June 2004 Executions
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Four killers were executed in June 2004.  They had murdered at least 7 people.

Twelve
killers were given a stay in June 2004.  They have murdered at least 15 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 1, 2004   Pennsylvania Trista Eng Hubert Michael stayed

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell signed a warrant for the execution by lethal injection of Hubert L. Michael. Execution is scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2004. On October 11, 1994, Michael pleaded guilty to the 1st-degree murder of Trista Eng, a 16-year-old girl he kidnapped on her to way to work at a fast-food restaurant in Dillsburg during the summer of 1993. Michael was formally sentenced to death on March 20, 1995. The sentence was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 17, 1996. An execution warrant was issued for Michael on July 31, 1996. The federal district court stayed the execution on August 22, 1996. The district court lifted its stay on March 10, 2004. Michael, 47, is an inmate at State Correctional Institution-Graterford.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 3, 2004   Tennessee Suzanne Marie Collins  Sedley Alley stayed

SM Collins PHOTOSedley Alley, a civilian married to a military person, abducted nineteen-year old Lance Corporal Suzanne Marie Collins while she was jogging near Millington Naval Base in Millington, Tennessee late in the evening of July 11, 1985. He attacked and murdered her and left her body in a field. Two marines jogging near where Suzanne was abducted heard her scream and ran toward the sound. However, before they reached the scene, they saw Alley's car drive off. They reported to base security and accompanied officers on a tour of the base, looking for the car they had seen. Unsuccessful, they returned to their barracks. Soon after returning to their quarters, however, the marines were called back to the security office, where they identified Alley's car, which had been stopped by officers. Alley and his wife gave statements to the base security personnel accounting for their whereabouts. The security personnel were satisfied with Alley's story, and Alley and his wife returned to their on-base housing. Suzanne's body was found a few hours later, and Alley was immediately arrested by military police. He voluntarily gave a statement to the police, admitting to having killed Collins but giving a substantially false - and considerably more humane - account of the circumstances of the killing. Sedley Alley's wife left him after getting in a fight. He drank two six-packs and a bottle of wine. He told authorities that he had gone out for more liquor when his car accidentally hit 19-year-old Suzanne Collins as she jogged near the Millington Naval Base. Alley's story is that he accidentally killed the young woman -- who was due to graduate from aviation school the next day. However, an autopsy revealed that her skull had been fractured with a screwdriver. After she died, a tree limb was rammed into her vagina so hard that it entered her abdomen and lacerated one of her lungs. Alley tried to convince a jury that he had multiple personality disorder. Alley was convicted on March 18, 1987 of murder in the first degree and was sentenced to death. He was also convicted of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape, for which he received consecutive forty-year sentences. He was scheduled to die by electrocution May 2, 1990, but was reprieved indefinitely by the state Court of Criminal Appeals. Judge Penny White made that decision, and she paid for it with her career. She was ousted from the bench during a fierce political campaign that portrayed her as soft on crime. UPDATE: A federal judge halted the June 3 execution of a convicted murderer to await a ruling from a federal appeals court in the case of another Tennessee death row inmate. Sedley Alley, 48, received the stay from the U.S. District Court in Memphis late Wednesday. "We're very pleased," state post conviction defender Don Dawson said. "The course of procedure now is whether the state will appeal that order to the 6th Circuit." The order by Judge Bernice Donald said the court needs guidance from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to rule in the case of convicted murderer Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman whether new evidence can be introduced in federal court after state appeals have been exhausted. Sharon Curtis-Flair, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Paul Summers, declined to comment on the order. "We've still got to study it and decide from there what action to take," she said. Alley was sentenced to die for the 1985 brutal rape and murder of 19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Suzanne M. Collins at the Millington Naval Air Station outside Memphis. Dawson said he is unsure whether appeals filed earlier this week in state court will continue to receive expedited status. Those motions asked the state Supreme Court to order tests of DNA evidence taken from the crime scene 19 years ago. A Shelby County judge denied Alley's initial request for state-funded DNA testing of 11 samples of physical evidence, saying he hadn't shown "reasonable probability" that he wouldn't have been prosecuted or convicted if the tests were in his favor. Alley faced an execution date before in 1990, but won a reprieve from the state Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeals opinion was written by Judge Penny White, who later was appointed to Tennessee Supreme Court but was ousted by voters in 1996 following a campaign by death penalty advocates, including Collins' parents, that portrayed her as soft on violent crime. Donald lifted Alley's stay of execution in 1999 and declined to hear an appeal of his conviction and death sentence. Collins was kidnapped while jogging, beaten, stabbed in the head with a screwdriver and sexually assaulted with a tree limb. Alley gave police a confession but now says his statement was coerced.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 8, 2004   Federal Andrew Hunt Marti  David Hammer stayed

