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Part of his Last Statement moments before the Lethal Cocktail began to flow: "When I die, bury me deep, lay two speakers at my feet, put some headphones on my head and rock and roll me when I'm dead."

Douglas Roberts - Texas
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EXECUTED - Dale Leo Bishop - Mississippi Death Row - Scheduled Execution
Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Executions
Start : Wednesday 23 July 2008, 20:00
End : Wednesday 23 July 2008, 20:00


Dale Leo Bishop - Mississippi Death Row - Scheduled Execution for July 23, 2008

EXECUTED 6:14PM

Victims: Mark Gentry

The Crime: About 10:30 p.m. on the evening of December 10, 1998, Gentry, Bishop, Jessie Johnson, Cory Johnson,and Charlie Rakestraw went to Ricky Myhand and Rachel Dobbs's apartment in Saltillo. Jessie, Bishop's co-defendant, and Cory were brothers. After drinking a couple of beers, Jessie decided to go to a store for more beer and asked Myhand to go along. Gentry, who had driven his vehicle to Myhand's apartment, drove Jessie, Bishop and Myhand to the store. Upon reaching their destination, they discovered that the store was closed, so Gentry turned around and headed back toward Myhand's apartment. On the way back, Jessie, who was seated in the front passenger seat, asked Gentry why he "narced" or "ratted on" his little brother. [FN2] Gentry denied doing so. Jessie said, "Yeah, you did," then reached down to the floorboard, grabbed a hammer and hit Gentry between the eyes. [FN3] The car coasted to a stop and Gentry begged Jessie not to hit him again. Bishop, who was seated behind Gentry, grabbed Gentry in a headlock and hit him. While he was being held, Jessie struck Gentry in the head again with the hammer. [FN4] Bishop and Jessie next made Gentry move over into the front passenger's seat, and Jessie began driving. He turned off the road and went down a little field road. When Jessie stopped the vehicle, Gentry jumped out of the car and ran. Jessie told Bishop to catch him. FN2. In his statement given to the police, Bishop said Jessie was upset at Gentry for ratting on his brothers. As a result of the "ratting," Bishop believed that Jessie's little brothers were charged with some serious crimes. "Mark [Gentry] had instigated his brothers' getting about 9 or 10 counts of grand larceny and burglary." FN3. In his statement given to the police, Bishop, whose life-long vocation was being a carpenter, admitted the hammer belonged to him and went into some detail describing its characteristics. He stated that carpenter's hammers normally used in Mississippi weighed 20 to 22 ounces. He stated, "[The hammer owned by Bishop and used to hit Gentry] is a 28 ounce Vaughn [? ? ? not sure if Vaughn is correct] [sic] California framing straight claw." He indicated that his hammer was not available for purchase in Mississippi. When asked by the police about how he came about bringing a hammer with him when he went riding with Gentry, he admitted using a false pretense:
BY BISHOP: Well, when the trip originally began, the excuse was that I was going to go work on my truck and I use the hammer to work on my truck.
BY THE POLICE: Is that true?
BY BISHOP: That's just how we got the usage of the car to begin
with.

FN4. There is some discrepancy in the chain of events. In his statement, Bishop indicated that Jessie initially "decked Gentry with his hands." Then Bishop grabbed Gentry and Jessie hit him "probably just twice" with the hammer. After about five minutes Bishop came back with Gentry and forced him to get on his knees in front of the car. Bishop and Jessie began kicking Gentry. Jessie struck Gentry numerous times with the hammer. At one point Myhand was asked to hold Gentry while Bishop retrieved beers for himself and Jessie. In response, Myhand begged Jessie to stop. When they finished, Bishop had to dislodge the hammer from Gentry's throat, and then he and Jessie drug Gentry into the bushes. While returning to Myhand's apartment, Jessie and Bishop discussed finding a shovel with which to bury Gentry. At Myhand's apartment, Jessie and Bishop washed off and changed into some clean clothes given to them by Myhand. When Bishop, Jessie, Cory and Rakestraw finally left the apartment, Myhand and Dobbs called the police. Myhand took the officers to the site of the murder, and Gentry's body was recovered. Gentry's car was there, and a shovel was found nearby. Bishop and Jessie apparently fled the scene when the police car pulled up. They hid out in the woods until they were apprehended on December 13, 1998.

