Kentucky Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, April 16, 2008, 10:50:05 PM

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April 16, 2008, 10:50:05 PM Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 04:47:40 AM by Jeff1857
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --Two inmates whose case before the U.S. Supreme court stopped executions around the country for seven months likely won't be the first in Kentucky to face lethal injection now that the high court has upheld the method.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has said it wants to hear three issues related to cop-killer Ralph Baze's case, while Thomas Clyde Bowling has a pending federal case contesting how Kentucky determines whether someone is mentally retarded and ineligible for execution.

Kentucky Public Advocate Ernie Lewis, whose office is defending Baze and Bowling, says those legal issues will postpone the executions of Baze and Bowling for at least several months. Meanwhile the ruling could clear the way for the executions of two confessed child-killers who have waived all but their mandatory appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 vote on Wednesday, turned away a challenge by Baze and Bowling.

"The people who carry out our protocol are professional, are trained and are ready to do it in such a manner that is professional, that is humane as possible under the circumstances and certainly does not create a substantial risk of ... unnecessary pain to those being executed," said J. Michael Brown, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary.

Baze was sentenced to death for the slayings of two eastern Kentucky lawmen in 1992, while Bowling is awaiting execution for the slaying of Edward and Tina Earley outside the couple's Lexington dry-cleaning business in 1990.

The high court took the case as Baze faced a pending execution date last fall for the shooting deaths of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe. And, the Kentucky Supreme Court took up three issues related to Baze's case at about the same time, but a hearing on those issues was put on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court decided the constitutionality of the lethal injection method.

"My attorneys will continue to litigate as long as there are issues unresolved," said Lewis, the state's top public defender. "We still have some options."

Reacting to Wednesday's ruling, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said his office is in the process of reviewing the status of all 38 Death Row inmates in Kentucky. Conway said Baze, Bowling and Victor Taylor, awaiting execution for killing two Louisville high school students, are "beginning to get near the very end of the appellate process."

He said he will pursue death warrants when appeals are exhausted, but did not set a time frame.

"I will say that it will be the policy of my office to try to expedite this process as much as possible," Conway said.

Gov. Steve Beshear said "under appropriate circumstances" he will sign death warrants.

"I'm obviously going to review every detail of every case that comes before me in that regard because it's an extremely serious matter as we all know," Beshear said Wednesday.

The Rev. Pat Delahanty, head of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said the Supreme Court ruling wasn't a surprise.

"We never expected it to do more than maybe slow down executions in Kentucky or elsewhere," Delahanty said. "We're going to be facing some executions soon."

Two of Kentucky's Death Row inmates, Marco Allen Chapman and Shawn Windsor, have waived their appeals after pleading guilty and receiving death sentences.

Chapman, 36, killed 6-year-old Cody Sharon and 7-year-old Chelbi Sharon during a 2002 attack on their family in Gallatin County. The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the guilty plea and death sentence, but have not yet ruled on a petition for a rehearing filed by his court-appointed attorneys, whom he has tried to dismiss. Chapman has sued the Department of Public Advocacy to stop them from trying to plead his case in the future.

If Chapman's efforts are successful, he will have no pending appeals to stop his execution.

Windsor, 45, pleaded guilty and asked to be executed for beating and stabbing his wife, Betty Jean Windsor and 8-year old son, Corey Windsor, in 2003. The Kentucky Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the validity of his plea and sentence.

Other death row inmates are challenging their convictions through appeals or DNA testing of old evidence. Some, such as death row inmate Gregory Wilson, are challenging the way Kentucky conducts executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling may have an impact on that litigation, said William Sharp, an attorney representing Wilson in the challenge. Sharp said he expects the state to cite the ruling in an attempt to dismiss the ongoing lawsuits.

Fayette County Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson, who prosecuted Bowling 17 years ago, said the ruling should shut down any future challenges. Kentucky has 38 death-row inmates, including 11 that have been there for more than two decades. The state has executed two men since reinstating the death penalty in 1976, and only one by injection: Eddie Lee Harper in 1999.

"Enough is enough," Larson said.
Personally I think Baze ought to be first since he brought all of this to a halt. The 2 that want to waive their appeals should be allowed to do so and get dates SOON.