David Paul Hammer was sentenced to die for killing his cellmate, Andrew Hunt Marti. Hammer, 45, is scheduled to die by lethal injection June 8 at the federal prison in Terre Haute. The date was set after he waived pending appeals for the 1996 death of a cellmate in a federal prison in Pennsylvania. Hammer is awaiting execution for the 1996 murder of his cellmate, Andrew Marti, at the Allenwood Federal Penitentiary outside Williamsport, Pa. Hammer was in Allenwood serving a sentence for escaping from an Oklahoma state prison in the early 1980s. He still had 1,223 years remaining on a sentence in that state for crimes including kidnapping and attempted murder.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 8, 2004   Oklahoma Mildred Inabell Bryan, 69  Robert Bryan executed

Robert Leroy Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death for the Sept. 11, 1993, murder of his aunt, Mildred Inabell Bryan, 69. Mildred Bryan was found shot once in the forehead with a .22 caliber rifle on the property adjoining her Elk City home. Robert Bryan was arrested after a .22 caliber shell was discovered under the front seat of a rental car he used the day of the murder. Bryan was also found to have been drawing money from Mildred Bryan's bank account after her death. UPDATE: Robert Leroy Bryan was pronounced dead at 7:24 p.m. Tuesday, less than 45 minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request for a stay of execution. Bryan, 63, had argued that he was incompetent to be executed; an argument turned down earlier in the day by a federal district judge and the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Convicted of killing his aunt, Mildred Inabell Bryan, in 1993, Bryan had hinged his last hopes to avoid execution on a claim that he did not understand why he was to be executed. However, U.S. District Judge David L. Russell found that Bryan did understand and was therefore eligible for execution - the same finding reached by the federal appeals court and the Supreme Court later in the day. The nation's high court delayed the execution, initially scheduled for 6 p.m., for an hour as it considered Bryan's claim. That delay caused some consternation to Mildred Bryan's family members, who had traveled to OSP to witness the execution. "I had trouble thinking of him as a person because of what he put my mother through," said Linda Daley, Mildred Bryan's daughter. Daley's mother had last been seen on Sept. 11, 1993. Her body was found Sept. 16 in a field near Robert Bryan's home; a pillowcase over her head. She'd been shot between the eyes. Robert Bryan was "my father's nephew," Daley said, adding that the inmate's family hadn't been close to the rest of the Bryan clan since the 1950s. The inmate was a diabetic described by many who knew him as a "manipulator" who used his illness to gain sympathy. Jan Warren, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Bryan at trial, said during his clemency hearing, "Have you heard the term sociopath? Mr. Bryan is the closest thing to a sociopath I've ever seen." As he lay on the gurney in the state's execution chamber, Bryan never looked toward the room in which his sister and brother-in-law, attorney Bob Nance, four reporters and others sat - much less at the one-way glass that shielded 12 of Mildred Bryan's family members and friends from view. With his head facing OSP Warden Mike Mullin, most of Bryan's last words were unintelligible, but witnesses clearly heard him say "I have been on death row for some time. I've made peace with my maker. "I'll be leaving here shortly. "I hope I'll see you on the other side. Until then, so long."  After the execution, Daley said "I feel like a chapter in my family's life can go on now. We can think more about our mother than the monster. It will be nice to know we don't have to look to any more procedures in the legal system."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 8, 2004   Ohio Phillip Pence
Gregory Earls, 24 
William Zuern executed

