billy’s truck in the driveway while he went up to the house. Marcia heard the gunshot fired at Billy but thought perhaps it was a car backfiring. Moments later, she saw Chester run out of the house and then try to go back in, after realizing he had been locked out by Claire. Chester then approached the truck on the passenger side, where Marcia was sitting. The door was unlocked but, just as he reached for the handle, Marcia locked it. Chester was now wearing his mask again. He pulled out his gun and shot once at the lock on the car door. He then noticed that the driver’s door was unlocked, so he ran around to the driver’s side of the truck, but Marcia quickly reached over and locked that door, too. He shot twice at the lock on the driver’s door, but it did not open. He then stepped back, looked at Marcia, and shot twice more at the driver’s door window. None of the gunshots hit Marcia. Chester then ran down the street, away from the house. The events at the Ryman-Deleon home were the culmination of a six-month spree of criminal activity by Chester, in which he burglarized at least five residences, sexually assaulted two people, murdered at least five people, and fired shots at no fewer than five others. On August 3, 1997, six months before the murder of Willie Ryman, Chester burglarized the home of Kenneth Risinger. There, he obtained the.380 semi-automatic pistol he later used to shoot several victims. Six days later, Chester broke into the home of a ten-year-old girl while wearing a hockey mask. He forced the girl into a closet, tied her up with tape, and anally raped her. On the night of August 16, 1997, Chester attempted to burglarize two homes and ended up shooting the residents. First, he awoke sixteen-year-old Oscar Morales by shouting through his bedroom window and demanding money. When Morales tried to leave the room, Chester shot him in the leg. Later that evening, Chester awakened Matthew Horvarich in a similar manner. When Horvatch got up and came to the window, Chester shot him in the shoulder. Among the crimes that Elroy Chester eventually confessed to committing during this period were the following: The burglary and homicide of John Henry Sepeda. Like the Ryman murder case, he used wire cutters to cut the phone lines to John Sepeda’s home before entering it, he wore a mask which he had brought with him, and he carried a gun. He also carried a flashlight. He entered the bedroom where John and his wife of 55 years, Lupe were sleeping, and began to burglarize the room while they slept. John woke up, and approached Chester, who shot and killed him. Before fleeing, he demanded that Lupe Sepeda give him a ring that she was wearing. The murder of Albert Bolden, Chester’s common-law brother-in-law: Chester gave two reasons to the police for his motive: Bolden had been beating his sister, and/or Bolden had set him up on a date with a woman who turned out to be a transvestite. Chester invited Bolden to commit a burglary with him, and brought him to a vacant home he knew of in Port Arthur. In fact, he had no intention of burglarizing the home and instead admitted that he just wanted to kill Bolden. After leading Bolden to the vacant home, Chester directed him to walk through the door first, and then shot him in the back of the head. He then fled the scene and hid the gun that he used. The burglary and homicide of Etta Stallings: Again, Chester wore a ski mask, carried a gun and a flashlight, staked out the home beforehand to see who was there, and cut the phone lines outside before breaking into the home on November 15, 1997. As in the Sepeda case, he attempted to burglarize the home while Etta Stallings and her husband were asleep, but Etta woke up. She pulled a gun out of her dresser drawer, and he shot her to death. He then took the property he had stolen, as well as Stallings’ gun, and stashed it all under a nearby vacant house. •The murder of Cheryl DeLeon. Chester knew Cheryl DeLeon because they had worked together at a local Luby’s restaurant for eleven months in 1992. He admitted he would often sexually harass her, and she would complain about it to their boss. Knowing that she still worked at Luby’s, he likewise knew that she got off work at 8:00 in the evening. On November 20, 1997, after it had gotten dark outside, he went to Cheryl’s home. As in the Ryman case, Chester was wearing a mask, carrying a gun, and wearing gloves. This time, he unscrewed the light bulb illuminating a storage shed near the back door of her house, so that he could lay in wait under cover of darkness. He lied down on the ground by the storage shed, and waited thirty to forty-five minutes in the dark until Cheryl DeLeon’s car pulled into the driveway. As Cheryl got out of her car and walked to her back door, he ran up and grabbed her. They struggled, she screamed, and he hit her in the side of the head with the gun. According to Chester, the gun went off accidentally when he hit her with it, shooting her dead. He then fled to his father’s home, where he hid the gun in the attic. Even before Chester’s arrest, Port Arthur police had recognized that the series of recent burglaries, assaults, rapes and murders in the Port Arthur area shared a similar modus operandi. For instance, at many of the burglarized homes, Chester would cut the telephone lines, unscrew outdoor security lights, and wear a mask to conceal his identity. The evidence later presented in trial suggested that Chester used the.380 pistol in the shooting deaths of Willie Ryman, John Sepeda, Cheryl DeLeon, Etta Stallings, and Albert Bolden. Shell casings found at the crime scenes and bullets removed from the victims bodies matched characteristics of the pistol found in Chester’s home. Chester had also attempted to use some object to alter the physical characteristics of the barrel and had filed off the serial number. The Port Arthur police arrested him. While in custody, and after being asked to provide a blood sample, Chester told investigator Timothy Smith that he would take him to where the gun that was used in the crime was located. Chester knew Smith and seemed to trust him more than he did the other officers. Smith, two other investigators from the District Attorney’s office, and