Saturday, October 04, 2003


A very international flavor...Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. spanning the globe.

Katie K., Sydney, Australia, october 4, 2003
2 McDonalds Cheeseburgers, Small Fries, Medium Diet Coke, Large bottle of Dr Pepper, 4 Dairy Milk chocolate blocks and 1 bar of Peanut Brittle...hopefully i shall never have to request this...


Martin N., Oneco, Connecticut, october 4, 2003
the menu: a 32 oz london broil with A-1 Steak sauce and sautee`d onions, a 2 quart pitcher of grape Koolaid, a caeser salad with some thousand Island dressing, nachos, and bazooka bubble gum.


Stu R., N. Stoke, Okon, UK, october 4, 2003
Starter--Duck Foie Gras with Cointreau jam and olive oil croutons
Second Course: Coq au Vin with thyme-and-rosemary-roasted new potatoes
Main course: Steak and ale pie with honey roast carrots, garlic-stirfried greens and mustard mash
Breather: Warm bacon and fennel salad with girolles and creme fraiche
Dessert: Hard Brie, Y-fenni Cheddar, Emmental, Jacobs Cream Crackers Treacle Tart and home made custard!!


Richard V. of Windsor, Ontario, Canada , october 4, 2003
the menu: A lamb medallion (medium rare), a Dr. Pepper on the rocks, one slice of a Supreme Lovers pizza from Pizza Hut, one of those little tubs of Haagen Daaz
ice cream (vanilla), some onion rings, fetticini alfredo, and half a Subway Southwestern Steak Sub with no olives, extra hot peppers. To top it off, I would want a sprig of parsley to make my breath nice, along with a single S-Mint.

Alternately, if I wasn't feeling up to a large meal, I would request a bowl of Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup, made with 2% Milk, piping hot with some Cayenne Pepper, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, and Salt on the side. A few saltines and the Dr.Pepper would accompany.


The hightlights:
Man avoids execution by admitting he killed, dismembered women
GRETNA, La. (AP) — A man who killed and dismembered at least three women in his apartment has pleaded guilty to murder to avoid the death penalty.

Charles Atwood, 41, of Metairie, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree murder and one of second-degree murder in the deaths of Susan Keller, 45, Dixie Esaki, 35, and Anjanette Penzica, 27.

Authorities still are trying to determine if Atwood killed other women in the New Orleans area and elsewhere, Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Walter Amstutz said.

District Judge Ross LaDart sentenced Atwood to three consecutive life terms in prison.

Defense attorney Paul Fleming said that in light of the evidence against Atwood, he had little choice but to ask for the plea bargain.

Atwood's girlfriend, Patricia Biehn, 33, testified last year that she sat on the edge of their bathtub while Atwood cut off Keller's head. Biehn pleaded guilty to accessory to that murder but still faces first-degree murder charges in the other women's deaths. Biehn also has led investigators to Keller's severed head in a St. Charles Parish swamp and helped them find tools used in the dismemberment.

Amstutz said Biehn has a court appearance scheduled Oct. 20. "We will consider her cooperation as a factor in her case," he said.

Atwood, a print shop worker, and Biehn, an exotic dancer, picked up Keller in a bar on Dec. 19, 2001, and persuaded her to go to their apartment for group sex, Amstutz said.

There, Atwood strangled her and, placing a tarpaulin in the bathtub, cut off her head and dismembered and bathed the rest of her body. He stored the bloodied tarp in a security shed, where it was later found by detectives, Amstutz said.

Deputies found Keller's head near the Interstate 310 interchange at Airline Drive. Other parts were found in eastern New Orleans, but some are still missing, Amstutz said. DNA linked the parts to one another and to blood on the tarpaulin, he said.

Five weeks after Keller's death, Biehn persuaded Esaki, a former lover of hers, and Penzica to come home with her and Atwood for a sex party, Amstutz said. Atwood has told investigators that he met Esaki at the French Quarter bar where Biehn worked as a dancer, then met up with Esaki, Penzica and Biehn at another bar.

Amstutz said Atwood strangled and bludgeoned Penzica while Biehn and Esaki bathed together. When Esaki came out saw the body, Atwood choked her and hit her on the head.

Both victims' fingers were cut off, presumably to eliminate fingerprints, and their bodies were bound with duct tape and left in garbage bags in eastern New Orleans.

