June 2000 Executions
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Thirteen killers were executed in the month of May 2000.  They had murdered at least 24 people.
Thirteen killers were issued stays of execution.  They have murdered at least 21 people.
One killer received a commutation of his death sentence.  He has murdered at least 1 person.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 1, 2000 Oklahoma Nancy Rose Lee McKinney, 37  James Glenn Robedeaux executed

James Glenn Robedeaux was convicted of killing Nancy Rose Lee McKinney, 37, on Sept. 22, 1985.  McKinney was killed in the Oklahoma City apartment she shared with Robedeaux.  The US Supreme Court has refused Robedeaux's final appeal.  Robedeaux, convicted for killing and dismembering Nancy was executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  About 10 feet away, with soundproof windows between them, Robedeaux's father watched his son die. Twelve members of McKinney's family also witnessed the execution.  When the privacy blinds opened onto the execution chamber, Robedeaux already was strapped to the table, a white sheet covering him to his chest. He looked up anxiously until he spotted his father, who offered a thumbs-up sign.  Robedeaux, 51, addressed his last words to his family and to McKinney's survivors. He spoke softly, and at times his words over the speaker were impossible to understand.  "Dad," he said, "I just want you to know I love you. Tell Mother I love her. Tell Sister I love her. Tell the kids I love them."  He assured his father he had found salvation and encouraged him to trust Christ. "I'll see you again," he said.  He asked McKinney's family for forgiveness. His last words were: "God bless you all. I'm going to be all right. I love you."  At 12:28 a.m., Warden Gary Gibson said, "Let the execution begin."  Robedeaux closed his eyes, and within a minute took a deep breath and snored once before he lost consciousness. Six minutes later, he was dead.  E.J. McKinney, the victim's brother, said he has forgiven Robedeaux. "I can't really say I'm happy to see him die, but justice was carried out," he said.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 1, 2000 Texas Stephanie Rae Flannery, 12 Ricky McGinn stayed

Ricky McGinn was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of his 12-year-old step-daughter, Stephanie Rae Flanary. On the morning of May 22, 1993, Janet McGinn, Ricky Nolen McGinn's wife, left her home in Brownwood, Texas for a trip to Arlington. She left her 12-year-old daughter, Stephanie Flanary, in the care of McGinn. McGinn and Stephanie spent the day alone together. Stephanie was sexually assaulted by McGinn and then beaten in the head with the blunt side of an ax. She died of multiple head injuries and a fractured skull. Her battered body was found three days later in a culvert along a farm-to-market road near McGinn's residence in Brown County. Investigators found blood in the trunk of McGinn's car and a bloody ax under the seat of a broken truck in his yard. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 2, 2000 Alabama Willie C. Griffith, 74
Linda Gail Griffith, 42 
Purnell Ford executed

After watching the man who was convicted of killing his mother and sister die in Alabama's electric chair, Wayne Griffith said he found peace and forgiveness, nearly 17 years after the slayings.  "It's finished," said Griffith, holding pictures of 74-year-old Willie C. Griffith and 42-year-old Linda Gail Griffith. "I do forgive him. I hope he's gone to heaven."  Pernell Ford, 35, who was convicted of stabbing the two women to death at their Jacksonville home during a 1983 burglary, died at Holman Prison near Atmore. He had sought execution since 1997, when he dismissed his attorney and dropped his court appeals amid questions about his mental stability. In his last statement, Ford told Warden Charlie Jones he wanted to apologize to the Griffiths' family for the pain and suffering he had caused, and asked Jones to tell them to "be safe." As officers made final preparations, Ford recited the 23rd Psalm and other biblical passages, said Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Mike Haley. Ford spent the day Thursday with his mother and a prison chaplain.  Awaiting execution, he took deep breaths and alternately stared at the ceiling and closed his eyes, resting his head at times on the back of the electric chair. "He was quite anxious to proceed ... and get it over with," Haley said.  Questions about Ford's sanity were first raised during his trial, when, while acting as his own defense attorney, he wrapped himself in a sheet during his penalty phase and demanded his victims be brought into the courtroom so God could resurrect them.  Ford initially was set for execution in July 1999, but a federal appeals court delayed his death after his former attorney questioned his mental state.  At a court hearing, Ford testified he could leave death row through "translation," and had visited heaven and other spots worldwide while in prison. He said he had millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account, which would support his children and his 400,000 wives after he was executed and  became a part of the Holy Trinity.  The court ruled in November that Ford was competent to fire attorney LaJuana Davis and drop his appeals. Gov. Don Siegelman on Wednesday set aside a clemency request filed by Davis, who cited Ford's history of mental problems. Siegelman's press secretary, Carrie Kurlander, said the governor felt the request was inappropriate, given the court ruling.  Wayne Griffith and his wife, Margaret, traveled from their Gadsden home to witness the execution, along with former Calhoun County Sheriff Roy Snead.  "You always hear the bleeding-heart liberals say the death penalty's not a deterrent," Snead said. "It may not be, but it sure as hell cuts down on the repeaters."  Willie Griffith, who suffered from arthritis and used a walker, was a former school dietitian who often prepared large meals and invited neighbors to eat. "There was never a stranger in the house," her son said.  Of Ford's apology, "I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt," Wayne Griffith said. "I believe it was sincere. I really believe he meant it ...I feel good about it." 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 6, 2000 Pennsylvania   Cam Ly stayed
 
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 6, 2000 Louisiana Donna Ponsano Feltus Taylor executed