two local detectives then accompanied Chester to his father’s house. He was wearing a jail jumpsuit, as well as leg restraints attached by a chain to another chain around his waist, which in turn connected to a pair of handcuffs, thereby shackling his wrists to his waist, such that his mobility was extremely limited. Upon reaching his father’s house, Chester attempted to move ahead of the others. Smith had admonished him that he would not be allowed to handle or touch the gun himself, but Chester insisted that he would have to locate the gun personally because it was in a place that was difficult to reach. He assured the detective that the gun was unloaded, and that he himself was the only one who would be able to reach it. Chester led the others to his bedroom and, despite efforts to prevent him from moving ahead too quickly, walked over near his bed and dragged a small nightstand to a position directly underneath a hole in the ceiling. He began to climb on top of the nightstand, but was quickly told to stop. One of the investigators, Reginald Rose, climbed on top of the nightstand to look in the hole, and Chester directed him to look in a specific direction for the gun. Rose looked and reached around inside the hole as directed by Chester, but could not find the gun. Chester then climbed atop the same nightstand where Rose was standing and, while continuing to direct Rose to look in the same direction he had previously indicated, attempted to reach with his shackled hands in the opposite direction from where he had told Rose to look. Smith had been watching him the entire time and, when he saw Chester reach with his hands in the other direction, drew his gun and ordered him to stop moving. He was taken down from the nightstand and escorted to sit on a nearby couch. Smith then climbed atop the nightstand himself and looked in the direction where the applicant had attempted to reach. He immediately saw the gun and retrieved it. The gun was fully loaded. After being sentenced to death, the lawyer’s for Chester sought relief from the sentence on the ground that he was mentally retarded and it would be cruel and unusual punishment to put him to death. The court in which he was convicted found the evidence insufficient to support the claim. The trial court also found that Chester was capable of hiding facts and lying to protect his own interests, as demonstrated by the episode in which he told the investigators that he would take them to where he had hidden his gun, all the while apparently planning to get to the gun himself before the investigators could. Finally, the court found that the specifics of the various crimes to which he confessed, including the use of masks and gloves, his practice of cutting exterior phone lines before entering homes to burglarize, and his deliberate targeting of victims like Cheryl DeLeon and his brother-in-law Albert Bolden, showed persuasively that he was capable of forethought, planning, and complex execution of purpose. Chester pleaded guilty to capital murder. Texas law requires that a jury decide punishment in a case in which death is a possible penalty. At the punishment phase, the facts of the offense were undisputed. After hearing evidence of the offense and other evidence relevant to the punishment issues, the jury returned findings that required the trial court to enter a sentence of death. Prior to Chester’s murderous rampage he had already qualified himself as a career criminal. He had been given a ten year sentence from Jefferson County for one count of Burglary of a Habitation and two counts of Burglary of a Building. He served a 13 year sentence concurrently with a 10 year sentence and was released on parole on February 13, 1990. However, he went back to prison on January 11, 1994 when he violated parole. He was released on Mandatory Supervision on March 21, 1997 beginning his rampage five months later. UPDATE: Lina DeLeon Ihle says she cannot wait to watch Chester die. DeLeon was Chester’s third victim. She was only 40-years-old when he killed her. The two had worked at Luby’s Cafeteria in Port Arthur together. On November 20, 2007, seven days before Thanksgiving, Chester ambushed her in her driveway, tried to rob her and shot her through her neck. Ihle calls her sister’s killer, "scum of the Earth" and "the Devil’s spawn". The son of Chester’s first victim, John Henry Sepeda, says his family has found closure, and had no comment about the impending execution. UPDATE : Kim Chiasson, sister of Billy Ryman, along with Barry Ryman, his brother, made a statement while a more than a dozen firefighters and supporters lined the sidewalk nearby. “We thank you for the support. It’s been a long road. It was a surreal experience.” Kim said as other family members gathered behind her. Barry Ryman said that despite the execution, the family doesn’t have complete closure. “My brother is not here. Our mom passed away before she could see this,” Barry Ryman said. “This is for you momma, and Billy, it’s finished.” Barry Ryman said he wasn’t sure if Chester’s apology was sincere considering death was impending. He added that the Elroy Chester he saw was a different man then he had seen before. Erin DeLeon and Claire Howard, nieces of Willie Ryman III, stood at the front of the observation room as Chester pitched his head to the right to deliver chilling final words. Chester said, "I want you to know not to hate me in your heart. I want you to live your life and don’t hate me. I’m sorry for taking your love. Elroy Chester wasn’t a bad man I don’t care what anybody says. Warden, you can go ahead now." He went on to say four final words, "I’ll see you later." Many of the assembled group of witnesses held hands and wept. Erin DeLeon stepped to the back of the room after Chester became motionless.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2013 Florida Fred Sidney Griffis , 40 William Van Poyck executed