Detectives began to suspect Atwood after Esaki's boyfriend reported her missing and told police that she had been headed to Biehn's and Atwood's apartment, Amstutz said.


The deets...

Panel Suggests Barring Firing Squads

SALT LAKE CITY - A proposed law doing away with firing squad executions in Utah should apply retroactively and bar them even for the four inmates who say they want to die that way, the Utah Sentencing Commission said.

Utah is the only state that uses firing squads, and lawmakers are considering a bill to make injection the sole execution method.

Commission members said Wednesday that ending the firing squad executions would stop the "media circus" that inevitably surrounds those punishments. The recommendation passed by 11-6.

Critics of the measure said enduring four more firing squad executions would be preferable to dragging out the appeals in those cases.

"Delay is the name of the game in death-penalty cases. Anything that can be litigated will be litigated in these kinds of cases," Assistant Utah Attorney General Frederic Voros told the commission.

Making the proposed law retroactive, Board of Pardons and Parole Chairman Michael Sibbett said, would be "one more wrinkle for a creative defense attorney to work with."

The inmates who want to die by firing squad are Roberto Arguelles, Troy Michael Kell, Ronald Lafferty and Ralph Menzies. In all, there are 11 people on death row in Utah.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, two people in the United States have died by firing squad, both in Utah: Gary Gilmore in 1977 and John Albert Taylor 19 years later.

Utah's use of firing squads predates statehood in 1896 and is believed to be a remnant of the early Mormon belief that "blood atonement" is a required punishment for taking a life. In response to the sentencing commission's request for clarification, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said last month that it had no objection to elimination of the firing squad.

The firing squads employ five riflemen, one of whom shoots a blank so no one will know who fired the fatal shot.

While Utah is the only state that uses the firing squad method, Idaho and Oklahoma retain it as an option if other methods are not viable.

Convicted murderer, rapist granted stay of execution

A man convicted of raping and killing his aunt in 1987 was granted an indefinite stay of execution Monday after he argued that he received ineffective counsel at his trial and police illegally obtained his confession.

Earnest Ulyesses Morrison, 43, had been set to die by lethal injection Wednesday night at the state prison in Jackson. Butts County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson issued a stay Monday.

...Morrison was convicted of the 1987 rape and murder of Edna Mary Griffin, his aunt, in Richmond County. At the time of the murder, Morrison was a fugitive from the Aiken, S.C., jail, where he was being held on rape and robbery charges.

...His current lawyer, Tom Dunn, said Morrison is mentally retarded and suffers from paranoid delusions. In court papers, Dunn said Morrisons trial lawyers _ O.L. Collins and Percy Blount _ did not do anything to prepare for the sentencing hearing and turned down the judges offer to give them more time.

Mondays stay gives the court time to decide whether Morrisons appeal should be granted. Previous attempts by Morrison to have him deemed mentally retarded have failed.

...Since 1976, Georgia has executed 33 convicts, according to the Washington D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center. Two people have been executed so far this year.

In the state, 116 people await execution on death row, the center reported.

Aftermath in Illinois

The higlights...
Death row reborn, but sentences decline

Just two men are waiting to die in the tiny cells on Illinois' once-empty death row, locked away in a hollow prison gallery that some predict could still be largely vacant years from now.

....Death sentences are running well behind the state's average of 11 a year in the decade before former Gov. George Ryan made news worldwide in January by pardoning four condemned prisoners and sparing the lives of 167 others.

....Capital punishment opponents hail the decline as a sign that executions are falling out of favor because of the furor over a flawed system that sent 17 men to death row who later were found to be wrongfully convicted.

Some prosecutors around the state acknowledge that death penalty cases probably have been stifled in the aftermath of Illinois' capital punishment debate, but not by a sense of justice.

Instead, they blame new legal requirements intended to safeguard death penalty cases, along with uncertainty over the Legislature's ongoing efforts to overhaul the system.

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, credit a reform already on the books that provided more state money for defendants, leveling the financial playing field in death penalty cases.

...Death sentences dipped from a decade-high 17 in 1996 to just three in 2001, the year after the defense fund was created, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

..."Though prosecutors are saying they are less apt to seek the death penalty, it appears they are still using it as a tool to hold over a defendant's head to bring about a possible plea agreement," Howard, capital case coordinator for the Cook County public defender, said.