April 17, 2008, 02:57:22 PM Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 04:50:07 AM by Jeff1857
I agree Jeff.  Baze cost the taxpayers of Kentucky a ton of money.  Maybe it would stop some others from filing appeals.   Oh well it doesn't hurt to wish does it?  ;)


COVINGTON - The Kenton County prosecutor has asked Northern Kentucky lawmakers to sponsor legislation that would expand the death penalty to cases involving children.

Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders wants the death penalty applied to cases when evidence shows that a defendant convicted of murdering a child has also been severely abusing or torturing the child.

"Any time somebody kills a child and there is evidence that wasn't the first time the child has been abused, that ought to be a death penalty case," said Sanders, a Fort Mitchell Republican.

Sanders said in Kentucky defendants convicted of murdering a child can be sentenced to life in prison, but then they can be eligible for parole in 20 years.

Defendants are only put to death in Kentucky if they have committed multiple murders or killed someone while committing another crime, such as burglary, robbery, arson or kidnapping.

Sanders said he was inspired to call for the change by the case of Aaron Allen, the 24-year-old Covington man accused of shaking a three-month-old baby to death. A police report shows that the child has suffered earlier injuries, broken bones and a fractured skull.

"Children are helpless," Sanders said. "They have to live a long time in serious pain. They can't speak out; they have no one to go to and ask for help. They continue to suffer until they are abused to death.

"If there is evidence that a murdered child was abused or tortured, then the person responsible should be put to death," he said. "The last case just put me over the top."

Sanders has e-mailed his suggestion to the members of Northern Kentucky's legislative caucus. The General Assembly will convene the 2009 legislative session in January.

At least three lawmakers said they would consider supporting or sponsoring the bill once they learn more about it.

"I'd like to talk to Rob more about this, but that it certainly a class of people that deserves no sympathy," said Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger.

Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the committee actually met Tuesday to talk about a major overhaul of the state's penal system.

"What Rob is talking about sounds like a perfect fit for the overall discussion of the penal code and death penalty," Simpson said. "I would probably be inclined to support something like this, but of course I would have to learn more about the details."

Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday he was appointed to the interim committee that will be studying the penal code. Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, and Sen. Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, are also serving on the subcommittee.

"We may try to look at Rob Sanders' idea and include it in this major revision of the penal code," Fischer said. "Any ideas that prosecutors or defense attorneys have should be submitted to us. This is the first time we have a major revision of the penal code in 35 years, so I expect we will have several major revisions."


Kentucky's death penalty has been upheld in Kentucky's highest court, but now two men sentenced to die want to put the issue in your hands.

The attorney representing Thomas Bowling and Ralph Baze is arguing the protocol for how a person on death row is actually killed should be made public and put up for debate.

Attorneys for Kentucky's Department of Corrections says the protocol is a private matter.

Baze needs a date ASAP and should go to the head of the line. Bowling can go with him.


I agree with you Jeff - but is there a big chance of a serious date in the near future?


I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


Death penalty legislation proposed

On his 1st day back in Frankfort, Rep. Joseph Fischer, D-Campbell, proposed a bill that would expand capital punishment in Kentucky.

Specifically, the legislation would permit the state to seek the death penalty in cases where the victim was under 12 years old and had been previously abused by the defendant. If the bill is approved, this provision would be added to the commonwealth's list of "aggravating factors," one of which must be proven at trial before a defendant can be sentenced to death.

(source: Louisville Eccentric Observer)

Granny B

Death penalty legislation proposed

On his 1st day back in Frankfort, Rep. Joseph Fischer, D-Campbell, proposed a bill that would expand capital punishment in Kentucky.

Specifically, the legislation would permit the state to seek the death penalty in cases where the victim was under 12 years old and had been previously abused by the defendant. If the bill is approved, this provision would be added to the commonwealth’s list of "aggravating factors," one of which must be proven at trial before a defendant can be sentenced to death.

(source: Louisville Eccentric Observer)


Cathy Lynn Henderson was the first to be tried under the new law in Texas that if you murdered a child age 6 years and under it was a death penalty case.  She was convicted of it and sits on death row.

Let's hope Kentucky gets on board with this law.
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


My question is: why wasn't this already in their State law?  For crying out loud - you kill a child, you go to death row...  Is that so hard to understand???????


Death penalty method upheld
Posted by BRENDAN KIRBY April 17, 2008 6:38 AM
Categories: Top Stories
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld lethal injection as a means of capital punishment, removing a key obstacle that had delayed executions in Alabama and the rest of the country.