Fred Griffis, murder victimOn June 24, 1987, corrections officers Steven Turner and Fred Griffis transported James O’Brien, a state prison inmate, in a van from Glades Correctional Institute to a West Palm Beach dermatologist’s office for an examination for skin cancer. Griffis, who was not armed, drove the van while Turner watched O’Brien, who was secured in a caged area behind Griffis. After Griffis, a decorated Vietnam war veteran, pulled the van into an alley behind the doctor’s office, Turner looked down for his paperwork. Upon looking up, he saw a person, whom he later identified as William Van Poyck, O’Brien’s best friend, aiming a pistol at his head. Van Poyck ordered Turner to exit the van. At the same time, Frank Valdes, an accomplice of Van Poyck’s, went to the driver’s side of the van. Turner testified that Van Poyck took his gun, ordered him to get under the van, and kicked him while he was attempting to comply with Van Poyck’s order. He testified that, while under the van, he saw Griffis exit the van; he noticed another person forcing Griffis to the back of the van; and, while noticing two sets of feet in close proximity to the rear of the van, he heard a series of shots and saw Griffis fall to the ground. Griffis had refused to cooperate and tossed the keys into some nearby bushes and refused to say where they were. Turner further stated that Van Poyck had stopped kicking him when the gunfire started, but noted that he did not know where Van Poyck was at the time of the shooting. Griffis was shot three times, once in the head and twice in the chest. Expert testimony indicated that the shot to the head was fired with the barrel of the gun placed against Griffis’ head and that each of the wounds would have been fatal. It was also determined that the murder weapon was a Hungarian Interarms nine millimeter semiautomatic pistol. After Griffis was shot, Turner was forced to get up from under the van and look for the keys. Upon realizing that Turner did not have them, Valdez fired numerous shots at a padlock on the van in an attempt to free O’Brien. One of the shots ricocheted off of the van and struck Turner, causing him minor injuries. Turner testified that at around this time Van Poyck aimed the Hungarian Interarms semiautomatic nine millimeter pistol at him and pulled the trigger. Van Poyck and Valdes then fled the scene in a Cadillac, and a chase with police ensued. During the chase, while Valdes drove, Van Poyck fired numerous shots at the pursuing police cars, striking three of them. They traveled down Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, and the turned south on Australian Avenue. Eventually, Valdes lost control of the car and it struck a tree near the Palm Beach airport. The two were arrested and four pistols were recovered from the car, including the service revolver of the guard that was killed. Van Poyck, testifying in his own behalf, denied that he shot Griffis and stated that, while kicking Turner, he heard the gunshots and saw Griffis fall to the ground. He did, however, acknowledge that he planned the operation and recruited Valdes to assist him in his plan. Additionally, he stated that they took three guns with them. Van Poyck was tried and convicted for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aiding in an attempted escape, aggravated assault, and six counts of attempted manslaughter. By a vote of eleven to one, the jury recommended that the penalty of death be imposed. The trial judge followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Van Poyck to death. Van Poyck had a long history of robbery and burglary despite his upbringing as the son of an Eastern Airlines executive. At his trial in 1990, Valdes was restrained after striking a man who was testifying against him. Valdes was also sentenced to death for his role in the crime. He was beaten to death by prison guards in 1999 during a violent cell extraction. Three guards were tried for second-degree murder and acquitted. The state of Florida paid the Valdes family over $700,000 to settle a civil lawsuit. Griffis’s family, of West Palm Beach, attended almost every court proceeding. They watched the target of the escape attempt, James O`Brien, acquitted in Griffis’s death. "Fred made a decision to do a certain thing and we should stand by that," Dennis Martin said, referring to Griffis throwing away the keys that would have freed O`Brien. "We resigned ourselves to behave in a fashion that would be commendable to Fred’s memory." Griffis’s family believes in the judicial system. "The system is slow and sometimes you get frustrated with it, but it grinds its way through and it works," Carolyn Martin said. UPDATE: Carolyn Martin and Ronald Griffis have waited for almost three decades for justice for their brother. “A quarter-century is a long time,” said Martin, who, like other family members, idolized her older brother, Fred Griffis, a decorated Vietnam War veteran. Ronald Griffis said he believes at long last Van Poyck’s days are numbered. “I’m confident that we’ll have closure soon,” he said.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 18, 2013 Oklahoma Curtis R. Plummer , 73
Gloria E. Milligan Plummer , 70
James DeRosa executed
Around 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October 2, 2000, James Lewis DeRosa and John Eric Castleberry talked their way into the rural Poteau home of Curtis and Gloria Plummer and then robbed them, stabbed them, and cut their throats, leaving them dead on the floor. DeRosa and Castleberry then stole approximately $73 and left in the Plummers’ tan 1998 Chevrolet pickup truck. The Plummers knew DeRosa, because he had previously worked for them on their ranch. He and Castleberry were apparently allowed into the home, which had a security system, on the pretense of looking for a further work opportunity. Castleberry pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and testified against DeRosa, in exchange for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. DeRosa worked for the Plummers during the summer of 1999. Janet Tolbert, the daughter of Curtis and Gloria Plummer, testified that DeRosa was allowed to work on the ranch as a favor to his mother. While DeRosa was working at the ranch, her father would ask Tolbert to check on him and make sure he had plenty of water. He apparently began plotting to rob them sometime in the spring of 2000. Chris Ford testified that during March or April of 2000, while DeRosa was renting a room in his home, DeRosa approached him about an elderly couple in Monroe for whom he had worked. DeRosa said they would be an “easy target” and asked Ford to drop him off at their house, and then DeRosa would go in and rob them. DeRosa told Ford that when the man would pay him, he would just pull out his wallet, which had “big bills” in it, and pay him in cash. Ford testified that DeRosa planned to “go in there while they were asleep, gag ‘em, tape ‘em up, and then just leave with some money and take their vehicle, so that way he wouldn’t have to walk.’’ On Saturday, September 30, 2000, DeRosa brought up the idea of robbing the Plummers to Eric Castleberry and Scotty White. Castleberry and White testified that they had known each other between three and six months at the time, but only known DeRosa for a few weeks. White was initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder, along with DeRosa and Castleberry. He testified against DeRosa at both the preliminary hearing and at trial. By the time of the trial, his charges had been reduced to two counts of accessory after the fact. He later pled guilty to these charges and was sentenced to two twenty-five year sentences, running concurrently, with the last seven years on supervised probation. The three men were hanging out in a bowling alley parking lot that night, when DeRosa asked White if he would go with him to a house in Howe, which belonged to people for whom he had previously worked, and help him rob the owners. Howe and Monrore are small towns in LeFlore County located near the Plummers’ home. When White declined, DeRosa asked Castleberry, and Castleberry agreed. DeRosa claimed that the people “always carried a bunch of money on ‘em.” Castleberry and White both testified about the events leading up to and following the robbery and killing of the Plummers. Their testimony was almost entirely consistent.  Castleberry testified that he and DeRosa needed money in order to move to Corpus Christi, Texas, to find work. DeRosa spoke to Castleberry again the next day, and Castleberry again agreed to go into the house with DeRosa. They talked about using guns, but decided to use knives when they were unable to obtain guns. Castleberry asked his friend Justin Wingo about getting a gun;  and Christopher Ables testified that on that same Sunday, DeRosa asked Ables if he knew where he could get a gun. On Monday, October 2, 2000, while DeRosa, Castleberry, and White were driving back to Poteau from Fort Smith, Arkansas (where they had been visiting a friend in the hospital), DeRosa told the others, “we’re going to do it tonight.” They agreed that White would drop DeRosa and Castleberry off at the house, where they would rob the Plummers and steal their old truck, and then White would meet them at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, where they would abandon the truck. After attempting to track down Mavis Smith, a sister of the friend in the hospital, they were pulled over for speeding. Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Sommers testified that at 7:10 p.m. that night, he pulled both Castleberry and Smith over for speeding, and that White and DeRosa were in Castleberry’s car. After the traffic stop, the men went to their various homes to prepare for the robbery. DeRosa obtained a white batting glove or golf glove from his home, but when he couldn’t find “the other one,” he got a sock to wear on his other hand. He told the others that he was going to get his mother’s gun, but then decided against it, since it was registered in her name. Castleberry already had two knives in his car, and they decided to use those instead. Castleberry testified that one of the knives was a green-handled, “old-timer knife,” approximately twelve to fourteen inches long, and that the other was a lock-blade buck knife, which was about eight to nine inches long with the blade open. Castleberry and White both testified that Castleberry took the green-handled knife, and DeRosa took the buck knife. Castleberry also had thick black rubberized gloves for himself in his car. DeRosa gave White, who was by then driving Castleberry’s car, directions to the Plummer home, and they arrived at approximately 9:00 p.m. DeRosa told White to check back in about ten to fifteen minutes, in case someone else was in the home. White did so, and after seeing lights on throughout the home and no sign of his friends, drove on to Sugarloaf Mountain. White testified that he waited on top of Sugarloaf Mountain for thirty to sixty minutes and then came down to the bottom and waited another twenty minutes. He was about to leave when he saw DeRosa drive past, headed up the mountain, in the Plummers’ truck. Meanwhile, DeRosa and Castleberry, who were not wearing disguises or masks, rang the bell at the Plummer home and were allowed in by Mrs. Plummer, in order to talk to Mr. Plummer about possible work opportunities. Castleberry testified that it was DeRosa’s idea to get into the house by asking about jobs. Mr. Plummer was in the den watching Monday Night Football. After chatting in their den for a few minutes, DeRosa pulled out his knife, held it to the neck of Mr. Plummer, and told him to sit still. When Mrs. Plummer grabbed the cordless phone and started trying to dial, Castleberry yanked the base of the phone out of the wall, pulled out his knife, held it to Mrs. Plummer’s neck, and told her to sit still. DeRosa stayed in the den with the Plummers while Castleberry began going through bedrooms looking for things to steal. While he was in the second bedroom, he heard DeRosa yell for him to come back and help him. Castleberry ran back to the den and observed DeRosa, now standing near the door to the kitchen, struggling with the Plummers. Castleberry testified that he saw DeRosa stabbing at both of them and that he saw blood “all over” Mrs. Plummer. The medical examiner, Dr. Andrew Sibley, testified regarding all of the wounds to Curtis and Gloria Plummer. Mrs. Plummer had five stab wounds to her back, one of which entered her left lung and another of which went into the liver. Both of these wounds could have been fatal in time. She also had a stab wound in her upper chest area, which passed into the left lung and also the aorta, which would