North Carolina Death Penalty News

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NC judge commutes death sentences of 3 inmates to life
Published: December 13, 2012


A North Carolina judge commuted the death sentences of three inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole after ruling Thursday that race played an unjust role in jury selection at their trials.

Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks' ruling under the state's Racial Justice Act is based on evidence presented over four weeks of hearings that he says showed prosecutors in each case made a concerted effort to reduce the number of black jurors.

The cases involve convicted murderers Christina "Queen" Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine. Earlier this year, Marcus Reymond Robinson became the first to have his sentence commuted to life without parole under the provisions of the landmark 2009 law, which legislators made more restrictive this year.

The three are among the most notorious killers in North Carolina, with two convicted of killing law enforcement officers. Golphin killed a state trooper and a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy, and Augustine killed a Fayetteville police officer. Walters killed two women in a gang-initiation ritual in Fayetteville.

The original Racial Justice Act allowed death row inmates to use statistics to show that racial bias influenced their sentences, but the Republican-led General Assembly recently rolled back much of the law, overriding the veto this past summer of Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Statistics alone are no longer enough to have a death sentence commuted, and prisoners must also introduce evidence pertinent to their cases. Weeks said he was commuting the death sentences under both the original and revised laws.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Angelstorms OL'Man

What a bunch of crap...
This was designed to hurt....Its a SEAL Candace unless you have been there yo will never understand...


Loving the "Papastalkin" LOL!
"Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."  SCOTUS

Peace and Comfort to all Victims and Families


Hembree off death row, back in Gaston
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 13:44 PM.

Death row inmate Danny Robbie Hembree walked into Gaston County Superior Court Tuesday with a thick folder of documents in his shackled hands.

The 51-year-old former Gastonia resident temporarily left death row to return to a Gaston County courtroom where he and attorneys took care of pre-trial matters in a second, first-degree murder trial for him.

He'll face the possibility of a second death sentence for the 2009 killing of Randi Dean Saldana.

Attorneys discussed two matters before Superior Court Judge James Morgan - bringing in jurors from Burke County and omitting information in a third killing for which Hembree's been charged.

Three women, one conviction

A jury gave Hembree a death sentence in 2011 for one of the three killings.

The conviction was for suffocating 17-year-old Heather Catterton in October 2009 and leaving her partially nude body in a culvert in South Carolina.

Hembree went on trial again in 2011 for the killing Randi Dean Saldana.

Saldana, 30, was found dead in York, S.C., just two weeks after Catterton's body was discovered.

A judge declared a mistrial in the trial for Saldana's killing after Hembree alleged an improper relationship with a Gaston County prosecutor.

Upon mistrial, Hembree's attorneys, Rick Beam and Brent Ratchford, both of Gaston County, asked to be removed from the case.

Hickory attorney Ted Cummings now represents Hembree as lead counsel.

Connections to cases

Hembree confessed to all three killings for which he was charged with murder in December 2009. In addition to Catterton and Saldana, Hembree also claimed he killed 30-year-old Deborah Ratchford in 1992.

District Attorney Locke Bell wants to keep jurors in the Saldana case from hearing evidence related to Ratchford's killing.

Cummings will argue at trial that Hembree lied when he confessed to the killings.

"Danny has a propensity to make statements that really throw the light on him because he likes the attention... the notoriety," said Cummings. "He has a history of misrepresenting the truth."

Bell said bringing up the 1992 slaying would confuse jurors.

The deaths of Saldana and Catterton had a multitude of similarities, Bell said. The Ratchford slaying was completely different.

Bell said he intends to present a Dec. 4, 2009, confession to jurors, a recording that doesn't have any mention of Ratchford.

Cummings said a Dec. 9, 2009, confession is also relevant, and that recording includes Ratchford.

Morgan said he'd listen to the recordings before making a decision.

Impartial jurors

The first trial captured regional media attention, showing up on TV and in newspapers before and during the proceedings.

Jurors in the first Saldana trial were brought in from Rutherford County.

Morgan adopted a similar strategy in deciding to bring in jurors from Burke County.

Jury selection will take place in Burke County, but the trial will be conducted in Gaston County.

