March 2013 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 5, 2013* Pennsylvania Kathy Lynn Fair, 22 Freeman May stayed
In 1988, in a remote wooded location in Lebanon County, a man and his son were cutting wood and discovered human skeletal remains buried under logs, brush, and leaves. Dr. Neil A. Hoffman, a forensic pathologist, determined that the remains were those of Kathy Lynn Fair, whose sister had reported her missing on September 4, 1982, when Fair did not show up for an outing. Dr. Hoffman concluded that the cause of death was multiple stab wounds inflicted by a short, single-edged weapon, most likely a knife. The police arrested Freeman May in 1990, and the Commonwealth charged him with the murder of Kathy Fair. At trial, Detective Michael F. Wahmann testified that, at the time the remains of Kathy Fair were discovered, he remembered an incident that occurred in December of 1982. In that series of events, two girls who had accepted rides from Freeman May were stabbed with a short, folding single-edged knife and left for dead not far from the place where Kathy Fair’s remains were ultimately discovered; both girls survived the attack. In addition, one of the young women had been raped. The Commonwealth had charged May with two counts each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment of another person, and one count of rape. A jury convicted May of all crimes charged in connection with the December 1982 assaults. Stanley May, May’s brother, testified that May came to his house on December 17, 1982, and confessed to him that he had stabbed a girl and buried her in the brush several months prior, and had done it again the night before. Stanley also stated that May always carried a folding buck knife, which is a short, sturdy, single-edged knife. Denise DeHaven, May’s wife, stated at trial that when she visited him in jail in connection with the 1982 rape and assaults, May told her that he had hurt another girl and buried her under leaves and bushes in the woods. Subsequently, May wrote letters to DeHaven reiterating the same story. Thomas W. Fryberger, an acquaintance of May, testified that May had taken him and two girls up to a wooded location; Fryberger later took a state police trooper to that location, which is where Kathy Fair’s remains were eventually found. Charles W. Neidig, an inmate at the prison where May was incarcerated, testified that he had a conversation with May in the prison yard when May returned from a hearing held in connection with the rape and assault convictions. May indicated to Neidig that the hearing did not go very well because the police were going to be able to “put a body on him” and that he “did it.” Following trial, a jury convicted May of first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of Kathy Fair. After a separate penalty hearing, the jury found the existence of one aggravating circumstance, that the killing was committed while May was perpetrating a felony, namely rape, and one mitigating circumstance, that he had no significant history of prior criminal convictions. The jury determined that the aggravating circumstance it found unanimously outweighed the mitigating circumstance and, consequently, the trial court sentenced May to death. May appealed that verdict and sentence to the state Supreme Court. The court upheld his conviction but awarded him a new sentencing trial. In that ruling, the court ruled the jury could not consider rape as an aggravating circumstance because the trial judge had not instructed them on the legal definition of rape. At his second sentencing trial in 1995, another Lebanon County jury also decided that May should die for Fair’s murder. May appealed that verdict to the state Supreme Court. In its second ruling in the case, the court upheld the death sentence. May filed another appeal, this time with the Lebanon County Common Pleas Court. May lost that appeal and filed another one before the state Supreme Court. The court vacated his death sentence and ordered a third penalty trial. At that third sentencing trial, a Lebanon County jury again decided May should die for killing Fair. He filed another appeal, and the issues were if his rights were violated because he was shackled during a portion of his third penalty trial; if President Judge John C. Tylwalk’s instructions to the jury on the possibility of parole violated his rights; if the aggravating circumstance of significant criminal history is unconstitutionally vague; and if May’s death sentence was the result of passion, prejudice and arbitrariness. Jurors in death-penalty cases are asked to determine whether aggravating circumstances, such as a prior criminal record, outweigh mitigating circumstances. The state Supreme Court rejected each of those arguments. In 2003, May’s son Landon May was sentenced to death for his part in the murder of elementary school principal Lucy Smith who was also sexually assaulted, and her husband Terry. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 6, 2013 Pennsylvania Ignacio Slafman
Jorge Figueroa
Orlando Maisonet stayed
