Mississippi Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, February 27, 2008, 09:43:21 PM

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Angelstorms OL'Man

OK sentence him to death again...
This was designed to hurt....Its a SEAL Candace unless you have been there yo will never understand...


Death row inmate loses post-conviction arguments
July 7, 2014

NEW ALBANY, Miss. -- The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear the post-conviction arguments of death row inmate Marlon Howell convicted in the 2001 slaying of a newspaper carrier.

The case is among dozens the court will consider during its July-August term. It will not hear oral arguments.

A judge denied Howell's appeal last year, finding no fault with his legal representation. The judge also denied Howell's challenge the testimony of a prosecutor's witness. Howell also argued a jail lineup was tainted by a lack of an attorney.

Howell was convicted in 2001 of capital murder and sentenced to death for killing David Pernell during a robbery. Pernell was a retired postman who delivered the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. He was killed after being was flagged down on a city street in New Albany.

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


Mississippi mom swaps death row for jail cell to await trial
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0100 GMT (0900 HKT)

A Mississippi woman whose death sentence was overturned has been moved from state prison to county jail, where she will await a new trial, authorities say.

Michelle Byrom was moved to Tishomingo County Jail on Saturday. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed her capital murder conviction on March 31 and ordered a new trial.

Byrom was sentenced to death in 2000 after a jury determined she was the mastermind of a murder-for-hire plot to kill her allegedly abusive husband. Her son wrote in jailhouse letters that he committed the crime, and according to court documents, told a court-appointed psychologist that he was culprit.

According to Tishomingo County Sheriff Glenn Whitlock, Byrom was picked up by sheriff officials Saturday morning and is being held under the original capital murder indictment until the county district attorney or court system takes the next steps.

Whitlock told CNN that Byrom isn't receiving any special treatment, and she is currently alone in her cell, but could have cellmates at any time.

Byrom's new trial date has not been set yet, according to the Tishomingo County Circuit clerk.

The attorney who represented Byrom during the effort to have her conviction reversed no longer represents the 57-year-old. Efforts to reach her new counsel were not immediately successful.

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


Miss. death row inmate challenges rape conviction
August 9, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Attorneys for death row inmate Charles Ray Crawford are arguing the man's 1994 rape conviction should be tossed out because he received poor legal representation at his trial. The result of the appeal could mean the difference between life and death for Crawford.

According to his lawyers, Crawford could get off death row -- where he now resides on an unrelated murder conviction -- if his appeal in the rape case is successful.

Crawford was arrested in 1992 for rape and aggravated assault. While free on bond, he was arrested for murder in the death of a young woman. He was convicted of rape in 1993 and sentenced to 66 years in prison. He was then found guilty of murder in 1994 and sentenced to death. Prosecutors had argued for the death penalty, saying it was justified because Crawford's past as a rapist constituted an aggravated factor and called for the harshest of punishments.

Crawford is now appealing the rape conviction. His lawyers say he received inadequate counsel during the trial.

The state Supreme Court says it will not set an execution date for the murder until the rape appeal is resolved. Crawford's lawyers filed a brief in the appeal July 25. Attorney General Jim Hood has 30 days from that date to respond.

If the Supreme Court upholds Crawford's conviction in the earlier case, Hood could again petition the court to set an execution date. Crawford's lawyers argue that the death sentence would be negated if the conviction is reversed.

Few details of the rape conviction are discussed in earlier briefs in the death penalty case. Crawford, now 48, was sentenced to death in the killing of Northeast Mississippi Community College student Kristy Ray in rural Tippah County.

Glenn Swartzfager, Crawford's lawyer, argued in the July 25 filing that there were numerous errors in Crawford's rape trial including poor performance by the defense, prosecutorial misconduct and questionable rulings and jury instructions from the trial judge.

"A more error-ridden case may never have come before this court," Swartzfager wrote in the brief to the Supreme Court.

"Mr. Crawford is not asserting the right to a perfect trial, though the trial he received was far from perfect, but he is asserting his right to a trial which had some chance of providing the reliability demanded by the United States and Mississippi constitutions," Swartzfager wrote.

