Murderer: Douglas Thomas
Execution Date: January 10, 2000
Jurisdiction: Accomac County
Victims: Kathy & James Wiseman
Douglas Christopher Thomas was sentenced to death for the November 1990 capital murders of Kathy and J.B. Wiseman. Thomas was 17 years old at the time of the crime. Thomas had been dating 14 year old Jessica Wiseman, the daughter of Kathy and “J.B.” for a while before the murders.
Their relationship was serious and her parents did not approve. They pressured Jessica to break up the relationship with Thomas, however, Jessica was unwilling to do so. She became angry with her parents and stated that she wished they were removed from her life. In his confession Thomas stated that he had smoked some marijuana on his way over to the Wiseman house on the night of the murders. He also carried with him a shotgun.
He said Jessica helped hi in the window and they then arranged some drugs on the floor to make it appear to be an attempted robbery. Thomas then went down the hall to the Wiseman’s bedroom and shot them as they slept. Thomas said Mrs. Wiseman did not die from the first shooting and Jessica implored Thomas to shoot her again. He did, killing her instantly. Jessica was tried as a juvenile and was released when she turned 21.
Murderer: Steve Roach
Execution Date: January 13, 2000
Jurisdiction: Greene County
Victim: Mary Ann Hughes
Steve Roach was sentenced to die for the December 1993 death of Mary Ann Hughes. Hughes, a 70-year-old neighbor of Roach’s along U.S. 33 in Greene County, was slain with a sawed-off shotgun.
Murderer: Lonnie Weeks
Execution Date: March 16, 2000
Jurisdiction: Prince William County
Victim: Jose Cavazos – Trooper, Virginia State Police
Lonnie Weeks Jr. was a passenger in a car being driven by his uncle from Washington, DC to Richmond, Va., on February 23rd 1993. Court records indicate that Weeks had stolen the car during an earlier home burglary. When the uncle drove the vehicle on the shoulder of I-95 to pass other cars, Virginia State Trooper Jose Cavazos made a traffic stop. Both cars stopped along the shoulder of the southbound off ramp for Dale City.
A jury later convicted Weeks of getting out of the vehicle and firing six hollow-point rounds from a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol at the trooper. Hollow-point rounds cause massive tissue damage. At least two of the rounds entered the trooper’s body near the right and left shoulder straps of his protective body vest, and the officer died quickly. Weeks was arrested the next morning. Trooper Cavazos, a highly regarded 8 year veteran of the force left behind a wife and two children.
Murderer: Michael Clagett
Execution Date: July 7, 2000
Jurisdiction: City of Virginia Beach
Lam Van Son
Clagett was convicted of shooting the owner of the Witchduck Inn, as well as two employees and a customer. Each was shot once in the head during Clagett’s rampage on June 30, 1994.
Clagett’s girlfriend, who had been fired from her job as a waitress at the Virginia Beach tavern before the killings, also was convicted and is serving five life sentences. Among those killed was her replacement.
Clagett acknowledged his guilt and tearfully apologized to victim’s relatives as he was strapped to the electric chair.
Murderer: Russell Burket
Execution Date: August 30, 2000
Jurisdiction: City of Virginia Beach
In January 1993 Burket attacked Katherine Tafelski and Ashley Tafelski with a rusty crowbar, crushing each victim’s skull. Katherine Tafelski, the mother, was also sexually assaulted in the attack. Two young boys in the Virginia Beach., Va. house were injured, but survived.
Murderer: Derek Barnabei
Execution Date: September 14, 2000
Jurisdiction: City of Norfolk
Victim: Sarah Wisnosky
Wisnosky, an 17 year old freshman at Old Dominion University, was murdered by Barnabei in September 1993. The crime supposedly occurred as a result of some unflattering remarks Wisnosky made about Barnabei after they had a brief relationship. Barnabei was living at the time in a fraternity house, having lied about his background and career to gain access. Her body was found washed up on the shore of the Elizabeth River, repeatedly stabbed and sexually assaulted just prior to her death.
Barnabei fled the area and was arrested in Ohio some time afterwards, living under a presumed name. At trial, Barnabei’s estranged wife testified as to her ex-husband’s propensity for violence towards her and DNA tests on nail clippings from the victim concluded that skin found in them matched that of Barnabei’s, suggesting that she had struggled with him as he attacked during her final throes.
Murderer: Bobby Ramdass
Execution Date: October 10, 2000
Jurisdiction: Fairfax County
Victim: Mohammed Kayani
Bobby Ramdass was sentenced to death in 1993 for the murder of clerk Mohammed Kayani during a robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Fairfax County on September 2nd, 1992.