Condemned murderer Feltus Taylor was executed by lethal injection for killing a former co-worker at a fast food restaurant.  Taylor, 39, was within hours of being put to death in 1999 when the U.S. Supreme Court blocked his execution.  The execution was stayed to give Taylor a chance to ask the high court to hear his appeal. It was the fifth stay of his execution. The U.S. Supreme Court later refused to hear the appeal, lifting the stay on the execution. Taylor was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the 1991 murder of Donna Ponsano during a robbery at a Baton Rouge fast-food restaurant. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 and condemned to death for killing Ponsano, 31, at Cajun's Fabulous Fried Chicken on March 27, 1991.  Taylor had been hired and fired twice as a fry cook at the Florida Boulevard restaurant.  The manager, Keith Clark, survived four shots in the head.  Clark, who uses a wheelchair because of his injuries, said he planned to attend the execution.   A state judge in Baton Rouge denied a last-minute effort from Taylor's attorney, Michelle Fournet, to stop the execution.  Prior to the execution, Taylor read a brief statement in which he apologized to the slain woman's family and to the wounded restaurant manager.  "I want to tell you, Keith, and the Ponsano family that I always regretted what I've done. It was my own doing. After this is over with, I hope you can find the peace to move on," Taylor said.  After Taylor spoke, the slain woman's sister, Lisa Allen, whispered "Oh, Jesus," then began crying.  During his trial, Taylor admitted shooting Ponsano to death after he robbed the restaurant's safe. Clark had hired and fired Taylor twice as a fry cook. On the day of the shooting, Taylor went to the restaurant trying to get his job back.  Clark already had replaced Taylor, but gave him 35 cents to buy a newspaper so the two could sort through classifieds. But Taylor snapped when Ponsano passed by the table where the 2 men sat, Clark said.  Taylor grabbed her arms and demanded that Clark open the safe. Clark eventually gave into the demand and gave Taylor $1,300 from the safe, but Taylor still opened fire with a handgun.  "It was a heinous murder that resulted in the death of a fine woman and the maiming and paralyzing of a very fine man," Sinquefield said. "The viciousness of the act and the suffering that was caused has always been demanding of the death penalty."  Clark and Ponsano's sister Lisa Allen were among execution witnesses.  Both refused to talk to reporters before the execution, but after the hearing Tuesday, Allen said Taylor's death would give her closure.  "After 9 years, I'm going to be OK," she said. "I'm just glad it's going to be finally over. He has gotten away so many times."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 7, 2000 Florida Celia Puhlick
R.N. Brinkworth
Alfred Sturgis 
Bennie Demps executed

Bennie Demps, 49, is set to die on May 31 for the September 1976 murder of fellow inmate Alfred Sturgis at Florida State Prison near Starke. Before his death, Sturgis told an officer that Demps and another inmate held him down while a third inmate stabbed him.  Demps' defense argued Friday that a letter from prison officials, who investigated Sturgis' death, did not implicate Demps in the attack. A defense motion requested Cates to grant a hearing on the information that would have postponed Demps' execution.  The state had argued the information was not newly discovered or admissible.  After Cates' denial, the case now heads to the Florida Supreme Court for review.  Earlier this year, some prosecutors had projected that Demps' execution wouldn't be scheduled for years. Demps was sentenced to death in 1978. Before Bush signed the recent warrant, Demps had survived 3 death warrants by getting last-minute appeals.  Although set to die for Sturgis' death, Demps was originally condemned for the 1971 murders of R.N. Brinkworth and Celia Puhlick. They were fatally shot in a Lake County citrus grove. Celia Puhlick's husband, Nicholas, was wounded in the attack.  The victims were inspecting some land for sale when they came across Demps. He had fled into the grove with a stolen safe. A year after being sent to death row, Demps was taken off after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against capital punishment. In 1976, Florida's new capital punishment law was upheld. Two months later Sturgis was stabbed.  Demps was denied by the Florida Supreme Court 7-0 on June 5.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 8, 2000 Oklahoma Rick Lee Patterson, 33  Roger Berget executed

On October 20, 1985, Rick Lee Patterson was abducted in a grocery store parking lot. Patterson, a 33-year-old Moore mathematics teacher, was found dead on October 21 by two hunters in a wooded area near Interstate 40 and Rockwell. Patterson's car was found burned in a field in north Tulsa on October 24. Nearly one year later, in August 1986, Scott M. Thornton, 22, and Roger James Berget, 25, were arrested by Del City and Midwest City police on complaints of robbery and burglary.  Berget was charged with the shotgun murder of Patterson. Mikel Patrick Smith, 21, was also charged with the murder. Smith was serving a prison sentence for a forgery conviction.  According to police, on August 13, 1986, Berget admitted that he helped Smith abduct Patterson and took part in his murder. Oklahoma City police detective Bill Citty testified that Berget and Smith drove Patterson to a wooded area, where Smith shot Patterson twice with a shotgun.  According to prosecutors, Patterson was abducted by Berget and Smith because they wanted to steal his car.  Thornton also testified against Berget. He agreed to be a witness for the prosecution in exchange for the promise of a 25-year prison sentence outside of Oklahoma.  Another witness, Donald Gene Wheeler, said Smith claimed to have shot Patterson first and that Berget then fired the second shot. This was so that Smith and Berget would not be able to snitch against each other.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 11, 2000 Pennsylvania   Samuel Carson stayed
There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.    
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2000 Texas Marsha Yvonne Brock, 55
Sybil Mares Dennis, 80
Thomas Wayne Mason executed

