Day: March 25, 2012

Upcoming – Executions – May 2012

Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals



Michael Selsor


       Executed  6:06 p.m


Anthony Bartee




Todd Wessinger




Eric Robert

South Dakota



Steven Staley




Samuel Villegas Lopez


            STAY  june 27

Utah – Michael Anthony Archuleta – execution april 5, 2012 (Stay likely)

   Michael Anthony Archuleta

Archuleta’s case

On October 25, 1988, Lance Conway Wood, newly released from the Utah State Prison, moved into the Cedar City two-bedroom apartment of his girlfriend, B. Stapely, and her roommate, P. Jones. Soon after, Michael Anthony Archuleta, also just released from prison, moved into the same apartment to be with his girlfriend, P. Jones. Wood and Archuleta had known each other in prison.

On November 21, 1988, Wood and Archuleta purchased soft drinks at a local convenience store. After adding whiskey to their drinks, the two men engaged in a conversation with Gordon Church, who was seated in his car in a nearby parking lot. Church drove Wood and Archuleta up and down Main Street and then up Cedar Canyon. After returning to Cedar City, Church left Wood and Archuleta at their apartment complex. Wood and Archuleta walked to the apartment of Anthony Sich, who lived above the apartment rented to Stapely and Jones. Wood told Sich that he was going into the mountains and asked if he could borrow a pair of gloves. Sich sent Wood to retrieve the gloves from his car, and while Wood was outside, Church returned and invited him and Archuleta to go for another drive.

Church drove Wood and Archuleta back to Cedar Canyon and pulled off the road. Wood and Archuleta exited the car first and began to walk down a path. Archuleta told Wood that he wanted to rob Church, and Wood acquiesced. Church overtook the two men, and the three continued walking up the trail. As the men started back down the trail toward the car, Archuleta grabbed Church and put a knife to his neck. Although Wood attempted to stop Archuleta by grabbing his arm, Archuleta made a surface cut on Church’s neck. Church broke free and ran, but Archuleta chased after and tackled him, again putting the knife to his neck and threatening to kill him. Archuleta cut Church’s throat again so that the two cuts formed an “X” on the front ofChurch’s neck. 

Archuleta bent Church forward over the hood of the car and, with the knife still at Church’s throat, had anal intercourse with him. At Church’s request, Archuleta used a condom. Archuleta then turned to Wood, who was standing by the trunk of the car, and asked if he “wanted any.” Wood declined. Archuleta went to the trunk of the car and opened it. He told Wood that he was looking for something with which he could bind Church. Wood removed a spare tire and a fan from the trunk, while Archuleta retrieved tire chains and battery cables. Wood remained at the rear of the car, while Archuleta returned to the front, where he wrapped the tire chains around Church. Archuleta also fastened the battery cable clamps to Church’s genitals. Wood maintained before and at trial that he removed the clamps from Church as soon as he realized what Archuleta had done.

Archuleta led Church to the rear of the car and forced him into the trunk. Wood and Archuleta replaced the spare tire and fan and drove to a truck stop near Cedar City where they purchased gas. They continued north on Interstate 15 until they reached the Dog Valley exit. They parked along a deserted dirt road where Archuleta told Wood, “You know we have to kill him.”

Archuleta removed Church from the trunk and attempted to kill him by breaking his neck. When that failed, Church suffered several blows to the head with a tire iron and a jack. The tire iron was then shoved and kicked so far into Church’s rectum that it pierced his liver. A state medical examiner testified that Church was killed by injuries to the head and skull due to a blunt force and internal injuries caused by the tire iron inserted into Church’s rectum.

Wood told police that he waited inside the car while Archuleta killed Church. Evidence adduced at trial, however, showed that Wood’s pants and jacket were splattered with blood in a cast-off pattern indicating that during the beating, Wood was within two or three feet of Church, and that Wood was facing Church when the blows were struck. A blood spot appeared on the back of Archuleta’s jacket, and Wood’s shoes bore a transfer or contact blood stain caused by contact with a bloody object. Investigators found strands of human hair consistent with Church’s hair wrapped around Wood’s shoelaces. The injuries to Church’s lower jaw were consistent with being kicked by someone wearing Wood’s shoes. Three paired lesions on Church’s back were caused by a dull-tipped instrument such as some red-handled side cutters found in the pocket of Wood’s jeans.

