Day: March 24, 2012

ARIZONA – Thomas Arnold Kemp – execution – april 25

Inmate #099144

Summary of Offense:

On July 11, 1992, Kemp and Jeffrey Logan kidnapped Hector Juarez, 25. Kemp used the Juarez’s ATM card to withdraw $200. Kemp and Logan then drove Juarez to Silverbell mine northwest of Tucson, and either Kemp or Logan shot the him one or more times in the head.
Several days before this offense, Kemp had purchased a .380 semi-automatic handgun and told Logan that he needed money to pay bills, and was going to look for someone with money.

Case from court

On July 11, 1992, at approximately 11:15 p.m., Hector Juarez awoke when his fiancee, Jamie, returned from work to their residence at the Promontory Apartments in Tucson. A short time later, Juarez left to get something to eat. Jamie assumed he went to a nearby fast food restaurant. At around midnight, Jamie became concerned that Juarez had not come home and began to look forhim. She found both her car and his car in the parking lot. Her car, which Juarez had been driving, was unlocked and smelled of fast food; the insurance papers had been placed on the vehicle’s roof. After checking with Juarez’s brother and a friend, Jamie called the police. Two or three days before Juarez was abducted, Jeffery Logan, an escapee from a California honor farm, arrived in Tucson and met with Petitioner. On Friday, July 10, Logan went with Petitioner to a pawn shop and helped him buy a .380 semi-automatic handgun.Petitioner and Logan spent the next night driving around Tucson. At some time between 11:15 p.m. and midnight, Petitioner and Logan abducted Juarez from the parking area of his apartment complex

At midnight, Petitioner used Juarez’s ATM card and withdrew approximately $200. He then drove Juarez out to the Silverbell Mine area near Marana. Petitioner walked Juarez fifty to seventy feet from the truck, forced him to disrobe, and shot him in the
head twice.Petitioner then made two unsuccessful attempts to use Juarez’s ATM card in Tucson. The machine kept the card after the second attempt. Petitioner and Logan repainted Petitioner’s truck, drove to Flagstaff, and sold it. They bought another .380 semiautomatic handgun with the proceeds. While in Flagstaff, Petitioner and Logan met a man and woman who were traveling from California to Kansas. They abducted the couple and made them drive to Durango, Colorado; in a motel room there,Petitioner forced the man to disrobe and sexually assaulted him. Later, Petitioner, Logan, and the couple drove to Denver, where the couple escaped. Logan and Petitioner separated. Logan subsequently contacted the Tucson police about the murder of Juarez. He was arrested in Denver.With Logan’s help, the police located Juarez’s body.Later that day, the police arrested Petitioner at homeless shelter in Tucson. He was carrying the handgun purchased in Flagstaff and a pair of handcuffs. After having been read his Miranda rights,
Petitioner answered some questions before asking for a lawyer. He admitted that he purchased a handgun with Logan on July 10. He said that on the day of the abduction and homicide he was “cruising” through apartment complexes, possibly including the
Promontory Apartments. When confronted with the ATM photographs, he initially denied being the individual in the picture. After having been told that Logan was in custody and again having been shownthe photographs, Petitioner said, “I guess my life is over now.”

read more click here

april 9, 2012 source :

PHOENIX – An Arizona inmate set to be executed this month for killing a Tucson college student after robbing him in 1992 has declined to seek mercy from the state’s clemency board.

Thomas Arnold Kemp, 63, is set to be executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Florence on April 25.

Daisy Kirkpatrick, an administrative assistant at the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, told The Associated Press on Monday that Kemp recently declined to petition the board for a lighter sentence.

Kemp’s Tucson attorney, Tim Gabrielsen, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Every inmate executed in Arizona has the right to petition the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency to either reduce their sentence to life in prison or delay their execution for more legal wrangling.

No inmates in recent history have declined to seek mercy from the board.

This is not the first time Kemp has refused to argue for leniency for himself.

During his sentencing trial two decades ago, Kemp was supposed to explain to the court why he didn’t deserve the death penalty. Instead, he expressed his contempt for his victims, reporters who wrote about the story and the prosecutors on his case.

“I don’t show any mercy, and I am certainly not here to plead for mercy,” he said. “I spit on the law and all those who serve it.”

