January 2015 Executions

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 7, 2015 Ohio Richard Myers, 51 Warren Henness stayed
Warrren K. Henness was convicted of aggravated murder with specifications and sentenced to death for killing Richard Myers, a fifty-one-year-old laboratory technician from Circleville, Ohio. On the morning of March 20, 1992, Myers told his wife that he had something to do before he reported to work at midnight. Although he did not elaborate, his wife knew that he was an Alcoholics Anonymous volunteer and frequently traveled to Columbus to counsel others about drug and alcohol addictions. When his wife returned home from work that afternoon, Myers was not there. He also failed to report to work that evening. That same morning, Henness’s wife, Tabatha, answered a telephone call at Robert Curtis’s residence, where she and Henness were staying. The caller identified himself as "Dick" and asked for Henness. After the phone conversation ended, Henness told Tabatha he was going out. A car subsequently arrived for him. Tabatha recognized the driver as "Dick," a man who had picked up Henness several other times in the same vehicle. A few hours later, Henness returned to the residence to pick up Tabatha. He was alone and driving Myers’s car. The couple drove to a carwash and smoked crack. In his possession, Henness had checks and credit cards belonging to Myers. Tabatha suggested that they contact Roland Fair, a drug dealer acquaintance, to pose as Myers to "pop the checks" and "play on the credit cards." The next day, Henness and Tabatha drove to Fair’s apartment. Henness told Fair that the owner of the checks, credit cards, and car was in a motel room with two prostitutes who were keeping him drunk. While at Fair’s apartment, Tabatha saw Henness washing a knife in the bathroom sink. Later, Fair noticed the knife soaking in the sink. The knife had a dark stain on it. Henness told Fair that it was his knife. Henness, Tabatha, and Fair traveled to several banks and check-cashing outlets for two days, uttering forged checks and getting cash advances with the credit cards. They used the money to buy drugs. They also used the credit cards to buy merchandise, which they then sold for more drugs. At some point during this activity, Tabatha suggested that Henness tell Fair the truth about Myers. According to Tabatha, Henness told Fair that the owner of the car, checks, and credit cards had pulled a gun on him, Henness shot him, "and the guy died." According to Fair, Henness never specifically said what he did to Myers, but he did say, "I did not want to do it. He made me do it." Later, Henness told Fair that the body was in the Nelson Road area in Columbus. The trio discussed possible ways to dispose of it. A few days later, Tabatha saw Henness with a gold wedding ring that was too big for him. Henness told her it was Myers’s ring. Henness also sold Myers’s car to a sixteen-year-old drug dealer for $250. Henness forged a bill of sale and signed it "Richard Myers." The following day, the police recovered the car and impounded it because its owner was reported missing. The police questioned the sixteen-year-old, who told them about Henness. On March 25, the police received an anonymous telephone call alerting them to the body of a dead man in an abandoned water purification plant. There, police discovered the body of Myers. His shoe laces were tied together, his mouth was gagged, and his hands were bound together behind his back with a coat hanger. They found four shell casings and one live round near his body. The four casings were all ejected from the same weapon. Myers had been shot five times in the head. One bullet had penetrated his brain, killing him. He had a large cut on his neck. Abrasions on his knees showed that his knees had struck a hard surface, and were consistent with being forced to kneel on a concrete floor. Myers’s left ring finger had been severed six to eight hours after death. Columbus police arrested Henness on an unrelated charge. Because he was also a suspect in Myers’s murder, homicide detectives questioned him. During the interrogation, Henness claimed Fair approached him with the checks and credit cards, and suggested that Fair may have committed the murder. Henness also told detectives he had not owned a gun since 1990. However, Tabatha and Curtis testified that Henness had a handgun that he sold to a drug dealer about two weeks after Myers’s murder. Henness was later interrogated for a second time. He admitted he was with Myers on March 20, and Myers was helping him seek drug counseling and treatment for Tabatha. He also admitted that Fair was not involved in the murder. Instead, he