After Church died, Wood and Archuleta dragged his body to some nearby trees, where they covered it with branches. They swept their path with branches on the way back to the car to conceal any footprints. With Wood at the wheel, the pair again drove north on I-15. They abandoned Church’s car in Salt Lake City.

Wood called his friend C. Worsfold and asked if he and Archuleta could come to her apartment for a few minutes. When the men arrived at the apartment, Worsfold immediately noticed that Archuleta’s pants were caked with blood. Wood explained that they had been rabbit hunting the night before, their car had broken down, and they had hitchhiked to Salt Lake. The two men then went to a thrift store, where Archuleta bought some clean pants and repeated the rabbit hunting story to the store clerk.

Archuleta discarded his bloody jeans in a drainage ditch near the 45th South on-ramp to I-15 in Salt Lake County. He and Wood then went into a nearby Denny’s restaurant, where Wood left the gloves he had borrowed from Sich. After eating, the two hitchhiked as far as the Draper exit, where Archuleta pulled out Church’s wallet, scattered its contents, and handed the wallet to Wood. They next hitchhiked to Salem, where they visited Archuleta’s father. From there, they hitchhiked to Cedar City, arriving at about 11:30 p.m.

Wood immediately went upstairs to Sich’s apartment and told him about the murder. When Sich advised him to contact the police, Wood responded, “Maybe I could get some kind of federal protection.” Sich and Wood walked to a local convenience store, where Wood called B. Stapely, who was in Phoenix, and told her that Archuleta had killed someone. Stapely contacted John Graff, Wood’s parole officer, and told him to call Wood at the store. Graff called Wood and arranged to meet him at the convenience store. Just before Graff’s arrival with the police, Wood discarded Church’s wallet.

Wood and Sich accompanied Graff and a police officer to the corrections department office, where Wood recounted the events of the previous night.

The police arrested Archuleta for the murder and, after several interviews with Wood, also charged Wood with murder in the first degree, aggravated sexual assault, object rape, forcible sexual abuse, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and possession of a stolen vehicle.

feb,22, 2012,  source :

A death row inmate is asking a Utah judge for a stay of an April 5 execution by firing squad while he pursues a review of his state conviction and sentence in the federal courts.

Attorneys for Michael Anthony Archuleta filed a notice of his intention to file a habeas corpus petition on Feb. 10 in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court. Such requests consider whether a person’s conviction and sentence are constitutional.

Court papers say Archuleta, 49, is entitled to a stay while federal courts review the case.

Archuleta has not previously appealed his 1989 capital conviction in the federal system. Five state court appeals have been rejected, however — the last in November.A state judge signed a death warrant on Feb. 8 for Archuleta’s execution. A federal judge has not yet set a date for a hearing. The case had been filed under seal until last week.Assistant Attorney General Tom Brunker on Tuesday told The Associated Press the state does not oppose a stay of Archuleta’s execution.

Court papers filed to date by Archuleta’s attorneys do not indicate what arguments they will mount in asking the federal court to consider the case.

feb 9 2012,  source :

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A judge has signed the execution warrant for Utah man on death row. Michael Archuleta was convicted for the brutal torture and murder of a homosexual man in 1989.

Archuleta was convicted and sentenced to death in 1989.

On Wednesday, Fourth Circuit Judge Donald Eyre ruled that Archuleta’s appeals to the U.S. and Utah supreme courts had been denied and that no state action prevented Archuleta’s execution.

The judge set Archuleta’s execution for April 5, 2012.

Archuleta had the option of choosing the manner of his execution. and picked a firing squad.

Court documents show that Archuleta and an accomplice kidnapped 28-year-old Gordon Ray Church, a Southern Utah University theater student who had confessed to being gay in 1988.

