Friday, August 19, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A Virginia inmate who was sentenced to death for raping and killing an elderly woman in 2001 is facing an August execution.
Jerry Terrell Jackson, 29, is scheduled to be executed Aug. 18 for the murder of 88-year-old Ruth Phillips of Williamsburg.
A nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental forced many states to substitute pentobarbital, but some have questioned its use. Defense attorneys called for an investigation after a Georgia inmate executed last week using the new drug appeared to struggle during the lethal injection.
Courts have ruled that the change in drugs is not significant enough to postpone executions.
Attorneys for Jackson did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment. They are likely to appeal Jackson's case to the U.S. Supreme Court and ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to commute his sentence to life in prison.
"Justice will finally be carried out for the commonwealth and the family of Mrs. Ruth Phillips," Attorney General's Office spokesman Brian Gottstein said.
"I think it's about time. I think it's really overdue," said Richard Phillips, Ruth Phillips' son, who found his mother dead after she failed to show up for church. "The law is the law, and if we don't respect the law and stand by the law, what have we got? Nothing?"
Phillips said he does not plan to witness the execution.
"There have been times where you want to have vengeance, but that's not my thing," he said.
Ruth Phillips, a widow for 30 years, followed her son to Virginia from New Hampshire in the late '90s. She worked as a seamstress making slip covers and draperies until her death, Richard Phillips said.
Phillips said Jackson's attorneys should not try to fight the execution. Once it has been determined that Jackson was guilty and that the conviction was appropriate, "that's the time to hang it up," he said. He encouraged them to be concerned not only with their client, but with the victims.
"If they were really thinking about compassion and justice, they would let it go," he said.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 21, 2010
JARRATT -- Darick Demorris Walker was executed by injection tonight for the separate killings of two Richmond men.
Walker, 37, was pronounced dead at 9:24 p.m., said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections. It was the second execution in the state this year and the 107th since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976.
At 8:55 p.m., Walker, a tall man wearing sandals and blue prison clothing, was escorted into the death chamber by officers. He was cooperative and appeared calm as he looked around the room and toward the witness viewing area, where one of the witnesses included his lawyer, Danielle Spinelli.
He was strapped into the gurney and a curtain was pulled to block the view while the IV lines were placed into his arms.
The curtains were opened again at 9:15 p.m. Asked if he had a last statement to make, Walker said, "Last words being: I don't think y'all done this right, took y'all too long to hook it up. You can print that. That's it." He was apparently referring to the intravenous lines used to administer the lethal injection.
Traylor later explained that there was a delay in placing one of the IV lines.
The first of three chemicals used in the execution began flowing. He took several deep breaths, his breathing grew shallower and then it stopped.
He was pronounced dead at 9:24 p.m. and the curtain was drawn again.
Outside the Greensville Correctional Center, where the execution took place, four death penalty protesters stood in silence, holding candles. They declined to comment.
State law permits the death penalty for someone who commits two premeditated murders within three years. Testimony and other evidence at his 1998 trial showed Walker shot two men to death in front of loved ones.
Rest of the story.....
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A jury sentenced Powell to death, but an appeals court said that decision was wrong. The judges said there was no proof Powell sexually assaulted teenager Stacie Reed before killing her. That meant life in prison, not death.
Thinking he was off the hook, Powell wrote a stinging letter to prosecutor Paul Ebert:
[Since]"...The Virginia Supreme Court said that I can't be charged with capital murder again, I figured I would tell you the rest of what happened on January 29, 1999 to show you how stupid all of y'all (expletive) are."
Powell's taunting letter described in detail how he tried to rape Stacie Reed before he stabbed her. He then told how he raped her younger sister Kristie and slashed her throat. Kristie survived and still bears scars. She identified Powell as the attacker.
In the letter, Powell told the prosecutors he was confessing because double jeopardy prevented prosecutors from seeking the death again.
"I no longer have to worry about the death penalty," he wrote. "And y'all are supposed to be so goddamn smart."
It turns out - prosecutors were still smarter. They threw out the original indictment. Another jury sentenced Powell to death, this time based on his own confession.
Double jeopardy applies when a person has been acquitted, but not when a conviction is overturned.
Neither the governor nor the Supreme Court will step in.
Paul Powell will die in the electric chair at 9 p.m. TONIGHT night.