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Messages - JoeGuru

on: July 22, 2014, 02:00:29 PM 1 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

Yeah, he's not having a whole lot of fun being locked in the little metal box. Frequently the little angel does something to piss off the staff and they <ahem> correct the behavior. Here's an excerpt from, far and away, my favorite attitude adjustment session as described by Hank:

This is from Hank's "Hell Hole News" #34:

Quote
TX: Hank Skinner - New Hell Hole News - #34
Mon Jan 23, 2012 15:18

New Hell Hole News - #34
January 10, 2012

Step 1 Grievance filed 12-27-11
Informal resolution

Who did you talk to: Capt. Patrick Dickens.
What was his response? "This is out of my hands. It's the major's call."
State your grievance:
Retaliation by Virgil McMullen, Major. Since 10-17-11 I've filed numerous complaints (on McMullen's illegal
actions, conditions & policy). Answering none, McMullen siccs the skakedown team on me who tell me that
McMullen has a hard on for me and has vowed revenge. On 12-13-11 I filed complaints via letter on McMullen.
On 12-14-11 Prisoners Cobb 467 and Wilkens 533 assaulted staff. McMullen falsely accused me of a vague
"conspiracy" involvement using an inappropriate I-203 process, punishing me with no due process by total
deprivation of all property, leaving me naked for eight days in a feces-contaminated cell despite the fact that both
Cobb and Wilkens loudly proclaimed to the major on the run that I had NO involvement in their actions whatsoever.
Held incommunicado and denied any measure of life's basic necessities my general and legal mail was interdicted
and confiscated after opening and has not been returned to me along with my legal material. (Dictionary and
encyclopedia), fan and Vatican rosary. I was subjected to sleep deprivation by incessant cell "searches" every two
(2) hours, gas purge fans sucking freezing cold air into my cell intermittently, 30 minute interval door beating
"verbal response" checks and lights locked on 24/7. Subjected to these actions and conditions intended as torture I
was left naked in a freezing cold cell without even a roll of toilet paper or a bar of soap. When defecating I was
forced to clean my anus with my hands and water, then use my hands to eat food loaf, on which I was improperly
placed for an imagined offense. Pulled out of my cell naked and paraded naked every two (2) hours before
(sometimes female) officers, during strip searches ordered to put my hands/fingers in my mouth and pull out my
cheeks.

The back wall of my cell is an outside wall and is freezing, my steel bunk anchored to it. Unable, with no mattress or with no mattress or
bedding, to lie down and sleep on the freezing steel bunk, with temperatures in the 30's I was forced to constantly
walk back and forth in the cell to try to maintain my body warmth until after six (6) days I collapsed from
exhaustion. When officers could not rouse me from my fugue-like stupor they threatened to gas me and turned on
the gas purge fans intermittently all night to "freeze that bitch out and wake him up!"

[...]

Placed handcuffed (behind my back) in the shower stall and told "this is a use-of-force shower" by Sgt. Mooring.
I was soaked naked with cold water, denied a towel and placed wet and freezing back in my cell. The gas purge fans were
turned on to "blow dry" me when the outside temperature was in the 30's. While Mooring laughed and said "now
that's what I call efficiency!"


No, now that's what I call an attitude adjustment! So I guess Hank isn't having as much fun as he'd like to be having. Doesn't sound like he's too popular with the staff.

on: July 18, 2014, 02:36:05 PM 2 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

So his attorneys announced they would be appealing to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The situation obviously opens up new avenues for delays but it will likely go the way his previous appeals went: nowhere. So my guess is he has another 2-4 years. He's in pretty bad health so it looks like one way or another he's going to live out the rest of his life in a little metal box. I have no problem with this.

on: July 16, 2014, 08:12:44 AM 3 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

All the while Skinner has had to hear about this second hand while sitting in a tiny metal box; his every move controlled by someone else.

on: May 20, 2014, 12:18:03 PM 4 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Russell E. Bucklew - MO - 5/21/14

At first glance, I thought "they're executing Martin Mull!"

on: May 07, 2014, 02:31:28 PM 5 General Death Penalty / Texas Death Penalty News / Re: New Texas law halts prison proxy weddings

Shouldn't steal cars, now should he?

on: March 31, 2014, 01:54:09 PM 6 General Death Penalty / Michelle Byrom / Re: Michelle Byrom - MS - New Trial

Mississippi death row inmate Michelle Byrom to get new trial

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/31/justice/mississippi-michelle-byrom-execution/index.html

(CNN) -- A new trial has been ordered for Mississippi death row inmate Michelle Byrom, according to a state Supreme Court opinion issued Monday.

