Susan Atkins – Manson’s little Miss Murderess

Susan Atkins really stepped in it

Fact based reporting by

Rob Roman

 

This is the first article in our Monkey see – Monkey do series.

Warning – Some pics may be disturbing to some people.

 

Of course Susan Atkins (Sexy Sadie) saw Charles Manson act violently and she did … just like him. Then she monkey stepped into a big, steaming pile of wet Monkey poo – She got what Charlie got. She got Life (almost 40 years) in prison. She would be there today if she didn’t get brain cancer and die.

atkins 1

 

Many Manson Aficionados will know this information, but I didn’t know all these details until recently. I thought some people would like to know how it all fits together. That’s what we do at Spotlight On Law. We research things and we bring you all the highlights and put them in one place. We are hoping to shed new light on cases, for people who are not familiar with them. But, even if you know the Manson cases really well, we hope you will still find something interesting in this article.

 

How does a sexy and attractive young lady who sings in the church choir, and had her choir members sing Christmas Carols under her dying mother’s window, turn out to be Charles Manson’s little Miss Murderess? How could she watch with gusto and glee as innocent people were massacred? She was a Mom who would go on to show zero mercy to another young mother, 8 months pregnant, and even tell her so.

 

How can that happen?

 

“Bad chemicals and bad ideas are the Yin and Yang of madness” –  according to the late, great author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

 

Well “Sexy Sadie” (or Sexy Sadist) had a truckload of bad chemicals and bad ideas inside her when she was doing the old Charlie Manson monkey see – monkey doo. So, young Susan Atkins, only 21 years old, went ahead and stepped in a motherload of wet monkey poo. She went to jail and then prison and never ‘saw the light of day’ again.

 

Susan Atkins aka Susan Atkins Whitehouse aka Sadie Mae Glutz aka “Sexy Sadie”

 

“Susan Denise Atkins (May 7, 1948 – Sep 24, 2009) was a convicted American murderer who was a member of the “Manson family”, led by Charles Manson. Manson and his followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in California, over a period of five weeks in the summer of 1969. Known within the Manson family as Sadie Mae Glutz or Sexy Sadie, Atkins was convicted for her participation in eight of these killings, including the most notorious, the “Tate/LaBianca” murders.

 

She was sentenced to death, which was subsequently commuted to life in prison. Incarcerated from Oct 1, 1969 until her death – a period exactly one week short of 40 years – Atkins was the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system, having been denied parole 18 times.” – Wikipedia

step in poop 2

She was a middle class girl who sang in her school glee club and in her church choir. Her mother died of cancer when Susan was 13. “Two weeks before her mother was hospitalized for the final time, Susan arranged for members of the church choir to sing Christmas carols under her bedroom window. After Jeanette Atkins’ death, relatives were asked to help look after Susan and her two brothers.” – Wikipedia

 

Susan moved from home to home and was abandoned by her father. In High School, her grades took a nose dive. At the age of 19, she moved in with friends in 1967, but when the house was raided for drugs and shut down, she became homeless once again. Charlie Manson was one of the people who showed up at parties at that house playing guitar, and he told her he was planning a road trip in a school bus and he asked her to join his “Family”. One of Charlie’s people made her a fake ID using the name Sadie Mae Glutz -1.

American-cult-leader-and-mass-murderer-Charles-Manson

 

Flash forward to October, 1968. Susan is 20 and she gave birth to a boy that Charlie named Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. The father’s name was Bruce White, and they were all living at Spahn’s movie ranch in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Flash forward to the Summer of ’69. The heat is on, as too many hot vehicles and underage runaways are showing up at Spahn’s Ranch and the police are starting to get all too curious. Then, an accident happens that really was the catalyst for all the murders.

 

I really never knew where Spahn’s Movie Ranch was, either. Here’s where:

spahn ranch

 

A family member named Charles “Tex” Watson tried to pull a drug scam on a black man named Bernard “Lotsapapa” Crowe. Crowe threatened retaliation and could identify Tex. Manson took that famous long nosed .22 revolver that was used in the Tate killings – the same one that was found by the little boy in the canyon. Manson shot Crowe and thought he killed him, and he thought Crowe was a Black Panther. Crowe was not a Panther and he was still alive.

long nose 22

 

Manson had a number of people with money that he, in turn. supplied with drugs, connections, “party people” and women. One of these was the owner of Spahn’s movie ranch – “old man Spahn” (George Spahn). Another of these people was Dennis Wilson, the drummer from the Beach Boys. Dennis picked up a couple of the Manson girls in his Ferrari as they were hitchhiking, and he brought them home. Big mistake there, because the very next day, more Manson women were coming to live there. More and more Manson flunkies showed up at Dennis’ house, bringing drugs and providing sex.

 

Then Charles Manson would demand that the “Tab” be paid.

 

He also showed up at Wilson’s home playing guitar, which is why Dennis and Manson hit it off in the first place. Charles Manson is an accomplished guitar player and musician. Words were said about Dennis maybe helping Manson record a record.

 

Take a look at this:

“”Never Learn Not to Love” is a song recorded by the Beach Boys, credited to co-founder Dennis Wilson. It was released as a B-side to their 1968 single “Bluebirds over the Mountain” and subsequently appeared on their 1969 album 20/20. It is a rewrite of “Cease to Exist”, a song written by murder-conspirator Charles Manson.” – Wikipedia

 

Yes, Charlie – A song called “Cease to Exist” is a little rough for the entertainment biz, no?

manson_mugs
Charlie, Leslie, Patty, and Suzie

 

Flash forward half a year later – Manson invited Dennis and his record producer friends to a party at Spahn’s Movie Ranch. They never showed, and Manson was piping hot about that.

Manson shows up at a Beach Boys recording session. He wants to know when the f*ck he’s going to get his album. Now the record has become an entire album that Manson is demanding. Dennis and the boys try to pacify Charlie.

Recording producer Terry Melcher, son of actress Doris Day, tells Manson to get the f*ck out of his recording studio session. Manson gets super pissed. He had been at Melcher’s home for a few parties with all those rich Hollywood “big wigs” at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, north of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

images
from left – Charles Manson, Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson

Manson knows that lots of rich “jerks” were hanging out at 10050 Cielo Drive. Manson went there one day to talk to Terry Melcher. Some guy answered the door and told the scraggly bum that knocked on the door to go look elsewhere. Terry Melcher had moved out, and the place was leased to Roman Polanski, a movie producer / director and his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate.

 

All these people were young people, in their twenties or early thirties.

10050 cielo drive
The home at 10050 Cielo Drive – Scene of the Tate Murders

 

10050 Cielo Drive was bought by the rock group “9 Inch Nails” and used as a recording studio before it was torn down.

 

A PHD and music teacher and friend of Manson family members, who also purportedly manufactured synthetic mescaline was a man by the name of Gary Hinman. This was another of a long list of people Manson thought “owed” him for “services rendered”. Like he did with Dennis Wilson and old man Spahn, Manson supplied Hinman with party friends, drugs, and women. Manson heard rumors that Gary Hinman had just come into a large sum of money. Now, Manson needed money and he demanded that Hinman’s “tab” be paid immediately.

 

At this stage, Manson needed money, since the police were starting to get very curious about what the hell was going on at this Spahn’s Ranch, and Charlie wanted to move the Family “to the desert”. Also, people were starting to leave the family and Charlie needed a new way to make his followers fear and/or respect him, as he was losing confidence in his magnetism and charm and he was also starting to get paranoid.

 

Charlie Manson sent Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, and Susan Atkins to Hinman’s home on July 25, 1969 to collect his “tab”.

Murderer Bobby Beasoleil

 

gary hinman
Music teacher Gary Hinman

 

Now Bobby Beausoleil was a very well liked and valuable member of the Manson family. He was high up there in the brains department. He was also a great musician and Leslie Van Houten’s Lover, and they were crazy about each other. Long story short, the Manson crew demanded big money from Hinman– Gary says no, he doesn’t have any. They kind of hold him prisoner in his own home. Manson shows up and nearly cuts Gary’s ear off with a sword and then leaves, giving orders to take care of Hinman. Charlie demands that his “orders” be followed to the letter.

 

Manson’s 3 person crew holds Gary Hinman for two days, forcing him to sign over the titles to his cars. Bobby Beausoleil then stabs Hinman to death. This is where Susan Atkins has big problems with the parole board later on because she would never own up to her part in this killing, saying she wasn’t there, she was there but didn’t participate, she was there but didn’t know what was going on, blah blah blah. Well, after being at least an accessory in at least 8 murders, they were never going to let her out of prison anyways.

 

Bobby put a handprint paw and writings on the wall in Hinman’s blood to try and place blame on the black panthers. They take whatever they can. Off they go.

 

Now, Charlie Manson is upset because of the “messy” killing. He needs his people to now be proficient killers, especially the ladies, because no one will suspect females. Bobby gets caught asleep in one of Hinman’s cars wearing the bloody clothes from the killing. Good thing they didn’t have DNA testing back then.

 

On August 7th 1969, Bobby’s in jail and Manson is worried he might squeal. He also needs Bobby to help run the Family.

st-one
Actress Sharon Tate

 

This all really helps to explain:

 

  • Why the girls participated in the Tate LaBianca murders
  • Why Susan Atkins was a major player
  • Why the “Pig”, “Political Piggy”, “Healter Skelter (sic)” and other writings in blood were left on the walls, the Tate front door, and the LaBianca refrigerator.
  • Why the murders needed to be particularly gruesome.
  • The motive behind the killings – to free Bobby Beausoleil from suspicion in the Hinman murder and to get him released from jail.
  • Why Leslie Van Houten felt so obligated to participate in the murders – Because it was all being done to help free Bobby, and because she felt she owed Charlie.

 

10050 cielo drive 2labianca-fridge

It was also a way for Manson to exert power over the family. It’s a classic violent criminal organization move. You involve your underlings in felonies such as murder, which binds them to the group, and you have something to pin on them and extort them with, should they leave.

 

bobby beausoleil 2
Bobby Beausoleil

 

My personal theory is that Charlie Manson also thought he was such a gifted control freak who could control anyone to do anything – and he wanted to prove it by turning flower children into murderers. He also always wanted revenge against the upper class his entire life for being made a prisoner and an outcast of society.

Therefore, a caper is needed that will look like the Hinman murder. Something big was needed to get the police super involved so they will hopefully drop everything they were looking at related to the Family and go investigate this new frightening series of crimes.

 

10050 cielo drive 3
Far Side of the Polanski / Tate Mansion

 

Hopefully, they would let Bobby out of jail and no longer see him as a suspect. Hopefully, the police will stop nosing around the Spahn Ranch and will stop taking a closer look at the Manson Family.

 

Manson demands a spectacular crime – far from the Manson clans normal stomping grounds, and hey, why not some really rich folks, because they deserve it?

 

tate murders

So just two days after Bobby Beausoleil’s arrest, another Manson crew sets out to follow his orders to kill. Manson sends them to what he thought was Terry Melcher’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

 

Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel were sent to murder whoever was there, make it look horrific, and leave signs on the walls to look like the Hinman murder. They wanted to point the finger at black suspects.

 

317d46d912cd1e87965e9062c7dab547
The actual Manson Murder Car
10050CieloDriveAugust91969TateLaBian[23]
A replica of the Manson Family’s Ford Fairlane Murder Car

That rope from the crime scene was brought by the Manson Family crew. Their original plan included hanging everyone from the rafters, removing the vicitim’s eyeballs and smashing them on the floor, or hanging and dismembering them on the front porch. The crew was also instructed to go to the surrounding homes and do the same. Fortunately, this crew was too spooked and paranoid to complete their task, or they ran out of time and it was already starting to get light out, or both.

 

Linda Kasabian was new to the clan and not really a fully drug-indoctrinated member yet. Charlie chose Linda, another young mother, to test her, and also because she was one of the few with a real driver’s license. Linda Kasabian looked very straight and innocent, and she was also in the car for the LaBianca Murders. She would later run away from the Manson family, and go home to her family in New England. She later returned to LA to turn state’s evidence against the Family.

 

before the murders
The Living room before the Tate murders

 

Linda Kasabian stayed outside the Polanski / Tate Mansion as a “lookout” and did not have the stomach to participate in the murders.