Court documents show that Archuleta and his accomplice put Church in a car trunk and drove to a remote Millard County area, where they attached jumper cables to Church’s testicles and shocked him with a car battery before raping him with a tire iron, beating him and burying him in a shallow grave.

Archuleta’s accomplice was given life sentence for his role in the murder.

news video :

Supreme court of Utah

June 26, 1998

November 7, 2008 

November 22, 2011 

Death penalty assessed against Chris Collings in Rowan Ford murder

march, 23  source :

                                                                               Rowan Ford

videotape  from Chris Collings confession click here 

ROLLA, Mo. — Chris Collings did not appear to take it all that hard Friday night when Circuit Judge Mary Sheffield read the verdict, that the jury had decided he should pay the ultimate penalty for the murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford.

His attorney, Charles Moreland, stood next to Collings, 37, as the death sentence was pronounced.

The defendant seemed intently interested as jurors filed back into the courtroom with their decision at 6:17 p.m., just as he had been throughout the two-week trial in Rolla. Still, his face betrayed little of what he might have been thinking in reaction.

If anything, he seemed prepared for the outcome.

A jury of seven women and five men chosen in distant Platte County and sequestered to hear the Barry County case required just 48 minutes of deliberation in the penalty phase after taking about four hours Tuesday night to find Collings guilty of first-degree murder.

The judge and bailiff ordered the courtroom and courthouse cleared after the reading of the verdict, and jurors were not immediately available for comment. But, outside the courthouse, Clint Clark, the Wheaton police chief and a key figure in the investigation of the girl’s murder, stopped to talk with reporters.

Either way would have been difficult,” Clark said of the jury’s two choices in the penalty phase, either life without parole or the death penalty. “I believe in God, and I believe what the Bible says, ‘An eye for an eye.’”

He said it would have been a difficult decision for him to make, knowing Collings as well as he does, just as no doubt difficult for each of the jurors who made the decision. He said he can hate only what Collings did, and not the defendant himself, whom Clark has known most of his life.

“But I can’t look at my children without thinking of Rowan,” Clark said.

Prosecutor Johnnie Cox told jurors during closing arguments that life is about choices. Sometimes those choices get made for us, he said. Sometimes circumstances are more in control of what happens to us than we are, he said.

Collings was in control of what he did the night of Nov. 2, 2007, the prosecutor said. He made a conscious decision to return to Stella and snatch Rowan Ford from her room “like a thief in the night,” he said.

The state asked the jury to consider three possible aggravating circumstances that would put the death penalty on the table for their consideration. Jurors unanimously decided the prosecutors had proved the involvement of torture or depravity of mind in the crime and that the girl was killed because of her potential as a witness against the defendant.

The proposed aggravating circumstance that the jury did not unanimously agree on concerned whether the murder was committed while in the act of rape.

Cox had argued that the defendant acknowledged there was torture involved in his strangling of the girl when he admitted to investigators that she did not die quickly. The prosecutor also reminded jurors that the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy thought the sexual assault that preceded her killing would have been especially painful to the prepubescent victim.

Cox urged the jury “not to reward (Collings) for avoiding an investigation by killing her.”

“Mercy is something given by the powerful to the weak and innocent,” Cox said.

Collings had all the power that night, he said. Rowan Ford was weak and innocent. Collings showed her no mercy that night, he said. Cox asked jurors to show Collings no mercy in their decision on the punishment he should receive.

The defense argued in the penalty phase that Collings had taken responsibility for his crime and exhibited remorse over the course of four confessions made to investigators the day her body was recovered.

Defense attorney Charles Moreland also called attention to the alleged involvement of the girl’s stepfather, David Spears, 29, who also confessed to participating in the rape and murder in contradiction to Collings’ claim that he acted alone.

“How do you reconcile these two (separate) confessions?” he asked during closing arguments. “They can’t both be true.”

He suggested there were just three possibilities. Investigators may have lied when they told Collings during his interrogation that Spears had confessed, hoping that he would inculpate Spears, he said. Or Spears may have been an innocent man who falsely confessed. Either of those possibilities would be mitigating with respect to Collings, because both would mean that he stuck to the truth despite being given the opportunity to shift some of the blame to someone else, Moreland said.