...Coles County State's Attorney Steve Ferguson sent the first killer to Illinois' then-empty death row in February, when 27-year-old Anthony Mertz of Charleston was convicted of murdering Eastern Illinois University student Shannon McNamara in 2001.

Ferguson said he sought the death penalty for the first time in his 11 years as state's attorney because of the cold-blooded nature of the murder and evidence that linked Mertz to another killing two years earlier.

"It's not something that I celebrate, if you will, as a notch in the belt. But I guess what I feel good about is that we made the system work," he said.

Mertz was joined on death row in August by 61-year-old Curtis Thompson of Toulon, convicted in a 2002 shooting spree that killed Stark County deputy Adam Streicher and James and Janet Giesenhagen of Toulon.

Alan Streicher, the deputy's father, supported the death sentence, even though he thinks Thompson's life might be worse in a prison's general population rather than a private death row cell.

This story highlights one of the two reasons, we are against the death penalty. Of course, there are two reasons we are for the death penalty. And then there are two reasons we are not sure.

Broward detective says key evidence in murder was forgotten in his sock drawer

While two men sat in jail facing the death penalty, a detective kept evidence that could have cleared them at his home -- in a drawer with his athletic socks, he acknowledged on the witness stand Tuesday.

Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Thomas "Bill" Murray insisted repeatedly under questioning that he just forgot about an audiotape of two informants naming the real killers. As soon as he was asked for the tape, he turned it over to an agent from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he said.

"I completely forgot about it. I didn't do it intentionally," Murray said of his failure to turn over the tape for eight months.

He eventually did -- about four months after first-degree murder charges had been dropped against Stephen Rosati and Peter Roussonicolos.


Friday, October 03, 2003

October 3, 2003

...yea, it was gay bias. The bullet to the back of the 77-year old man's head while the victim watched television in a recliner, the taking the man's car and leaving the body in the chair and finally, five days later, bothered by the smell and dragging the body to a stable and burying it had nothing to do with it. It was gay bias.

Last meal: At 5 p.m., Hartman received his last meal -- a Greek salad, linguini with white clam sauce, cheese cake with cherry topping, garlic bread and a Coke.

The skinny: Hartman admitted to police that after drinking 16 beers he shot the 77-year-old victim in the head from close range while the man sat in a recliner and watched television. The vitim was a former boyfriend of Hartman's mother and Hartman was living at his house. Hartman told a friend the man was wealthy and carried thousands of dollars in his pocket. He took the man's car and left the body in the chair. Hartman wrote checks on the dead man's bank account. Five days later he returned and buried the body in a horse stable then led authorities there after learning he was a suspect.

Legal Machinations:In an appeal, defense lawyer Heather Wells of said a prosecutor unfairly referred to Hartman's homosexuality repeatedly during the trial.

After his conviction, he sought a life sentence based mostly on his traumatic upbringing, including suffering sexual abuse as an 8-year-old boy, when an uncle repeatedly made him perform oral sex.

Hartman's lawyers argued that he might have received life in prison instead of a death sentence if District Attorney David Beard had not improperly said several times in front of the trial jury that Hartman was gay, apparently trying to minimize his sexual abuse.

Each time, the judge told the jurors to disregard the improper remarks. But not a single juror concluded that Hartman's repeated sexual abuse mitigated his sentence, although factors such as seeing his mother's abuse and suicide attempts did.

The state's lawyers maintain that the jury didn't consider Hartman's childhood abuse a mitigating factor because there wasn't credible evidence of it.

The jury found that Hartman's robbery of Smith outweighed five mitigating factors, including Hartman's alcoholism.

Several gay organizations, gay officials and critics of the death penalty had urged Easley, a former district attorney, to grant Hartman clemency and publicly disapprove of Beard's tactics.

Last Words and such: Hartman issued no final statement. He appeared to say "hi" or "hey" to attorney Heather Wells through a window shortly after he was brought into the death chamber and then smiled before turning away.

He didn't acknowledge any of the other 11 people who watched his execution, choosing to alternately close his eyes and stare at the ceiling until prison medical workers began to administer the lethal drugs.

Factoids: About 100 people opposed to the death penalty gathered outside the prison late Thursday, many holding candles and singing. Eight or nine protesters sat in a driveway blocking traffic into the prison. No arrests were reported.

Hartman's execution was the state's fourth in six weeks.

Hartman was the....

57th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
877th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2003
27th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976