The 7-Eleven robbery occurred during an eight-day crime spree, involving Bobby Ramdass and others. At two trials in January 1992 and January 1993, he was convicted of robbing a Pizza Hut and a Domino’s Pizza, for which he received prison terms. At the third trial, for the 7-Eleven murder, the prosecution used Ramdass’s involvement in these and other crimes to argue that he was a future danger to society and should be executed.
Murderer: Christopher Goins
Execution Date: December 6, 2000
Jurisdiction: City of Richmond
James Randolf, Jr.
Goins, 25, was convicted of killing James Nathaniel Randolph Jr., 35; Daphne Jones, 29; and 3 of Jones’ children – Nicole, 9; David, 4; and Robert, 3 at their Gilpin Court apartment in the City of Richmond in October 1994.
He also was convicted of maliciously wounding Jones’ other 2 children, Tamika, who was 14 at the time, and Kenya, her toddler sister. Tamika also lost the 7-month-old fetus she was carrying at the time of the shooting. Goins was the father of the fetus, and authorities believe that was the motive for the shooting. Goins was sentenced to death for murdering Robert, to life terms in the other 4 deaths and to a total of 40 years for wounding Tamika and Kenya.
Tamika testified at Goins’ trial in June 1995 that she heard Goins talking to her mother shortly before the shooting and then heard a series of shots in 2 rooms before Goins appeared at her door and shot her 9 times. Goins also shot Kenya in the arm as Tamika tried to shield her sister, according to Tamika’s testimony. Forensics experts testified that all the bullets and cartridge casings came from the same firearm, and a cartridge from the same.45-caliber Glock pistol was found in the apartment of Goins’ girlfriend, witnesses said.
Murderer: Thomas Akers
Execution Date: March 1, 2001
Jurisdiction: Franklin County
Victim: Wesley Smith
In December 1998, Akers and a friend took Wesley Smith, a casual acquaintance out on a car trip from his Roanoke City residence under the pretenses of meeting a blind date. Instead, he was driven to a spot on Route 40 in Franklin County, where all three men got out of their car. There, Smith was garroted with a leather belt and beaten over the head with a baseball bat.
After Smith died at the scene, Akers and his coconspirator drove in their car back to Smith’s apartment, which they burglarized. They then fled the area and were arrested in upstate New York by a police officer on an Indian reservation. Akers readily admitted his guilt at the time of arrest and during his trial, waiving all appeals to hasten his execution for the crime.
Murderer: Christopher Beck
Execution Date: October 18, 2001
Jurisdiction: Arlington County
Beck, a troubled young man who was a nephew of Marks, was invited to live in the boardinghouse where she was a renter in South Arlington. The landlord, Bill Miller and another renter, Congressional Quarterly columnist David Kaplan also resided there.
Beck had a stormy relationship during his time there, finally resulting in his being asked to leave in mid-1995. On June 6th of that year, Beck returned and murdered all three residents in sequence. First Pamela Marks was attacked and killed in the basement when she returned unexpectedly at midday. Then Bill Miller was shot upstairs and finally David Kaplan was shot and stabbed repeatedly in the evening after returning from work.
Beck was seen leaving the house after the killings with bicycles in the back of the car. He was arrested at his mother’s house in Philadelphia a few days later after being unable to give a suitable alibi as to his whereabouts.
Murderer: James Patterson
Execution Date: March 15, 2002
Jurisdiction: Prince George County
Victim: Joyce Aldridge
On October 11th 1987, 56 year old Aldridge was attacked in her Birchett Estates neighborhood home in Prince George County. The crime went unsolved for 13 years until seminal evidence from the crime was run through the Virginia DNA Data Bank. Results returned pointed to James Patterson as the certain culprit. At the time Patterson was in Greensville Correctional Center, serving 25 years for an unrelated rape conviction.
Patterson confessed to raping and murdering Ms. Aldridge. Patterson said he knew Ms. Aldridge and went to her home to steal money for drugs. He had planned to enter through a basement window but the window was locked. While he was looking for a utility knife he had dropped in the yard, Ms. Aldridge let her dog out in the yard. Patterson went to the door and asked Ms. Aldridge if he could borrow a flashlight on the pretext of needing it to search for lost car keys.
When Ms. Aldridge opened the door, he forced his way into the house, kicked the door shut and demanded her pocketbook. He pushed her to the bedroom to get the purse. When the purse contained only coins, Patterson became “even more violent.” After tying her hands behind her back with strips cut from the bed linen, he raped her.