The third possibility is that investigators were telling the truth — Spears’ confession was genuine and Collings has been taking the blame for more than what he actually did, Moreland said. He suggested there was some evidence to support this third scenario.

The defense called a canine search specialist to testify Thursday that her dogs detected the scent of human remains on the driver’s seat and rear cargo area of a Chevrolet Suburban that Spears borrowed from his mother the night of the murder.

In his rebuttal, Cox attacked the suggestion as a calculated “distraction” on the part of the defense, even though Spears remains charged with capital murder just like Collings and is scheduled to be tried in Pulaski County later this year.

“David Spears is not on trial (here) and has nothing to do with this defendant’s punishment,” Cox said.

The defense called Wanda Draper, a human development specialist and professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, as a final witness in the penalty phase to testify that Collings suffered severe emotional neglect during his prenatal period and the first six months of his life.

Draper told jurors that the parental neglect led to confusion, separation anxiety and betrayal trauma throughout his childhood, and ultimately brought about disorganized attachment disorder. She described the disorder as developmental and not a mental illness. She attributed the disorder to a number of stressors at various stages in his life and said it left Collings stuck at an emotional age of about 14 or 15.

Cox told jurors in closing arguments that Collings’ life may not have been perfect, but “he didn’t have it any worse than a lot of other people.”

“We are not trying a 14- or 15-year-old boy,” Cox said. “Don’t get pulled into that.”


Chris Collings told Wanda Draper, a human development specialist who interviewed him in 2009 at the request of defense attorneys, that he tried to commit suicide when he was 7, was molested by a baby sitter when he was 13 and sodomized by one of his birth mother’s husbands at the age of 14.

Draper acknowledged on cross-examination by Prosecutor Elizabeth Bock that there was no record of any of those claims among the many records on Collings that she reviewed, and he made all those claims to her after having been charged with Rowan Ford’s rape and murder.

Alabama – Carey Dale Grayson – execution – april 12, 2012 DELAYED

source : Court of criminal appeals of alabama  november 1999

The trial court made the following findings of fact concerning the crime and the appellant’s participation in it:

“On the night of [February 21, 1994,] Vickie Deblieux, age 37, was dropped off by a friend on I-59 near Chattanooga, Tennessee, to hitchhike to her mother’s home in Louisiana.

Four teenagers, the defendant ( Carey Dale Grayson), Kenny Loggins, Trace Duncan, and Louis Mangione, all who had been drinking alcohol and using drugs, saw her hitchhiking on I-59 at the Trussville exit in Jefferson County, Alabama. They offered to take her to Louisiana;  instead they took her to a wooded area, on the pretense of picking up another vehicle.“After arriving in this area, they all got out of the vehicle, and began to drink. The defendant, along with the others threw bottles at Ms. Deblieux, who began to run from them. They tackled her to the ground and began to kick her repeatedly all over her body. When they noticed that she was still alive, one of them stood on her throat, supported by the Defendant, until she gurgled blood and said ‘Okay, I’ll party,’ then died.

They then put her body in the back of a pickup truck and took her and her luggage to Bald Rock Mountain, after removing her clothing and a ring, and they played with her body and then threw her off a cliff.

They then went to a car wash in Pell City to wash the blood out of the truck.  After rummaging through her luggage, they hid the luggage in the woods.

“On their return to Birmingham, they took Mangione home and then returned to Bald Rock Mountain, where they began to mutilate the body by stabbing and cutting her 180 times, removing part of a lung, and removing her fingers and thumbs.

“The next morning defendant’s girlfriend found the three of them in Birmingham asleep in the truck all covered in mud and blood.   The defendant told her they got blood on them from a dog.

“On [February 26, 1994,] three rock climbers found Ms. Deblieux’s body and called the police.  Her body was taken to the medical examiner’s office.

“The medical examiner found the following injuries;  almost every bone in her skull was fractured, every bone in her face was fractured at least once, lacerations on the face over these fractures, a missing tooth, left eye was collapsed, right eye was hemorrhaged, tongue discolored, 180 stab wounds (postmortem), two large incisions in her chest, her left lung had been removed and all her fingers and both thumbs were cut off.