Jorge Figueroa was stabbed to death in August 1982 in the Colon family home in Philadelphia. His body was taken to an abandoned row house, where it was later discovered by police. By his own account, Heriberto Colon was a participant in a local drug organization known as the Arroyos, which was responsible for the killing. Soon after its perpetration, police secured Colon’s cooperation, and arrest warrants were issued for Arroyo leaders Simon Pirela (also known as Salvator Morales), his brother Heriberto Pirela (also known as Carlos Tirado), and Orlando Maisonet. The Pirela brothers were prosecuted and convicted in 1983; Simon Pirela was sentenced to death, and Heriberto Pirela received a life sentence. Maisonet eluded capture for the better part of a decade, until he was located in Puerto Rico in 1990 and extradited. The Commonwealth’s theory of the case was that Jorge Figueroa was killed to prevent him from cooperating with police regarding a robbery-homicide perpetrated two weeks earlier. In that criminal episode, pizza restaurant owner Ignacio Slafman, 50, had been shot and killed; the Commonwealth contended that Maisonet was the shooter and Jorge Figueroa, among others, served a subordinate role in the robbery. Maisonet was separately prosecuted for robbery and first-degree murder in the killing of Ignacio Slafman and was initially convicted in May 1992. His trial for the murder of Jorge Figueroa commenced a week later.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 6, 2013 Ohio Henry Dupree, 58 Frederick Treesh executed
Frederick Treesh, and two companions, Keisha Harth and Benjamin Brooks, departed Cleveland on August 27, 1994, to smoke crack cocaine in an Ashtabula hotel room. They returned to Cleveland later that day to purchase additional drugs. While there, the group picked up another man, Anthony Washington, who agreed to assist them. After a “couple hours” of driving and smoking cocaine, the group decided to rob a business to finance the purchase of more cocaine. Washington eventually directed the group to the Vine Street News, an adult bookstore in Eastlake, Lake County. Treesh and Brooks were armed with a nine-millimeter handgun and a sawed-off shotgun. The handgun was loaded to maximum capacity with “Hydra-Shok” bullets, designed for penetration and maximum stopping power. Before Treesh and Brooks entered the bookstore, Harth handed Treesh a roll of duct tape that Treesh planned to use to restrain the robbery victims. Treesh and Brooks entered the Vine Street News at approximately 11:30 p.m. After glancing at a few magazines, Treesh and Brooks approached the sales counter where Louis Lauver worked. Treesh pulled out the nine-millimeter handgun, cocked it, pointed it at Lauver, and ordered him not to move or call out for help. Treesh then asked Lauver where the security guard was, and Lauver motioned toward the rear of the store. Treesh walked through swinging doors into the restricted area at the rear of the store and placed the handgun inside his pants. At this point, Lauver lost sight of Treesh. A short time later, however, Lauver heard four gunshots coming from the rear of the store. Treesh testified that after passing through the swinging doors into the rear portion of the store, he saw two customers behind a rack, looking at magazines, and saw the store security guard, Henry Dupree, sitting in a chair, watching television. At first, neither Dupree nor the customers appeared to notice Treesh’s presence. Treesh took the gun out of his pants, poked Dupree in the shoulder with the gun, and ordered Dupree to stand up. Startled, Dupree complied. Treesh testified that he originally intended to take Dupree to the front of the store and tape him up with the clerk, but then noticed handcuffs on Dupree’s pants and decided to use them. According to Treesh, a struggle ensued when he reached for Dupree’s handcuffs, and the handgun discharged. While Treesh was in the rear of the store, Brooks ordered Lauver to empty the cash register. Lauver complied, and Brooks demanded that Lauver open the safe. As Lauver explained that this was impossible, shots rang out from the back of the store and Treesh came rapidly back through the swinging doors. Brooks quickly left with the money from the cash register. Lauver stood by the counter with his hands in the air as Treesh headed toward the exit. Before reaching the door, Treesh brought the handgun up, pointed it at Lauver, and fired at least two shots. Bullets struck Lauver in the jaw and forearm. Treesh later testified that he aimed these shots not at Lauver, but at the telephone on the wall behind the counter. After Treesh left the store, Lauver temporarily lost consciousness, but awoke shortly thereafter and dialed 911. Dupree, grievously injured during his encounter with Treesh at the rear of the store, managed to make his way through the swinging doors, but collapsed on the floor behind the counter. An autopsy later confirmed that Dupree died as a result of two close-range gunshot wounds in his chest. Lauver survived and testified at trial. Paul Forner, a witness across the street at a drive-up pay telephone, saw two men enter the Vine Street News. Minutes later, Forner heard popping sounds and saw the two men leave. Forner rushed to the store and found Lauver on the phone with the police. Because Lauver was wounded in the face and had difficulty speaking, Forner gave