4 Steven Hayne, M.D., a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Gentry's body, testified that there were 23 injuries to the head, neck and hand which were produced either by a blunt object with enough force to break or tear the skin, or with a sharp object such as the edge of a claw hammer. These injuries did not include bruises or scrapes which could have been produced from being kicked. Injuries to the hands, forearms and fingers were consistent with defensive posturing by Gentry. According to Dr. Hayne, "Mr. Gentry died from cranial cerebral trauma, secondary to blunt force trauma to the head, and he also died from lacerations, tears of the voice box, with aspiration of blood."

News: At 6 p-m Wednesday, Mississippi executed inmate Dale Leo Bishop at the penitentiary at Parchman. Bishop was convicted for participating in the claw hammer beating death of one of his friends.

Bishop's attorneys had argued that his life should be spared because he did not actually wield the murder weapon.

Wednesday afternoon Governor Barbour denied Bishop's application for clemency, and only a little over an hour before the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Bishop's last of 3 appeals.

source: wlbt.com

Last Meal: A pineapple supreme pizza, cherries and cream-flavored ice cream and four root beers.

Statement from Marcus Gentry's Family: The family came today with many mixed emotions. With all the media attention and all the appeals, we were not sure what to expect. We had to relive all the memories and emotions from that December. The pain and loss that this man helped put on us will never be forgotten. We lost Mark not by chance but by the choice of two ungodly men. Unlike Mark, Dale had a chance to see his family and say goodbye. His family will be in our prayers because we know what it is like to live with that emptiness.

This man knowingly and intentionally helped beat to death and took another life with his own hands. (He) was punished the way that was intended and whether or not people believe in the death penalty, until you stand in our shoes and feel our pain, the loss of someone you love being ripped away, do not judge. A small piece of justice has been served here today.

It does not correct the injustice that happened to Mark, but it is the law and it was carried out as it should have been.



Final Statement: "To Mark's family, I would like to express my sincerest apologies. It was a senseless act. It was a needless act. The world is worse off without him, To my family, I love you. It's going to be all good. For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice, God bless America; it's been great living here. That's all."




Discussion here...

The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
Poster Thread
Lurker
Posted: 2008/7/25 16:25  Updated: 2008/7/25 16:25
 Re: bye bye scumbag
How can you call someone you don't know a scumbag? He was not a scumbag, he was a sick man. He did not KILL! And it was a 28 ounce hammer, not a 24 ounce one.
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Posted: 2008/7/25 0:38  Updated: 2008/7/25 0:38
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 Re: Clarion Ledger Commentors - Dale Bishop
I do believe you need to go back to the Calrion Ledger and view the comments again, because it was not me who said that.

Thank you for your kind words.

My condolences on your loss, I too will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Lurker
Posted: 2008/7/25 0:14  Updated: 2008/7/25 0:14
 Re: Clarion Ledger Commentors - Dale Bishop
Ma'am I feel I must try to reply to one of your comments at the Clarion Ledger.

You said the following.

you lose all the way around. your abject lie that bishop was mentally ill totally discredits anything else you might say.
nonetheless, the irrefutable FACT is that there is NO intelligent or rational argument against the death penalty. every argument is nothing but worthless emotionalism, which has no place in the justice system to begin with.

I can tell you from personal experince that Dale Bishop was A mentally ill person. You see Dale was my cousin and we grew up together here in Texas before his family moved back to Mississippi. In fact Dale lived with my father and I for a while. I remember when Dales mother took him to the mental hospital and they said he needed immediate in patient care to deal with his mental illness and how tore up she was because they couldn't afford the care he needed. Also he finally got care and medication for his mental illness once he got to death row they would not have had him on Lithium if he was not ill. Now that being said I'm not here to defend the actions of my cousin or to say he was unjustly judged and punished. I only wish he could have stayed here in Texas and maybe we could have got him the help he needed and both he and Marcus Gentry may still be alive.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Marcus Gentry as they deal with everything that happened to them. Ma'am my thoughts and prayers are also with you as you deal with the loss your family suffered.
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Posted: 2008/7/24 0:41  Updated: 2008/7/24 0:41
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 Clarion Ledger Commentors - Dale Bishop
Today, all day, I have been posting on the clarion ledger website in the Dale bishop articles. I received some supportive replies to my comments and I received some negative ones. Pretty typical, right? Well, one commentor crossed the line.

