March 2014 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 19, 2014 Ohio John McGrath, 79 Gregory Lott stayed
The East Cleveland, Ohio, home of John McGrath, a 79-year-old African-American man, was burglarized on three separate occasions in August 1983.On August 24, 1983, after the third break-in, East Cleveland police detectives, in consultation with McGrath, devised a plan to apprehend the person or persons that had burglarized his home. They placed a clean drinking glass upside down over a quarter on McGrath’s dining room table, anticipating that the burglar would lift the glass to remove the quarter, and in the process, leave his or her fingerprints. A fourth burglary occurred on September 7, 1983, after which McGrath again notified police. As predicted by the detectives, the burglar had moved the drinking glass and taken the quarter. The police analyzed the fingerprints obtained from the glass, but were unable to identify them at that time. Three years later, on Saturday, July 12, 1986, McGrath drove his 1982 Ford Escort to a bank, where he cashed a $21 check. Patricia Hill, the head bank teller, stated that McGrath appeared to be in high spirits and in good health. On Monday morning, July 14, Deidra Coleman noticed McGrath’s Ford Escort parked in her Cleveland, Ohio, neighborhood. Behind the wheel of the car was a young, African-American male, who remained in the car for almost two hours. Her suspicions aroused, Coleman walked by the car, looked at the driver, noted the license plate number, and twice called the police from a pay phone a block away. She provided police with a description of the vehicle and its license plate number. The car left at approximately 11:20 a.m. and returned thirty minutes later, at which time Coleman observed the driver walk to the yard of her elderly neighbors, where Esther Turk was home alone. Again, Coleman notified the police. Shortly thereafter, she spotted the young man running from the Turks’ home, while carrying a brown bag beneath his arm. Coleman and Turk’s husband then entered the home and discovered a bruised Esther Turk shaking with her blouse undone. She had been assaulted and robbed. Coleman, a trained artist, sketched for the police the driver she had seen in the Ford Escort parked outside the Turks’ house. She subsequently identified Lott from a photo array as the driver of the vehicle. Coleman again provided City of Cleveland police detectives with the vehicle’s license plate number, and they, in turn, used that information to identify McGrath as the owner. The detectives traveled to McGrath’s house and sought to speak with him about his car. Upon seeking entry into the home, they were unable to elicit a response from anyone in the house. The following day, the detectives asked East Cleveland police officers to check on the welfare of McGrath. When uniformed East Cleveland police officers were also unable to rouse McGrath, they entered the house through an unsecured kitchen door, whereupon they discovered a bloody, semi-conscious, and severely burned McGrath lying on the bedroom floor of his home. Apparently, during the course of a burglary of McGrath’s home, an unknown assailant had doused McGrath with heating lamp oil and set him on fire. McGrath suffered second-degree burns over twelve- to eighteen-percent of his body. The burns extended over his right back and side, lower and upper left side, both arms, and both knees. McGrath also suffered abrasions on his wrist, knee, and ankle, and a bruised left eye, which had apparently been caused by a blunt trauma. At the time that police officers discovered McGrath, he was wearing a shirt that covered his burns, although the shirt itself was not scorched. Dried fluids (apparently from McGrath’s burning flesh) were present on the shirt and a strong odor emanated from McGrath’s burns. Police also found, within a foot of McGrath’s body, a frayed telephone cord, which police believe was used to bind McGrath’s wrists and ankles. On an adjacent cabinet, police discovered an uncapped one-quart bottle of flammable heating lamp oil. One-third of the oil remained in the bottle. Other evidence of a fire included charred draperies and a sheet. When police officers interviewed McGrath, he informed them that he recognized his attacker. McGrath described him as a six-foot-tall, medium-build, very light-complexioned African-American man with long, straight hair, who, at the time of the attack, was wearing a light-colored shirt, white-gray tennis shoes, and a cap without a bill. One week after McGrath provided police detectives with this description, he was interviewed again at the hospital, at which time he told them that he believed that he and his assailant were patrons of the