 

Linda Kasabian later ruined things for Susan Atkins.

 

At first, authorities could not find Linda and she did not come forward. The state was forced to rely on the testimony of Susan Atkins against the other family members in order to convict Manson, Tex Watson, Pat Krenwinkel, And Leslie Van Houten.

after the murders
The living room after the Tate murders

 

Charlie Manson needed to see Sadie Mae personally in order to try and use his mind control to stop Susan Atkins from testifying against him and the Family. He accomplished this by having his attorney demand that he and his client be allowed to talk to Susan Atkins, since she was a state witness. This was their right.

 

After that meeting, Susan Atkins tried to back out of a deal that could have seen her released from prison decades earlier.

 

Also, Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor, thought Susan Atkins was a risky, unreliable, flake of a witness, with her constantly changing stories and her refusal to take any kind of responsibility for any part in the murders. He started looking for a more reliable witness, which is how Linda Kasabian became the state’s chief witness. When finally contacted, Linda Kasabian agreed to return to Los Angeles to testify.

 

Susan Atkins would get no deal.

 

One more thing:

Months and months prior to the murders, one of the “jobs” of Manson’s Family members, besides panhandling, dumpster diving,  drug dealing, prostitution and stealing cars, was to dress in dark clothes and go at night to homes in the richer areas of LA.

Early in the morning, while the occupants were sleeping inside, these Manson crews, 4 or 5 of them together, would go “creepy crawling” through the homes.

 

Leslie-Van-Houten-Patricia-Krenwinkel-and-Susan-Atkins
Guess who is who. They shaved their heads in protest and something else, too.

 

This meant they would take off their shoes and go into the house very quietly to sneak around and take whatever they could. They became very adept at this game, even going into the very bedrooms of the homeowners as they slept to steal their stuff. They had weapons on them just in case someone woke up or heard them. So this was the precursor, the skill sets used in the later murders.

You can say that the two crews Manson selected were the All Stars of these “creepy crawler” escapades. If not for this “practice”, they may never have had the nerve to be ‘successful’ at 10050 Cielo Drive. Even so, Tex Watson, shot 18 year-old Steven Parent four times in his car outside the home, but this noise failed to alert the others inside.

 

Like young Ron Goldman (25) in the OJ murders, Steven Parent (18) was in “the wrong place at the wrong time”.

 

Look at this from Wikipedia:

“In July 1969, Parent picked up William Garretson, who was hitchhiking in Beverly Hills. Garretson was a caretaker at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, which, at the time, was being rented to director Roman Polanski, and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. After Parent gave Garretson a ride back to the estate, the young caretaker thanked him and invited Parent to stop by anytime he was in the area.

 

5-Tate-Victims-AP-573x226

 

Victims: Voytec Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, and Abigail Folger

 

 

On August 8, 1969, after working at both of his jobs, Parent drove to Benedict Canyon and arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive at about 11:45 p.m. He had hoped to sell a Sony AM-FM Digimatic clock radio to Garretson. He demonstrated the clock radio for Garretson, but the caretaker did not want to buy it. Parent then placed a telephone call to Jerrold Friedman, a friend for whom he was going to build a stereo, and hung around long enough to drink the can of beer Garretson gave him. At around midnight, Steven Parent said goodbye to Garretson and left the guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Parent, Garretson, or any occupants of the main house, members of the Manson family were entering the property at that moment, with the intentions of killing the residents. Parent got into his father’s 1966 white AMC Rambler and backed up into the split rail fence. He drove down the parking area and stopped to push the button that operated the electronic gate. As Parent rolled down his window, he was met by a dark figure who shouted, “Halt!”

The figure was Manson “family” member Charles “Tex” Watson with a 22 revolver in one hand and a buck knife in the other. As Watson leveled a 22-caliber revolver at Parent, the frightened youth begged Watson, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t say anything.” Parent raised his arm to protect his face as Watson swung the knife at him, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand (severing tendons and tearing the boy’s watch off his wrist).

Watson then shot Parent four times in rapid succession, hitting him in the face, chest, and abdomen. Watson then ordered Manson Family associates Linda Kasabian, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel to help push the car further up the driveway. After traversing the front lawn and having Kasabian search for an open window of the main house, Watson cut the screen of a window. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate; she walked over to Steven Parent’s Rambler and waited. He then removed the screen, entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.

On the morning of August 9, 1969, the bodies of Steven Parent, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski were discovered by the Polanski housekeeper, Winifred Chapman, when she arrived for work. The only survivor, Garretson, had escaped detection and told authorities he had heard nothing from his cottage. He said otherwise in an interview 30 years later.

As Parent was carrying no identification when his body was found, for a short time he was known to authorities only as “John Doe 85”. The body was identified later that afternoon by the Parent family’s parish priest, who went to the coroner’s office after Parent’s family had informed him that he was missing.” – Wikipedia

“Parent’s father, Wilfred, was highly critical of the way his son’s death was treated. He stated that he was told by telephone of the murder by a Los Angeles Police Department detective. He also criticized the manner in which the media focused on the more famous victims while showing little interest in his son.

In recent years, Janet Parent, Steven’s sister, began attending the killers’ parole hearings. She has also publicly spoken out against Susan Atkins’ and Charles “Tex” Watson’s requests for parole.

William Garretson, the young caretaker at Cielo Drive whom Parent had visited before being murdered, indicated in a television program broadcast in July 1999 on E!, that he had, in fact, seen and heard a portion of the Tate murders from his location in the property’s guest house.

– Wikipedia

 

One thing many people don’t realize is that the “All Stars” or top people in Manson’s Family were not idiotic and robotic “dirtbags” or stooges. Some of these were honor roll students, attractive, and from very good upper-middle class families. Susan Atkins was a glee club and choir member, as I stated earlier.

Leslie Van Houten was beautiful and super-intelligent cheerleader and homecoming queen at her High School.  Bobby Beausoleil was attractive and highly intelligent and an accomplished musician who went on to create critically acclaimed music from behind prison walls.

Charles “Tex” Watson, before he destroyed his mind with drugs, was a star athlete and football player is High School and very popular. He is one of the most unlikely supremely vicious and super violent murderers of all time. Tex is now a charismatic evangelist broadcasting on the web, but from prison.

 

atkins a
Tex Watson, then and now

 

Now, remembering that this article is about Susan Atkins, another thing Susan Atkins never got straight at her many parole hearings was the level of her participation in the Tate and LaBianca murders. It really didn’t matter, because she was there and she participated in the felonies, making her guilty of the felony murders regardless of her level of involvement.

Tex Watson and Leslie Van Houten

She was convicted of the Hinman murder, the Tate and Labianca murders just due to her being “on the scene”. The parole board was supposedly looking for the truth from her, however. Susan said yes she was the one who stabbed Sharon Tate, and no, she only stabbed her a few times and Tex did the rest, and no, she wasn’t sure, and no, she only held Sharon Tate but did not stab her. It was never made clear from Susan exactly what actions Susan actually did. Even so, you can bet that she relished and enjoyed the murders and the excitement factor immensely, and she played a big part in the Hinman murder as well. None of that gore stopped her from being in the car for the LaBianca murders the very next night, either.

 

The Tate murders did not go as planned. It became a bit of a cluster f*ck, as they say. Tex broke a knife and Jay Sebring tried to fight back. He started to defend himself from the stabbings, so Tex shot him.

frykowski autopsy
Wojciech Frykowski Autopsy

 

Wojciech Frykowski started fighting back against Susan Atkins. He was winning. Tex had to come to her aid. Then both Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski took off and ran for their lives out different doors, with Patricia Krenwinkel chasing after Abigail out the back, and Tex chasing after Wojciech out the front door, leaving Susan Atkins guarding Sharon Tate, who was too big with her pregnancy to run.

Susan Atkins said that when they first entered the home, Frykowski was asleep on the couch. Jay Sebring and Sharon were talking in her bedroom and Sebring was possibly smoking pot. Susan passed by an open bedroom and spotted Abigail Folger reading a book. Susan smiled and waved and Abigail waved back. As Susan and Patricia made their way to the back of the home, Sharon and Jay were chatting in the master bedroom.

jpbook2-articleLarge

“Just prior to leaving the residence, Atkins wrote “PIG” on the front door in Sharon Tate’s blood.” – Wikipedia

The LaBianca Murders were also planned to be even more than it ended up to be. They were supposed to split into two groups and create at least two separate murder scenes. Charlie Manson at first stopped by a Convent. He got out and contemplated killing some nuns inside. Anyways, he mooned the nuns, got back in the car, and they left. Charlie was the one who went alone into the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, supermarket chain and dress boutique owners who had recently returned from an all day boating trip with their daughter and her boyfriend. Charlie wanted to show them how to do the job cleanly, without scaring the victims and without them being able to run away.

LaBianca Murders

The LaBianca residence was selected because Charlie knew the area. He had partied with their neighbor and the house was sort of isolated and up on a hill.

3301-Waverly

Charlie threatened the LaBiancas, but he was very polite about it. He made them sit on the couch as he tied their hands and feet. He took their purse and wallet. Then Charlie left with other Family members, including Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian. This left Tex, Van Houten, and Krenwinkel to complete the murders, “leave something witchy” on the walls, and find their own way back to Spahn’s Movie ranch.

Charlie Manson was possibly enjoying himself and this second crew went to the ocean rather than committing another set of murders. They left Leno’s wallet in a gas station men’s room in the “black side of town”, hoping it would throw the police onto the trail of the Black Panthers. The wallet was never recovered.

labianca family
Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

 

Susan Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz was also the major reason Manson and his Family were finally caught,

because Susan could not keep her big mouth shut. When the family members were arrested for completely other reasons (runaway minors at Spahn ranch and car thefts), they were held for a few weeks.

Susan Atkins, maybe because she was bored and also because she was trying to protect herself in jail, bragged to another inmate that she was one of the murderers at the Polanski / Tate residence. Susan then told this inmate some very horrific details.

 

la bianca
The LaBianca devestation

Susan really stepped in a big, steaming pile of wet monkey poo there, because this fellow cell mate now had some important info she could use to help her get out of her own personal jam. Of course, her fellow inmate told the authorities. Now they had confirmation that the Manson clan was indeed behind the Tate LaBianca murders.

ros4
Leslie’s handiwork on Rosemary LaBianca

 

So,

1) Susan Atkins was the one who blew the lid off the whole thing

2) Patricia Krenwinkel and Tex Watson participated in both murder operations. Krenwinkel had no problem murdering two females (Abigail Folger and Rosemary LaBianca). As for parole, neither was ever going to be released – and never should be.

3) Susan Atkins also participated in both murder operations and the Hinman murder. She was never going to leave prison.

4) The only one I believe should have been shown some mercy and given parole long ago was Leslie Van Houten.

She testified that she did stab Rosemary LaBianca, but only superficially in the back of the thighs and her butt. This bears out in the evidence. Leslie said at first she could not participate and tried not to get involved. She was finally forced to participate by Tex Watson, as Manson demanded everyone have a hand in the killings. Van Houten was also doing this for her love, Bobby Beausoleil, and she felt she owed Manson.

5) Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, another Manson Family member felt guilty for not having participated and not being jailed in the murders. She felt compelled to try and assassinate President Gerald Ford in order to “help” the Family. She did her sentence and is now back out in the world.

Bobby Beasoleil had been cheating on Leslie Van Houten all along with a 17 year-old.

After all, it was the “Summer of Love”.

 

8d9a76794ac0f477c6d98be7ecc7ed45
ALL MANSON FAMILY “KILLS

(I’m pretty sure that is NOT Gary Hinman, but is actually Bobby Beausoleil, Gary’s murderer)

 

Susan Atkins was the longest serving female in the California prison system, due to her young age when she began her sentence. She became a born-again Christian and was a model prisoner, but none of that helped her to gain her freedom.

 

All the Manson people, including Manson, were sentenced to Death, but all the sentences were commuted to life due to California overturning its Death Penalty statute in the early 1970’s. Many people felt they should have been lucky just to have life, never mind being freed from prison.

Family members of the victims made sure to be at the parole hearings to see that none of them were ever released. Sharon Tate’s mother was an extreme advocate for no parole. Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter, however, lobbied hard for Tex Watson to be released, maybe because he was “cute”. – Incredible.