the dispatcher a description of the suspects and their vehicle. Dale Plunkard, a store customer who hid in a viewing booth during Treesh’s encounter with Dupree, heard three or four shots in steady succession, “one right after another,” and then emerged from the booth to find Dupree unconscious. Like Forner, Plunkard was able to identify the suspects’ vehicle, which he had seen parked nearby before he entered the store. Sergeant Ronald Stih of the Euclid Police Department received a dispatch concerning the armed robbery. Stih scanned traffic on Interstate 90, spotted a vehicle matching the dispatcher’s description, and followed it off the interstate. Officer Frederick Stoldt of the Euclid Police Department also pursued the suspects’ car. The vehicles attained speeds of over sixty miles an hour in a residential neighborhood. As Washington drove the suspects’ car, Treesh shot out its rear window, and both Brooks and Treesh fired shots through the opening and over the tops of the cruisers to discourage pursuit. Eventually, however, Washington lost control of the car and crashed. According to Sergeant Stih, Treesh assumed an “action stance” as he got out of the car and pointed his handgun at Stih. Treesh fired the weapon at Stih and Stoldt at least three times. Stih retreated and radioed for help. Treesh fired additional shots while running away with Harth. Brooks remained in the car and was immediately apprehended. Officers Michael Janusczak and Harold Pretel of the Cleveland Police Department arrived at the scene, obtained descriptions of Treesh and Harth, and pursued the two suspects on foot. Eventually, the officers approached a garage, where Pretel saw Treesh aiming a gun at him. Pretel ordered Treesh to drop the weapon. Treesh threw the gun down, but attempted to flee over a fence. Several officers confronted Treesh as he jumped over the fence and ordered him to the ground. Officer Janusczak testified that as he handcuffed Treesh, he immediately advised Treesh of his Miranda rights. The police transported Treesh first to Euclid, then to the Eastlake Police Department. On the way to Eastlake, Treesh heard on the police radio that Dupree had died. Treesh later testified that he was not aware prior to that time that he had even shot Dupree. Treesh arrived at Eastlake just after 2:00 a.m. on August 28. Treesh testified that he felt “high” and “paranoid” at that time. Lieutenant Thomas Doyle of the Eastlake Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Robert Alvord conducted a series of interviews with Treesh and Brooks at Eastlake. Some of these interviews were captured on the stationhouse videotape recorder. Portions of these videotapes, which contained several inculpatory statements, were later played for the jury. At approximately 2 p.m. on August 28, Doyle confronted Treesh and Brooks with the store clerk’s statement, and the suspects refused to discuss their participation in the Vine Street News robbery any further without an attorney present. Treesh and Brooks continued to discuss their involvement in other crimes. The Lake County Grand Jury returned a seven-count indictment against Treesh on August 29. A Lake County jury found Treesh guilty of one count of aggravated murder with two aggravating circumstances, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, one count of felonious assault, and one count of aggravated robbery. Each of these five counts included a firearm specification. The court entered a nolle prosequi on count six, which had alleged that Treesh failed to comply with the order or signal of a police officer. Treesh pleaded guilty to count seven, carrying a weapon while under a disability. At the conclusion of the penalty phase, the jury recommended that the court sentence Treesh to death. The trial court adopted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Treesh accordingly.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 6, 2013 Arizona Lorimer "Leroy" Grove, 74 Edward Schad stayed
Lorimer "Leroy" Grove, a 74-year-old resident of Bisbee, Arizona, was last seen on August 1, 1978, when he left Bisbee driving his new Cadillac, coupled to a trailer, to visit his sister in Everett, Washington. Grove may have been carrying up to $30,000 in cash. On August 9, 1978, Grove’s body was discovered in thick underbrush down a steep embankment off the shoulder of U.S. Highway 89, several miles south of Prescott, Arizona. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was ligature strangulation accomplished by means of a sash-like cord, still knotted around the victim’s neck. According to the medical examiner, Grove had been strangled using a significant amount of force, resulting in breaking of the hyoid bone in his neck and the reduction of his neck circumference by approximately four inches. The time of death was estimated to be four to seven days prior to discovery of the body. No physical evidence at the crime scene implicated Schad in Grove’s murder, and there was no evidence of a prior connection between the two men. There was, however, ample evidence establishing Schad’s presence in Arizona at the time of the crime and his possession, after the date Grove was last seen, of Grove’s property, including his Cadillac, credit cards