Friday, November 03, 2006

October 18, 2006

...Wilcher asked for a conjugal visit with a woman who had been a juror in one of his trials, but the request was denied....

Last Meal: Wilcher had a final request of two dozen jumbo fried shrimp with tarter sauce and ketchup, two large orders of fried onion rings and french fries, one raw regular onion, six pieces of garlic bread, two cold 32 oz. Cokes, two 32 oz. strawberry milkshakes. The request for his final meal is similar to what he ordered in July. Wilcher said his plan is to share the meal with prison personnel, but the prison commissioner said he won't allow that.

Wilcher declined breakfast and drank only coffee. Wilcher's last meal was served at 12:45 p.m. instead of the traditional 4 p.m. It was moved for logistical purposes to allow more time for things such as a haircut for Wilcher.

The skinny: Bobby Glen Wilcher was executed for the brutal killings of two women in Mississippi in 1982.

More skinny: Wilcher met the two victims at a bar and at closing time persuaded the women to take him home. Under this pretext, he directed the women down a deserted service road in a National Forest where he robbed and brutally murdered the women by stabbing them a total of 46 times.

Thereafter, Wilcher was stopped for speeding between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. He was alone and was driving one victim's car. The victims' purses and one victim's brassiere were on the back seat. Wilcher was covered in blood; he had a bloody knife in his back pocket that had flesh on the blade. Wilcher explained his condition by telling the policeman that he had cut his thumb while skinning a possum. The officer followed Wilcher to the hospital, where Wilcher's wound was cleaned and covered with a band-aid. Another officer was called to the hospital to observe Wilcher, the knife, the car, the purses, and the brassiere. The officers left the hospital on an emergency call. Wilcher went home. The next morning, he abandoned the car at an apartment complex. Wilcher also threw the victims' purses and some of the victims' clothing in a ditch. He was arrested later that day. The victims' jewelry was subsequently found in Wilcher's bedroom.

Close: In July, Wilcher received a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court after the court said it needed more time to consider the case.

Leading up to: Wilcher on Wednesday asked for a conjugal visit with a woman who had been a juror in one of his trials, but the request was denied. Wilcher and the woman had developed a friendship. She was allowed a non-contact visit with Wilcher, along with his attorney and a paralegal. However, his lawyer said Wilcher did not ask for a conjugal visit. He said Wilcher sought a "contact" visit with the woman, which means they could speak in the same room. "This is very different from a conjugal visit, which clearly has sexual connotations....the Commissioner knows the difference."

Notes from the prison: Inmate Wilcher ate his last meal at approximately 12:45 p.m. today and took a shower at 4:15 p.m. He has requested no sedative and has chosen not to participate in communion. Inmate Wilcher remains under observation. As reported earlier, Wilcher is somber and quiet. Wilcher got only an hour of sleep Tuesday night because he was writing goodbye letters.

Last words and such: Wilcher said before his execution that he didn't want a sedative but changed his mind as the time neared.

He was strapped to a gurney with nine wide, tan leather straps. He was dressed in a red prison jumpsuit and white socks. A big man who weighed between 315 and 345 pounds, Wilcher's long dark hair was clean and combed, his goatee streaked with white.

Wilcher said only three words during the final 11 minutes of his life. Offered a chance to make a final statement, he said: "I have none.

At his request, none of Wilcher's family attended his execution.

Factoids: Wilcher was the...

45th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1049th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Mississippi in 2006
8th murderer executed in Mississippi since 1976

It took 24 years for Wilcher's execution to be carried out

About eight anti-death penalty activists gathered on the penitentiary grounds before the execution.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

October 18, 2006

...He had the same meal in January, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped his execution just minutes before he was to be executed....

Last Meal: Rutherford has a final meal request of fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, fried eggplant, hush puppies and sweet tea. He had the same meal in January, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped his execution just minutes before he was to be executed.

The skinny: Rutherford, 57, a handyman, was executed for the 1985 murder of a woman who had hired him.

