Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October 26, 2005

..."This is not a death, it is a lynching"....

Last Meal: Gray declined a last meal and a sedative.

The skinny: Gray was executed for his role in the April 1991 rapes and murders of two young women who Gray and his friends encountered by chance after a night spent drinking and smoking marijuana.

More skinny: Gray and three companions encountered two sisters and their cousin. The two groups chatted briefly, then parted. After a few minutes, Gray and his group returned and sexually assaulted the sisters. The sisters and their cousin were pushed off the bridge. The cousin survived the 70-foot fall and swam ashore and testified at the trial of the three men and one teenager who were also on the bridge that night. One girl's body was recovered in Caruthersville three weeks later. The other body was never found.

The others: Daniel Winfrey, who was 15 at the time of the murders, is serving a 30-year sentence after pleading guilty to nine charges, including two counts each of second-degree murder and forcible rape, and agreeing to testify against the other men. Reginald Clemens is on death row. The Missouri Supreme Court reduced Antonio Richardson's death sentence to life in prison because he was sentenced to death by a judge, not a jury.

Last words and such: In an interview Thursday, Gray said: "This is murder to me. I will not participate or let my family participate."

His last words... "I go forward now on wings built by the love and support of my family and friends. I go with a peace of mind that comes from never having taken a human life. I forgive those who have hardened their hearts to the truth and I pray they ask forgiveness for they know not what they do. This is not a death, it is a lynching."

Factoids: Gray was the...

45th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
989th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in Missouri in 2005
66th murderer executed in Missouri since 1976

Gray's advocates and opponents of the death penalty have argued that the 38-year-old was not on the bridge when the girls were pushed to their deaths. There were 67 opponents and 4 in favor of the death penalty outside the prison.

October 25, 2005

...Labor Day Massacre...

Last Meal: Williams opted not to request the customary special dinner that condemned inmates are allowed to choose before execution. Williams had asked only for a cup of coffee.

The skinny: Williams, a cocaine dealer, was executed for killing four men in a bid to seize control of the drug trade in a Youngstown housing project.

In a city once called the nation's crime capital, Williams' wanted to be like the dons of the Youngstown underworld who had battled for control of rackets as part of a feud between the Cleveland and Pittsburgh mobs. According to police and prosecutors, he may have killed up to 10 other people but never was charged.

More skinny: Williams had returned to his hometown of Youngstown in 1991 after serving a prison stint in California for dealing cocaine and sought to reclaim control of drug sales in a public housing project.

In what became known as the "Labor Day Massacre," Williams recruited three juvenile accomplices: his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Jessica M. Cherry; her brother, Dominic M. Cherry; and Dominic Cherry's seventeen-year-old "cousin", Broderick Boone to set up the three men who had taken over the drug trade.

Williams equipped the juveniles with walkie-talkies, guns, and diagrams of the home of one of his rivals. The juveniles entered the home and subdued one victim, then Williams entered. Two others were lured to the location. They were bound, along with a friend who came to visit, a recently discharged Air Force Sgt. Going from room to room, Williams shot each of the four victims in the head with one of the victim's gun.

The group left the house but Williams went back in “to make sure they were all dead”. Later, back at his apartment, Williams embraced his juvenile accomplices and rewarded them with drugs. He warned them not to tell anyone what they had done or he would kill them.

Shortly after his arrest as a suspect in the murders, Williams and a group of other inmates escaped from a county jail. A few months later, he broke into a juvenile jail where his three accomplices in the murders were being held, apparently intending to kill them because they had cooperated with police. Williams took a guard and a receptionist hostage but was unable to get in and eventually surrendered peacefully.

Last words and such: Before Williams died, he winked and blew a kiss to his adult daughter, Jameka, and thanked her and his brother and uncle for being witnesses. "I'm not going to waste no time talking about my lifestyle, my case, my punishment. Y'all stick together. Don't worry about me. I'm OK."

Factoids: Williams was the...

44th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
988th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Ohio in 2005
18th murderer executed in Ohio since 1976

Two other inmates are slated for execution next month.

October 20. 2005

..."I didn't even have a parking ticket on my record."....

Last Meal: Ramirez had no final meal request.

The skinny: Ramirez was executed for organizing and carrying out a murder-for-hire scheme that culminated with the shotgun slaying of a firefighter who was dating his ex-wife.

More skinny: The victim had been dating Ramirez's ex-wife. Ramirez remained obsessed with his ex-wife some two years after a divorce. Working with accomplice, Ramirez lured the man to a house under the pretense of repair job. The victim had a side job as an appliance repairman. He was handcuffed, taken to a chicken coop, shot twice with a shotgun and then buried on the rural property.

The body was found there more than a week later, after he had been reported missing when he failed to show up for work. An informant told police Ramirez had offered him $1,000 to participate in the killing but that money instead was paid to Edward Bell, who later was arrested in Tyler. Inside Bell's wallet were Ramirez's business card, a hand-drawn map to the home of Ramirez's ex-wife, a description of her vehicle and license plate number, all in Ramirez's handwriting. Also in Bell's vehicle was a pair of jeans covered with the victim's blood.

Bell's girlfriend took detectives to a spot where she said Bell tossed a pair of latex gloves. They found a glove and the keys to the victim's truck. Bell was convicted and received a life prison term. Ramirez got death. Ramirez has maintained his innocence.

Leading up to: "I didn't do this," Ramirez told a reporter in an interview the week before his execution. "I have no idea who did. I didn't even have a parking ticket on my record." Ramirez said that he was seventy miles away at the time of the murder, checking on some property.

Last words and such: "I did not kill your loved one. I wish I could tell you the reason why or give you some kind of solace. You lost someone you love very much, the same as my family and friends are going to lose in a few minutes. I am sure he died unjustly, just like I am. I did not murder him. I did not have anything to do with his death. It's OK. It's all right. I'm not afraid.''

Tom Green County District Attorney Steve Lupton and first assistant Bryan Clayton each said they have no doubt Ramirez deserved his end. ''What amazes me is that someone who's about to meet his maker lies until the very end,'' Clayton said. ''It underscores what a dangerous person he was.''

Factoids: Ramirez was the....

43rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
987th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
15th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
351st murderer executed in Texas since 1976

A handful of protesters stood at the end of the block on which the historic Huntsville ''Walls'' unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is located - yellow police tape and a sheriff's deputy barring them from coming closer.

As with all executions performed in Texas, Ramirez was killed in the historic, imposing red-brick building, constructed in 1848.

Texas has seven executions scheduled before the end of 2005.