Patterson went to the kitchen looking for a knife because he “wasn’t going to leave any witnesses behind.” He found a knife and stabbed Ms. Aldridge three times in the abdomen. In all, Aldridge was stabbed 17 times.
Murderer: Daniel Zirkle
Execution Date: April 2, 2002
Jurisdiction: Rockingham County
On August 2nd, 1999, Jessica Shifflett was babysitting her younger sister Christina Zirkle at the home of their mother, Barbara Shifflett. Barbara’s relationship with Zirkle was estranged and he had become violent, resulting in her getting multiple restraining orders being placed against him. This was not sufficient to keep him away, ultimately resulting in his arrest and commitment to Rockingham County Jail for a short period.
While in jail, Zirkle made repeated threats of harm against Barbara Shifflett and upon his release from county lockup on that afternoon of August 2nd, he called her at work vowing to make good on the threats.
Having rushed home to move her girls to safety, Barbara arrived and found Jessica dead on the floor. Jessica had five stab wounds to the neck. A medical examiner later determined her throat had been slashed and she had choked to death on her own blood. Younger Christina was nowhere to be found. A deputy later found the two along a pathway in a remote park in Page County.
Four year old Christina Zirkle was dead, her throat slashed, with her father Daniel Zirkle nearby — gravely wounded from a self-inflicted knife wound to the neck. Zirkle was taken for medical treatment and soon recuperated.
Soon he was charged with the murder of both girls. While awaiting trial, Zirkle showed little remorse for his actions, informing a correctional officer who announced his intent to contribute to a memorial fund in the girls names, “tell that bitch I said checkmate”. At trial, he plead guilty and was sentenced to death on two counts of capital murder.
Murderer: Walter Mickens
Execution Date: June 12, 2002
Jurisdiction: City of Hampton
Victim: Timothy Jason Hall
Walter Mickens Jr. sexually assaulted 17-year-old Timothy Hall, stabbed him 143 times and left him on a dirty mattress in an abandoned building along the James River in Newport News in 1992.
Mickens had been convicted in 1974 of robbery and sodomy, imprisoned, paroled, then convicted again in 1980 of robbery and sodomy. In one instance, Mickens walked into an elementary school and robbed a teacher as he held one of her students at knife point.
Prosecutors noted that Mickens’ crimes often involved children, and that “sodomy was the driving force, and robbery was a secondary issue.”
Murderer: Mir Aimal Kasi
Execution Date: November 14, 2002
Jurisdiction: Arlington County
Pakistani national Kasi opened fire on two vehicles waiting to turn into the CIA headquarters at Langley in Fairfax County in 1993. Darling and Bennett, both CIA employees, were killed in the attack. Kasi fled the United States shortly thereafter and remained at large until 1997, when he was apprehended by FBI agents in Pakistan.
Murderer: Earl Bramblett
Execution Date: April 9, 2003
Jurisdiction: Roanoke County
Bramblett was convicted and executed for the quadruple murder of a Vinton (Roanoke County) family in 1994. Prosecutors demonstrated that Bramblett committed the crime due to fears of being turned in by family father Blaine Hodges for having had sexual relations with his 11 year old daughter Winter. Their home was burned to the ground in the dark hours of an August morning and firefighters discovered all four of the Hodges bodies inside.
Wife and mother Teresa Hodges had been stabbed repeatedly while the others had been shot at close range. Subsequent odd behavior by Bramblett led investigators to scrutinize him as a suspect. He was arrested two years after the crime and convicted the following year.
Murderer: Bobby Swisher
Execution Date: July 22, 2003
Jurisdiction: Augusta County
Victim: Dawn McNees Snyder
On the evening of February 7, 1997, Swisher entered the florist shop in Stuart’s Draft where 22 year old owner Dawn Snyder was working late to finish orders for Valentine’s Day. Swisher indicated he had a gun in his pocket and forced Snyder to walk out the back of her store to the banks of a river nearly a half mile away. There, he forced her to perform an act of oral sodomy and then slashed her neck and throat, throwing her in the river.
Still alive, she floated downstream approximately 200 yards and struggled up a river bank – where she collapsed and died. Her body was found 16 days later, having been partially consumed by animals. Swisher was identified as a suspect after he bragged to friends about having committed the crime. A subsequent police interrogation and investigation found evidence with DNA from the victim on Swisher’s property.