A judge has set a June 12 execution date for death-row inmate Thomas Wayne Mason, convicted of the shotgun slayings of his estranged wife's mother and grandmother.  Mason said after his sentencing Thursday that "everybody is going to die someday. It ain't no big deal. It's being lied on that matters."  Mason, 47, contends the case against him was fabricated. He was found guilty in 1992 of shooting to death Marsha Yvonne Brock and Sybil Mares Dennis on Oct. 2, 1991.  Mason's former wife, who left him shortly before he shot her mother and grandmother, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that she plans to watch his execution.  "He's getting off so easy," Melinda Mason said. "He shot 2 people in cold blood."  She said the killings were in revenge for their breakup.  He bought the 12-gauge shotgun used to kill Brock, 55, and Dennis, 80, from a Tyler pawn shop, prosecutors said. Whitehouse police responded to the women's home after a dispatcher received a 911 hang-up call. When the dispatcher called the number back, she heard a woman screaming, "Help me, help me, help me." Then she heard a loud bang, a male voice and a woman whimpering before the phone went dead. Police found the body of Dennis in a back bedroom of the home, her right arm nearly severed and a broken telephone at her feet.  Mason, a former Dallas construction worker, refused to stand for the judge during his sentencing Thursday and shouted an objection during the hearing.  Joseph Bailey, Mason's appeals attorney, said he is requesting that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider its March denial of his petition for a new trial.  Bailey said he wants a psychologist to examine Mason, who has mailed him three boxes of "incoherent" letters full of scribbles and underlines. District Judge Cynthia Kent denied his request. The judge has had Mason examined several times and said she believes he is competent.  Three times the frantic voice on the telephone screamed at the 911 operator: "Help me!"  The dispatcher at the Whitehouse Police Department then heard a loud noise and a man's voice yelling, "Hang up the phone." The woman moaned and whimpered. The line went dead.  Responding to the call, police found the bodies of 2 women. The man convicted of their shooting deaths 8.5 years ago, Thomas Wayne Mason, 48, is set to die by lethal injection. "He was upset with his ex-wife and decided to take it out on her mother and grandmother," said Jack Skeen, the district attorney who prosecuted Mason.  Mason, the estranged husband of Brock's daughter, Melinda Mason, was arrested the day after the Oct. 2, 1991, slayings. A shotgun was recovered in a pasture and blood scrapings on the weapon matched the blood of the victims.  2 weeks before the shootings, Mason took his estranged wife hostage and held her for 5.5 hours at gunpoint, according to testimony at his trial. In a recent death row interview, the former drywall installer denied any role in the slayings.  "It didn't happen. I never shot at nobody," he said. "The government is conspiring to murder me."  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 12, 2000 Maryland Lena Buckman, 82  Eugene Colvin-El commuted

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer just days before the man found guilty in the 1980 fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old woman was scheduled to receive a lethal injection. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 13, 2000 Pennsylvania   George Ivan Lopez stayed
There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.    
 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 13, 2000 Kentucky Mary Thompson, 48
Betty Maynard 27
Becky Church, 17
Amanda Church, 18 months 
David Smith stayed

A federal judge blocked the planned execution of murderer David "Little Britches" Smith, who was scheduled to die Tuesday in Kentucky's electric chair.  The ruling came just 3 days after U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood had refused to grant Smith a stay so his lawyers would have more time to file a federal appeal in the case.  But Smith's lawyer rushed to file a 323-page appeal with the court yesterday, and Hood stayed the execution until courts have time to consider the issues it raises. Smith is probably years away from execution.  Smith, 52, was convicted in 1983 of the Pike County murders of his teen-age girlfriend, her daughter, the girlfriend's mother and the girlfriend's sister. Smith, who his lawyers contend was under the influence of drugs when the murders took place, has apologized for the killings.  Smith shot and killed his girlfriend's mother, Mary Thompson, 48, and sister, Betty Maynard, 27, with a hunting rifle after a falling out with the girlfriend.  While emergency medical workers were treating those victims, Smith returned and shot his 17-year-old girlfriend, Becky Church. One bullet left her body and struck her 18-month-old daughter, Amanda Church, killing her.  Although Smith has not yet exhausted his appeals, Attorney General Ben Chandler asked Gov. Paul Patton to sign a death warrant in early May -- less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear one of Smith's earlier appeals.  Patton signed the death warrant May 11. Smith was scheduled to die at 7 a.m. Tuesday in the death chamber of the Kentucky State Penitentiary at Eddyville.  Corey Bellamy, a spokesman for Chandler, said the attorney general sought the death warrant to keep the appeals process from stalling while waiting for Smith to file his next appeal.  Rebecca Ballard DiLoreto, Smith's lawyer with the state Department of Public Advocacy, scrambled yesterday to assemble the appeal and get it filed in U.S. District Court in Frankfort, in hopes of delaying the execution until federal courts have an opportunity to review the case.  That filing of the appeal came perilously close to the execution for Smith. Officials at Eddyville had already begun preparing for the execution. The Kentucky Press Association began the process of deciding what newspaper reporters would witness the execution. Death-penalty appeals are conducted in 3 levels, with 3 steps at each level. Smith has been turned down in the 1st 2 levels and is at the 1st step of the 3rd and final level.  Since taking office in 1996, it has been Chandler's policy to seek death warrants as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the condemned at each level. Chandler has said that policy keeps the process moving and doesn't allow defense lawyers to delay. Although governors in the past had generally waited 90 days for defense lawyers to perfect their appeals, Patton has signed death warrants quickly.  DiLoreto had asked Hood to stay the execution while she and attorney Steve Pence of Louisville completed the appeal. The 1996 federal anti-terrorism bill, which was designed to streamline death-penalty appeals, allows federal appeals be filed within one year of state appeals being exhausted.  The Department of Public Advocacy has taken that to mean death-row inmates should receive an automatic 12-month stay of execution while their lawyers work on appeals. But the attorney general's office has contended that provision means only that defense lawyers must file such an appeal within a year.  Hood sided with the attorney general in the case and refused earlier this week to stay Smith's execution. A Maynard family member in Pike County declined on behalf of the victims' family to comment yesterday.  There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.   