 

Tex had also become a born again Christian, and a pastor in prison who wrote Christian books. He has a wife and kids due to conjugal visits.

 

Fromme-Hi-Res
The cute girl next door? ….. or ….
fromme
“Squeaky” Fromme

 

Of course Tex Watson, regardless of what he has become, relished and enjoyed the brutal killings and most of the deep, penetrating stabs to the victims, done with a bayonet, were Tex’s handiwork.

 

What more to say about Susan Atkins aka Sexy Sadie aka Sadie Mae Glutz? She contracted brain cancer and was denied a humanitarian release so she could die in peace. She died reciting the 23rd Psalm.

 

Many women imprisoned with Susan Atkins were grateful for her selfless giving, her counsel and her prayers. Susan did a lot of good for many inmates. People in their twenties or younger should not have to pay with the rest of their lives for even really awful mistakes, in my opinion.

 

sharon-tate-1-320
Sharon Tate

 

Here was the state of California saying that Charlie was responsible for all these heinous murders because of his incredible control over the hearts and minds of these young kids. At the same time, the state also wants to put the full responsibility onto these very same kids Charlie had such power over. I don’t think they can have it both ways, …. but they do. Krenwinkel, Watson, Beausoleil, Manson, Atkins, and Van Houten were certainly made an example of.

 

article-0-205D131400000578-475_634x437

 

Manson and his murdering family probably would have been caught even if Susan Atkins did keep her mouth shut. She did it, she bragged about out and she paid dearly for her actions. She had that queezy feel and the sickly smell of that wet monkey poo stuck between her toes for nearly the next 4 decades.

 

10050 cielo dfive today
10050 Cielo Drive today

 

Like Jodi Arias, Susan Atkins didn’t respect human life and they both made a series of bad and fateful decisions. These bad choices caused them both to lose their freedom, earning them both a life sentence in prison.

 

All rights reserved

Comments from all viewpoints are welcome. 

You can also comment on this FB page:

facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotlight-On-Law/189870931203328

spotlight trademark

spotlightonlaw2

SpotLightOnLaw2  <—– (Click on Link)

Famous Murder Cases & Wrongful Convictions?

 

life or death 7

Jodi Arias Life or Death?  <—— (Click on Link)

Some posts on Jodi Arias, Current Murder Cases and Trials, & Matters of Life and Death

 

 

 

zen blog

Zen Meditation Zone  <——- (Click on Link)

Introduction to Buddhism and Zen meditation plus advanced material

 

 

 

 

wrongly convicted

Wrongfully Convicted? Both Sides of the Story  <- (Click on Link)

Famous and not-so-famous cases questioned by some people

This sleuth group investigates convictions to see of they may have been in error

 

 

net friends cover 2

New Net Friends with Benefits <— (Click on Link)

It’s not about Killers, Politicians or Movie Stars. It’s an International facebook page about Y-O-U and your New Net Friends from all over the Globe  🙂

Follow on Twitter:

twitter 2https://twitter.com/TingMingJie

american flag

 

Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

liberty-bell-at-independence-hall-1901-padre-art

Did “Cate” decimate our Arias trial felony murder arguments?  It’s complicated.

“Like a wrecking ball’ –  One of our Readers decimates our Arias Trial felony murder argument?

miley_cyrus_wrecking_ball

One of our readers read our Holy Grail article about how we believe the 1st degree Felony Murder charge was bogus.

https://spotlightonlaw.wordpress.com/why-the-felony-murder-charge-is-the-holy-grail-of-the-jodi-arias-case-nov-5-2014/

“Cate” believes that Judge Stephens and Juan Martinez were correct and that Kirk Nurmi, Vladimir Gagic, Amanda Chen and Rob Roman are wrong about the validity and the application of the Felony Murder charge. “Cate” supplied some very good case law on this issue.

 

In our last article, we were asking a number of questions about the Felony Murder Charge:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) AND Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?
  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation for the prosecution)?
  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?
  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?
  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

It's complicated lg

We needed to dig deeper into the issue to get to the bottom of who’s right and who’s wrong about this. I’m going to make this as easy to understand as possible, easy enough for even me to understand. The citings and cases are all here for you to look at in more detail if you like.

“Cate” offered up an appellate case which had most of the relevant case law regarding the felony murder rule in Arizona, and how the elements of the felony and the elements of the murder can now be, in some cases, the same.

The appelate case is State v. Moore, argued in the Arizona Supreme Court.

az_moore_j

State v. Moore

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_34a4d3c5c51b1eedea7eb5b74365035c.pdf&view=1

Moore: It’s not felony murder because I can’t be charged with felony murder based on a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

The Court: Yes, you can, and you did.

 

“Relying on State v. Essman, 98 Ariz(1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.”

State of Arizona v. Julius Jarreau Moore is an appeal of a death sentence for a man who killed 3 people. One murder victim was outside the house with a woman who also was shot, and 2 murder victims were inside the house. Sergio Mata, Guadalupe Ramos, and Delia Ramos were all shot to death in their rental home and Debra Ford was shot and survived. The crimes took place during a flurry of crack smoking.

'This is a textbook case of homicide.'

“Debra Ford went to the Phoenix apartment of Sergio Mata, Delia Ramos, and Guadalupe Ramos to purchase and smoke crack in the late evening hours of November 15, 1999. In the early hours of the 16th, Moore came to the apartment looking for Debra. When Debra came out to see Moore, they talked for a bit and smoked some crack.

Shortly after, Sergio came out of the apartment and Moore shot him in the head, killing him and then turned to Debra and shot her in the neck.

Debra remained alive and conscious while praying for her life. She heard several additional shots fired while she was on the ground. When police arrived and went into the apartment, they found Guadalupe on the couch and Delia inside the bedroom closet. Both were shot to death. Debra survived and testified against Moore during trial.”

Sergio was shot outside the apartment building in a public area, and there was evidence of pre-meditation, so his murder was charged as a premeditated murder. Guadalupe and Delia were shot inside the home, it appeared as if Moore’s motive was to steal drugs, and there was some reflection, so those two murders were charged as both premeditated and felony murders.

The felony murder was first based on burglary – theft, but the prosecution changed it later and based it on burglary – assault, possibly because they had more evidence of the assault than the theft.

The trial was in 2002, the jury found for the aggravator of multiple murders, but did not reach consensus on the aggravator of cruelty. The case is interesting because right during the penalty phase, Moore’s medical expert had a heart attack, causing a mistrial. Moore had a new aggravation and penalty phase in 2007, the jury found the same aggravator and sentenced Moore to death.

 

Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.
Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.

In the mandatory appeal before the Arizona Supreme court, Moore cites a number of issues. The relevant one to the Arias case is this:

Relying on State v. Essman, (1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

 

State v. Essman (1965)

Essman: It’s not felony murder because the felony and the murder are the same thing.

Felony Murder does not apply when the felony is included in (Merged into) the charge of homicide.

Court: Yes, we agree.

 

Essman is in itself an interesting case. Essman was home and cleaning his gun with his daughter in a near bedroom. He began playing around with the gun. His wife came home and told him to put the gun away before someone gets hurt.

Essman said something like “See? It’s harmless”, as he pointed the gun at the family dog and fired twice. Nothing happened because Essman had emptied the revolver. Then he aimed the gun at his wife and pulled the trigger. The gun went off and killed her. Apparently there was one bullet left in the chamber. Jerk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqEN7J3GLA

 

In his instruction on second degree murder the judge in Essman instructed the jury that the felony-murder doctrine applied where the felony was assault with a deadly weapon. The pertinent portion of the instruction was “when the killing is done in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate a felony such as assault with a deadly weapon.” The felony-murder doctrine does not apply where the felony is an offense included in the charge of homicide.

The felony murder doctrine basically states that any death caused during a dangerous felony becomes a 1st or 2nd degree murder.

 

The decision quoted People v. Moran 246 N.Y. 1927

“The acts of assault merge into the resultant homicide, and may not be deemed a separate and independent offense which could support a conviction for felony murder.”

 

In the appeal of State v. Moran, Chief Judge Cardozo quoted State v. Huter

“To make the quality of the intent indifferent, it is not enough to show that the homicide was felonious, or that there was a felonious assault which culminated in homicide”. People v. Huter 184 N.Y.

“Making the quality of the intent indifferent” means that the intent needs to be to commit a felony which causes a death, rather than an intent to commit a murder. Remember in felony murder, the death caused could be accidental (heart attack, death of a bystander, etc) or intentional (sudden decision to kill, foreseeable consequence of felonious activities).

“Such a holding would mean that every homicide, not justifiable or excusable, would occur in the commission of a felony, with the result that intent to kill and deliberation and premeditation would never be essential.” People v. Wagner 245 N.Y.

 

– And this is why most states practice this kind of common law.

“The felony that eliminates the quality of the intent must be one that is independent of the homicide and of the assault merged therein, like robbery or larceny or burglary or rape.” 246 N.Y.

This is the Merger Rule. When the predicate felony of a felony murder merges with the actual murder itself (assault, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon), the merger rule applies and the crime cannot be charged as a Felony murder.

It's complicated

 

Why is this so important?

In the case of 1st degree murder, if the crime can be charged as a Felony Murder, two things happen:

 

First, there are no lesser included offenses or degrees of the crime. You either get convicted of the highest degree of murder, or you are not convicted. It’s all or nothing.

With Pre-mediated Murder, the jury can decide on lesser offenses and lower degrees of the crime (2nd degree Murder, Heat of Passion, Manslaughter), so you do not necessarily get convicted of the highest degree of murder.

 

Second, intent to murder no longer  has to be proven, only that a death occurred during an intent to commit a dangerous felony.

It might be advantageous for the prosecution to charge felony murder over premeditated murder, because a conviction would be of the highest degree, and intent to kill doesn’t need to be proven.

 

This is why the Merger rule is meant to prevent a murder with no dangerous felony other than the murder itself from being charged as a felony murder.

A serious problem with the Arias case is that the prosecution never really specified prior to trial exactly what the felony defining the burglary was, meaning the Felony part of the felony murder is Burglary with intent to …….?

 

It’s not even specified in the jury instructions, the way it is in other cases. It merely says burglary with intent to commit any theft or felony.

So what’s the felony in the felony murder charge in the Arias case?

 

SWCC bell

In Moore, State v. Miniefield is also cited. You can hear Kirk Nurmi discussing this on day 9 of the trial (we included the video and where to find it in the Holy Grail article).

Miniefield basically got drunk and went ballistic trying to kill a guy he got angry at. He had at times, a handgun, a shotgun, and finally, Molotov Cocktails. He finally managed to set the guy’s house on fire and the guy’s young daughter was burned to death.

Kind of makes it difficult to root for this guy in his appeal, doesn’t it?

 

It's complicated lg

 

State v. Miniefield (1974)

http://law.justia.com/cases/arizona/supreme-court/1974/2763-0.html

This guy wanted the felony murder conviction dropped so badly, he was even willing to admit to pre-meditated murder.

stock-footage-activist-man-face-violence-molotov-cocktail-burning-danger

 

Minefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim.

It’s not felony murder because the arson was not independent of the homicide.

Court: Yes, it is felony murder and the arson IS independent of the homicide.

 

“Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” For example, in State v. Miniefield, the defendant argued that it was fundamental error to charge him with felony murder by arson because “the arson was merely the use of fire to attempt to kill the victim.”

The Court rejected this argument by noting that the felony murder statute provided that when a person commits arson and the arson results in death it is first-degree murder. “The statute does not draw a distinction between a person who intends to kill another by fire and one who only intends to burn down a dwelling house and accidentally kills one of the occupants.”

 

tumblr_me2rxePYB71qzabkfo1_500

See the logic there? Arizona doesn’t care if premeditated murder and felony murder, seemingly mutually exclusive, are both charged and both found as long as the basic elements of each theory are proven.

Most recently, the Court distinguished Essman in State v. Dann (Dann I), (2003).

“There, the defendant argued that because he intended to murder a victim rather than assault him, he could not be convicted of felony murder.

 

Noting that the defendant did not dispute that felony murder could be predicated on burglary based on intent to commit assault, the Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that the merger rule does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged.”

Meaning that it helps a felony murder charge, to have a separate charge for the felony.

The Jodi Arias case did not have a separate charge for felony.

 

“Moore complains that the State, while charging felony murder based on burglary, did not specify until the settling of jury instructions, and after the close of evidence, that burglary would be defined by his intent to commit murder rather than theft.”

Prosecutor

Arizona prosecutors sure like to keep secrets from the defense, don’t they?

“We agree with Moore that Blakley implies that the state should identify before trial the particular felony that will be used to define burglary when the latter crime is the predicate for felony murder.”

 

Moore was indicted for and convicted of two counts of premeditated and felony murder for the murders of Delia and Guadalupe, one count of premeditated murder for the murder of Mata, one count of attempted first-degree murder for the injuries to Ford, and one count of first-degree burglary. The trial court was to sentence Moore in August 2002, but the hearing was vacated after the Supreme Court held that Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional. See Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002).

 

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Smauel Alito Jr., Elena Kagan

Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002). Is a landmark case which held that juries, not judges, should decide the death penalty mitigators and aggravators and decide on life or death.

 http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/us-supreme-court-ring-v-arizona

Landmark cases are sometimes based on the trials of real pieces of ……… work, like Ring.

 

“In November 2004, the trial court empanelled a jury to determine Moore’s sentence. The State alleged two aggravators: that Moore murdered Delia in an especially cruel manner, and that Moore murdered multiple persons on the same occasion. The jury did not reach a verdict on the (F)(6) aggravator, but did find the (F)(8) aggravator. Before the penalty phase concluded, the court declared a mistrial because Moore’s medical expert suffered a heart attack.

Moore was another endless case.

 

Why felony murder is so contentious:

Remember that Felony Murder means that if someone dies in the course of a dangerous felony, that death can become a 1st degree murder. A defendant could get life in prison or the death penalty. While Premeditated Murder includes lesser charges a jury could decide on.

There’s a famous case where a man goes into a home with a gun to rob it. He hears a sound and changes his mind and runs out of the home. On the way, he trips over a wire falls and the gun goes off. Unknown to him, there was a person behind the wall who was shot and killed. The man leaves thinking the worse thing he did was the gun went off. He was arrested for felony murder and faced the death penalty. This is because he attempted a burglary and in the course of the attempt, he caused the death of a person.

This is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Furman v. Georgia.

http://www.floridalawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ShatzA2.pdf

 

images

Scary to think that because of the felony murder law, the man faced the death penalty for what was otherwise an accidental shooting. Without the felony of burglary – theft, this would normally be a 2nd degree murder at most or manslaughter.

So, there are lots of consequences, sometimes unintended, when applying the law to the facts of a case or deciding how a defendant will be charged.

– and sometimes they are intended.

 

dann_20120308094336_640_480

State v.Dann (2003)

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_510ea0c0c124b6f12fd2ce54a0d0ad2d.pdf&view=1

Dann: It cannot be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder.

Court:  It is felony murder because the felony was burglary with intent to commit assault. In the course of that felony, you caused the death of a person. There is sufficient evidence to find intent to assault.

 

“The jury found Dann guilty of felony murder on all three murder charges. The predicate offense for the felony murders was burglary, which, in turn, was predicated on an intent to commit aggravated assault. The State charged that Dann went to the apartment intending to shoot Andrew, which constitutes an aggravated assault.

Dann asserts that the evidence showed that he entered Andrew’s apartment intending to murder Andrew, not assault him; therefore, he argues, the only felony offense to support the burglary charge was murder, not aggravated assault.”

 

“This results in ‘bootstrapping’, Dann maintains, because the State is saying that he committed felony murder because he entered the apartment intending to commit premeditated murder.”

 

 

 

The Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that “merger does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged and established.”

“Dann I and Miniefield defeat Moore’s argument that felony murder cannot be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder. The felony murder statute, A.R.S.§ 13-1105(A)(2), does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.”

130712171019-04-zimmerman-0712-horizontal-gallery

 

In Arizona, yes you can!

So who is right about the Arias case? “Cate” and Juan Martinez and Judge Sherry Stephens and The Supreme Court of Arizona or Amanda Chen and Rob Roman and Kirk Nurmi and Vladimir Gagin?

“Cate” made the comment that legal interpretations and decisions should be left to the professionals (Prosecutors and Judges), and not to layman blog writers. She forgets that Nurmi and Gagin are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Arizona, and they say the felony murder charge is in error.

 

“Cate” also forgets I went to law school as did Amanda, I’m a paralegal working in Federal and State Civil Litigation with an emphasis on the Disabled. I think I can give it a shot.

 

“Cate” made a big legal boo-boo. She forgot that in State v. Moore, all those cited cases and the appeal apply to State v. Moore. They do not necessarily apply to State v. Arias.

 

Now let’s bring down all the questions from the top of this article and see if these cases have answered our questions:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) and Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?

Yes, it makes sense – in Arizona. You can find a defendant guilty of both premeditated murder AND felony murder. You can see that it’s a correct verdict in State v. Moore, because Moore was convicted of both 1st degree premeditated murder and felony murder of 2 victims.

 

So, to clarify, you can be found guilty under both theories of first degree murder IF, in the course of a dangerous felony, you commit pre-meditated murder. That’s the reality in Arizona.

This seems to be only in Arizona, as far as I know. It seems like this gives prosecutors two bites at the apple, though.

 

Arizona seems to like those second bites at the apple, as shown in their nifty little ‘if at first you don’t succeed (at the death penalty) try, try again’.

  • Does the Merger rule apply in Arizona? Can you be found guilty of felony murder based on a burglary with intent to commit murder?
  • Can Juan Martinez use an intent to assault or murder as the basis for the Felony burglary in State v. Arias?

 

If the felony merges with the murder, then any murder would be a felony murder and there would be no need to prove pre-meditation, deliberation, or an intent to kill.

This is the law in most states. This was the law in Arizona. But, Arizona didn’t like that too very much, so they do it their way.

 

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.”

These next three cases reflect that rejection of Essman:

 

 It's complicated lg

 

Moore:  How can I be guilty of Felony Murder based on a burglary with the intent to commit pre-meditated murder?

Court: Because we find you committed burglary with the intent to commit assault. In the course of this felony, you caused the death of a person. Have a nice day.

 

Other states have held that a felony-murder conviction cannot be based on a burglary intended solely to murder the victim. Arizona don’t give a squid what them there other states do.

“We have already recognized that Arizona’s felony-murder statute identifies burglary based on assault as a valid predicate offense”.

 

Miniefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim

Court: Your intention to murder the victim is of no consequence for the purposes of felony murder. Your intention was to commit arson because you did commit arson. Whether you intended to kill or not, doesn’t matter in felony murder. You set the building on fire and someone died as a result, Jerk.

 

Miniefield: I did not intend to commit arson, my intent was to kill the victim.

Court: You lit the Molotov cocktail and you threw it at the house.  How was that not your intention, sir?

 

Dann:  How can it be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder?

Court: We have proof you entered the home to commit an assault. Also, we have a separate felony charge

 

Felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.

The felony murder statute does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.

 

  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge possibly kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder, (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation) for the prosecution?

curious george

I would not put it past a prosecutor who tries to bring in evidence of “animal cruelty and torture” based on a vague, 3rd party report of a too tightly squeezed cat. After that monkey business with the order of injuries, I wouldn’t trust him anyways, nohow.

  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?

Under some circumstances, yes you can.

  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?

No. They can charge whatever they want, but then you have to wonder if there is an ulterior motive.

  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

Incorrect. (but, it’s complicated)

 

It's complicated lg

 

CONCLUSION:

In Arizona, Yes You Can:

  • Prosecutors can charge a defendant with BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder of a single victim. (Guess what? You can charge a defendant with anything you want – but, then you have to prove it)
  • Jurors can find a defendant guilty of BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder (The verdict form proves it and State v. Moore proves it) (A juror can make any decision allowed by the jury instructions).
  • Arizona’s felony murder statute recognizes assault as a valid predicate offense.
  • prosecutor_tsukichima_in_action_by_tsukichime-d5v3t03
  • In Arizona the Merger Rule doesn’t always apply. The felony can incorporate some parts of the murder.
  • In Arizona the felony predicate does not need to be independent of the homicide
  • In Arizona, felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.
  • In Arizona, burglary does not distinguish between an attempt to assault and an attempt to murder.

 

crown_prosecutor_marie_grills_addresses_the_weathe_85063054a4

So, are Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens correct that the felony murder charge is a viable extra 1st degree murder charge under the facts of the Jodi Arias case?

Has “Cate” decimated all the arguments we made in the Holy Grail article?

Do Nurmi and Gagic and Chen and Roman have it all wrong and are their arguments are no good?

 

Uh………no. They’re still good. Here’s why:

 

In State v. Arias,

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit theft.

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit assault.

 

Although the Essman ruling used to be the law, where the merger rule always applied and a predicate felony needed to be independent of the homicide, that’s no longer true, because of the decisions in the above cases

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” The key here is “the broad language” That does not mean that the Merger rule never applies or that felony predicates can always be the same as the elements of homicide.

 

The important thing is that each element needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. This means that to find for pre-meditated murder or felony murder, each element of the charge needs to be proven according to the requirements of the two separate theories.

 

So let’s take another look at the chart from the Holy Grail article, and see if we can find Jodi Arias guilty of Felony murder under the facts of the case.

To find Arias guilty of 1st degree felony murder, we need:

  • A predicate felony (We are told it is 2nd degree burglary)
  • A death caused in the course of that felony.

 

Jury Instructions:

CHARGED OFFENSE – FELONY MURDER

As stated earlier, Count 1 also charges defendant with First Degree Felony Murder. The crime of First Degree Felony Murder requires the state to prove the following two things:

  1. The defendant committed or attempted to commit Burglary in the Second Degree; and
  2. In the course of and in furtherance of committing Burglary in the Second Degree, or immediate flight from it, the defendant caused the death of any person.

An “attempt” requires the state to prove that the defendant intentionally did something which, under the circumstances she believed them to be, was a step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of the offense. The crime of

Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential structure; and
  2. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

 

#1 As far as the first part of burglary, I will accept Juan Martinez’ explanation for now that once Jodi Arias started stabbing Travis Alexander, he revoked his permission for her to be there, and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

Many people believe Alexander was shot first. Then, let’s say that once Arias ‘began her assault’ on Travis, she was no longer welcome and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

 

Problem: Wait a minute, Juan is assuming intent to assault or intent to kill – take your pick. We don’t know exactly what happened in that bathroom. Reporters still want to ask Arias that question.

Let’s ignore that for a moment and move on.

 

#2 Remained unlawfully in the residence with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

Juan Martinez gave us the theft of the gun as defining the burglary. If we believe Arias’ account of the crime

(No premeditation, she brought no weapons with her, A fight breaks out, Arias shot Alexander with his own gun in self-defense, he kept attacking, she finishes him off with a knife, she steals his gun).

 

I say “No pre-meditation”, because for felony murder, pre-meditated or not makes no difference. Only an intent to commit the dangerous felony matters. You cannot use your finding of premeditation as proof of intent in a felony murder.

So theft of the gun fails as defining the burglary right here. Why? Because, Juan Martinez did not PROVE WHEN the intent to take the gun was formed. The intent could have been formed AFTER the killing (and most likely was). This means that the death would not be caused “in the course of and in furtherance of the burglary”.

 

Do you understand?

A death has to be caused as a consequence of Arias trying to steal that gun. If she forms the intent to steal the gun after he’s already dead, then the death is not a consequence of the theft.

“Cate” made a remark that maybe Juan might have been being facetious about the gun. I thought of that also, but I hope not, because this is somewhat of a serious matter.

 

So the gun theft fails. Let’s move on to the assault.

Jodi Arias remained unlawfully in the home. She did so with the intent to commit assault upon Travis Alexander.

Problem: Where is Juan Martinez’ proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intent to assault? There isn’t any, because Nurmi was right, there is no other felony. There is no other felony because Juan Martinez failed to PROVE it.

 

Well, I believe she pre-meditated the killing, isn’t that intent?

