November 2014 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 13, 2014 Florida Cassandra Banks
Melody Cooper, 11
Chadwick Banks pending
Chadwick Banks entered Cassandra Banks’ trailer with a gun at approximately 2:50 a.m. on September 24, 1992. He shot Cassandra Banks in the head while she was asleep. Cassandra died without ever gaining consciousness. Banks then went to Melody Cooper’s bedroom at the other end of the trailer. He set the gun down and sexually battered her for approximately twenty minutes before shooting her in the top of the head, killing her. Banks was married to Cassandra Banks. Cassandra had one child from a previous relationship, Melody Cooper, who was not quite 11 years old at the time she was murdered. They lived in a trailer near Dut’s place, a nightclub owned by Cassandra’s grandmother Bernice Collins and run by her son (and Cassandra’s uncle) Leonard Collins. The evening before the murder, Banks was at Dut’s, drinking malt liquor and shooting pool. Cassandra was there for a while, but left sometime before 2:15-2:30 a.m. Just before 3:00 a.m., Bernice Collins saw Banks drive to the trailer he and the victims shared, and sit in his car for a few minutes. Then he went “onto the front” of the trailer. About an hour later, Collins heard a car “spin off” in front of her house. The next morning, Collins sent her son (and Cassandra’s father) Buddy Black to the trailer to check on Cassandra. He discovered the bodies of Cassandra and Melody Cooper. Cassandra had been shot in the head while she lay sleeping. Melody had been sexually battered and then shot in the top of her head. Following his arrest, Banks admitted to police that, after shooting his wife, he had gone to his stepdaughter Melody Cooper’s bedroom. She was awake, and asked his what he was doing. Banks admitted that he “spanked” her, “molested” her for “about twenty minutes,” and then shot her. He denied having anal sex with her and claimed that she had not tried to get away or to fight him. The physical evidence was to the contrary, however. Melody Cooper’s body had been found face down, on her knees, on the floor beside her bed. She was nude below her waist, and her posterior and genitalia were exposed. Her underpants had been torn and lay under a T-shirt that had what appeared to be a footprint on it. A pubic hair deep inside her body was microscopically consistent with Banks’s pubic hair. In addition, there was significant trauma to her anus, indicating the girl had been sodomized. Banks’s semen was found inside her anus, on her t-shirt, on her inner thigh, on the floor, and in Banks’ own underwear. Melody’s bedroom and her bed were in disarray. She had a bad bruise on the right side of her forehead and an abrasion on her right eyebrow. There was a blood stain on the bed sheet. Blood identified as Banks’s was found under Melody’s fingernails and on the pillowcase, while blood on her t-shirt was identified as hers.The medical examiner testified that, given the position of Melody’s body, which had not moved after the shot, her head must have been “pulled back real far… to get the gun to shoot in the top of the head”.The State presented an information, plea and adjudication of guilt for the murder of Cassandra Banks and, as well, two prior aggravated assaults which Banks had committed a little more than a year before he murdered Cassandra and Melody. He was on probation for these crimes when he committed the two murders in the instant case.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 13, 2014 Oklahoma Adriana Waller, 1 Charles Warner pending
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
November 13, 2014 Pennsylvania Alfred Mignogna, 61
Frederick Rickabaugh, 58
Stephen Heiss, 28
Miguel Padilla pending
In the very early morning hours of August 28, 2005, Miguel Padilla, an illegal alien, fatally shot three men outside of the United Veterans Association (“UVA”), a private social club in Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania, after he and two friends, Travis Shumaker and Shirley Shumaker, were denied admission. The victims were Alfred Mignogna, the owner of the club; Frederick Rickabaugh, the bouncer; and Stephen Heiss, a bystander/patron of the club. Shortly after the shootings, Padilla called 911 and told the operator that he thought he had hurt someone. Police found Padilla at the Shumaker residence and took him into custody approximately an hour after the shootings. Padilla was charged by information with three counts of criminal homicide; one count of aggravated assault, felony of the first degree; one count of aggravated assault, felony of the second degree; and one count each of recklessly endangering another person and illegal alien not to possess/use a firearm. At trial, which was held in Blair County before a jury chosen from citizens of Cumberland County, defense counsel acknowledged that Padilla had shot the three men, but he attempted to introduce a defense of diminished capacity due to alcohol- and marijuana-induced intoxication. On September 12, 2006, the jury found Padilla guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and one count each of aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. Following a penalty phase hearing, on September 14, 2006, the jury found three aggravating circumstances and three mitigating circumstances, determined that the former outweighed the latter, and voted to impose the death penalty for each murder conviction. On February 1, 2007, the court sentenced Padilla to death. Alfred Mignogna, 61, was a retired high school math teacher, father and grandfather. Fred Rickabaugh, 58, husband and father, would have celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife, Janet, in October. Stephen Heiss, 28, a Marine who had served in Iraq, was a patron of the club. In 2001, Padilla was charged with stabbing a man seven times during a fight. In 2004, Padilla was arrested for domestic violence and two firearms violations.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 19, 2014 Missouri Robert Leroy Newton , 53 Leon Taylor pending