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 14, 2000 Texas Jesse Contreras 
Charles Albert Warner
John Burks executed

Burks was convicted of capital murder in the January 20, 1989  armed robbery of Jesse's Tortilla Factory in Waco, Texas.  Jesse Contreras was shot in the mouth and the chest with a .25 caliber pistol.  He died of his wounds almost a month later, on February 16, 1989.  As the state prepares to execute John Albert Burks, the oldest daughter of Burks' victim says she envisioned her father welcoming Burks into heaven as she prayed for Burks' soul.  Gloria Torres, the oldest of Contreras' six children, pleaded with Burks during an emotional hearing in March to "meet Jesus" before his death.  "I would like to know that he has made peace with the Lord and prepared himself for eternity," Torres said. "That has been my whole family's sentiment, or most of them, anyway. It lifts my spirit that there is a chance that we snatched him out of the enemy's hands. In light of eternity, we are all going to die. He shortened my dad's life. There is no question about that. But as long as we are rescued from eternal torment, that is the bottom line."  After Burks' execution date was set in March, Torres talked on the phone to her mother's sister, who also is a devout Christian, and they discussed Torres' message to Burks about salvation.  "She said, 'Let's pray for him again right now and ask the Holy Spirit to nourish the seeds that we planted in court,'" Torres said. "And I closed my eyes, and in my spirit mind's eye, I envisioned Daddy welcoming Mr. Burks to heaven. He was embracing him, actually. He reached over and hugged him, and I just felt really good about that."  Apparently, the only part of Torres' moving words of forgiveness that hit home for Burks was when she told him that he not only killed the beloved patriarch of her close-knit family, but that he also cheated his family.  "You robbed them of joyous times that you would have had spent living among them," Torres told Burks in March. "One of the last times we were in court there was a gentleman that pleaded with me not to let them put you to death. 'He is a good boy. He just messed up a little bit,' he said. Mr. Burks, your family is hurting for you. They don't want to see this happen to you.  Believe it or not, there are even some people in my family that don't want to see you executed. But it is out of our hands. Your sentence comes from the state of Texas, not from the Contreras family," she said. Burks a twice-convicted burglar, said, "Tell the Contreras family that I am sorry for their loss, but they are looking at somebody to be the scapegoat and I guess I'm the scapegoat. The person who killed Jesse is still out there. I didn't do it, but the courts said I did and I am ready to go." Former prosecutors Ralph Strother and Paul Gartner introduced evidence at his trial that showed Burks was the primary suspect in the 1982 stabbing death of . Warner was a service station attendant who was sleeping at a Texaco station at Interstate 35 and South 17th Street when he was killed during a burglary at the station.  Burks was arrested in Warner's slaying, but authorities later dismissed the charges, saying they didn't have the evidence for a conviction. Burks' Waco victim, 63-year-old Contreras, was well-liked around the South Waco neighborhood where he raised his 5 daughters and a son, sponsored Little League teams, built up his business, which he started in 1960, and fed half of Waco. He was hard-working, proud and looked forward to the time when he and his wife of 42 years, Esther, could retire to a 95-acre plot near Mart that he mowed on his days off from the tortilla factory, his widow said. "He was a provider. He was a hard-working fellow. He didn't need to be pushed to do anything. He was ambitious. He wanted to have something, and we sent our kids all through school just making tortillas and tamales," Esther Contreras said. Since his death, a daughter, Alicia, and her family have been running the tortilla factory. On the day Burks walked into his shop wearing a dark ski mask and brandishing a .25-caliber pistol, Contreras was in no mood to give up his hard-earned money without a fight. Contreras threw trash cans and other items at the gunman before suffering multiple gunshot wounds. When Gloria and Esther heard about the shooting and rushed to the store, a critically wounded Contreras defiantly proclaimed that the masked gunman "didn't get one red cent." "The first thing he told me was, 'I am dying and I want you to forgive me.' And I forgave him with all my heart," Esther Contreras said. "I said, 'Honey, ask the Lord to forgive you.' I really didn't think that he was as bad off as he was because he was walking around and talking. I told him to sit down. He said he never thought that he would go this way." Contreras died about a month later at a local hospital. Burks grew up on South 10th Street and said he frequented a "boys' club" near the tortilla factory at 1226 Webster Ave. "I knew Jesse way back when I was a kid from being around the neighborhood. He was a good guy, but I hadn't been around there for a long time," Burks said. "I didn't kill Jesse." Burks and his half-brother, Mark McConnell, and his cousin, Aaron Bilton Jr., were charged with capital murder in Contreras' death. Witnesses saw Burks leaving the scene and identified McConnell's green Chevrolet Impala as the getaway car. Bilton testified against Burks at trial, but only implicated Burks as the triggerman after Gartner agreed to grant him total immunity and dismiss the capital murder charge. Bilton walked away free after his testimony despite admitting that he went inside the  store to check things out before Burks went in with the gun. McConnell rejected the immunity deal, did not testify and is serving a 40-year prison term for robbery and burglary.  Esther Contreras, 72, who never remarried, although she has had offers, has no animosity toward Burks. She will not travel to Huntsville to watch him die, although three of her daughters and her son will witness the execution. "I really don't hold a grudge against him," she said. "I can't say that he did do it or that he didn't do it. But the fellows who were with him told off on him and they said he did it. I think he is just lying about it now." For Strother, who is now judge of 19th State District Court in Waco, there is no doubt. "There is no question in my mind. We had a lot of credible testimony, not only from accomplices but from other people," Strother said. "He basically admitted to an aunt that he was at the scene, that he was there. We had people talking about him looking for a gun and then looking for bullets for the gun, how he had planned to rob Jesse on a Friday, when he cashed checks at his business. No, there is no doubt in my mind that he killed a brave, respected member of the community in a cold-blooded, cowardly act."  6/14/00 - A federal appeals court Wednesday lifted a reprieve given to a condemned Texas inmate, moving the convicted killer a step closer to his scheduled evening execution.  Acting on an appeal from the Texas attorney general's office, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans removed the stay of execution that could have blocked John Albert Burks from lethal injection, Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for Attorney General John Cornyn said.  U.S. District Judge Walter Smith on Tuesday had ordered the state to halt the punishment, saying a reprieve he issued more than 2 years ago remained in effect because Burks, with a petition before the U.S. Supreme Court, had not exhausted all his appeals. Burks, convicted of killing Waco tortilla shop owner Jesse Contreras more than 11 years ago, lost his final hope for a court-ordered reprieve Wednesday afternoon when the U.S. Supreme Court turned him aside. Contreras was well-known and liked in his south Waco neighborhood, where the tortilla shop he started in 1960 flourished. "He was just a super great guy," says Paul Gartner, now a federal prosecutor in Fort Worth. "And the people in the area of his little store thought he was a super individual."  Alone in Jesse's Tortilla Factory late on the morning of Jan. 20, 1989, Contreras was confronted by a man wearing a dark ski mask, demanding money and brandishing a .25-caliber pistol, a so-called Saturday Night Special.  Contreras, 63, threw a trash can at the man, who opened fire. 4 of the 6 shots struck Contreras and he died of his wounds 27 days later. The gunman fled empty-handed.  Burks, 44, a twice-convicted burglar, was on parole at the time of the Contreras shooting and was accused but never tried for another murder during a 1982 service station burglary.  "There was never any doubt in my mind he did it," says Gartner, who was one of the McLennan County assistant prosecutors who convinced a jury Burks should be put to death for killing Contreras. "My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jesse Contreras who have had to wait this long."  Burks would be the 21st Texas inmate to be executed this year and the 2nd of 3 set to die this week.  In a recent death row interview, Burks, who grew up in the tortilla shop neighborhood, denied any involvement in the shooting, contending he was living at the time in Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley, 370 miles to the south, where he was arrested for the killing.  "That's a lot of self-delusion and a lot of posturing," Ralph Strother, who also prosecuted Burks, said this week. "We got him through other testimony planning the robbery, through accomplices and with a semi-admission made to an aunt.  "We got the right man, the right punishment was assessed and the right result is going to occur."  Prosecutors had witnesses who saw Burks leaving the scene and fleeing in a car police determined belonged to his half-brother, Mark McConnell. A 3rd man, a cousin, Aaron Bilton Jr., also was tied to the crime and all 3 were charged with capital murder.  Bilton received immunity and testified against Burks. McConnell was convicted of robbery and burglary and is serving a 40-year prison term.  "I don't hold any grudge against him," Esther Contreras, whose husband was killed, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "I can't say that he did do it or that he didn't do it. But the fellows who were with him told off on him and they said he did it. I think he is just lying about it now."  Burks acknowledged his prospects for avoiding the execution's needle were dim.  "I've got two places - clemency and the governor - and neither is going to happen," he said. "You tell me where hope lies."  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 14, 2000 Texas Jo Ann Reed, 34
David Rojas, 43 
Leonard Rojas stayed