There are 9 pages of comments, it doesn't take but a few minutes to read through all of them. I urge everyone to go take a peek.

here is a little preview
Quote:

That old gal Off2dr seems to be the worse. I would like to see her have to suffer something concerning her or her family.


The person who said that also said more during the course of the comments posted. Their name over there is "LeastOfAll".

Here is the link, happy reading!
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080723/NEWS/80723036&s=d&page=#pluckcomments
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Posted: 2008/7/23 23:08  Updated: 2008/7/23 23:08
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 Re: Justice inches closer for Bishop
right, and your point is?
Lurker
Posted: 2008/7/23 23:05  Updated: 2008/7/23 23:05
 Re: Justice inches closer for Bishop
i t seems a family member of pamee was murdered
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Posted: 2008/7/23 17:00  Updated: 2008/7/23 17:00
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 Bishop wants to live but expects to die.
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Posted: 2008/7/23 16:16  Updated: 2008/7/23 16:16
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 Governor denies clemency for Bishop!
PARCHMAN, Miss. (AP) - Gov. Haley Barbour has denied clemency to condemned inmate Dale Leo Bishop, leaving his life in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barbour's policy adviser Daryl Neely told reporters of Barbour's decision during a briefing to reporters at the state prison at Parchman as officials continued preparations for Bishop's 6 p.m. execution.

The Supreme Court has not yet taken up three pending appeals filed by Bishop's attorneys.

Bishop's attorneys say his life should be spared because he did not swing the hammer that killed Marcus James Gentry in 1998. Bishop also claims his bipolar disorder prevented him from making a sound decision when he asked for the death penalty in 2000.

source: http://www.wxvt.com/Global/story.asp?S=8723702&nav=menu1344_2
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Posted: 2008/7/23 13:53  Updated: 2008/7/23 13:53
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 Murder victim's sister writes emotional thoughts on Bishop
I can't help but feel for this victims sister. Listen to her words here, listen to what this MONSTER did to her brother. This guy deserves exactly what he will be receiving tonight. This family deserves justice for the murder of Mark.

All I can say is for the state of Mississippi to let the juices flow tonight!
----------------------------------------------

Dec. 1998 Dale knowingly helped kill Mark. Now he is faced with the same fate, except he has people helping plead for his life.

He has people argueing that it is wrong for him to suffer the lethal injection in which he will just fall asleep and never wake up.

However 9 and half years ago he helped kill my brother. While Mark begged and pleaded that he was sorry Dale helped hold him down, when Mark got away and ran for his life Dale chased him down and brought him back to Jessie.

He could have chose to help Mark keep running but he did not! He brought him back and told Myhand to hold him there while he drank a beer and leisurely watched and cheered Jessie on as Jessie beat Mark with the hammer Dale kicked Mark. Now he helped to brutally murder Mark, he did nothing to stop the death, he even replied in his statement to the family at the trial that if he had not done what he did Mark would still be alive.

Cruel and unjust is how they want to describe the lethal injection, well how do you describe the pain of being hit in the head with a claw hammer while driving, never saw it coming, totally defensless. Then freeing yourself and being drug back to be hit numerous times repeatedly in the head and then finally in the neck how do you describe the fear and pain that Mark must have been feeling, after all we know he did not die instantly from the first few blows because he did run and then Dale said he drank a beer while Jessie beat him and then dale kicked Mark numerous times, and then Jessie Ripped Marks trachea out with the claw and left the hammer in Marks neck, then Dale came back toget the hammer. He stated that he never leaves home without it, never knows when he might need it.

