August 2007 Executions
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Six killers were executed in August 2007.  They had murdered at least 12 people.
Three
killers were given a stay in August 2007.  They have murdered at least 6 people.
One killer received a commutation of his death sentence in August 2007. He has murdered at least 1 person.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 1, 2007  Virginia Anthony Robinson
Rhonda Robinson
Unborn Robinson child
Leon Winston stayed 

On the morning of Friday, April 19, 2002, Rhonda and Anthony Robinson were shot and killed in their home in Lynchburg. When police arrived, they found that the rear door to the house had been forcibly opened. Anthony's body was at the foot of the stairs and five 9-millimeter shell casings were found around and under his body. Rhonda's body was found on the floor of the upstairs bedroom shared by her two daughters. Four 9-millimeter shell casings were found upstairs. Autopsies were performed on both Rhonda and Anthony. Toxicology reports found no indication of alcohol, opiates, or cocaine in either. The medical examiner concluded that all wounds were inflicted upon both victims while they were alive. The medical examiner also concluded that Rhonda was pregnant at the time she was murdered. Anthony died from blood loss caused by eight gunshot wounds to his head, chest, abdomen, and upper and lower extremities. In numbering the bullet wound tracks, the medical examiner did not indicate the sequence in which Anthony was shot. However, the medical examiner established that a 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun caused tracks 1 through 7 and a .38 caliber revolver caused track 8. The bullet in track 1 entered Anthony's head above and behind his left ear, passed through his skull causing a "large amount of destruction" before exiting through his right eye. The bullet in track 2 entered Anthony's right jaw and exited out of his mouth. The bullet in track 3 grazed the surface of Anthony's left cheek before it entered his chest, damaged his left lung and heart, and stopped in his abdomen. The bullet in track 4 passed front-to-back through Anthony's right shoulder. The bullet in track 5 passed from right to left through the subcutaneous tissue of Anthony's abdomen. The bullet in track 6 entered Anthony's left upper back, and then passed through his ribs, left lung, heart, liver, and stomach. The bullet in track 7 entered Anthony's right thigh and then passed through it. The .38 caliber bullet in track 8 entered the right side of Anthony's groin at the base of his penis, and passed through the left scrotal sac before lodging in his left thigh. Rhonda's death was caused by blood loss due to eight gunshot wounds. The medical examiner identified three wound tracks associated with these wounds. The bullet that caused the first wound track entered at the top of her head and passed through her forehead. The bullet that caused the second wound track passed through Rhonda's chin into her neck and chest, where it hit major blood vessels before exiting through her back. The bullet that caused the third wound track passed through Rhonda's neck. Evidence at trial revealed that on the morning of April 19, 2002, then eight-year-old Niesha M. Whitehead was awakened by Rhonda, her mother, calling out that "someone is in the house." Niesha saw two black men outside the second floor bedroom she shared with her sister, Tiesha, then five years old. Niesha testified that she saw her stepfather, Anthony, go downstairs with one of the two men. This man was dressed in black clothing and wore gloves. Niesha called him "Mr. No Name." She testified that "Mr. No Name" had a tattoo that looked like "a big dog." Significantly, Winston concedes that he was present on this evening, but asserts that he did not shoot anyone. As between Winston and the other man who was an intruder in the home, Kevin Brown, Winston is the person with a tattoo of a dog on his arm. Niesha testified that after Anthony went downstairs with "Mr. No Name," she heard shots. Brown, who Niesha called "Mr. No Name's Friend," stayed upstairs with Rhonda until "Mr. No Name" came back upstairs. "Mr. No Name" chased Rhonda into the girls' bedroom and shot Rhonda in front of the girls. Niesha led her sister to a closet where the two girls hid. Later, Niesha left the closet and discovered the bodies of her mother and stepfather. A cab driver testified that he picked up two black males, one of whom he identified as Brown, in the early morning hours of April 19, 2002. He drove the men to several homes where the two men would leave the cab and walk around the house checking the windows, but not entering the houses. He remembered that one of the houses was on Sussex Street. The Robinson home was on Sussex Street. Michelle Lipford, who had purchased drugs from Winston and Brown in the past and had been sexually intimate with Winston, testified that at about 5:00 a.m. on April 19, 2002, she drove Winston and Brown to the Robinson's home on Sussex Street. She testified that she parked a block away from the Robinson home and Winston and Brown left the car for approximately 5 minutes and then returned. They went to her home on Pierce Street. Winston and Brown asked her to drive them back to Sussex Street. She complied and parked a block away from the Robinson home. Winston and Brown got out of the car. After about 15 minutes, Lipford heard gunshots and drove away. Winston's girlfriend received a call from Winston at about 6:00 a.m. on the morning of April 19, 2002 asking her to pick him up at a carwash, a short distance from Sussex Street. She did so. The evidence revealed that a neighbor of the Robinsons was awakened by gunshots on the morning of April 19, 2002. She described hearing three shots and then five shots. Nathan Rorls, a longtime friend of Winston's, testified that Winston telephoned him and stated that "he slumped two people down here," meaning that he "murdered somebody; killed somebody." When Rorls saw Winston the next day, Winston stated that he "killed two people and robbed them and stuff." Winston produced a handgun from under his shirt. Rorls described it as "a black gun like an automatic, it was like a Glock or a nine." Winston also displayed cash and cocaine that he stated he took from the Robinsons. He told Rorls that he and Brown took $2000 and two ounces of cocaine. Rorls recited what Winston told him. According to Winston, Brown took Anthony downstairs and shot him first in the stomach. Winston then shot Anthony when he came "running up the steps talking about they robbing us." Rorls testified that, "So Winston said he shot him like up in the face or somewhere in the upper body coming up the stairs. And he told me, he said, he don't want to leave no witnesses, so he turned around and he shot that bitch." Winston told Rorls that he committed these crimes because he had been robbed several days earlier and "he needed to make his money back up, he didn't get paid." Rorls also stated that Winston told him that Rhonda was pregnant. Winston was arrested at his girlfriend's home on April 25, 2002. The woman gave police a set of keys that Winston left in her house. The keys fit locks to doors at two nearby apartments. At one of the apartments, occupied by Robin Wilson, the police recovered a 9-millimeter off-brand handgun manufactured by a company located in Tennessee and made to resemble a Glock. Winston had left the handgun with Wilson to "hold" for him, and had failed to retrieve it before he was arrested. Winston had called Wilson from jail after he was arrested and requested Wilson to continue to "hold" it. Winston's handgun seized by police at Wilson's apartment had one unspent round in the clip magazine. The cartridge bore the identical stamping as the casings recovered at the Robinson murder scene. A forensic scientist testified at trial that five bullets recovered from the Robinson's home and two bullets removed from Anthony's body were fired from Winston's 9-millimeter handgun recovered from Wilson's apartment. Nine cartridge casings recovered at the crime scene had been ejected from Winston's 9-millimeter handgun. Another forensic scientist testified that biological material recovered from the 9-millimeter handgun matched Winston's DNA profile and was inconsistent with Brown or either of the Robinsons. The probability of a random selection yielding this result was greater than one in six billion.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 7, 2007    Pennsylvania Richard White  James Williams stayed 