The trial is scheduled for March.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Lawmakers Pass Bill To Resume Executions In North Carolina
By Scott Keyes on Apr 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

It's been nearly seven years since the last execution in North Carolina, but that could soon change after the state Senate passed a bill to resume executions in the Tar Heel State.

The halt in executions stemmed largely from challenges to the state's lethal injection protocol and questions about whether medical professionals can participate in a state-sponsored killing. Additionally, the 2009 Racial Justice Act allowed death row inmates to appeal their conviction if racial bias may have played a role in his or her sentence. A judge would then decide whether to let the capital sentence stand or commute it to life without the possibility of parole.

However, that law's days may be numbered after the state Senate voted 33-14 on Wednesday to repeal the Racial Justice Act, in addition to enacting other changes to smooth the path to future executions. The bill now moves to the state House, where Republicans enjoy a 77-43 advantage.

WRAL has more:

    When it passed, the [Racial Justice Act] was the only one of its kind in the nation. Supporters said it would renew public confidence in the capital punishment system. Detractors said it would clog the courts with appeals.

    The original law allowed the use of statistics to prove a pattern of racial bias in jury selection and sentencing. State lawmakers changed that with a major rewrite last year. Senate Bill 306 repeals the remainder of the law.

Whether North Carolina lawmakers recognize it or not, racial bias plays a major role in the criminal justice sentencing system, particularly in the doling out of death sentences. For example, in capital cases, those with at least one white victim were over three times more likely to result in a death sentence than those without a white victim. In addition, as court documents show, potential jurors who were minorities were struck by prosecutors at nearly twice the rate of potential jurors who were white, regardless of qualification. All- or mostly-white juries have been more likely to sentence a black defendant to death. The Racial Justice Act helped address these biases in the system.

North Carolina's move bucks the national trend towards repealing the death penalty. Six states in as many years have eliminated capital punishment.

As of last year, more than 160 people were on death row in North Carolina.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Grinning Grim Reaper

Bill To Repeal Racial Justice Act Heads To Governor's Desk

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A bill designed to clear the way for executions to resume in North Carolina is headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk after receiving final legislative approval.

The Senate on Wednesday approved changes made by the House to a bill that repeals the Racial Justice Act. The 2009 law allows convicted murderers to reduce a death sentence to life in prison if they can prove that race played a major role in their cases.

Republicans already had weakened the law last year.

Opponents argued the law has allowed nearly all 156 death-row inmates to appeal their cases regardless of merit and delayed justice. Supporters say past studies and 2012 court decisions have affirmed the law's use.

McCrory opposed the law in his 2012 campaign for governor.

Well what will you do now to circumvent justice Judge liberal panty wetter!
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


Bernard Lamp receives death penalty for 2008 Iredell murder
Convicted killer shows no reaction as ruling is handed down
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Two weeks to the day after he was convicted of first-degree murder, Bernard Lamp was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing Bonnie Lou Irvine nearly six years ago.

The same jury that convicted him Feb. 5 deliberated a little more than four hours over two days before recommending the death penalty in Iredell County Superior Court.

Although it is called a recommendation, Judge Ed Wilson is required to accept the jury's recommendation and, after asking each juror if that was his or her recommendation, he pronounced the sentence on Lamp.

Prior to the sentencing, Wilson asked Lamp if he had anything to say. He made no comment and left the defense table as the jury was exiting the courtroom.

The death sentence will be automatically sent to the N.C. Court of Appeals for review. That is standard in all death sentences.

It is likely to be several years before the death sentence will be carried out. The last execution in North Carolina was in 2006. There are currently more than 150 inmates on death row at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Lamp showed no reaction as Wilson read the jury's recommendation. One of his attorneys, David Freedman, rested his head on his hand, as he had been doing since the jury knocked on the jury room door and indicated a recommendation had been reached.

Irvine's sister, Debbie Powers, who was the first witness in the guilt phase and who has been in court for most of the trial, showed no reaction.

Wilson complimented Powers and her two brothers, who also attended much of the trial, for their support.

"You've done your sister proud," he said.

District Attorney Sarah Kirkman and Assistant District Attorney Carrie Nitzu hugged Powers after court was recessed.