Byrom's capital murder conviction was reversed, and the case has been remanded to the circuit court for a new trial, the opinion said.

"We are very grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom's request for relief from her death sentence," said Byrom's attorney, David Calder. "This was a team effort on the part of the attorneys currently representing Michelle, and we believe that the court reached a just and fair result under the facts presented in this case."

Byrom has been on death row since her 2000 conviction for capital murder. The 57-year-old woman was convicted of being the mastermind of a murder-for-hire plot to kill her allegedly abusive husband, a killing her son had admitted to committing in several jailhouse letters and, according to court documents, in an interview with a court-appointed psychologist.

He recanted when he was put on the stand, according to court records.

The Supreme Court opinion noted that the decision "is extraordinary and extremely rare in the context of a petition for leave to pursue post-conviction relief."

The court further instructed that a different judge should be assigned to Byrom's new trial.

Circuit Judge Thomas J. Gardner, who imposed the death sentence on Byrom after her conviction, declined to comment to CNN, saying, "The matter is ongoing."

Attorney General Jim Hood had requested that the 57-year-old death row inmate be executed "on or before (the date of) March 27," but the Mississippi Supreme Court, which has the final say on execution dates, denied Hood's request.

During Michelle Byrom's original trial, prosecutors said she plotted to kill her husband, who was fatally shot in his home in Iuka, Mississippi, in 1999 while Michelle was in the hospital receiving treatment for double pneumonia. A jury convicted her based on evidence and testimony alleging that she was the mastermind of the plot.

Byrom Jr. admitted in jailhouse letters that he had committed the crime on his own after growing tired of his father's physical and verbal abuse, and a court-appointed psychologist has said that Byrom Jr. told him a similar story.

On the stand, Byrom Jr. pinned the slaying on one of his friends, whom he said his mother had hired for $15,000.

Following her attorney's advice, Michelle Byrom waived her right to a jury sentencing, allowing the judge to decide her fate. He sentenced her to death.

Prior to Monday's ruling, Michelle Byrom's defense attorneys had filed a motion asking the court for additional discovery so the alleged confession to the court-appointed psychologist could be fully explored.

The defense attorneys also want to depose the prosecutor from her trial, Arch Bullard, regarding his knowledge of Byrom Jr.'s alleged confession to the psychologist.

Bullard has told CNN that he firmly believes Michelle Byrom was the mastermind of the murder-for-hire plot.

on: March 26, 2014, 07:14:50 AM 7 General Death Penalty / Michelle Byrom / Re: Michelle Byrom - MS - 03/27/2014

Oh and, by the way, if you are innocent of a crime then DON'T CONFESS TO IT!

on: March 26, 2014, 07:12:08 AM 8 General Death Penalty / Michelle Byrom / Re: Michelle Byrom - MS - 03/27/2014

The bottom line takeaway is that she's guilty of the crime for which she was convicted.  Just because the son opted for a plea deal doesn't affect her guilt or innocence.  Nothing has changed.  There are no surprises and no new last minute evidence.  The facts are pretty much the same as they've always been.  It's just that CNN is spinning them differently--as they usually do.

on: March 17, 2014, 04:28:41 PM 9 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

I stumbled by Hank's website (no, the one run by Wifeaux) and he posted a new copy of "Hank Hole News" back in September.  Seems Hank had a few medical problems...

Quote
New Hell Hole News
-
#39
September 3rd, 2013

To all my friends and pen pals,

On 7/31, I collapsed in the floor in pain so bad I passed out from it after it blinded me. I had no fever, B.P.
normal. The “nurse” said nothing was wrong with me, that I was faking. I refused to go back to my cell and got
rank, took me to Huntsville Memorial Hospital E.R., cat scan. The result: acute pancreatitis, bad case. Pumped
me full of morphine and raced me to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston at 100 mph.