How do you describe that pain, the pain I feel writing this, reading the articles that make it sound like Dale did nothing. there are no words to describe what Mark went through that night, there is no way to describe the sick feeling that goes through our hearts when we are forced to relive the night and days to follow Mark's death.

Dale may not have delivered the lethal blow that ended Mark's life but he was there every step of the way with Jessie Helping Jessie, not Mark. So he is just as guilty as Jessie in delivering the final blow.

As far as Justice I just hope and pray that the law is carried out the way it is written. I pray for everyone that has been affected by this terrible crime.

I hope that you will not distort my words if you use any of this.

Mark can not defend himself, he ws a good person and he was actually going to fix Dale's truck for him, Mark had bought the part for Dale because he knew Dale did not have the money, he had no idea that they were planning this and it was planned.

Jessie's mom admitted later to knowing and hearing Jessie talk about it but she just thought he was mad and did not think he was serious."

- Tangela Turner
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Posted: 2008/7/23 11:42  Updated: 2008/7/23 11:42
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 Bishop mom asks public to help son
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Posted: 2008/7/23 11:38  Updated: 2008/7/23 11:38
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Posted: 2008/7/23 0:24  Updated: 2008/7/23 0:24
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 Bishop's Execution Appeal Denied
JACKSON, Miss. -- Barring a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court, Dale Leo Bishop will be executed Wednesday for participating in the claw hammer beating death of one of his friends.

The execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday turned down the second of two requests from Bishop to stop the execution.

The first petition was dismissed Monday.

The 5th Circuit said on Tuesday that Bishop was trying to argue the same thing twice -- that his attorney should have done a better job.

The appeals court said that issue was dismissed once and Bishop couldn't argue it twice.

Bishop has asked Gov. Haley Barbour for clemency. Barbour isn't likely to do that.

source: http://www.wapt.com/news/16958561/detail.html
Lurker
Posted: 2008/7/22 20:25  Updated: 2008/7/22 20:25
 bye bye scumbag
hmmm the state of mississippi could save a lot of money by just going to a local hardware store buy a 24 oz, hammer and do onto mr bishop as he had done onto his victim
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Posted: 2008/7/21 19:15  Updated: 2008/7/21 19:15
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 5th Circuit denies Bishop stay on lethal-injection appeal
NEW ORLEANS - The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not stop Dale Leo Bishop's execution Wednesday, based on his contentions Mississippi's lethal-injection procedure is unconstitutional.

Bishop still has another appeal before the court, that his attorneys during his Lee County trial and during his early appeals process bungled and, in some instances, suppressed information that he was mentally ill.

Execution of mentally ill prisoners is not allowed.

Bishop was diagnosed in prison with a bipolar disorder.

Bishop, of Guntown, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday in the Mississippi State Penitentiary. He was sentenced to death after a Lee County jury convicted him of capital murder in the 1998 claw-hammer beating death of Marcus Gentry of Fulton.

Bishop did not kill Gentry but was involved with the crime enough for the jury to find him guilty.

The killer, Jessie Johnson, later was sentenced to life in prison without parole by a Tishomingo County jury.

source: http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID=276395&pub=1&div=News
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Posted: 2008/7/15 20:33  Updated: 2008/7/15 20:33
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 Miss. Supreme Court denies Bishop execution stay
JACKSON - The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Dale Leo Bishop, who is scheduled to die July 23 for his role in a 1998 claw hammer murder.

Bishop's attorneys had asked the court to block the execution, claiming the inmate's former lawyers were ineffective, he has mental problems and Mississippi's method of lethal injection is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to hear an appeal based on claims that Bishop had poor legal representation and that the original judge erred by not moving the trial.

Bishop's attorney, Jim Craig, said Wednesday that he and other lawyers "are preparing further appeals to other courts and are hopeful for a better result."

Bishop's attorneys accuse his former appellate lawyer of intentionally sabotaging his case. The new attorneys claim Robert "Bob" Ryan, the former director of a state agency responsible for representing indigent death row inmates on appeal, suppressed evidence and fired and investigator working on Bishop's behalf.

The court's ruling did not specifically address those allegations.

