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on: August 25, 2015, 12:07:19 PM 1 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Bernardo Tercero - TX - 8/26/15

At this point Tercero has filed no last minute appeals...perhaps he is counting on the Nicaraguan Consulate to ride to the rescue.  ;D

on: August 24, 2015, 07:20:43 AM 2 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Bernardo Tercero - TX - 8/26/15

Media Advisory: Bernardo Aban Tercero Scheduled for Execution

Monday, August 24, 2015 – Austin, Texas

AUSTIN – Pursuant to a court order by the 232nd District Court of Harris County, Bernardo Aban Tercero is scheduled for execution after 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

In October 2000, a Harris County jury found Tercero guilty of murdering Robert Berger during the course of committing an aggravated robbery.  Below is a summary of the evidence presented at trial.

FACTS OF THE CASE

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the evidence of guilt in its opinion on direct appeal:

On March 31, 1997, Robert Berger and his young daughter entered the Park Avenue Cleaners near closing time.  At about the same time, Ricardo Toruno unlocked the back door of the cleaners to take the trash out to the dumpster.  On Toruno’s way back inside, one of [Tercero]’s accomplices put a gun to Toruno’s head and accompanied him through the door. [Tercero] then entered the cleaners and proceeded to the front of the store.  Michelle Johnson, the manager of the cleaners, testified that [Tercero] said something to Berger, but that Berger did not respond. [Tercero] grabbed Berger by the arm and pushed him back.  Berger attempted to get away from [Tercero], but [Tercero] shot him in the back of the head, and he fell to the ground.  At some point, one of the robbers demanded money.  Thereafter, [Tercero] and his co-defendant, each carrying a cash drawer, fled through the back door of the cleaners.

[Tercero] testified that he and Marisol Lima lived together.  When they began having economic difficulties, Marisol told [Tercero] that he could easily get money from the dry cleaners where she and her sister both worked. [Tercero] and Marisol’s sister, Idalia, met and discussed how to commit such a robbery. [Tercero] and the two women “cased” the dry cleaners the day before the robbery and devised a pager code so Idalia could page [Tercero] and his accomplice when there were no customers in the shop.  He testified that when he pulled out his gun in the dry cleaners, waved it in the air, and asked for money, Mr. Berger began to advance on him.  The two began struggling and “the gun went off.”

After escaping from the dry cleaners with the money from the cash drawers, [Tercero] stayed with another woman, Sylvia Cotera, that evening.  He later told her that he had shot someone during a robbery because the person did not have any money and that made him mad.  He also told her that he shot the person because he was afraid that the man had seen his face and could identify him.  He then threatened to burn Ms. Cotera’s apartment if she said anything.

Tercero v. State, No. 73,992, slip op. at 2-3 (Tex. Crim. App. Sept. 18, 2002).

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

In addition to the calculated planning and commission of the robbery, the cold-blooded nature of the murder, and Tercero’s callous explanation to Sylvia Cotera, the State also presented evidence during the punishment phase of trial of several armed offenses Tercero subsequently committed while hiding in his home country of Nicaragua after the murder.  Through the testimony of several witnesses, the jury learned that Tercero robbed three men at gunpoint in Nicaragua, shot one victim and kidnapped his four-year-old son, and shot at police officers who pursued him.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 20, 1997, a Harris County grand jury indicted Tercero for the capital murder of Robert Berger committed during the course of a robbery.

On October 16, 2000, a Harris County jury convicted Tercero of capital murder.  After a separate punishment proceeding, the same jury sentenced Tercero to death on October 20, 2000.

On September 18, 2002, Tercero’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on direct appeal.  Tercero did not appeal the state court’s decision to the United States Supreme Court.

On May 18, 2002, Tercero filed an application for state habeas corpus relief, and later filed an amended pro se petition alleging an additional five grounds for relief on November 29, 2004.