Kemp was sentenced to death for kidnapping 25-year-old Hector Soto Juarez from outside his Tucson apartment on July 11, 1992, and robbing him before taking him into a desert area, forcing him to undress and shooting him twice in the head.

Juarez had just left his apartment and fiancee to get food when Kemp and Jeffery Logan spotted him. They held him at gunpoint and used his debit card to withdraw $200 before driving him to the Silverbell Mine area near Marana, where Kemp killed Juarez.

The two men then went to Flagstaff, where they kidnapped a married couple traveling from California to Kansas and made them drive to Durango, Colo., where Kemp raped the man in a hotel room. Later, Kemp and Logan forced the couple to drive to Denver, where they escaped. Logan soon after separated from Kemp and called police about Juarez’s murder.

Logan led police to Juarez’s body, and Kemp was arrested.

Kemp has argued that his conviction was unfair because then-prosecutor Kenneth Peasley repeatedly told jurors that Kemp’s homosexuality was behind Juarez’s kidnapping and murder, and that the jury hadn’t been properly vetted for their feelings about gay men.

Kemp told the judge just before he was sentenced that he should have killed Logan when he had the chance and that he had no regrets.

“The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt,” he said and then referred to Juarez using a racial slur for Mexicans. “If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong.”

Mississippi – Joseph Patrick Brown loses post-conviction claims

march 23,2012  source :

The Mississippi Supreme Court has sided with an Adams County judge who ruled death row inmate Joseph Patrick Brown was not unfairly treated when his attorneys decided against pursuing a mental evaluation of their client.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision Thursday, agreed with Circuit Judge Isadore W. Patrick that Brown’s attorneys “had not acted deficiently so as to satisfy a claim of ineffective assistance.”

In 2009, Brown‘s case was among nine death row post-conviction appeals in which the Supreme Court asked trial judges why they had not ruled – or scheduled hearings.

Brown’s claims of ineffective counsel were heard in Adams County Circuit Court in 2004. But no ruling was issued. Patrick, who was appointed to the case by the Supreme Court, issued a ruling denying the petition in 2010.

In a post-conviction petition, an inmate argues he has found new evidence – or a possible constitutional issue – that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

The Supreme Court asked Patrick to determine if there was merit to Brown’s complaint about his attorneys’ failure to ask questions about a state mental examination or to pursue an examination themselves.

Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., writing for the court’s majority, said Thursday that Brown’s attorneys, after talking with doctors from the state mental hospital where Brown was examined, decided “not to have the doctors produce a report after determining that such report would be more harmful than helpful.”

Waller said that decision was courtroom strategy; a case, he said, “where a conscious decision was made to go forward with certain witnesses but not others.”

Four dissenting justices said it appeared Brown was not given all the material and records he needed to support his claims.

Brown was convicted and sentenced to death in Adams County in 1994 for the killing of a convenience store clerk in Natchez.

Prosecutors said Brown and his girlfriend were driving around Natchez on Aug. 8, 1992, looking for drugs when they pulled into the Charter Food Store where Martha Day worked.

Brown’s girlfriend testified that she saw Day grab her chest and fall after Brown approached the counter. The woman said Brown returned to the car with a cash register and other items.

Police said Day was shot four times and died at the scene.

Mississippi Supreme Court opinion read here

Iowa – Angela Johnson spared from death row

march, 24  source :

IOWA CITY (AP) — A judge removed one of two women from federal death row on Friday, saying lawyers for the Iowa woman convicted in the 1993 execution-style murders of five people failed to present evidence about her troubled mental state that could have spared her from execution.

In a 448-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett threw out Angela Johnson’s death sentence, saying her defense lawyers were “alarmingly dysfunctional” during the 2005 trial that made her the first woman to be sentenced to death in the federal system since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the punishment in 1976.

Attorney General Eric Holder and aides must determine within 60 days whether to appeal or continue seeking the death penalty for Johnson, said Assistant U.S. Attorney C.J. Williams, who prosecuted the case.

If they do not appeal, there will be a trial to determine whether Johnson, 48, will be sentenced to death. In that trial, her lawyers would be allowed to present evidence about her mental health that was omitted in 2005. If they decline to seek the death penalty, Bennett could sentence Johnson to life in prison without parole.