“The medical examiner opined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that she was alive during the beating.

“All defendants were later arrested after Mangione began showing one of Ms. Deblieux’s fingers to friends.

“Defendant’s Case:

Ralph Wiley, the defendant’s uncle testified that he was disabled because of a bipolar disorder, which is a prevalent disorder in the defendant’s family. That Defendant’s mother died when he was age three and his father has been married four or five times.  He had not been around defendant in many years.

“Dora Roper, the defendant’s second cousin testified that her mother had mental problems for which she had to be hospitalized.

“Jan Arnett, testified that she was defendant’s junior high school teacher when he was ages 13-16.   That he was hyperactive in class, not interested in school, and wouldn’t do classwork or homework․ She tried to get defendant’s father to help the defendant.   That defendant was not violent and knew right from wrong․

“Dr. Rebert, a forensic psychologist for the State of Alabama, Department of Mental Health, opined that the defendant at the time of the incident suffered from a mental disease or defect. She described this as a bipolar disorder and said he was in a manic state at the time of the incident;  however, he did know the difference between right and wrong and was able to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts.

“Dr. Goff, a private psychologist who opined that at the time of the incident the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect, bipolar I disorder, which involves extreme mood swings. However, the defendant did know right from wrong but would not be able to respond to the rightness or wrongness of his acts.

“Jan Deblieux, the victim’s mother testified that she was not involved in a lawsuit filed by her daughter’s estranged husband.”

The record further indicates that, although the investigation originally involved suspects in Chattanooga because the victim was from that area, the investigation eventually led the police to the Jefferson County jail, where the appellant was incarcerated. He was interviewed by the police at the jail where he agreed to give a statement, indicating that “they were not hanging this case on him and [he wanted] to tell his side of the story.” The appellant then gave the following statement which was admitted at trial:

“Kenny, T.R., Louis and myself were all drinking very heavily when T.R. and Louis suggested that we get into a fight.  We left and went riding around and found a hitchhiker at I-59 exit in Trussville, Alabama. We picked her up and took her to the pipeline․  Medical Center East. We were all talking when she made a remark about killing us all when I threw a beer bottle at her, then Kenny hit her with his bottle, Louis hit her with his and T.R. with his.  After that she began to run when Kenny got her in the back of the head with another bottle, causing her to fall. We all ran over and began to kick her and hit her. When she stopped moving, Kenny saw she was still alive and stood on her throat [until] she died. Then we took her to Pell City and left the body. We then went to the car wash and washed out the bed of Kenny’s truck and we took Louis home. When we got back to my car, T.R. and Kenny asked me to show them the way to the body and I did.  When we got there, T.R. and Kenny began to mutilate the body by cutting off the fingers and cutting open the stomach. T.R. had found a bottle and shoved it into the [vagina] while Kenny took out her eyes. After this we dumped the body and left for T.R.’s house. Kenny and I returned to my car and we went ․ to Hardee’s in Chalkville and all three of us fell asleep in the truck, where Kenny’s girlfriend woke us up later that morning.”

Upon further questioning, by the authorities, the appellant made other statements concerning the details of the offense.  The appellant stated that while T.R. was standing on the victim’s throat, he placed his hands on the appellant for balance.  He further indicated that, when they dumped the victim’s clothes over the cliff, T.R. took some of the clothing and Kenny took a ring from the victim. The appellant indicated that he took nothing from her. The appellant was then asked why he and his accomplices had killed the victim;  the appellant responded that he did not know why they had killed her, “but it was not his problem.” The officer who took the appellant’s statement noted that he was very cooperative and that his attitude was “almost one of humor. He had a smile during the entire time we were speaking with him.”