On November 16, 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief on Tercero’s first state habeas petition.  The court also found that Tercero’s supplemental pro se petition was a subsequent application under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 11.071  § 5, and dismissed the additional five claims as an abuse of the writ.

On October 24, 2006, Tercero filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  On November 10, 2006, appointed counsel filed an amended federal petition adopting the issues raised in the pro se petition as well as asserting several other claims for the first time.

On March 31, 2008, the federal court stayed the case to allow Tercero to present his unexhausted claims to the state court for the first time.

On May 5, 2008, Tercero returned to state court and filed a successive state habeas application raising only one of his previously unexhausted claims.  After granting Tercero leave to proceed with his successive application and remanding to the trial court for a determination, the Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the lower court’s recommendation and denied relief on March 3, 2010.   

On July 14, 2010, Tercero returned to federal court and filed a second amended petition that adopted his earlier claims.  After further briefing was received, the district court ultimately denied Tercero’s request for federal habeas relief on February 7, 2013.

On May 28, 2013, Tercero appealed the district court’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On December 18, 2013, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision and denied Tercero’s request for a certificate of appealability (COA) in a published opinion.

Tercero filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on March 17, 2014.  The Supreme Court denied review on June 30, 2014.

On May 19, 2015, the 232nd state district court issued an order setting Tercero’s execution date for August 26, 2015.

www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

on: August 21, 2015, 11:35:42 AM 3 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Bernardo Tercero - TX - 8/26/15

And sure enough...

Friends and supporters of Nicaraguan citizen Bernardo Tercero rallied outside of the Nicaraguan Consulate to encourage the consul general to intensify efforts to stop Tercero’s August 26 execution in Huntsville, Texas. “We are here to urge the Honorable Samuel Trejos, consul general of Nicaragua in Houston, to step up and defend his fellow countryman, Bernardo Tercero, before any more injustices take place,” said Tercero’s friend Luz Alvarez.

Death penalty opponents protested outside Nicaraguan Consulate in Houston as well.

The activists raised with the media the many troubling issues in Tercero’s case that must be settled before Texas carries out this execution. Media coverage was extensive, including a TV station from Nicaragua as well as local Houston stations and La Semana and the Houston Chronicle newspapers.

www.workers.org

Go ahead, rally and protest...Texas doesn't give a rat's ass.  8)

on: August 21, 2015, 08:26:48 AM 4 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Benjamin Robert Cole - OK - 10/7/15

Death row inmate convicted of killing daughter denied clemency


Benjamin Robert Cole, who was convicted of the 2002 murder of his 9-month-old daughter, was denied clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Thursday by a vote of 3 to 2.

by Graham Lee Brewer   Published: August 20, 2015 

A man who was convicted of the 2002 murder of his 9-month-old daughter was denied clemency on Thursday by the state Pardon and Parole Board.

Benjamin Robert Cole, 50, did not speak before the board at his clemency hearing, declining to appear via video from the state penitentiary in McAlester. Cole confessed to causing the death of his daughter, Brianna Cole, by forcefully flipping the infant's legs toward her head in 2002 in Claremore, causing her spine to sever.

Attorneys representing Cole told board members he suffered from brain lesions and severe mental illness, which has increased significantly since his incarceration. They urged board members to give Gov. Mary Fallin an opportunity to review Cole's case before he is executed.

It is wrong to kill mentally ill people. It is uncivilized, and it is inhumane," said Susan Otto, a federal public defender representing Cole.

"And it is the governor’s prerogative to make that decision. That’s all we’re asking for you to do is allow the governor to exercise her constitutional duty and make that decision.”

“What this is about is nothing less than the dignity of man, the dignity of our societies, humanitarianism, basic decency," said federal public defender Thomas Hird.

Without the board's recommendation, Fallin can only delay Cole's execution for 60 days and would be unable to stop it. His lethal injection is scheduled for Oct. 7.