  • No, because pre-meditated or not makes no difference. It cannot be an element of intent to assault, or intent to kill. That has to be proven separately. Well, that’s really bizarre. Yes, but law is very bizzare sometimes.

Well, there’s the crime scene and the stabbed and shot body. No one else was there. It had to be Arias. Isn’t that intent to commit assault?

  • No. Because Juan Martinez didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Arias intended to assault Alexander.

 

Well, what about all that case law above?

  • Right. Did you see the Judge say hey, Moore, You were convicted of both premeditated AND felony murder? You dispute the felony murder, but, you premeditated it, so there’s the intent. He didn’t say that.

Did you hear the judge say, hey, Moore, you see that dead body? That proves your intent. He didn’t say that either.

 

What the judge said was, it doesn’t matter what’s in your mind, we have evidence that you were heavily engaged in crack smoking throughout, that you got a gun, that you told your gf you “weren’t going to stand for it” and to come and find you if you didn’ return. You showed a friend the gun and asked him for hrlp to “get”the victim. You entered the home with a weapon. There’s an eye witness. That’s proof of intent to assault. And people died in the course of the assault. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Minifield, it was proven that he took a Molotov cocktail, lit it, and threw it at the home. That’s proof of intent to commit arson. A little girl died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Dann, he claimed there was no other felony except the murder. The State charged an intent to kill, but later changed it to an intent to commit aggravated assault. Dann told the court he intended to kill the victim, not assault him, so there is no other felony.

The court replied that we have testimony that you borrowed a gun from your ex-gf, you tried to boorow another “untraceable gun” from a friend, you told your friend you intended to “straighten out the problem, you entered the home with the gun, you called your ex-gf and told he you just shot three people, and that’s proof of intent to assault. As a consequence, someone died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

liberty_bell

– Well, what if we forget about pre-meditation for now, and let’s say Jodi Arias was proven to be going to Alexander’s home after preparing for a nefarious purpose of some kind, isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. Because we don’t know when or where or if she formed the intent to assault, no proof.

– Well, it’s a reasonable assumption that Jodi brought a gun and/or knife to Mesa and into Travis’ home. Isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. There’s no proof that Jodi brought the gun or the knife to the crime scene.

In Moore and Dann, there was proof they were armed when they entered residences. Moore was also charged separately with a felony, so for the facts of his case, the merger rule doesn’t apply anyways.

 

Arias was charged with the felony predicate of 2nd degree burglary – assault. They used 2nd degree instead of 1st degree precisely because the state could not prove she brought a weapon into the house.

– Well, she said she did it. She said she did it all. So, if I don’t believe her self-defense story or that Travis attacked her, or if I believe she went way too far, then that proves her intent to assault, doesn’t it?

No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t rely on her word about anything. I see the merger rule coming into play here, as there’s no distinct felony here, just like Nurmi said. I don’t see how there’s a clear intent to kill or assault, beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

She was an invited guest, they did interact and have a good time, she was there over 12 hours, then something happened, and I believe there will always be some doubt there as far as what exactly happened. Apparently, it wasn’t very clear to 5 of the jurors.

Now, I believe the only way that felony murder makes any sense at all in this case is if the gunshot was first. Think about this: She shoots him in the shower, as part of a plan to kill him, only he doesn’t die. Jodi Arias doesn’t leave the residence, and she doesn’t call for an ambulance or for help. At this point, she’s remaining in the residence unlawfully. It’s burglary – assault. Jodi Arias then picks up a knife and finishes him off.

 

Here I would say this is a clear burglary – assault, and in the course of and furtherance of this felony, she caused the death of Alexander. The other way, it’s not so clear at all. Maybe Juan Martinez wanted it that way.

That’s another reason why the change in the order of injuries by the prosecution is problematic. The felony murder charge certainly fits much better with the gunshot first murder theory. I believe that when the prosecution changed the order of injuries to gunshot last, they forgot that this new theory doesn’t fit felony murder. I believe that later, they stubbornly refused to drop the charge, for fear it would draw attention to the fact that they swcithed the order of injuries intentionally to squash Jodi Arias’ self-defense claim.

 

– Well, what is your reasoning for felony murder not working the other way, with the stabbings first?

I see a merger rule problem with that theory. I just don’t see clear proof of intent either to kill or assault, to make this strictly a felony murder.

 

“Cate” said something to the effect of, well, if the felony murder charge really didn’t make sense, why weren’t the legal minds in the major media discussing it? This is her type of street logic that I just don’t get, using something that didn’t happen to prove that something else did.

Remember the saying – “Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.”

You drive me crazy that way, Cate, I have to admit.

 

Maybe they weren’t discussing it because the prosecution was pushing pre-meditation, or because pre-meditation elements and the lesser included offenses that go with it are more interesting to talk about. Or maybe the viewers weren’t asking about it. Who knows?

If Arias was found unanimously guilty of felony murder 1 instead of premeditated murder 1, maybe they would have talked about it then.

Who are these legal experts she’s talking about, anyways? Dershowitz? Beth Karas? Vinnie Politan? – Please!

 

Is there a quote or an article or a video from anyone about how the felony murder charge is correct?

I couldn’t find any major media Legal Eagles speaking on the soundness of the charge, but I did find one legal commentator who said what Nurmi said – that there was nothing there. Does the name Monica Lindstrom ring a bell?

 

This case is not the same as the other cases cited above. This is the only case of the above in which I see no clear felony outside of the murder, despite the Arizona way of not always using the merger rule and sometimes allowing the felony to incorporate certain parts of the murder, which certainly seems to favor the prosecution.

  • Why was the prosecution so reluctant to explain to the defense exactly what their felony murder theory was in this case?
  • Why was there was a lot of contention in motions in 2010, before Nurmi took over the case about this exact question?
  • Why did the prosecution argue for pre-meditation all day every day and then spend just 5 minutes arguing felony murder?
  • Why didn’t the prosecution specify the exact felony (assault, murder, theft, etc.) defining the burglary, even in the jury instructions? Other cases do.
  • Why was the prosecution intentionally ambiguous about it, and why did they spend so little time explaining it?

That’s just more than a little fishy when the felony murder is obviously not as clear-cut and much harder to understand.

 

Maybe Nurmi was right: “(This) is either a premeditated murder or it’s not, and the felony murder burglary charge is just an “empty vessel” in order to seek a first degree murder conviction”. 

 

images (1)images (2) 

It certainly seems that felony murder charge was left there more to ensure a first degree murder conviction than because the prosecution honestly believed it was a legitimate charge.

Good job rejecting it, jurors!

 

  • Again, the predicate felony = remaining unlawfully in the home (via killing Alexander) with the intent of committing any further felony (killing Alexander) and the murder part of the felony murder is (killing Alexander).

circular_logic_by_mestafais-d5vm1d1

 

  • Even in Arizona, and even considering all the cited cases above, “Felony-murder still cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of the murder”. This is the merger doctrine in Arizona. 

 

  • The gun theft fails, timing of the intent to steal the gun – not proven – therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • The assault fails – no clear and convincing of proof of an intent to assault, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • Remaining unlawfully in the home. No clear proof of intent to assault – therefore no proof of revocation of consent to be in the home, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

The charge should have been dropped.

We invite any legal expert, especially those who practice criminal law in Arizona to explain to us why the felony murder charge in the Jodi Arias case makes any sense at all.

Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase: “I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”
Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase:
“I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”

What is YOUR opinion?

Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

You can also comment on our FB page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotlight-On-Law/189870931203328

All Rights Reserved

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: A Juanderful Closing Argument

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: A Juanderful Closing Argument

(SpolightOnLaw The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: The OTHER side of the story)

Fact based reporting by

Rob Roman and Amanda Chen

jodi

51bbd855dbd0cb1fb700033a._w.540_s.fit_

In this photo, Travis Alexander is wearing the costume and carrying the wig of "Eddie Snell from Alabama", his crude and violent alter-ego.
In this photo, Travis Alexander is wearing the costume and carrying the wig of “Eddie Snell from Alabama”, his crude and violent alter-ego.

In the all-important closing argument, Maricopa, Arizona prosecutor, Juan Martinez, promised to “shine the light of truth” on the defendant. He explained that Jodi Arias is guilty of first degree murder because:

*

  •  Jodi called her sister “stupid” (Important)
  • She had conflicts with her parents
  • She got in big trouble and lied about it
  • Jodi “adjusted” Ryan Burns
A Mormon couple, modeling their "magic underwear".
A Mormon couple, modeling their “magic underwear”.
  • She “committed perjury”. Everything she said is nothing but lies.
  • Jodi is a liar and manipulator because she testified that Ryan Burns was “full of crap”…
  • …after Ryan testified that he thought she said “she worked at Margaritaville” and he “touched her vaginal area”.
  • “A field of lies sprouted every time she took the witness stand”.
After earthly life, the next step for Mormons is to live with God on Earth's sister planet Kolob, which is closer to the throne of God, becuase earth was relocated form near Kolob to it's present position.
After earthly life, the next step for Mormons is to become celestial rulers and live with God on Earth’s sister planet Kolob, which is closer to the throne of God, because Earth was relocated away from Kolob to it’s present position in our solar system.
  • She is a waitress / manipulator who flirts with customers for tips.
  • The defense experts and defense team are all liars.
  • If Jodi told the truth about Travis having a gun and she did not premeditate the murder, she’s still a thief because she stole Travis’ gun and she’s still a murderer in the first degree because the prosecution, with the approval of the judge, legally manipulated the law with the felony murder charge.
Jodi Ann Arias is " a chameleon who will adjust to the situation and make herself go further to manipulate. " - prosecutor Juan Martinez
Jodi Ann Arias is ” a chameleon who will adjust to the situation and make herself go further to manipulate. ” – prosecutor Juan Martinez
  •  She stomped around like a wildebeest migration and left behind incriminating evidence. 
  • She was focused and deliberate, removed incriminating evidence and she did not leave a trail of bloody footprints while exiting the home.
A real Wildebeest "hovering" in a real field.
A real Wildebeest standing, not “hovering”, in a real field.
  • Jodi is a liar because she has a good memory for buying a Strawberry Frappuccino but can’t remember the details of a horrific, traumatic killing.
  • The only victimization or trauma Jodi ever experienced in her life was this: Jodi is “a victim of the trauma of lying”.
  • Jodi implicated herself on the stand and violated the spirit of the law by stealing a license plate that she was not absolutely sure belonged to her rental car.

download (1)

  • Jodi was criminally careless and negligent in possibly depriving a citizen of their lawfully obtained California license plate.
  • Jodi “has created a fantasy world”. Yet, even in her fantasy world, Juan reaches in and catches her several times violating the law.
Scene from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Scene from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • She decorates her lies with ornamentations to make them more believable.
  • Jodi is a lying liar. She even lied to Travis by faking an orgasm.
  • Jodi is a story-teller and sociopath who will defy the laws of common decency, bend the law to suit her purposes, lie, manipulate and even break the law in order to achieve her goals.
  • Jodi is strong-willed.

 

Scene from the "Wildebeest Stampede" from Disney's The Lion King
Scene from the “Wildebeest Stampede” in Disney’s The Lion King
  • “She’s not a reasonable person, she’s a liar and a murderer.”
  • She is physically strong enough to take Travis and she “Adjusted Ryan” (Important)
  • After killing Travis the “chameleon” proceeds to Utah where “that thing” kisses Ryan Burns, straddles and “adjusts him”, and “rubs genitalia”.
  • Jodi exaggerates and is dramatic.

images

Jodi Arias:
“Has a dumb, stupid sister”
“Is not nice to her mother”
“Is not a very nice person”

Lady-Tremaine-and-Stepsisters-cinderella-1991155-360-264

“will lie and manipulate at every turn”
“targeted a good Mormon boy”
Because she “decided she needed to breed”
Good Mormon boy whose halo is a CTR (Cherish the Right) Ring reminding him never to defile his future bride by engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct prior to marriage.
Good Mormon boy whose halo is a CTR (Cherish The Right) Ring reminding him never to defile his future bride by engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct prior to marriage.
 
