Friday, November 12, 2004

November 12, 2004

Last Meal: A Pizza Hut thin-crust, medium pizza topped with extra cheese, pepperoni, ham, Canadian bacon, mushrooms and black olives served with iced milk.

The skinny: Chandler was executed at 2 a.m. for breaking into a home hoping to steal marijuana and killing the 90-year-old woman who lived there. He had been drinking and thought he was breaking into a home where he had gotten drugs,

More skinny: The victim, a ninety-year-old widow who lived alone, was found on her bed in a pool of blood, killed during a burglary of her home. She was nude from the waist down, partially covered by a sheet.

Forced entry was found at the rear of her home and Chandler's fingerprints were found inside on a door to the kitchen. Death was caused by a blow to the head. At trial, Chandler attempted to explain away his fingerprints by admitting that he broke into the house, but that he was startled by a scream, turned and accidentally struck the victim. The jury was not impressed, although they did find him not guilty of attempted rape.

The death sentence for Chandler earned opposition from a staunch supporter of capital punishment who said the circumstances merited a lesser sentence. The jury said the circumstances of the death included aggravating factors that justified the death penalty. But State Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr -- ordinarily a death penalty supporter -- said that was wrong, because Chandler didn’t kill for money.

Leading up to: Chandler was allowed visitors until 11 p.m. From then, he had until 1 a.m. to meet with a chaplain or spend time alone. At 1 a.m., the warden was to tell him to prepare to die.

Last words and such: Chandler made no final statement.

Factoids: Chandler was the...

58th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
943th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2004
34th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

November 10, 2004 dessert in the catacombs of justice...

Last Meal: For his final meal, McWilliams requested six fried chicken breasts with ketchup, french fries, six layer lasagna (ground chicken, beef, cheese, minced tomatoes, noodles and sauteed onions), six egg rolls, shrimp fried rice and soy sauce, six chimichangas with melted cheese and salsa, six slices of turkey with liver and gizzard dressing, dirty rice, cranberry sauce and six lemonades with extra sugar.

The skinny: McWilliams was executed for the fatal shooting of a man during a car theft.

More skinny:
McWilliams and friends Kenneth Adams and Richard Hawkins were driving around Houston looking for a car to steal for use in robberies when they happened upon the victim asleep inside his parked car.

Shaking him from his sleep, McWilliams and his accomplices attempted to put the victim in the trunk of his car. When he resisted, McWilliams shot him once in the head at point-blank range.

The killing occurred in the middle of a crime spree by McWilliams and accomplices in Waller and Harris counties. A week later, Adams was stopped for speeding. A search of the car yielded several firearms, one of which was identified as the gun that killed the man. During questioning by investigating officers, Adams confessed and implicated McWilliams. After being arrested, McWilliams at first tried to put the blame on Adams, then admitted to shooting the victim. Adams received a life sentence.

Dreams dashed: McWilliams, was a former warehouse worker whose hopes for a career as an architect were derailed by armed robbery convictions, was on probation when he was arrested for the beating and shooting of the victim.

Leading up to..."Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could take that whole day back," said McWilliams, whose middle name is Patrick and is known on death row as "Freddie P." Three of his upper front teeth were capped in gold with the initials P, E and E engraved in gothic letters. PEE.

Last words and such: "Well, here we are again folks in the catacombs of justice." He said there was much he wanted to say but "not a whole to say." "There are people that will be mad thinking I try to seek freedom from this, but as long as I see, freedom belongs to me and I'll keep on keeping on. The shackles and chains that just might hold my body can't hold my mind, but will kill me otherwise." Addressing his mother and family members who attended, McWilliams said, ""I leave my love here. I am never going to stop loving you. My love is going to stay here."

Factoids: McWilliams was the....

57th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
942nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
22nd murderer executed in Texas in 2004
335th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

November 9, 2004

...these Friday Night Lights have been turned off...

Last Meal: A big cheeseburger, lots of french fries, apple pie, three Cokes and five mint sticks.

The skinny: McCullum, 30, was executed for the abduction, robbery, beating and fatal shooting of a Houston man.

McCullum was arrested the day in he was supposed to leave for Tyler Junior College, where he had an athletic scholarship to play quarterback.

However, authorities linked him and several football-player companions to a series of robberies and assaults around Houston, culminating in the slaying of the 29-year-old victim.

More skinny: Friendly and sociable, McCullum was voted "Mr. Aldine" by his high school classmates.