On May 29, 1995, Richard White, a.k.a. “Pookie,” telephoned Lamar Peterson, a friend of Williams, seeking to buy a large quantity of marijuana to replenish the inventory for his drug dealing operation. Peterson concluded that if White had sold all his marijuana, White would have a significant amount of cash on hand. Peterson suggested to Williams that they rob White through a “stinger;" Peterson would engage White in a drug transaction, during which Williams would suddenly appear and rob them both. Peterson and Williams would reconnect later and share in the pelf. Peterson, Williams, and Curtis French set out to find White, but Peterson could not remember the exact location of White’s apartment. The three returned to Peterson’s apartment where they informed Ralph Logan, a.k.a. “Rah-Rah,” and Luis Avila, a.k.a. “TBone,” of the plan. The group decided to make another attempt to find White. This time, Avila called White and informed him he would soon drop by to purchase marijuana. Avila, Logan, and Williams set out on another robbery attempt; however, this too was unsuccessful after the trio went to the wrong apartment. Again, Williams and his cohorts returned to Peterson’s apartment. Giving the “stinger” one last try, Avila called White again and ascertained his apartment’s exact location; Williams, Avila, and Logan again set out to rob him. White was on his balcony when he saw the trio approaching; White tucked a pistol in the rear of his shorts and headed to the street, where he encountered the group. Williams demanded White take him to his apartment and hand over his cash. When White refused, pleading with his arms in the air that his children were inside sleeping, Williams pulled out a MAC 10 automatic weapon and fired two bullets into White’s chest and a third into his thigh as he fell to the ground. With White lying in the street, the group fled back to Peterson’s apartment. Upon their arrival, Williams informed Peterson that because White was uncooperative, he “wetted him lovely,” i.e., Williams shot him. The other robbers also testified that Williams bragged about shooting White. Later that summer, Peterson and Williams were arrested in Baltimore by the FBI for an unrelated bank robbery. Facing federal charges, Peterson told authorities of Williams' role in the robbery and murder of White. Avila, French, and Logan were also arrested and each corroborated Peterson’s account. The three later testified Williams used the same weapon in many subsequent bank robberies. Photographs in Peterson’s possession at the time of his arrest depicted Williams, Peterson, French, and Logan; one showed Williams posing with the MAC 10 used to kill White. In November, 1996, Williams was convicted in federal court of robbery and was sentenced to 687 months federal incarceration. Having already filed first degree murder charges against Williams, Lehigh County prosecutors monitored Williams' federal prosecution and attended portions of his federal trial. Williams was ultimately transferred to a federal prison in Colorado; Lehigh prosecutors sought extradition. This request was delayed because Williams had previously filed homicide charges pending against him in New Jersey, which was also attempting to secure him. Eventually Williams was transferred to Lehigh County. Despite repeated warnings and recommendations from the court to the contrary, Williams represented himself during pretrial hearings and at trial. At trial, and with standby counsel assisting when Williams permitted, Williams attempted to undermine the credibility of his accusers, but took the opportunity to personally attack Commonwealth prosecutors, officers, and criminal justice personnel. Williams repeatedly slurred one black prosecutor as “house n****r” and lead prosecutor as conspirator and liar. Since the majority of the Commonwealth’s witnesses were co-conspirators in numerous robberies and were currently serving time for other crimes, Williams harangued each about the reduced sentences they received in exchange for their cooperation with the Commonwealth. Williams suggested French was the triggerman in White’s murder, and maintained a statewide conspiracy was afoot wherein the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, numerous police departments, prison staff employees, and even appointed standby defense counsel were acting in concert. Police came into possession of the murder weapon after a failed robbery attempt by Williams, Peterson, French, and another individual. As was their typical strategy, the group tried to rob a drug dealer but were unsuccessful when the dealer brandished a weapon; French dropped the machine gun as the three fled for their lives. Ballistics tests revealed the gun recovered was used in White’s murder. This same weapon was also linked to the bank robbery Williams was convicted of in federal court. The car used in the perpetration of White’s murder was also tracked down by police; it had been rented by an associate of Williams, and had a dent in the fender consistent with the strike of a bullet. Testimony revealed that when Williams shot White, one of the bullets exited White’s body and ricocheted off the getaway car. In addition to the physical evidence, the Commonwealth offered expert medical testimony consistent with its other witnesses’ version of the killing, particularly the fact that White was shot while his arms were raised. The Commonwealth also presented David Miller, an inmate at Lehigh County Prison, who testified Williams admitted to him he had killed somebody and was seeking Miller’s legal advice concerning his case. Besides soliciting Miller’s assistance, Williams spoke to another inmate, Louis Washington, about having one of Washington’s family members provide an alibi for Williams' whereabouts on the night of White’s murder. “So then [Williams] offered me some money, and he offered my family some money to have my mother be his alibi ….”). Coached by Williams, this woman was to testify Williams was with her during the homicide, and because she had no criminal record or prior involvement with Williams, her story would be believed over Williams' criminal cohorts. After being threatened by Williams, Washington told the Commonwealth of Williams' fabrication plans. As a result, and at the meeting arranged by Williams to “go over” this testimony, Washington’s mother was portrayed by state Trooper Regina Stafford; the Commonwealth had previously secured warrants to record the conversations. During the conversation, Williams orchestrated a time sequence placing him with Washington’s mother at the time of White’s murder, and informed her exactly what she was expected to say. At trial, Williams called Washington to authenticate an affidavit exonerating Williams which Washington had signed; Washington testified he signed the affidavit only after being threatened. Williams attacked Washington’s credibility and the suggested alibi fabrication story; on cross-examination, the Commonwealth further explored the fabrication story. After Williams again tried to discredit Washington by alleging he invented the alibi story to curry favor with the Commonwealth, the prosecution was granted permission, in rebuttal, to verify Washington’s version of events. Officer Stafford testified to the alibi plot, and the tape recording of the conversation was played for the jury. Williams was convicted on all charges. Williams again represented himself during the penalty hearing, asking the jury to consider his character and the circumstances surrounding the crime, and his allegedly minor criminal record. Williams argued he was not a violent person and made repeated attacks on the character of the victim, i.e., the victim was armed, a neglectful parent, and a notorious drug dealer. The Commonwealth offered the jury two aggravating circumstances, namely, Williams' history of violent felonies, and that Williams committed the murder while in the course of a felony, The jury found the Commonwealth proved both aggravating circumstances, and rejected all Williams' proposed mitigating evidence; Williams was sentenced to death. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 15, 2007  Texas Linda Susan Malek, 30  Kenneth Parr  executed 

On January 21, 1998, Linda Susan Malek died as a result of gunshot wounds to the head. Around two o’clock that morning, Suzie’s mother and her stepfather received a call from Suzie’s daughter, Ashley, informing them that two men had broken into their home and shot Suzie. The Browns drove to Suzie’s home and discovered that several items were missing including a television, a VCR, a video game console, jewelry, and Suzie’s car keys. Suzie’s daughter and son, Zachary, were both present when their mother was killed. According to Ashley, the two masked men burst into the home through the front door.  They ordered Suzie and her children to lie face down on the floor. Suzie was crying and begged them not to shoot her. The evidence indicated that Suzie was sexually assaulted. They then ransacked the home before fleeing the residence with Suzie's car keys. Parr returned and asked one of the children how to operate the car. When they were unable to start the car, they fled on foot. Evidence presented at trial revealed that on the morning of the murder, Kenneth Parr’s girlfriend returned to her apartment and found Parr and his brother, Michael Jimenez, there; Jimenez was holding a jewelry box. Parr told his girlfriend that he had gone somewhere with a gun and committed burglary. Parr then packed up most of his belongings and his girlfriend took him to his mother’s house. Parr later informed his girlfriend that he had hidden some items in the air-conditioning vent at her apartment. When she returned home, she found a VCR, a video game console, a gun, and a jewelry box. While she was taking out her trash, the bag fell open and a purse that contained Suzie Malek’s driver’s license fell out. A resident of the apartment complex testified that she heard two gunshots on the night of the murder. Twenty minutes later, she heard two men arguing outside her window and when she looked outside her window she saw two young men who appeared to be Latino or African-American. Both men were carrying a television. Another resident of the apartment complex also testified that she saw and heard two young men talking and recognized the men as Kenneth Parr and Michael Jimenez. Parr was on parole from the Texas Youth Commission ("TYC") at the time of the murder. At his trial, evidence showed that he wrote a rap song about killing Suzie Malek and how he was planning to murder again. A witness testified Jiminez told her he and Parr shot Suzie Malek and planned to kill the children but the rusty gun jammed. The brothers' fingerprints were found at the murder scene and DNA tied Parr to the rape. UPDATE: Kenneth Parr was executed after nearly 10 years had passed since the crime of rape-murder had occurred.  In his final statement, Parr said, "I just want to tell my family I love y'all, man." He mentioned 2 brothers by name and said, "Keep your head up, y'all. I'm ready." He never looked at the relatives of his victim, Suzie Malek, which included her parents. In the weeks preceding his execution, Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials took the rare step of putting him off-limits for media interviews because of security concerns. "He's been adamant that he would like to harm staff members before he's executed," department spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said. "He flipped out when he found out we weren't going to do media stuff." Steven Reis, the Matagorda County district attorney who prosecuted Parr, said the prisoner's history since being locked up was no surprise and shows jurors were correct to give him a death sentence. "He is the clearest example of how even death row inmates are dangerous," Reis said. "Many people suggest that once a defendant is incarcerated for life, they pose no danger to society. This misleading statement presumes that the people who work within the prisons are not members of society, which is preposterous. Those people are at risk from the likes of Parr."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 16, 2007    Tennessee  William Bramlett