The appellant argues that the trial court committed reversible error by refusing to allow the defense to question a State’s witness concerning a civil suit involving the appellant, because, he says, this questioning would have tended to show the bias of the witness. Specifically, the appellant argues that he was improperly prevented from questioning the victim’s mother, Jan Deblieux, concerning a wrongful-death action that had been filed by the victim’s estranged husband against the Miller Brewing Company. The appellant argues that the suit was being brought by the decedent’s estate and that the decedent’s mother clearly had a financial interest in the civil suit, and allowing him to question her about it would prove her bias in seeing that the appellant was convicted.

The record indicates that the victim’s mother had testified during the State’s case-in-chief to establish that the victim was her daughter, and had also testified that, just before the offense, the victim had telephoned her, stating that she would be traveling home to Louisiana very shortly, by bus or by plane. The witness further testified that she never heard from her daughter after that conversation.  There after, during the appellant’s presentation of his defense, the victim’s mother was called as a witness. She was asked whether she knew an attorney who had been hired by her daughter’s estranged husband.  She stated that she had not met with the attorney, nor had she participated in hiring him. More over, when asked if she was “familiar with the nature of the lawsuit filed on behalf on the decedent,” the victim’s mother responded that she had received “a pack like this,” indicating a large stack of materials, but that she had “no idea what it means.”  The prosecutor objected to the questioning on the grounds of relevance and defense counsel asked to make a proffer as to what he expected the evidence to show.  The trial court then allowed defense counsel to make his statement outside the presence of the jury. Defense counsel stated that they sought to admit a certified copy of the complaint and other papers in the lawsuit as well as testimony concerning it, because the lawsuit sought to hold Miller Brewing Company responsible for the victim’s death, because the appellant and his accomplices were drinking Ice House beer to the point of intoxication which caused the death.   Thus, defense counsel argued that the lawsuit, filed by the ex-husband, portrayed the death as caused by intoxication rather than by the appellant’s “meanness” or as part of a satanic ritual, both of which were suggested as causes by the State’s evidence. Defense counsel stated that convicting the appellant would further the victim’s mother’s cause in her lawsuit and therefore affected her bias and credibility, because she had a financial interest in the outcome of the criminal case.

full article click here

april 09, 2012  source :

The scheduled Thursday execution of Alabama death row inmate Cary Dale Grayson has been delayed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

The Alabama Department of Corrections said the Supreme Court had stopped the execution Monday. Officials with the AlabamaAttorney General’s office could not be reached for comment on whether the state would appeal the decision. Last month the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the scheduled execution of death row inmate Tommy Arthur after his attorneys challenged a change that had been made to the drugs used in Alabamaexecutions.

Grayson was one of four teenagers convicted for the 1994 torture and murder of Vicki Lynn DeBlieux, who was hitchhiking on Interstate 59. She was beaten and her body was thrown off a cliff and later mutilated.

feb.24, 2012  source

A Birmingham man convicted of a 1994 murder that was discovered in St. Clair County received his execution date from the Alabama Supreme Court on Thursday.The court ordered that Carey Dale Grayson, now 37 years old, be executed by lethal injection on April 12 at Holman Prison in Atmore. Grayson is on death row for the Feb. 21, 1994, kidnapping and murder of Vicki Lynn Deblieux. Grayson was one of four men charged with torturing and killing Deblieux and throwing her body off Bald Rock Mountain, between Odenville and Pell City.

St. Clair County chief investigator Joe Sweatt said he remembers the case as “one of the most horrific murders” to ever occur in the area.

It’s one I’ll always remember,” Sweatt said. “She was hitchhiking on I-59 back to Louisiana, back to her mother’s house.

The murder actually happened in Jefferson County, and they dumped her body in St. Clair County. They actually mutilated the body … trying to make it hard to identify.”

Sweatt said he recalled that all four of the men involved were teenagers, and all were from the Birmingham area. Grayson, the oldest, was 19 at the time.

The truck they hauled her body in, they went to Pell City to the car wash across from the high school and pressure washed the back of the truck and threw some of her belongings in the woods back there,” Sweatt said. “We signed petitions on them here in St. Clair, but we actually had to transfer them in Jefferson County. We had to certify them as adults and went through four separate trials.”

According to Sweatt, the three others involved in the crime were initially sentenced to death, but received life in prison without the possibility of parole.