The Oklahoma Attorney General's office argued Cole was found competent to stand trial and noted recent instances were Cole was interviewed and found to be responsive and able to answer questions, contrary to his defense attorneys' assertions that he had gone from delusional to near catatonic and was physically wasting away from lack of movement.

www.newsok.com

Dignity, decency and humanitarianism...for a POS that snapped his 9 month old daughters spine?  I think not ambulance chaser!

on: August 20, 2015, 09:03:46 AM 5 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Bernardo Tercero - TX - 8/26/15

On March 31, 1997, two men, Bernardo Tercero and Jorge Becencil Gonzales, forced their way through the back door of a dry cleaning establishment.  Gonzales held the employees at gunpoint while Tercero went to the front of the store and demanded money. 

Robert Berger, who was there with his three year old daughter, approached Tercero.  The two became physical and Robert was shot.  He died from his injuries.  Tercero and Gonzales fled.  Tercero went to Florida, while Gonzales left the country.

Tercero eventually fled to Nicaragua, where he is alleged to have been involved in a series of violent crimes, including robberies, shootings, and a kidnapping.  Tercero was extradited to the United States upon request.

Bernardo Tercero has two conflicting birth certificates.  One alleges that he was under 18 at the time of crime, making him ineligible for the death penalty.  Bernardo alleges that this is his correct birth certificate.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

This discrepancy has been the focus of many appeals, non of which have been successful.  His attorney is also asking for a stay of execution to allow further litigation.

www.murderpedia.org

I believe this will be the 15th foreign national executed by the state of Texas.  The howls from the world court and Nicaraguan counsel should start up shortly.  8)

on: August 18, 2015, 11:31:58 AM 6 Off Topic / Off Topic - Anything / Deeg Gets a New Title

It appears as though Dee has been promoted to Troll Exterminator.   Congrats...waste any trolls lately?  8)

on: August 13, 2015, 07:29:42 AM 7 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Daniel Lopez - TX - 08/12/2015 - Executed

The skinny...

After his conviction was upheld my the TCCJ Lopez dropped all appeals.  The 5th ruled him competent to volunteer and Texas gave him his wish...lights out.

on: August 13, 2015, 07:27:05 AM 8 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Daniel Lopez - TX - 08/12/2015 - Executed

Last words and such...

Strapped to the gurney Lopez said "I hope this execution helps my family and the victim's family.  This was never meant to be, sure beyond my power,  I'm sorry for putting you through this.  I am sorry.  I love you.  I am ready.  May we all go to heaven."

For his last meal he ate baked chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, carrots, black eyed peas and a lemon bar with tea to drink.

Factoids...

Lopez was the 10th inmate executed in Texas this year and the 528th since executions resumed.
His was the 19th 2015 US execution and the 1413rd since 1976.

The skinny...

on: August 12, 2015, 09:25:53 AM 9 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Richard Eugene Glossip - OK - 9/16/15

Governor Fallin is a hard ass...and that is a compliment!  8)

on: July 30, 2015, 06:59:12 AM 10 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Richard Gerald Jordan - MS - 8/27/15

First off, my mistake on the name, it is Richard Gerald Jordan.

MS News Now WLDT reported the X had been set for 8/27/15.  However they were the only source confirming that date...perhaps they jumped the gun.  Others were all reporting that AG Hood had requested the execution be set by August 27.

on: July 15, 2015, 02:03:13 PM 11 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Clifton Lamar Williams - TX - 7/16/15

Texas inmate set to die Thursday for killing elderly woman


By MICHAEL GRACZYK
 
Jul. 15, 2015 2:45 PM EDT
 
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — When firefighters responded to a call about smoke coming from a home in East Texas, they found the burned body of a 93-year-old woman who lived there alone.

Investigators later determined that Cecelia Schneider was beaten and stabbed before her body, and the bed where she was found, was set on fire at her home in Tyler. Her missing car was found later that day, wrecked and abandoned.

Clifton Lamar Williams, a 21-year-old former fast food restaurant worker and cocaine user, was arrested about a week later after investigators found his fingerprint and blood inside the car. He had been dating a woman who lived a few doors away from Schneider's home.