Hillary Johnson, 24
Leonard Young stayed 

Leonard Young met a woman during the 1990 Christmas holidays. The two became romantically involved and dated until the early part of 1993. In 1992, the woman moved to her current residence in Hardeman County, Tennessee. The home is located on a 175-acre wooded lot. At approximately 9:15 p.m. on November 16, 1999, the woman returned home from an exercise class and discovered a man inside her house. When she "started back toward her car," the man ran out the back door, calling her name. the woman recognized Young’s voice. Young told her that he was not going to hurt her and wanted to speak with her. As they walked back towards the house, the woman observed that Young was carrying a sawed-off shotgun "beside his leg." For the next forty-five minutes, Young and the woman discussed their families. Young also told the woman that he had entered her house through the unlocked kitchen door; however, she insisted that the door had been locked. Thereafter, Young stood to leave, thanked the woman for everything that she "had done for him," and asked her not to call "the law." After Young left, the woman discovered that her car keys were missing. She then observed the tail lights of her red Mercedes, which was being backed out of the garage, and notified the sheriff’s department. She subsequently discovered that Young had entered her home by breaking a bedroom window. That night, the woman went to stay with her step-daughter and did not return home until December 11, 1999. The woman’s vehicle was recovered in Ashland, Mississippi, twenty-three miles from her home. A local family owned approximately 500 acres of land in Benton County, Mississippi, just south of Ashland, approximately thirty miles outside of Collierville, Tennessee. A storage building on the property housed trucks, tractors, and several boats. One of the vehicles inside the building, a 1989 Ford Bronco, belonged to one of the family members. Other than the man and his father, only the caretaker had access to the storage building. The keys were kept in the vehicles inside the storage building. The 500 acre piece of property was fenced, and the road leading to the property was blocked by an iron gate which was locked with a chain and padlock. The storage building was approximately one-half mile from the gate and was not visible from the road. The man verified that on November 18, 1999, the Bronco was locked inside the storage building, and the gate to the property was locked. He explained that on the Sunday preceding November 18, he and his son went to the Benton County property to practice target shooting. He got about halfway home and realized that he had left the guns in the Bronco. The three guns left inside the Bronco were a nine-millimeter pistol, a .22 Weatherby long rifle, and a .410 chrome shotgun. Because the Bronco was locked, he decided to wait until the following week to retrieve the guns. Within the next day or so the caretaker contacted the man's father and asked whether he had taken the Bronco. The father responded that he had not, and, upon learning that the Bronco was missing, his son reported the vehicle as stolen. He subsequently discovered that a window in the storage building had been broken and the gate pulled off its hinges. The Bronco was later discovered in midtown Memphis; however, the three guns were missing. In 1999, Young’s niece lived at in midtown Memphis. She had not seen Young for approximately six years when he arrived at her house in November 1999. Young was driving a Ford Bronco. Young asked his niece if she had a car, and she replied that she did not. He also inquired whether her father still lived in Texas, indicating that he might visit him. Young visited with his niece for approximately forty-five minutes before leaving at 5:00 p.m. Around 7:00 p.m. that evening, Mississippi law enforcement officers arrived at the niece's residence and asked that she contact them if she again saw Young. Young returned two days later, but his niece refused to allow him inside her house. She then contacted the police as instructed. On November 21, 1999, the stolen 1989 Ford Bronco was discovered by Memphis Police on the same block as the niece's residence. In August 1999, the twenty-four-year-old victim, Hillary Johnson, a native of Chicago, received a teaching fellowship in the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis. Upon arriving in Memphis, Hillary purchased a white Hyundai for $1,350. On November 19, 1999, Hillary informed her mother that she planned to drive home to Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday. Two days later, Hillary's mother attempted to telephone her daughter to no avail. A fellow graduate student had planned to meet Hillary that morning and discuss their grading methods but Hillary never contacted her. Later that day, Hillary’s boyfriend telephoned Hillary's mother to inform her that he had been unable to contact Hillary. She told the young man to let her know if he still had not heard from Hillary later in the day. At 10:30 p.m. that evening, he telephoned to inform Hillary's mother that he had been unable to locate Hillary. Concerned about Hillary’s whereabouts, Hillary's mother contacted the police. She also contacted Hillary’s landlords and asked if they would allow the police to enter the apartment. In addition to Hillary’s family and the police, Hillary’s friends began looking for her. On November 22, 1999, Memphis Police Officer Kyatonie Jones received a missing person report from Hillary's mother. She gave the officer Hillary's address and Officer Jones sent another officer to the apartment to investigate. As a result of the officer’s investigation, Officer Jones issued a missing-person’s broadcast on Hillary. In November 1999, Rick Marlar, a lieutenant with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, was assigned to the Criminal Investigative Bureau. Lieutenant Marlar, as well as other Mississippi Highway Patrol officers, were involved in the search for Hillary. On November 29, the officers learned that Hillary’s vehicle had been located in Tippah County, Mississippi. Lieutenant Marlar proceeded to the location, which was off in a rural county road area - "very rural area - wooded area - pine trees, oak trees . . . - there was also a house that might have been a hunting cabin at one time or an old house place." No evidence of blood was discovered in Hillary’s car. A search of the "cabin" revealed opened cans of food in the kitchen, a ladies jacket in the living room, and what appeared to be blood on some bed sheets. These stains, however, turned out to be deer blood and paint. During the search of the cabin and surrounding area, Lieutenant Marlar learned of Jessie Cochran, who lived in the adjoining town just over the state-line in Tennessee. Young's ex-girlfriend’s residence was approximately fifteen miles from the location of Hillary’s vehicle if traveling by road, but only two miles if "cutting through the paths through the woods." Lieutenant Marlar received permission from his superiors and the Hardeman County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department to enter the state of Tennessee. A Hardeman County sheriff’s deputy accompanied Lieutenant Marlar to the woman’s residence. A partially filled bottle of Diet Coke and a plastic shopping bag were discovered in the woods between the "cabin" and the woman’s residence. The officers approached the woman’s residence on foot, leaving their vehicles parked on the main road. As Lieutenant Marlar reached the front porch, he looked through a window and observed a "gentleman, later identified as Young, sitting there watching TV, and it was like a deep freeze directly in front of him, and the TV was kind of to his left. And on the deep freeze was a nine-millimeter pistol." When Young looked up, Lieutenant Marlar pointed his weapon at him and ordered him to freeze. Young moved toward his gun, but Lieutenant Marlar cocked his weapon and told Young he would shoot. Eventually, Young raised his hands and placed them behind his head. Lieutenant Marlar and the other officers then entered the residence. However, Young refused to comply with their instructions and was forced to the floor. Lieutenant Marlar discovered a .22 caliber pistol and a filet knife on Young’s person. Young was arrested and advised of his constitutional rights. Upon being questioned by police, Young admitted that he had entered the woman’s residence through a window and had taken her Mercedes. He stated that he had evaded police and hid in the woods for two days. Young then came upon the storage building in the woods where he discovered the Ford Bronco. After taking the Bronco, Young traveled to Texas, stopping to see his sister and niece in Memphis. He subsequently returned to Memphis and abandoned the Bronco near his niece’s residence. Young stated that after his niece informed him that the "law" was looking for him, he "took off running." Shortly thereafter, he encountered a girl in a white Honda at a stop sign. Young "jumped in the car, brought her on 64 highway, put her out between the last subdivision and the store." Young claimed that, although he had two guns in his boots, he did