William G. Zuern, 45, was convicted of killing a Hamilton County sheriff's jail officer in 1984. Zuern was found guilty of aggravated murder for stabbing officer Phillip Pence in the chest on June 9, 1984, with a dagger-like piece of metal. In July of 2003, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lower court ruling in favor of Zuern, which could have provided a new trial for him. Hamilton County sheriff's officers said they received a tip from another prisoner that Zuern had a homemade knife in his cell and that he had threatened to kill a prisoner. When officers arrived to search for the weapon, Zuern, who had been told they were coming, stabbed Pence, officers said. Prosecutors said he had prior intent to kill the officer. A prisoner who testified as a prosecution witness said that several weeks before the stabbing, he saw Zuern sharpening part of a metal bucket hook and heard Zuern express hostility toward jail officers for not allowing him a full five minutes of telephone time. UPDATE: For nearly 20 years, a former jailhouse officer has carried a copy of the death warrant for the man convicted of murdering one of his best friends, hoping to one day witness the man's execution. "That would be kind of a cathartic way of closing the book on this," Gary Roush said Monday. The Ohio Supreme Court has set a June 8 execution date for William G. Zuern, 45, who killed jailer Phillip Pence with a homemade knife on June 9, 1984. A federal judge has put the execution on hold. While an appeals court considers whether to let the state proceed, the Ohio Parole Board holds a hearing Tuesday in Columbus to determine whether to recommend that Gov. Bob Taft grant clemency. "I was at several days of the trial, including the death penalty phase, and what Zuern said has stuck in my head for 20 years," Roush said. "He said, 'I have no desire to beg or plead; do with me what you will.' "He waived all mitigating factors. It was kind of like a spit in the eye. I'd tell the parole board, why not fulfill his wishes?" Roush plans to attend Zuern's execution, if the appeals court allows it to go forward. "Our policy is family members have the first option," said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. "If they choose not to attend, they can name a friend or someone who has something to do with the case." Roush was a 22-year-old jailer at the Community Correctional Institution, a Civil War-era prison known as "the Workhouse," when Zuern killed Pence. Roush, Pence and two other jailers, acting on a tip, had gone to "A" block to inspect two cells for weapons just after the 10 p.m. lockdown. They found Zuern standing in his cell, naked, Roush said. When the cell door swung open, Zuern lunged at Pence. "I was only about 6 feet away from him when he was killed," Roush said. "I saw everything." Prosecutors got a quick conviction, and Roush was not asked to testify at Zuern's trial. He left the Hamilton County sheriff's department in 1990 to work in the suburban Miami Township police department in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati. Pence's only local relative, half sister Sherry Behler, said she would not attend the clemency hearing because her husband was scheduled for medical tests. She said Roush would read her letter to the parole board. "I understand there are people in jail who are innocent," Behler said. "With DNA testing and all they have now, those people often go free. I feel with him, with all those eyewitnesses, the appeals shouldn't have gone on so long." Behler said she would make it to Zuern's execution, if that occurs. "His first execution date was Feb. 5, 1985," she said. "He should have gone ahead and taken his punishment at that time." Court records show that Zuern fashioned a dagger-like knife, known as a shank, out of a bucket hook and used it to stab Pence in the chest. Another jailer slammed the cell door shut, locking Zuern inside, as deputies helped Pence to a picnic table where inmates played cards. "All we saw at first was a little bitty spot of blood on his T-shirt. I said, 'Damn, Phil, you got stuck,'" Roush said. "He turned ash gray and his knees buckled." Roush learned later that the shank had pierced three holes in Pence's heart. Zuern was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death for killing Pence. But he also is serving a life prison term for his guilty plea to fatally shooting a Cincinnati man, Gregory Earls, 24. Zuern was awaiting trial for the shooting when he stabbed Pence, a month after shooting Earls. Defense attorney Kate McGarry has declined to say if Zuern has any living relatives, or what attorneys would present at the clemency hearing. In past appeals, the defense has argued that prosecutors failed to turn over a memo that would have indicated that Zuern wanted to kill a fellow prisoner, rather than a jailer. They contend that would have showed the lack of premeditation needed for a capital conviction. UPDATE: A man was executed Tuesday for stabbing a jail guard to death with a homemade knife after spending his final hours alone, refusing to see his two sisters and sticking toilet paper in his ears to block out prison staff. William G. Zuern, 45, was pronounced dead by injection at 10:04 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. His attorney, Kate McGarry, had decided against taking the typical step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his execution, but would not say why she made that decision. At one point, Zuern removed the paper from his ears and asked a guard, ``What time does all of this start?'' said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. When asked if he had any last words before execution, Zuern said, ``Nope.'' Zuern, who remained calm and kept his eyes pressed tightly closed throughout most of the injection process, was convicted of aggravated murder in the 1984 stabbing of jail officer Phillip Pence. Pence's half sister and two co-workers who witnessed the stabbing watched as Zuern's breathing became jerky and his face and fingertips turned blue when the muscle relaxant and heart-stopping drugs traveled through his body. They said they thought the execution was too easy on Zuern. ``I believe he should have died the way Phil died,'' former Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Roush said. ``This case was nothing more than putting a mad dog to sleep.'' On Monday, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati rejected two appeals by Zuern. A three-judge panel lifted a stay of execution issued earlier in the day, then a majority of judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted not to allow the full court to consider Zuern's appeal. Earlier Monday, U.S. District Judge Walter Rice in Dayton ordered the stay to allow the appeals court more time to consider whether Zuern's death sentence is fair. McGarry had argued that Zuern's lawyers didn't present evidence that that could have helped him when he was sentenced. Gov. Bob Taft on Monday denied clemency, saying Zuern never showed remorse for the stabbing and committed other crimes during his incarceration. Zuern was the 12th inmate to die by injection since Ohio resumed executions in 1999. Zuern, formerly of Cincinnati, also was serving a life prison term for his guilty plea to shooting a Cincinnati man to death. He had been awaiting trial on that slaying when Hamilton County jail officials received a tip that Zuern had a homemade knife in his cell at the Community Correctional Institution, a Civil War-era prison in Cincinnati known as ``the Workhouse.'' Zuern was notified that officers were coming to search the cell for the weapon and when they arrived he stabbed Pence in the chest with a dagger he had fashioned out of a metal bucket handle, officers said. At a hearing before sentencing, Zuern's lawyers read a statement from him that said he refused to ``beg and crawl'' for the jury to spare his life. He said he realized that if he offered no defense he could only be sentenced to death. Zuern had no witnesses at the execution, and no relatives had come to visit him until his sisters came to the prison Tuesday, Dean said. He was the first inmate to refuse a spiritual adviser since executions resumed and had a Bible removed from his holding cell, Dean said. Zuern responded to instructions Tuesday but otherwise barely acknowledged the prison staff, Dean said. The state will bury Zuern on Thursday in a corrections department cemetery in Chillicothe, an option available when an inmate's family doesn't have money to pay for burial. Zuern asked that his personal items, including a radio, typewriter, and five books, be destroyed instead of letting his family have them. Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Burton, a witness for Pence, said Pence's mother who died in 1999 was never the same after her son's death. "One of her main wishes in life was that she would live to see this," he said.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 10, 2004   Pennsylvania Aimee Willard, 22 
unnamed male
Maria Cabuenos
Arthur Bomar stayed

