April 9


Death row Pennsylvania: Condemned men with 2 death sentences

While Gov. Tom Wolf's moratorium on executions continues in Pennsylvania, 21 men -- each with 2 death sentences -- sit on death row.

Here are those men and what they did to deserve the death penalty.

Ralph Birdsong Ralph Birdsong, born Jan. 29, 1961, went to an alleged drug house in the 5700 block of North 17th Street, Philadelphia, on July 17, 1988, rang the doorbell and was let in by a resident who had known him for years. Once inside, Birdsong shot 5 people, killing 2. He then forced a girl out of the home and across the street where he raped and sodomized her. Along with the death penalty, Birdsong was sentenced to 52 1/2 to 105 years in prison.

Laquaille Bryant Laquaille Bryant, born Nov. 16, 1981, fatally shot Chante Wright and Octavia Green on Jan. 19, 2008. Wright had been a scheduled prosecution witness in the homicide trial of Haleem Bey and had returned to Philadelphia from a federal witness relocation program hours before her death. The FBI determined there were phone calls between Bey and Bryant in the hours before the murders. Police found Wright's body on the sidewalk and Green's body in the front passenger seat of a nearby parked car. Both women had been shot multiple times in the back, and Bryant's fingerprint was found on the vehicle.

Death row's worst: These men each face 3 or more death sentences in Pennsylvania

Terry Ray Chamberlain

Terry Ray Chamberlain, born April 19, 1952, killed his estranged wife, Sherri Chamberlain, and her boyfriend, Gregory Inman, in their Bradford County residence in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 1991. Sherri Chamberlain survived long enough to call a neighbor for help and identify her killer. Russell Cox

Russell Cox, born Sept. 25, 1967, was convicted of 2 counts of 1st-degree murder for the stabbing deaths of a mother and daughter in North Philadelphia on Feb. 26, 1986. Co-defendant, Percy Lee, 17 at the time of the murders, initially was sentenced to death. He was resentenced to 2 consecutive life terms. Lee had lived with the woman and her children prior to being evicted. The mother had been hog-tied and stabbed 48 times in the face, neck and chest. The daughter also had been bound, raped and stabbed 53 times. Cox also was convicted of rape.

Anthony James Dick

Anthony James Dick, born Feb. 2, 1964, pleaded guilty to 2 counts of 1st-degree murder for the Jan. 24, 2006 unprovoked shootings of his 19-month-old son and 4-year-old stepson in a Columbia County motel. Dick also shot his wife, who survived, and himself. Dick asked to be sentenced to death. A judge granted that request.

Anthony James Fiebiger

Anthony James Fiebiger, born July 14, 1963, described in news coverage as a sociopath, received 2 death sentences for murders committed in 1982 and 1989. Fiebiger and Joseph Morton had lured a 16-year-old girl into a Mount Washington park where they beat, kicked, strangled, raped and stabbed her, sodomized her with a foreign object and buried her in a shallow grave. The body was found on May 22, 1982. Fiebiger pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. Morton was sentenced to life in prison. Fiebiger also strangled his 53-year-old girlfriend on Feb. 28, 1989 and buried her body in a 55-gallon drum in Mingo Creek County Park in Washington County and poured car battery acid over the grave. Fiebiger pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death.

Ronald Gibson

Ronald Gibson, born June 24, 1967, was with 2 other men when a patron and an off-duty police officer were killed in a Philadelphia bar on Dec. 24, 1990. A jury convicted Gibson of 2 counts of 1st-degree murder and sentenced him to death.

Junius Burno

Junius Burno, born Oct. 13,1967, shot and killed 2 men in Allentown on April 13, 2003 during a botched robbery.

Kenneth Hairston

Kenneth Hairston, born June 17, 1951, fatally bludgeoned his wife and autistic teenage son with a sledgehammer on June 11, 2001, 2 weeks before he was to stand trial for allegedly sexually assaulting another family member. Firefighters found Hairston's wife and son when they responded to smoke coming from the Pittsburgh home. Hairston was found with several self-inflicted stab wounds. A jury convicted him of both murders and sentenced him to death.

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes, born Dec. 30, 1968, shot 2 McDonald's employees once -- each in the head -- while robbing the Chester County restaurant before opening hours on Jan. 8, 1989. 2 other employees on their way into the restaurant were able to avoid Hughes. One saw Hughes waving a gun at the manager, and the other saw an employee laying on the floor next to the safe signaling for him to leave. Both employees called police from a nearby store. Roger Judge

Roger Judge, born Dec. 8, 1961, killed his former girlfriend, Tabatha Mitchell, 15, and Christopher Outterbridge, 18, on Wyoming Avenue near 11th Street on Sept. 14, 1984 in Philadelphia. On June 14, 1987, Judge escaped from Holmesburg Prison. A year and a day later, Canadian authorities arrested Judge in Vancouver for robbery. He served 10 years in prison in Canada before being extradited to the United States.

Jerome Marshall Jerome Marshall, born Jan. 1, 1963, strangled Sharon Saunders, her 2-year-old daughter Karima Saunders and Myndi McKoy sometime between Jan. 19 to Jan. 25, 1983, when their bodies were discovered in a Philadelphia apartment. Marshall confessed that he became enraged when Saunders told him she was going to marry another man. According to Pennsylvania Supreme Court documents, he had sex with Sharon Saunders, and then while she slept, he put a clothes line around her neck and strangled her to death. He then went into McKoy's room to tie her up. When she awoke and began to scream, he found a knife and stabbed her in order to quiet her and tied her up. He then held her head under water in the bath tub until she no longer moved. He killed Karima, who had awoken and called for her mother, in the same way.

Landon D. May

Landon D. May, born July 4, 1982, along with Michael Bourgeois, tortured and killed Terry Smith, 49, and Lucy Smith, 51, in their Ephrata home on Sept. 5, 2001. The Smiths were Bourgeois' adoptive parents. The torture, according to court documents, was inflicted to obtain the Smiths' PINs for their ATM cards. May also sexually assaulted Lucy Smith. Bourgeois, 16 at the time of the murders, initially was sentenced to life without parole. He was resentenced in 2017 to 50 years to life.

Noel Montalvo

Noel Montalvo, born May 16, 1963, along with his brother, Milton Montalvo, broke into the East Philadelphia Street, York, apartment of Milton Montalvo's former girlfriend, Miriam Ascencio, 44, and killed her and her friend, Manuel Santana, 37, on April 19, 1988. In separate trials, both Montalvos were convicted and sentenced to death. Milton Montalvo's death sentences were overturned in 2017 and he awaits a resentencing hearing.

Craig Murphy Craig Murphy, born June 19, 1955, killed Raymond Gambrell on Jan. 22, 1981, in Philadelphia. He then killed Steven Brown, Gambrell's friend and a reluctant prosecution witness, on May 13, 1981. According Supreme Court documents, Murphy had accused Gambrell of previously breaking into his mother's house. At gunpoint, he forced Brown into a car with 2 of Murphy's cohorts and escorted Gambrell into an empty lot where he shot and killed him. Murphy then returned to the car and threatened Brown against talking to the police. Police later did question Brown, who implicated Murphy. Murphy was jailed on a homicide charge but was released when Brown failed to show for 3 scheduled preliminary hearings. Brown was killed 2 weeks after returning to Philadelphia.

Michael John Parrish

Michael John Parrish, born Nov. 19, 1985, was a Monroe County prison guard when he killed his girlfriend, 21-year-old Victoria Adams, and their 20-month-old son Sidney, a heart transplant recipient on July 6, 2009. Parrish, who sported several Nazi tattoos, told authorities he became enraged when Adams arrived home 6 hours late in the company of 3 men. Parrish shot Adams and the child multiple times.

Samuel B. Randolph

Samuel B. Randolph, born Nov. 25, 1971, killed Thomas Easter and Anthony Burton on Sept. 19, 2011, outside a Harrisburg bar following an altercation 18 days earlier at another Harrisburg bar. Randolph executed 3 drive-by shootings in the intervening days, wounding several people before committing the murders.

Albert E. Reid

Albert E. Reid, born Nov. 14, 1948, shot and killed his estranged wife, Carla Reid, and her 14-year-old daughter, Deidra Moore, in their beds in Hamilton Township, Franklin County on Dec. 27, 1996. Reid had been accused of sexually assaulting the teen.

Anthony Reid

Anthony Reid, born Nov. 1, 1967, a hit man for the Junior Black Mafia, was convicted and sentenced to death separately for the fatal shootings of Mark Lisby, 25, on July 11, 1988, and Neil Wilkinson, 18, on March 13, 1989, in Philadelphia. Lisby was killed over a $150 drug debt. Wilkinson was a fellow member of the Junior Black Mafia. 6 days before Wilkinson's murder, Reid shot and killed 16-year-old Michael Waters, who had been among a group of youngsters who threw snowballs at Reid's car.