I stayed in hospital for three weeks, almost died twice. Came back to the unit 08.23 and was denied all meds,
relapsed, almost died again. My B.P. was 85/53 and they’d called in my free-world priest to give me the last rites
and extreme unction. No, I’m not kidding. When I left here I weighed 218, I now weigh 174, lost 44–47 lbs in
28 days, puking up my guts everyday and it smelled dead. Couldn’t eat the whole month.

Through a miracle I survived. The miracle did not come from TDCJ/UTMB. I’m starting to eat solid food again and
not puking. This ailment usually kills. My priest’s niece died of it. The cause is unknown. You can look at
the facts here: http://www.medicinenet.com/pancreatitis/article.htm read it and you’ll understand.

I’m still real shaky and not up to writing y’all my usual epic letters, so y’all write me, ok. Ha/ha. My daughter, I
love you! Laure Kate, got your JPay and card, it kept me going in going in darkness. I’m gone.

Love and more to you all,

Hank


Anybody want to wager what the ruling from the court will be?

on: March 06, 2014, 01:21:53 PM 10 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Michael A. Taylor - MO - 02/26/2014

Debt paid.

Quote
Missouri executes Michael A. Taylor for 1989 murder of teenager
February 25
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City man who kidnapped, raped and killed a Raytown South High School freshman in 1989 was executed by lethal injection early today.

Michael Anthony Taylor, 47, was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m.

Taylor and co-defendant Roderick Nunley pleaded guilty and were sentenced to death for fatally stabbing 15-year-old Ann Harrison on March 22, 1989, after kidnapping her from in front of her southeast Kansas City home while she waited for the school bus.

In a brief phone conversation with The Kansas City Star just hours before the execution, Taylor said he had written a letter to Ann’s parents and that a prison official assured him it would be offered to them. In the letter, Taylor said, he expressed “my sincerest apology and heartfelt remorse.”

“I hope that they’ll accept it,” Taylor said of the letter.

An execution date for Nunley, 48, has not been set.

Wednesday’s execution was the fourth carried out in Missouri since late November, when it adopted the use of the sedative pentobarbital to execute prisoners.

It came after a day of intense and multifaceted legal challenges to Taylor’s execution in state and federal courts that ended when the U.S. Supreme Court denied Taylor’s last request for a stay.

Earlier Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon denied Taylor’s request for clemency. After the execution, Nixon released this statement: “Our thoughts and prayers tonight are with Bob and Janel Harrison, and the other members of Ann Harrison's family, as they remember the 15-year-old child they lost to an act of senseless violence.”

Friends and members of both the Harrison and Taylor families witnessed the execution. Among the state witnesses was retired Kansas City homicide Sgt. Dave Bernard, who was an investigator on the case.

Taylor’s death came a little less than a month short of the 25th anniversary of Ann’s killing.

Taylor’s family issued a statement Tuesday night:

“The family of Michael Anthony Taylor would like to express their gratitude to all of those who supported Michael over the years. It may be a small victory for the State of Missouri but Michael has won in the end. He has struggled for years with the guilt of not stopping a horrendous crime, and has dedicated much of his time in prison to the memory of Ann Harrison through his work with hospice, tutoring and mentoring inside and outside the prison walls. Those heartfelt accomplishments will accompany him into the gates of Heaven where he will be joined by his family and beloved angel.”

Ann's father, Bob Harrison, attended the execution, but did not want to make a statement afterward.

Though he was raised in a two-parent, church-going home, Taylor fell into a pattern of petty crimes and drug use that landed him in trouble.

He and Nunley, who grew up in the same central Kansas City neighborhood, were cruising around in a car they had stolen the day before in Grandview when they randomly chose to drive down Ann’s street in the early morning light.

They later told police that they had been binging on crack cocaine that morning. Both ultimately confessed, although each portrayed the other as the aggressor in the attack.