The 7-2 ruling held that Kentucky's method for carrying out the death penalty -- which is nearly identical to Alabama's -- does not violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Officials predicted that executions in Alabama would resume shortly.

"I would think that execution dates would be set pretty soon in some of these cases," said Alabama Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw, who represents the state in death-penalty cases.

Talitha Powers Bailey, director of the Capital Defense Clinic at the Univer sity of Alabama School of Law, said she expects lawyers representing the state's death-row inmates to continue to raise objections to lethal injection because the procedures vary slightly from those in place in Kentucky.

But, she said, it's unlikely they would prevail.

The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a halt to two executions that had been set in Alabama, those of Thomas D. Arthur and James Harvey Callahan.

Crenshaw said he expects the Alabama Supreme Court to set a new execution date soon for Arthur. He had been fighting Callahan's lethal injection challenge on procedural grounds, arguing that he waited too long to raise the issue. But he said Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling makes that argument academic.

"Whether he filed too late or not now is immaterial," he said. "He loses on the merits."

In addition, three other death row inmates -- Willie McNair, Jimmy Lee Dill and Phillip D. Hallford -- had filed lawsuits challenging the state's method of execution. Those cases have not yet reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state has requested execution dates, but the state Supreme Court has not acted.

Bailey said Arthur is now in "a very difficult situation," since he was closest to execution before the U.S. Supreme Court began ordering delays to executions across the country.

Arthur could well be the first person executed in Alabama since Luther Jerome Williams was executed in August for a fatal shooting and robbery committed in 1988.

"It's going to be a very morbid race," said Bailey, a death penalty opponent. "He's probably going to be one of the first in the country."

Arthur's daughter, Sherrie Arthur Stone, said she was disappointed but not surprised by the Wednesday's ruling.

"Just as soon as they get executions started back up, they're going to start killing hundreds of people," she said.

While opponents decried Wednesday's high court ruling, some victims' advocates cheered it.

"I say, 'Hallelujah,'" said Miriam Shehane, executive director of Victims of Crime and Leniency. "When they went to lethal injection instead of the electric chair, I predicted they (death penalty opponents) were going to say lethal injection is inhumane. It just happened a little sooner than I thought."

Shehane, whose daughter was murdered in 1976, said she has little sympathy for arguments that lethal injection, if administered improperly, might cause pain. It is far less than the pain that killers inflict on their victims, she said.

And she noted, in Alabama at least, the condemned have the choice of dying in the electric chair.

Challenges to lethal injection in Kentucky, Alabama and other states revolved around allegations that the procedure is unreliable and creates too great a risk of pain to the inmate.

But the justices ruled that the mere possibility that something could go wrong is not sufficient to make it unconstitutional.

Suhana Han, one of Arthur's attorneys, said her client has never had the opportunity to litigate Alabama's specific execution procedure. She said she would continue to try to persuade Gov. Bob Riley to intervene on his request for DNA testing that he insists will prove him innocent.

"I want to emphasize the point that Alabama should not execute Tommy Arthur without giving him a chance to test the DNA," she said.

The following Alabama death row inmates have challenged the constitutionality of lethal injection:

James Harvey Calla

han, 61:
Convicted of the 1982 kidnapping and murder of Jacksonville State University student Rebecca Suzanne Howell; won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court hours before his scheduled execution Jan. 31.

Thomas Douglas Ar

thur, 66:
Convicted of 1982 murder of Troy Wicker in Colbert County; scheduled to be executed in December 2007.

Willie McNair, 43:
Convicted of the May 21, 1990, robbery and murder of Ella Foy Riley of Abbeville; lethal injection challenge is pending in Montgomery County's federal court.

Jimmy Lee Dill, 48:
Convicted of the 1988 robbery and murder of Leon Shaw in Jefferson County; filed a federal lawsuit in Bir mingham in December challenging lethal injection.

Phillip D. Hallford, 61:
Convicted of killing the boyfriend of his daughter, whom Hallford was sexually abusing; federal judge in Mobile ruled the Dale County man waited too long to challenge the state's method of execution; appeal is pending in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Herbert Williams Jr.,

Convicted of murdering a Mobile businessman in 1989 and stealing his Porsche; filed a lawsuit this month in Mobile's federal court challenging lethal objection.