same barber shop. Police detectives showed McGrath a composite sketch drawn by Coleman of the man seen driving his car. McGrath examined the sketch, but was unable to identify the sketched individual as his attacker. Both interviews of McGrath were memorialized in police reports. On July 23, 1986, McGrath died of acute bilateral bronchopneumonia stemming from his injuries. City of Cleveland police officers arrested Lott in Cleveland for McGrath’s murder on July 30, 1986. An investigation conducted by City of Cleveland police officers determined that an intruder had forcibly entered McGrath’s home by removing a rear basement window from its frame and prying loose a panel on the door leading from the basement to the kitchen. The house had obviously been ransacked. Kitchen and bedroom drawers had been opened and emptied. The mattress to McGrath’s bed had also been disturbed. The officers lifted a set of fingerprints from a church contribution envelope in McGrath’s home and a fingerprint from a dresser in the bedroom. Officers identified the fingerprints as Lott’s and also determined that Lott’s fingerprints matched those found on the glass that the officers had placed on McGrath’s dining room table three years earlier. In McGrath’s bedroom, the officers discovered a dusty shoeprint, which generally matched the pattern found on a pair of light-colored tennis shoes recovered by officers from the trunk of Lott’s car on the date of his arrest. A few days after the discovery of McGrath, police officers located McGrath’s car, which they believe Lott stole and drove for more than 28 hours prior to his apprehension.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 19, 2014 Texas David Alejandro, 33 Ray Jasper executed
David Alejandro, murder victimDavid Alejandro owned and operated a music recording studio where musicians could have their music professionally recorded for a fee. David was also the lead singer of a San Antonio Christian-based music group in addition to running his recording studio. The business required the use of various pieces of electronic equipment such as computers, soundboards and microphones. Ray Jasper and some of his friends frequently recorded their rap music at the studio. At some point, Jasper decided to steal David Alejandro’s equipment in order to make money from its sale. Aware that David would be able to identify him, Jasper also decided to kill Alejandro so that there would be no witnesses. He enlisted the help of two friends to assist in removing the heavy equipment from the studio. On November 21, 1998, Jasper purchased large bags from an Academy store. On November 30, he and his accomplices drove two vans to David’s studio. Jasper and one accomplice carried concealed knives. The three had made an appointment at the studio and spent about two hours there while David recorded their music before they decided it was time to kill him. Jasper slashed David’s throat from ear to ear, but did not kill him. Jasper and one accomplice continued to attack David Alejandro until he died as a result of multiple stab wounds to his chest and abdomen. Jasper covered the body with a sheet taken earlier from Jasper’s bed, and the group began loading equipment into the vans. Jasper fled on foot when an off-duty police officer arrived to investigate the scene, but was apprehended days later outside his home. On December 2, 1998, Jasper confessed to police that he had planned the crime and recruited two accomplices. His confession describes events in detail that were later corroborated by Jasper’s girlfriend, Christina Breton, police officers, security guards, and physical evidence discovered by investigators. Breton testified that several days before the commission of the crime, Jasper had told her about his plan to steal David Alejandro’s equipment and kill him. During the punishment phase of the trial, the State introduced evidence of Jasper’s criminal history and bad acts, beginning at age fifteen, including offenses and bad acts such as theft of a bicycle, drug possession, attempted burglary, and an incident of violence against an off-duty police officer. The jury took only 15 minutes to decide that Jasper was guilty of the offense and, after the penalty phase testimony, two hours to answer the questions that led to t he sentence of death. Doug Williams, 35 at the time of Jasper’s execution, was sentenced to life in prison. Steven Russell, 34, also is serving life after taking a plea deal. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals notes that the "facts of this crime were brutal and demonstrated calculated deliberation. Jasper planned well in advance the stabbing murder of someone he would later describe as ‘one of the nicest people he ever met in his life.’ He allowed Alejandro to assist him with recording for two hours, knowing he was about to kill him. As Alejandro sat unaware at the soundboard mixing a track for Jasper, Jasper pulled his head back and, taking a kitchen knife from his jacket, slit his throat from ear to ear. When that wound did not kill him, one of Jasper’s accomplices joined the attack until Alejandro was dead. Alejandro suffered twenty-five stab wounds. Jasper quickly loaded equipment into the vans and instructed one stunned accomplice to hurry up and help. In addition to the facts of the crime itself, evidence of prior criminal history and lack of remorse support the jury’s finding. Jasper’s criminal history included incidents beginning at the age of fifteen, when he stole a bicycle. He was expelled from school for possession of marijuana and expelled from alternative school. More recently, he attempted a residential burglary and attacked the off-duty police officer who attempted to detain him and also attempted to evade police at a traffic stop, leading them on a high-speed chase. The evidence shows a pattern of escalating criminal activity and an increasing proclivity to break laws posing threats to the safety of others. Furthermore, the evidence showed a lack of remorse. Immediately after killing Alejandro, Jasper began loading the vans. At the punishment phase of the trial, when asked if he had anything to say to Alejandro’s family, Jasper replied that he wanted the family to know that he did not kill Alejandro because, according to the autopsy, the only wound he claims to have been inflicted by his hand (slicing the victim’s throat, as opposed to the twenty-five stab wounds), was not enough to kill him." UPDATE: Before being put to death, Jasper spoke quietly, asking his family to "take care of each other, stay strong and faithful to God." He also thanked his supporters and told his daughter that he loved her, adding that she "be strong, be positive, have a great life." Jasper then asked that the "Lord God almighty in heaven Jesus Christ see my spirit."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 20, 2014 Oklahoma Stephanie Michelle Neiman , 19 Clayton Lockett stayed to Apr 22
Stephanie Neiman, murder victimAt around 10:30 p.m. on June 3, 1999, Bobby Bornt was asleep on the couch at his house in Perry, Oklahoma, when his front door was kicked in. Three men, Clayton Derrell Lockett, Shawn Mathis and Alfonzo Lockett, entered his house and immediately started beating and kicking him. Bornt recognized Lockett because Lockett had recently covered a tattoo for him. Lockett was carrying a shotgun which he used to hit Bornt. After the beating, Bornt’s attackers used duct tape to secure his hands behind his back and they gagged him and left him on the couch while they ransacked the house looking for drugs.  As Bornt lay restrained on the couch his friend, Summer Hair, approached the open door.  She was pulled inside, hit in the face and thrown against a wall. One of the men put a gun to her head and ordered her to call to her friend, Stephanie Neiman, who was outside sitting in her pickup. When Stephanie came inside, they hit her several times to get the keys to her pickup and the code to disarm the alarm on her pickup. The men put all three victims in the bedroom where Bornt’s nine-month old son, Sam, had been sleeping. Alfonzo Lockett came into the bedroom and got Summer. He took her into the bathroom where he made her perform oral sodomy on him. He then took her into Bornt’s bedroom where he told her to get undressed and he raped her. When he was finished, he left her there and Lockett came into the bedroom. He raped her vaginally and anally and he made her perform oral sodomy on him. When he was finished, he told her to get dressed and she went back into Sam’s bedroom with the others. Alfonzo Lockett came into the bedroom and used duct tape to secure Summer’s and Stephanie’s hands behind their backs. He also put tape across their mouths. Lockett instructed Mathis to look in the garage for a shovel. When he returned with a shovel, the victims were loaded into Bobby Bornt’s and Stephanie Neiman’s pickups. Bornt and his son were placed in his pickup with Lockett. Summer and Stephanie were placed in Stephanie Neiman’s pickup with Mathis and Alfonzo Lockett. They took off driving with Lockett in the lead. They left Perry and drove to a rural area in Kay County. Lockett stopped on a country road where he got out of the pickup he was driving and went over to Stephanie Neiman’s pickup. He made Summer get out and go with him to a ditch where he raped her and forced her to perform oral sex on him. When he was finished, he took her back to Bornt’s pickup. While Summer was sitting