"As lawyers for Dale Bishop, and as members of the Bar, we are disappointed that the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the desertion of duty by Bishop's prior lawyer was not enough to order a hearing and stop the execution," Craig said. "Bishop's lawyer discarded relevant evidence and filed claims which were false. That is why this case has moved so fast through the system. It would not have been worse for Bishop if he had no lawyer at all."

Bishop, 34, would be the second inmate executed in Mississippi this year. He was sentenced to die for his role in the claw hammer beating death of 19-year-old Marcus James Gentry. The attack took place near Saltillo in northeast Mississippi.

Prosecutors said Bishop participated in the fatal attack by holding Gentry and kicking him. Bishop's attorneys say an accomplice, Jessie Johnson, actually killed Gentry and has admitted dealing the lethal blows with a hammer that belonged to Bishop. Johnson is serving a life sentence.

Bishop and Johnson killed Gentry, a man they both called a friend, after a night of drinking. Johnson believed Gentry "narced" on Johnson's brother and got him in trouble with the law.

After his 2000 conviction, Bishop waived his right to a be sentenced by a jury. He said he deserved to die and declined to provide evidence that might have persuaded the judge to let him live. His attorneys say he has a lifelong mental illness that prevented him from making a rational decision.

The Mississippi Supreme Court said Wednesday that Bishop's request for post-conviction relief was not filed within the statute of limitations and "does not meet any of the exceptions to the bar."

Claims that Bishop is not eligible for execution because of mental illness were without merit, the justices said. "Furthermore, this court finds that Mississippi's lethal injection protocol does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment."

Bishop's attorneys accused his former appellate lawyer of intentionally sabotaging his case. The new attorneys claimed Robert "Bob" Ryan, the former director of a state agency responsible for representing indigent death row inmates on appeal, suppressed evidence and fired and investigator working on Bishop's behalf.

The court's ruling did not specifically address those allegations.

If Bishop is executed as planned, it will be the swiftest a death penalty has been carried out in Mississippi since the days of the gas chamber. The last five men executed in Mississippi spent an average of about 19 years appealing their cases, much longer than the eight years since Bishop's conviction.

The last person executed in Mississippi was Earl Wesley Berry, who was put to death May 21 for the brutal 1987 slaying of Mary Bounds. He spent 20 years on death row.

Attorney General Jim Hood has said several changes in state and federal regulations in recent years were aimed at expediting inmate appeals.

source: http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID=275945&pub=1&div=News
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Posted: 2008/7/13 18:51  Updated: 2008/7/13 18:51
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 Miss. Supreme Court denies Bishop execution stay
JACKSON - The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Dale Leo Bishop, who is scheduled to die July 23 for his role in a 1998 claw hammer murder.

Bishop's attorneys had asked the court to block the execution, claiming the inmate's former lawyers were ineffective, he has mental problems and Mississippi's method of lethal injection is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to hear an appeal based on claims that Bishop had poor legal representation and that the original judge erred by not moving the trial.

Bishop's attorney, Jim Craig, said Wednesday that he and other lawyers "are preparing further appeals to other courts and are hopeful for a better result."

Bishop's attorneys accuse his former appellate lawyer of intentionally sabotaging his case. The new attorneys claim Robert "Bob" Ryan, the former director of a state agency responsible for representing indigent death row inmates on appeal, suppressed evidence and fired and investigator working on Bishop's behalf.

The court's ruling did not specifically address those allegations.

"As lawyers for Dale Bishop, and as members of the Bar, we are disappointed that the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the desertion of duty by Bishop's prior lawyer was not enough to order a hearing and stop the execution," Craig said. "Bishop's lawyer discarded relevant evidence and filed claims which were false. That is why this case has moved so fast through the system. It would not have been worse for Bishop if he had no lawyer at all."

Bishop, 34, would be the second inmate executed in Mississippi this year. He was sentenced to die for his role in the claw hammer beating death of 19-year-old Marcus James Gentry. The attack took place near Saltillo in northeast Mississippi.

Prosecutors said Bishop participated in the fatal attack by holding Gentry and kicking him. Bishop's attorneys say an accomplice, Jessie Johnson, actually killed Gentry and has admitted dealing the lethal blows with a hammer that belonged to Bishop. Johnson is serving a life sentence.