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


Jordan Presses New Appeal of 1976 Death Sentence
Monday, August 11, 2014 12:26 p.m. CDT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A Mississippi death row inmate is asking the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear an appeal.

#At 68, Richard Gerald Jordan is the oldest inmate on Mississippi's death row. He is also Mississippi's the longest serving death row inmate, with 37 years.

#In a post-conviction petition denied in June, two members of a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit rejected Jordan's arguments of prosecutorial vindictiveness and ineffective assistance of counsel. A third judge said Jordan should be allowed to argue his case concerning allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

#The 5th Circuit has set a deadline of Friday for the Mississippi attorney general's office to file a response to Jordan's motion for a full court hearing.

#Jordan was convicted of capital murder committed in the course of a kidnapping and was sentenced to death on four separate occasions in the case. Following the first three convictions, Jordan challenged his death sentence successfully, was re-tried, and was again re-sentenced to death.

#Jordan was convicted of kidnapping and killing Edwina Marta in Harrison County on Jan. 13, 1976. He was accused of collecting a $25,000 ransom from Marta's husband, then taking the woman to a wooded area in north Harrison County and shooting her in the back of the head.

#In 1991, after a third successful challenge to his sentence, Jordan entered into an agreement with the prosecution to serve a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in exchange for not further contesting his sentence.

#Jordan appealed to the Supreme Court, saying he had agreed to the sentence but it was invalid under state law.

#The Supreme Court in 1997 agreed, ruling life without parole as a sentencing option did not exist until July 1, 1994. The justices said the only sentences available to Jordan were death or life imprisonment with parole. The justices ordered a new sentencing hearing.

#Thereafter, Jordan sought a life with parole sentence. The prosecutor refused. The prosecutor said that, because Jordan "violated" the first agreement by asking the court to change his earlier sentence, the prosecutor would not again enter into a plea agreement with Jordan for a life sentence. The prosecutor instead successfully sought the death penalty for the fourth time in a 1998 sentencing trial.

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


Man appeals conviction, death sentence
September 24, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. -- A Mississippi death row inmate has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal.

Jason Lee Keller sentenced to death for the 2007 fatal shooting and robbery of a Harrison County convenience store owner. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Keller's conviction in February.

Keller, now 33, was convicted in 2009 for the slaying of 41-year-old Hat Nguyen, who was killed at the convenience store she owned.

Keller argued statements he gave police while being treated in the hospital for a gunshot wound were inadmissible. Two were thrown out at his trial; the third was allowed as evidence.

A majority of the Mississippi Supreme Court found the third statement was voluntarily given to authorities.

Mississippi prosecutors have until Oct. 8 to respond to Keller's petition.

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


Forrest County issues transfer request for Gillett
November 29, 2014

On June 12, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Roger Lee Gillett's death sentence stemming from his 2007 conviction on two counts of capital murder.

Gillett was convicted for his role in the March 2004 slayings of his cousin, Vernon Hulett, 34, and Hulett's girlfriend, Linda Heintzelman, 37, and transporting their bodies to Kansas in a freezer.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin, Gillett's girlfriend at the time, also was convicted of capital murder in August 2006. She also is now on death row.

While in custody in Kansas, Gillett attempted to escape. That crime was one of the aggravating factors prosecutors presented jurors to support the death penalty.

In a 6-3 decision, the state Supreme Court said not every escape is considered a crime of violence under Kansas law. Therefore, wrote Justice Ann Lamar, the Kansas crime cannot be used to support a death sentence in Mississippi.

The ruling came in Gillett's post-conviction appeal. In a post-conviction petition, an inmate argues he has found new evidence -- or a possible constitutional issue -- that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

Gillett's case was remanded to the Forrest County Circuit Court for resentencing.

Gillett and Chamberlin were arrested March 29, 2004, after Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents raided an abandoned farm house near Russell, Kansas, owned by Gillett's father, and found the dismembered bodies of Hulett and Heintzelman in a freezer.

KBI agents were investigating Gillett and Chamberlin for their possible connection to the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Gillett and Chamberlin were living with Hulett and Heintzelman in Hattiesburg at the time of the slayings.