in the pickup, Mathis got her and took her back to Stephanie Neiman’s pickup where he made her perform oral sex on him. He grabbed her head and said, “In order for you to live, this is what you have got to do.” While stopped on the country road, Lockett told Mathis to get the shovel and start digging. When Mathis was digging in the ditch, Bornt heard Lockett say, “Someone has got to go.” Stephanie was taken to the hole dug by Mathis and Lockett shot her. The gun jammed and Lockett came back up to the pickup to fix it. While he was doing this, Bornt could hear Stephanie’s muffled screams. When the gun was fixed, Lockett went back down to the ditch and shot Stephanie again. While Mathis buried Stephanie’s body, Lockett and Alfonzo Lockett warned Bobby and Summer that if they told anyone they would be killed too. They then drove both pickups to another location where they left Stephanie’s pickup. All of them rode back to Bornt’s house in his pickup. Lockett, Mathis and Alfonzo Lockett dropped off Bornt, his son and Summer Hair at Bornt’s house and they left in Bornt’s pickup. The following day, Bobby Bornt and Summer Hair told the Perry police what had happened. Stephanie Neiman’s pickup and her body were recovered and Lockett, Mathis and Alfonzo Lockett were subsequently arrested. Lockett was interviewed by the police three times. The first time he terminated the interview and asked for an attorney. He later reinitiated the interview and although he denied shooting Stephanie Neiman during the second interview, he confessed to having killed her in a third interview.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 20, 2014 Florida Phyllis Harris, 53
Janet Cox Thermidor, 35
Robert Henry executed
Arcund 9:30 p.m. on November 1, 1987 firefighters and police officers responded to a fire at Cloth World, a fabric store on South Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Inside they found two of the store’s employees. Phyllis Harris was tied up in the men’s restroom, and Janet Thermidor was on the floor of the women’s restroom. Each had been hit in the head with a hammer and set on fire. Phyllis was dead and her body was still burning when she was found. Although suffering from a head wound and burns over more than ninety percent of her body, Thermidor was conscious. After being taken to a local hospital, she told a police officer that after the store closed, she had gone to a back office to count the day’s receipts while Phyllis and Robert Lavern Henry, the store’s maintenance man, stayed on the sales floor. After first attacking Phyllis and tying her up with cord from the store’s shelves, Henry had entered the office, hit Janet in the head, and stolen the store’s money. Henry then left the office, but returned, threw a liquid on Janet, and set her on fire as she begged him not to do it, then did the same to Phyllis. Janet said she ran to the restroom in an effort to extinguish the fire. "I don’t know why he had to do that to me. He didn’t have to do that to me," she said on the taped interview. She died the following morning. Based on Janet Thermidor’s statement, the police began looking for Henry and found him shortly before 7:00 am on November 3, at which time they arrested him. Henry initially claimed that three unknown men robbed the store, ordered him to tie up the women and abducted him, but later made statements incriminating himself. The amount of money stolen was around $1200. A grand jury indicted Henry for two counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and arson. The jury convicted him as charged and recommended the death sentence for each of the murders, which the trial court imposed. Phyllis Harris and her husband Bert had moved from Iowa to Deerfield Beach in 1985 after their five children were grown. Bert was a social studies teacher and football coach at Deerfield Beach High School. Phyllis worked as an attendance clerk at Northeast High in Oakland Park as well as part-time at the store. Janet Thermidor, 35, belonged to the choir at St. Paul United Methodist Church of Deerfield Beach. UPDATE: Before the execution, Henry read a three-minute statement in which he apologized for his crimes and said he hoped his death would comfort the families of the victims. But he also criticized the death penalty, saying thieves don’t get their hands amputated as punishment. "Why would we continue to be murderers to those who have murdered?," he said. After the execution, Thermidor’s sister, Deborah Knights, read a family statement. "We will always cherish the memory of her life that was taken too soon by a demon from hell," she said. "Today should be closure, but how can you forget the brutal way in which two lives were taken without remorse?"