Bishop and Johnson killed Gentry, a man they both called a friend, after a night of drinking. Johnson believed Gentry "narced" on Johnson's brother and got him in trouble with the law.

After his 2000 conviction, Bishop waived his right to a be sentenced by a jury. He said he deserved to die and declined to provide evidence that might have persuaded the judge to let him live. His attorneys say he has a lifelong mental illness that prevented him from making a rational decision.

The Mississippi Supreme Court said Wednesday that Bishop's request for post-conviction relief was not filed within the statute of limitations and "does not meet any of the exceptions to the bar."

Claims that Bishop is not eligible for execution because of mental illness were without merit, the justices said. "Furthermore, this court finds that Mississippi's lethal injection protocol does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment."

Bishop's attorneys accused his former appellate lawyer of intentionally sabotaging his case. The new attorneys claimed Robert "Bob" Ryan, the former director of a state agency responsible for representing indigent death row inmates on appeal, suppressed evidence and fired and investigator working on Bishop's behalf.

The court's ruling did not specifically address those allegations.

If Bishop is executed as planned, it will be the swiftest a death penalty has been carried out in Mississippi since the days of the gas chamber. The last five men executed in Mississippi spent an average of about 19 years appealing their cases, much longer than the eight years since Bishop's conviction.

The last person executed in Mississippi was Earl Wesley Berry, who was put to death May 21 for the brutal 1987 slaying of Mary Bounds. He spent 20 years on death row.

Attorney General Jim Hood has said several changes in state and federal regulations in recent years were aimed at expediting inmate appeals.

source: http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID=275945&pub=1&div=News
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Posted: 2008/7/2 5:02  Updated: 2008/7/2 5:02
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 Execution date set for Bishop; new motion filed
The state Supreme Court has set Dale Leo Bishop's execution for July 23, but it has yet to rule on a new motion that seeks to spare his life.

"No legal impediment exists to setting an execution date, as the United States Supreme Court denied Bishop's petition ... on June 23, 2008," state Supreme Court Justice William Waller Jr. wrote Tuesday in setting Bishop's execution date.

But Waller said in a footnote in the order that the court is awaiting a response from the state on Bishop's new motion. Jim Craig, one of Bishop's lawyers, said Tuesday that the court, in a separate order, told the attorney general's office to file a response by Monday on Bishop's new appeal.

"There aren't any other appeals until after the Supreme Court rules," Craig said .

Bishop, 34, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for the kidnapping and slaying of 22-year-old Marcus Gentry of Fulton, who was beaten with a claw hammer on a dirt logging road outside Saltillo on Dec. 10, 1998.

Attorneys for Bishop filed papers Monday asking the state Supreme Court for permission to file the new appeal on Bishop's behalf. The new appeal presents three arguments:


That Bishop's trial lawyers failed to defend him properly, by failing to mention that Bishop has had lifelong psychiatric problems.


That the evidence shows that Bishop had no intent that Gentry be killed, and therefore he cannot be executed under Supreme Court precedent.


And the state' protocol for lethal injection presents an unconstitutional risk of serious harm, including the infliction of excruciating pain and suffering.

Attorney General Jim Hood said Tuesday the state has a federal motion pending to throw out a lawsuit by Bishop and other death row inmates challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi's protocol for lethal injection.

source: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080702/NEWS/807020353/1001/news
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Posted: 2008/7/1 2:17  Updated: 2008/7/1 2:17
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 Lawyer wants execution delayed
The new director of an agency that represents Mississippi death row inmates claimed in court papers Monday that his predecessor sabotaged the cases of condemned prisoners by failing to present pertinent evidence.

One of those inmates was executed in May.

Glen S. Swartzfager, the new director of the state Office of Post Conviction Counsel, made the allegations in an 86-page motion in the case of death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop. The motion was filed Monday with the Mississippi Supreme Court in response to a requested July 23 execution date.

Swartzfager alleges that Robert M. Ryan, the former director of the Office of Post Conviction Counsel, withheld evidence in prior appeals that Bishop suffered a lifelong mental illness.