Bennett’s ruling doesn’t throw out her convictions; he said evidence of her guilt was overwhelming. Johnson and boyfriend Dustin Honken committed the murders to thwart a federal investigation that threatened to end Honken’s reign as one of the Midwest’s largest methamphetamine kingpins, and buried the bodies to cover them up.

After separate trials, jurors sentenced Honken to death for the murders of two children while Johnson was sentenced to death on four counts. Both were to die by lethal injection.

The bodies of the victims — drug dealers-turned-government witnesses Terry DeGeus and Greg Nicholson; Nicholson’s girlfriend, Lori Duncan; and Duncan’s daughters, Kandi, 10, and Amber, 6 — were found in shallow graves near Mason City in 2000. They were discovered after Johnson, serving time on drug charges, sketched out a locator map to a jailhouse informant.

Prosecutors said Johnson posed as a saleswoman to gain access to Duncan’s home in 1993, days before Honken was to plead guilty to drug charges. Honken and Johnson forced Nicholson to make a videotaped statement exonerating Honken. Afterward, they took him, Duncan and her children to a field and shot each of them in the back of the head at close range.

A month later, Johnson lured DeGeus, a former boyfriend, to a secluded location where Honken shot him several times and beat him with a baseball bat.

Bennett said that he understands his ruling will upset victims’ families, but Johnson’s defense was so riddled with missteps that her rights were violated.

“I believe that I have done my duty, in light of what is required by the Constitution — the foundational document of our nation’s enduring freedoms, including the right not to be put to death when trial counsel’s performance was so grossly constitutionally inadequate,” he wrote.

During the penalty phase of Johnson’s trial, Bennett said defense lawyers failed to present expert testimony about her mental health at the time of the murders that could have helped explain her involvement to jurors. He said they should have presented evidence about the impact of serious brain impairments, personality disorders and her prior methamphetamine use.

Bennett said defense lawyers also failed to present evidence that could have undercut the prosecution’s claim that she participated in DeGeus’ killing out of revenge, because of their prior relationship’s abusive nature. He said they should have had experts argue she was suffering from battered woman’s syndrome and wouldn’t have wanted him dead.

At trial, her attorneys argued the government’s case was built entirely on circumstantial evidence and that Johnson was ignorant of Honken’s intent to kill. They urged jurors to sentence her to life in prison, not death.

Iowa does not have the death penalty, and Bennett said few lawyers in the state had expertise in capital punishment. He said he tried to assemble a “dream team” of lawyers for Johnson — including Alfred Willett of Cedar Rapids; Patrick Berrigan of Kansas City, Mo.; and Dean Stowers of Des Moines — but they performed poorly.

Willett and Berrigan didn’t return messages Friday. Stowers agreed the defense team was dysfunctional.

“I’m happy she’s going to get a new shot at things because she deserves it,” he said.

Bennett, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, has acknowledged his personal opposition to the death penalty. In a 2006 speech about the two capital murder cases, he said he set aside his personal beliefs in the interest of fairness. But he added he had “grave concerns” that the death penalty could be applied unfairly.

Texas – Beunka Adams – execution – april 26 – EXECUTED

 Beunka Adams official website click here

Case from his official website

Beunka Adams is 29 years old today and is awaiting his execution at the Polunsky Unit, Livingston,Texas.

He has three children that he loves deeply.

Beunka Adams spends his days writing poetry or letters to his friend, creating artwork, working out and reading.

Beunka Adams also published a poetry book, named Delirium – A mind at death row.

In the beginning of October 2011 Beunka Adams’ final appeal was rejected by the US Supreme Court, even though there are obvious flaws in Mr. Adams’ legal procedure, doubts about the fairness of his trial and also doubts about what really happened that unfortunate day of a robbery back in 2002 in Rusk, Texas, USA.

Beunka Adams has repeatedly expressed his deepest regrets for taking part in the robbery. Mr. Adams is the father of three children and a healthy young man that can be a great asset to society in the future.

Resume of the events:

Richard Cobb and Beunka Adams robbed a store and took three hostages, two women and one man. They drove the hostages to a field where one woman and one man were shot. The man tragically died from his injuries. The women survived.

Beunka Adams has never denied his involvement in the robbery which led to the murder of a man by his accomplice.