For prosecutor Juan Martinez, this is key evidence in the Jodi Arias trial. Jodi called her sister stupid one time while communicating with Travis Alexander. This was one of the first questions he put to Arias on cross-examination. Juan made certain to bring up this major piece of evidence in his closing argument.
Allegations that Arias also once stuck her tongue out at her sister, Angela, and called her a “poopy face” were not allowed into evidence.
Judge Sherri Stephens absolutely controlled the courtroom because earlier in the trial she made sure the spectators remained silent and did not interrupt the prosecutor in an hour back and forth examination about crucial testimony concerning Snow White, the role of the Prince, the ages of the Seven Dwarfs, and whether their home was a “shack” or a “cute cottage”.

judge stephens

If Judge Stephens had the temerity to simply ask Juan “Where are you going with this?” she may have risked a mistrial or a successful appeal. It was a grand fishing expedition, but Juan got nary a nibble.
According to Juan Martinez, Jodi Arias should allow Travis Alexander to berate her father and her grandfather (people he never met) because Jodi called her own sister “stupid”. These are the footprints of murder.

Untitled

Arias, like many young people, had a strained relationship with her mother. This is evidence of either abuse or Jodi’s mental and emotional problems stemming from her childhood and mental illness. This is an issue which supports the defense, not the prosecution.
Martinez stated that Arias’ behavior and acts from her birth to her late teens were irrelevant to the crime or it’s mitigation. Yet, he brought them up again and again in this capital murder case.
Juan Martinez is fond of saying “You can’t have it both ways”.

kirk nurmi

This is a man whose imagination is confined to the world of Disney, where the whole world is invited to participate in the reduction of great works of literature and psychologically profound fables about passages into adulthood, into simplistic and pleasing tales and colorful, lilting rides.

That’s why author E.L. Doctorow, in his historical work, The Book of Daniel, called Disney World rides, themed after simplistic Disney stories loosely based on the true literary works of art, “a sentimental compression of something that is itself already a lie”.

"If it's not written in the journal, it didn't happen" - Juan Martinez
“If it’s not written in the journal, it didn’t happen” – Juan Martinez

That’s the Jodi Arias trial in a nutshell, ladies and gentleman, after the actual, and complicated truth was corrupted and bastardized into a simplistic good versus evil morality play by the “Bulldog” of Maricopa County.

Your opinion is valuable. All comments are welcome and appreciated

All Rights Reserved –

(Please do not reproduce this article in whole or in part without permission)

Myspace007P6062005

Sources:

http://movies.disney.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs

http://movies.disney.com/the-lion-king

http://mormon.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolob

Juan Martinez gives his closing argument in the guilt phase of the trial

The Best Way to Help Jodi Arias? Don’t!

The Best way to help Jodi Arias?  Don’t!

22255717_BG3

Fact based reporting

by Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

Now, why would a blog in support of Jodi Arias say something like this?

We are saying it for one little, insignificant reason, because it’s true.

Support-JodiThere are many people helping Jodi Arias as we speak. They send her supportive cards and letters, they go to visit her at Estrella Jail, they communicate with each other and share important news about the case. These Jodi-helpers write letters and sign petitions, write blogs and comment on websites, purchase her art and raise money for her appeal, organize gift-packs, and keep in communication with her family members.
Still others may feel that Jodi Arias may be guilty but they do not believe it was a fair trial or they do not believe in the death penalty. All these people support Jodi in some way. They yearn to be able to do something more to help. They might not believe that best way to do this is to join in objectives that are not about Jodi Arias.

Help to End Executions in the USA

Help to End State Executions

in Arizona and the other states that use it.
images (8)There are two basic categories of the death penalty in America. The first category is the death penalty statutes in the individual States. These can be repealed by acts of the individual state legislatures. This can depend on who is in power in the legislature and who the Governor is at the moment. There will be an election in Arizona in 2014, and Jan Brewer cannot be re-elected. Governor Brewer has already tried to get the legislature to change the rules so that she can serve an extra four years. Here is a good place to start.
This is the new abolition movement in America. Most of us will never be accused of murder and most of us will not be imprisoned on death row. But we know that many people on death row have been wrongly convicted and some have been executed. We know that the death penalty creates numerous injustices, even for the victims of violent crimes as well as the free citizens of death penalty states,
Clodagh+Joyce+Death+Penalty+Protesters+Hold+Xlqx4bY6faZlSome states such as Texas, Ohio, and Arizona have the death penalty and use it frequently. It’s a hot political issue and many people in these states think it is the right thing to do and it’s the will of God. These states may one day decide that the amount of money spent on capital cases could be put to better use. The victim’s family and friends are not satisfied with a guilty verdict, but suffer through decades of appeals and wait 20 years to finally “get closure”. Most of the time, the execution is of little solace to the family and friends.

Each State is Different

Some states have repealed the death penalty and no longer execute convicted criminals or sentence them to death. Many states have found that the death penalty violates their individual state constitutions. In these states it’s significantly more difficult to return to executing convicted murderers.
Still other states put moratoriums on the use of executions, but the moratoriums can be lifted. The states that do not use the death penalty but have not found it unconstitutional may bring it back into use. There has been talk of this in several states. Other states still have the death penalty, but use it rarely. These states are the most likely to one day create a moratorium or repeal the death penalty statutes.
0350a5f0-19c4-4813-9847-059cebcacc13People living in the states that have a moratorium can argue against bringing the death penalty back. They can get involved in efforts to end the death penalty in states that still use it. People in other states and outside the U.S. can also write letters and articles supporting the abolition of the death penalty in the states that use it regularly.
If you want to help Jodi Arias, or even if you don’t, you can make an effort to end the death penalty in the state of Arizona. You will have done everyone residing in Arizona and humanity a favor, and indirectly, you will be helping Jodi Arias. Then, we would not have to see similar spectacles from Arizona, such as more exonerations of death row prisoners like Debra Milke, and the Jodi Arias trial, embarrassing Arizona and the U.S. in the eyes of the world.

Help end federal executions by the United States Government

The second category is executions practiced by the U.S. Federal Government. The federal government reinstituted the death penalty in 1998. There are 59 people currently on Federal death row.  Fifty people have been sentenced to death from 2000 to 2012.
137458348592614114000701197_104_mcveigh_pastSince 1998, three people have been executed by the United States government. Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 for the bombing of a U.S. Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995. This act was primarily why the Federal government brought back the death penalty in 1998.
Also in 2001, the U.S. executed luis jones jrJuan Raul Garza, a drug dealer and murderer from Texas. In 2003, Luis Jones Jr. was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young Army recruit in Texas. Both McVeigh and Jones were military veterans who fought in foreign wars.
Should mass murderers and terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh and the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, be executed? Timothy McVeigh is long gone. Wouldn’t it be better if he was still in prison having to face the consequences of his act?
dpcountiesIf you want to talk about injustice, how just is it to make the innocent children, siblings, and parents of Condemned prisoners face the death of their loved ones by the government? How just is it that many other countries will refuse to extradite criminals to the U.S. Government or to states that use the death penalty?
As long as the Federal Government executes people, the states will also want to have that right for themselves. If the Federal Government ends the use of executions, this could set the stage for abolition of the death penalty in individual states. This can also indirectly help Jodi Arias.
 

Help restore the “presumption of innocence”

for suspects and defendants.

bad dogThe power of public opinion is so pervasive it infuses court proceedings and can influence juries, judges, people in high places, and even governments.

hauptmannThere are many reasons to believe that Bruno Richard Hauptman was guilty of the kidnapping and murder of the Linbergh baby (Charles Lindbergh was famous for making the world’s first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927).
imagesThe prosecutor in his trial exhorted the jury to look at Hauptmann’s “predatory eyes” as proof of the certainty of his guilt. We should all be outraged by such tactics, as they are entirely subjective, appeal to the emotions rather than logic, and obscure the facts. Yet, in the case of Jodi Arias, there was much talk on the media about Jodi’s “dead shark eyes”.
Yet even today, emotional persuasion, speculation, and a presumption of guilt have been utilized in the place of or to supplement facts and evidence that should be the sole determinant of guilt or innocence in a trial.
Here are some quotes about the presumption of innocence for suspects and defendants:
hesiod-sm smSo the people will pay the penalty for their King’s presumption, who, by devising evil, turn justice from her path with tortuous speech –Hesiod, 700 BC
images (2) smIt is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1767
benjamin-franklin-520 smInnocence is its own defense. Benjamin Franklin, 1733
download (2) smTo vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.-Ouida, Two Little Wooden Shoes, 1874
download (3) sm“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” -J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001
leonard peltier sm Innocence is the weakest defense. Innocence has a single voice that can only say over and over again, “I didn’t do it.” Guilt has a thousand voices, all of them lies–Leonard F. Peltier, Prison Writings, 1999
 
sc00210 sm“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.” Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)
078skayfqa6870sa sm“The presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail”. –Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes (Fox News), Aug. 24, 2001
download (4) sm“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham

Which of these quotes does not seem to go with the others? Which of these quotes just doesn’t belong?

 
22597_002_0036.JPG“What was the quesion…..?” –Vinnie Poitan, Headline News, 2013
The media is a major culprit in the erosion of the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants in a trial.
“The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
“Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognized in many nations. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the trier of fact, who is restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony that is legally admissible, and in most cases lawfully obtained, that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubtIf reasonable doubt remains, the accused is to be acquitted.”
“The proof lies upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies; since, by the nature of things, he who denies a fact cannot produce any proof.”
“This right is so important in modern democracies, constitutional monarchies, and republics many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
trial by media“Trial by Media” and the huge public interest in murder trials has been an ever-growing factor in the erosion of the presumption of innocence. The public is exposed to speculation and selective facts as well as evidence not allowed in at trial. Murders and murder trials, crime and punishment have a huge entertainment value, which is exploited by media outlets for profit.
Most trials are over 90% boring and there is a constant temptation for the media to spice things up with speculation, unsupported evidence, and outright lies. This creates an assault on the presumption of innocence because once people make up their minds, they will ignore or reject facts which challenge their opinion.
According to Wikipedia, “Trial by media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt before, or even after, a verdict in a court of law.”
201002010_lynch“During high-publicity court cases, the media are often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public hysteria akin to a lynch mob which not only makes a fair trial nearly impossible but means that regardless of the result of the trial the accused will not be able to live the rest of their life without intense public scrutiny.
The counter-argument is that the mob mentality exists independently of the media which merely voices the opinions which the public already has.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
injusticeFor the accused and defendants of less means, who have public defenders, the negative impact of trial-by-media is far greater. They often have no representative or proxy to give their side of the story and to counter untruths. This is why HLN and other media handled the recent Brett Seacat murder trial (A police officer with a private attorney) and the Dr. Martin MacNeil murder trial (An M.D. with a private attorney) with kid gloves compared to the way they absolutely crucified Jodi Arias.
safe_imageThis is especially true of CNN’s HLN, who took a public interest and right to know concept of televising trials, and twisted it to the point where they seem to believe they actually own these trials and can control public opinion.
Yes, HLN was voicing the opinions of the public in the Jodi Arias trial, but they super-charged it and raised the hatred to epic proportions. They told documented untruths, rumors reported as facts, and they told pure lies every week during the Jodi Arias trial. In addition we have instant communication to the masses by means of the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which allow facts, rumors and falsities alike to travel at light speed.
trial by social mediaThis has also added the challenging dimension of creating the ability to harass and intimidate participants in the trial as well as people holding unpopular, minority opinions. This phenomenon has outraced common legislation to control such harmful new capabilities.