On April 14, 1994, Willie and Tina Owens, who were brother and sister, were drinking and smoking marijuana at the apartment where they lived. Sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., Leon Taylor, who was their half-brother, joined the party. At some point, Taylor, Willie and Tina went out riding in Tina’s car, discussing the possibility of robbing a drug dealer. Taylor, however, suggested a gas station in Independence where he knew there would only be one person working. They drove to that gas station. While at the gas station, Taylor and Willie used the restroom. When Willie returned, Taylor was standing outside and Tina was coming out of the gas station after paying for some gas. The trio left, but only a few blocks away from the gas station, the oil light came on and they turned around and went back. Willie woke up Tina, who had already dozed off, and asked for money to pay for the oil. She gave him a one dollar bill and four quarters, and Willie went inside to get the oil. The only people in the store were Robert Newton, who was fifty-three years old, and his eight-year-old stepdaughter, Sarah Yates. Willie, Mr. Newton and Sarah went to the back room to get the oil, and while they were there, Taylor came inside and stated that they needed a different weight of oil. Taylor was standing with one arm behind his back, and after asking for the oil, he pulled his arm around and was holding a 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol. Mr. Newton asked Taylor not to shoot because he had his little girl there and he did not want her to have to see him dead. Taylor told Mr. Newton to get the money or he would shoot. Mr. Newton complied and placed the money in the bag. Willie stated that he did not want anything to do with this and placed the money Tina had given him on the counter. However, Willie took the money from Mr. Newton and returned to the car, leaving Taylor inside the gas station. Taylor asked Mr. Newton if there was a back room and the three of them went there. Taylor stood in the door frame facing Mr. Newton, and asked if there was a lock on the door. Sarah turned away to look for another way out of the room, and while she was looking away, she heard a loud boom. When Sarah turned back, her father was on the floor. Taylor then turned to Sarah and pointed the gun at her. Sarah raised her hands and pleaded for Taylor not to shoot her, offering to do anything he wanted. She did not hear Taylor’s response because she still could not hear anything after the noise of the gun. However, Taylor pulled the trigger of the pistol while it was pointed at Sarah, but it did not fire. Taylor looked at the gun in a “funny” way and then left, locking the door. Taylor came out of the store, pulling on the gun’s slide and stating, “the motherfucker jammed”. Taylor reported that he had shot the man in the head, and then said he had to go get the little girl. Taylor asked if there was another gun in the car, but the others wanted to get away, so they drove off. As they were driving away, Taylor said that the little girl had been standing there “watching her daddy bleed,” and then put her hands in the air offering to do anything he wanted. Taylor said that Sarah’s pleading for her life aggravated him, and stated that he should have choked her. Meanwhile, Sarah prayed by her father’s body, and then left the room a few minutes later. Sarah called 911 and then hid under a table. Officer Halsey, of the Independence Police Department, arrived at approximately 9:58 p.m., and found Sarah on the telephone. Officer Halsey found Mr. Newton lying on his back on the floor with massive head trauma. The victim died from his head wound. Several days after the murder, Officer Kenneth Cavanah, of the Independence Police Department, received a TIPS hot line implicating Taylor. Taylor was arrested the next day at his home in Kansas City and, after informing Taylor of his Miranda rights, Officer Cavanah drove Taylor to Independence. Officer Cavanah advised Taylor of the murder he was suspected of committing. Taylor indicated that he had heard about it and knew where it happened, but there was nothing he could do about it, and that he had “no emotion” about the murder. Taylor stated that he had been at the gas station once, but that he had never been inside. The next day, April 22, 1994, while at the Kansas City Police Department, Taylor was again advised of his rights and agreed to talk to Officers Cavanah and Johann after they allowed him to speak to Willie. Taylor asked to