blamed the murder on some Cubans who were trying to settle a score with him. He stated Myers happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Henness was indicted in Ohio on three counts of aggravated murder: (1) murder with prior calculation and design; (2) aggravated robbery-murder; and (3) kidnap-murder. He was also charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping, forgery, and having a weapon while under disability. He pleaded guilty to the forgery counts and elected to try the weapon charge before the trial court, which found him guilty. A jury convicted him of the remaining counts and recommended a death sentence. The trial court adopted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Henness to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 8, 2015 Pennsylvania Lauretha Vaird Christopher Roney stayed
At approximately 8:20 a.m., on January 6, 1996, Christopher Roney and Mark Canty forced PNC Bank employees, Norma Winn, Loretta Johnson, and Ann Vicola, at gunpoint, into the PNC Bank building located on Rising Sun Avenue. Once inside, Roney and his accomplice ordered Norma Winn and Ann Vicola to open the bank vault. While Canty forced the two women to the vault area at gunpoint, Roney kept watch over Loretta Johnson. While at the vault, Canty shouted to Roney, who was at the front of the bank, “Here comes the heat.” Roney responded, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them.” At this time, Police Officer Lauretha Vaird, who was the first police officer to respond to a report of a robbery at the PNC Bank, approached the front door of the bank building.   As she entered the bank, Roney fatally shot Officer Vaird in the abdomen and exited the building through the front door. Meanwhile, Canty fled from the bank through a side entrance, leaving his gun behind. Outside the bank, Roney exchanged gunfire with Police Officer Donald Patterson, who arrived on the scene shortly after Officer Vaird. Able to escape the shootout, Roney jumped into a waiting green minivan, driven by his cohort, Warren McGlone, and the vehicle sped away on Rising Sun Avenue. Later that morning, McGlone, Canty, and Roney met at McGlone’s home to discuss the events at the PNC Bank. Thereafter, the police found: (1) the getaway green minivan abandoned on North 11th Street in Philadelphia; (2) various items of clothing worn as disguises by Roney and Canty; (3) a loaded 9-millimeter automatic gun, which was lying on the sidewalk in front of the side entrance of the PNC Bank in question; and (4) a loaded.380-caliber silver Lorcin revolver on the sidewalk near the bank. Later, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) traced the.380-caliber silver Lorcin revolver to Anthony Brown, a relative of Canty. Importantly, the gun was stolen and last seen in the possession of Canty. The ATF also traced the 9-millimeter automatic gun to Richelle Parker, a friend of McGlone, who purchased the gun for McGlone. Subsequently, Canty and McGlone confessed to participating in the events that transpired at the PNC Bank on Rising Sun Avenue on the morning of January 6, 1996. During the course of the trial, which began on October 15, 1996, three eyewitnesses identified Roney as the man involved in the robbery of the PNC Bank in question. Two other witnesses noted that one of the robbers was a tall, African-American male over six feet in height. Ann Vicola testified that the tall man with a silver handgun remained closer to the front entrance of the bank, while the shorter man with the black handgun went to the rear of the building with her and Norma Winn. The Commonwealth presented Police Officer Carl Rone as an expert in identification, operation, and characterization of firearms. Officer Rone testified that the ballistic evidence established that the silver Lorcin.380-caliber handgun found at the scene of the crime was fired inside the PNC bank building. Officer Rone also testified that the bullet recovered from the body of Officer Vaird was fired from the Lorcin.380-caliber handgun. Additionally, Dr. Gregory McDonald, Assistant Medical Examiner, testified that Officer Vaird died as a result of a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen.   Based on his examination of the wound track, the witness related that the bullet struck vital bodily organs. Dr. McDonald noted that the position and the path of travel of the bullet recovered from the body of Officer Vaird was consistent with having been fired by a six-foot five-inch tall person from a distance of more than two feet. On October 30, 1996, the jury found Roney guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of robbery, conspiracy, aggravated assault, burglary, and possession of an instrument of crime (PIC). Following a penalty hearing on November 1, 1996, the jury sentenced Roney to death, finding three aggravating circumstances: (1) the victim was a peace officer or law enforcement official killed in the performance of her duties; (2) the killing was committed during the perpetration of a felony; and (3) Roney knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person during the killing.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 13, 2015 Pennsylvania Krystal Leigh Bobish , 17
Unborn infant
Larry Bobish , Sr., 50
Joanna Marian Bobish , 50
Mark Edwards stayed
On the morning of April 14, 2002, the North Union Volunteer Fire Department and the Pennsylvania State Police responded to a fire in a double-wide mobile home in North Union Township, Fayette County. Corporal Andre Stevens of the Pennsylvania State Police happened to be in the area, and, when he responded to the scene, he found twelve-year-old Larry Bobish, Jr. suffering from gunshot wounds to his hand and neck.   The boy told Corporal Stevens that “Marky” shot him. After the fire was extinguished, officers entered the residence where they found the dead bodies of the child’s father, Larry Bobish, Sr., his mother, Joanna Marian Bobish, and his pregnant seventeen-year-old sister, Krystal Leigh Bobish. Larry Jr. was shot through his left hand into his neck, and also suffered a laceration to his neck. He survived, but the bullet that entered his neck remained lodged near his spinal column. At Mark Edwards’s trial, Larry Jr. testified that approximately a year before the murders, his mother and sister started using a controlled substance known as “wet” and that his father, who was on disability, sold “wet.” Larry Jr. testified that, at approximately 6 a.m. on April 14, 2002, he was sleeping on the living room couch when he was awakened by his father answering the door. Joanna Bobish was asleep in her bedroom and Krystal was sleeping in Larry Jr.’s bedroom. Larry Jr. saw Mark Edwards, who was a friend of Krystal, enter the house. After Larry Sr. and Edwards went into the kitchen, Larry Jr. heard two gunshots and the sound of a body falling to the ground. Edwards then ran into the living room carrying a black automatic handgun and shot Larry Jr. Next, Edwards ran into Joanna’s bedroom, and Larry Jr. heard another gunshot. At that point, Krystal came out of the bedroom in which she had been sleeping and told Edwards to stop. Edwards approached Krystal and shot her. Krystal fell to the ground, at which point Edwards swore at her and kicked her. Larry Jr. got up and approached Edwards, who started striking him while the boy begged Edwards to stop.   Edwards then cut Larry Jr. on the neck, shoulder and back. Larry Jr. fell to the ground and heard Edwards running through the kitchen and down the stairs into the basement.   At some point, the boy awoke and realized that the home was on fire. He ran outside and lay in the driveway, screaming for help. Corporal Stevens testified that he was off-duty delivering newspapers in the Bobishes’ neighborhood with his three sons when he observed that the roof of the Bobish home was on fire. Corporal Stevens approached the Bobish residence with one of his sons where he encountered the Bobishes’ neighbor and saw Larry Jr. lying on the driveway covered in blood from his head to his waist.   Corporal Stevens asked Larry Jr. if there was anyone in the house, and Larry responded that his parents and sister were inside. Corporal Stevens attempted to enter the home but was unable to do so due to the fire. An ambulance arrived, and one of the attendants began tending to Larry Jr., who told the attendant that “Marky” had assaulted him. On April 18, 2002, four days after the murder, Larry Jr. identified Edwards by name as the person who committed the murders, and he picked Edwards’s photograph out of a photo line-up presented to him at the hospital by Corporal Stevens. Aaron Coleman, Chief of the North Union Volunteer Fire Department, testified that he arrived at the scene at approximately 7 a.m., at which time the Bobish residence was fully engulfed in flames.   