McCullum, who was 19 when he was arrested, blamed his actions on a lack of maturity. "I wasn't one of those that had goals," he said recently from death row. "I was one of those that whatever the wind was blowing."

Prosecutors said the victim, who had moved to Houston from Toledo, Ohio, was approached by McCullum, who needed money to buy clothes for school, and three of his buddies outside a Houston gay club. Authorities believed the four were looking for easy money and figured a homosexual made a good target.

McCullum disputed that, "That wasn't the case at all," he said. "This guy approached us. The dude was drunk and high."

The man was beaten and taken away in his own car, was forced to withdraw $400 from an automated bank machine, then was shot in the back of the head. His body was dumped miles from where he was abducted, and the car was abandoned and torched three blocks from where one of his attackers lived.

Also arrested were Terrance Perro, Decedrick Gainous and Christopher Lewis. Gainous, who also was to have played football with McCullum at Tyler Junior College, and Perro received life prison terms. Lewis testified against McCullum and got a 15-year sentence. He was recently paroled.

Last words and such: "I just wanted to say to all of those that have supported me over the years that I appreciate it and I love you. And I just want to tell my Mom that I love her and I will see her in heaven."

The victim's mother was among four witnesses to watch McCullum die, but he did not acknowledge her presence.

Factoids: McCullum was the...

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
941st murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
21st murderer executed in Texas in 2004
334th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

November 4, 2004

...the jury took 13 minutes to decide he should be put to death....

Last Meal: Morrow had a final meal request of ten pieces of crispy fried chicken (leg quarters), two double meat, double cheese burgers with sliced onions, pickles, tomatoes, mayo, ketchup, salt, pepper and lettuce, one small chef salad with chopped ham and thousand island dressing, one large order of french fries cooked with onions, five big buttermilk biscuits with butter, four jalapeno peppers, two sprites, two cokes, one pint of rocky road ice cream, one bowl of peach cobbler or apple pie.

The skinny: Morrow was executed for the fatal beating and slashing of a 21-year-old college student who was abducted while home in Texas on spring break.

More skinny: The victim, who months before her death had overcome a battle with thyroid cancer, was home from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where she was working toward a degree in hotel management. She was taken from a car wash near her home and her body was found the next day in the Trinity River. Authorities determined she had suffered 42 injuries.

A witness told authorities he saw a man fitting Morrow's description lying on top of the girl in the passenger side of a car at the car wash. She didn't appear to be struggling and he dismissed the activity as nothing more than boyfriend and girlfriend, then saw them drive away in the direction of the river.

The car later was found abandoned. Morrow, who had previous convictions for burglary, weapons possession and larceny in South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas, was arrested nearly four months later walking near a crack house in Houston. A computer check revealed he was wanted for the slaying.

At his trial and in interviews with reporters, the 10th-grade dropout gave multiple stories about his case, including acknowledging involvement in her death, claiming a relationship with her and blaming someone else. Prosecutors called the girl a victim of a random crime and disputed some of Morrow's comments. "I caught him in several lies," said Mike Little, the Liberty County district attorney who prosecuted Morrow. "I think the jury saw through what he was saying very quickly."

After a 10-week trial, the jury took 13 minutes to decide he should be put to death.

Leading up to..."I wish it didn't happen, but I can't change it," Morrow said recently from death row. "When you do drugs, there's no telling what can happen. I did that night and it got out of hand."

Last words and such: Morrow addressed the parents of his victim by name and told them, "I would like to tell you that I am responsible, and I am sorry for what I did and the pain I caused." He expressed love to his friends and said he had been blessed that they stood by him. Morrow urged them to stay strong. "Set me free, warden. Father, accept me." As he waited for the lethal drugs to take effect, he turned again, looking through a window at his victim's relatives and added, "I do hope my death brings you all some closure." Then he blurted out, "I feel it" and gasped slightly three times.

The execution was delayed briefly as prison officials had difficulty finding suitable veins in the former drug user's arms. Instead they selected veins at the top of each hand for the needles.

No last-day appeals were filed to try to block the punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court two weeks ago refused to review his case.

Factoids: Morrow was the....

55th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
940th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
20th murderer executed in Texas in 2004
333rd murderer executed in Texas since 1976

this is an audio post - click to play

The final meal request for DeMarco Markeith McCullum, Texas, November 9, 2004.

McCullum had a final meal request of a big cheeseburger, lots of french fries, three cokes, apple pie and five mint sticks.