Arthur Bomar was found guilty of the slaying of a college athlete who was abducted from her car at a highway off-ramp, raped, beaten and dumped in a vacant Philadelphia lot. Bomar had no reaction to the verdict in the death of Aimee Willard. He was found guilty of first-degree murder, rape, assault, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. He was acquitted of possessing a criminal instrument. Jurors deliberated two hours the first night and nearly three hours the next morning before reaching a verdict. A group of Willard's family and friends cried as the verdict was read. Willard's divorced parents, Gail and Paul, embraced for several minutes. "Aimee would have wanted it this way. She was our daughter. I never wanted anything other than my daughter back," said Paul Willard, a Chester City police officer. Carrie Ganges, Bomar's mother, said tearfully that she would miss her son. Medical experts had testified this week that Bomar's DNA matched sperm found in the victim's body. Also, two fellow prison inmates and Bomar's former fiancée testified that Bomar told them he killed the woman. He also had no alibi. Prosecutors had said Bomar bumped into the woman's car to pull her over along an off-ramp of the Blue Route in suburban Philadelphia while on her way home from a gathering of friends at a Delaware County bar. He then used a tire iron to bludgeon her. During the eight-day trial, Assistant Medical Examiner Edwin Lieberman said he performed an autopsy on the George Mason University student and found severe injuries to her head that were consistent with being beaten with a tire iron. Her naked body, covered with leaves, was found by teen-agers in a vacant, trash-strewn lot in North Philadelphia. The jury deliberated without the knowledge that Bomar is also a paroled murderer. He was convicted several years ago of shooting a man in Nevada over a parking space. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to five years to life in the Nevada prison system. Bomar was paroled in 1990 after serving a little more than 11 years. He moved to Pennsylvania, where he was arrested in 1991 for assault and harassment. Bomar was not returned to Nevada on parole violations despite a total of four Pennsylvania arrests between 1991 and 1996. Reyn Johnson of the Nevada Parole and Probation Warrants Unit said Nevada authorities at one point indicated they wanted Bomar returned, and even purchased plane tickets so he could face incarceration on the potential parole violation. However, after the female victim in the assault case died of natural causes, Pennsylvania and Nevada authorities decided jointly Bomar should remain in Pennsylvania. Jurors also did not know Bomar is a suspect in the murder of a Philadelphia woman. Bomar had been driving Maria Cabuenos' car when he was arrested for burglary in July 1997 and questioned in the Willard case. Cabuenos had been missing for months and her body was found in a wooded area of Bucks County. UPDATE: The scheduled execution of Arthur Bomar, convicted in the 1996 rape-murder of 22-year-old college student Aimee Willard, was stayed by a federal judge. An appeal by Bomar, 45, an inmate at the state prison in Greene County, was allowed to proceed by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson. Attorneys for Bomar must file motions by Aug. 10, Baylson ruled Monday. Bomar was convicted in 1998 of killing Willard, a George Mason University lacrosse star, and was sentenced to death. The state Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in 2003, but ordered a lower court to resentence Bomar on convictions of rape, kidnapping and abuse of corpse. The order did not affect Bomar's death sentence. Gov. Rendell had signed an execution warrant for Bomar last month.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 10, 2004   Texas Martha Lennox, 85 James Henderson stayed

