William H. Houseman, 35, formerly of Newville, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, Feb. 24, for strangling and killing Leslie White in September 2001
Gov. Ed Rendell signed his execution warrant Friday. Houseman, a prisoner at SCI Greene, was convicted in November 2001 for kidnapping and killing his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend. Beth Ann Markman, 44, was also sentenced to death for her part in the strangulation of White.
During the trail, prosecutors said that Houseman and Markman lured White to Houseman’s home where they strangled her and then drove to Virginia to hid her body.
Markman’s conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 2007. In a new trail, she pleaded guilty to criminal homicide in exchange for a life sentence.
In one of his last acts in office, Gov. Ed Rendell Friday signed an execution warrant for Milton Montalvo, who had been convicted in a 1998 double homicide in York.
Montalvo, 48, convicted in January 2000, in the stabbing and beating deaths of his estranged common-law wife and a friend of hers, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 23.
It is unlikely the execution will take place, though. Rendell has previously signed execution warrants for death-row inmates, but appeals have blocked them - a point that Rendell addressed in a letter to the state Legislature Friday asking it to find means to streamline execution of the death penalty in Pennsylvania.
In the letter, Rendell wrote, "While Congress and this body have enacted laws to help curtail and streamline the appellate process in capital cases, the length of time between the imposition of the sentence and actual execution, if it occurs at all, can be decades and is still too long.
"Victims' survivors are frustrated; the police are frustrated. The lengthy appeals process not only costs taxpayers substantial money, but it also robs the victims' families and friends of peace of mind, and they get no closure."
Montalvo and his brother, Noel, were both convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in separate trials in the 1998 murders of Miriam Ascencio, 44, and her friend, Manuel Ramirez Santana, 37.
Milton Montalvo fled York after the homicides and was arrested in 1999 in Miami in a Super Bowl prostitution sting.
The state Supreme Court affirmed Milton Montalvo's death sentence in 2009 and denied re-argument last year.
Noel Montalvo, 46, was also sentenced to death in the killings. Rendell signed his death warrant in July 2009 and scheduled the execution for Sept. 23 of that year. The execution was stayed by appeals to federal court.
In his letter to the Legislature, Rendell noted that only three executions have been carried out since the death penalty was reinstated in Pennsylvania in the late 1970s. One of those was Keith Zettlemoyer, a York County man who had been convicted in 1980 of killing of a man scheduled to testify against him in a robbery trial.
Zettlemoyer had waived his final appeals and asked that his sentence be carried out. He was executed in May 1995.
Rendell signed five other execution warrants Friday:
Lavar Brown, of Philadelphia County, who was convicted of first-degree murder in May 2005. Brown, 33, shot and killed Robert Crawford in December 2003. He is incarcerated at the SCI at Graterford. His execution date is scheduled for March 2.
William H. Housman, 35, for strangling and killing Leslie White in September 2000. Housman, of Cumberland County, was convicted in November 2001. He is a prisoner at SCI Greene and is scheduled to be executed Feb. 24.
Kareem Johnson, 26, of Philadelphia County. Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder in June 2007, for the shooting death of Walter Smith in December 2002. Johnson is held at SCI Graterford. His execution date is scheduled for March 8.
Christopher Smith, 29, of Philadelphia County, for the December 2002, shooting death of Rasheed Grant. He was convicted in May 2005. Smith's execution is scheduled for March 3. He is a prisoner at SCI Greene.
Ernest R. Wholaver Jr., 50, for killing his wife and two daughters on Dec. 24, 2002. Wholaver, of Dauphin County, was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in August 2004. He is a prisoner at SCI Greene. His execution date is scheduled for March 1.
-------------------------------------------REMEMBER PEOPLE, it's Pennsylvania so only God knows when they will actually EXECUTE those they set dates for...