and jewelry. On August 3, 1978, two days after Grove left Bisbee, and six days before his body was discovered, an Arizona highway patrolman found an abandoned Ford Fairmont sedan alongside Highway 89, approximately 135 miles north of where Grove’s body was discovered. The Ford was unlocked, except for the trunk, and its license plates were missing. A check of the Fairmont’s VIN revealed that Schad had rented the car from a Ford dealership in Utah in December 1977, had failed to return it, and that the dealership had reported it as stolen. According to Schad’s girlfriend, Wilma Ehrhardt, she and Schad, along with Ehrhardt’s children, had driven the car from Utah to New York, Florida, and Ohio between December 1977 and July 1978. In late July, Schad told Ehrhardt he was going to look for work and left Ohio with the Ford. Ehrhardt and the children remained in Ohio, but later returned to Utah. When police impounded the Ford on August 3, 1978, they found in it, among other things, three Arizona newspapers dated July 31 and August 1, 1978, the days just before the estimated date of Grove’s murder, as well as a special mirror device later identified by witnesses as an object Grove invented to help him couple his trailer to his Cadillac. According to credit card records, on August 2, 1978, Schad began driving the Cadillac from Arizona eastward, using Grove’s credit cards to make purchases in numerous cities along the way. On August 2, Schad used Grove’s credit card to purchase gasoline in Benson, Arizona. On August 3, Schad used the card to purchase gas in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For approximately the next month, Schad continued traveling the country in the Cadillac and using Grove’s credit card. Schad also used Grove’s checkbook to forge a check to himself from Grove’s account, which he cashed on August 7, 1978, in Des Moines, Iowa. In New York state on September 3, 1978, Schad, still driving Grove’s Cadillac, was stopped for speeding by a New York state highway trooper. Schad told the trooper he was delivering the car to New York on behalf of a “rather elderly” man named Larry Grove. Schad could not produce the car’s registration, and instead gave the trooper the registration for Grove’s trailer. The trooper issued Schad a citation and let him go. Schad then drove back across the country, reuniting with Ehrhardt in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 7, 1978. A man who was living with Ehrhardt at the time, John Duncan, contacted Salt Lake City police the same day to report that Schad had told him the Cadillac was stolen. Schad was arrested in Salt Lake City on September 8. After Schad’s arrest, Salt Lake City police impounded and searched the Cadillac. From the Cadillac’s title application, found in the car, the police learned that the vehicle belonged to Grove. Schad told police that he had obtained the Cadillac four weeks before in Norfolk, Virginia, after meeting “an elderly gentleman who was with a young girl” and who asked Schad to trade vehicles temporarily so that he and the girl would not be recognized. Schad also told the Utah police that he “was supposed to leave [the Cadillac] at the New York City port of entry at a later date for the man to pick up.” Police found in the Cadillac’s trunk a set of Utah license plates issued to Ehrhardt. Schad had previously installed these plates on the stolen Ford. He left the Cadillac’s original plates on the car while he was driving it across the country. After Schad’s arrest, Ehrhardt went to the Salt Lake City jail and retrieved Schad’s wallet. Duncan then searched the wallet and found the credit card receipts and the New York traffic citation. He again contacted the Salt Lake City police. When Detective Halterman came to Ehrhardt’s home to collect the wallet and the documents, Ehrhardt also handed over a diamond ring she said her daughter had found in the glove compartment of the Cadillac. Witnesses later identified the ring as belonging to Grove. Duncan also visited Schad in jail. Duncan testified that during the visit Schad talked about lying about his presence in Arizona at the time of the crime and destroying evidence of the crime. On October 5, 1979, the jury found Schad guilty of first-degree murder, and the court sentenced Schad to death. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and death sentence. The United States Supreme Court denied Schad’s petition for certiorari. Schad then petitioned for habeas relief in the state courts and obtained a reversal of his conviction on the ground that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on the elements of felony murder. In Schad’s 1985 retrial, he was again convicted of first-degree murder on materially the same evidence, and sentenced to death. UPDATE: A panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Edward Harold Schad cannot be executed while a District Court judge considers whether Schad was denied effective legal representation after his 1979 conviction. A prosecutor said, however, that the Attorney General’s Office would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the stay.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 1, 2013 Pennsylvania Ray Diener, 65 Abraham Sanchez stayed