The crime: Beunka Adams tells his story 

It was an extremely transitional point in my life (more than I knew) at the time when thismost unfortunate incident occurred. Not long before I had been kicked out of Job Corps and lost every stitch of clothing I owned. I had reunited with my children’s mother after a
little over a month separation and was preparing what would have been our third homesince I was 14 or 15 years old. I was out of work and in the coming two weeks were my step-son and my daughters birthdays… (I tell you this not to trivialize the events that
followed but to show you what motivated me to involve myself in this situation.)So when my friend/co-defendant showed up while I was working on the house and asked me to help him rob a store – I agreed.

It was not planned but I didn’t assume there would be any real physical violence. I didnot even carry my own gun. I was suppose to just follow his lead and be a pair of eyes, but shit went bad from the moment we entered the store and it became obvious my friend had
not planned anything out. He mostly stopped talking and nearly froze at the register.It was noticed there was a customer in the store and my friend whispered that one of the cashiers was his neighbor and he believed she recognized him…At that point I knew we were caught and really my only concern was getting the money where it needed to be. My friend was not talking and I had no idea what to do, so it was decided to take everyone from the store to buy some time to think. Now this is when some of the first lies start to occur. At trial one of the victims said she told me: “I know you, don’t I?” and I said: “yes” and took of my mask. This is not exactly true. She said: “I know you, don’t I? Your girlfriend used to work at Brookshines.”. At the time I had long hair and realized she was mistaken me for a friend of mine, but we did know each other and well, so to calm the situation a bit I took off my mask. The other girlknew my co-defendant so we where caught anyway. I was not known to hurt people for no reason, Nicky and Kenneth knew that.
If you read the transcripts it is said that there was laughter and conversation in the car though Nicky contends she was laughing to keep herself from crying. “Fast forward time” we wound up in an open field outside town. I really did not know what to do next because my friend was not really talking to me and acting weird. First idea was to put all three into the trunk and leave the car in a parking lot to be found in a few hours but all three of them would not fit. Two got in and I along with Nicky left walking (with no weapon). Now it has never been revealed what we spoke about by her nor me and I will not do so in this missive… We wound up having sex. I admit when I later gave a statement I conceded to rape but it was because I knew Nicky was engaged to be married and she would say that and if I did not, those officers would not believe one word that came out my mouth! I will be more than willing to take a lie detector test on the fact I never threatened or forced her to have sex with me, that or any other facts I present.
The others were let back out and it was decided they would take off in one direction and we would go the other. I stopped them because the direction they were headed led deep into the woods and they’d never come to a house, road or anything. It is decided they stay put. I turned and started walking towards the car assuming my friend was doing the same but after a few steps I heard the first blast!

read the whole story (download pdf) click here

Legal documents  click here

Take Action

1. [sign petition]

Sign our petition to show your support for Beunka Adams and others wrongfully convicted. Read more.

2. [write officials]

Send e-mails and letters to those in power. Let them know what you think. Read more.

Governor Rick Perry: Stop Beunka Adams’ execution!

sign the petition click here

HUNTSVILLE (April 23, 2012)—Death row inmate Beunka Adams, 29, who was scheduled to receive a lethal injection this week for killing an East Texas man after robbing a convenience store, won a reprieve Monday from a federal judge.

april 13, 2012

Petitioner: Beunka Adams
Respondent: Rick Thaler, Director TDCJ-CID
Case Number: 5:2012cv00036
Filed: April 13, 2012
Court: Texas Eastern District Court
Office: Texarkana         Office
County: Cherokee
Nature of Suit: P. Petitions – Death Penalty
Cause: 28:2254
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Jury Demanded By: None

december 2010, source: various

Beunka Adams is imprisoned on the Polunsky Unit of Texas death row for a crime that another man confessed to committing. He was convicted and sentenced to death at the age of 21. Beunka was involved in a robbery in which store employee, Kenneth Vandever, was shot and killed.

Beunka’s co-defendant, Richard Cobb, admitted to the killing in his trial. This information was suppressed at Beunka’s trial. His jury were told that he was the gunman and he was given the death penalty.

Beunka does not deny his guilt in participating in the robbery and he suffers huge remorse for what happened that night, but he is not a murderer and does not deserve to die for his crime!

