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11 -  General Death Penalty / South Dakota Death Penalty News / Re: South Dakota Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857 - Last post by Grinning Grim Reaper on: October 21, 2014, 11:45:12 AM

Jackley seeks May execution for Rodney Berget

2 hours ago  •  By BLAKE NICHOLSON

Attorney General Marty Jackley has asked South Dakota court officials to set a spring execution date for a man ordered to die for his role in killing a state prison guard during an escape attempt 3˝ years ago.

Jackley has requested that Rodney Berget, 52, die by lethal injection at the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls the week of May 3, 2015.

"The state believes that due process has been satisfied and is requesting that the sentence be carried out in the interest of justice," Jackley said in a statement Tuesday.

Defense attorney Jeff Larson said if the court grants the date, he likely will request a stay. He said it was too early to comment on possible legal grounds for such a request.

Berget and another prisoner, Eric Robert, attacked penitentiary guard Ronald Johnson during an April 2011 escape attempt. Johnson was alone in an area where inmates work on projects such as upholstery and signs. Robert donned Johnson's uniform and tried to move a large box with Berget inside toward the prison gate. They were caught before leaving the prison.

Robert was executed in 2012. A third inmate, Michael Nordman, was sentenced to life in prison for providing plastic wrap and a pipe used in the slaying of Johnson, which happened on his 63rd birthday.

Jackley said in an interview that he consulted with the state Department of Corrections and with Johnson's widow before deciding on which week to request. One reason for the choice is that "there's considerable work for the Department of Corrections in preparing for carrying out a death sentence," he said.

Berget was sentenced to death in February 2012 for his role in killing Johnson. The state Supreme Court overturned the sentence in January 2013, saying a circuit judge had improperly considered a statement Berget made to a psychiatrist. Berget last year was sentenced to death again.

Larson appealed on his behalf, saying a lower court should have allowed new evidence before Berget was resentenced. State Supreme Court justices rejected that argument this past August.

Jackley said if his chosen week is approved, the specific date and time will be announced closer to the execution.

Barring any delays, it will be "a final resolution from a legal sense," Jackley said. "With a victim's family that has had to go through this, certainly it's a long healing process."

There have been 18 executions in South Dakota history. The last was Oct. 30, 2012, when Donald Moeller, 60, was executed for the 1990 kidnapping, rape and killing of a 9-year-old Sioux Falls girl.

12 -  General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Olen Hutchinson - TN - 5/12/15

Started by turboprinz - Last post by ChevyWolken on: October 21, 2014, 10:40:41 AM

Finally after all of the recently stays one of the seemingly endless row of monsters meets his maker  >:( >:(


13 -  General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Olen Hutchinson - TN - 5/12/15

Started by turboprinz - Last post by Londoner77 on: October 21, 2014, 07:38:47 AM

Well I suppose he got what was coming to him but shame the families get cheated out of justice.

As you say, he's still worm food which is the main thing.  :D :D :D

14 -  General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Olen Hutchinson - TN - 5/12/15

Started by turboprinz - Last post by Grinning Grim Reaper on: October 20, 2014, 07:09:50 AM

Tennessee murderer dies on death row

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee officials say a death row inmate convicted of a 1988 murder in Campbell County has died of natural causes.

 Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa E. Taylor says 61-year-old Olen E. Hutchinson was pronounced dead at 8:55 a.m. Sunday at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

 Hutchison was convicted in 1991 in the drowning death of 46-year-old Hugh L. Huddleston of Knoxville.

 Huddleston was lured to Norris Lake under the guise of going fishing.

 Hutchison's case became the focus of demonstrations and forums on disparities in the state's death sentences.

 Hutchinson was one of seven men accused of plotting to kill Huddleston in an insurance fraud scheme. Hutchison was the only person sentenced to death.

 The man convicted of pushing Huddleston into the lake received a life sentence.

Well he was removed from DR the wrong way but nonetheless removed.  8)

15 -  General Death Penalty / Texas Death Penalty News / Re: Texas Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857 - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:41:31 PM

Texas Death Row Inmate Convicted Of Killing 3 Kids Loses Appeal

HOUSTON (October 15, 2014) Raphael Holiday, 35, who was sentenced to die for the deaths of his daughter and two other young girls in a house fire in Central Texas 14 years ago, has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Tuesday refused claims from attorneys for Holiday that testimony against him was improperly allowed at his trial in 2002 in Huntsville, that his indictment was flawed and that a juror improperly was removed during jury selection.

Holiday was sentenced to die for the September 2000 deaths of his 18-month-old daughter, Justice, and her half-sisters, 5-year-old Jasmine Raquel DuPaul and 7-year-old Tierra Shena Lynch, in a fire that was set at their home in Madison County.

Holiday was the estranged common-law husband of the girls' mother.

16 -  General Death Penalty / Upcoming/In Progress Death Penalty Trials / Prosecutors seeking death penalty against Anthony Bluml

Started by turboprinz - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:38:53 PM

October 15, 2014

Prosecutors filed a court document Wednesday showing that they are seeking the death penalty against Anthony Bluml, one of four people charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of his adoptive parents.