Ray Diener, murder victimOn May 2, 2007, Abraham Sanchez and his friends Lorenzo Schrijver, Robert Baker, and Emru Kebede met at the home of Susan Bass, Baker’s then-fiancee, to plan a robbery. The four men gathered almost daily in the basement of the Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, home, where Bass shared a room with Baker; Sanchez and Schrijver were closest to each other. Schrijver, a citizen of the Netherlands and recent arrival in the United States, was dating and later became engaged to Sanchez’s sister, Enid Orona. Sanchez, Schrijver, Orona, and Orona’s son lived together. Sanchez and Schrijver had met Baker two months earlier, at a Burger King that Orona managed and where Schrijver’s grandmother worked; Baker and Kebede had been friends for a few years. Sanchez and Schrijver discussed the robbery as a means to finance their burgeoning marijuana sale operation. When Bass returned home from work on May 2, 2007, she found Sanchez and Schrijver cleaning and “playing” with a gun that the two had left with Baker a few weeks earlier. Sanchez had persuaded Schrijver in early April 2007 to purchase the handgun—a.22 caliber Smith & Wesson black revolver—from one of Sanchez’s acquaintances. After one of their marijuana buyers was arrested, Sanchez and Schrijver had asked Baker to store the gun and some drugs. Baker kept the gun in a shoe box under Bass’s bed. At the beginning of May 2007, Sanchez and Schrijver removed the gun from Bass’s house because they learned Baker had been using it to shoot trees and street signs. Sanchez and Schrijver stored the gun under the passenger seat of Schrijver’s car, a green Geo Metro hatchback. The night of May 2, 2007, after deciding to go through with the robbery, Sanchez and Schrijver asked Baker and Kebede to join them. Eventually, the four men agreed to either burglarize a home or break into a car. All obtained gloves. At the time, Sanchez was dressed in long black jeans and a red short-sleeve shirt with a gray logo on the front. Schrijver was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans, and Baker was dressed in all-black. Sanchez and his companions left Bass’s house in Schrijver’s Geo Metro and drove towards Elizabethtown. After driving for a while, Schrijver noticed an isolated house with a light on and an elderly man, Ray Diener, sitting at a table inside. Schrijver parked the car and the four men walked up to Ray Diener’s house; Schrijver rang the door bell. Ray Diener turned on the porch light and came to the door. Sanchez, Baker, and Kebede remained hidden in the shadows on the right and left of the door. Schrijver asked to use the phone, telling Ray that his car had brok en down. While Ray returned to the house to bring his cell phone, Schrijver handed the gun to Sanchez and prepared to attack Ray. Ray Diener returned, and Schrijver testified that he took the phone and pretended to make a call because he was uncertain how to proceed. At that point, Sanchez came out of the shadows, pointed the gun at Mr. Diener and told him to lie down. Ray grabbed the gun and screamed “No, no, no.” Ray and Sanchez wrestled over the gun. Sanchez discharged the gun, and the bullet hit Ray in the groin area and fractured his hip. Ray fell down, and began crying and pleading for help. After the shot, Baker and Kebede fled towards Schrijver’s Geo Metro. Schrijver stayed and told Sanchez to shoot Ray again. Sanchez put the gun in Ray’s mouth and threatened him to keep quiet but Ray continued crying. Sanchez backed up and shot Ray in the chest. Ray was still alive when his wife, Barbara Diener, who was awakened by her husband’s screams, came outside. Mrs. Diener saw her husband on the ground and heard Schrijver say “There’s the wife.” She ran back inside, locked the doors, and called 911. Mrs. Diener told the 911 operator that two men were trying to open the door. Then, Sanchez, who was standing over Ray Diener, shot Ray again, through the neck and shoulder. Schrijver fled towards his car, quickly followed by Sanchez, and the four men drove away. Mrs. Diener went back outside, covered her husband’s body, and sat with him until the police arrived. Sanchez and his companions drove towards Elizabethtown. Sanchez wiped down the gun and threw the spent shell casings out of the car window, one by one. Schrijver asked Sanchez how he felt about shooting a man, and Sanchez answered that he felt like a “G”—a gangster. According to Schrijver, Sanchez looked “excited” and showed no remorse. Schrijver gave Sanchez Mr. Diener’s cell phone and suggested calling 911. At the suggestion of the other men, however, Sanchez turned off the cell phone. Then, Sanchez and his companions went to pick up Orona’s son from the home of Schrijver’s grandmother. From there, the men drove to an abandoned house where Sanchez and Schrijver normally hid drugs, and Sanchez got out and hid the gun under a concrete block on the floor of the abandoned house. Schrijver dropped off Baker and Kebede at Baker’s house, and went with Sanchez to pick up Orona from work. Outside the Burger King, Schrijver asked Sanchez again about how it felt to shoot somebody. Sanchez “shrugged it off,” and told Schrijver that, at the third shot, he saw Ray Diener’s “hair fly up and the eyes rolling back in the head.” According to Schrijver, Sanchez was acting “tough” and bragging about his actions. Barbara Diener called 911 at approximately 10:45 p.m., and police officers were dispatched to her home in West Donegal Township, on the outskirts of Elizabethtown. Officers Shuey and Cleland arrived at the scene and found Mrs. Diener on her porch, kneeling and holding Ray Diener’s body. Officer Shuey took Mrs. Diener inside and surveyed the property for the possible presence of perpetrators. Meanwhile, Officer Cleland approached Ray Diener who was lying face-down in the flower bed, with the lower half of his body on the porch steps. Cleland concluded that Ray was dead and noted that blood was coming from wounds caused by a small caliber weapon to Ray’s chest and thigh. Dr. Newman, a local assistant coroner and neighbor of Ray Diener, arrived at the scene and confirmed Officer Cleland’s observations. Subsequently, other emergency personnel and police arrived to begin the investigation, and secure and process the scene. The main investigator, Police Officer Wahl, interviewed Mrs. Diener, who stated that, when she came outside to the porch, she was confused and her focus was on her injured husband. Mrs. Diener said that she briefly heard a man addressing another person, from which she concluded that there were two perpetrators. She described them as male, 5′8″ or 5′9″ in height. According to Mrs. Diener, “they were white because they weren’t black. I don’t know if they were Mexican or Hispanic or Spanish.” Mrs. Diener also stated that one of the perpetrators may have been wearing a red T-shirt and khakis, but she was unable to describe his facial features. A sketch artist drew a composite from Mrs. Diener’s description of a second perpetrator. Following the murder, Sanchez spoke to several persons about the night of May 2, 2007. On May 4, while he was riding in Schrijver’s Geo Metro, Sanchez opened the glove box and showed the other passengers Ray Diener’s cell phone, saying it was “his new cell phone.” According to Bass, who was in the car, Sanchez boasted that he shot Ray Diener “for fun” in the foot, stomach, and head. Around the same time, Sanchez also confessed to his friend Marcus Pendleton while the two played videogames. Sanchez told Pendleton that he and his friends robbed and shot Ray Diener, taking his cell phone. Finally, Sanchez described the night of the murder to his Burger King co-worker, Chad Forry, and admitted to shooting Ray Diener three times. According to Forry, Sanchez said that he was trying “to shut the nigga up.” Forry described Sanchez as smiling when he told the story. Bass, Pendleton, and Forry gave the police written statements after Sanchez and his companions were arrested. The police arrested Sanchez, Schrijver, Baker, and Kebede on May 22, 2007. Sanchez, Schrijver, and Baker gave the police statements regarding the events of May 2, 2007, and minimized their involvement in Ray Diener’s murder. Both Schrijver and Baker identified Sanchez as Ray Diener’s killer. Subsequently, both men provided other statements to the police, again identifying Sanchez as the shooter. Further investigation by the police also led to the recovery of the murder weapon and ammunition, two pairs of gloves, and Ray Diener’s cell phone. No usable fingerprints or DNA were found on the weapon or the plastic bag in which the weapon was wrapped. One pair of gloves revealed Schrijver’s DNA; both sets of gloves tested negative for gunpowder residue and blood. On August 3, 2007, Sanchez was charged with one count each of criminal homicide, robbery, and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. Sanchez was tried before a jury and found guilty of murder in the first degree, robbery, and criminal conspiracy. On March 11, 2009, the jury sentenced Sanchez to death. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 12, 2013 Oklahoma Laci Dawn Hill, 25
Forrest Reed Boyd, 24
Charles Ray Patterson, 52
Ray Thacker executed
Ray Patterson, murder victimLaci_Dawn_Hill, murder victimOn December 23, 1999, Ray Thacker murdered Laci Dawn Hill . Thacker had responded to an advertisement Laci Hill made regarding a pool table she had for sale. After calling Laci and being given directions to her Bixby home, Thacker arrived with the intention of robbing her. When Laci allowed Thacker admission into her home, he pulled a knife and demanded money. Laci was able to convince Thacker she had no money there, but could get some from an ATM machine. So Thacker forced the victim into his car with a knife. Rather than going to the ATM, Thacker took Laci to a ramshackle cabin in the country, where he proceeded to rape her. According to Thacker’s admissions, he then left Laci in the cabin, tied to a chair with plastic zip ties. However, he became nervous he would be caught when Laci escaped, so he returned to the cabin and began strangling Laci with his hands and/or a piece of cloth. When this proved unsuccessful-due to Laci Hill’s valiant struggle to fend him off-Thacker stabbed the victim twice in the chest with his knife. Thacker left Laci Hill’s lifeless body on the cabin floor, covered by box springs and several mattresses. Authorities found her body six days later. Laci