The execution date for Leonard Rojas, convicted of the murder of his brother and Rojas's common-law wife in 1994, was set for June 14 by 18th District Court Judge John Neill.  Rojas was convicted of capital murder on May 22, 1996 and assessed the death penalty on June 3, 1996, according to Assistant District Attorney James Cawthon, Jr.  Cawthon said Rojas, who pled not-guilty, had admitted to shooting his common-law wife, Jo Ann Reed, in the head at point-blank range, in the early morning hours of Dec. 27, 1994. He then went to the bathroom where his brother was and knocked on the door. When his brother, David Rojas, answered the door, Leonard Rojas shot him three times, wounding him in the neck, lower left-hand chest, and right thigh, according to Cawthon.  "After he kills his brother he goes back and he can still hear her (Reed) breathing or gasping for air. He takes a plastic bag and sticks it over her head and ties it. That's how she died," Cawthon said.  Leonard Rojas, David Rojas, and Reed all lived in rural Alvarado, where the murders took place.  "What he claimed and we never found any evidence, is that his brother and this woman he was living with were having an affair and that they were going to kick him out," Cawthon said.  "They had been doing speed for some period of time before this happened," he said. "It was a pretty brutal murder and he was extremely cold-blooded about it. After he does this he calls a woman and makes some very sexually explicit offers to her and asks her if she wants to come over and smoke pot."  Cawthon said Leonard Rojas then made a cup of coffee, smoked a cigarette, and decided to leave. According to Cawthon, Leonard Rojas hitchhiked to Fort Worth where he then took a bus to Dallas. Once in Dallas, he got off the bus and tells some security guards at the bus station that he was "involved in something."  The Dallas Police and the Texas Rangers were then informed. "George Turner (Texas Ranger) was lead investigator," Cawthon said. "And George went and picked him up and got statements from him. And started collecting evidence on the double homicide." Cawthon described Leonard Rojas as being, "able to recall everything in vivid detail and very forthright with the police."  Reed was 34 at the time of her death and David Rojas was 43. The gun used was a .38-caliber pistol.  Leonard Rojas had two prior convictions in California and Nevada for drug trafficking. Records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice show he served a prison sentence in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army, for drug offenses.  There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.   

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 15, 2000 Texas Pauline Farris, 61  Paul Nuncio executed

Paul Selso Nuncio, a former security guard, was convicted of capital murder in the strangulation death of 61-year-old Pauline Crownover Farris in Plainview, Texas.  Nuncio broke into Pauline's home through the back door and beat her before raping her and strangling her to death.  He then stole two television sets, a stereo, a VCR and some jewelry.  He was arrested almost a week after the murder after selling one of the TV's.  He admitted to police that he broke into Pauline's home so that he could steal to make money for drugs.  Hale County District Attorney Terry McEachern's voice quivers when he recalls the murder of 61-year-old Pauline Farris at her home in Plainview six and a half years ago. "I've tried over 15 capital murders and this is the very worst capital murder I've ever seen in my life,'' he said this week. "It was animalistic."  Paul Nuncio, 31, convicted of strangling and raping Farris, was set for execution Thursday evening.  "He literally beat her face in so she was unrecognizable," McEachern said. "I can't think of a person who doesn't support the death penalty who can look at this in good faith and say this is not a death penalty case."  In a lengthy and rambling final statement, Paul Nuncio, 31, he said he was sorry the victim was murdered but insisted he did not commit the crime.  "I don't want you to have guilt of executing someone innocent because I am," he said, directing his comments to the children of the murder victim, Pauline Farris. He recited the Lord's prayer and then told the witnesses to not be surprised if their mother was with God to greet him when he arrived in heaven. "When your time comes, she will let you know if I am innocent or guilty," he said.  The execution was delayed for about and hour until the Supreme Court ruled for the 3rd time on 11th hour appeals filed in his case.  Farris was alone in her house after midnight Dec. 3, 1993 when Nuncio and a group of friends ran to her porch to get out of a rainstorm. When the rain stopped, everyone but Nuncio left, court records show.  He showed up a couple of hours later at a motel where he sold a television for $50, then returned with camera, a stereo and some rings.  He showed the buyer his driver's license as identification and wrote the license number on a receipt. The buyer purchased the electronic items and Nuncio threw the rings in the trash. He convinced a friend to take him to "his house," which really was the Farris home, where he picked up another television and sold it to a friend. The friend 2 days later tipped police that she thought Nuncio was involved in the Farris murder.  By then, her body had been found by neighbors.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 15, 2000 Oklahoma Jim Plantz, 33  William Bryson, Jr. executed