His supporters say; “Beunka is indigent – he has no money to pay for a defence and his state-appointed defence attorney is overworked and unable to help him. We need to raise $150,000 to pay for a private lawyer and investigator to help save Beunka’s life”.

In 2007 Beunka’s attorney at appeal, Stephen Evans, presented ten points of error in his client’s criminal case. The court voted 9 to 0 that the objections held no merit. The court affirmed both the trial court’s judgment and the sentence of death.

Evidence presented in the court hearings alledged that on the night of the murder the men entered BDJ’s convenience store wearing masks and demanding money. One of them was armed with a shotgun.

Prosecutors say that after taking the money from the cash register it was said that they demanded the keys to a Cadillac parked outside. Two women employees of the store and Kenneth Vandever were forced the three into the car. After arriving at the secluded field, one female and Mr. Vandever were told to get into the trunk of the car. The prosecution says that the other female was taken away and sexually assaulted. Both women were wounded.

A supporter of Beunka Adams said; “criminals are punished in the name of justice. This sense of justice seems to have abandoned the scene of capital punishment. Even in the USA people who committed murder as a minor are put on death row, those without money cannot afford decent legal aid which almost immediately condemns them, and prisoners spend years and years on death row sometimes getting their execution postponed several times.

“People on death row go through years of isolation and uncertainty. This is when justice becomes torture”.

12/05/2007 source :

An East Texas man condemned for a fatal shooting during an abduction and robbery at a convenience store lost an appeal Wednesday at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Richard Aaron Cobb was 18 when he was arrested along with a companion for the slaying of Kenneth Vandever in 2004. Vandever and two women were abducted from a store in Rusk. The three were taken to a field about 10 miles away near Alto, where one of the women was raped and all three were shot with a 20-gauge shotgun.

Vandever, 37, died of his injuries but the two women survived and testified against Cobb and his partner, Beunka Adams.

Both Cobb and Adams were convicted and sentenced to die. Records showed Cobb was on probation at the time for auto theft.

Vandever was described as mentally challenged after injuries in an auto accident left him with the mental capacity of a child.

Cobb’s conviction and sentence were upheld in January by the Court of Criminal Appeals. A subsequent appeal reviewed by the Austin-based court was rejected Wednesday.

The brief five-paragraph ruling from the appeals court upheld the recommendation of the trial court in Cherokee County, where a judge denied Cobb any legal relief after an evidentiary hearing.

Testimony showed Cobb fired the shot that killed Vandever, who frequented the store and would do things like take out the trash. Adams, then 20, was accused of shooting the two women who worked at the store. Adams’ conviction and sentence were affirmed by the court in June.

The men left the scene after believing the two women were dead, but the women were able to get up and run to houses nearby to get help. Adams and Cobb were arrested a few hours later in Jacksonville, about 25 miles to the north.

Both men still have appeals to pursue in the federal courts, and neither has an execution date.

Defense lawyers had argued at his trial that Cobb suffered abuse as a child and from fetal alcohol syndrome, the result of his mother drinking liquor while she was pregnant with him. Prosecutors presented witnesses who testified Cobb was able to tell the difference between right and wrong.

Executions in Texas, the nation’s most active death penalty state, and other states with capital punishment are on hold pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court review of lethal injection procedures. Arguments in that case, initiated by two death row inmates in Kentucky, are set for early next year and a decision is expected before summer.

No. 11-9359

Beunka Adams v. Texas

from the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

Docket Entries

on March 13, 2012

Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due April 18, 2012)


Beunka Adams, Petitioner, represented byThomas Scott Smith

Alabama Death Row inmate Thomas Arthur wins execution stay from federal appeals court

March 23, 2012 source :

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A federal appeals court has granted a stayof execution for an Alabama man who was set to die next week in a 1982 murder-for-hire case.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday postponed the execution of Thomas Douglas Arthur until further action of the court.

Earlier in the week the court had reversed a judge’s decision to dismiss Arthur’s appeal, which contended that Alabama’s decision to use a new sedative called pentobarbital as part of a three-drug execution combination could be cruel and unusual punishment.

Arthur’s attorneys on Thursday had sought a stay while the state asks the entire 11th Circuit to reconsider the court’s decision.

Arthur was set to be executed on March 29 for the 1982 murder-for-hire killing of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker.