Day: July 18, 2012

Update June/July – Luka Rocco Magnotta


July 18, 2012 Associed Press

MONTREAL — An envelope addressed to Luka Rocco Magnotta which was later found to contain a suspicious powder prompted authorities Tuesday to shut down one of Canada’s biggest postal centres.

The incident began after an employee at the Montreal plant spotted Magnotta’s name as the addressee and brought the letter to a manager, said Alain Duguay, the president of the facility’s union local.

Police were called to the distribution centre, which handles much of the mail for Eastern Canada. Duguay said an officer unsealed the envelope to find a white powdery substance inside.

“That’s when they set up a security perimeter and quarantined some people,” he said of the police reaction, which involved about 15 employees and brought operations to a halt for two hours.

Police determined the substance was not dangerous, but four people — two workers and two managers — were treated for what Duguay described as adverse psychological reactions.

Magnotta is facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder, in the death and dismemberment of Montreal student Jun Lin. He has also been charged with shipping some of Lin’s body parts through the mail.

In May, workers at an Ottawa postal warehouse found a parcel containing Lin’s severed hand — addressed to the Liberal party.

The 29-year-old porn actor has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Canada Post does not have a protocol to intercept letters addressed to Magnotta, so Duguay praised the employee’s decision to alert management.

“We know that there are investigations on Mr. Magnotta — I think it was legitimate,” said Duguay, who couldn’t say whether the envelope was addressed to the Montreal detention centre where Magnotta is locked up pending trial.

“I don’t think one can ever take too many precautions.”

Neither Canada Post nor Montreal police would confirm whether the letter was addressed to Magnotta.

But Const. Anie Lemieux, a police spokeswoman, said the force has launched an investigation.

“It’s something that they will look into,” Lemieux said of the possible Magnotta connection.

“Our investigators are looking to see where this envelope came from, what the content was exactly, who it was (addressed) to.”

A few hours after the envelope was discovered, a Canada Post letter-carrier depot in the Montreal-area community of Ste-Julie was also evacuated when staffers there found a suspicious powder. The substance was in a mail bin that came from the Montreal sorting centre.

The Ste-Julie warehouse was shut down for several hours and officials later determined that the substance was not hazardous, a spokeswoman for Canada Post said.

Anick Losier did say, however, that five employees in Ste-Julie were taken to hospital as a precaution because they were feeling ill following the incident.

Due to the incident, Canada Post cancelled mail delivery Tuesday in Ste-Julie and the nearby community of St-Amable.

At the Montreal centre, Losier said one employee reported redness on her skin after she came into contact with the substance found in the letter.

She said she doesn’t expect the shutdown of the Montreal distribution centre, a plant of nearly one million square feet, to cause a major slowdown for operations.

“Tomorrow, (it) should be back to normal.”

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July 17, 2012

The grieving mother of murdered Chinese university student Jun Lin says her son’s brutal slaying in Montreal has changed her perception of Canada.

“We still believe that most people here are very kind, but this heinous crime happened in Canada. It’s made me reconsider what kind of place this is,” Zhigui Du said in an interview aired on CBC’s The National Monday night.

Du, who arrived in Montreal last month, says she lives in fear and sometimes feels as though everyone she passes on the street might be her son’s killer.

Lin’s torso was found in a suitcase behind a Montreal apartment building in late May, while his hands and feet were mailed to political offices and schools across the country. His head was only found earlier this month.

Lin’s mother says he left her with an idealistic view of Canada — the 33-year-old had studied the country extensively before choosing to move to study computer science at Montreal’s Concordia University — but her perception has changed since his murder.

Lin told her Canada was “a peaceful place with great respect for multiculturalism,” she said.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, an occasional porn actor with an extensive and bizarre online history, was arrested in Berlin in early June after an international manhunt. He faces five charges including first-degree murder and posting obscene material to the web.

Police say a video of Lin’s murder and dismemberment was posted to the Internet.

“What a disaster and huge pain for our family,” Du said.

“The most unbearable pain for me is that the video got posted on the internet. People watched it over and over. It’s like my son is being murdered again and again.”

Magnotta’s trial is due to begin next March.

Lin’s father, Diran Lin, said he hopes Canada can deliver justice in court.

LIN REMEMBERED

Since Lin’s death shrines filled with messages in multiple languages have been built near Concordia and the convenience store where he worked. There was also a fund set up to help his family pay for the trip to Canada from China. Du said her family received ample support from Montreal residents and the federal government of Canada. She also said that she learned of her son’s death in a television report. Lin’s parents have not decided whether to bury their son in Montreal or in China.