have been fatal within three to five minutes; an incised wound to her left forearm, possibly a “defensive wound”; and a similar wound to the left side of her chin. Castleberry also observed blood on the front and the side of Mr. Plummer and saw DeRosa stab Mr. Plummer in the chest. Mr. Plummer had two stab wounds on his front side, one in the abdominal area and one to the right collarbone area. He also had superficial wounds on the upper left side of his chest, and one of the stab wounds on his back was on the lower right side. Castleberry testified that he then went up behind Mrs. Plummer, stuck his knife to her throat, slit her throat, and pulled her backwards and threw her down on the loveseat. Mrs. Plummer had two significant wounds to her neck and throat area. One was a long wound on the bottom left side of the chin, extending down onto the neck. According to Dr. Sibley, the “question mark shape” of this wound indicated “movement” going on between the knife and the victim, and the wound would have been fatal over time. The other wound was a very jagged and complex wound on the right side of the neck, approximately four inches in length. This wound transected the windpipe and the right carotid artery and jugular vein. Dr. Sibley testified that the skin flaps and jagged edges of the wound indicated multiple passes or a “sawing action.” Castleberry then stabbed Mr. Plummer “a couple of times” in the back. Mr. Plummer had four stab wounds on his back. One of the wounds passed into the left lung and produced a significant amount of blood loss into the chest cavity. Another wound passed into the right lung. These two wounds would likely have been fatal over time, but not immediately. DeRosa then pushed Mr. Plummer back toward the love seat and the television. Castleberry testified that Mr. Plummer picked up the cordless phone, which was on the floor, and begged the men to let him call an ambulance for his wife, saying he would give them anything they wanted if they would just let him get help for his wife. DeRosa responded by picking up a marble-topped end table and throwing it at him. The table hit Mr. Plummer on the head, and he fell to the ground. DeRosa then walked over and slit his throat, from ear to ear, and left him laying on the floor. Mr. Plummer had a blunt force wound to the left side of the head, as well as abrasions to the left side of his face and a significant cut on his right cheek. The incised wound on Mr. Plummer’s neck was about seven inches in length and transected the trachea, the esophagus, and all the major arteries and veins in the neck, passing all the way to the spinal column. Dr. Sibley noted that the jagged areas around the wound did not indicate a “single pass,” but rather a repositioning and “sawing type of motion.” Castleberry then pulled Mrs. Plummer down off the loveseat and left her facedown on the floor, near Mr. Plummer. The numerous pictures of the crime scene that were entered into evidence were entirely consistent with Castleberry’s description of what happened. The men then began ransacking the house looking for cash and other valuables, but they found only Mr. Plummer’s wallet and Mrs. Plummer’s purse. DeRosa took the cash out of the wallet, and Castleberry dumped the purse onto the laundry room floor and took the cash. Castleberry testified that DeRosa said there was $73 in Mr. Plummer’s wallet and that DeRosa took the cash and stuck it in his pocket. When they couldn’t find the keys for the older white pickup parked outside, they decided to take the much newer, tan Chevrolet pickup that was parked in the garage. DeRosa drove the truck to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, but decided not to leave it there, thinking it would be “too obvious.” They met White on their way back down. DeRosa told White to wait for a few minutes and then meet them at the Poteau City Lake. Castleberry testified that when they got to the City Lake, they “put the truck in the water and got in the water and rinsed the blood off us and changed clothes.” White testified that as he pulled up, he could see the back of the truck and its taillights, as the truck sank into the lake. DeRosa and Castleberry put their wet, bloody clothing into a black plastic garbage bag and put on fresh clothing, from out of Castleberry’s car. Castleberry testified that he put all of his wet clothing into the bag except his underwear, which he couldn’t find, and that he threw his gloves and his knife into the lake. On October 4, 2000, Castleberry’s still damp underwear was discovered on the ground near where the truck had been submerged. On October 12, 2000, an investigator found his two black rubber gloves floating in the lake, approximately 100 feet apart. DeRosa put his knife into the bloody sock that he had worn on his hand and threw it into the water too. Although investigators searched the lake for the knives, they were never recovered. The three men then got back in Castleberry’s car, drove to Taco Bell, and bought themselves tacos using the money they had stolen. Before dropping White off later that night, Castleberry told White that they “ended up having to kill ‘em.” White testified that while they were at the Lake, DeRosa told him that they had stolen $63 from the Plummers and “trashed the house.” White stated that he “felt something wasn’t right,” after seeing DeRosa’s white baseball glove, with blood on it, on the ground. White testified that before he was dropped off at home that night, he asked what happened, and Castleberry said, “We didn’t only rob ‘em, we killed ‘em.” White also testified that DeRosa stated that he had stabbed the old man in the back and cut his throat, and that he had picked up a marble table and thrown it at the old man. DeRosa was worried about leaving fingerprints on the marble table. White testified that he did not know beforehand that anyone was going to be hurt or killed in the robbery. White was also told that Castleberry and DeRosa were leaving for Corpus Christi the next morning. Castleberry and DeRosa later went to a campground area and burned the clothing in the garbage bag, after spraying lighter fluid on it. They were afraid that DeRosa’s combat boots would not burn fully, so