At his arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Sedgwick County District Court, the 19-year-old Bluml pleaded not guilty and waived a reading of the charges against him.

The trial has technically been set for next month but will undoubtedly be continued.

Roger and Melissa Bluml were shot in the head as they sat in a car outside their rural Valley Center home Nov. 15 in what has been described as a scheme to get life insurance money. According to testimony at a preliminary hearing this past summer, Anthony Bluml allegedly resented being kicked out of the family's house for smoking marijuana.

District Attorney Marc Bennett filed a notice that he is seeking a separate sentencing proceeding "to determine whether defendant should be sentenced to death."

The document cites "aggravating circumstances" to be considered at sentencing, if Anthony Bluml is convicted of capital murder. Those aggravating circumstances, the notice says, include that he "knowingly or purposely killed or created a great risk of death to more than one person," that he committed the crime to gain money and that he got another person to carry out the crime.

Bluml, dressed in red jail garb and wearing shackles, stood at a lectern with his two defense attorneys during the brief court proceeding. He and his co-defendants remain in jail on bonds of $2 million each.

Most of the people in the courtroom were reporters or TV news crews. But Imalea Swank, 19, said she came to the arraignment because Anthony Bluml asked her to. Swank said she feels conflicted because she has been a friend of Anthony Bluml and his parents. They were all part of a network of Valley Center families whose bond was the sport of wrestling. Anthony Bluml was a high school wrestler.

"Everybody knew Melissa and Roger, so it was a big shock" when they were killed and their adopted son was charged in their deaths, Swank said.

"They did everything for Tony," she said.

The three other defendants are Braden Smith, 19, Andrew Ellington, 19, and Kisha Schaberg, 36. Schaberg is Anthony Bluml's biological mother.

Smith has testified that he provided guns for Schaberg and Ellington the night the couple were shot.

17 -  General Death Penalty / Texas Death Penalty News / Re: Texas Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857 - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:36:01 PM

Laborer who spent time on death row in Texas goes free
October 8, 2014

A construction laborer who spent nine years in prison — four on death row — was freed Wednesday after a judge ruled that the man's county-appointed lawyers in South Texas did a shoddy job defending him.

"An innocent man went to death row because of a complete system failure," says Brian Stull, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represented Manuel Velez, 49, in the successful effort to overturn his 2008 murder conviction.

Velez was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2005 beating death of Angel Moreno, the 1-year-old son of a woman Velez was living with in Brownsville, Texas. The prosecution relied heavily on a timeline asserting that the fatal injuries occurred within the two weeks before the child died. Before those two weeks, Velez had been working in Tennessee for several weeks.

The jury never heard about a prosecution expert's report indicating that autopsy results showed that the critical head injury occurred more than two weeks before the child died.

The death sentence was overturned in 2012 in an appeal arguing that a witness on the subject of Velez's future capacity for being dangerous was no longer credible. The conviction stood.

Lawyers for Velez then sought to overturn the conviction on the grounds that his original lawyers, appointed by the court, made mistakes.

At a hearing for a new trial in December 2012, prosecutors argued that those lawyers — Hector Villarreal, who has since died, and Rene Flores — did the best they could and that the standard for good lawyers and top experts was lower in South Texas.

The judge hearing the motion for a new trial, Elia Cornejo Lopez, rejected the standards argument, writing that "a (defendant's) life in Cameron County is worth just the same as a life in other parts of the United States."

She granted a new trial. Earlier this year, prosecutors said they would no longer seek the death penalty in the case

The ACLU's Stull said Velez wanted to get out of prison as soon as possible and agreed in August to plead "no contest" to reckless injury of a child, allowing him to go free based on time already served and good behavior.

The case began on Halloween 2005, when Angel Moreno was found not breathing and was rushed to a hospital, where he died two days later, according to court records.

His mother, Acela Moreno, later pleaded guilty to striking her son on Oct. 31, 2005, and served five years of a 10-year sentence. She agreed to testify for the prosecution against Velez but never said she saw him strike her son.

The evidence portion of Velez's trial lasted seven days. In reviewing the record seven years later, Lopez found that Villarreal and Flores did a poor job representing Velez. They offered no medical evidence about the age of the child's injuries and failed to contact a neuropathologist who had examined the brain tissue for prosecution experts.

The neuropathologist concluded in a report that a crucial head injury had clearly occurred two weeks to six months before death.

18 -  General Death Penalty / Upcoming/In Progress Death Penalty Trials / Re: Woman charged in boyfriend's death goes to trial - Jodi Arias

Started by turboprinz - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:33:51 PM

Jury to be seated in Arias penalty-phase retrial
Oct. 16, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — A jury for the penalty retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be sworn in next week as prosecutors again seek a death sentence.

Arias was found guilty last year in the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend in Arizona, but jurors couldn't agree on a sentence.

While her murder conviction stands, prosecutors have one more shot at securing a death sentence with the new jury. Otherwise, Arias faces life in prison.

A judge announced Thursday that the new jury will be seated on Tuesday. However, additional arguments are planned for Monday.