Chamberlin, in a taped confession played at her trial, said the victims were killed because they wouldn't open a safe in Hulett's home.

What happened?

On Nov. 24, Forrest County Circuit Court officials requested that Gillett be transferred from Parchman to the Forrest County Jail until he could be resentenced.

Officials say the transfer request usually takes about a week and Gillett could be returned to Forrest County as early as next week.

What's next?

A date for resentencing will be set.

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


Ex-death row inmate wins new sentence in appeal
January 9, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. -- The Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered a former death row inmate found to be mentally disabled resentenced to life in prison.

A Grenada County jury convicted Frederick Bell of capital murder and sentenced him to death in 1993. He has since been declared mentally disabled and his death sentence overturned. Bell was sentenced to life without parole.

The court, in a 5-4 decision Thursday, said the only options available to the jury in 1993 were life in prison or death. The majority of the court said Bell could only be resentenced to life in prison.

Four dissenting judges argued the life without parole sentence was proper.

Bell was convicted for his role in the death of a clerk in 1991 during a robbery at Sparks Stop-N-Shop in Grenada County.

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


Russell found mental disabled; death sentence overturned
January 16, 2015

INDIANOLA, Miss. -- A Sunflower County judge has found Willie Russell to be mental disabled and has thrown out his death sentence.

Russell, now 53, has been on death row at the Parchman prison for more than 27 years.

Russell was sentenced to die for the July 18, 1989, stabbing death of correctional officer Argentra Cotton at Unit 24-B.

Russell previously was convicted of robbery, kidnapping and escape. He abducted a guard at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson when he was there for medical treatment in March 1987 and led police on a high-speed chase into rural Hinds County.

Russell came within less than an hour of execution on Jan. 21, 1997, before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay due to his claim of mental disability.

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


Mississippi inmate wants death sentence thrown out
February 3, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. -- A Mississippi death row inmate is arguing news coverage and the prominence of the victim's family in Union County denied him an impartial jury at his sentencing.

The attorney for David Neal Cox Sr. told the Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday that the trial judge should have moved the hearing outside Union County because a high percentage of the local community knew those involved.

"Everybody in a community that has something like this happen feels it individually. There are plenty of counties in Mississippi that could be more detached and make a detached decision," Cox's public defender Alison Steiner said.

Cox pleaded guilty to murder in the 2010 fatal shooting of his wife, Kim Kirk Cox. Steiner said Cox admitted he killed his wife and doesn't want to withdraw his plea but just wants a new sentencing hearing.

Authorities said Cox shot his wife and held his son and stepdaughter hostage until deputies forced their way into the home and arrested him.

Cox also pleaded guilty to kidnapping, burglary, shooting into an occupied dwelling and sexual assault. He was sentenced to 185 years on those charges.

Cox, now 44, argues the sentencing should have been moved because of what he called "sensational' news coverage of the case. He says the news coverage was heighted because Kim Kirk Cox came from a well-known family of law enforcement officers.

"I cannot emphasize how respected this family was," Steiner said. "Venue must be changed when is doubtful a fair jury can be seated. Media is the method by which you discern the public sentiment."

Special Assistant Attorney General Cameron L. Benton said Cox offered only one witness and four newspaper articles -- all insufficient to support a change of venue.

"This court has held that you don't even get to the notoriety of the family unless there's been an inordinate amount of media coverage. Four published articles that happened within days of the murder do not rise to the level of inordinate media coverage," Benton said.

Benton said Cox was exaggerating the extent of familiarity between prospective jurors and the Kirk family.

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


Mississippi Supreme Court affirms DeSoto death sentence
March 28, 2015

JACKSON - A split decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentence given to a man for the death of a 13-year-old DeSoto County girl hacked to death with her mother and grandmother.

Sherwood Brown's attorney, John R. Lane, had argued in October that mild mental retardation barred his execution.

However, the four-judge majority agreed that Circuit Judge Robert Chamberlin of DeSoto County correctly used the state's legal standard for determining whether Brown was mentally disabled.

"Giving deference to the trial judge ... we cannot say that his findings were clearly erroneous," said the majority opinion issued Thursday.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that three judges dissented and one did not participate.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 barred states from executing mentally disabled inmates.