A June execution date has been set for a Red River County man accused of slaying a Clarksville heiress. James Lee Henderson, 31, is scheduled to die in Texas' death chamber by lethal injection on June 10, Red River County District Attorney Val Varley announced. Varley said Henderson has exhausted his federal appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to take up his case. The case dates back to Oct. 29, 1993, when Henderson and his co-defendant, Willie Poindexter, broke into the home of Martha Lennox, the 85-year-old heiress to millions of dollars of a land-rich Red River County family. The two were arrested in Dallas in a stolen vehicle. Lennox's home, land and millions were placed in a foundation for charities in Red River and Lamar counties. The case was transferred to Bowie County for trial by 102nd District Judge John F. Miller Jr., who accepted Henderson's conviction on June 2, 1994. The jury also recommended the death sentence. The case was tried by Assistant Texas Attorney General Shane Phelps, who was assisted by Jack Herrington, former county attorney. Death penalty cases are automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed the conviction and death sentence in December 1996. Henderson was denied further relief in the state appeals courts. A full evidentiary hearing was conducted in federal district court in 2001 overseen by U.S. District Judge John Hanna. Varley assisted the state attorney general's office. Henderson lost that bout as well as one in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The U.S. Supreme Court denied relief on Jan. 26. "He's exhausted everything in federal court," Varley said. Varley, on Monday, filed a motion before Miller seeking Henderson's execution date. Varley said he's sure the June execution will proceed without any snags. However, there are still procedural filings that Henderson can make to stop the execution. One option, which is rarely granted, is asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry to step in. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 14, 2004 (week of) Maryland Dawn Marie Garvin, 20
Patricia Antoinette Hirt
Laurie Elizabeth Ward, 25
Steven Oken executed