not use the weapons to gain entrance to the vehicle. When Young jumped into the car, the girl asked him not to hurt her. Young replied, "I ain’t going to hurt you lady, all I want to do is get away." Young described the girl as "kind of big girl, brown headed," with short hair. Young stated that prior to "putting her out" he took some of her credit cards. He then drove through Alabama to Florida, back to Alabama, arriving at the ex-girlfriend’s residence four days later. While being detained, Young signed a waiver of rights form. He was informed by Mississippi law enforcement officers of charges pending against him in Mississippi. He was advised that he had a right to refuse to return to Mississippi, and that the officers could then extradite him. Young was further advised that he could sign a waiver of extradition and the officers could transport him immediately to Mississippi. Young signed the waiver of extradition and was taken into custody by Sheriff F.D. Buddy East of Lafayette County, Mississippi. At the Lafayette County Jail, Young was placed alone in a cell. He had access to a television and a pay telephone. On November 30, 1999, Memphis Police Sergeant Gerald Blum and his partner, Sergeant C.W. Cox, traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, to question Young regarding his involvement in Hillary’s disappearance. Young advised Sergeant Blum that he approached Hillary’s car in midtown Memphis. Armed with two pistols, he entered the car and forced Hillary to drive around the city and then along Highway 64. Eventually, he released the victim and drove away. When Sergeant Blum asked Young about what he should tell the victim’s family, Young responded, "Tell them I’m not the one that hurt her. . . . Well, if she’s hurt." On December 3, 1999, Special Agents C.M. Sturgis and Joseph N. Rinehart from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Memphis arrived at the Lafayette County Jail to interview Young. The FBI became involved in the investigation upon discovering that the offenses had crossed state lines and that Hillary’s credit card had been used in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida after she was reported missing. The agents were met by Young’s attorney and Sheriff East and taken to Young’s cell. Young was the only inmate confined to the area, and during the interview he and the agents sat at a picnic table in the common area outside his cell. Prior to questioning, Young was verbally advised of his rights and indicated that he was willing to speak with the agents. Thereafter, the agents watched television and discussed general topics with Young. Young was free to move about the common area and spent much of the time watching a football game on the television. Young was also provided coffee and food. After Young ate dinner, Agent Sturgis took some photographs of Hillary from an envelope and laid them on the picnic table, remarking that "she was such a pretty child, and it’s just a shame that we can’t find her." Young ignored the photographs and returned to his cell. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the table, tapped Agent Sturgis on the chest, and said, "Basically, I’m fixin’ to give you something." He asked for a pen and on the back of the envelope he drew a little area - looked like an S curve. And then a round area. And he started describing a field that was ten to fifteen acres of four-inch, winter-wheat crop that had been planted; that there was a brush pile directly in - as you pulled in on the cut-in - a little gravel road off the . . . paved road – that there would be a cropping of trees to your left, that there would be a large agricultural fuel tank past the trees that was silver-colored but rusting; and that, "Next to that, under two pieces of tin, you will find what you’re looking for." This information was relayed to other officers, but the officers were unable to locate the area described by Young. Later that evening, after an exhaustive attempt by Young to explain where Hillary’s body was located, Sheriff East suggested that they place Young in a patrol car and allow him to direct them to the location of the body. With Young directing him, Sheriff East drove from Oxford to Olive Branch to - up No. 7, up into Tennessee, crossed 72, and on up . . . in Tennessee. . . . We went straight up 7, crossed 72 highway, and kept going. We turned up there to the left like we was going to Somerville. . . . . We was in Marshall County. We left Lafayette and went into Marshall, and then we went to Fayette County, Tennessee, I think." Sheriff East stated he "had no earthly idea where he was." It began to rain and was very dark. Sheriff East explained that he "kept driving around and missing a road that was hard to find." Finally, Young instructed Sheriff East to drive "real slow." After taking "another little turn, Young instructed Sheriff East to drive off the blacktop into a field. Young then stated, "Right out there to the left under a piece of tin." Approximately two and a half hours after leaving the Lafayette County Jail, the officers discovered Hillary’s body beside the piece of tin as described by Young. Darren Goods, a Memphis Police Officer assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, was assigned to the investigation into the disappearance of Hillary. Officer Goods and his partner, Chad Golden, were alerted that Hillary’s vehicle had been located in Mississippi. The officers went to Mississippi to escort the vehicle to Tennessee. On December 4, 1999, Sergeant Blum returned to the Lafayette County Jail to interview Young. During this interview, Young stated that he had taken a Bronco and driven to Texas. Upon returning to Memphis, his niece advised him that the police were looking for him. Young left the Bronco parked on the street and began walking. As he crossed the street, a girl drove up and asked him a question. Young stated, "I jumped in the car with her, . . . told her I needed a way to get out of town and . . . took her and her car, out of town. I dumped her off out there in Shelby County and I hid her body under some tin." Young admitted that he had two weapons on his person, but stated that they were concealed in his boots. He advised the girl that he was not going to hurt her, and she did not fight or resist. The girl told Young that she was from Chicago and "asked where he was from." Young admitted that he was responsible for Hillary’s death, but claimed that he was unable to recall how her death occurred. He stated that, at some point, Hillary pulled a knife from behind the seat and he had to disarm her. During the altercation, Hillary "got cut." Young stated that he dragged Hillary twenty yards, during which time Hillary was moving. Young claimed that as he placed Hillary under the piece of tin, he "had to move her and her pants slid down to her knees . . . ." Young drove away in Hillary’s car. At 2:00 a.m. on December 4, 1999, Hillary's mother received a telephone call from the Midwest Bureau of the FBI. Hillary's mother learned that her daughter’s body had been discovered. Two days later, Hillary's mother attended a memorial service for her daughter at the University of Memphis. Dr. O.C. Smith, the Shelby County Medical Examiner, performed an autopsy on Hillary’s body. Dr. Smith initially responded to the location where the body was discovered. Dr. Smith described the scene: She was lying on her back. She was wearing a brown sweater, had green cargo-type trousers that were present down about her ankles, and there had been some muddy soiling to her skin, and there had been some recent animal activity as well. Thereafter, Hillary’s body was taken to the forensic center for further examination. Dr. Smith described the examination as follows: The examination of Ms. Johnson’s body was significant for the findings of bruises that were about her right orbit – bruises on the right side of her neck; three bruises – three round bruises along the line of the left jaw; bruises on her left chin, and on the back of the right thigh. There were also indications of a stab wound in the clothing – upper body clothing - the brown sweater at the left back just below the neckline, and that was adjacent to a stab wound found in the same position on her back, which was in the left upper back about 55 inches above the heel and 3.4 inches to the left of the centerline of the body. X-rays indicated that there was a retained knife blade present in her left chest cavity. At autopsy, the surgical incisions revealed the presence of that knife blade going through the skin and the subcutaneous tissues. It went between the third and fourth ribs on the left side. It went through the left upper lobe of the lung. It went into and out of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body. The maximum measured depth of penetration was 5.77 inches into her body. The wound itself was responsible for the production of a condition known as a hemathorax in which blood collects in the chest cavity on the left side of the body. That accumulation of blood compressed the left lung. It also pushed organs of the chest over to her right side. This is a condition which can cause interference with the heartbeat by interfering with the flow of blood to and from the heart as well as the damage to the lung itself as well as the compression of the lung. The right lung was affected by a condition known as pulmonary edema. When the person goes into shock, when a heart begins to fail, the air sack in the lung can fill up with fluid. And so she had a finding of pulmonary edema on the right lung as well. And additionally, examination of the genital area showed that there were two blue fibers recovered from the immediate genital region. Dr. Smith opined that the bruising to Hillary’s person occurred less that two hours prior to her death. He further concluded that Hillary lived only a matter of minutes after receiving the knife wound. Dr. Smith concluded that the death of Hillary Johnson was the direct result of the knife stab