Brown got the death penalty for killing 13-year-old Evangela Boyd, because jurors found that he killed her in 1995 while committing felony child abuse.

He got life sentences for the deaths of the child's mother, Verline Boyd, 48, and her 82-year-old grandmother, Betty Boyd, also killed in Betty Boyd's home south of Eudora on Jan. 7, 1993.

Lane said Brown scored 75 on an IQ test. A score of 70 is widely accepted as a marker of mental disability, but medical professionals say people scoring as high as 75 can be considered intellectually disabled because of the test's margin of error.

To support his contention that Brown is mentally disabled, Lane cited Brown's early academic record of failing first grade and earning low grades at other points in elementary school.

"His environment before he was in prison was horrific and just unstructured," Lane said.

He also noted that Brown had held 16 or 17 jobs in 10 years.

Mental disability wasn't the reason for Brown's frequent job changes, argued a special assistant state attorney general, Jason L. Davis: "Mr. Brown obviously had an anger issue. He got into it with management."

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

AG requests August execution date for Richard Gerald Jordan

Therese Apel, The Clarion-Ledger 9:19 a.m. CDT July 29, 2015

The Attorney General's Office has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to set an execution date on or before Aug. 27 for the state's longest-serving death row inmate.

Richard Gerald Jordan, 68, was convicted in the 1976 kidnapping and execution-style killing of Edwina Marter, a Gulfport banker's wife.

Jordan killed Marter in January 1976 after calling Gulf National Bank in Gulfport and learning that her husband Charles Marter was a high-ranking official. He went to their home and kidnapped Edwina Marter and took her to DeSoto National Forest where he killed her.

He then demanded a $25,000 ransom. He was in a taxi with the ransom money when police picked him up at a roadblock. He ended up confessing to the killing and telling police where to find Edwina Marter's body.

Jordan has appealed several times, including being sentenced to death four separate times. According to The Associated Press, his most recent post-conviction appeal was in June, his arguments of prosecutorial vindictiveness and ineffective assistance of counsel were denied by two of three judges on a panel.

After Jordan filed suit to stop his execution by challenging the cocktail of drugs administered to death row inmates, officials decided to wait until a replacement drug was found for one of the drugs. Jordan's attorneys questioned whether Mississippi officials were capable of mixing a safe and effective form of pentobarbital as an anesthetic. Attorney General Jim Hood did not mention the lawsuit in his motion, but released a statement Wednesday.

"The Mississippi Department of Corrections amended its lethal injection protocol Tuesday to include the use of midazolam. MDOC can no longer obtain sodium thiopental or pentobarbital due to efforts by death penalty opponents who have put pressure on drug manufacturers to cease production of or to no longer supply drugs to departments of correction for use in lethal injections," the statement reads. "The use of midazolam in lethal injections was recently found to be constitutional and not a violation of the 8th Amendment."

In 1991, after a third successful challenge to his sentence, Jordan entered into an agreement with the prosecution to serve a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in exchange for not further contesting his sentence, but later appealed to the state Supreme Court, saying the sentence was invalid under state law.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that he was correct, as life without parole as a sentencing option did not exist until July 1994. The only sentences available to Jordan under that finding were death or life imprisonment with parole, and they ordered a new sentencing hearing in which Jordan sought life with parole.

The prosecutor said that he would not accept another plea agreement with Jordan for a life sentence because he had violated the first agreement. Jordan ended up receiving the death penalty again in 1998.

Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Appeals court throws out order blocking Mississippi executions

JACKSON, Miss. -- A federal appeals court has reversed a stay that had blocked the state of Mississippi from carrying out executions.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a lower court judge ruled incorrectly in August when he blocked the state from executing prisoners.

The opinion by Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod rejects arguments by death row prisoners that Mississippi's failure to use a particular kind of drug specified by state law violates their rights. Mississippi and other states can't easily buy such drugs anymore because manufacturers won't sell them for executions.

Elrod notes the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional Oklahoma's plan to use the drugs that Mississippi now plans to use.

She also rejected arguments that Mississippi's execution protocols are so egregious as to "shock the conscience."  ;D ;D ;D

Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

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