The fire was extinguished in approximately fifteen minutes, and Chief Coleman was then able to enter the home where he found three bodies, one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the bedroom area. State Trooper William Large was present at the scene and later testified as an expert in fire investigation. Trooper Large stated that two separate fires were set inside the Bobish home, one in the living room and one in the bedroom area. He concluded that the fires were intentionally set and, therefore, classified the fire as arson. Edwards’s friend Brooke Porter testified that, on the afternoon of April 13, 2002, Edwards spent a few hours with her. Edwards came to Brooke’s house, where they engaged in sexual intercourse. Then, as they were getting ready to leave Porter’s house, Porter testified, Edwards “just started talking crazy” because Larry Sr. had been paging him. Edwards told Porter that he had stolen “water” from Larry Sr. and stated that if he was going to go to jail for robbery, he wanted to go to jail for life. He described for Porter a plan to go to the Bobish residence, knock on the door, tell Larry Sr. he had the money and then kill him. Recardo Williams testified that on Saturday, April 13, 2002, at approximately 10 p.m., he was in a home in Uniontown with four or five other people, one of whom was Edwards. Williams, who was thirteen years old in 2002, testified that he knew Edwards and overheard a conversation in which Edwards stated that he was going to shoot a family and then stab them. According to Williams, Edwards intended to shoot the family and then “cut somebody if he had no more bullets.” Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., the Coroner of Allegheny County, reviewed the autopsies of the three victims, performed at the request of the Fayette County Coroner, and prepared the final autopsy reports. Dr. Wecht concluded that Larry Sr.’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest with perforations of both lungs and heart, resulting in bleeding into both the right and left thoracic cavities and pericardial sac.   There was no evidence that Larry Sr. was alive at the time of the fire. Dr. Wecht found that Joanna’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the neck with damage to the critical nerves and blood vessels supplying the heart and the lungs. Joanna’s examination revealed no evidence that she was alive at the time of the fire. Dr. Wecht testified that Krystal’s cause of death was a transection of her spinal column, which resulted from a gunshot wound with its point of entry in her cheek. Krystal had also expired by the time the fire was set. Krystal’s autopsy also revealed a twenty-eight-week-old viable male fetus in utero, which died because of a lack of oxygen after the death of his mother.   Dr. Wecht testified that the manner of death for all three victims and the unborn child was homicide. State Trooper John F. Marshall testified that Edwards was apprehended on April 18, 2002, and transported to the state police barracks, where Trooper Marshall met him. The trooper read Edwards the Miranda warnings, Edwards waived his rights, and Edwards began to make a statement. Trooper Marshall interrupted to ask if Edwards wanted an attorney, and when Edwards responded that he did, the interview was terminated, and the trooper left the interview room. A short time later, Trooper Marshall returned to the interview room and again read the Miranda waiver form to Edwards, who again signed the document. Edwards then indicated that he wanted to give a statement “to make peace with God.” Trooper Marshall asked again if Edwards wished to waive his right to an attorney, and Edwards stated that he wanted to speak to the trooper without an attorney. Edwards told Trooper Marshall that, on April 12, 2002, he went with Jeff Johnson and a girl named Gina to the Bobish residence to buy “wet.”   After smoking all of the drugs, they returned to the Bobish house and stole six bottles of “wet” from Larry Sr. at gunpoint. After the robbery, Bobish began paging Edwards and, when Edwards called the residence, he was told that the Bobish family was planning to call the police if Edwards did not pay for the drugs. The next day, Edwards went to the home of his friend, Brooke Porter, and informed her that he was going to rob Larry Sr. again and kill him. At approximately 5 a.m. on April 14, Edwards woke up, smoked two bottles of the drugs, and walked to the Bobish house. Larry Sr. let him in the front door and asked him for the money owed, whereupon Edwards shot Larry Sr. and then Krystal. Edwards stated that he did not remember shooting Joanna or Larry Jr. Edwards then set fire to the house, first by igniting a blanket in Joanna’s bedroom. Edwards was tried before a jury in May of 2004. Edwards testified in his own behalf, and claimed that he awoke on Sunday, April 14, 2002, at approximately 6 a.m. at Nancy McGruder’s house and then walked to his grandmother’s house where his aunt let him in. He went into the living room, where he fell asleep until his aunt woke him with food. Edwards denied that he went to the Bobish residence on Sunday morning, denied that he saw any member of the Bobish family and