wound to the back. Based upon the foregoing evidence, the jury convicted Young of first degree premeditated murder, theft of property over $1,000, and especially aggravated kidnapping. During the penalty phase, the State presented the testimony of Dr. Ronald Sundstrom, a professor of philosophy at the University of Memphis. Dr. Sundstrom testified that Hillary was his teaching assistant and a graduate student in the philosophy department. He explained that as his teaching assistant, Hillary was in charge of one-third of his students. The victim’s responsibilities included grading papers, teaching discussion sessions with the undergraduate students, and counseling students. Dr. Sundstrom related that Hillary’s murder had a "tremendous" impact on the undergraduate students she "mentored," her associate graduate students, and the faculty. Many students were unable to finish the semester, and the entire philosophy department "ground to a halt." One student "dropped out." Hillary’s mother testified that the entire family continues to suffer as a result of her daughter’s murder. She said that Hillary’s brother had difficulty in school and Hillary’s father had been unable to continue in his endeavors to start a new business. Moreover, at the time of Hillary’s disappearance, Hillary's mother was completing an undergraduate degree in philosophy and found it difficult to finish. Although she was in graduate school at the time of trial, she had been unable to complete certain courses as a result of being unable to focus. Prior to Hillary’s disappearance, Hillary had fought with her best friend, and her friend was distraught because she can never make amends with Hillary. According to Hillary's mother, the friend had sought therapy and admitted herself to a hospital, fearing she would take her own life. Hillary's mother further testified that two of Hillary’s former boyfriends found it difficult "to cope with her death," and Hillary’s aunts, uncles, and grandmothers "all struggled to understand how to get up each day and go on without Hillary." The State also presented the testimony of Joe Warren, a criminal court clerk, regarding Young’s prior felony convictions. The clerk’s files reflected that on June 24, 1974, Young pled guilty to three counts of robbery with a deadly weapon. On June 11, 1974, a jury convicted Young of rape, and Young pled guilty to robbery with a deadly weapon. The Circuit Court Clerk of Lafayette County, Mississippi presented clerk’s files reflecting that on July 19, 2001, a jury convicted Young of one count of kidnapping and on October 20, 2001, although indicted for capital murder, Young pled guilty to one count of manslaughter. A resident of Oxford, Mississippi testified that on November 15, 1999, he was preparing for work when he heard his wife scream. He ran outside and observed Young attempting to force his wife into a car. The man ran toward Young until Young pointed a shotgun at him and ordered him to stop. As the man’s coworker turned to run, Young again "drawed the shotgun up and said he was gonna kill that F-ing punk because he didn’t like him anyway because they had problems." Young said that he wanted the man’s wife "to take him off." The man told Young, "No, you take me. You ain’t taking my wife." The woman handed the car keys to her husband. Both men got into a 1997 Lumina, the man in the driver’s seat and Young in the passenger seat. With the shotgun aimed at the man’s head, Young ordered him to drive to Pea Ridge Road. Apparently, Young knew the man’s mother-in-law, because he told the man to tell her that he "blew her house up, which he did – he blew it up in Water Valley. And he said, ‘Tell her I’m coming back, and I’m gonna take her down to Turner Road, and I’m gonna blow her head off.’" Eventually, the car ran out of gas. Young abandoned the vehicle and walked into the woods. Buddy East, the Sheriff of Lafayette County, Mississippi, testified that as a result of the kidnapping of this man, he learned that Young had threatened to harma man named William Bramlett. Sheriff East immediately ordered deputies to locate Mr. Bramlett. Upon locating Mr. Bramlett, the deputies advised him of Young’s threats and continued to search for Young to no avail. The following morning, William Bramlett was reported missing by his sister. On November 17, 1999, William was found dead in his trailer. He had been shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber pistol. His pickup truck was later discovered in Hardeman County, Tennessee, three miles from Jessie Cochran’s residence. The defense presented no testimony. At 9:05 p.m., following submission of the instructions, the jury retired to consider the verdict. Deliberations continued until midnight and resumed at 10:00 a.m. the following morning. At 11:10 a.m., the jury returned its verdict, finding that the State had proven the aggravating circumstances, that the defendant was previously convicted of one or more violent felonies other than the present charge; that the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another; and that the murder was committed during the perpetration of a felony. The jury further found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed any mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. In accordance with their verdicts, the jury sentenced Young to death for the premeditated murder of Hillary Johnson. *There are still appeals pending in this case and the execution is not expected to take place on this date.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 21, 2007    Oklahoma Jo Talley Cooper
Unborn Cooper child
Debra Anne Stevens 
Frank Welch executed 

On February 25, 1987, Tracy Cooper arrived at his Norman home around 1:00 p.m. and found his wife, Jo Talley Cooper, lying dead in their living room. She was nude and had leather straps forming a ligature around her neck that also went down her back binding her hands. She had a piece of duct tape covering her mouth and one of her seven-month-old child's toys inserted in her vaginal area. The Coopers' seven-month-old child was unharmed and in his crib in his room. The physical and circumstantial evidence at trial supported the State's theory that Frank Duane Welch secured entry into the Coopers' home by posing as a Norman Cablevision employee [Welch was fired from his employment with Norman Cablevision prior to the day of the murder, but retained possession of his employee uniform] as there were no signs of forced entry and the Coopers' dogs were found secured in the garage, the location where Jo Cooper kept them when repairpersons were working who needed access to the backyard. After gaining secure entry, Welch bound Jo with leather straps and tightened the straps around her neck causing her death by ligature strangulation. Welch then raped Cooper, shoved a toy pylon into her vagina and left. The medical examiner testified Cooper's anal swab was positive for sperm and that she had perianal peri-postmortem tears which indicated the tears were sustained immediately after or during death. The medical examiner testified that Cooper had also sustained a peri-postmortem vaginal tear which was consistent with a trauma that could be caused by the insertion of a plastic toy like the one found in her vagina. The medical examiner also noted that Jo Cooper was approximately twelve weeks pregnant. This case remained unsolved for approximately ten years until Welch's name surfaced when his DNA was matched to a similar crime scene in the ten-year-old unsolved Debra Stevens homicide case in Grady County. Thereafter, Norman police detective, Steve Lucas, obtained a sample of Welch's blood and had DNA testing performed. Welch's DNA matched the DNA from sperm found on a towel at the Cooper home and charges were filed. On February 25, 1997, Welch was charged by information in the District Court of Cleveland County, Oklahoma, with one count of first degree malice aforethought murder. On July 10, 1997, the State filed a bill of particulars alleging the existence of two aggravating factors: (1) that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel; and (2) the existence of a probability that Welch would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society in the future. Approximately one month prior to trial, the prosecution filed a notice stating that it intended to introduce at trial evidence that on or about May 6, 1987, in Grady County, Oklahoma, Welch forcibly raped and killed by means of strangulation a woman named Debra Anne Stevens. The case proceeded to trial on March 23, 1998. The first reference to the Stevens murder came during the direct examination of Stephen Lucas, a detective with the Norman Police Department. Lucas, who had been assigned as the primary investigator for the Cooper murder in November 1989, testified that in October 1996 the investigative team received a telephone call from Ed Briggs, an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Briggs indicated that Welch had been identified as a suspect in the Stevens murder, which occurred in a similar fashion less than three months after the Cooper murder, and suggested that they look at Welch as a suspect in the Cooper murder. Following the tip from Briggs, Lucas testified that he obtained a blood sample from Welch and that the results of the DNA testing of that sample led to Welch being charged with the murder of Cooper. Lucas also testified that his investigation revealed that the two murders were similar in several respects. In particular, Lucas testified that each murder occurred the day after Welch appeared in court on criminal charges. Further, Lucas testified that Stevens' body was found bound in a manner similar to that of Cooper's body, and that both bodies were positioned in a similar manner at the time of their discovery. Following Lucas' testimony, the prosecution proceeded to introduce several witnesses who described the key details of the Stevens murder that were similar to those of the Cooper murder. Stacie Stromberg, the