The execution of convicted killer William Clifford Bryson is slated for June 15.  The state Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-0 to deny clemency for Bryson, who was sentenced to death for the Aug. 26, 1988, murder of Jim Plantz, 33.  Jim was beaten with 2 baseball bats, and while he was still alive, he was placed in a vehicle and set afire.  Jim worked the night shift in the printing plant at The Daily Oklahoman.  Jim Plantz returned home from work and was met by Bryson and another man, Clinton Eugene McKimble. The pair severely beat Jim, put him in his pickup truck and drove to a northeast Oklahoma City site and set the truck on fire.  Bryson was romantically involved Jim's wife, Marilyn, who provided the baseball bats used to beat him and who also was present.  McKimble, who received a life sentence for testifying against Bryson, said Mrs. Plantz looked at her husband's head injuries from the beating and remarked that it didn't look like an accident.  "She told us to burn him," McKimble testified.  Jim was loaded into a pickup truck and driven to a remote area, where he and the vehicle were doused with gasoline and set ablaze.  She had spoken to Bryson and others about murdering Jim Plantz for insurance policy proceeds.  Marilyn Plantz and Bryson received the death penalty for the murder.  Marilyn Plantz's case is before the 10th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals in Denver.  The board heard from Bryson's attorney and from Bryson himself. He apologized to the Plantz family for the pain he had caused.  Thirteen relatives and friends of Plantz, including his two sisters, father and brother, were at the prison for the execution. After a tour of the penitentiary, Karen Lowery, Plantz's sister, said Bryson's death does not mean a victory for her family. "It's a no-win situation. Nobody is going to win in the end," Lowery said.  Sharon Cotton, Plantz's other sister, said before the execution that his death would only provide partial closure for the family.  "Marilyn Plantz and Clifford Bryson (have) lived almost 12 years since Jim was murdered; that is 12 years longer than my brother lived."  State Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Plantz, 33, "suffered a horrible, cruel, painful death.  I hope that his execution will, after these 12 long years, bring a sense of justice to those who loved Jim Plantz," Edmondson said.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 15, 2000 Ohio unnamed woman, 68  Lawrence Reynolds stayed

On 1/11/94, Reynolds murdered his 68-year-old neighbor in her home in Cuyahoga Falls, during a robbery. Reynolds had earlier painted the victim's basement. Shortly before her death, the victim told three people that she had become fearful of Reynolds. When the victim answered the door, Reynolds entered and began robbing the home. When he saw that the victim was attempting to use the phone, he ripped it from the wall and began hitting her. He attempted to rape her and subsequently strangled her to death. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 15, 2000 Ohio unnamed woman  Donald Palmer stayed

On 5/8/89, Donald L. Palmer Jr. and an accomplice murdered and robbed a driver of a pickup truck whom Palmer got into an accident with on County Road 2 near Glen Robbins Road in Belmont County. Palmer shot the driver twice in the head and dumped the body and pickup truck in a nearby field. Palmer additionally murdered and robbed another motorist who stopped at the scene of the accident. Palmer shot the motorist twice in the head and left the body and vehicle at the scene. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 15, 2000 Pennsylvania   Dewitt Crawley stayed

There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.    

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 16, 2000 Ohio Denise Roberts, 44
Ralph "Bud" Heimlich, 83
David Braden stayed

David Braden was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her father. Braden received the death penalty for the Columbus, Ohio slayings of Denise Roberts, 44, and Ralph "Bud" Heimlich, 83. "The description of him, the clothes and the van all matching, and the bullets were key to the case," Assistant Prosecutor Marla Hollander said. Hollander and Assistant Prosecutor Tim Mitchell told the jury that Braden shot Roberts once in the head and shot Heimlich at least 4 times the night of Aug. 3, 1998. The bodies were found in a home where they both lived. Neighbors testified they saw a man matching Braden's description leave the house shortly after shots had been fired, Hollander said. They also saw a van similar to the one owned by Braden leave the area. Clothing that police recovered from Braden's washing machine was similar to that worn by a man seen leaving the crime scene, Hollander said.  There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.   

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 20, 2000 Florida William Wilkerson  Thomas Provenzano stayed

Thomas Provenzano was convicted of killing an Orlando court bailiff in 1984.  Provenzano, 50, was convicted of the shooting death of bailiff William Wilkerson at the Orange County courthouse. Provenzano was there for a hearing on a disorderly conduct charge when he went on a rampage in 1984.  He shot Wilkerson, bailiff Harry Dalton, and correctional officer Mark Parker. Wilkerson died; Dalton suffered brain damage and was partly paralyzed and died in 1991. Parker was paralyzed from the neck down.  