denied that he shot or stabbed any member of the family. Edwards further claimed that the confession which Trooper Marshall read into the record was false. The jury found Edwards guilty of three counts of first degree murder, and single counts of second degree murder (respecting Krystal’s unborn child), criminal attempt to commit homicide (respecting Larry Jr.), arson and burglary. Following a penalty hearing, as to the murders of Larry Sr. and Joanna Bobish, the jury found two aggravating circumstances and three mitigating circumstances and then determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. As to Krystal Bobish, the jury found the same aggravators and mitigators along with the additional aggravating circumstance that, at the time of the killing, the victim was in her third trimester of pregnancy or the defendant had knowledge of the victim’s pregnancy. Once again, the jury determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. Thus, the jury returned a penalty verdict of death on each of the three first-degree murder convictions. In addition to formally imposing the death sentences, the trial court later sentenced Edwards to a consecutive term of life imprisonment for the second-degree murder of Krystal Bobish’s unborn child, and lesser terms of imprisonment on the remaining convictions.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 14, 2015 Texas Rodney Reed stayed

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 15, 2015 Pennsylvania Dennis Reed stayed

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 15, 2015 Texas Richard Vasquez stayed

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 21, 2015 Texas Rodolfo Rodriguez, 72
Virginia Rodriguez, 62
Paula Moran, 92
Arnold Prieto executed
The Hernandez brothers, Lupe and Jesse, were friends of Arnold Prieto’s who supplied him with free cocaine. The Hernandez brothers, particularly Lupe, would often mention a rich uncle in San Antonio, Rodolfo Rodriguez, who was married to the brothers’ aunt, Virginia Rodriguez. They told Prieto their uncle was a loan shark who kept a closet full of money. Prieto and Lupe began taking cocaine early on the day of the offense which occurred in September 1993. Lupe repeatedly asserted that he wanted to go to San Antonio to get his uncle’s money. Prieto’s confession claimed Lupe “pressured” him into going to San Antonio to get his uncle’s money. The Hernandez brothers and Prieto set off from Carrollton in Prieto’s car for the victims’ home in San Antonio. They took cocaine throughout the trip. Prieto’s confession related that he was too scared and preoccupied with trying to think of a way to get back to Carrollton to remember the details of what was discussed on the road to San Antonio. Prieto did remember Lupe telling him and Jesse to take off their socks and put them on their hands when they killed the victims so as not to leave any fingerprints. Prieto further remembered Jesse testing this theory against the car windows. Prieto’s confession claimed the planned crime was not his idea. The three men arrived at the victims’ home at a very dark hour early in the morning. Prieto claimed in his confession that he thought of staying in the car, but Lupe told him to “get the … out of the car!” Lupe knocked on the door of the house, and Virginia came to the door asking who it was. Lupe answered, “Soy yo tia.” Virginia opened the door and let the three men in. She was, as Prieto recalls, “very nice.” She prepared breakfast for them. She poured orange juice for Prieto, and he ate the breakfast she had prepared. Prieto claimed in his confession that he thought nothing was going to happen. He put his dirty dishes in the sink. Then, Jesse called Prieto into a bedroom adjoining the kitchen. Rodolfo was sitting on the bed. Prieto sat next to him. Suddenly, Virginia screamed from the kitchen. Prieto looked toward the kitchen and saw Lupe stabbing his aunt with what looked like a long screwdriver. Rodolfo attempted to help her, but Prieto pushed him back down on the bed and held him down as Jesse handed Prieto a screwdriver. Prieto grabbed the screwdriver and stabbed Rodolfo “a lot of times.” He remembered stabbing Rodolfo once through the back of the head. Prieto claimed in his confession that he was frozen with shock at what he had done but was roused by Lupe yelling at him to “move.” Prieto claimed in his confession that he felt faint when he saw Virginia’s body on the kitchen floor, and then he heard a loud pop in the living room. Then he saw Paula Moran, aged ninety-two, on the living room floor, her head “sort of propped up” against the wall. Prieto stood in the doorway while Jesse pried open a closet door. He watched