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 26, 2014 Missouri Kelli Hall , 17 Jeffrey Ferguson executed
Kelli Hall, murder victimOn February 9, 1989, at about 9:00 pm, Melvin Hedrick met Jeffrey Ferguson and a friend, Kenneth Ousley, at Ferguson’s home. Ferguson asked Hedrick if he would be interested in buying a.32 caliber pistol. Although Hedrick said that he was not interested, he suggested that they take the pistol with them because they might be able to sell it at a bar. Ferguson and Hedrick then made their way to Brother’s Bar in St. Charles, where they stayed for about forty-five minutes to an hour. At the bar, Hedrick began to feel ill, and Ferguson arranged for Ousley to meet them at a Shell service station on 5th Street, near Interstate 70. Between 10:50 and 10:55 pm, Ferguson and Hedrick made the short trip to the Shell station, where Ousley was waiting in Ferguson’s brown and white Blazer. Ferguson put the.32 caliber pistol in his waistband and then walked toward the passenger side of the Blazer as Hedrick left for home. Seventeen-year-old Kelli Hall , the victim in the case, worked at a Mobil service station across the street from the Shell station where Ousley and Ferguson met. Kelli’s shift was scheduled to end at 11:00 p.m., and at about that time, one of Kelli’s co-workers, Tammy Adams, arrived at the Mobil station to relieve her. A few minutes later, Robert Stulce, who knew Kelli, drove up to the Mobil station to meet a friend and noticed Kelli checking and recording the fuel levels in the four tanks at the front of the station. Stulce also saw a brown and white Blazer, which he later identified as identical to Ferguson’s Blazer, pull in front of him and stop in the parking lot near Kelli. When Stulce looked again, Kelli was facing a white male who was standing between the open passenger door and the body of the Blazer. The man stood very close to Kelli and appeared to have one hand in his pocket and the other hand free. Stulce then saw Kelli get into the back passenger seat of the vehicle. In the meantime, Kelli’s boyfriend, Tim Parres, waited for her in his car, which he had parked behind the station. After waiting for Kelli for about half an hour, Parres went inside the station looking for her, but to no avail. He and Tammy Adams then determined that Kelli was not at home, but that her purse was still at the station, and at that point they called the police. Early the next morning, February 10, a street maintenance worker for the City of Chesterfield found a red coat, a blue sweater with a Mobil insignia, a white shirt, an undershirt, a bra, underwear, and tennis shoes two to three feet off Creve Coeur Mill Road. In the pocket of the coat was a red scarf and a Mobil credit card slip form with notations on the back about the fuel levels of two of the underground tanks. On that same day, Melvin Hedrick heard on two news reports that a girl had been abducted from a St. Charles gas station and that police were looking for a Blazer like Ferguson’s. Hedrick called Ferguson and jokingly asked him if he abducted the girl, whereupon Ferguson became angry and responded: “I wasn’t even in St. Charles last night. Don’t tell anybody I was in St. Charles last night.” Later in the evening Ferguson called Hedrick and told him that he thought they were just “joking around” earlier. That night, Kenneth Ousley showed his friend Mike Thompson two rings and asked him if he knew where they could exchange the rings for money or cocaine. When Thompson asked where the rings came from, Ousley replied that he and Ferguson “did a job in St. Charles” and that Ferguson had a third ring. The next day, February 11, 1989, Ousley and Thompson sought advice from Alicia Medlock about exchanging the rings for drugs or finding a pawnshop, but she provided no help. On February 12, Ousley told Thompson that Ferguson knew a woman in Jefferson County who dealt in jewelry, and that Ferguson would handle getting rid of the rings. Sometime that day, Ferguson offered to sell the three rings to Brenda Rosener, the Jefferson County woman. When Rosener asked Ferguson if they were “hot,” he said that they were “very hot.” Rosener refused to buy the rings, but Ferguson left them with her anyway and told her to think it over. During that time, Hedrick began to think that Ferguson was involved in the crime. On Monday morning, February 13, 1989, Hedrick contacted Glenn Young, a co-worker who was a former FBI agent, and suggested that the FBI investigate Ferguson. Later that day, Ferguson called Hedrick and said that he intended to leave town because things were getting “too hot.” Ferguson, accompanied by Ousley, then drove to a friend’s auto body shop where he asked to have his Blazer painted black, explaining that people with Blazers were being pulled over by police because of the Kelli Hall disappearance and that he wanted to avoid being “hassled.” The shop owner, however, was too busy to do the job that day, and Ferguson and Ousley left without making an appointment for some other day. At about this time, the street maintenance worker realized the significance of the clothes he found on Creve Coeur Mill Road and turned them over to the police. The next day, Tuesday, February 14, Kelli Hall’s mother identified the clothing he found as the clothing her daughter wore on the night she disappeared. Several days later, on February 18, Ferguson called Hedrick and told him that the FBI had searched his house, but had not found anything. He urged Hedrick not to tell anyone that he was in St. Charles at the time of the abduction and suggested that if Hedrick had to say anything at all, he should say they were there at 10:00 pm, rather than 11:00 pm. On February 20, Ferguson went to Brenda Rosener’s house to inquire about the rings. Because Rosener was not home, Ferguson asked her housemate, Ed Metcalf, if he knew whether she wanted to buy the rings. Ferguson then said that he was being investigated in connection with Kelli Hall’s disappearance, whereupon Metcalf asked him to leave. That night, Metcalf asked Rosener to show him the rings that Ferguson was talking about. Suspecting that the rings were Kelli Hall’s, they decided to call Michael Eifert, a relative who was an officer with the St. Ann Police Department. After obtaining the three rings from Metcalf and Rosener, Officer Eifert took them to the St. Charles Police Department, and Kelli Hall’s mother identified them as her daughter’s. Early on the morning of February 22, Warren Stemme was working on his farm in the Missouri River bottoms. As he walked by a machinery shed, he discovered Kelli Hall’s body, frozen, clothed only in socks, and partially obscured by steel building partitions that had been leaned up against the shed. The partitions could not have been moved by one man alone. According to the trial testimony of the state’s forensic pathologist, Kelli Hall died from strangulation with a broad ligature, such as a strip of cloth. The pathologist also testified that it would have taken one to two minutes for Kelli to lose consciousness; then two or three more minutes for Kelli to die; that multiple red horizontal abrasions on Kelli’s neck indicated a struggle; and, therefore, that the strangulation process could have taken longer than several minutes. The day that Kelli’s body was found, FBI agents and St. Charles police arranged for Melvin Hedrick to wear a body transmitter and meet with Ferguson at a bar. Hedrick asked Ferguson what happened to the gun he had with him the night of the abduction, and Ferguson responded, “Just forget the gun. It’s gone. I got rid of it.” Hedrick said, “You got rid of it?” Ferguson replied, “Hell, yeah.” Hedrick told Ferguson that he suspected his involvement in the abduction, and Ferguson stated he could understand why Hedrick was suspicious. When Hedrick commented that they were near the scene at the time of the abduction, Ferguson insisted that it was later or earlier than that. Hedrick pointed out that he had paid with a credit card at Brother’s Bar, so the time that they left would be recorded. Ferguson said, “Well, then you will just have to go with that.” Referring to the media attention over the abduction, Ferguson then stated: “they’re making a big thing out of this thing and it’s just another fucking cunt who lost it.” Ferguson was arrested later that night. After being informed of his rights, both at the time of arrest and again at the police station, he indicated he understood, and he agreed to talk to Detective Michael Harvey. Ferguson admitted being at the Shell station, across from the Mobil station, on the night of the abduction, but he denied any involvement. Detective Harvey then placed the three rings in front of Ferguson and told him that the rings had come from an informant named Eddie who said that Ferguson had sold them to him. Ferguson indicated that he knew that this was Ed Metcalf, but said that Metcalf was lying. The FBI crime laboratory examined blood, hair, fiber, and DNA evidence collected during the investigation. The serology unit tested blood samples from Kelli Hall, Ferguson, and Kenneth Ousley, and the results showed that Ferguson had blood type A and that he was a secretor, which meant that his blood type could be identified from his semen. Ousley had blood type B, and was a non-secretor. Tests of the vaginal swab and the vaginal wash taken from Kelli Hall during the autopsy both identified semen that came from someone with type A blood who was a secretor. Another