view Willie’s videotaped statement, and after a few minutes of watching it, stated that “he had seen enough”. Taylor then agreed to give a statement on videotape. In his statement, Taylor admitted that he had shot and killed Mr. Newton, but claimed that it was an accident. Taylor stated that he, Willie and Tina were driving around talking about robbing a drug dealer, and that he suggested the gas station where he knew there was only one attendant. Taylor stated that they got some gas, left the station, but went back when the oil light came on. When asked if they left the first time because the little girl was there, Taylor responded, “yeah, I guess”. Taylor stated that on their return, Willie went inside first and he followed, demanding the money. Willie took the money and went back to the car while Taylor stayed behind and ordered Mr. Newton and his stepdaughter into the back room. Taylor stated that he told them he was not going to hurt them, but claimed that when he was closing the door the gun fired accidentally. Taylor asserted that he was not sure how this happened, saying, “I don’t know if I hit the wall, hit the door, or something,” and noted he was just “nervous and drinking”. Afterwards, he said they all went home and split the money. After the videotaped statement was completed, Officer Johann asked Taylor how they were standing when Mr. Newton was shot. Taylor stated that they were facing each other, with the victim only a few feet away. Taylor denied trying to shoot Sarah, stating that he may have pointed the gun at her when he was looking at the gun in amazement. Forensic examination of the evidence revealed that Mr. Newton was shot in the forehead with a 9 millimeter full-metal-jacketed bullet from approximately six inches away, and that the bullet exited at the base of the neck with a downward trajectory, indicating that the victim was “ducking” down. In addition, it was shown that a normal 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol would not go off accidentally unless it is “slammed” down on a surface or dropped from a distance. The cause of Mr. Newton’s death was a single gunshot would to his head with penetrating brain injuries. The jury also heard evidence of Taylor’s prior convictions for murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, and attempted robbery in the first degree, and his convictions that arose out of the facts of this case. The jury unanimously recommended that Taylor be sentenced to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 19, 2014 Ohio John McGrath, 79 Gregory Lott stayed
Gregory Lott was sentenced to die in 1987 for killing a 79-year-old man. On 7/12/86, Lott murdered a 79-year-old East Cleveland man. Lott broke into the man’s home, set the man on fire, and left him for dead after ransacking the house. The victim, 79-year-old John McGrath, died eleven days later but was able to give a description of his attacker to the police. An eyewitness reported seeing Lott in the victim’s car the day after the murder, and Lott was known to have robbed the man before. Police were able to obtain a partial fingerprint of Lott’s from an envelope inside McGrath’s home but Lott’s attorneys said that wasn’t significant because Lott had been in the home during the original robbery. Three days after he was attacked, police found McGrath at his home, and he was interviewed shortly thereafter while being treated in the emergency room. He gave police a detailed description of his assailant. McGrath died on July 23. In 2002, the Ohio Parole Board recommended that Gov. Bob Taft deny clemency for Lott who had a previous execution date scheduled for August 2002.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 20, 2014 Oklahoma Barry Alan Van Treese , 54 Richard Glossip pending
On January 7, 1997, the body of Barry Van Treese was discovered in Room 102 of the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Barry had been severely beaten and died as a result of blood loss and blunt force trauma to his head. Following the discovery of the body, Oklahoma City police detectives interviewed Richard Eugene Glossip, who was the manager of the Best Budget Inn. They also interviewed Justin Sneed, who was charged as a co-defendant in this case and who worked for Glossip as a maintenance man in exchange for a free room at the motel. At Glossip’s trial, Sneed said he beat Van Treese to death by hitting him ten or fifteen times with a baseball bat. Sneed testified he killed Van Treese because Glossip asked him to do it. Sneed admitted he made an agreement with the State to testify against Glossip in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. At all times prior to trial and during trial, Glossip denied involvement in the murder of Barry Van Treese. Although his statements to police officers changed somewhat between his first and second police interview, he consistently denied encouraging or telling Sneed to commit the murder. Glossip only admitted his involvement in the murder “after the fact.” He admitted he was afraid to tell the police what he knew and admitted he assisted Sneed by helping conceal the murder scene. Barrt Alan Van Treese was born on Dec. 3, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up and attended school in Lawton, graduating from Lawton High School in 1961. He graduated from Cameron University in 1963. He then attended Arkansas State University and received a master’s degree in banking and finance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. On March 3, 1979, he married Donna Sue Callaway in Miami, Oklahoma. He was involved in banking, electronics and was a motel owner since 1979. He was a member of the Lawton/Fort Sill Amateur Radio Club. He was a co-sponsor of the Jamboree on the Air and was a supporter of the Boy Scouts. He was a member of First Baptist Church. Survivors include his wife; five sons; two daughters; his father; two brothers; two sisters and four grandchildren.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