After spotting Ann, one attacker got out of the car, grabbed her and tossed her into the vehicle. She screamed and fought, but they threatened to kill her if she did not stop.

They drove her to the home of Nunley’s mother in south Kansas City. They forced her into the basement and bound her hands with wire.

In his confession, Taylor said that they both raped her. His DNA was recovered. There was no physical evidence linking Nunley to the sexual assault, and he has always denied that he raped her.

While she was enduring the assault, her family and friends were beginning the frantic search for Ann, whose books, purse and flute case were left neatly piled on the ground.

After raping her, they debated whether to kill her. Nunley said Taylor insisted on it. Taylor said it was Nunley.

A prosecutor later said that it didn’t matter, calling them a “sadistic tag team.”

Ann refused when they told her to get in the car trunk. She pleaded with them not to kill her and said her parents would pay them if they let her go. They pretended to go along with that idea and said they were going to drive her to a pay phone to call her parents.

Instead, they got knives from the kitchen and stabbed her to death.

They abandoned the car several blocks away.

That night, Bob and Janel Harrison pleaded on television for their daughter’s safe return.

It was not until the next night, about 36 hours after Ann disappeared, that her body was found in the abandoned car.

Three months after she was killed, a tipster led police to Taylor and Nunley.

Seeking to avoid death sentences, both men pleaded guilty and chose to have a judge instead of a jury decide their fate.

After a judge sentenced them to death, allegations were made that the judge had been seen drinking at a downtown restaurant before the sentencing.

That led to new sentencing hearings, which again ended in death sentences.

Since then, both men have mounted numerous appeals in state and federal courts.

In early 2006, Taylor came within hours of being executed before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay. Taylor eventually lost that appeal, involving the three-drug execution method, and in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that method.

Since then, drug shortages prompted by manufacturers opposed to their products being used to carry out death sentences have forced states to seek alternative chemicals.

That has led to additional legal challenges, including one mounted by Taylor’s lawyers over how the drug currently used by Missouri is obtained and manufactured.

Attorneys for the previous three executed inmates in Missouri had also raised those concerns, but the appeals were denied.

on: March 06, 2014, 01:19:33 PM 11 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Paul Augustus Howell - FL - 2/26/14

Hasta la vista...

Quote
Paul Howell Executed for Florida Trooper's Pipe Bomb Death

A drug trafficker who placed a pipe bomb in a gift-wrapped microwave oven in a plot to kill two potential murder witnesses was executed Wednesday for the 1992 death of a Florida highway trooper who became the unintended victim.

Paul Augustus Howell, 48, was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. following a lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Starke, the office of Gov. Rick Scott said in an email.

Howell was condemned for the killing of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford on Feb. 1, 1992, when the package exploded during a traffic stop.

Howell's lawyers had filed an unsuccessful appeal Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a new drug Florida uses for executions wasn't tested for that purpose. This was the fifth execution in the state using the new drug, midazolam hydrochloride, as part of a three-drug mix.

The Supreme Court rejected Howell's final appeals Wednesday afternoon.

The death of Fulford saved others, giving some comfort to his family as the execution of the man convicted of killing him approached.

Fulford died in February 1992 along Interstate 10 in Jefferson County when a booby-trapped package exploded during a routine traffic stop.

The bomb was intended for a Marianna woman who lived in an apartment complex with her baby. Another woman and other children lived in the next unit over and the bomb was powerful enough that it would have blown out windows, doors and walls if it was detonated in an enclosed area, according to court records.

"I'm sure there would have been a lot more people killed besides her," said Tim Fulford, the trooper's brother. "That is a comfort. He did die saving other people's lives."

The man who built the bomb that killed Fulford is scheduled to die by injection on Wednesday, exactly one year after the original execution date set in a process that has been held up by appeals. The time it's taken for Paul Howell's sentence to be carried out has been painful for Fulford's family, especially having to be reminded of the circumstances as Howell's lawyers successfully delayed the execution the past 12 months, Fulford's brother said.

"It's something our family will never get over. This process is too long," Fulford said. "Closure will never come. The only way that would happen is if my brother walked through the door and we both know that won't happen."