More skinny: Rutherford was hired by the 63-year old woman to do a series of odd jobs, including replacing her sliding glass patio doors. She expressed concern about him to her friends. Her naked body was later found submerged in the bathtub of her home, dead from drowning or asphyxiation. Police found Rutherford's fingerprints and palm prints in the bathroom where she was killed.

At his trial, two witnesses testified that Rutherford asked for their help in cashing a $2,000 check on the victim's bank account. Rutherford forged her name on the check and took Heaton to a bank, where she cashed the check. Several friends and relatives testified that Rutherford had told them of his intentions to rob a lady and leave her in the bathtub, but no one took him seriously. The victim had a broken arm, bruises on her face and arms, and three severe head wounds.

The trial Judge sentenced Rutherford to death following a 7-5 jury vote recommending death.

Legal Machinations: Rutherford had maintained his innocence, claiming a witness in the case had confessed to the crime. The courts had continuously rejected that claim, along with his challenges to the lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment.

The latest challenge revolved around the Florida Department of Corrections' adoption of a document in August laying out the execution process. The document included new details about the amounts of drugs injected, the drug and alcohol testing of executioners and a cutdown procedure when a vein can't be located. The department didn't publicly release the document until this week, leading Rutherford's attorneys to ask for a stay of execution to review it. The Florida Supreme Court rejected that argument Tuesday and the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit Wednesday.

Leading up to: On Wednesday morning, Rutherford had last visits with more than a dozen relatives, including his father, children, grandchildren, sisters and brothers. None of his relatives attended the execution.

Last words and such: Rutherford nodded to someone in the front row but made no final statement. He declined to take a sedative before receiving the injection.

At 6:11, the first of two blue-smocked and hooded medical personnel entered the death chamber, checked Rutherford's vitals and departed, the last with a nod to warden Randall Bryant. ''The sentence of the state of Florida vs. Arthur Rutherford has been carried out at 6:13,'' said an assistant warden at Florida State Prison.

Factoids: Rutherford was

44th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1048th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Florida in 2006
62nd murderer executed in Florida since 1976

He is the 19th inmate to be executed during the tenure of Gov. Jeb Bush.

About 50 anti-death penalty protesters held a vigil across the highway from the maximum-security prison while the execution was taking place. No one supporting the death penalty made a public showing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

September 20, 2006

... Florida leads the country in exonerations of prisoners on Death Row, with 22 since 1973. ...

Last Meal: Hill requested no special last meal and prison officials said he refused a meal that included tacos, beans, a tossed salad and apple crisp.

The skinny: Hill was executed for the killing of a Pensacola cop during a botched bank robbery in 1982.

More skinny: Hill and a friend, Cliff Jackson, drove from Mobile to Pensacola in a stolen car to rob the Freedom Federal Savings Bank. When an alarm went off, Hill ran out the back door and Jackson fled out the front door. A Pensacola police officer was one of the first on the scene. Along with Officer Larry Bailly, they arrested Jackson and were attempting to handcuff him when Hill approached them from behind and began shooting. The officer died in the shootout, and partner Larry Bailly was wounded. Hill was shot five times and was caught a short time later.

Hill's trial began on April 25, 1983 and concluded on April 29, 1983, with the jury finding Hill guilty of both first-degree murder and felony murder as alleged in Count I. The sentencing phase began on April 29 and as a result, the jury returned a 10-2 death recommendation.

Accomplice Jackson pled guilty and was given a life sentence.

The victim's portrait hangs in the lobby of the Pensacola police station as a ''vivid reminder'' of what can happen in police work.

A close call: Hill had been strapped to the death gurney once before, in January, and was moments away from execution then when the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution so he could challenge Florida's method of lethal injection on the grounds it violated his civil rights. That was unsuccessful.

His death came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeal on a 5-4 vote.