Murderer: Brian Cherrix
Execution Date: March 18, 2004
Jurisdiction: Accomac County
Victim: Tessa Van Hart
Cherrix was convicted of the 1994 murder of Tessa Van Hart, a 22 year old mother of two who worked as a pizza delivery driver in Chincoteague. He was the first defendant to be sentenced to death in Accomack County in half a century.
Cherrix told police that he lured Van Hart to an isolated home by calling to have a pizza delivered there. When VanHart arrived, Cherrix was waiting for her behind the home. He sodomized her at gunpoint, then shot her twice in the head.
Murderer: Dennis Orbe
Execution Date: March 31, 2004
Jurisdiction: York County
Victim: Richard Burnett
Orbe was sentenced to death for murdering convenience store clerk Rick Burnett, 39, during an overnight robbery at the Exxon Station at the corner of US 17 and Ft. Eustis, Blvd in York County on January, 24, 1998. The crime was caught on store surveillance cameras and Orbe was readily identified from those images and soon arrested. The robbery netted just over $90 in cash. It was one of several violent crimes Orbe committed during a one week span.
Murderer: Mark Bailey
Execution Date: July 22, 2004
Jurisdiction: Hampton City
Victims: Katherine Bailey and Nathan Bailey
On September 10, 1998, Mark Bail ey shot his wife 22 year old wife Katherine Bailey in their Hampton home and then shot his two year old son Nathan as he crawled out of his crib upon hearing the commotion. The defendant then attempted to make the house appear to have been broken into and proceed to go to work at the Navy base. There, he faked receiving a phone call in which an anonymous caller threatened his wife with kidnapping. Bailey went to his supervisor and asked to leave early so he could return home at once.
His supervisor called Hampton police who arrived at the scene before Bailey and quickly determined that the burglary claim was a ruse. They confronted Bailey and took him in for questioning, where he subsequently confessed willingly to having committed the homicides. Bailey was the primary beneficiary on a life insurance policy placed on his wife’s life.
Murderer: James Bryant Hudson
Execution Date: August 18, 2004
Jurisdiction: Halifax County
Victims: Stanley Cole, Walter Cole, Patsy Cole
On July 3, 2002, Hudson confronted Walter and Stanley Cole on the driveway the two families shared between their South Boston area farms. The Cole brothers were stopped by Hudson’s truck, which was blocking the driveway. An argument ensued between Thomas Cole and Hudson, culminating with Hudson grabbing his nearby shotgun and shooting both unarmed men fatally at close range. Hudson then proceeded towards the nearby Cole home, where Thomas Cole’s wife Patsy was working on her garden. She too was fatally shot. Hudson fled the scene in his pickup truck and was apprehended 23 hours later on a nearby road without incident.
For many years, Hudson had been belligerent and aggressive to the Coles, primarily over the issue of the driveway, but also towards members of his own family. At his trial, Hudson pleaded guilty to capital murder and refused to allow his defense attorney to call any witnesses on his behalf or plead for mercy. Some sixty citizens testified at the penalty phase of the trial on behalf of the prosecution, attesting to the Cole family’s good reputation in the community. Others, including Hudson’s own brother (a Virginia state trooper) testified to the defendant’s long streak of vicious and violent behavior towards others. The trial judge sentenced Hudson to death and the defendant refused to pursue any post-conviction appeals.
Murderer: James Reid
Execution Date: September 9, 2004
Jurisdiction: Montgomery County
Victim: Annie Mae Lester
In February 1998, James Edward Reid was sentenced to death for the capital murder, attempted rape, and attempted robbery of 87 year old Annie V. Lester in her home in Christiansburg in October, 1996. Lester was beaten over the head with a can of condensed milk and stabbed 22 times with scissors. Reid was 51 years old at the time of the crime.
Murderer: Dexter Lee Vinson
Execution Date: April 27, 2006
Jurisdiction: City of Portsmouth
Victim: Angela Felton
Vinson was sentenced to death for the May 1997 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Angela Felton, a 25-year-old Portsmouth mother of three.
In May 1997, Felton was found dead in a vacant house on Freedom Avenue in Academy Park. Vinson abducted her from the Fairwood Homes subdivision, took her to a nearby vacant house and killed her, prosecutors said.
She was sexually mutilated, suffering massive cuts to the genital area. She suffered cuts to the neck, forearms, trunk and buttocks, and blows to the head and face.
Felton sought to distance herself from Vinson before she was killed. She and her children moved in with another woman and her five children to get away from him. But in mid-May 1997, Felton drove to her former residence in Fairwood Homes to check for mail. There, she was abducted and later killed.