while Jesse ransacked the contents of the closet and emptied several large envelopes. Prieto yelled “let’s go” and ran past Paula Moran. He noticed she was moving. Jesse stopped over Paula and stabbed her repeatedly. Lupe took a purse from the bedroom where Prieto had stabbed Rodolfo. Lupe then drove Prieto’s car. Prieto sat in the passenger seat and claimed he began to throw up and shake. He resumed his ingestion of cocaine which continued throughout their return trip to Carrollton. Back at Prieto’s apartment in Carrollton, Lupe and Jesse split up the stolen goods and gave Prieto “a man’s gold nugget ring with a coin mounted on top.” According to Prieto, “we split some cash Lupe had found in the purse. We each got about one hundred dollars. I also picked out a gold chain, small like for a child with a crucifix pendant. A couple of days after I asked Lupe that I needed some money. He gave me a couple of earrings and a couple of necklaces which I pawned at U.S.A. Pawn – I got one-hundred-forty dollars for all the jewelry.” Prieto later told his wife, “I killed somebody so did Lupe and Jesse.”

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 27, 2015 Georgia Myra Wright, 18
Joseph Handspike, 36
Warren Hill executed
Warren Lee Hill, a former petty officer in the Navy, was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 after shooting his 18-year-old girlfriend, Myra Wright, 11 times and killing her. Four years later, he used a nail-studded board to batter to death a fellow inmate, Joseph Handspike. Hill and the victim were both serving time at the Lee Correctional Institute. Early in the morning of August 17, 1990, a correctional officer, hearing a loud noise, rushed to Hill’s cell, where he observed Hill bludgeoning the victim as the latter lay in his bed. By the time the officer called for assistance and returned to the cell, the victim was mortally wounded. Hill surrendered his weapon, a board embedded with nails, apparently removed by Hill from under a bathroom sink. A jury sentenced him to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 28, 2015 Missouri Felicia Anne Gayle Picus, 42 Marcellus Williams stayed
On August 11, 1998, Marcellus Williams drove his grandfather’s car to a bus stop and traveled by bus to University City, Missouri. Once in University City, Williams began looking for a house to burglarize, and came upon the home of Felicia Gayle Picus, known to her friends as Lisha. After knocking on the front door and receiving no answer, Williams knocked out a window pane near the door, reached in and unlocked the door, and entered the home. Williams heard water running in the shower on the second floor, so he went into the kitchen, found a butcher knife, and waited. Lisha finished her shower and went downstairs. Williams attacked Lisha, stabbing and cutting her forty-three times, and inflicting seven fatal wounds. Williams then washed Lisha’s blood from his body and concealed his bloody shirt with a jacket. Before leaving the home, he took the victim’s purse, which contained, among other things, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch ruler and a calculator, and her husband’s laptop computer. Williams returned to the bus stop, retrieved his grandfather’s car, and picked up his girlfriend, Laura Asaro. Asaro noticed that Williams was wearing a jacket, despite the summer heat. When Williams removed the jacket, Asaro noticed blood on his shirt and scratches on his neck. Asaro questioned him, and Williams claimed he had been in a fight. Asaro also saw a laptop computer in the car. Later that day, Williams put his bloody clothes in his backpack and threw them into a sewer drain. The next day, Asaro tried to retrieve some items from the trunk of Williams’s car, but he tried to prevent her from opening it. Before he could push her away, Asaro grabbed Lisha’s purse from the trunk. Inside the purse she found Lisha’s Missouri state identification card and a black coin purse. Asaro confronted Williams about the purse, and Williams confessed that he had killed Felicia Gayle Picus. He explained in detail how he had waited for her in the kitchen with a butcher knife, and that when she came downstairs, he stabbed her in the arm and neck, twisting the knife as he went. After confessing the details to Asaro, Williams grabbed her by the throat and threatened to kill her, her children, and her mother if she told anyone. On August 31, 1998, Williams was arrested on unrelated charges and incarcerated at the St. Louis City Workhouse, where he shared a room with Henry Cole for a period of time. While watching television one evening, Cole and Williams saw a news report about Gayle’s murder. After the news