test identified semen collected from the collar and the inside of Hall’s coat also as that of an individual with type A blood who was a secretor. Lab personnel then performed DNA analysis-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP)-by comparing DNA extracted from the semen stain on the collar of Kelli Hall’s coat with DNA extracted from blood samples obtained from Ferguson, Ousley, and Kelli Hall. Based on these tests, Ousley’s DNA was not present in the semen stain, but the DNA obtained from Ferguson was a “match.” Lab personnel also examined fibers found on Kelli Hall’s sweater and socks, compared them to fibers from the carpeting in Ferguson’s Blazer, and found them to be “indistinguishable.” They also examined a blonde hair of Caucasian origin found on Ousley’s shoe (Ousley is African-American), compared it with a sample of Kelli’s hair, and determined that the hairs were “indistinguishable.” Finally, the pubic hair of an African American was recovered from Hall’s socks, and it was “indistinguishable” from Ousley’s sample. On the basis of the foregoing evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, and the case proceeded to the penalty phase. To show Ferguson’s prior assaults, the state introduced the testimony of Holly Viehland, who lived with Ferguson for two years, during which time Ferguson assaulted her and frequently threatened to kill her. Additionally, there was testimony that Ferguson shot an acquaintance, Mike Thompson, in the shoulder during a dispute involving Viehland. In mitigation, Ferguson presented testimony of two clinical psychologists who testified that he suffered from persistent recurrent depression and a psychiatric disorder known as substance dependence, for which he never received adequate treatment. Ferguson also presented eight other witnesses who testified to his problems with alcohol and drugs and to his otherwise good character. At the close of the penalty phase evidence, the jury found the presence of the following six aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) that the murder of the victim was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture and depravity of mind; 2) that the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest of Ferguson or others; 3) that the murder was committed while Ferguson was engaged in the perpetration or was aiding or encouraging another person to perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate a felony of any degree of rape; 4) that the murder was committed while Ferguson was engaged in the perpetration or was aiding or encouraging another person to perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate a felony of any degree of kidnapping; 5) that Ferguson committed the crime of assault against Mike Thompson on or about September 12, 1988;  and 6) that Ferguson committed the crime of assault against Holly from late 1987 to late 1988. Upon the jury’s recommendation, the trial court sentenced Ferguson to death. UPDATE: Despite appeals from his attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the governor all refused to halt the execution of Jeffrey Ferguson. "Kelli Hall was only 17 when she was abducted from her workplace, raped and brutally murdered," Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement Tuesday. "Her life, so full of promise, was brutally taken from her and her family. The jury that convicted Jeffrey Ferguson of Kelli’s murder found that the aggravating circumstances for this crime warranted the death penalty," Nixon said in denying Ferguson’s clemency request. "My decision today upholds that appropriate sentence."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 27, 2014 Oklahoma Adriana Waller, 1 Charles Warner stayed to Apr 29
In August of 1997, Shonda Waller and her eleven month-old daughter, Adriana Waller, lived in Oklahoma City with Charles Frederick Warner and his three children, aged 7, 5 and 2. At about 7:30 am on August 22, Warner left the house to go pay a traffic ticket. When Shonda woke up at 8:00 am, she stayed in bed and played with Adriana for a while. Adriana was her normal, playful self and did not seem to be experiencing any type of discomfort. When Shonda changed Adriana’s diaper that morning, she did not notice anything wrong with Adriana. After Shonda got up, she made sandwiches for the kids and for Warner when he came home. Shonda and Warner had planned to go grocery shopping with all of the children that morning but Warner suggested that she go by herself and leave the children with him at the house. Shonda left to go shopping around noon. She arrived back at the house with the groceries at around 2:30 pm. She looked in on Adriana and saw her laying on the bed. A short time later Shonda told Warner that