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 21, 2000 Florida William "Arnie" Wilkerson, 60
Harry Dalton, 53 
Thomas Provenzano executed

Thomas Provenzano was convicted of killing an Orlando court bailiff in 1984.  Provenzano was convicted of the shooting death of bailiff William Wilkerson at the Orange County courthouse. Provenzano was there for a hearing on a disorderly conduct charge when he went on a rampage in 1984.  He shot Wilkerson, bailiff Harry Dalton, and correctional officer Mark Parker. Wilkerson died; Dalton suffered brain damage and was partly paralyzed and died in 1991. Parker was paralyzed from the neck down.  The stay was lifted and the execution was rescheduled for tonight.  The execution was delayed again Wednesday while the state Supreme Court reviewed a stay request received at 6 p.m. -- a half hour before Provenzano was scheduled to die.  Provenzano's lawyer said his client's mental condition had deteriorated and asked for time to have him examined by psychiatrists. The Supreme Court told Geovernor Bush at 6:44 p.m. that it denied the request. The execution began eight minutes later.  Provenzano looked at his attorney, Michael Reiter, and said "Thanks for everything, Mike."  Mark Parker, one of two other bailiffs wounded in the shooting, watched from his wheelchair as Provenzano, 51, was pronounced dead at 7 p.m.  Parker, 36, has been paralyzed from the neck down since Provenzano shot him.  "I was happy to get it over with. He got off better than the other two victims did," Parker said. "I'm still going to be paralyzed in the morning when I wake up."  Harry Dalton, 53, was left paralyzed by the shooting and died seven years later.  Department of Corrections spokesman C.J. Drake said the execution "went flawlessly."  Provenzano, wearing a white T-shirt and with a sheet pulled up to his armpits, moved his feet back and forth a minute after the injection began and pursed his lips as if blowing toward the ceiling. His face turned bright red. It later became grayish-purple after his heart stopped.  "I saw fear in his eyes and that fear was because he was going to meet his maker," said Lawson Lamar, who was the Orange County sheriff at the time of courtroom shootings. "He put himself on that gurney."  Provenzano, an unemployed electrician, walked into the Orange County Courthouse armed with a shotgun, an assault rifle, a revolver and a knapsack carrying ammunition, all hidden under a large Army-style jacket.  He was muttering threats against two police officers who had charged him with disorderly conduct five months earlier, then began firing when two bailiffs approached to search him.  "The game is over. There are no winners in this game" said Dalton's son, Gary, who witnessed the execution. "It hurts, it brings back everything that happened."  Provenzano declined to have dinner before the execution.  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Tuesday concerning Provenzano's mental state.  A trial judge concluded last December that Provenzano believes the reason he faces execution is because he is Jesus Christ. The judge ruled that was not a strong enough reason under Florida law to spare him because Provenzano also knows that he killed Wilkerson.  Under state law, condemned killers can be executed even if they are mentally ill unless they don't understand they are about to be executed and why.  The state Supreme Court upheld the decision of the trial court last month, clearing the way to schedule the execution. His lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Florida high court ruling.  Provenzano's sister, Catherine Forbes of Orlando, asked Bush in a hand-delivered letter Tuesday to spare her brother.  "As you know, Thomas is severely mentally ill," Forbes wrote. "He believes he is Jesus Christ and that he is going to be executed because people hate Jesus."  In a response to Provenzano's lawyer, the governor wrote he found no reason to alter the sentence.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 21, 2000 Virginia Katherine Tafelski
Ashley Tafelski, 5
Russell Burket stayed

Death row inmate Russel W. Burket once again faces execution after the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal.  Burket, who was 75 minutes from death when he got a stay from the high court on June 21, likely won't be executed until late this year, officials said.  The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, declined to hear Burket's appeal, which focused on evidence that was withheld at trial and the defendant's competency.  Burket, 32, was convicted of the brutal 1993 slayings of his next-door neighbor and her 5-year-old daughter. Burket bashed their skulls with a rusty crowbar and then used to tool to sexually violate the mother. When the high court issued the stay last week, Burket's lawyers were optimistic that their client would be spared. Now, they won't speculate on why the court acted as it did. The court issued the stay last week and then Thursday's denial without offering any explanation.  Andrew Protogyrou, one of Burket's attorneys, said he may try to file another appeal with the Supreme Court, but he needs to research the law to see if he's allowed.  A spokesman for Attorney General Mark L. Earley speculated that because Burket's attorneys filed their appeals so close to the execution day, the court simply needed more time to decide whether to hear the case.  "When you file that late, it's not unusual for the court to grant a temporary stay so they can assess the documents before them," said spokesman David Botkins.  Meanwhile, Burket's last hope remains with Gov. Jim Gilmore, who could grant the condemned man clemency. Burket's lawyers have asked the governor to order new DNA testing of semen that was found at the crime scene. The lawyers maintain that someone else may have committed the crimes and that the latest DNA technology would prove if someone else was there.  Burket, who has wanted to be executed since he pleaded guilty to capital murder, will get a new execution date set by a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge, based on a recommendation from the attorney general, the governor and the Department of Corrections.  Botkins said the date would probably not be set until late summer or early fall. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 22, 2000 Texas Bobby Grant Lambert Gary Graham executed

On the night of May 13, 1981, Graham accosted Bobby Grant Lambert in the parking lot of a Houston, Texas, grocery store and attempted to grab his wallet. When Lambert resisted, Graham drew a pistol and shot him to death.  Five months later, a jury rejected Graham's defense of mistaken identity and convicted him of capital murder.  An eyewitness who identified Graham had followed him through the parking lot in her car for a short time after the murder.  Lambert was killed during a crime spree the rest of which seventeen-year old Graham confessed to, including 10 other armed robberies, two shootings and a rape.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 28, 2000 Missouri Richard Hodges
Mildred Hodges 
Bert Hunter executed