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July 16, 2012

MONTREAL — A lawyer who heard Luka Rocco Magnotta make allegations about being repeatedly abused and forced to have sex with animals says he could be called as a witness at his murder trial.

Romeo Salta, who says he met with Magnotta several times at his Manhattan office in the winter of 2010-11, told The Canadian Press he was informed of the possibility by the defence team last week.

Magnotta, 29, is now facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder, in the May slaying and dismemberment of Montreal university student Jun Lin. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts and is due back in court next March.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

A day before Salta was told he might be called to testify, the attorney spoke to a reporter about Magnotta’s assertions that he was frequently abused — physically, emotionally and sexually — by a mysterious acquaintance known as “Manny.”

Salta insisted that Magnotta gave him his blessing to go public with the disturbing details of the alleged attacks, if he were ever arrested or killed. The lawyer said Magnotta wanted people to know his side of the story.

But two days after discussing his exchanges with Magnotta, Salta indicated he’s been told to say no more.

He declined to answer follow-up questions because of a conversation he said he had with Magnotta’s lead defence counsel, Luc Leclair.

“Consequently, I have been advised not to disseminate any further information than what has already been said, especially when it comes to ’Manny,’ ” Salta wrote in an email.

Leclair did not immediately return a message asking about Manny and whether Salta could be a witness.

Salta recalled that a frightened Magnotta first contacted him in December 2010 or early January 2011 over concerns police were closing in on him amid a swirl of animal-cruelty accusations.

At the time, animal-rights activists were already publicly accusing Magnotta of killing kittens in videos posted on the Internet — allegations he denied in a newspaper interview.

The Canadian Press obtained several emails Salta said he received from Magnotta over the weeks that followed their first meeting. All are dated from January 2011, more than a year before Lin’s death.

In one email, Magnotta said Manny forced him “to have sex with his puppy and numerous cats.”

But Salta said he didn’t remember if Magnotta told him whether he had ever killed kittens.

“I believe he denied intentionally harming any animal,” said Salta, who also met Magnotta in person three or four times.

“He just kept saying, ’I like animals, I like animals, I like animals — I wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt an animal.’

“I guess, if anything, he was implying — possibly, I don’t know — that he was forced to do it.”
But when it came to accusations against Manny, Salta says Magnotta was categorical.

In one email dated Jan. 6, 2011, Magnotta listed 42 abuses allegedly administered by Manny — many in graphic detail. He said he was subjected to bondage and torture.

The porn actor originally from Scarborough, Ont., wrote that Manny “cut me with a knife because I wouldn’t kiss his feet” and made him “eat animal parts.”

He also alleged in the same email that Manny threatened to have private detectives hunt him down and kill him if he ever disappeared.

Salta did not provide much information about Manny, except that he believed he was giving money to Magnotta, who apparently lived in New York City at the time.

The lawyer wasn’t even convinced that Manny existed, though he said he had the feeling Magnotta truly believed the abuses had occurred.

“Whether or not they actually happened is another story,” he said, noting how at one point Magnotta had discolouration near one eye that he blamed on Manny.

Magnotta also sent Salta a photo that purportedly shows marks and bruises on his face.

Salta, who has 30 years experience, said Magnotta turned down his offers to help him file a complaint against Manny.

Magnotta wrote in another email that he was considering turning himself in after the animal-cruelty allegations surfaced on the Internet.

He wrote how he would want “protective custody” if he were ever sent to a detention facility, such as New York City’s Rikers Island. He even provided Salta with his mother’s phone number, just in case he was arrested.

Police did not have any arrest warrants at the time for Magnotta. There have been no reports of him being charged with animal abuse. The Toronto police force, however, has confirmed it began investigating Magnotta in February 2011 after it received animal-cruelty complaints.

Salta said Magnotta asked him to go public with his accusations against Manny if something ever happened to him.

“He wanted the story of his abuse made known if it’s at all relevant to anybody,” said Salta, who described Magnotta as very friendly but someone who showed little emotion.

“He told me that he wanted the authorities, he wanted people, to see what he suffered.”

Asked if he thought Magnotta could come back at him for revealing confidential client information, Salta said he never technically represented him.

“If he does, he does,” he said, before highlighting Magnotta’s prolific presence on the Internet.

“It seems like he’s posted enough things that would indicate that he’s waiving any kind of confidentiality.”

Salta said he even returned $300 given to him by Magnotta at their first meeting because he hadn’t done any official work for him.

The criminal lawyer, however, wanted to stay in touch with Magnotta based on the possibility of landing a new, high-profile client.