Daniel Lee Siebert,

The Supreme Court ruling likely will not impact this case because of Siebert's unique argument regarding how the lethal injection drugs would interact with the medication he takes to treat cancer. That case is pending before a federal judge in Montgomery.

"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Albert Einstein

heidi salazar

August 06, 2009, 05:53:21 PM Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 05:56:35 PM by Heidi
oops. Michael already posted it!!


Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Lawmakers ask Beshear not to sign death warrants
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Five anti-death penalty lawmakers have sent a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear asking him not to sign any death warrants until after the American Bar Association completes a review of Kentucky's use of the death penalty.

Attorney General Jack Conway requested last month that execution dates be set for three convicted murderers on Kentucky's death row.

The lawmakers, including Republican state Rep. David Floyd of Bardstown and Democratic state Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville, sent the letter despite a ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court that essentially put a hold on executions until new regulations are developed for administering lethal injections.


heidi salazar

Death penalty under fire in Kentucky

Area prosecutors say doing away with the death penalty in Kentucky would be a mistake, but two legislators and advocates statewide feel differently.

Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, and Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, have prefiled a bill calling for the death penalty to be abolished.

"There are several reasons for abolishing the death penalty," said Wayne.

One reason is that it has never been proven to be a deterrent for crime. Another is that sometimes mistakes are made in the judicial system and innocent people are sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. A third reason is that it is not cost-effective.

"It actually costs more to execute people in Kentucky than to keep them in prison for life," he said.

Both Burch and Wayne are Catholic.

"We believe all life is sacred from the womb to natural death and therefore we have no right to take another person's life," Wayne said.

The death penalty is being sought in two southcentral Kentucky criminal cases and considered in another.

Jesse Stockton, commonwealth's attorney for the 40th judicial district, which is composed of Monroe, Cumberland and Clinton counties, is pursuing the death penalty in a Cumberland County case in which two people were stabbed to death and in a Monroe County case in which two people were shot to death.

"I would be opposed to the bill," he said. "There are some crimes that are so terrible that I believe the state should be allowed to impose the death penalty."

Karen Davis, commonwealth's attorney for the 43rd judicial district, which is composed of Barren and Metcalfe counties, said she is not familiar with the bill but would oppose legislation that calls for abolishing the death penalty.

Davis fears eliminating the death penalty would mean jurors would not have the option of handing down a life sentence without parole or a life sentence with parole after having served 25 years, she said.

The proposed legislation, however, does not call for the elimination of life without parole or life without parole after having served 25 years.

"Although I think the death penalty can be a deterrent, I also would be concerned about losing these two (choices)," Davis said.

Davis has sought the death penalty in previous murder cases.

In 2002, she sought the death penalty in a case where a Barren County man shot and killed his girlfriend in front of Farmer's Rural Electric Cooperative on South Broadway Street.

"If I had not asked for the death penalty the jury wouldn't have been given the three choices," she said, adding the most the jury could have been given the man would have been life in prison. "I felt it was incumbent upon me to seek the death penalty."

It is possible Davis will seek the death penalty in a murder case involving two Hispanic Cave City men.

"I haven't made a firm decision," she said. "That's something that I'm considering in that case."

Rev. Patrick Delahanty with the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty also says there are several reasons to abolish the death penalty.

"First of all, it's the taking of a human life unnecessarily. Our coalition doesn't believe anyone, including the state, should be in the business of killing anyone," he said.

Delahanty also doesn't think executions are cost-effective and says tax dollars could be better spent on health care and police protection.

He says he has not been asked to testify on behalf of the legislation.

"If we are asked, we will be ready," he said.

Legislative Session

Legislators already have several pieces of legislation to consider when they reconvene this week.

The pre-filed bills cover a wide range of topics including health care, centralized voting centers, school attendance and the use of personal communication devices for people younger than 18 while driving. This is the third in a six-part series that examines some of those pre-filed bills.


Public Comments Taken on Kentucky Death Penalty

Stephanie Crosby January 29, 2010, 3:41 pm

Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeigh

Death penalty opponents dominated testimony at a public hearing in Frankfort on Kentucky's recently published procedures for executing death row inmates.

Late last year, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled the state's protocol for executing death row inmates was improperly adopted, and halted further executions. In compliance with the ruling, the protocol was made public.

Now, the public has been given a chance to comment on the procedures. Nineteen people spoke, including Assistant Public Advocate David Barron, who represents several death row inmates. He questions why Kentucky's lethal injection procedure still involves a three-drug cocktail.