Williams was later convicted of capital murder — and his death sentence is scheduled to be carried out Thursday in Huntsville.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case in April, and no other court appeals are pending.

"There is nothing else that can be filed," Williams' appeals lawyer, James Volberding, said Tuesday.

If the sentence is carried out, Williams, 31, will be the 10th inmate to receive lethal injection this year in Texas, equaling the number of prisoners put to death all of last year in the nation's most active capital punishment state.

Volberding unsuccessfully argued in appeals that Williams' legal help at his 2006 trial in Tyler was deficient. He also said Williams, who dropped out of school in the 12th grade, was mentally impaired and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

At Williams' trial, defense attorneys told Smith County jurors that Williams became known on the streets as "Crazy C" after a stint in a mental health rehabilitation center.

Prosecutors said Williams broke into Schneider's home to get money to buy cocaine. According to trial testimony, Williams told a psychiatrist he began smoking marijuana at age 15, started lacing it with embalming fluid, then moved on to cocaine by the time he was 17.

Investigators said Williams led police to a pond where Schneider's purse that had contained about $40 was found, along with a knife from her kitchen that investigators believe was used to stab her.

During trial, a pathologist testified that Schneider was stabbed four times on July 9, 2005, including in her heart and lungs, and was beaten and may have been strangled.

Williams told police another man was responsible for the slaying and forced him to drive Schneider's car. His attorneys said the man, who denied any involvement in the slaying, wore gloves and therefore didn't leave fingerprints. Williams told a relative he cut his hand in a fight.

After Williams was convicted, defense lawyers said during the trial's punishment phase that Williams had been raised by a mentally disturbed mother who died when he was about 12. Court documents showed she was not abusive and practiced voodoo.

Williams is among at least eight Texas prisoners with execution dates in the coming months.  Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials say they have enough pentobarbital, a powerful sedative, to accommodate all scheduled punishments.  8)

They have refused to identify the drug provider.

www.bigstory.ap.org

on: July 07, 2015, 06:40:32 AM 12 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Christopher Wilkins - TX - 10/28/15

Judge sets execution date for Fort Worth killer of three


By Mitch Mitchell

FORT WORTH  — A Tarrant County judge on Monday set an October execution date for a Fort Worth man who killed three men in two days in 2005.

State District Judge David C. Hagerman ruled that Christopher Wilkins, 46, of Fort Worth will be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Oct. 28.
       
Wilkins took the witness stand in March 2008 and admitted to a string of crimes that included the killings, then told the jury that he didn’t care whether he lived or died. But now, as he lives on Death Row, Wilkins may be having second thoughts, said his attorney, Hilary Sheard.

“It would not be the only case that I’ve come across where someone has changed their mind,” Sheard said outside the courtroom Monday.

Sheard argued that the court should not schedule Wilkins’ execution so she would have more time to file appeals, and she said his previous appeals attorney had not adequately investigated his case.

Hagerman denied all of Wilkins’ claims, saying the same arguments had been made to appeals judges and had been rejected.

During his 2008 trial, a jury of five women and seven men deliberated for about 90 minutes before deciding that Wilkins should die for his crimes. Several jurors cried as state District Judge Everett Young announced their verdict.

The jury convicted Wilkins of capital murder for fatally shooting Willie Freeman and Mike Silva on Oct. 27, 2005. A day earlier, according to prosecutors and Wilkins, he killed Gilbert Vallejo outside a south Fort Worth bar during a dispute about the pay phone.

In 2005, Wilkins said, he was released from a California federal prison to a halfway house in Beaumont, where his family lived. His stepfather got him a job making $23 an hour, and his grandmother gave him a Cadillac, he testified. But, he said, when Hurricane Rita struck, he was transferred to a halfway house in Houston, where his children and ex-girlfriend lived. He got a day pass and called his ex-girlfriend, wanting to see his three children, he said.