report, Williams told Cole that he had committed the murder. Over the next few weeks, Williams and Cole had several conversations about the crime, during which Williams provided considerable details about the break-in and murder. After Cole was released from jail in June of 1999, he went to the University City police and told them about Williams’s involvement in Gayle’s murder. As a result of the information provided by Cole, University City police contacted Asaro about the murder. Asaro told the police that Williams admitted to her that he had killed Gayle. The police then searched Williams’s grandfather’s car and found Gayle’s Post-Dispatch ruler and calculator. The police also recovered Gayle’s husband’s laptop, which Williams had sold after the murder. The State charged Williams with several offenses and sought the death penalty. Williams was tried and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first degree robbery, and two counts of armed criminal action. During the penalty phase, the State presented extensive evidence of Williams’s criminal history. The jury heard testimony detailing a residential burglary in 1997, armed robberies of both a doughnut shop and a Burger King in 1998, and a threat to kill a corrections officer at the St. Louis City Workhouse in 1999. The State also introduced certified copies of Williams’s sixteen convictions: second degree burglary and stealing over $150 in 1988; second degree assault in 1988; second degree burglary in 1988; two counts each of second degree burglary and stealing over $150 in 1991; first degree robbery, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon in 2000; and first degree robbery, armed criminal action, stealing a motor vehicle, and two counts of false imprisonment in 2000. The State completed its presentation with victim impact evidence from Gayle’s family and friends. In mitigation, Williams’s counsel presented evidence that Williams was a caring and loving father, and that his execution would have a significant effect on his family. The defense presented testimony from several of Williams’s family members and friends, including his son, his step-daughter, his mother, his aunt, his brothers, and others. They testified about Williams’s positive relationship with his son and step-daughter. This evidence included testimony that the continued contact and visitation with Williams made the children feel loved, and that Williams would encourage the children to read and do well in school. The jury deliberated for less than two hours and returned a sentence of death. In doing so, the jury found the existence of ten aggravating circumstances: that the murder involved depravity of mind; that Williams committed the murder during a burglary; that Williams committed the murder during a robbery; that Williams committed the murder in order to receive money or something of value from Gayle; that Williams committed the murder in order to prevent his lawful arrest; and each of five prior convictions committed by Williams—second degree assault in 1998, first degree robbery in 2000 and 2001, and armed criminal action in 2000 and 2001. UPDATE: The Missouri Supreme Court has withdrawn the execution warrant on Marcellus Williams.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 28, 2015 Texas Unnamed victim
Unnamed victim
Bonita Edwards
Annette Edwards, 16
Bernette Edwards, 16
Garcia White stayed
Between November 29 and December 2, 1989, King Solomon tried to contact his girlfriend, Bonita Edwards. After trying for several days, Solomon went to the apartment Bonita shared with her twin sixteen-year-old daughters, Annette and Bernette. When there was no answer at the door, he asked neighbors if they had seen Bonita, but no one had. After returning later in the day, Solomon spoke to a maintenance man at the apartments who asked the apartment manager to help him open the door to the Edwards apartment. Solomon saw two bodies lying on the floor. Houston Police Department ("HPD") officer Leonard Dawson arrived at the crime scene at about 2:45 pm. He found three dead females inside the apartment. Annette Edwards was lying face down semi-nude with her head on a pillow and a blanket partially covering her body. A towel gagged Bernette and was wrapped around her neck. Bonita was clothed but had blood all over her shirt. All three had multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest and had been dead for several days. There was no sign of forced entry, but the phone was off the hook and the bedroom door had been forced open. Another HPD investigator, Sergeant Brad Rudolph, stated that it appeared that Annette was sexually assaulted. There was blood on the walls, in the