Dawn Marie Garvin - on her wedding daySteven Oken sexually assaulted and murdered Dawn Garvin at her home in Baltimore County. At midnight on Sunday, November 1, 1987, Keith Douglas Garvin arrived at the United States Navy base in Oceana, Virginia. Mr. Garvin, who had a pass from his naval superiors, had just spent the weekend with his wife, Dawn Garvin, at their apartment in the Baltimore County community of White Marsh and was returning to his station in Oceana. Upon his arrival at the base, Keith attempted to call his wife to notify her that he had arrived safely. Although the telephone rang at their White Marsh apartment, there was no answer. After making several additional unsuccessful attempts to call his wife, Keith became worried and telephoned his father-in-law, Frederick Joseph Romano. Because Frederick lived in close proximity to the Garvins' apartment, Keith asked him to check on Dawn. Mr. Romano agreed, and attempted to telephone his daughter twice. Both times there was no answer. Concerned about the fact that numerous calls to his daughter had gone unanswered, Frederick decided to drive to his daughter's apartment. When he arrived, he found the front door to the apartment ajar, all the lights in the apartment turned on, and the television blaring. Sensing that something was wrong, he rushed into the apartment and found his daughter, Dawn, in the bedroom lying on the bed nude with a bottle protruding from her vagina. While attempting to perform CPR, Dawn's father observed that there was blood streaming from her forehead. He immediately called for assistance, and paramedics arrived shortly thereafter. A paramedic then began to administer CPR, but his efforts were in vain. Dawn Marie Garvin was dead. At 2:30 a.m., on November 2, police arrived at the Garvins' apartment to inspect the scene of the murder. A detective testified that when he entered the Garvins' apartment he saw no signs of forced entry. Once inside, he observed a brassiere, a pair of pants, tennis shoes, a shirt, and a sweater on the floor near the sofa in the living room. The brassiere was not unhooked, but instead, was ripped on the side. The pants were turned inside out. The detective also noticed a small piece of rubber on the floor near the television set. In the bedroom, he found two spent .25 caliber shell casings on the bed, one of which was lying on top of a shirt. The shirt was blood-stained and had what Roeder believed to be a bullet hole in it. An autopsy of Dawn's body revealed that she had died as the result of two contact gunshot wounds; one of the bullets entered at her left eyebrow and the other at her right ear. Less than two weeks after Oken murdered Dawn Garvin, he sexually assaulted and murdered his sister-in-law, Patricia Hirt, at his Maryland home. He then fled Maryland for Maine, where he sexually assaulted and murdered Lori E. Ward, the 25-year-old desk clerk at his Kittery, Maine hotel on November 16, 1987.  He was arrested in Maine on November 17, 1987, and was ultimately convicted in Maine for first degree murder, robbery with a firearm, and theft arising out of Lori's murder. Oken was sentenced to life without parole on the murder charge, twenty years on the robbery charge, and five years on the theft charge, all sentences to run concurrently. Oken was returned to Maryland where he faced separate prosecutions for charges arising out of other two homicides. He was indicted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County in the Garvin case for first degree murder, sexual offenses, burglary, daytime housebreaking, robbery with a dangerous or deadly weapon, theft, and a handgun violation. The State's evidence was very strong. The murder weapon, a handgun, was found in Oken's home shortly after the murder and a rubber portion of Oken's tennis shoe was found in Dawn Garvin's living room on the night of the murder. In addition, several witnesses at trial identified Oken as the person in the neighborhood who had attempted to gain entry to residences in the vicinity of the Garvin home a few days prior to the murder.  The Kittery Maine Police Chief Edward Strong said the Ward murder was very difficult for him because at the time, his daughter was the same age. "The poor girl was working her way through school and putting herself through college," Strong said. "Oken just checked into the motel and a couple hours later murdered her." Strong testified in the two murder trials in Maryland because he found bloody materials and other evidence in the Coachman Motor Inn that linked the three murders. "This individual brutally murdered the three women," Strong said. "I have no doubt that he would have murdered again if we hadn't caught him." Strong said Oken's punishment is suitable for the crimes he committed. "I've never in my law enforcement career seen a person who deserves the death penalty more than this individual," Strong said. "I'm just glad they have the death penalty in Maryland." That Oken would be the first in line to die under the new governor's administration is no surprise. Baltimore County prosecutors expected him to be executed last spring -- until a moratorium was declared by then-governor Glendening. Given Governor Ehrlich's campaign promise to lift the ban, the state's attorney's office in the county began preparing a death warrant around the time of Ehrlich's Jan. 15 inauguration. "Oken is on a fast track," said Assistant State's Attorney Ann Brobst, who noted that Oken's conviction and sentence have "never been reversed for any reason."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 20, 2004   Ohio Jiyen C. Dent, 3 months  John Drummond stayed

John Drummond Jr., 26, was sentenced to death for killing 3-month-old Jiyen C. Dent Jr., who was sitting in a baby swing in the living room of his family's East Side home. Drummond insisted that he is innocent, but the baby's mother didn't buy it. "I truly believe that you did it," LaToya Butler said to Drummond. "I can't imagine what you are going through right now, knowing you are about to die for this." Butler and her boyfriend, Jiyen C. Dent Sr., had lived at their Rutledge Drive home only about 4 days before the night their baby was killed. Ten shots from an assault rifle were fired into the house from across the street. One of the shots struck the baby in the head. Butler and Dent also were home, but were not shot. "These people suffered irreparable harm, seeing their baby killed before their eyes," Judge Maureen A. Cronin said as she sentenced Drummond. The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated less than three hours before returning with a recommendation that Drummond be executed by lethal injection. Drummond refused to stand as the jurors left the courtroom, until a deputy sheriff took him by the arm and told him to stand. As soon as the last juror walked past him, Drummond flopped back down into his chair. Judge Cronin adjourned to her chambers to review the evidence from Drummond's trial, then returned to the bench and affirmed the jury's recommendation. She could have refused to impose the death penalty and instead imposed a life imprisonment sentence. She set Drummond's execution for June 20, a formality since there will be a mandatory appeal in the case. For Butler and Dent, the sentencing brings closure to the nightmare that began for them in March 2003, when Jiyen Jr. was killed. "But I'm still not happy because my son is still gone," Butler said, sobbing. "I have to live with this the rest of my life." She is expecting another baby in June. Butler's mother, Kimberly Butler, expressed gratitude for work done by the court, police, prosecutors and jury. "We serve an awesome God," she said. "This was God's verdict today." Besides the death sentence for killing the baby, Drummond was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison for the attempted murders and felonious assaults on Butler and Dent, 8 years in prison for firing a weapon into a house, and 3 years for using a firearm.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 23, 2004    Texas Jennifer Ertman, 14
Elizabeth Pena, 16
Efrain Perez stayed

Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School. On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together and then died together. They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend's apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth's neighborhood. The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own. The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls' pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside. Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as 'Gonzalez' called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls' bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything. The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. 'Gonzalez' to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth. Jennifer Ertman's dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local television reporter when the call came over a cameraman's police scanner that two bodies had been found. Randy commandeered the news van and went to the scene that was now bustling with police activity. Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back, "Does she have blond hair?Does she have blond hair?!!?" Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter's brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth. The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston's brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders. The break in solving the case came from, of course, the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned 'Gonzalez', he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife's urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters' bodies to rest. 'Gonzalez' said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls. While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe's 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then "jumping in" Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member. Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness.  The gang continued drinking and 'shooting the breeze' for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul. The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having 'virgin blood' on him. The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to "get some". He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile. When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch". Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O'Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O'Brien's home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn't die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun". Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again. The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth's two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer's ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls' bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead." The juvenile, Venancio Medellin, pled guilty to his charge and his sentence was reviewed when he turned 18, at which time he was sent to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison. The five killers were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 24, 2004    Texas Jennifer Ertman, 14
Elizabeth Pena, 16
Raul Villareal pending

Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School. On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together and then died together. They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend's apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth's neighborhood. The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own. The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls' pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside. Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as 'Gonzalez' called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls' bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything. The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. 'Gonzalez' to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth. Jennifer Ertman's dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local television reporter when the call came over a cameraman's police scanner that two bodies had been found. Randy commandeered the news van and went to the scene that was now bustling with police activity. Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back, "Does she have blond hair? Does she have blond hair?!!?" Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter's brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth. The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston's brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders. The break in solving the case came from, of course, the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned 'Gonzalez', he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife's urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters' bodies to rest. 'Gonzalez' said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls. While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe's 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then "jumping in" Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member. Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness.  The gang continued drinking and 'shooting the breeze' for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul. The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having 'virgin blood' on him. The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to "get some". He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile. When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch". Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O'Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O'Brien's home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn't die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun". Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again. The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth's two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer's ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls' bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead." The juvenile, Venancio Medellin, pled guilty to his charge and his sentence was reviewed when he turned 18, at which time he was sent to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison. The five killers were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 24, 2004   Ohio Lawrence Sanders, 85  Donald Ketterer stayed

Donald Ketterer was given a death sentence after pleading guilty to several charges as his trial in the slaying of Lawrence Sanders was about to start.  Ketterer told authorities he robbed the 85-year-old man and beat him to death. Ketterer pled guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary and theft of a motor vehicle, and waived his right to a jury trial. Authorities said Sanders was found dead in his Hamilton home last February. He had been robbed, beaten with a skillet, and tortured with scissors and a knife.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 25, 2004   Ohio James Reynolds, 18
Shannon K. Hawk, 14 
Robert Bethel stayed

On 6/26/96, Bethel murdered 18-year-old James Reynolds and 14-year-old Shannon K. Hawk in a field in Franklin County. Bethel, a southside gang member, lured Reynolds and Hawk to the field by telling them that they were going to shoot off guns for fun. When they arrived at the field, Bethel shot Hawk four times and Reynolds 10 times. Bethel thought Reynolds was going to testify against a fellow gang member in an earlier murder.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 25, 2004   Wyoming Lisa Marie Kimmell, 18  Dale Eaton stayed

The family hoped they could get through to their daughter's killer by showing him a memorial pictorial of her 18-year-long life, but Dale Wayne Eaton, staring at the defense table, appeared unmoved. "We don't know if it got to him or not. It may have, or it may take a while," said Ron Kimmell, the father of Lisa Marie Kimmell, who was kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered by Eaton 16 years ago. A June 25 execution date was set for Eaton, 59, at a sentencing hearing Thursday in Casper's 7th District Court. Judge David Park signed Eaton's death warrant and dealt with additional charges connected to the 1988 killing. On all charges, Eaton got death and a life sentence plus 50 years in prison. Because of appeals, Blonigen said that execution date will almost certainly be stayed. "Certainly, we don't expect anything to happen for the next several years," he said, adding that the Attorney General's Office will act on behalf of the state for appeals. In March, a 7th District Court jury found Eaton guilty of 1st-degree premeditated murder for which he received the death sentence and aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and 1st-degree sexual assault. Eaton was also convicted on 3 counts of 1st-degree felony murder, each committed during the course of separate crimes of sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping. The felony murder charges were lumped in with the death sentence; the other charges were dealt with separately. The courtroom was standing-room-only Thursday. Several jurors who sentenced Eaton to die had apparently returned to see the case through.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 29, 2004   Texas Vilorie Nelson, 73 Mauro Barraza stayed

 A man convicted of murder when he was 17 won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court about four hours before his scheduled execution Tuesday. Lawyers for Mauro Barraza, 32, had argued his death should be delayed because the nation's high court is expected to review the issue of executing teenage killers later this year. Barraza already had been moved from death row to the unit where lethal injections are carried out. "Man, that's good news," he said of the reprieve. "I was hopeful. We already knew they'd given other people stays." Barraza was condemned for the beating death of a 73-year-old Tarrant County woman, Vilorie Nelson of Haltom City, whose house be broke into in June 1989. He had turned 17 the previous month. In January, the Supreme Court said it would look at the constitutionality of executing those who were under 18 at the time of their crimes. Arguments are likely in the court term beginning this fall. Texas is among five states allowing the death penalty for 17-year-olds; a dozen such inmates have been put to death since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982. Fourteen states allow the death penalty for 16-year-olds. In a separate case, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Texas prison officials from using a combination of three drugs in an execution Wednesday. The inmate's lawyers argued the drugs could "cause an excruciatingly painful death" and violate his rights against cruel and unusual punishment. The state was appealing.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
June 30, 2004   Texas Mark Mays, 30  David Harris executed

On Wednesday, David Ray Harris, 43, faced execution for breaking into a Beaumont apartment in 1985 and killing a man after trying to abduct the victim's girlfriend. His punishment, while not stopped, was thrown into uncertainty by a temporary restraining order from U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore. The order barred Texas prison authorities from using a "chemical cocktail" the inmate's attorneys argued would "likely cause an excruciatingly painful death" and violate Harris' constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment. Tom Kelley, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general's office, said state lawyers were appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to lift the order. It was uncertain what effect the order would have on Wednesday night's execution. Harris' lawyers, in their arguments, said the combination of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, used in succession, would "likely cause Mr. Harris consciously to suffer excruciating pain and an agonizing death, while appearing to die peacefully." "At this point, we don't know how we're going to proceed," Texas prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said. "We're going to continue to consult with the attorney general's office ... and see what would be the appropriate action." Harris, who also had an appeal pending that sought a reprieve, gained notoriety for his testimony about the November 1976 slaying of a Dallas police officer that put Randall Dale Adams on death row. Adams' case was the subject of a 1988 film documentary, "The Thin Blue Line," that argued he had been unfairly convicted. Adams was freed from prison in 1989. UPDATE: David Ray Harris, whose false testimony put a man on death row for more than a decade in a case featured in the documentary "The Thin Blue Line," was executed in Texas on Wednesday for a 1985 murder. Harris, 43, quoted the last words of a passenger on one of the jets hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, in his final statement. "Sir, in honor of a true American hero, 'let's roll,"' he said before receiving a lethal injection. "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." He was put to death for killing Mark Mays, 30, in a Sept. 1, 1985, shootout while trying to abduct Mays' girlfriend from his Vidor, Texas, apartment. Harris was the key witness against Randall Dale Adams, who came close to being executed for the 1976 murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood. Harris testified he picked up Adams while hitchhiking and that Adams shot Wood when he pulled over their car, which was stolen.  Previously, Harris bragged to friends he killed the lawman, but told investigators he had lied to make himself look tough. Later, Harris, who was convicted of Mays' murder in 1986, recanted his testimony and said Adams was not guilty. In 1988, director Errol Morris made the "The Thin Blue Line," making the case that Harris, not Adams, was guilty. Adams was released from prison in 1989. Harris received a temporary stay of execution on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who ordered a hearing on his attorneys' motion a lethal injection caused great pain and therefore was cruel and unusual punishment forbidden under the Constitution. State attorneys quickly appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which threw the stay out on Wednesday.

               

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