Fulford is remembered as an excellent officer and strong family man. It was his dream to become a trooper when he was growing up in Madison County. He was first assigned to a troop in Bradenton, where he met his wife, Keith Ann. He eventually was assigned to patrol the area where he grew up and the couple was raising a son and a daughter in Monticello when Fulford died. He was 35.

"It was just a dream come true for him and things were working really well," said Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart, who grew up with Fulford and was serving as a deputy when Fulford died.

Fulford was active in his church, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school. He liked fishing and hunting and spending time with his family. He was always helping neighbors, Stewart said.

"Jimmy was just a really good guy. He was one of the best officers I've ever known. He was very kind-hearted and he very much believed in enforcing the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. He just believed in helping people," he said. "Just a strong Christian guy and just a country boy, but he always wanted to be a trooper."

Howell, a native of Jamaica, was a drug trafficker living in Fort Lauderdale when he built the bomb. He was trying to kill two potential witnesses in another drug-related murder. Howell paid Lester Watson to drive a rented car from Fort Lauderdale to deliver the gift-wrapped box that contained a microwave oven with a pipe bomb inside that was set to explode when the door was opened. One of the women had told Howell she needed a microwave oven to heat her baby's formula.

Fulford stopped Watson for speeding in Jefferson County. Watson was driving a car rented in Howell's name and gave Fulford a false name and birthdate. A dispatcher called Howell to ask if Watson had permission to drive the car. Howell said yes, but told the dispatcher he didn't think Watson was leaving Broward County. He didn't mention the bomb in the trunk.

"This was evil intent. It was meant to kill somebody. And they didn't care. These guys had an opportunity once they were arrested, to say 'Look, don't open the thing,'" Stewart said.

Two Jefferson County deputies assisted Fulford by taking Watson and his passenger to the county jail. While they were gone, Fulford opened the package setting off a massive explosion that left a depression in the highway.

"If Jimmy had not intercepted that bomb, a woman and innocent kids would have all been killed and that was the sacrifice that Jimmy made," said Florida Highway Patrol Major Mark Welch.

A state and federal investigation after the death led to and the dismantling of a drug ring based in South Florida and the indictment of 28 people.

on: February 14, 2014, 04:46:27 AM 12 General Death Penalty / Stays of Execution / Re: Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner - TX - 11/09/2011

More straw grasping...

Quote
Testimony ends in Hank Skinner's DNA hearing
Posted: February 4, 2014 - 3:05pm
Back | Next
Skinner Amarillo Globe-News
Amarillo Globe-News
Skinner
By Jim McBride   
jim.mcbride@amarillo.com

PAMPA — A Texas Department of Public Safety expert testified Tuesday that genetic material found on a knife at the scene of a 1993 triple homicide was consistent with Hank Skinner’s DNA profile, but the death row inmate’s defense team maintains that another man killed the family.

Georgette Oden, an assistant attorney general, quizzed DPS expert Brent Hester about a battery of DNA testing results during an evidentiary hearing at the Gray County courthouse.

Testimony ended Tuesday in the two-day hearing, but attorneys for both sides are expected to submit further briefs to District Judge Steven Emmert after court transcripts are completed.

The hearing focused on whether it is “reasonably probable” that Skinner, now 51, would have been acquitted if all DNA evidence in the case had been presented at his 1995 trial, according to court records.

Skinner was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die in the slayings of Twila Jean Busby, 40, and her sons — 22- year-old Elwin “Scooter” Caler and 20-year-old Randy Busby.

Skinner has claimed he was too intoxicated to have slain the Busbys because he drank vodka and took codeine on the night of the killings.

After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted Skinner’s execution three times due to changing post-conviction law, prosecutors agreed to allow DNA testing, and both sides now have received the results.

Hester, a DPS analyst from the Lubbock crime lab, testified Tuesday that genetic material recovered from the blade of a knife found on the front porch of the victims’ home could be linked to Skinner. Forensic tests on the knife blade, he said, proved the presence of blood on the weapon, and the material found on the knife contained DNA traces from Skinner, Caler and Busby.

“We do not say it was that person’s DNA,” Hester said of how DPS interprets DNA results recovered from a crime scene. “They are not consistent solely with him, but they are consistent with him being a possible contributor.”