they dropped them over a bridge near Keota Landing. Later that night Castleberry told their friend Justin Wingo, in DeRosa’s presence, that they had just killed two people and how they had done it. Wingo testified that he was riding in the front passenger seat of Castleberry’s car, with Castleberry driving and DeRosa in the back, when Castleberry told him that they went to the home of two people, who DeRosa used to worked for, and robbed them, stabbed them, slit their throats, took their money, and then stole their truck and drove it into the City Lake. Wingo testified that Castleberry was doing most of the talking, but that DeRosa was “agreeing with it and backing it up,” and that DeRosa said that he had “killed the old man hit him in the head with an end table and slit his throat and stabbed him.” Wingo testified that he thought Castleberry was playing a joke on him, but that when he found out, the next day, about a statewide manhunt for Castleberry and DeRosa, he told his parents what he knew, and they called the police. The next day Castleberry and DeRosa drove to Corpus Christi, Texas, to the home of Castleberry’s father. The Plummer bodies were discovered the morning of October 3, 2000 by Roger Murray, who worked for the Plummers around the ranch at the time, and Tonya Woodruff, their granddaughter. Murray contacted Woodruff, who lived nearby and had a key to the home, when the Plummers did not answer their door that morning. On the morning of October 4, 2000, Scotty White, who was eighteen years old and a high school senior at the time, informed a teacher at his high school that he knew who killed the Plummers. Later that morning he met with Sheriff Kendall Ballew and investigator Shawn Ward, in the principal’s office, and told them that DeRosa and Castleberry had killed the Plummers, how they did it, what they did with the Plummers’ truck, and that they had left for Texas. After the interview the officers discovered the truck in the Poteau City Lake, right where White said it would be. Although White initially tried to minimize his own involvement, saying that the other men just told him about what had happened, the investigating officers were suspicious about the extent of his knowledge, and took him to the district attorney’s office for further interviewing. Shortly after 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, after White was Mirandized, he told the investigating officers additional details about what had happened, including the fact that he had dropped the others off at the Plummer home. In a third interview, conducted after a break of only a few minutes (in order for White to look at an atlas), White told them that DeRosa and Castleberry had gone to Corpus Christi. Castleberry and DeRosa were arrested by local officers in Corpus Christi, outside the home of Castleberry’s father, that same evening. When the arresting officer informed DeRosa that he was being arrested on two counts of first-degree murder in an Oklahoma case, DeRosa said, “Yeah, I heard about what happened to those people. We had just visited ‘em so my prints are probably out there.” Sheriff Ballew and Shawn Ward arrived in Corpus Christi on October 5, 2000, to transport DeRosa and Castleberry back to Oklahoma. After being advised of his Miranda rights and agreeing to waive them, Castleberry agreed to talk with Ballew and Ward. Though he initially denied involvement in the Plummer killings, Castleberry then relented, and in a tape-recorded interview, told Ballew and Ward essentially the same detailed story that he testified to at trial.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 24, 2013 Florida Susan Marie Roark , 19
Robyn Novick , 30
Marshall Gore stayed
Police discovered Robyn Novick‘s nude body in a rural area of Dade County on March 16, 1988. Her body was hidden by a blue tarpaulin-like material. Novick suffered stab wounds to the chest and had a belt tied around her neck. According to the medical examiner, Novick died as a result of the stab wounds and mechanical asphyxia. He estimated that Novick was killed between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. on March 11 into March 12, 1988. Novick was last seen alive on March 11, 1988, leaving the parking lot of the Redlands Tavern in her yellow Corvette. A witness testified that Novick left with a man, whom the witness identified as Marshall Gore. In the early morning of March 12, Gore was seen driving Novick‘s automobile. David Restrepo, a friend of Gore‘s, testified that Gore arrived at his home driving a yellow Corvette with a license plate reading ―Robyn. Evidence was also submitted that Gore committed similar crimes against Susan Roark and Tina Coralis. The State presented evidence that Gore had murdered Roark shortly after her disappearance in January 30, 1988, by inflicting trauma to her neck and chest. In addition, evidence established that Gore stole Roark‘s black Ford Mustang and other personal property, then left her nude body in a rural area used as a trash dump. Similarly, the State presented evidence that Gore attacked Coralis on March 14, 1988, two days after the murder of Novick. Coralis herself testified against Gore, stating that he beat her with a rock, raped, choked and stabbed her, and left her for dead on the side of the road near the scene where Novick‘s body was found. Gore proceeded to steal Coralis‘s red Toyota sports car and personal property. FBI agents finally arrested Gore in Paducah, Kentucky on March 17, 1988. At the time of his arrest, Gore was in possession of Coralis‘s red Toyota automobile and he had her bank and credit cards in the pocket of his jacket. Police officers subsequently questioned Gore regarding the Coralis and Roark crimes. According to the police, Gore denied knowing Roark or Coralis and denied all involvement in the crimes. Gore also denied knowing Novick. When police prepared to show Gore a photograph of Novick, Gore stated ―just make sure it is not gory‖ because his ―stomach could not take it. At the time that Gore made such statements, the police had yet to inform Gore that Novick was dead. Detective David Simmons of the Miami Dade Police Department testified that when Gore looked at Novick‘s picture, Gore‘s eyes ―swelled with tears. Gore also stated that ― if I did this, I deserve the death penalty. In his defense, Gore took the stand and testified on his own behalf. Gore claimed that prior to his interrogation by police in Miami concerning the Novick murder, reporters previously had told him upon his arrest that Novick was dead. He also claimed that during his interrogation, police had placed gruesome photographs of the murders all over the interview room. Moreover, Gore stated that police had given him a polygraph examination, which he claimed he had passed. Gore testified that he was the owner of an escort service and claimed that Coralis, Novick, Roark, and Restrepo all worked for the escort business. Gore maintained that Novick worked for him as a nude dancer and he admitted that he was with Novick at the Redlands Tavern on the evening of March 11, 1988. Gore, however, denied killing her. On cross-examination, Gore admitted that he previously had been convicted of committing fifteen felonies. Gore denied trying to kill Coralis and claimed that her injuries were the result of her jumping out of a moving car. Gore also asserted that all of the State witnesses had lied and he refused to explain why he was in possession of the property of people who were either killed or attacked. Ana Fernandez testified on Gore‘s behalf. Fernandez worked for Gore in 1984 or 1985 when she was fifteen years old, answering phones for the escort service. Fernandez claimed to have known Roark, Coralis, and Novick through her association with Gore. However, she could not state when, where, or how many times that she had met Coralis or Novick and was unable to describe them. Moreover, when presented with a photograph of several women, she could not identify Coralis. After the close of all the evidence, the jury convicted Gore of first-degree murder and armed robbery with a deadly weapon of Novick. During the penalty phase, Gore chose to represent himself. The jury recommended that Gore be sentenced to death by a vote of twelve to zero. The trial court imposed the death penalty for the first-degree murder conviction and imposed an upward departure life sentence for the armed robbery conviction to run consecutive to any other sentence Gore was serving.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 25, 2013 Oklahoma Josephine “Jody” Haley Sanford , 52 Brian Davis executed
Jody Sanford, murder victimIn the early morning hours of November 4, 2001, Brian Davis returned home after socializing with some friends at a local club, only to find his girlfriend, Stacey Sanford, and their three-year-old daughter missing. He telephoned Josephine “Jody” Sanford, Stacey’s mother, to ask if she had seen or knew of their whereabouts. Jody told Davis that she did not know where they were. Ten to fifteen minutes later, Davis again telephoned Jody and asked her to go and find them. When Jody could not locate her daughter and granddaughter, she went to Stacey’s and Davis’s apartment. Davis made several conflicting statements about the events that followed once Jody arrived, including a different version during his trial testimony. However, with the exception of his first statement where he claimed to have no memory of what had happened, Davis admitted in his other statements that he fatally stabbed Jody. Jody’s body was discovered shortly after 9:00 a.m. when her daughter Stacey returned home. Stacey immediately called 911 and local police arrived to investigate. Meanwhile, Davis had been involved in a single-car accident while driving Jody’s van near the Salt Fork River Bridge. Davis was seriously injured after he was ejected from the van through the front windshield. Davis was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Because there was an odor of alcohol about him, Davis was placed under arrest and his blood alcohol level was tested and registered.09%. Later on, Davis was transported to a Wichita hospital for further care. Detective Donald Bohon interviewed Davis around 5:49 p.m. that afternoon. In his first statement, Davis was able to recount his activities at the club the night before, but could not remember who drove him home. He recalled that Stacey and his daughter were not at home when he arrived and he remembered telephoning Jody. He could remember Jody being in the living room with him, but after that moment, he could not recall anything until he woke up in the field after the accident. Two days later, Detectives Bohon and Bob Stieber interviewed Davis again. Initially, Davis repeated the story he had previously told Detective Bohon. As Stieber questioned Davis, his memory improved. He remembered Jody talking to him about religion and his commitment to Stacey. An angry Davis told Jody that there would be no commitment and the two argued. Davis claimed that Jody stood up while she continued her lecture and that he then stood up, got angry, accused her of being in his face and told her to “back up,” pushing her backwards. Davis claimed Jody grabbed a knife and cut him on his thumb. Davis then hit Jody on the chin (apparently causing the fracture to her jawbone) and tried to grab the knife, getting cut in the process. Davis said he got the knife from Jody and told her to get back, stabbing her in the stomach. He stated that he and Jody began to wrestle down the hallway and that he stabbed Jody in the leg. Once in the bedroom, Davis told Jody to stop and he put the knife down. Jody asked Davis to let her go to which he agreed, but then Jody ran towards the knife. He grabbed the knife first and stabbed Jody on the left side. She then told Davis that she could not breathe and Davis told her to lie down on the bed. Davis said he tried to wrap her up tightly in the bedspread so she would not bleed to death. He claimed he heard her stop breathing, but then fell asleep. When he awoke, he panicked and fled in Jody’s van so he could think about what to do. Shortly thereafter, the crash occurred. When Stieber confronted him with physical evidence showing Jody was strangled/choked, Davis conceded that he may have choked her while they were wrestling. However, he adamantly denied having consensual or non-consensual sex with her. Davis told his girlfriend Stacey three