Kirkman said she was satisfied with the jury's decision.

"Ms. Nitzu and I respect the jury's decision, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family at this time," she said. One of Lamp's two defense attorneys, Vince Rabil, walked over and shook hands with the prosecution.

The sentencing phase brought to an end a case that began in mid-March 2008 when Lamp was arrested driving Irvine's Volvo near Troutman. Irvine had been reported missing on March 8 but was last seen by her roommate at their Cornelius home on Feb. 28.

That's the day, according to trial testimony, that she met Lamp in person after contacting him two weeks earlier via a Craigslist ad placed by him.

Her body was found the day after Lamp was arrested. She was buried in the backyard of a home on Weathers Creek Road that belonged to a friend of Lamp's. She had been beaten and strangled, either one of which could have caused her death, according to expert testimony.

This was the first case in Iredell County in which a jury recommended the death penalty since 2010 when Andrew Ramseur received the death penalty for killing two people at a Statesville convenience store during a robbery in 2007.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Jonathan Richardson sentenced to death in the murder of Teghan Skiba
Friday, April 04, 2014

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- A jury in Johnston County sentenced Jonathan Richardson to death Thursday evening for the murder of 4-year-old Teghan Skiba.

Skiba's paternal grandparents told ABC11 that they are not satisfied because nothing will bring Teghan back. With the death sentence not being carried out anytime soon, they don't think it's fair that he gets to live longer than Teghan was alive.

"Even the death penalty does not bring our granddaughter back," said Teghan's grandfather, Gerald Skiba. "It does not take away her suffering. The way I see it, he got the verdict today. He should be dead tomorrow."

Teghan's aunt on her mother's side said she is happy justice was served, but nothing will bring back her niece.

Lawyers made their final arguments in the death penalty phase of Richardson's murder trial Thursday earlier in the day.

The same jury found Richardson guilty of first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping, and sexual offense with a child last week.

In July 2010, the then-21-year-old Richardson took Skiba to the Johnston Medical Center claiming the child had fallen off the bed. However, doctors found she had cuts, bruises, a head wound, and bite marks on her body. Skiba died days later from her injuries after she was transferred to UNC.

Richardson was supposed to be babysitting the child for his then girlfriend, but prosecutors say he brutally tortured her over a 10-day period while her mother, Helen Roxanne Reyes, was out-of-state for Army Reserves training.

In her closing arguments Thursday, Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told jurors that Skiba suffered unimaginable pain in her final days. She lost over 70 percent of the blood in her body from the numerous wounds.

"The defendant bit Teghan all over her body over 60 times and she began to slip away," said Doyle.

Doyle went on to remind jurors of how Skiba's family will never get to experience life events with her like birthdays, school plays, getting her driver's license, or the high school prom.

"The defendant took that away," said Doyle.

Doyle then showed the jury Teghan's copy of the popular children's book by Diane de Groat called "Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!"

"If only Teghan's biggest fear had been bedbugs biting," said Doyle.

Prosecutor Greg Butler told the jury the murder was extremely wicked and shockingly evil.

"Jonathan Richardson is a sadist and a killer. He's cold hearted, and he's totally without remorse," said Butler.

Prosecutor Paul Jackson spoke of the "...the awful, unimaginable circumstances surrounding her murder, her violation, at the hands of that defendant."

Richardson's defense team argued that he should not be sentenced to death, and tried to convince jurors that life in prison was the sentence they should choose.

"He will die in prison as the lowest form of life in the abyss," said attorney Mike Klinkosum.

Klinkosum said that, as a prisoner convicted of the torture and murder of child, Richardson will be a target for other prisoners.

"There will never come a time when he can let his guard down," he offered.

There was no reaction from Richardson himself when the death sentence was announced, and he declined to address the court after the sentence was read.

Meanwhile, family members are planning a candlelight vigil to honor Teghan on the evening of Tuesday, April 15 on the steps of the Johnston County Courthouse.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Man on death row seeks new trial in separate killing
Monday, September 22, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.

A Wilmington man on death row for a 1997 shooting over drug money in which his rival was killed and an 8-year-old bystander also died will be in court this week on a motion for a new trial in another murder charge for which he was sentenced to life.