Hester also testified that some DNA recovered from the crime scene was contaminated with his DNA and that of a former court reporter who handled evidence in the case. The longtime forensic scientist also testified that some genetic material recovered from a carpet stain, door handles in the home and a door frame could be tied to Skinner.

Hester also said DNA from an unknown individual also was located in the carpet stain, which was in a bedroom where the two male victims were found. Hester said that genetic material could have been deposited when the carpet was originally laid and could have come from nearly anyone who visited the Busby home at 804 E. Campbell St. in Pampa.

Robert Owen, Skinner’s attorney, said after the hearing that testimony showed minute traces of DNA from an unknown person and Twila Busby’s blood had been found on a dish towel that had been left in a plastic bag at the crime scene.

Owen also said the prosecution has claimed that Skinner stabbed Randy Busby in the back while he lay on his bunk bed, but Owen said testimony presented during the hearing casts doubt on the state’s theory.

“If Mr. Skinner stabbed Randy Busby in the manner claimed by the state, Mr. Skinner’s blood should have been on the blanket of Randy’s bed. It was not. If Mr. Skinner’s hands were covered with the victims’ blood when he staggered out of the house, their blood should have been mixed with his on the doorknobs he touched. It was not,” Owen said in a statement.

Owen said a state expert’s testimony also indicated that three of four hairs found in Twila Busby’s hand — hairs the defense said contain DNA consistent with a maternal relative of the victims — were “visually dissimilar” to the victim’s own hair. That testimony, he said, supports the defense team’s conclusion that Robert Donnell, Twila Busby’s now-deceased uncle, killed the Pampa family.

“The state presented no compelling evidence that the hairs could have come from another maternal relative. In fact, Ms. Busby’s mother stated under oath before Mr. Skinner’s trial that she had not been inside the house in the preceding four months,” Owen said in a statement.

Owen also said he was disappointed that Emmert did not allow testimony from a key witness about a jacket found at the crime scene. The witness was prepared to testify the now-missing jacket belonged to Donnell.

“At the DNA hearing, Mr. Skinner sought to present testimony from a witness who can positively identify the jacket as Donnell’s, and to have his DNA expert explain how testing could have confirmed Donnell’s DNA on the jacket,” Owen said in a statement. “We respectfully disagree with this decision. In our view, this evidence is at the center of the case. It shows why a jury that heard all the evidence, including DNA results, would have harbored a reasonable doubt about Mr. Skinner’s guilt.”

Owen also noted that much of the DNA evidence gathered in the case was mishandled, contaminated or lost.

Owen indicated in his statement that “doubts about Hank Skinner’s guilt are far too great to allow his execution to proceed, particularly where the state’s utter failure to safeguard key pieces of evidence may make it impossible to resolve those questions conclusively.”

http://amarillo.com/national/2014-02-04/skinner-hearing-dps-expert-quizzed-dna-evidence

on: February 01, 2014, 05:05:02 AM 13 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Suzanne Basso TX DR #999329 Feb 5, 2014

If anyone has any doubts about whether Texas is doing the right thing with regard to this woman, start reading here...

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/suzanne_basso/6.html

on: December 10, 2013, 04:37:57 PM 14 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Allen Nicklasson - MO - 12/11/2013

Federal Court Panel Stays Allen Nicklasson’s Execution

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A panel of federal judges stayed a Missouri man’s execution late Monday, a little more than a day before he was set to die.

Allen Nicklasson, 41, had been scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing businessman Richard Drummond in 1994. But a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to stay the execution based on Nicklasson’s claims of ineffective counsel.

A stay in a death row case is not unusual and doesn’t mean the execution ultimately will be scuttled.

A message left late Monday by The Associated Press with Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, was not immediately returned. However, the state is expected to appeal the decision to the full appeals court.

After going nearly three years without an execution, Missouri had been preparing for its second in three weeks. The state executed racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 20. It was the first execution in Missouri using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Nicklasson was sentenced to die for killing Drummond, a businessman from Excelsior Springs, Mo., who in 1994 stopped to help when he saw a car stranded along Interstate 70 in eastern Missouri. Nicklasson and two others forced Drummond to drive to a secluded area, where Nicklasson killed him.

