[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----COLO., UTAH, CALIF., ORE., USA

2016-05-04 Thread Rick Halperin

May 4


Father Of Man Accused Of Killing Stepmom Wants Death Penalty For Son

The stepson of a well-known veterinarian on Colorado's Eastern Plains, and 
another man, are accused in her murder and appeared in court on Tuesday.

The crime has left the families and the small town of Burlington stunned.

Police arrested Dylan Eason, 19, and Isaiah Churchwell, 24, after finding Dr. 
Cynthia Campbell Eason beaten to death inside her own home. Both appeared in 
court in Kit Carson County to be advised of the charges that include 1st-degree 
murder, aggravated robbery, burglary, and theft.

Dylan Eason and Churchwell sat in court showing little emotion as 13th Judicial 
District Court Judge Kevin Hoyer told them the nature and penalties of the 
crimes they're held in custody for.

Cynthia Eason, a beloved veterinarian, was found dead inside her home due to 
blunt force trauma. Police say after allegedly killing her the defendants fled 
with belongings they had stolen from her home.

Cynthia Eason's husband, Jon Eason, who's also the father of accused killer 
Dylan Eason, attended Tuesday's hearing. He and other family members didn't 
want to talk outside court.

On Facebook, however, Jon Eason wrote that he wants the death penalty for the 2 
whom he says killed his wife over simple greed.

"I'm so engulfed in hate, that I want my kid and his friend to pay with their 
lives," Jon Eason posted on Facebook.

Attorneys for the defendants asked the judge to set a bond but that request was 
denied. Their next court appearance is a status conference set for June 14.

Churchwell is the brother of a teenager who was found dead 5 years ago. Josh 
Churchwell's body was found in a suitcase near Ruby Hill Park in Denver. He 
also lived in Burlington at the time of his death. The murder has never been 

(source: CBS news)


A Utah inmate could face the death penalty after pleading guilty to killing his 

Court records say 35-year-old Steven Crutcher pleaded guilty to murder Monday 
in the death of 62-year-old Roland Cardona-Gueton. A jury will decide in 
January whether Crutcher should be sentenced to death or remain in prison 
without the possibility of parole.

Cardona-Gueton's April 2013 death was originally investigated as a suicide. 
Prosecutors say in court papers that Crutcher confessed to strangling 
Cardona-Gueton at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in a letter sent to 
Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel last July.

Crutcher's attorneys wanted the letters kept out of the trial and are appealing 
a judge's decision to allow them.

Keisel says Crutcher will be allowed to withdraw his plea if the Utah Supreme 
Court decides in his favor.

(source: Associated Press)


Derek Connell, 29, eligible for death penalty if convicted

A northwest Bakersfield man charged with killing his mother and stepfather is 
eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted.

Tuesday in court, Judge Michael Bush announced 29-year-old Derek Connell is 
eligible for the death penalty.

That statement made, despite Connell's attorney, Paul Cadman, asking for bail.

The defense attorney also asked to block media from shooting video inside the 
courtroom and said because of the media Connell is already being tried by the 

Judge Bush also denied that request at which point the attorney attempted to 
block 17's camera view and gave Connell a notepad to cover his face.

Connell faces 2 counts of 1st-degree murder in the deaths of his mother and 

Early Saturday morning police responded to a suspicious circumstances call on 
the 5000 block of Lily Pad Court.

Police found Connell as they arrived on scene and inside the home found his 
mother, Kim Higginbotham, and his stepfather, Christopher Higginbotham, dead 
with apparent gun shot wounds.

Connell is scheduled to appear in court again on May 11 for arraignment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place within ten days of that 

(source: Kern Golden Empire)


Closing arguments begin in Berkeley-Oakland death penalty case: 'Alaysha saw 
her killer' and he saw her

After 4 weeks in trial, with 13 days of testimony and 36 witnesses, prosecutor 
John Brouhard began his closing arguments Monday in the double homicide case 
that could result in the death penalty for Darnell Williams Jr. if the jury 
finds him guilty.

Williams, 25, has been charged with 8 felonies and several special 
circumstances in connection with the fatal shootings in 2013 of 8-year-old 
Alaysha Carradine in Oakland and 22-year-old Anthony "Tone" Medearis III in 
Berkeley less than 2 months later.