Robert Wharton

Robert Wharton, born Feb. 12, 1963, killed Bradley and Fern Hart on Jan. 30, 1984. Wharton and another man had forced their way into the Harts' Philadelphia residence at knifepoint. Wharton forced Bradley Hart to write him a personal check over a disputed work matter. Both victims were then strangled.

Raghunandan Yandamuri

Raghunandan Yandamuri, born Feb. 21, 1986, killed Satyavathi Venna, 61, and her 10-month-old granddaughter on Oct. 22, 2012, in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, in a botched kidnapping-for-ransom. Saddled with heavy gambling debts, Yandamuri broke into his neighbors' apartment where he killed Venna, who tried to defend her grandchild. When the baby would not stop crying, Yandamuri suffocated the girl by stuffing a handkerchief in her mouth. The baby's body was found in a suitcase in the basement of the apartment complex.

[sources: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Pennsylvania Administrative Office of Pennsylvania]

(source: York Daily Record)


Jury Selection Expected To Begin In Shawn Grate Murder Trial

Jury selection is expected to get underway Monday in Ashland County Common Pleas Court in the trial of accused serial killer Shawn Grate.

A pool of 358 prospective jurors is available with the selection process expected to take up to 2 weeks.

That's due, in part, to the size of the pool and the fact there will be 2 rounds of questioning, the 1st, just like any other case, and the 2nd, more specifically about the death penalty.

Grate is accused of the kidnapping and aggravated murders of 43-year-old Stacey Stanley and 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith, whose bodies were found by police in a vacant home at 363 Covert Court in Ashland.

In September 2016, Grate was arrested in Ashland after a woman he allegedly abducted called 9-1-1 as he was asleep.

He pleaded not guilty to the abduction and sexual assault of the woman who called 9-1-1 and the deaths of Stanley and Griffith.

Autopsies determined they had been strangled.

He has also been linked to the deaths of 2 women in Richland County and one in Marion County but has not been charged in those cases.

He is accused of 23 felony charges in Ashland County.

The court's docket shows the trial is tentatively scheduled to run through May 16.

Ashland County Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell is the lead prosecutor in the case.

Robert Whitney and Rolf Whitney are Grate's attorneys.

Ashland County Common Pleas Court Judge Ron Forsthoefel will preside over the case.

(source: WMFD news)


Death penalty critics use man's sentence to push law change in Missouri

Death penalty opponents have cited a Missouri man's recent sentence in efforts to change state law regarding capital punishment.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is pushing state lawmakers to prevent judges from sending criminals to death row without a jury's approval. The group cited the case of Craig Wood, who is on death row, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Wood was convicted of 1st-degree murder in November for the 2014 abduction, rape and killing of a 10-year-old girl. The jury couldn't agree on Wood's punishment after the guilty verdict, but a judge still gave him a death sentence in January. The other option was life in prison without parole.

Wood's case was 1 of 2 Missourians for Alternatives used to advocate for a bill that would take away the capital punishment option if juries can't agree. A legislative committee unanimously approved such a bill in March.

The other case the group cited was related to Marvin Rice, a former sheriff's deputy and prison worker accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. A lone juror advocated for capital punishment in Rice's case, putting the decision in the hands of a judge who agreed on the death penalty.

"In both of these cases, 2 individual judges imposed death and undermined the role of the juries," the advocate group said last week. "Both Wood and Rice's death sentences raise questions about judicial override in Missouri and its constitutionality under the Sixth Amendment."

Missouri is 1 of only 2 states where judges can give death sentences if a jury deadlocks, according to the group. Other states in such a situation choose a sentence of life in prison.

(sourcec: Associated Press)


Man charged with murder in Oklahoma Indian Country

An Oklahoma man is charged with murder on Indian Country land in western Oklahoma.

An indictment in federal court in Oklahoma City charges 54-year-old Tommy Bullcoming of Hammon with 1st-degree premeditated murder, 1st-degree felony murder, carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and arson.

A federal public defender appointed to represent Bullcoming declined comment Saturday, but said Bullcoming is in custody.

The indictment alleges Bullcoming kidnapped a woman who is referred to only by the initials L.Z. last September, stole her car, killed her by stabbing and cutting her, then set fire to her home in Hammon.

Bullcoming could face the death penalty if convicted of charge of carjacking resulting in death. The murder and kidnapping charges carry life in prison sentences while the arson charge carries up to 25 years in prison.

(source: Associated Press)

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