bathtub, and in the kitchen sink. The murders went unsolved for almost six years. During an investigation into an unrelated murder in July 1995, Tecumseh Manuel, a close friend of White’s, told police that White admitted killing the Edwards women. Police arrested White the following day. White initially denied his involvement but, after seeing a portion of Manuel’s interview, stated that he was ready to tell the truth. White then gave a videotaped statement implicating himself and Terrence Moore in the murders. According to White, he and Moore went to the apartment to use drugs and have sex with Bonita. They both tried to have sex with her, but Bonita became angry because they would not share the drugs with her. Moore stabbed her. When the girls came out of their bedroom, Moore grabbed one and White grabbed the other. White fondled one of the girls and ejaculated. Moore forced his way into the bedroom and stabbed one of the girls. He then came out and stabbed the other girl, and the two men left. Upon further investigation, police discovered that Moore was killed four months before the Edwards family was murdered. When confronted with this discrepancy, White gave another statement in which he admitted fabricating the story about Moore and confessed to killing all three victims. Serology and DNA testing revealed that semen recovered from a bed sheet was consistent with White’s DNA, and blood from the same sheet was consistent with either Annette’s or Bernette’s DNA. White was convicted of capital murder for the murders of the two girls during the same criminal transaction. During the penalty phase, the State presented evidence that White committed two other murders. White gave a videotaped statement admitting his involvement in one of the murders, which occurred during the robbery of a convenience store. A grand jury no-billed White on the other murder, but when police questioned Tecumseh Manual about the convenience store robbery-murder, Manuel told them that White admitted his involvement in the other murder, as well. When confronted, White gave another statement in which he admitted killing the victim during a fight in a Houston drug house after they had sex, which he paid for. White’s mother testified that White was a poor student, but did not have discipline problems in school. White got along well with his siblings. He played football in high school and college, but a knee injury during his first semester of college ended his football career and he dropped out of school. He eventually went to work as a sandblaster. In March, 1988, he fell and suffered injuries to his hand, shoulder, and head requiring hospitalization. After this injury, White began using drugs. White’s sister gave similar testimony. Robert Yohman, a clinical neuropsychologist, testified that he conducted a number of tests on White and reviewed relevant records. He found that White has an IQ of 76, which is below average; he scored low in concentration, speed of thinking, attention span, achievement, memory, and executive functioning; language functioning was within normal limits; White’s scores on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory ("MMPI") showed that White was not emotionally distressed, depressed, or anxious, and there was no evidence of psychopathology; the MMPI also showed that White was somewhat hostile, inhibited his aggression, was uncomfortable with others, and handled unacceptable feelings through denial and depression, but he is not antisocial, sociopathic, or psychotic. Yohman also concluded that White’s violent episodes occurred while he was intoxicated and that he had no history of violence while sober. Because he would lack access to drugs in prison, Dr. Yohman concluded that he would not be a future danger. Dennis Nelson, a psychologist, also tested White. He concluded that White has an IQ of 87 and is not emotionally disturbed. He also concluded that White’s violent conduct was related to his drug use and that White would not be dangerous in prison where he would lack access to drugs. The jury found that White acted deliberately and with the reasonable expectation that the death of a person would result, and that there was a probability that he would commit future criminal acts of violence constituting a continuing threat to society. The jury also found that the mitigating evidence was not sufficient to warrant a life sentence. Accordingly, the trial court sentenced White to death.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 29, 2015 Oklahoma Richard Glossip stayed

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 29, 2015 Texas Robert Ladd stayed

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