Leading up to: Hill received visits from defense attorney D. Todd Doss, a death row advocate and the inmate's wife, Serena Mangano, of Modino, Italy, who married him in June in a no-contact wedding at Florida State Prison in Starke. Mangano visited him again Wednesday.

Last words and such: Hill, 48, was revealed to witnesses already strapped to a hospital bed, intravenous tubes visible and his head and hands restrained by leather straps. Hill did not respond when warden Randall Bryant asked him at 6 p.m. if he had any last words. He stared, unblinking, at the ceiling in the death house. At 6:02, Hill blinked several times before heavy lids drooped to near closed and his chest rose visibly twice. He showed no further signs of life. A blue-cloaked and hooded medical staffer came in at 6:11 to check Hill's vitals, followed by a similarly clothed doctor to check Hill with a stethoscope. After two nods to Bryant from the anonymous member of the execution team, the warden declared Hill dead.

Factoids: Hill was the...

43rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1047th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Florida in 2006
61st murderer executed in Florida since 1976

FLORIDA: Hill's execution came within days of a lengthy American Bar Association study that says Florida complies with only eight of 93 ABA legal standards covering death penalty cases. Florida also leads the country in exonerations of prisoners on Death Row, with 22 since 1973.

The ABA made 11 recommendations for change in Florida, including a requirement that Florida juries unanimously recommend the death sentence as they do in the 37 other death-penalty states. Today, jurors need only recommend death by a majority vote, and judges have the final say. Though it apparently hasn't happened since 1999, the report says, a judge has the authority to override a jury's recommendation of life in prison and sentence the convicted person to death.

With Hill's execution, there are 376 men and no women left on Florida's Death Row.

BULLET LAST MEAL...Details to follow...soon, we hope.

November 1, 2006

Two double meat bacon burgers, bbq ribs, freedom fries, onion rings, root beer soda, banana split ice cream and peach cobbler.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

September 12, 2006

..A moment later he went on to thank his supporters, who included French actress Brigitte Bardot....

Last Meal: Matchett had a final meal request of four olives and a bottle of wild-berry flavored water.

The skinny: Matchett, a former crack addict, was executed for the murder of a Houston house painter committed will on a three-day crime spree to support his $600-a-day crack cocaine habit.

More skinny: Matchett was a crack addict in desperate need of a fix. A day earlier in Huntsville, he killed a 74-year-old woman with a meat hammer after she refused to give him money. The day before that, he severely beat a 91-year-old woman for the same reason. Today, he randomly knocked on doors in a northeast Houston neighborhood before he appeared at the male victim's doorstep to ask for money. The man, who was related to Matchett by marriage, lectured him about his drug habit. The victim, who was home alone, was attacked by Matchett. His body was found two days later.The 52-year-old father of four had been stabbed twice in the back and his head badly beaten with a hammer.

Matchett was arrested when he tried to cash one of the man's personal checks. Matchett confessed to Houston police about the three-day crime spree and later pleaded guilty to the man's murder. Matchett later accepted plea deals in the Huntsville murders. He received a life prison sentence for the murder, and 99 years in prison for attacking the woman.

His story: At 13, Matchett began to hang out on the streets and run errands for drug dealers and prostitutes. The bottom really fell out of his life when his 11-year-old sister was raped. Matchett said he blamed himself for not being around to protect her.

He dropped out of school and joined the U.S. Army, but soon learned that the life of solitude he had sought would not be found in the military. Matchett "lost interest" and was discharged in 1981 for being absent without leave, fighting with a private and possession of marijuana. After the Army, Matchett worked as a truck driver, school bus driver and landscaper. He could make it through the week, but come Friday his addiction took hold and he "binge smoked." "You couldn't get me to do nothing on the weekend," he said with a smile.

Leading up to: During a recent interview from death row, the 43-year-old spoke about his life before and after drugs, his court case and what he considers an unfair shake at the legal system with his state-appointed counsel. "I live every day with what happened, and I regret what happened," he said. "How much remorse does society want me to show?"

Last words and such: He began his final statement by telling his family: "I love you all. Stay strong, and know that I am in a better place." He then addressed members of victim Uries Anderson's family, who witnessed the execution. Matchett, who is related to the Anderson family by marriage, asked for their forgiveness. He said he hoped they "found peace" in their hearts through his death. He then said, "Into thy hands I command my spirit." A moment later he went on to thank his supporters, who included French actress Brigitte Bardot. "Don't let this be the end," he said. "Keep going." His voice trailed off as the lethal injection took effect.

Factoids: Matchett was the...

42nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1046th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
21st murderer executed in Texas in 2006
376th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Texas has six more executions scheduled this year.

More Bardot: The actress has sent an open letter to Texas governor Rick Perry asking him to pardon Matchett before he was executed. Bardot states she's convinced that Matchett, 43, was acting in self-defence when he stabbed his victim in 1991. Matchett has been incarcerated for 13 years. In her letter, Bardot writes, "This man has unintentionally committed a serious fault, since he acted in self-defence. "He is not a gangster, not a child's rapist, not a serial killer either... I beg you to please pardon Farley Matchett. "Dear Mr Governor, by according your pardon, your mercy to Farley Matchett to live, you would make me a wonderful favour (sic) and I will always be thankful to you."

Monday, October 30, 2006

August 31, 2006

...Frazier said that he felt no remorse for the victims. "Driving down the highway," he said, "you see a raccoon on the side of the road. It just got run over by a truck. Do you have any remorse? You didn't even know that raccoon, did you?"...

Last Meal: Frazier made no final meal request.

The skinny: Frazier was executed for the slayings of a mother and her teenage son at their home.

More skinny: Frazier and co-defendant Jermaine Herron knocked on the door of the victim's mobile home, claiming car trouble and needing to make a phone call. The mother, age 41, invited them in, gave them iced tea and offered to drive them in her pickup the 10 miles to town.

When she went out to start her vehicle, Frazier followed her. When she went back into the house, he shot her in the face with a 9-millimeter handgun. He then shot her again in the back of the head. Herron shot the 15-year old son one time in the head and three more times in the chest and abdominal area with a 9-millimeter handgun.

Frazier and the co-defendant then took the pickup and fled the scene. The husband found the bodies of his wife and son when he arrived home from work. Frazier and Herron had earlier showed up at a home near the residence and inquired about work. During the visit, they spotted guns in the house and decided to return to steal them. They came back the next day when the people who lived there were gone, broke in, sat around drinking in the house and watched as the victim drove up to her place. Then they walked over and told her the story about their car breaking down. After the shooting, they used her truck to carry loot from the neighbor's house, including some clothing Frazier was wearing when he was arrested in Victoria, about 30 miles to the north. The truck was found parked outside Frazier's apartment and items taken from the burglary were recovered from his girlfriend. Frazier's fingerprints were inside the truck.

Upon arrest, both Herron and Frazier admitted to the crimes in separate confessions. Frazier blamed the slayings on Herron. Herron, testifying at his own trial, blamed them on Frazier.

Frazier had an earlier conviction for aggravated assault for shooting a man and a juvenile conviction for robbery. When he was arrested for the killings, he had assault charges pending against him. In May 2006, Jermaine Herron was executed by the State of Texas for these crimes.

Interviews: Frazier gave a television interview in April 2006, when a previous execution date was approaching. In the interview, Frazier said that he felt no remorse for the victims. "Driving down the highway," he said, "you see a raccoon on the side of the road. It just got run over by a truck. Do you have any remorse? You didn't even know that raccoon, did you?"

Frazier blamed a coerced confession for convincing a jury to convict him of capital murder and the decision that he should be put to death. "I wasn't there. I did not commit the crime," Frazier, also known by his Muslim name, Hasan al-Shakur, said last week from death row.