Hill was disrobed from the waist down, except for one sock. Her sweatshirt and shirt had been pushed up over her head, and her bra, which clasped in the front, had been undone. Her sweat pants and panties were found near her body. The medical examiner found the presence of sperm in Laci Hill’s vagina. He determined Laci Hill had been wearing panties at or very close to the time of her death and that the panties had remained on her body for several hours after her death. After killing Laci Hill, Thacker proceeded to go on a horrifying crime spree. He used credit and debit cards he had stolen from Laci Hill to purchase Christmas gifts for his family. Concerned authorities were looking for him, he fled to Missouri, where he car-jacked a family (an elderly woman, younger woman, and a child) three days after Christmas. Thacker reportedly pushed the female driver out of the car, and drove off with the elderly woman and the young child. He later let them go. A massive manhunt followed and Thacker was nearly caught several times. He hid out in the woods for a couple of days and broke into several homes, but was somehow able to stay ahead of police. During one of the burglaries, the homeowner, Forrest Boyd, returned. Thacker killed Boyd by stabbing him several times in the back. Thacker fled in Boyd’s car and made it to Tennessee before the car broke down. He called a towing company. The unlucky driver, Ray Patterson, also wound up being stabbed and killed by Thacker on January 2, 2000, after the credit card Thacker used to pay for the tow showed it had been stolen. Patterson and his brother, Jerry, were business partners for 32 years. "Thacker destroyed our family to the degree only we know," Jerry Patterson wrote in a letter to the state Pardon and Parole Board. Anthony Patterson, Ray’s son, also wrote to the Parole Board. "To this day, I find it very hard to stop by the station and visit with my family that still work there," he wrote. "In my mind, I can still see what took place and it’s not a pretty sight." Donna Breece said her father worked seven days a week, seldom taking a vacation. "If he did, he was only gone maybe two days," she said. "He had to get back to the station. He was my Superman with the cape." An arrest followed soon after Ray Patterson’s murder. On December 2, 2002, Thacker pled guilty to crimes of First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, and First Degree Rape. He admitted taking Laci Hill from her home by force, raping her, strangling her, stabbing her, and killing her on December 23, 1999. UPDATE: Steven Ray Thacker was executed 13 years after the kidnapping, rape and fatal stabbing of his first victim, Laci Dawn Hill. “I would like to apologize sincerely to the families of Lacy Hill, Forrest Boyd and Ray Patterson. I don’t deserve it, but as God has forgiven me, I hope you will forgive me for the pain I’ve caused,” Thacker said before the execution.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 21, 2013 Texas Manuel Aguirre
Merced Aguirre
Michael Gonzales stayed
A Texas jury convicted Gonzales of killing Manuel and Merced Aguirre. Gonzales stabbed the Aguirres to death in their home in Odessa, Texas on the night of April 21, 1994. Mr. Aguirre was stabbed eleven times and Mrs. Aguirre had stab wounds too numerous to count, including many defensive wounds. A blood spatter expert testified that Mr. Aguirre was overcome quickly, but Mrs. Aguirre fought even after falling to the floor in the attack. The medical examiner testified that she had been "basically butchered." The police investigation of the crimes quickly focused on Gonzales, who, along with his mother, wife, and child, lived in the house next door to the Aguirres. Prior to the night of the murders, the Aguirres had complained to the police about being disturbed by Gonzales’s late night activities. The Aguirres’ son testified that their fear of Gonzales was one of the reasons why they had put bars on their windows. Gonzales was taken into custody for questioning approximately sixteen hours after the murders, and he consented to a luminol test of his arms, hands, and shoes. Except for the site on Gonzales’s arm where the police had drawn blood that day, the luminol test did not indicate the presence of blood on the portions of Gonzales’s body that were tested. Gonzales was released from custody after being questioned. The police found a "blood transfer" stain on a camper parked in the alley between the Aguirre and Gonzales houses. Police also noticed that the alley had recently been swept clean. An anonymous Crime Stoppers informant reported that Gonzales had swept the dirt in that alley the morning after the murders. Police also found a red pepper on the floor underneath Mrs. Aguirre’s body. The same type of pepper was found on Gonzales’s back doorstep, and a bowl of the same peppers was found in his refrigerator. Detective Snow Robertson testified at trial that he had attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate such peppers in local stores. There was evidence that these peppers were not native to Texas and were unique to a certain area of Mexico. Linda Olivarez testified that on the night of the murders, Gonzales and his wife and child came to her