Saturday, November 23, 2002

November, 20. 2002

webmaster, artist, murderer, dead...

Last Meal: None

The Skinny: William Jones Jr. was executed for murdering a man at a suburban Kansas City park frequented by gay men.

Early Years: Defense lawyers said Jones had a confused sexual identity from a bizarre childhood of early exposure to sex by his own parents, and erotic strip dancing his sister had led him into. Early in his life, Jones was exposed to both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Once, his father broke a guitar over his head.

Defense attorney Charlie Rogers cited a neuropsychologist's finding that Jones suffered from "ego dystonic homosexuality"-confusion about one's sexual identity and uneasiness about homosexual inclinations.

We said, they said: Jones' attorneys said he panicked when Albert propositioned him. Jones had maintained he shot Albert in self-defense after Albert made unwanted sexual advances.

But prosecutors called it a cold-blooded execution-style killing over a car. They contend Jones plotted the killing after meeting and dating Albert and deciding he wanted his Camaro. The lawyer who prosecuted Jones' case, dismissed the "gay panic" defense, noting that Jones was bisexual and living with a gay lover at the time of the murder.

The best defense...But sexual confusion wasn't Jones' only problem. Attorneys say the lawyers who represented Jones at his murder trial were inept. One was an alleged alcoholic who has since been disbarred. Another now works as a pit boss in a gambling casino.

Love in the strangest places. The case drew attention in Europe, where opposition to the death penalty is strong, since Jones married an Austrian, Gerti Jones in January 2001. They'd met over the Internet a year earlier. Jones described her husband as charming, intelligent, ``extremely sensitive'' and a ``great artist.''

A sample of his work...

Final sentiments:
"I regret what has happened. I do not deserve death for it. To the family of the victim: does this really give you a sense of closure or simply a sense of vengeance?"

Factoids: Prison officials said 32 capital punishment opponents protested the execution outside the prison.

Jones was the sixth Missouri inmate put to death this year and the 59th since the state's death penalty was reinstated in 1989. Missouri ranks third, behind Texas and Virginia, in number of executions since 1976.

On the Net: William Jones' Web site

November 19, 2002

"They're trying to sell me as a nut case..."

Last Meal:

The Skinny: Ogan received a lethal injection for shooting an officer during an argument near the Astrodome in downtown Houston.

Alais stuff: Ogan was fascinated with espionage, spoke several languages and longed for a job with the CIA. He said he was building a track record by working as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and had moved to Houston because he feared his cover had been blown. When he arrived in Houston the DEA told him not to carry a gun or work any more drug deals. Ogan armed himself, however, and tried to get involved in drug transactions again. Ogan saw Boswell and his partner, Clay Gainer, had made a traffic stop across the street and he approached their patrol car, tapping on the window and stating he was an undercover agent. Boswell repeatedly told him to wait a minute but he continued to knock on the window. The officer then got out of the car and told him he was facing arrest. Bogan then shot Boswell in the head.

Final statement and such: Ogan claimed the case against him was fabricated and that he killed the cop in self-defense. "The people responsible for killing me will have blood on their hands for an unprovoked murder," he said. "I am not guilty; I acted in self defense and reflex in the face of a police officer who was out of control." His statement stopped in mid-sentence as the drugs took effect. In a meeting earlier, Walls Unit warden Neill Hodges had told Ogan he would have two minutes for his final comments.

Factoid: Ogan was the 30th convicted killer executed this year in Texas and the 286th since the state restored the death penalty in 1982.

Several dozen police officers and police supporters arrived on motorcycles shortly before Ogan's scheduled execution hour and stood down the street from the prison entrance.

The execution was delayed for nearly an hour while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a pair of 11th-hour appeals that questioned Ogan's competency and mental health.

"They're trying to sell me as a nut case," Ogan said of his attorneys' efforts. "I don't appreciate that."

Monday, November 18, 2002

November 20, 2002

Grumpy old dead man...

Last Meal:
Same meal that is served to all other offenders in the main dining room.

The Skinny: A 66-year-old convicted killer was executed by injection, sentenced to death for the murders of three people in Ft. Worth -- becoming the oldest inmate Texas has put to death. Chappell bitterly professed his innocence on the gurney before the drugs stopped him mid-sentence. He also denied molesting a 3-year-old child that authorities said led him to commit the slayings.

Last tirade and such: "My request to you is to get yourself in church and pray to God he forgives you because you are murdering me. You know damn well I didn't molest that child. You all are murdering me and I feel sorry for you. I don't know what else to say. Please go to church and say ...," he said, unable to complete his sentence.

Factoids: Chappell was the oldest convict executed in Texas since the state took over capital punishment duties from counties in 1924.

A year before the killings, Chappell was convicted of indecency with a child for molesting a 3-year-old girl. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was free on bond, pending appeal.

Chappell was the 31st convicted killer executed in Texas this year and the 287th since the state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

Previous oldsters: Pre-1977, Henry Meyer was the oldest when he was put to death June 8, 1955, at age 65. Since Texas resumed executions in 1982 with lethal injection, two convicted killers, Betty Lou Beets and Clydell Coleman, were the oldest at 62 when they were put to death.


Busy week ahead for Texas death chamber

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A convicted cop killer and two men condemned for multiple murders faced execution this week on three consecutive nights as the Texas death chamber was readied for its busiest week in almost two years.

"It's become an assembly line of death," said Craig Ogan, the first of the three men set to die.

If the three lethal injections are carried out, and if two other punishments set for December take place, Texas would finish with 34 executions this year.

That would be double the total of a year ago but in line with the 30-plus executions in recent years -- 37 in 1997, 35 in 1999 and a record 40 in 2000.

At least eight executions already are scheduled for 2003, including six in January.

This week's condemned offenders include:

--Ogan, 47, facing the needle Tuesday evening for the 1989 slaying of Houston police officer James Boswell.

--William Chappell, 66, Wednesday for a 1989 shooting spree that left three people dead as they slept in their Fort Worth home. Chappell would be the oldest person put to death in Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in December 1982.

-- James Lee Clark, 34, Thursday for the 1993 shooting rape, robbery and murder of a 17-year-old Denton high school student. Another teenager was slain in the same episode.


39 years and counting... Last N.J. execution was in 1963

The last person put to death in New Jersey was Ralph James Hudson, 44, was electrocuted on Jan. 22, 1963, at Trenton State Prison.

He was the 160th person to be executed under the state's modern death penalty law. The first was a Somerset County resident, Severio DiGiovanne, on Dec. 11, 1907.

His last meal consisted of roasted prime ribs of beef, peas, french fries, ice cream and coffee, followed by a cigar.

He entered the death chamber with his guards and was silent as he sat down in the electric chair in front of 50 spectators seated behind a waist-high white curtain, according to a Courier-Post account.

He shook slightly as the guards fastened leather straps around his waist, legs, arms and over his mouth and eyes, the account said. The steel cap with its electrode was then placed over his head.

With pickets outside protesting capital punishment, he was put to death at 11:04 p.m. He was pronounced dead after eight jolts of 2,200-volt direct current were administered.

No one claimed his body, and he was buried by the state in a potter's field.