November 26, 2014 Indiana Karen Hodella, 44
Stephanie Marie Kirk , 35
Christine Caudill Whitis , 75
William Gibson pending
Karen Hodella, murder victimStephanie Kirk, murder victimChristine Whitis, murder victimIn October of 2002, Karen Hodella was visiting her boyfriend’s family in Indiana, but called home after less than a day, asking for money for a bus ride home. She told them that a "nice man" was buying her drinks at a bar. The family never heard from her again and her body was found three months later near the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana. In late March of 2012, Stephanie Kirk was reported missing by her family, who were frantic because they knew she had a medical condition and did not have her medication with her. She had last spoken to her family on March 25 and told her father that she was meeting a man at a bar in New Albany, Indiana to go for a ride on a motorcycle. In April 2012, William Clyde Gibson, whose mother Jeraline Gibson had died in January, called Jeraline’s best friend, 75-year-old Christine Whitis of Clarksville, Indiana, telling her he needed someone to talk to about his grief. Prior to her death his mother had been in a nursing home since August of 2011. Christine went to the house, where authorities said she was tortured, bound with duct tape, sexually assaulted, her back broken and had one of her breasts cut off with a kitchen knife. Her body was found in Gibson’s garage, along with a chain saw, plastic bags and other materials that appeared he planned to dispose of her body. After Christine’s murder was discovered, authorities found Stephanie Kirk’s body after excavating Gibson’s back yard. Gibson’s legal history shows arrests for various crimes, including sexual assault, auto theft, assault, wanton endangerment, driving drunk, possession of stolen property and more. Gibson was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery and sexual abuse in a 1991 attack on a woman at a mall in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Court records show he fondled her and stole her purse after pushing her into a phone booth, and later he said he had been drinking and using cocaine. He told a psychologist that it’s "hard to predict what I might do" when drinking. There are many weeks, months and, in some cases, years between charges. Prosecutors also allege that Gibson stabbed Karen Hodella, 44, of Port Orange, Fla., in October 2002. Gibson was free at that time, but was arrested on Nov. 1, 2002. His last arrest, prior to being arrested in connection to the murders, was on March 6, 2007. He was released on Sept. 8, 2009. Gibson was arrested on drunken-driving charges after police spotted him driving Christine’s car. After receiving a death sentence for Christine’s murder, Gibson told the judge, "I deserve what I’m getting. Ain’t no big deal to me." As Judge Susan Orth imposed the sentence, she had said, "May God have mercy on your soul." Gibson was also sentenced to death for the murder of Stephanie Kirk. Her sister, Delana Dean, addressed the court after sentencing. "Now, it’s over and he can’t hurt nobody else. She’ll never get to see her daughter grow up. She’ll never see her get married." Stephanie Kirk was a financial advisor, and survivors include her daughter, father, sister and grandmother. Stephanie Kirk was a financial advisor, and survivors include her daughter, father, sister and grandmother. Christine Caudill Whitis was originally from Booneville, Kentucky and had lost her husband of 55 years, Raymond, just over a year prior to her murder. She was retired as a head cashier for the Sears in Clarksville, Indiana. Christine was survived by a son, two sisters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Relatives said, "She was the type of person who would do anything for you, give you the shirt off her back. She was always there for anyone that needed her." Karen Hodella was a mother of four and beautician. Her family said she followed her boyfriend from Florida to southern Indiana back in 2002. "She had the most beautiful smile in the world," said Patricia Hyatt, Hodella’s sister. Gibson met Karen through friends at a bar. Several months later her decomposing body was found in Clark County near the Ohio River. Her family told local news that they always knew her death wasn’t an accident. "It gives us peace of mind to finally know what we knew all along had happened, that someone had murdered my sister," said Patricia Hyatt. (There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not likely to take place on this date.)

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