"This defendant is committed to what he calls street justice," Brouhard told 
the jury. He described how, bent on "retribution and revenge" after the killing 
of his friend Jermaine "Third" Davis in Berkeley, Williams set out to get back 
at the person he believed was responsible.

[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----COLO., UTAH, CALIF., ORE., USA

2013-04-09 Thread Rick Halperin

April 9


DA seeks death penalty in slaying of prison worker

An inmate accused in the 2002 slaying of a prison worker will be placed on 
trial and prosecutors will seek the death penalty after a judge Tuesday allowed 
the suspect to withdraw his guilty plea.

Edward Montour Jr., already serving a life sentence in the 1997 death of his 
11-month-old daughter, is accused of killing Eric Autobee, 23, by striking him 
in the head with a heavy kitchen ladle at Limon Correctional Facility. Montour 
represented himself in the case and in January 2003, barely three months after 
the slaying, pleaded guilty to 1st-degree murder.

He told his advisory attorneys that he wanted to die by execution, according to 
court documents.

The case has lingered in court for more than 10 years following a judge's 
imposition of the death penalty, which was later thrown out by the Colorado 
Supreme Court. The court ruled in 2007 that only a jury, not a judge, can hand 
down death sentences.

While prosecutors have been seeking a penalty phase trial so a jury can impose 
the death penalty, Montour's defense attorneys have been trying to strike a 
deal that would spare Montour's life.

An offer to have Montour plead guilty and serve a life sentence in solitary 
confinement was rejected by prosecutors, attorney David Lane said, and Douglas 
County District Judge Richard B. Caschette on Tuesday allowed Montour to 
withdraw his guilty plea, setting the stage for a new trial. Caschette said in 
his ruling that he could not allow Montour's calculated plan of state-assisted 

In giving up a 1st-degree murder conviction, all for the sake of attempting to 
get a death penalty, all things are possible now in this case including a 
verdict of not guilty after trial, Lane said in a statement.

Many prosecutors who support the death penalty have long argued that it remains 
the sole deterrent against inmates who are already serving life sentences from 
killing prison guards. District Attorney George Brauchler, who earlier this 
month announced that he would seek the death penalty for Aurora theater 
shooting suspect James Holmes, said the death penalty in this case sends the 
message that killing prison guards will not be tolerated.

When a man already serving a life sentence kills a prison guard, a 'new' life 
sentence defies justice, common sense, and makes the taking of Eric Autobee's 
life a 'freebie,' Brauchler said in a statement.

Autobee's family opposes the death penalty, but Brauchler said he's taking 
prison workers' safety into consideration.

The day before he was fatally shot while answering his front door, Colorado 
Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements testified at the 
Legislature on behalf of improved prison worker safety. Clements' March 19 
slaying remains unsolved.

Former inmate and white supremacist prison gang member Evan Ebel had the gun 
used in Clements' slaying when he died in a shootout with Texas authorities. 
Authorities have not said what role they believe Ebel played in Clements' 
slaying or whether others were involved.

An associate of Ebel's is in custody while another remains at large. El Paso 
County sheriff's officials say both are persons of interest in Clements' 

Until Autobee's death in 2002, no corrections officer had been killed since 
1929. Since Autobee's slaying, Sgt. Mary Ricard, 55, was killed last September 
while breakfast was being prepared for inmates at the Arkansas Valley 
Correctional Facility, and then Clements died at his home in Monument.

(source: Associated Press)


Utah on the wrong side of history

Last month, the state of Maryland became the eighteenth state in the U.S. to do 
away with the death penalty. In which direction do you think this issue is 
going? Will the number of states with the death penalty increase or decrease? 
While working for the U.S. Department of Justice, I assisted Poland and Albania 
with criminal justice issues surrounding requirements for European Union 
membership. Dissolving the death penalty is required for membership in the EU. 
Besides Texas, what state do you think will be one of the last to give up the 
death penalty?

Statistically, the death penalty in America is racially misrepresented. 
According to the last U.S. census, African Americans account for approximately 
13 % of our population. African Americans currently account for 42.6 % of the 
people on death row. I ask you to visualize the metaphor portrayed in Lady 
Justice. Blindfolded with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other - do you 
think she can see these percentages? I'm not suggesting these people are 
innocent. I'm challenging our solution.

It is important to point out that of the 13 % of African Americans in the 
United States, half are women. There are very few women on death row in 
America. In addition, of the 13 % of African-Americans in the U.S. 1/3 are 
children. We do not execute