"There is now no reason to do so," says Barron. "Ohio has carried out two executions using just a barbiturate."

The Justice Cabinet has until February 15th to respond to public comments, before presenting the execution protocol to a legislative oversight committee. The ultimate decision on re-adoption, or revisions to the procedure, lies with Gov. Steve Beshear.


heidi salazar

Questions arise over lethal injection

FRANKFORT - Carolyn Wehrle wants to provide spiritual counseling to Kentucky's only female death row inmate when her execution date arrives.

But Wehrle said the state's proposed execution protocols as written will prevent Virginia Caudill from receiving the sacraments prescribed by her faith.

"I was allowed to baptize her, but I can't minister to her in her last days?" asked Wehrle, a minister with Light of Christ Ministries in Richmond.

Wehrle was one of 18 critics of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol to speak Friday at the state's first public hearing on how executions are conducted. Some speakers called the protocol vague and said it can violate an inmate's rights.

The hearing came a month after the Kentucky Supreme Court ordered all executions halted because the state skipped public hearings on the administrative regulations that make up the protocol. The state released the protocol publicly days after the ruling.

Kentucky Justice Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin said the state will consider all comments and issue a report detailing what changes it did or did not make and why by Feb. 15. Ultimately, Gov. Steve Beshear will have to sign off on the protocol before executions may resume.

Comments during the 2 1/2-hour hearing ranged from outright calls to abolish the death penalty to tweaking the mechanics. Multiple speakers supported a condemned inmate's right to spiritual counseling and religious rights before being put to death.

Steve Lynn, associate counsel for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and moderator of the hearing, said the U.S. Supreme Court has already approved of much of what is in the protocol in a 2007 case from Kentucky challenging lethal injection.

"But we will sit down and look at past decisions that have been made," Lynn said.

Critics of the protocol pointed out that it outlines a condemned inmate's last days in great detail, but glosses over crucial areas and cloaks in secrecy what happens in the minutes leading up to a lethal injection or execution.

"There is no procedure that can be devised that foresees all the potential problems," said Ian Rochette, a third-year law student at the University of Louisville. "The state is unqualified for the taking of a life."

Kate Miller, program coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said after a failed Ohio execution last year, in which an inmate was stuck with needles 18 times, Kentucky should allow witnesses to see the insertion of intravenous lines during a lethal injection. She also said witnesses should hear all sounds made throughout the execution.

Currently, Kentucky closes curtains when the lines are being affixed and turns off microphones in the execution chamber during the execution.

While the protocol details how an inmate is handled physically, the welfare of the inmate's soul took precedence during the hearing.

Kentucky doesn't allow inmates to have contact visits with a spiritual adviser in the hours before death and the inmate isn't guaranteed a minister of the same religion. In both cases, said Marion McClure Taylor, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, the inmate loses out at a time of great need.

Caudill, who has about five years left on her appeals for the 1998 beating death and robbery of a 73-year-old woman in Lexington, should be allowed to be anointed with oil and properly receive other religious rites before she dies, Wehrle said.

"During our time together, the most important point is prayer," Wehrle said. "How dare we deny her that?"

Granny B


CAUDILL, VIRGINIA, DOB 9-10-60, was sentenced to death March 24, 2000 in Fayette County for murder, robbery I, burglary I, arson II and tampering with physical evidence. On March 15, 1998, Caudill and accomplice Johnathan Wayne Goforth entered the home of a 73 year old female, beat her to death and then burglarized her home. They then placed her body in the trunk of her own vehicle and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire.

"Caudill, who has about five years left on her appeals for the 1998 beating death and robbery of a 73-year-old woman in Lexington, should be allowed to be anointed with oil and properly receive other religious rites before she dies, Wehrle said.

"During our time together, the most important point is prayer," Wehrle said. "How dare we deny her that?"

Ummmmmmm, Question to ditzy Wehrle.  The 73 year old woman was denied the right to live.  She was denied the right to live out the rest of her life in peace.  She was denied the right to be anointed with oil.  She was denied her last rites.  Yet you want to give these rights to Caudill, who denied those same rites to her victim?

My statement to Wehrle: I will parrot you in this, "How dare we deny her (the victim) that?"  And how dare you to think that the perpetrator's life and soul is worth more than the 73 year old woman she murdered!

:D Wehrle
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

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