Help reduce trial by media and restore the presumption of innocence

before and during trials

622539We should call HLN on its lies and incomplete facts and make them prove their allegations. Jodi killed her childhood dog, Jodi wore fake glasses, Jodi attacked another prisoner at the Estrella jail, Jodi has a bad jail record, Jodi flipped the bird at Nancy Grace, Jodi deliberately made “throat slashing” gestures, Jodi lied about wanting the death penalty rather than life in an Arizona jail – all lies told by HLN.
The camera feeds from these high profile trials are available publicly and some websites have offered links to these feeds to shut out players like HLN who try to co-opt and exploit the defendants and their trials for their own ratings and profit purposes. We need to see more of this. Let’s make the feed available to everyone publicly, so that there is less trial by media. It’s too late for Jodi Arias as far as a presumption of innocence and trial by media, but we can help the next person to get a fair trial.
Help reduce wrongful convictions
by advocating for extra funding for forensic testing and more adequate investigations.
exoneratedOf course, there are always limits in manpower and materials to completely investigate each and every factor and lead in a murder investigation.
Still, grossly under-investigated crimes combine with political agendas and this leads to the pressure to indict, arrest, and convict on scant evidence. This is especially true of states like Arizona that are constantly seeking to cut spending to the bare bone. This approach is short sighted and counter productive because it ends up costing more in the long run.
images (3)States should put more money into complete and competent investigations and scientific testing in order to save money from wrongful convictions, reversals, appeals, re-trials, and lawsuits.
Incomplete and incompetent investigations and inadequate testing are two huge factors in wrongful convictions. More thorough investigation and more testing of evidence may change the tide of the Jodi Arias case in appeal and will help to prevent countless wrongful prosecutions.
Help to promote humane prison conditions.
mqh6kxw33e_amnesty_international_logo smInhumane prison conditions cause embarrassment to us all as a nation and reduce our ability to promote improvements in other countries. Arizona is a proven culprit in creating inhumane prison conditions. There should be strict standards for the treatment and conditions of people in custody in the U.S.
images (11)This would help Jodi Arias in the short run and would benefit every citizen in the long run.
Help end the “Incarceration Nation”
and reduce extremely long prison terms for non-violent offenders
 
Fareed Zakaria wrote in Time magazine that the number of jailed prisoners in the United States is one of the great scandals of American life. “Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.”
images (10)Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”
Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and Britain – with a rate among the highest – has 153.
 
170342714_640Even developing countries that are well known for their crime problems have a third of U.S. numbers. Mexico has 208 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, and Brazil has 242. We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population but we make up 25% of the world’s jailed prisoners.
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109777,00.html#ixzz2kRNJQip1
The prison system has become a major for-profit industry in the United Sates.
This is mostly due to the “war on drugs”, but has expanded to include other non-violent crimes.
download (8)download (9) marissa
In two recent cases in Florida, a 19 year-old was sentenced to 162 years in prison with no possibility of parole for a series of unsuccessful armed robberies where no one was hurt. He shot only at a dog, but he missed. A woman who was threatened by her estranged husband in her own home was sentenced to 20 years in prison for discharging a firearm into a wall as a warning to her ex-husband.
These laws are unfairly applied to people of less means and to minorities. There are alternatives to incarceration which include GPS monitoring, rehabilitative counseling, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and training and education which can help turn lives around as opposed to throwing lives away.
abc_jodi_arias_jef_130307_wg
Such concepts as mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines should be restricted because they remove the discretion of judges in individual cases and give too much power to District Attorneys.
Shining a spotlight on our embarrassing prison system will help the U.S. to look at the value of rehabilitation as opposed to warehousing people in prisons. We can try to reduce the growth industry of  private prisons and replace this with more constructive and beneficial enterprises.

Help keep local and state governments honest

 
curr-26541When government corruption, especially in law enforcement is observed it should be reported and acted upon. The Jodi Arias trial has helped to shine a spotlight on a variety of highly questionable practices in Arizona. You can get active and speak out on these practices and advocate for investigations and reforms. You do not have to be from a particular state or even from the United States to speak out on these matters.

Help to reduce bullying and domestic violence.

download (7)Domestic violence is not really growing in America, but it’s becoming more deadly, due to the proliferation of firearms and an inability to communicate and deal effectively with conflicts. Bullying in America has increased due to our competitive and aggressive culture.
High-tech has served to make one-time incidents permanent by photo or video. These incidents, accusations, and rumors can spread with lightning speed throughout an entire community. This high-tech dimension makes fleeting incidents into long lasting attacks that few people are equipped to withstand.
images (14)Worse than this, like the current epidemic of the “knockout game”, where young people go out and sneak up on an unsuspecting person and punch them in the head as hard as they can while a friend records it on video, bullying has become a dangerous and potentially deadly “game”. Some young people get a thrill out of using technology to try to destroy the life of another young person, hoping they will cause them emotional distress, or even run them out of a school or the town. They are excited at the idea of using their computers and cell phones to cause a person to take their own life.
images (12)We see this same tactic employed by adults in society at large and especially in the social media, where people can hide behind a computer or cell phone and lash out at opponents protected by anonymity and multiple profiles. Here, we are setting a dangerous and potentially deadly example for children and young adults. This leads to the next item:
Help fight for Jodi by not fighting for Jodi
 
incarceration-nation3There are political courses and classes that teach people to attack the opinions of others by means of personal attacks. These attacks are meant to silence people with an opposing opinion by short circuiting the issues and changing the subject. The usual response to this is to counter-attack with insults and personal attacks.
If we hold an unpopular or minority opinion, fighting with others will not change their opinion or help our cause. It’s better to present factual reasons why we believe the way we do and to respect the holders of opposing opinions. This way we can take the high road and show that our reasoning is based on facts and that we have considered our position carefully.
images (6)We can give our opponents some facts to ponder and some things to think about. This helps our cause by reducing the criticisms that the holder of a minority opinion is ignorant, unreasonable, or crazy. It also makes the attacker look bad when the holder of an unpopular opinion refuses to counterattack or ignores the attack completely.
Another thing we can do is to see if we can find common ground in any of the above issues. People who don’t hold the same opinion you do most likely agree with you on at least one of these other issues.
Helping to put an end to federal and state executions, restoring the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants, and limiting trial by media is something we can all do to improve the criminal justice system in America.
Pakistan-domestic-violence-via-AFPAdvocating for the Reduction of wrongful convictions through more complete testing and investigations, and improving prison conditions will help to make our system more just and will save money in the long run.
Helping to reduce our prison population, investigating and reporting corruption in government, and helping to reduce bullying and domestic violence incidents and deaths are all things we can work on to improve our society.
images (15)Setting a good example for our kids by not allowing ourselves to be reduced to the level of personal attacks on social media is another positive step we can take. Taking the high road when communicating with “Travis supporters” may get more people to rethink their ideas and opinions about the Jodi Arias trial.  We can show we have a more complete knowledge of the case and we can improve our debating and communicating skills.
Each of these issues directly helps to improve our society and positively impact our culture. They make us a better country in the eyes of the world.
These are not liberal or conservative issues, but are a matter of evolution.
As a bonus, all of these issues indirectly benefit Jodi Arias. That’s one of the reasons why Jodi wants to help domestic violence victims by making sure they seek help and document their abuse. It’s to prevent many others from the same tragic circumstances Jodi is facing now.
We can help improve the system and conditions which may have failed Jodi Arias, and will certainly fail countless others if nothing is done to change the conditions .

images (17)

Sometimes, the best way to help Jodi Arias is to not help Jodi Arias. I think even Jodi would agree.

worldFor more insight into why the death penalty is unjust to crime victims and the public please see:

http://americancultureshock.wordpress.com/dp-needs-a-lethal-injection/

All rights reserved
Please let us know your opinion

The Executives and the Executed (part 2)

The Executives and the Executed (part 2)

Meet Arizona’s Recently Executed Death Row Prisoners

Fact Based Reporting

by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

The Arizona Executive Board of Clemency

can reduce sentences for any prisoner convicted of a felony. For death sentences, it’s almost impossible. For doing such things as reducing a 7 year sentence to a 5 year sentence, here is what a popular Arizona newspaper says:
symington 4“Statistically, if you are convicted of a felony in Arizona, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than granted clemency by the governor. Excluding the cases of inmates nearing the end of a terminal illness, Governor Jan Brewer is on track to grant the fewest clemency cases in more than two decades – even when a judge and unanimous board recommend a shorter sentence.
Recent board members interviewed by The Arizona Republic believe clemency will be granted even less frequently in the future.
Indeed, (Governor Jan) Brewer’s decision to replace three of the five clemency-board members at once last month (April, 2012) has led to legal and political turmoil: Departing board members say they were ousted for voting to grant clemency; and attorneys for an inmate scheduled to be executed Wednesday will be in Maricopa County Sperior Court on Monday, seeking a court order to nullify the appointments, arguing that they violated state laws. If the court agrees, it would invalidate dozens of board decisions from the past three weeks and could stall the clemency process.”
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/12/20120412arizona-prison-clemency.html#ixzz2i8iEj2RK
Jane hull(web)-150Less than four months later, two of the new members resigned after having controversies with the longstanding board members. This is motly about the shorter term felony sentences. For the prisoners facing an execution: forgetaboutit!
images (1)The other controversy revolves around the drugs used to execute prisoners. More and more companies are refusing to supply the drugs for the purpose of taking as life. States have had to change theit drug protocols and they have even shown a willingness to “improvise” if needed.
jan brewer 5These are the last   7 prisoners executed in Arizona from 2012 – 2013. A quick look at these brief but interesting histories tells us something about how the death penalty works and does not work in Arizona.

So let’s take a look at the Arizona’s most recently executed prisoners:

Robert Henry Moormann

moormann 1Crime: January 13, 1984

Sentenced to Death: May 7, 1985

Executed: February 29, 2012

This man went on a trip from Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada, no problem with that. He stopped at several hotels along the way, no problem with that. He took a female companion with him, no problem there. The female was eight years old and he didn’t know her. That’s a BIG problem.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior conviction punishable by life imprisonment
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all three prongs)
 motelMoormann was incarcerated and his mother would make the three hour drive to see him from time to time. He was granted a temporary 3 day humanitarian release to visit his ailing mother. While visiting his mother at a hotel within eyesight of the prison, he smothered her with a pillow and dismembered her body. He tried to hide the body parts at various places around town, including at the prison. There was a BIG problem there, too.
And this was the end of humanitarian releases for violent convicts.
moorman 2There were issues of mental incompetence and he was found to be mentally retarded by an IQ test administered when he was in grade school. There were also reports that his mother had sexually abused him throughout his life.
Just before he was put to death, Robert Henry Moormann used his last words to apologize to his family and to the family of the eight-year-old girl he kidnapped and molested in 1972. He said: “I hope this brings closure and they can start healing now”.
“I just hope that they will forgive me in time.”
Most states use a 3-drug combination for lethal injections:
1)      An Anesthetic (either Pentobarbital or, formerly, Sodium Thiopental),
2)      Pancuronium Bromide (a paralytic agent, also called Pavulon),
3)       Potassium Chloride (stops the heart and causes death).
Moormann became the unintended first recipient of Arizona’s new single drug protocol, a lethal dose of an anesthetic. This occurred because it was discovered on Monday that one of the three drugs had expired. Moormann was given only two days notice of how he would be put to death instead of the usual 7 day notice.
Moorman is considered to be severely mentally handicapped. He was probably not completely sure of what was happening to him. The U.S. Supreme Court refused his request for a stay of execution just 2 hours before he was put to death.

Robert Towery

robert-towery

Crime: September 4, 1991

Sentenced to Death: November 20, 1992

Executed: March 8, 2012

This man robbed a 6 year-old man, injected him with a veterinary syringe filled with an unknown liquid, then strangled him to death with a zip tie.
4 aggravating circumstances:
Prior convictions for offenses involving the threat of violence
Prior convictions for which life imprisonment was impossible
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only)
towery 2Also known as “Chewey”, Robert was usually high on meth. He enjoyed mayhem and made use of strong arm robberies to finance his lifestyle.  During one robbery, he targeted a well known philanthropist named Mark Jones who financed the college education of hard-working graduate students. He had even lent Robert Towery some money in the past and gave him advice about starting a business.
With an accomplice, Towery tied up and injected him with a substance before strangling him with a plastic zip tie. This substance was rumored to be battery acid, giving him the name of “the Battery Acid Killer”. However, it was found at trial that neither the syringe nor the victim’s body had any traces of battery acid.
Most of the evidence against Towery, including the idea about battery acid, came from his accomplice who served only 10 years for 2nd degree murder.
towery sisAt his commutation hearing before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, a prosecutor again brought up the battery acid rumor. He also explained that Towery’s mitigating claims of severe child abuse were unfounded and a phony plea for mercy. These were lies told by Juan Martinez to secure a death sentence. At this same meeting were Towery’s two sisters, who each explained in vivid detail the horrendous abuse endured by Towery. He often protected his two sisters by taking beatings that were meant for his sisters.
PHP4F5395C5EB2AARobert Towery in his last words, apologized to his family and to the victim’s family and friends. He regretted having made so many mistakes in his life and continuing to go in the wrong direction.
Remeber that Towery had injected his victim with a liquid filled syringe? Curiously, the execution team took an unusually long time finding a vein and stuck him many times, finally arranging injection portals in both his arm and his groin. The one hour delay was not attributed to the struggle to find a vein but to ‘extra time Towery spent with his lawyer and a minister’.
Towery cried before being injected, but this was attributed to his emotions about his family. His final words were “potato, potato, potato”, perhaps a reference to his last visits with his family ot to his childhood with his two sisters. Robert’s final words were “I would like to apologize to Mark’s family and friends for what I did to them. I would like to apologize to my family,” Towery said. “So many times in my life I went left when I should have gone right and I went right when I should have gone left. It was mistake after mistake after mistake.” “I love my family”. “Potato, potato, potato”.