Arias acknowledged killing Travis Alexander, but she said it was self-defense. Prosecutors argued the killing was carried out in a jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end their affair.

The retrial is expected to last into December.

19 -  General Death Penalty / Pennsylvania Death Penalty News / Re: Pennsylvania Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857 - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:31:41 PM

Baby killer gets death penalty

norristown >> After 3˝ hours of deliberation Tuesday a jury of seven men and five women unanimously condemned Raghunandan Yandamuri to two death sentences for the murders of Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old granddaughter Saanvi Venna in Upper Merion in October 2012.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said he was happy the jury took its time to deliberate and come out with what he called the right sentence.

“We hope that it can bring a little closure for the Vennas,” Steele said. “This has been a difficult two years for them. They lost their mother, their 10-month-old daughter. It was heart-wrenching to hear what they’ve gone through.”

The Venna family was not in court Tuesday, but Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman said prosecutors had been in constant contact with them throughout the trial. Previously, Steele told reporters the Venna family supported prosecutors seeking the death penalty against Yandamuri.

For the jurors to reach their decision, they each had to weigh aggravating factors against mitigating factors to decide if Yandamuri, 28, should be given life in prison or the death penalty. Under the law, if the jurors unanimously find the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, they may sentence him to death.

Cauffman said that, now, the Vennas may begin to feel closure.

“I’m very pleased with what has happened as a result of this case,” she said. “I’m very pleased that we can give a little bit of something back to the Venna family. It was a rough road for everyone involved.”

In court, Yandamuri appeared emotionless as the jurors one-by-one confirmed both death sentences. While the jury was being individually polled, he frantically wrote on a legal pad at the defense table.

“He tends to deal with his frustrations by writing furiously on a notepad,” penalty-phase defense attorney Henry Hilles said.

Hilles said he did not read what Yandamuri wrote on the notepad. Stephen Heckman, who acted as Yandamuri’s standby counsel during the guilt phase of the trial, said Yandamuri did not say anything to him after the sentence was announced.

“He just wrote notes, and right now he just wanted to let his mother know,” Heckman said.

Hilles said he was disappointed but not shocked by the sentence rendered Tuesday night.

He and Heckman told Yandamuri the sentence was likely, Hilles said, and the fact that Yandamuri represented himself during the trial made it more likely the jury would sentence him to death. Hilles also said he believes a jury may have thought differently if Yandamuri had showed some remorse throughout the trial.

Yandamuri was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder last Thursday. He was also convicted of burglary, robbery, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. Judge Steven O’Neill announced he would hold a formal sentence hearing in 45 days in which Yandamuri will be formally sentenced to death and will also be sentenced for the additional charges. Yandamuri will be allowed an appeal, but only after he is formally sentenced.

The investigation began on Oct. 22, 2012, when police were called to the Marquis Apartments in Upper Merion for a report of a killing. Police soon learned from the victim’s son that his daughter was missing and he had found a ransom note at the scene of the crime demanding $50,000 for his daughter’s life.

The ransom note used nicknames for the baby’s parents that only a few people were familiar with. After going down a list, investigators found Yandamuri and, after several hours of questioning on Oct. 25-Oct. 26, 2012, Yandamuri admitted to the killings. He then told police he put the body of Saanvi Venna in the sauna of the Marquis Apartments after she died.

During trial however, he tried to present evidence to the jury that two white men, whom he identified only as Josh and Matt, forced him to help them into the apartment where they killed Satyavathi Venna and kidnapped Saanvi Venna.

20 -  General Death Penalty / Ohio Death Penalty News / Re: Ohio Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857 - Last post by turboprinz on: October 16, 2014, 12:23:09 PM

Judge sentences Warren County teen to death
October 16, 2014

A Warren County teenager who killed a childhood friend and dumped his body in Preble County will become Ohio's youngest inmate on death row after a judge sentenced him to death Thursday.

Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Donald Oda sentenced Austin Myers, 19, in the Jan. 28 robbery and murder of 18-year-old Justin Back, a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate who was set to enter the U.S. Navy the week after his death.

"You have no respect for death," Oda told Myers, who displayed no emotion upon the reading of the sentence.

A Warren County jury last week recommended Myers be put to death after convicting him of aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, grand theft of a firearm, tampering with evidence, safe cracking and abuse of a corpse.

Prosecutors said Myers orchestrated a plot with co-defendant Timothy Mosley, 19, to rob and kill Back at the Wayne Township home he shared with his parents.

Authorities said Myers and Mosley visited Back at his home on Corwin Road and watched movies with him before attacking him in the kitchen. Investigators said they tried to choke Back before Mosley stabbed him 21 times as Myers watched.

Mosley and Myers then took a gun, a safe and some of Back's clothing from the home to make it look like Back had run away. They dumped Back's body in Preble County.

Mosley testified against Myers during the trial in an agreement with prosecutors that removed the death penalty from his possible sentence.

Myers now becomes the youngest person on Ohio's death row. Myers, who turns 20 on Jan. 4, is about five years younger than the youngest death row inmate currently.

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