On Thursday, Shan E. Carter, 39, will ask a New Hanover County judge for a retrial in the killing of Donald Brunson because DNA testing reportedly shows his DNA was not on masks used in the killing, according to a motion filed in New Hanover County Superior Court on Sept. 3. Carter was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping in the Dec. 6, 1996, killing of Brunson.

According to court documents, three masked men entered Brunson's bedroom, ordered him at gunpoint onto the floor and a struggle ensued in which Brunson was beaten. After binding both Brunson and his girlfriend, the men pulled the bound Brunson from the bedroom, beat him further, stole jewelry and cash and left with the unconscious Brunson in the girlfriend's car. Later that morning, the car, containing masks, was found seven miles from the home and Brunson's body was found 100 yards from the vehicle in the woods.

In August, Carter was granted a motion to test the masks found in the vehicle for DNA because of new technology that was more sensitive to touch DNA, the motion states.

"Here the DNA results are favorable because they exclude Mr. Carter from the three masks worn by the perpetrators of the offense," the motion states.

On Thursday, a judge will determine if the new DNA evidence warrants a new trial.

Following the conviction in the Brunson case, Carter was convicted in the Feb. 16, 1997, killing of Tyrone Baker and bystander 8-year-old Demetrius Greene.

In that case, Baker's home was burglarized and $35,000 in drug money stolen, according to court records. Baker confronted Carter at 10th and Dawson streets. When Carter began shooting, Baker ran toward a car holding Demetrius who was waiting in the front seat as his mother approached to take him and his siblings to the toy store, according to court records. A stray bullet from Carter's revolver passed through the windshield of the car Demetrius was in and struck the child in the head, killing him. Baker was struck twice and died nearby.

Carter was convicted in both murders and sentenced to death.

The outcome of a new trial in the Brunson case could affect the death penalty sentence in the Baker and Greene case, said Carter's attorney at the original Brunson trial, Capital Defender Rick Miller.

"If it was determined that he was not guilty in the Brunson case - if that had been used for purposes as aggravating the (death) sentence in (Baker/Greene) case, then it's quite possible he would be entitled to a new sentencing hearing in that case, but it would not overturn the verdict of guilty," Miller said.

District Attorney Ben David, who tried the Carter case himself as the first murder case he handled when he took office, confirmed Monday that the Brunson killing was used as an aggravating factor to sentence Carter to death in the Greene and Baker killings.

But, David said, Carter is not an innocent man sitting on death row.

"He got on the stand and admitted to killing a child and another person," David said. "He's trying to get off death row and get life without parole. He is not maintaining his innocence in the (Greene/Baker) case.

"I gave all three victims a voice all those years ago and I look forward to giving them a voice again. We're committed to trying Shan Carter to the maximum extent of the law and nothing about these latest tests has change any of that resolve."
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Grinning Grim Reaper

Accused killer commits suicide in Buncombe jail

A Leicester man charged in the killing of his mother and stepfather last year and a suspect in his girlfriend's death has committed suicide.

Jailers found him early Sunday in his cell in the Buncombe County Detention Facility but were unable to revive him.  ;D

Vincent Thomas Wesley Franklin, 26, was in custody facing two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of his mother and stepfather and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon last year.

The bodies of his mother, Joy Runne, 45, and stepfather, Andre Runne, 44, were discovered at their home on James Drive on Nov. 20, 2013. Franklin had been living at the house with his parents. Both suffered gunshot wounds.

Franklin was also a suspect in the ongoing death investigation of his longtime girlfriend, Cheyenne Nichole VanTreese, who had been reported missing since October of that year.

The remains of VanTreese, 23, were discovered Nov. 21, 2013, in the woods near the Runne home, the day after the couple's bodies were found.

Franklin was discovered shortly after midnight in his cell, said Natalie Bailey, a spokewoman for the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department. She did not have exact details of how Franklin had harmed himself.

Jailers performed CPR on him until Buncombe County EMS paramedics arrived, but they were unable to revive him.  :P

The investigation into Franklin's suicide is continuing.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

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