But Michael Sheppard, the Refugio County district attorney who prosecuted Frazier and Herron, said Frazier was "cool as a cucumber" as he talked about the June 26, 1997, slayings. "There are videotapes," Sheppard said of Frazier's discussions with detectives following his arrest. "He's sitting on a couch, drinking a Coke. "In his confession he talked about details only someone in the house would know, where the bodies were, how many bullets were in them, where they were shot.

Last words and such: "I am innocent. An innocent man is being put to death. I've professed my innocence for nine years and I will continue to profess my innocence for another nine years," Frazier said. He repeatedly told the woman he married by proxy that he loved her.

"Tell my people we must continue on. Do not give up the fight. Do not give up hope. We can make it happen," he said. After again expressing love to the woman, who was sobbing as she watched through a window a few feet away, he told her: "Stay strong, Baby. I love you forever." He was urging her to smile as the lethal drugs began taking effect.

"He deserved just what he got, only a lot worse," Jerry Nutt, who lost his wife and only child in the killings, said after watching Frazier die. He also witnessed Herron's execution. "I just wish I could have done it myself," he said. "I'd kind of liked to have been the one to push the button. "I know that sounds pretty cold, but when you lose someone like I've lost, my wife and son, and you hear animals like that, playing the system, getting a stay, cruel and unusual punishment is us waiting on justice."

Factoids: Frazier was the....

41st murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1045th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
20th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
375th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Frazier was the 20th Texas prisoner executed this year, one more than all of last year in the nation's most active death penalty state. At least seven other executions are scheduled for the remainder of year.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

August 31, 2006 killer....

Last Meal: Malicot had a final meal request of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, biscuits, Dr Pepper and an apple pie.

The skinny: Malicoat, 31, was executed for the beating death of his 13-month old daughter.

More skinny: Malicoat was alone at home with his 13-month old daughter while her mother was at work. He had lived with the girl and her mother for 19 days, worked nights and cared for the child during the day. During that time she suffered abdominal bleeding, broken ribs, bite marks and extensive bruising.

According to the medical examiner’s report, the baby died from two subdural hematomas and abdominal bleeding caused by injuries Malicoat inflicted. Malicoat admitted hitting her head on a dresser a few days before she died and punching her twice in the stomach the day she died, causing her to stop breathing.

Malicoat used CPR to revive her before lying down beside her to take a nap. When he awoke, Malicoat noticed she was dead. He put her in her crib and covered her with a blanket before going back to sleep. When Leadford’s mother returned from work, the couple rushed the child to the emergency room, but staff there determined she had been dead for several hours. Mary Leadford was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in jail for not protecting her child from the abuse of which she was keenly aware. A Grady County jury took only half an hour to decide the father’s fate.

Last words and such: When the curtains to the execution chamber were lifted, Malicoat -- strapped to a gurney and wearing glasses -- turned his head to the witness room, smiled and gave a small wave. Shortly before his execution, Malicoat apologized for the murder. "I just want everybody to know how sorry I am this thing had to happen; any of it," he said. "I am sorry I caused the death of another human being. There is nothing I can do to change it. Contrary to what some people believe I spent many years going over it in my head. It's never left me. I hope someday people involved in it will move on." He thanked his witnesses for supporting him, then said, "That's just about it."

"He died within a few seconds of injection," said Grady County District Attorney Bret Burns, who helped prosecute Malicoat and attended the execution. "You can't say that for his victim. (She) took 19 days to die." Burns said he respected Malicoat for offering remorse, but that Malicoat needed to be executed for his crime.

No members of the baby's family attended the execution, nor did Malicoat's adoptive mother.

Factoids: Malicoat was the....

40th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1044th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Oklahoma in 2006
83rd murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

Outside the prison gates, a prayer vigil was held for the girl's family and Malicoat. Bryan Brooks, the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Muskogee, said 10 similar vigils were being held at places across the state, including the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City. "For us as Catholics, it's part of our way of showing we believe in the dignity of all human life," Brooks said. "We believe that all human life is sacred and that each and every person has dignity from the moment of conception until a natural death, both victims of violence and people executed because of those murders."