daughter of Debra Stevens, testified about discovering her mother's body in their home on May 6, 1987. According to Stromberg, her mother was laying face up on her bed with a rope around her neck. Stromberg also testified that she found the family dog, which normally had the run of the house, locked in her sister's room. Robert Lee, an OSBI agent who assisted in the investigation of the Stevens murder, testified that Stevens' naked body was found laying face-up with a small rope tied tightly around her neck, her hands bound tightly behind her with the same small gauge rope found around her neck, and white tissue or toilet paper stuffed in her mouth. Larry Balding, the deputy medical examiner who performed the autopsies on both victims, testified that Stevens died as a result of ligature strangulation, and that sperm was found in vaginal swabs taken from her body. Lastly, Mary Long, a criminalist with the OSBI, testified that she performed DNA testing on the sperm samples taken from Stevens' body, and that those samples matched the DNA found in a blood sample given by Welch. At the conclusion of the first stage evidence, the jury found Welch guilty of first degree malice aforethought murder. At the conclusion of the second-stage evidence, the jury found the existence of the two aggravating factors alleged in the bill of particulars and recommended that Welch be sentenced to death. The trial court formally sentenced Welch on April 3, 1998, in accordance with the jury's recommendation. In a letter to the Oklahoma Parole Board, Jo's 21-year-old son Travis said, "It would be different if my mother would have died of natural causes. It would be different if it was God's will, but the truth is that an evil man named Frank Welch took her life. And the unspeakable things he did to her, my mother, is what fills me with anger, the pain, and the loneliness that I feel to this day."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 22, 2007    Texas Kathyanna Nguyen  Johnny Conner executed 

In May 1998, the victim, Kathyanna Nguyen, lived with Tony Tostado behind her grocery store in north Houston. Tostado owned a restaurant located next door to the grocery. On the afternoon of May 17, 1998, Tostado ate lunch with Kathyanna and then went over to his restaurant to clean up. Shortly thereafter, Julian Gutierrez stopped by the grocery to get some gas. After pumping the gas, Gutierrez entered the store to pay and heard someone say, “Give me all your money.” Gutierrez looked up from counting his own money, to see a man pointing a gun at Kathyanna’s chest. When the robber saw Gutierrez, he turned and pointed the gun at him. Gutierrez dropped the money he was holding and ran from the store. As Gutierrez ran, the robber fired the gun at him, hitting him in the shoulder. Hearing several more gunshots, Gutierrez turned to see the robber shooting at Kathyanna Nguyen. Gutierrez later identified Conner as the robber. Hearing gunshots, Tostado locked the doors to his restaurant and hurried over to the grocery. Upon entering the store, Tostado saw a man with a gun. Although Tostado attempted to grab the assailant, the man was able to get out of the store and run away. Tostado then saw Kathyanna on the floor behind the counter bleeding profusely. He immediately called 911. Other individuals who were outside nearby businesses saw the assailant as he fled the grocery, and several noted that the man was holding his hand underneath his shirt as he ran. Agnes Hernandez, who was stopped at a nearby intersection in her vehicle, decided to follow the robber to see where he went. Christine Flores was also driving in the area when she saw a man running down the street and had to slow down in order to avoid hitting him. The man looked directly at Flores as he ran. Flores later identified the man as Johnny Ray Conner. Finally, Michael Hamilton was driving with his wife, Martha Meyers, near the scene when they saw a man running from the grocery. As the man crossed the road in front of them, he turned to look back towards the grocery store at which time Meyers was able to see his face. Hamilton and Meyers followed Hernandez as she followed the fleeing suspect. The assailant ran for some distance before he reached a vehicle, got inside, and drove away. Hernandez continued to follow the assailant, seeing him almost run over a man and child as he sped away. Eventually, the suspect made his way to a freeway feeder road where he drove over the grass median to enter the freeway. Hernandez did not follow the vehicle onto the freeway, but returned to the scene and told Tostado the direction in which the vehicle had fled. At the scene, Tostado and several others entered the grocery to help Kathyanna Nguyen. Several witnesses noted that there was money scattered and a great deal of blood on the floor around Kathyanna’s body. The cash register was open and there was blood inside the drawer. The police also discovered a juice bottle on the floor near the counter from which they recovered Conner’s fingerprint. When the investigation of the crime narrowed to focus on Conner, Conner’s photograph was included in a photo spread of suspects for witnesses. Three separate witnesses identified Conner from the photo spread. Conner turned himself in to the Harris County Jail on June 17, 1998. At the punishment phase of trial, the State proved up Conner’s commission of various prior offenses including possessing cocaine in January, 1991; breaking into a school in June, 1991; attempting to rob an individual in July, 1994; and committing several instances of domestic abuse involving two separate women in 1995 through 1997. UPDATE: More than nine years after his crime, Johnny Ray Conner was executed for the murder of Kathyanna Nguyen. Conner asked for forgiveness repeatedly and expressed love to his family and his victim's family, who watched him through windows in the death chamber. "I want you to understand," he said. "I'm not mad at you. When I get to the gates of heaven I'm going to be waiting for you. Please forgive me."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 23, 2007    Alabama John Robert Kirk  Luther Williams executed 

On January 22, 1988, a 1981 dark blue Oldsmobile Regency automobile was stolen from a motel parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama. In the trunk of this vehicle was, among other items, a .22 caliber pistol. A dark blue car arrived at the Smithfield housing project in Birmingham later that same evening and Luther Jerome Williams was identified as the sole occupant. On the morning of January 23, 1988, John Robert Kirk was on his way home from work. He stopped his vehicle – a red 1984 Chevrolet pickup truck with a camper on the back – near the West Blocton exit on Interstate 59 South in Tuscaloosa County. Williams and two men were traveling south on Interstate 59 in the stolen Oldsmobile. After noticing the victim’s vehicle beside the road, they stopped and confronted him. Williams led the victim to a nearby wooded area and shot him once in the left side of the head, ‘execution style,’ with the .22 caliber pistol which had been in the trunk of the stolen Oldsmobile. The victim’s body was left at the site of the shooting, and his money and vehicle were taken. Later that same morning, several witnesses identified Williams as the driver of a red ‘camper truck’ which was parked at the Smithfield housing project. One of these witnesses, Priscilla Jones, a relative of Williams', testified that Williams had visited her on the day of the murder. She stated that Williams told her that ‘he had killed a white man and stole his truck,’ and that he proceeded to show her the weapon, which she described as having a white handle. On the night of January 24, 1988, after responding to a call placed by a Rosie Mims, members of the Birmingham Police Department interviewed Priscilla Jones regarding Williams. During this interview, the Birmingham police learned of Williams' statement to Ms. Jones concerning the shooting of a white man. They were also informed that he was staying at an apartment in the housing project, and that he was an escapee from the supervised intensive restitution (SIR) program. During the very early morning hours of January 25, 1988, after verifying that Williams had indeed escaped from the SIR program and that a warrant was still outstanding, the Birmingham police went to the apartment in the Smithfield housing project where Williams was reportedly staying. The officers talked with the lessee of the apartment, Margie Bush. They inquired as to the whereabouts of Williams and his girlfriend, Debra “Bootsie” Bush. Margie Bush turned toward a curtain which separated the front of the apartment from the back bedroom and shouted for Bootsie, who then appeared from behind the curtain. Bootsie stated that she did not know where Williams was at that time. However, one of the officers happened to look behind the curtain and saw Williams lying in the bed. After a struggle, Williams was taken into custody. The supervising officer then informed Margie Bush that Williams was thought to have a gun and requested permission to search the apartment for it. Margie Bush gave her permission. During the search, Bootsie stated that Williams had hidden the gun in the bedroom. The murder weapon was found inside a black purse located on top of a dresser in the room in which Williams was apprehended. Williams was indicted on April 29, 1988, for the murder of John Robert Kirk during a robbery. After his indictment, Williams was sent at his own request to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility for an evaluation of his mental competency to stand trial. Evidence was presented at trial that while at Taylor Hardin, Williams made the statement ‘I have killed one white m___ f____; I’ll kill another one.’ However, there was some conflict regarding the person to whom the statement was directed. Williams was found to be competent to stand trial and was discharged from the facility on December 23, 1988. 