different versions of what happened that morning. At first, he told her that he believed her mother was an intruder and that he instinctively fought with her to protect his family home. Several months later, he told Stacey that her mother came to their apartment and that the two of them argued because Davis believed Jody was lying about her knowledge of Stacey’s whereabouts. He claimed he pushed Jody and Jody went to the kitchen and retrieved a knife. Davis said that he got his thumb cut when he tried to take the knife from Jody, and that once he got the knife, he stabbed Jody once in the stomach. The argument continued and the two of them ended up in the bedroom where Jody said let’s end this and Davis put the knife down. He claimed that she grabbed the knife as she walked towards the door and that he took it from her and stabbed her again. Two to three months later after DNA tests showed that Davis’ semen was found in Jody’s vagina, Stacey confronted Davis and he told her a third version of what had happened. In this third version, he said that Jody came to their apartment upset about her husband’s infidelity. He claimed that he tried to comfort her and they ended up having consensual intercourse. After their sexual encounter, Davis said he was lying on the floor in the front room while Jody was in the kitchen and that all of a sudden he was struck in the back of the head with some object. He did not elaborate on the details of the stabbing, indicating that the events unfolded from there. At trial, Davis testified that Jody came to his apartment after she could not locate Stacey and talked to him about his need to commit to her. Davis claimed he responded by making a remark about Jody’s husband’s level of commitment and his rumored infidelity. He said that Jody became emotional and acknowledged that she knew about her husband’s affair. Davis said he felt badly about his remark and got up and sat beside Jody and tried to comfort her. He claimed that Jody kissed him and that they ended up going back to the bedroom and having sex on the bedroom floor for fifteen to twenty minutes. Afterwards Davis got up and stumbled between the hallway and bedroom. He said that Jody was saying something about the time and he said that the sex was not worth his time and that he understood why Jody’s husband was having an affair. He claimed that an angry Jody then hit him in the back of the head with a lotion dispenser, stunning him. As Jody walked by Davis, Davis got up and chased her down the hallway, tackling her and biting her ankle. Jody kicked Davis in the mouth and ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Davis then ran to the living room and grabbed the Play Station II. Davis asked Jody “what the hell are you doing?” and hit her in the face. Davis said Jody “came back with a defensive position” and that he used the Play Station II as a shield. Now angrier, Davis hit Jody again and tossed the Play Station II into a nearby chair. He backed her down the hallway while she swung the knife wildly, cutting Davis on his arm. Davis went into the bathroom for a towel and Jody retreated to the bedroom. He said that when he exited the bathroom he saw Jody in the bedroom doorway and that he ran at her, grabbed her, pulled her down and hit her in the face two to three times. As they were fighting, Davis pushed Jody’s head against the wall and struck her until she finally relinquished the knife. Jody retreated into the bedroom and asked Davis to let her go. Davis claimed he told Jody to go and put the knife on the nightstand. He said that when Jody walked by, she grabbed the knife, which angered him because he believed the fight was over. He then grabbed her shirt, pulled her towards him and put his arm around her neck squeezing as tightly as he could until she dropped the knife. He said that he grabbed the knife, that he was angry and that he stabbed Jody in the back. Jody then “swung back,” struck him in the groin and he fell to one knee. He claimed Jody continued to hit him and that he stabbed her several times as he tried to fend off her attack. He maintained that he never intended to kill Jody.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 26, 2013 Texas Jettie Lucas, 85
Maggie Harding, 81
Dorothy E. Booth, 71
Kimberly McCarthy executed
Jettie Lucas, murder victimMaggie Harding, murder victimDorothy Booth, murder victimIn July of 1997, Kimberly Lagayle McCarthy entered the home of her 71-year old neighbor Dorothy Booth after calling and asking if she could borrow some sugar. Dorothy was a retired nursing professor. McCarthy stabbed Dr. Booth five times with a butcher knife, hit her in the face with a candelabrum, and cut off her left ring finger in order to take her diamond ring. McCarthy then left with Dr. Booth’s purse and wedding ring. Eventually, she drove Dorothy’s white Mercedes Benz to a crack house where she attempted to purchase crack cocaine. She later pawned Dr. Booth’s wedding ring for $200, and used her credit cards at least four times on the day after the murder, at a liquor store in the neighborhood on one occasion. The 10-inch butcher knife was found in McCarthy’s home. It had been washed but after dismantling the handle, forensics experts found a blood sample that was matched to Dr. Booth’s genetic profile. McCarthy also faces capital murder charges in the December 1988 deaths of Maggie Harding, 81, and Jettie Lucas, 85. The elderly women had befriended her through her mother. Maggie had been stabbed and bludgeoned with a metal meat tenderizer, her body dumped in a garage. McCarthy had done part time office work for Maggie in the past. Maggie’s niece told reporters that her aunt had "a tremendous amount of money" in her home. A week later, Jettie Lucas’s body was found in her South Dallas home. She was beaten to death with a claw hammer and also stabbed with a knife. Police found a bloody hammer and several knives in the home. They also found a handprint on the refrigerator that was matched to McCarthy after she was arrested for Dorothy Booth’s murder. The women were murdered within days of one another in December 1988 and DNA evidence linked McCarthy to their murders.

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