"The Director simply discarded this proof and substituted his own unsubstantiated frivolous allegations," Swartzfager wrote in court papers. "All the while, Bishop had no idea his lead lawyer was sabotaging his main chance to escape execution."

Ryan and Swartzfager did not immediately respond to messages left Monday by The Associated Press. The attorney general's office, which prosecutes cases, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Swartzfager, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court on June 10, also claims Ryan failed to present evidence of mental disabilities in the first appeal of Earl Wesley Berry, who was executed May 21. State lawmakers created the Office of Post Conviction Counsel in 2000 to help poor death row inmates appeal their convictions.

Jim Craig, an attorney for Phelps Dunbar who often works on death row cases and was a lawyer for both Berry and Bishop, said he believes Ryan failed his clients.

Craig said that by the time he became involved with Berry's case and presented evidence that Berry was mentally disabled, it was too late to save his life.

"The court never looked at evidence we developed on Berry's retardation and said he's not retarded," Craig said. "They just said we ruled several years ago on what the prior attorney filed."

Swartzfager and Craig also claimed Ryan dismissed an investigator who uncovered valuable evidence for Bishop's appeal and prevented others from helping on that case.

"This is a sickening, even shocking state of affairs," the court motion said.

Bishop's attorneys said he waived his right to let a jury sentence him and left his life in the hands of a judge because he suffers from bipolar disorder.

Bishop was sentenced to death in the 1998 fatal claw hammer beating of 19-year-old Marcus Gentry of Fulton. Another man also was convicted in the case and sentenced to life in prison.

"Bishop had been found guilty of capital murder despite uncontested proof that he was not the actual killer of Marcus Gentry," the motion claims.

Bishop's attorneys want the Mississippi court to hear an appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court refused June 23 to hear an appeal based on claims of ineffectual counsel and the trial judge's refusal to move the case due to pretrial publicity.

(source: Fort Mill Times)
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Posted: 2008/6/27 11:55  Updated: 2008/6/27 11:55
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 Justice inches closer for Bishop
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has removed the constitutional cloud from the state's method of administering lethal injection in capital cases, Mississippi seems to be getting about the business of expediting executions.

State Attorney General Jim Hood has asked the state Supreme Court to set Lee County death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop's execution on or before July 23.

Bishop, 34, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for the kidnapping and slaying of 22-year-old Marcus Gentry of Fulton. Gentry was beaten with an 18-ounce carpenter's framing hammer on a dirt logging road outside Saltillo on Dec. 10, 1998, after an argument.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused without comment Monday to hear an appeal from Bishop.

Bishop was contesting his capital murder and kidnapping convictions, alleging ineffectual counsel and the trial judge's failure to move the trial out of Lee County because of publicity.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected those claims in February.

Mississippi executed Earl Wesley Berry on May 21 for the Nov. 29, 1987, kidnapping and beating death of 56-year-old Mary Bounds in Chickasaw County.

After Berry's execution, 64 inmates remained on Mississippi's death row - 3 women and 61 men. 31 are white, 32 black and one is Asian. The youngest is Terry Pitchford, 21, convicted in Grenada County; the oldest, Gerald James Holland, 70, was convicted in Harrison County. The longest-serving death row inmate, Richard Jordan, 61, was convicted in Jackson County 30 years ago.

Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps has said it costs $14,000 to execute an inmate, including staff overtime and preparing the death chamber at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. By contrast, he said, it cost more than $350,000 to incarcerate Berry for 20 years.

Arguments are obvious against the death penalty: selective sentencing, the state's failure to finance proper death investigations, racial and/or socioeconomic discrepancies and, for many, basic moral objections.

But the death penalty remains the law of the land in Mississippi. Until the citizens of this state decide to change that reality, the notion of multi-decade stays on death row and interminable appeals are an affront to the families of crime victims.

Bishop appears to have exhausted most if not all of his appeals. A decade of appeals is more than enough. The family of Bishop's victim is still awaiting closure.

The courts should provide that closure and move forward with enforcing the law.

(source: Clarion Ledger)