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 28, 2007    Texas Patricia Slack Colter, 53
Duane R. Colter, 44
Luva Congleton, 58
Alvin "Buddy" Waller, 54
Daroyce Mosley executed 

Daroyce Lamont Mosley was convicted of capital murder for the death of Patricia Colter on October 28, 1995, and sentenced to death on November 3, 1995. Patricia Slack Colter, a Wal-Mart employee, her husband Duane Colter, who worked at a local ceramic company, her ex-husband Alvin Waller, and Luva Congleton, were keeping 32-year-old waitress Sandra Cash company as she closed up Katie’s Lounge in Kilgore, Texas on July 21, 1994. Sandra was placing the receipts for the evening in a tackle box Katie’s used to store money. She looked out the window and saw two men walking up and joked that she would have to make the men mad because she had already "closed everything up." At approximately 11:45 p.m., two armed men wearing ski masks kicked open the door. The first man through the door said, “Give me the money, you white bitch.” Sandra and the four patrons of Katie’s were white; Mosley and the others arrested for the robbery and murders were black. While sliding the tackle box towards the gunman, Sandra was shot in the wrist and went through her hand as she attempted to shield her face. She was then shot in the stomach and fell to the floor. She remembered hearing more gunfire but could remember little else. Even in her shock induced state, she nonetheless managed to call 911. "Please help me. I'm choking." Sandra had a total of nine holes in her body from approximately three to six bullets, two of which were recovered from her at the hospital, a third was found behind the bar by police. Sandra had wounds to her wrist, hell, right breast and abdominal cavity. However, the most serious wound went across her upper body, perforating both lungs and going through her pinal cord, and she was left paralyzed from the chest down. When police and EMS arrived shortly thereafter, they discovered the bodies of Patricia and Duane Colter, Alvin Waller, and Luva Congleton as well as a gravely wounded Sandra Cash. The Colters were found closest to the front door. Their bodies were face down and blood was seeping from their heads into the carpeting. Autopsies revealed that the Colters each died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Bullets were recovered. Luva was also shot in the back of the head, but no bullet was recovered at autopsy. Buddy, an oil well employee, was shot twice in the head - one through the left eye and one in the back of the head - and once in the thigh; any one of the three wounds would have been fatal. There was gunpowder on Buddy's face, giving silent testimony that his killer had put the gun directly against his eye before pulling the trigger. Luva, a retiree, had tried to hide under the pool table but she was shot where she was. Forensics determined that the gun that shot Sandra was not the same gun that shot Alvin and the Colters. DaRoyce Mosley, Marcus Smith, and Ray Don Mosley, Mosley’s uncle, were arrested separately on July 22 after the police received several tips. One such tip was from a man who lived across the street from Katie’s Lounge. He informed police that Ray Don, along with Marcus and Mosley, had spoken with him on July 21 outside his residence. Ray Don, who was in possession of a pistol, told the informer that there was some money in the area and that he had to have it. This party of three left the man's property, and returned 30 minutes later with a tackle box, requesting a ride. The informant stated that Ray Don told him he had shot someone over at Katie’s Lounge. Another tip was from “Kaboo”, Mosley’s best friend and Marcus’s cousin. Kaboo told police that on the evening of the murders he saw Mosley with a gun, which Mosley claimed to have gotten from a neighbor. Mosley left, but returned with Marcus and Ray Don. Ray Don stated that they had killed people in Katie’s Lounge. After Kaboo expressed his disbelief, Mosley responded, “We did it.” Then Mosley divided the contents of the tackle box evenly between Kaboo, Ray Don, and Marcus, each party receiving $77.00. On July 22, 1994, after pulling over Mosley to arrest Marcus, the police asked Mosley if he would voluntarily go to the police station to answer some questions. Mosley agreed. At first, Mosley averred that he had nothing to do with the robbery and murders at Katie’s Lounge. After the police received information from Marcus, however, they arrested Mosley. At this point, Mosley made a second oral statement and admitted to shooting two of the people at Katie’s Lounge. Mosley requested and received the presence of his grandparents before continuing further. In the third statement, which was transcribed, Mosley insisted that the offense had been planned in advance, but that once it was time to go through with the plan, he did not want to participate. Although he admitted to being present at Katie’s Lounge when the shootings occurred, he denied shooting anyone. He also informed the police that he had been wearing a ski mask or toboggan during the offense and had thrown it in the woods near the informant's residence. Based upon information in the third statement, law enforcement officers requested Mosley accompany them in search of the discarded hat. A glove was found near the toboggan, and Mosley then admitted to wearing a glove during the robbery. Law enforcement agents explained to Mosley that they could tell by the residue on the glove whether the person wearing it had fired a gun. They asked if Mosley had anything to add to his previous statements. At this time Mosley made another oral statement, indicating that he had shot four people at Katie’s Lounge and Ray Don had shot the woman behind the bar. After a period of rest, Mosley made his final statement to police. Ray Don went in first and told everybody to get down. They were still sitting up in the chairs and I heard a shot. The people looked at me and it scared me and I shot a lady at the table. I was about five feet from her and I shot her in the back of the head. Another lady got up and ran. Ray Don told me to kill them. Ray Don told me to shoot them or get shot. When I looked at Ray Don, he was pointing the gun at me. He said this after I had already shot the first lady. Then I shot a man who was sitting by the first lady I shot. I don’t know where I shot the man at. I was about the same distance I was when I shot the lady. By this time the lady that ran had gotten under the pool table. I told the lady to get out from under the pool table. Ray Don said, “Fuck that, shoot her.” Then I shot the lady under the pool table twice in the head. I bent down next to the pool table and shot her twice. Then Ray Don was behind the bar and had shot behind there. I came from around the pool table and another man was by the bar. The man got up and was coming towards me with a pool stick. Ray Don said, “Shoot him boy, shoot him.” I just turned my head away and shot three times. The man fell after I had shot three times. Ray Don had gotten the money in a big box from behind the bar. The box was dark colored. Then we ran out and ran across the street. Ray Don started hollering and asking me where Marcus was at. I kept telling him I didn’t know. Then we saw Marcus come up behind us after we crossed Highway 136. Ray Don asked Marcus where he had been and Marcus told him he had been trying to break in a car. Marcus went into Katie’s when Ray Don and I went in. After I shot the first lady, I looked around and Marcus had left Katie’s. Helen Wrag, Luva Congleton’s niece, testified that her aunt "...was a happy person. She liked people. Q. Did she ever meet a stranger? A. No sir. Q. Was that part of her personality that she did well with people? A. Yes sir, she had people that ask for her [waitress] station." Tricia Kappan’s testified regarding her mother Patricia Colter, her step-father Duane Colter, and her father, Alvin Waller. "Well, Mamma and Daddy still loved each other, but it was — they were like best friends. And when Mamma met Duane, Mamma was his whole life. And they were just all friends. Daddy lived in a trailer behind my mother’s house. He was going through a tough time and needed a place to go. And so my mother had a travel trailer behind her house, and he stayed there. And a lot of the time, he just slept in the extra bedroom at the other end of the trailer where Mamma and Duane were. They were just all really good friends. And they hardly went anywhere without each other. They just were all very close. Duane was a very special person to me. I was sixteen. I was already grown. But when my mother met him and introduced us, I was kind of shocked and everything, but the more I was around him, the more you just couldn’t help but just love him to death. He was just so sweet. He was like a big kid, you know. He was just great. My mother was my sole supporter. She had been through so much in her life that I felt like anything that she was going to have to go through, that I was going to be there with her and I could go through it with her. There was some times, you know, when we would move away and my brother would stay with Grandmother, but I couldn’t stand it. I was always afraid, you know, something might happen to her or she wouldn’t be strong enough to pull through something. I was just a kid, but I would think, you know, if I was there, I could help her through it; I could pull her through. And then whenever I got married, it was like I just wanted to prove to her that I was a big girl and I could take care of myself and she need not spend all of her money on me. She was always buying things for everybody. I would just think if she wouldn’t buy stuff for everybody else, she could buy it for herself. But I always thought I would be there to take care of her and she would be there to take care of me. And she was my right arm. She was my backbone."

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 29, 2007    Texas Reza "Ray" Ayari, 32
unnamed victim 
John Amador executed 

During the early morning of January 4, 1994, taxicab driver Reza “Ray” Ayari stopped to pick up his friend Esther Garza, who occasionally accompanied Ayari during his shifts. Garza had been drinking heavily that night and had sought Ayari’s company because she was upset over a fight she had recently had with her boyfriend. According to Garza’s testimony, between 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., Ayari stopped on the west side of San Antonio, Texas, to pick up two passengers, later identified as eighteen-year-old John Joe Amador and his sixteen-year-old cousin Sara Rivas. Amador asked Ayari to take them to Poteet, Texas, a town approximately thirty minutes southwest of San Antonio. Ayari replied that he would need twenty dollars in advance. Amador indicated that he did not have twenty dollars, but directed Ayari to a house where he could obtain the money. The house was later identified as that of Amador’s girlfriend, Yvonne Martinez. The cab stopped at Martinez’s house, Amador returned with the money, and the four occupants--Ayari in the driver’s seat, Garza in the front passenger seat, Amador in the seat behind Ayari, and Rivas in the seat behind Garza--proceeded to Poteet. Garza testified that when they reached rural Bexar County, the passengers directed Ayari to stop in front of a house with a long driveway. As Ayari drove toward the house, he was shot in the back of the head without warning. Garza was shot immediately thereafter. Garza, who was still alive despite sustaining a gunshot wound to the left side of her face, later testified that she feigned death as Amador and Rivas pulled Ayari and Garza out of the car, searched Garza’s pockets, and drove off down the driveway, damaging the cab in the process. When police arrived at the scene of the shootings, they found Ayari dead. Garza was bleeding from