home around 10:15 p.m. Gonzales had brought with him a plastic bag that he left outside by Olivarez’s front gate. Gonzales left with a man in a truck, and returned shortly thereafter. He asked his wife to pick up the plastic bag when they left. The State’s theory was that the plastic bag contained the bloody clothing Gonzales had worn when he stabbed the Aguirres. On the day after the murders, a neighbor found property belonging to the victims in front of the dumpster located on the route from Gonzales’s house to the Olivarez home. Police later found more of the Aguirres’ property in or around the dumpster. Although there was no sign of forced entry, the Aguirres’ son had identified a microwave, a VCR, a camera, a stereo, and a.22 pistol as missing from their house. Less than a week after the murders, Gonzales asked Olivarez and her husband, Julian, if they wanted to buy a microwave oven. Julian told Gonzales he would have to see it first. Julian, Linda, and Gonzales went to Gonzales’s house, where Gonzales showed them a VCR, a camera, and a stereo for sale. The Olivarezes purchased the microwave, VCR, and stereo. Gonzales also showed Julian a.22 caliber pistol, but told him it was not for sale. Gonzales said, "They are on to me." When Julian asked what he meant, Gonzales replied, "No, I can’t tell you." After the Olivarezes took the items to their home, Gonzales retrieved the stereo because they had not paid for it yet and he had already sold it to someone else. During interrogation, Daniel Lugo, a member of Gonzales’s gang, told the police that he had the Aguirres’ stolen stereo, which he had gotten from Gonzales. Gonzales’s fingerprint was found on the back of the stereo. The pistol was eventually recovered from Delia Sanchez, who testified that she purchased it from Gonzales. All of these items were later identified as those stolen from the Aguirres’ home. Some empty shell casings found in a box at Gonzales’s house were determined to have been fired from the Aguirres’ gun. Police also found a white Dexter & Russell kitchen knife in Gonzales’s home. The medical examiner testified at trial that this type of knife could have caused both of the victims’ wounds. On cross examination, the medical examiner stated that he could not rule out the possibility that Mrs. Aguirre was stabbed with more than one knife. Gonzales was arrested fifteen days after the murders and charged with capital murder for the murder of more than one person during the same criminal transaction. Upon arrest, Gonzales had two teardrop tattoos on his face; at trial, an officer testified that these tattoos were a gang symbol signifying the number of people a person has killed. Gonzales was in a gang called "Homies Don’t Play." No one else was charged in the murders. Detective Robertson suspected that two other gang members, Daniel Lugo and Jesse Perkins, were involved in the murders. Julian Olivarez believed that both of them probably had something to do with the murders. Lugo had told a friend that there were dead bodies in the Aguirres’ house at least an hour before the crime was reported by the Aguirres’ son. On the day Gonzales was arrested, Charles Kenimer, a guard at the local jail and Gonzales’s relative, saw Gonzales leave a police station interrogation room with Detective Robertson and a Texas Ranger. Kenimer testified that Gonzales seemed upset and that he tried to calm Gonzales by stating, "Boy, you really got these officers upset. I don’t know what you said." Kenimer testified that Gonzales responded, in Spanish, "They’re trying to pin this rap on me, this murder rap on me. They can’t do it. They don’t have any evidence. Although I did it, you know, but they don’t have anything to go on."3 During the guilt-innocence phase, the defense strategy was to highlight evidence of other parties’ involvement in the offense, and to emphasize the State’s burden of proof. The prosecution did not request a jury instruction on the law of parties. Thus, the jury was required to find that Gonzales intentionally caused the death of both victims by stabbing them. During closing argument, defense counsel argued that the evidence strongly suggested that other suspects were involved, and that there was no direct evidence that Gonzales murdered both victims. Defense counsel repeatedly reminded the jury that Gonzales could not be held responsible for an accomplice’s criminal conduct. Nevertheless, during his final closing argument, the prosecutor argued, without objection, that Gonzales was guilty of capital murder even if he killed only one of the victims and aided and abetted someone else in the killing of the other victim. During deliberations, the jury asked the following question: "we need clarification on capital murder versus murder verdict. If Mr. Gonzales murdered one individual only, then does his association make him guilty of both." The trial judge responded by referring the jury to the charge. The jury found Gonzales guilty of capital murder. Following the punishment phase, the jury answered the special issue on future dangerousness affirmatively and answered the special issue on mitigation negatively; thus, Gonzales was sentenced to death.

Page visited times since 1/13/13

Page last updated 03/17/13