That didn’t work out and, instead of returning to the halfway house, he went to a strip club. Later, Wilkins said, he stole a truck and drove to Fort Worth.

Wilkins then detailed for jurors how he killed Freeman out of revenge because Freeman ripped him off in a dope deal and laughed at him, and how he killed Silva, Freeman’s friend, because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He killed Vallejo, he said, because Vallejo made him mad.

Wilkins acknowledged that he also nearly killed two more people about a week later when he intentionally ran them down on a sidewalk in a stolen car because he believed that one of them had stolen his sunglasses.

After he was captured and charged with capital murder, Wilkins testified, he began plotting his escape from jail.

He said he also lied about committing other killings all over the country, hoping that police would continue taking him out of the jail for interviews. He planned to use a handcuff key that he bought from an inmate for $100 and reproduced to free himself and make a run for it, he said.

His plans were foiled, however, when the handcuff key was discovered.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article26605189.html#storylink=cpy

on: June 30, 2015, 12:23:07 PM 13 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: David Zink - MO - 7/14/15

June 30, 2015 USSC Order...

CERTIORARI DENIED

ZINK, DAVID, ET AL. V. LOMBARDI, DIR., MO DOC, ET AL.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.

www.supremecourt.gov

Adios Davey.  8)

on: June 29, 2015, 08:03:12 AM 14 General Death Penalty / Oklahoma Death Penalty News / Re: Oklahoma Death Penalty News

Supreme Court upholds Oklahoma lethal injection process


WASHINGTON  |  By Lawrence Hurley

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a drug used by Oklahoma as part of its lethal injection procedure does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, dealing a setback to opponents of the death penalty.

The court, in a 5-4 decision with its conservative justices in the majority, handed a loss to three inmates who objected to the use of a sedative called midazolam, saying it cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court that the inmates had, among other things, failed to show that there was an alternative method of execution available that would be less painful.

In a dissenting opinion, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said the court should consider whether the death penalty itself is constitutional. He was joined by one of his colleagues, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The three-drug process used by Oklahoma prison officials has been under scrutiny since the April 2014 botched execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett. He could be seen twisting on the gurney after death chamber staff failed to place the intravenous line properly.

Inmates Richard Glossip, John Grant and Benjamin Cole challenged the procedure. Glossip arranged for his employer to be beaten to death. Grant stabbed a correctional worker to death. Cole killed his 9-month-old daughter.

The main question before the nine justices was whether the use of midazolam violates the Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

"I believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment," Breyer wrote.
 
Justice Antonin Scalia responded to Breyer in a separate concurring opinion. Scalia said Breyer's arguments were full of "internal contradictions" and were "gobbledy-gook."

The case did not address the constitutionality of the death penalty in general, but it brought fresh attention to the ongoing debate over whether the death penalty should continue in the United States at a time when most developed countries have abandoned it. During the oral argument in April, conservative Justice Samuel Alito said the challenge to the drug was part of a “guerrilla war” against the death penalty.

www.reuters.com

This puts Florida back in the game as well...prepare to get lit up boys!  8)

on: June 19, 2015, 07:03:26 AM 15 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Gregory Russeau - TX - 6/18/15 - Executed

Last words and such...

In a final statement, Russeau said he was at peace, saying, I would like to thank my family and friends for what y'all have done for me. Thank you for being here with me that I do not have to transition alone. I have peace. To my daughter, I love you, to my grandbabies, sisters and brothers, I love you. I am ready to go home.”

For his final meal he ate a pork chop, mac n' cheese, green beans, mixed vegetables, black-eyed peas and cornbread with punch to drink.

Factoids...

Russeau was the 9th condemned murderer executed in Texas this year and the 527th since executions resumed.
His was the 17th 2015 US execution and the 1411th since 1976.

The skinny...

Russeau won a new sentencing hearing in 2006 but a 2nd jury voted he should get death as well.  He filed no 11th hour appeals and Texas gave him the hot shot right on schedule.
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