Thomas Arnold Kemp

kemp 1

Crime: July 11, 1992

Sentenced to Death: July 9, 1993

Executed: April 25, 2012

This man with an accomplice killed an illegal immigrant named Hector Juarez and left him naked in the desert.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior convictions for offenses involving the threat of violence
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only)
Kemp and his accomplice abducted their victim from his community college. They forced him to withdraw $200.00 for his bank account and drove him into the desert. They forced him to remove his clothes and then Kemp shot him twice in the head.
After the murder, the two kidnapped a couple in Durango, Colorado and sexually assaulted the man. They separated and his accomplice was arrested after contacting the Police about the murder.
kemp 2He did admit to having regret and remorse about the incident. He was remorseful that he had become too good of friends with his accomplice to summon up the will to kill him, too. He stated he very much regretted not killing his accomplice, who was the only witness to the murder.
Kemp stated that his victim was not legal to be in the U.S. and so was “beneath my contempt.” He further stated “If more of them wound up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico, where they belong”.
az_kemp_thomasKemp refused to ask for mercy and refused to appear before the Arizona Board of
Executive Clemency. He told the judge and the court at sentencing that the victim was in the United States illegally and did not deserve to live. He told the judge “I spit on the law and all those who serve it.”
Kemp also had something to say to the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. In a handwritten note, he said, “I, Thomas Kemp, state that I decline to seek executive clemency due to the futility of that process. In light of the board’s history of consistently denying requests for commutations, my impression is that a hearing in my case would be nothing short of a dog and pony show.”
In that regard, he was exactly right. Perhaps it’s easier to have a death sentence commuted to life than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. More than likely, after anyone meets with this board, the needle is going into you, and in one hell of a hurry, too. His final words were “I regret nothing”.

 

Samuel Lopez

samuel lopez 2

Crime: October 29, 1986

Sentenced to Death: June 25, 1987

Executed: June 27, 2012

This man raped and murdered a 59 year-old woman, a grandmother and poor seamstress who lived alone.

1 aggravating circumstance:
Prior conviction involving violence
(struck on appeal because the past violent conviction was for “resisting arrest”)
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all 3 prongs of the aggravator)
samuel lopezShe was found by the police in her home half-naked, gagged and blindfolded. There were 3 stabs to her head, one to her face, and twenty three stab wounds to her left breast and chest. Her throat had been slit. There was blood all throughout the home, especially in the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. The victim had been raped and he was caught in a separate rape case less than a week later, matching his DNA and tying him to the murder case.
The Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, had previously dismissed two members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, and substituted her own members.  Lopez’s attorneys successfully won a delay in execution by arguing that the new members of the board had not received their training at the time of the scheduled hearing. The court ordered a temporary stay of execution, while the new board members received their mandatory 4 week training, like that was going to make any difference.
Lopez then sought a second stay arguing that Republican Governor Jan Brewer had appointed “political cronies” to the board, making a fair hearing impossible, which was rejected by the state Supreme Court.
In earlier executions, witnesses only saw the prisoner after the catheters had been inserted.
Samuel LopezHis execution was the first in which witnesses will watch, via closed-circuit TV, the insertion of the catheters that deliver the fatal drug pentobarbital. Attorneys for inmates in prior executions condemned the practice of inserting catheters into the prisoners’ groins. Officials said the executioners had found it difficult to find suitable veins in the arms and legs.
Prior to Lopez’s execution, witnesses only saw the condemned inmate at the time the of the injection. Lopez’s execution was the first time Arizona set up a closed-circuit TV camera so witnesses could view the insertion of the catheters into the arm, leg, or groin. In light of what happened to Robert Towery, maybe this is for the best.
Daniel Wayne Cook

az_cook_d

Crime: July 19, 1987

Sentenced to Death: August 8, 1988

Executed: August 8, 2012

With an accomplice, this man beat, tortured and killed one of his roommates in an argument over money and then beat, sodomized and killed a second friend because he walked in on the scene.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all 3 prongs of the aggravator)
Multiple homicides
Pecuniary gain
Carlos Froyan Cruz-Ramos was tortured by Cook and his accomplice, John Matzke. He was tied to a chair and then stabbed and beaten with a metal pipe for a few hours. They also burned his genitals with cigarettes. Finally, they crushed his throat with the metal pipe.
When Kevin Swaney arrived on the scene, he was forced to view the scene and the body. Swaney was tied to the same chair. He was beaten, sodomized, and then strangled to death with a bed sheet.
cookedCook’s accomplice, John Matzke, furnished the prosecution with much of the evidence. The acquaintance served just 20 years for the two brutal murders, and he’s free today.
daniel_cookCook won a stay of execution in April 2011 when the U.S Supreme Court explored claims of ineffective assistance of counsel during both the trial and appeals. There were claims of child sexual abuse by family members and a foster care worker that were never presented for mitigation. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, and the execution was rescheduled.
Cook’s last words were: “I’d like to say sorry to the victim’s family. I know that’s not enough . . .  . . . Where am I? To my lawyers, thank you. Red Robin, yum. I’m done. I love you”.

Richard Dale Stokley

stokley000

Crime: July 8, 1991

Sentenced to Death: July 14, 1992

Executed: December 5, 2012

This man, with an accomplice, abducted two 13 year old girls at a county fair. The two kidnapped, raped and murdered the young girls and threw them down a mine shaft.
3 aggravating circumstances,
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (all 3 prongs)
Multiple murders
Age of victims (under 15)
richard-stokely-crimetickerAfter the rapes, they decided to kill them for fear of being caught. They each strangled one of the girls to death. According to his accomplice, Stokley made sure the girls were dead by repeatedly stomping on their bodies and stabbing each girl in the right eye.
Stokley turned himself in and confessed to the murders. Even so, Stokley’s accomplice turned State’s evidence against Stokley. The accomplice served just 20 years for the two rapes and murders, and he’s free today.
Stokely did say he was sorry for the victims and their families. He did not meet with the Arizona Executive Board of Clemency, and he declined to ask for mercy of the board which has the power to delay his execution or commute his sentence to life in prison.  A clemency request would be futile because the board hadn’t shown mercy to other death-row inmates, he told the board in a handwritten letter. ‘I don’t want to put anyone through that, especially since I’m convinced that … it’s pointless,’ he wrote. ‘I reckon I know how to die, and if it’s my time, I’ll go without fanfare.’
Stokley has said he thought his life was worth saving, that he knew he had made ‘grave and irreversible errors’ and that he was sorry he ‘was mixed up in these awful events that brought me to this’.
stokely 2On his execution day, Stokley had plenty of time to socialize and joke with the execution team as they spent 52 minutes trying to find veins that could be used to administer the drug pentobarbital. “I grew up a long time ago,” Stokley said. “I do wish I could die doing something meaningful, you know. This seems like such a waste.”
When Stokley was asked if he had any final words, he simply responded, “Nah.” He refused to look at the victims family members and said nothing at his execution.

Next in line for execution in Arizona:

Edward Schad

schad 1

Crime: August 1, 1978

Sentenced to Death: December 27, 1979

Executed: October 9, 2013

 

This man was convicted for the 1978 murder of Lorimer Grove, 74, an Arizonan on his way to WashingtonState.
Grove was driving his Cadillac when Schad allegedly hitched a ride or asked him to stop for help. Grove was strangled to death. Schad was AWOL from the Army and was found in New Yorrk driving Grove’s Cadillac, with the victim’s ID in his wallet, and having made purchases with the victim’s credit card. Schad had served time for second degree murder in the strangling death of a fellow Army member. He claimed it was an accident during rough sex.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior conviction punishable by life imprisonment
Prior conviction involving violence
Pecuniary gain
Schad has consistently denied murdering the victim. He admitted that he was a thief and he had stolen cars before, but he claimed he had not hurt anyone he stole from.
Schad, at 71 years-old, was the oldest man on Arizona’s death row. He had spent 35 years behind bars. There was a stay of execution, while the appeals court determined if Schad’s attorney had failed to bring up Schad’s mental illness as a mitigating factor.
Schad’s attorney also brought up the issue of whether it was impossible to get a stay or commutation to life in prison from the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. He charged that the Governor’s office had improperly influenced the Clemency Board to refuse any requests for postponements or leniency.
schad000The lawyer also demanded to know what drugs were going to be used and for the court to make the state reveal the source of the drugs. The state was very reluctant to comply and only complied in part.
“A U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix ordered the state to reveal the source of the drugs – the state begrudgingly complied in part – but she did not stop the execution.”
Schad’s execution was stayed in March by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow time for appeals. The appeals were denied and Schad was executed October 9th at 10:00 AM.

Robert Jones

robert jones

Crime: May – August, 1996

Sentenced to Death: February 17, 2000

Executed: October 23, 2013

 

This man was served with six death sentences by the court, one for each of his victims.
scan0019fm1Robert Jones is a Texan who was just released from prison when he teamed up with an accomplice to rob a smoke shop in Tuscon. Five people were shot and two of them died of their wounds. Two weeks later, Jones and his accomplice tried to rob the Firefighter’s Union Hall in Tuscon, shooting and killing four people.
5 aggravating circumstances and 42 felony counts:
Convicted of other offenses for which life sentence or death penalty imposable
Convicted of other “serious” offenses
Pecuniary gain
On parole at time of offense
Multiple homicides
The killings were mostly execution-style. Robert Jones seemed to enjoy shooting people in the head even more than the robberies. Jones and his accomplice, Scott Nordstrom were turned in by Nordstrom’s brother, David, the getaway driver in their burglaries.
jones 1Robert Jones was first jailed in 1972. The murders were committed in 1984. He has served 26 years on death row in Arizona. His accomplice, Scoot Nordstrom, remains on death row. It seems that Scott Nordstrom’s execution date will also arrive in 2013.
Jones’ execution date is set for October 23, 2013.

Let’s compare to Jodi Arias

jodi arias jail

Crime: June 4, 2008
Sentenced to Death:
Executed:
This woman committed a domestic homicide. She shot her ex-boyfriend, stabbed him 16 (not 27 and not 29) times and slit his throat during a violent altercation. She has a long term mental illness and had been mentally and emotionally abused by the victim. Arias also was possibly sexually and physically abused by an ordained elder in the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) in a secretive sexual relationship.
1 Aggravating circumstance
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only of the aggravator)
No prior convictions. In the four years prior to meeting the victim and over five years after, has shown no signs of violence, instability, or rage.
It’s true that most women who murder do not rob, rape, or torture their victims, and most are domestic violence homicides. It is also true that most women who murder do so in either self-defense, out of fear, or to protect children. Many times in self-defense, the murder is disproportional to the attack (overkill). This is most often because the woman is reacting to prior acts of violence committed against her, or due to the woman’s smaller size and inexperience at committing violence and in processing the inevitable adrenaline rush.

We will continue to update the list of the executed as Arizona cranks up their execution machine in the months to come.  Will Arizona become more like California, which has rarely used it’s execution powers and now faces a proposition on the ballot to eliminate executions? Maybe Arizona will remain like Texas, Alabama and Ohio, where it’s full steam ahead on executions. Only time will tell.

Sources: http://www.azcentral.com  www.murderpedia.org

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/pending_death_penalty_cases_weigh_against_maricopa_county/

http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/74/CCTF/FinalRpt092007.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/jan-brewer-arizona-execution_n_1610924.html