she wanted to go pay to have the telephone connected. When Warner went to get Adriana, he brought her out of the bedroom and said that she wasn’t breathing. Shonda grabbed Adriana and asked Warner to drive them to the hospital. On the way to the hospital Shonda performed CPR on her daughter. When Shonda carried Adriana into the emergency room of Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City, Adriana appeared lifeless. Resuscitation efforts by medical personnel failed and she was pronounced dead approximately forty minutes later. Emergency room nurses proceeded to clean the baby. When nurse Robin Jones was changing Adriana’s diaper, she noticed bright red blood around the child’s anus and tears in the child’s rectum. The injury appeared recent as there were no scabs or signs of healing. At this point post-mortem care stopped and the police were called. From the autopsy, the forensic pathologist opined that head and abdominal injuries had caused the child’s death. She testified that the injuries were probably inflicted upon the child within an hour of her death, although they could have been inflicted up to three hours before she died. The police interviewed Warner late in the day on August 22 and into the early morning on August 23. Warner was subsequently arrested, charged and convicted of the first degree murder and first degree rape of 1-year-old Adriana Waller. In addition to the death sentence, the jury assessed punishment at nine hundred ninety-nine years imprisonment on the rape conviction. Warner’s original conviction in 1999 was overturned by the appeals court after it found the trial judge erred by seating a juror who said he had “a strong bias towards the death penalty.” Warner was again convicted and sentenced to death in 2003. During the retrial, Warner’s 12-year-old son testified that he saw his father shake Adriana on the day she died. "My dad didn’t get along with Adriana," said the boy, who lives in California with his mother and siblings. "She would cry, make a lot of noise." He also said the day the infant died wasn’t the first time he had seen his father shaking the infant. After the baby was shaken, the boy said, he stayed most of the afternoon in his sister’s bedroom. "I think he was angry so that’s why I stayed in my sister’s room," the boy said.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 27, 2014 Texas Hyun Mi Cho, 37 Anthony Doyle executed
Hyun Cho was a native of South Koreo who was working at the Chaha Donut Shop in order to earn money to care for her ill parents. On January 16, 2003, Anthony Doyle placed an order for delivery of donuts and breakfast tacos with the shop, disguising his voice and saying his name was Mary. When Cho arrived at the home of Doyle’s parents to deliver the food, Doyle beat her to death with a baseball bat after she told him she did not have any money. He put her body into a neighbor’s trash can, and attempted to clean the blood from the walls and floor. He took her car, cell phone, and credit cards and drove to meet his friends, to whom he indicated he had murdered someone, stating that he was not “playing” anymore. They attempted to use Cho’s credit cards to make purchases. When Doyle learned that police had been called after the neighbor found Cho’s body in the trash can, he fled. Police canvassed the neighborhood and searched the Doyle house, after being alerted to a wet brown spot on the carpet by Doyle’s sister. They found his blood-stained clothes, blood spatters on the ceiling, floor and walls, marks from the trash can’s wheels, and other evidence such as bleach, fresh paint and barbecue sauce that had been used in an attempt to cover up the bloodstains on the carpet. Doyle later abandoned Cho’s car at a carwash and threw her possessions into a nearby dumpster. The police found those items and the original receipt for the donut delivery. Doyle’s mother tried to convince him to come to the police station to talk to officers, and although he agreed, he never did but was arrested shortly thereafter at a friend’s house in Dallas. He eventually orally confessed to the crime under police questioning, taking more than two hours to write a ten-page confession. Doyle was convicted and sentenced to death. During the punishment phase of the trial, significant evidence was produced by prosecution and defense pertaining to Doyle’s character and history. The prosecution presented evidence of Doyle’s violent past, including numerous violent outbursts in school and at home; there was evidence of Doyle’s ties to a violent gang. UPDATE: Anthony Doyle shook his head and said nothing inside the death chamber in Huntsville when a warden asked if he had a statement to make.

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