On the afternoon of December 15, 1988, Hunter and an accomplice, Tomas Ervin, carried out a plan to rob Richard Hodges at his home on Boonville Road in Jefferson City. Hunter and Ervin believed Hodges kept large amounts of cash in a file cabinet in his home. With a pistol in his pocket, Hunter knocked on the Hodges’ door. Richard’s mother, Mildred Hodges, answered. Hunter then pulled a stocking mask down over his face and, entering the house, grabbed Mrs. Hodges by the hand. He held a gun in the other hand. Mrs. Hodges became very excited and cried out for her son, Richard. Richard came into the room where they were standing, telling the two assailants to leave Mrs. Hodges alone because she had just returned home after heart surgery. As Richard attempted to calm his mother, Ervin and Hunter began binding her hands and feet with duct tape. She was made to lie down on a bed in a back bedroom. Ervin took Richard to the living room and made him lie on the floor. Ervin began taping Richard’s hands. At same time, Hunter was searching the house for money and other valuables. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hodges managed to get free and ran into the living room where Ervin was still taping Richard’s hands. She pulled the mask off Ervin, causing him to fall back on the floor. Ervin called out Hunter’s first name. Hunter returned to the living room and saw what had occurred. Once the mask was pulled off Ervin and Hunter’s name was called out, Hunter and Ervin made a mutual decision that both the Hodges were to be killed.  Mrs. Hodges attempted to flee. Hunter and Ervin caught Mrs. Hodges in the hallway, forcing her to the floor. According to Hunter, she hit the wall, bloodying her nose. A rush of air came out of her and she became still. The two then returned to finish taping Richard’s mouth and nose. Plastic bags were placed over the heads of both victims. Hunter admitted that after the plastic bags were placed on the victims’ heads, he held Richard’s nose to suffocate him. While Hunter was dealing with Richard, Ervin was "working with Mrs. Hodges," although Hunter surmised there was "nothing to do, anyway." Ervin returned and told Hunter that he thought Mrs. Hodges was dead. Hunter checked Mrs. Hodges and determined that she had no pulse. The two then finished looking through the house and left. They returned to the house at least once that evening or the next evening.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 28, 2000 Arizona Jeanette Beaulieu Anthony Spears stayed

Jeanette Beaulieu, the victim, was a 38-year-old single woman. She knew Spears, who lived near San Diego, considered him her "boyfriend," and would talk about their future together. Spears, however, thought that she "wasn't that great looking of a girl." Spears did visit Jeanette on several occasions, and she purchased things for him. Apparently unbeknownst to Jeanette, Spears was living with a girlfriend named Joann in California. In December 1991, Jeanette took family leave from her employer. On December 31, she purchased a one-way airplane ticket for Spears to come to Phoenix January 2, 1992. Spears brought with him his 9mm Beretta handgun. After Spears arrived in Phoenix, Jeanette purchased a sleeping bag, withdrew $1,700 from an ATM, and had the title to her truck notarized. She later used a charge card for a cash advance of $500. On Saturday afternoon, January 4, Spears called Joann and told her that he would be driving back to California. When he arrived, he had with him five guns that had belonged to Jeanette, two sleeping bags, and almost $1,000 in cash, and was driving Jeanette's truck. On January 19, Jeanette's body was discovered in a desert area, having been shot through the head with a medium-or large-caliber bullet. Near where the body was found, officers found a shiny 9mm shell casing, which was later identified as having been fired in Spears' 9mm Beretta. There are still appeals pending and this execution is not likely to take place on this date.   

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 28, 2000 Texas Richard E. Hodges
Mildred L. Hodges, 75
Joe Guy stayed

On the afternoon of December 15, 1988, Bert Hunter and an accomplice, Tomas Ervin, carried out a plan to rob Richard Hodges at his home on Boonville Road in Jefferson City, Missouri. Hunter and Ervin believed Hodges kept large amounts of cash in a file cabinet in his home. With a pistol in his pocket, Hunter knocked on the Hodges’ door. Richard’s mother, Mildred Hodges, answered. Hunter then pulled a stocking mask down over his face and, entering the house, grabbed Mrs. Hodges by the hand. He held a gun in the other hand. Mrs. Hodges became very excited and cried out for her son, Richard. Richard came into the room where they were standing, telling the two assailants to leave Mrs. Hodges alone because she had just returned home after heart surgery. As Richard attempted to calm his mother, Ervin and Hunter began binding her hands and feet with duct tape. She was made to lie down on a bed in a back bedroom. Ervin took Richard to the living room and made him lie on the floor. Ervin began taping Richard’s hands. At same time, Hunter was searching the house for money and other valuables. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hodges managed to get free and ran into the living room where Ervin was still taping Richard’s hands. She pulled the mask off Ervin, causing him to fall back on the floor. Ervin called out Hunter’s first name. Hunter returned to the living room and saw what had occurred. Once the mask was pulled off Ervin and Hunter’s name was called out, Hunter and Ervin made a mutual decision that both the Hodges were to be killed.  Mrs. Hodges attempted to flee. Hunter and Ervin caught Mrs. Hodges in the hallway, forcing her to the floor. According to Hunter, she hit the wall, bloodying her nose. A rush of air came out of her and she became still. The two then returned to finish taping Richard’s mouth and nose. Plastic bags were placed over the heads of both victims. Hunter admitted that after the plastic bags were placed on the victims’ heads, he held Richard’s nose to suffocate him. While Hunter was dealing with Richard, Ervin was "working with Mrs. Hodges," although Hunter surmised there was "nothing to do, anyway." Ervin returned and told Hunter that he thought Mrs. Hodges was dead. Hunter checked Mrs. Hodges and determined that she had no pulse. The two then finished looking through the house and left. They returned to the house at least once that evening or the next evening.  Hunter and Ervin met in the Missouri State Penitentiary, where they were both serving life sentences for murder.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 29, 2000 Texas Michael John Phelan, 28
Theresa Fraga, 16
Theresa's unborn baby
Frank Fraga, 23
Son Trang Nyugen
Jessy San Miguel executed

Jessy San Miguel was sentenced to die for the January 26, 1991 murders of 28-year-old Michael John Phelan and three other people, one pregnant, during a robbery at a Taco Bell restaurant in Irving, Texas.  San Miguel and his accomplice, Jerome Green, a part-time employee of the Taco Bell, forced Michael, the manager, and two employees into the walk-in freezer after taking the cash from the store safe.  Theresa Fraga was 16 years old and several months pregnant.  Her cousin Frank Fraga was also an employee at the store.  Also murdered was Son Trang Nyugen, a friend of the Fragas.  When the killers saw Son sitting in a car outside the restaurant, he was forced into the freezer with the other victims.  All were shot at close range.  The killers were arrested leaving the scene of the murders.  Six members of the victims' families witnessed the execution but San Miguel never acknowledged their presence.

 

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