One of the other men in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was put to death in 2009. The third, Tim DeGraffenreid, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was spared the death penalty.

Nicklasson’s attorney has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene and will petition Gov. Jay Nixon for clemency, she said Monday.

The crime happened in August 1994. Nicklasson, Skillicorn and DeGraffenreid left Kansas City to buy drugs in St. Louis. They were heading back home when their 1983 Chevrolet Caprice stalled on I-70, soon after they stole guns and money from a home near Kingdom City, about 100 miles west of St. Louis.

Drummond, a technical support supervisor for AT&T, saw the stranded motorists in the late afternoon and decided to help. Nicklasson put a gun to Drummond’s head and ordered him to drive west. They directed him to a secluded wooded area in western Missouri, where Nicklasson shot Drummond twice in the head. His remains were found eight days later.

Nicklasson and Skillicorn stole Drummond’s car and drove to Arizona. When the vehicle broke down in the desert, they approached the home of Joseph Babcock, who was shot and killed by Nicklasson after driving the pair back to their vehicle. The victim’s wife, Charlene Babcock, was killed at the couple’s home.

Both men were convicted of the Arizona killings and sentenced to life in prison, then got the death penalty in Missouri. Nicklasson has been on death row since 1996.

The group Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty had planned vigils in support of Nicklasson in seven Missouri locations Tuesday night, including outside the prison in Bonne Terre where executions take place.

Rita Linhardt, board chairman for Missourian for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said Nicklasson suffered from abuse and mental illness. He was institutionalized and released as a young man, even as he pleaded to stay because he felt he needed more help, Linhardt said.

He became homeless, got hooked on drugs, and his crimes escalated, Linhardt said.

“There were opportunities along the way where he could have been helped, but the state dropped the ball,” Linhardt said.

Nicklasson grew up with a mother who was a stripper. He declined interview requests Monday, but in a 2009 interview with the AP, he recalled his mother shooting up heroin and bringing home a series of abusive boyfriends. He said he still has scars from one who burned him.

He met Skillicorn at a drug rehab center in Kansas City in 1994. Skillicorn was out of prison following a second-degree murder conviction for killing a man during a robbery. The men, along with DeGraffenreid, decided to go on the drug run, leading to the fateful meeting with Drummond.

Missouri previously used a three-drug method of executions, but changed protocols after drugmakers stopped selling the lethal drugs to prisons and corrections departments. The pentobarbital used in Missouri executions comes from an undisclosed compounding pharmacy. The Missouri Department of Corrections declines to say who makes the drug, or where.

on: December 10, 2013, 04:33:54 PM 15 General Death Penalty / Executed Offenders (Graveyard) / Re: Ronald Clinton Lott - OK - 12/10/13

Oklahoma executes Ronald Clinton Lott

An Oklahoma man convicted of raping and then brutally murdering two elderly women in the 1980s was executed tonight.

Ronald Clinton Lott, 53, received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, making him the state's fifth death row inmate to be executed this year.

He was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m.

Lott was convicted in Oklahoma County of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 83-year-old Anna Laura Fowler in September 1986 and 93-year-old Zelma Cutler in January 1987. He was also convicted of raping the women.

However, another man originally sat on death row for the crimes. In 1987, Robert Lee Miller Jr. confessed to and was convicted of the slayings and spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence finally linked Lott to the heinous crimes.

Miller was released in 1998 after seven years on death row. Lott had been on death row since 2001.

According to Oklahoma criminal appeals court records, evidence presented at trial suggested Lott attacked the women and sat on their chests, breaking their ribs. Both had numerous bruises and were asphyxiated.

In January, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected Lott's appeal. He claimed he received ineffective counsel during the sentencing phase of the trial. He also argued there was prosecutorial misconduct and insufficient evidence in his case.

Sources: Reuters, Rick Halperin, December 10, 2013

Read more: http://deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com/2013/12/oklahoma-executes-ronald-clinton-lott.html#ixzz2n7cf2WBZ
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