the head and face, hysterical, and unable to speak coherently. She was eventually able to tell the officers at the scene that one of the suspects was male, that she had never seen him before, and that he was 6’1”, possibly of Arabic ethnicity, and had short black hair. It is undisputed that John Joe Amador is 5’6” and Hispanic. Officers found .380 and .25 caliber shell casings at the scene, and a .25 caliber bullet was removed from Garza’s nasal cavity that night at the hospital. The cab was eventually found abandoned in a median in the outskirts of San Antonio, and a woman named Esther Menchaca later testified that she had observed two people who resembled Amador and Rivas walking away from the cab in the median as she drove to work in the early morning of January 4. On January 10, 1994, after Garza had been released from the hospital, she gave the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office a description of the suspect to aid in creating a composite sketch. Garza also spoke with lead investigator Detective Robert Morales and gave a written statement, which reaffirmed the description she had given at the scene, although she described the suspect as Hispanic rather than Arabic as she had originally stated. On January 24, 1994, acting on an anonymous “Crime Stoppers” tip, a Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy picked up Amador and his girlfriend Yvonne Martinez from a San Antonio school and took them to the sheriff’s department for questioning. Both denied any knowledge of or involvement in the shootings. Officers also took their pictures and prepared photo arrays to present to Garza, the only eyewitness to the crime. While Amador and Martinez were still being questioned, Detective Morales drove Garza to the sheriff’s department. Garza testified at a pretrial hearing that Detective Morales showed her the photo array containing Martinez’s picture while they were in the car en route to the sheriff’s department. While Garza did not identify any of the women in the photo array as a suspect, she did identify Martinez as someone she knew from work and stated that Martinez was definitely not the woman in Ayari’s cab the night of the shootings. When Garza arrived at the sheriff’s department, the officers showed her a second photo array, this time containing pictures of Hispanic males. Garza was unable to identify any of the men as a suspect. The officers then took her on a “show up” to view Amador and Martinez, instructing her to look through holes that had been cut in a piece of cardboard that was taped against the window of the homicide office where Amador, Martinez, and a sheriff’s deputy were sitting. Garza once again identified Martinez as a former co-worker and confirmed that she had not been in the cab on the night of the shootings. However, she was unable to identify Amador as the male passenger in the car on the night of the shootings, telling the officers that she did not know whether he was the shooter and that “I’m just not up to that right now.” The following day, the officers asked Garza if she would consent to be hypnotized in an effort to enhance her memory and make her more confident in her identification. Garza agreed, and on February 3, 1994, she underwent hypnosis performed by Brian Price, a Bexar County Adult Probation Officer who had training as an investigative hypnotist. During the session, she confirmed her description of the suspect as a 6’1” Hispanic male. Based on her description, a sketch artist rendered another composite drawing of the suspect. On March 16, 1994, Garza called Detective Morales and informed him that a friend had told her that the two people who had done the shootings were named John Joe Amador and Sara Rivas. She subsequently revealed that the source of this information knew Martinez, whom the source had overheard talking about the crime and whom Garza had previously recognized as a former coworker when Martinez was sitting with Amador during the show up in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. On March 30, 1994, the officers again showed Garza a photo array, and this time Garza was able to identify Amador as the male suspect in the cab on the night of the shootings. The picture of Amador contained in the photo array was taken the same day that Garza had observed him with Martinez during the show up, and in the picture he was wearing the same black shirt. She was unable to identify Rivas from another photo array. An arrest warrant was issued for Amador, who had since gone to California. An officer arrested Amador and brought him back to Texas; Rivas was also arrested. On April 13, 1994, Rivas gave a written statement to Detective Morales. Rivas alleged in her statement that Amador had shot and killed Ayari and that, at Amador’s instruction, she had shot Garza with a gun that Amador had given her. Later that day, Sergeant Sal Marin told Amador that Rivas had confessed to shooting someone at Amador’s direction. Amador then gave a written statement to Sergeant Marin which, while inculpatory, spoke in hypothetical terms. The next day, April 14, 1994, Amador contacted Sergeant Marin to inquire whether his cousin was all right. After assuring Amador that Rivas was fine, Sergeant Marin asked Amador to accompany him to the scene of the crime and help him locate the guns used in the shooting. Amador agreed to do so, but the weapons were never found. While at the scene, Amador mentioned that if he had committed the crime, he would have used .25 and .380 caliber handguns. The portion of Amador’s statement read into the record at trial is as follows: My name is John Joe Amador. I am 18 years old and I live at 3907 Eldridge Street in San Antonio, Texas. I have told Sergeant Marin that I am going to tell him about the murder of the taxicab driver and the shooting of a young girl. I am going to tell my side of the story the way I want it to come out. I don’t need no attorney or anything for this. Sergeant Marin has read me my rights and I understand my rights. During the early part of January 1994, I don’t remember the date other than it was sometime shortly after New Year’s Day, this is when this mess all started. It was during the night. I don’t remember what time it was, but I do know it was late. They say I shot and killed a taxicab driver and my cousin Sara Rivas shot a young woman in the face. If this is true, Sara would have shot the young woman because I would have ordered her to do it. Sara is my cousin and she is not that type of a person. She is from Houston and was visiting here in San Antonio when all of this shit happened. She wanted to visit her grandma who lives near Poteet, Texas, but she never made it over there. In this situation I would have handed her a gun and I would have ordered her to shoot the woman with that gun. If all of this stuff about the murder is true and they can prove it in court, then I will take my death sentence. This is all I want to say. I don’t want to say any more. I will just wait for my day in court. Two other witnesses provided testimony that tended to implicate Amador in the shootings, Martinez and a witness named Esther Menchaca, who had driven by and seen Amador and Rivas walking on the median after they had abandoned the cab on the morning of January 4, 1994. Martinez testified that: (1) Amador was her boyfriend; (2) Amador awoke her in the early morning hours of January 4, 1994, by knocking on her window and asked her for money for a taxi ride; (3) approximately two weeks before January 4, 1994, Amador had told her that he “wanted to do something crazy involving a taxicab”; (4) sometime during the afternoon of January 4, 1994, Amador told her that he and his cousin had taken a taxi to Poteet and had shot someone; (5) Amador described the murder to her in great detail; and (6) Amador had written her a letter from prison pressuring her not to testify. Menchaca testified that, early in the morning of January 4, 1994, she was on her way to work heading toward Poteet. At approximately 4:15 a.m. she observed an abandoned taxicab in the median of Highway 16 and saw a male and a female walking along side of the road. On May 3, 1994, she positively identified Amador from a photo array as the male she had seen walking down the road. On July 10, 1995, the jury returned its verdict, finding Amador guilty of capital murder. The punishment phase of the trial began that same day. On July 11, 1995, the jury sentenced Amador to death.

 
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 30, 2007    Texas Michael T. LaHood, Jr.  Kenneth Foster commuted 

On the evening of 14 August 1996, Kenneth Foster, Mauriceo Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen embarked on a series of armed robberies around San Antonio, Texas, beginning with Brown’s announcing he had a gun and asking whether the others wanted to rob people: “I have the strap, do you all want to jack?” During the guilt/innocence phase of Foster’s trial, Steen testified that he rode in the front seat, looking for potential victims, while Foster drove. Steen and Brown both testified to robbing two different groups at gunpoint; the four men divided the stolen property equally. The criminal conduct continued into the early hours of the next day (15 August), when Foster began following a vehicle driven by a young woman named Mary. At trial, Mary testified that she and Michael LaHood, Jr. were returning in separate cars to his house; she arrived and noticed Foster’s vehicle turn around at the end of the street and stop in front of Michael LaHood’s house; Mary approached Foster’s car to ascertain who was following her; she briefly spoke to the men in the vehicle, then walked away towards Michael LaHood, who had reached the house and exited his vehicle; she saw a man with a scarf across his face and a gun in his hand exit Foster’s vehicle and approach her and Michael; Michael told her to go inside the house, and she ran towards the door, but tripped and fell; she looked back and saw the gunman pointing a gun at Michael’s face, demanding his keys, money, and wallet; Michael responded that Mary had the keys; and Mary heard a loud bang. Michael LaHood died from a gunshot wound to the face. The barrel of the gun was no more than six inches from Michael’s head when he was shot; it was likely closer than that. Brown had similarly stuck his gun in the faces of some of the nights’ earlier robbery victims. Later that day, all four men were arrested; each gave a written statement to police identifying Brown as the shooter. In admitting being the shooter, Brown denied intent to kill. At trial, he testified that he approached Michael LaHood to obtain Mary’s telephone number and only drew his weapon when he saw what appeared to be a gun on Michael LaHood and heard what sounded to him like the click of an automatic weapon. In May 1997, Foster and Brown were tried jointly for capital murder committed in the course of a robbery and they both were sentenced to death. With two brothers of his victim watching nearby through a window, Mauriceo Brown was executed in July of 2006. Brown spoke to the victim witnesses and told them he was "sorry you lost a brother, a loved one and friend." Brown looked toward another window where his mother and two siblings were among the witnesses. He told them he loved them. "Keep your heads up and know that I will be in a better place," he said. He then looked again toward his victim's relatives and friends and apologized a second time that you "lost a loved one this way. God bless you all." Jack McGinnis, one of the prosecutors in the cases against Brown and Foster, said, "They were out pretty much on a rampage, stoned to the bone, victimizing people." "It is painful for us," said Norma LaHood, Michael's mother. "Our wounds will never heal. You don't heal from the loss of a child." 

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