“I wasn’t doing it just for the sake of listening to somebody tell tales,” Salta said.

“In this particular situation, he showed me enough stuff that would possibly make one conclude that there may be an animal-abuse charge coming down the road, in which case he would need a lawyer.”

UPCOMING – Executions – AUGUST 2012


July 18, 2012

Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

Pennsylvania execution dates and stays are generally not listed because the state routinely sets execution dates before all appeals have been exhausted.

August

08.01.12

Marcus Druery

Texas

 Stayed  
08.03.12

Michael Tisius

Missouri

Stay likely  
08.07.12

Wilson Marvin

Texas

 Executed   6:27 p.m
08.08.12

Daniel Wayne Cook

Arizona

 Executed  11:03 a.m
08/14/2012

 Michael Edward Hooper

Oklahoma

 Executed   6:14 p.m
08/15/2102

Jason Reeves

Louisania

 Stayed
08/22/2012

John Balentine

Texas

 Stayed  

Nueva Pagina – VERSION EN ESPANOL – Detalles sobre la pena de muerte


Estados Donde Se Practica la Pena de Muerte

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
Nuevo Hampshire
Carolina del Norte
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Carolina del Sur
Dakota del Sur
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
Wyoming

– Gobierno Federal de los EEUU
– Fuerzas Armadas de los EEUU



Estados Donde No Se Practica la Pena de
 Muerte

Alaska
Hawaii
Illinois
Iowa
Maine
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Dakota del Norte
Nueva Jersey
Nuevo México
Nueva York
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia del Oeste
Wisconsin

– Distrito de Columbia

El Pabellón de la Muerte



California 721 Carolina del Sur 63 Connecticut 10

Fuente: NAACP Fondo de Defensa Legal, 
El Pabellón de la Muerte, U.S.A. 
(1 de enero, 2011)

Florida 398 Gobierno Federal 61 Utah 9
Texas 321 Mississippi 60 Kansas 9
Pennsylvania 219 Missouri 50 Washington 9
Alabama 206 Arkansas 43 Fuerzas Armadas 6
Carolina del Norte 165 Kentucky 36 Maryland 5
Ohio 159 Oregon 34 Colorado 4
Arizona 138 Delaware 20 Dakota del Sur 3
Georgia 103 Idaho 16 Montana 2
Tennessee 87 Illinois 16 Nuevo México 2
Louisiana 86 Indiana 14 Wyoming 1
Nevada 81 Nebraska 12 Nuevo Hampshire 1
Oklahoma 77 Virginia 11
  • Cuando uno añade los números, el total es un poco más alto que 3,251 porque algunos presos son condenados en más que un estado.
  • Las juridicciones que tienen 10 o más presos con el porcentaje altísimo de las minorías en el pabellón de la muerte:
    • Texas (70%)
    • Pennsylvania (69%)

Vida Sin Libertad Condicional



 Estados con la Pena de Muerte que Ofrecen la Vida Sin Libertad Condicional  

  (34/34 Estados)

Arizona Maryland Dakota del Sur
Arkansas Mississippi Tennessee
California Missouri Texas
Colorado Montana Utah
Connecticut Nebraska Virginia
Delaware Nevada Washington
Florida Nuevo Hampshire Wyoming
Georgia Carolina del Norte Estatuto Federal
Idaho Ohio Estatuto Militar
Indiana Oklahoma
Kansas Oregon
Kentucky Pennsylvania
Louisiana Carolina del Sur

Estados sin la Pena de Muerte que Ofrecen la Vida Sin Libertad Condicional 
  (15/16 Estados)

Hawaii Minnesota Vermont
Illinois Nueva Jersey Virginia del Oeste
Iowa Nuevo México Wisconsin
Maine Nueva York Distrito de Columbia
Massachusetts Dakota del Norte
Michigan Rhode Island Alaska no tiene la vida sin libertad condicional.

TEXAS – YOKAMON HEARN – EXECUTION – July 18 – 6:00 p.m EXECUTED 6:37 p.m


July 18 2012

FILE This photo provided by the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice shows Texas death row inmate Yokamon Hearn who will be the first prisoner executed under the state's new single-drug procedure. Hearn is set to die Wednesday, July 18, 2012, for the March 25, 1998, murder of stockbroker Frank Meziere in Dallas.  (AP Photo/Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, File)

Hearn showed no apparent unusual reaction to the drug as his execution began. He was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m., about 25 minutes after the lethal dose began flowing.

Asked by the warden if he wanted to make statement

he said: “I’d like to tell my family, I love you and I wish you all well. I’m ready.”

Last Meal: Same  salad being fed to every other thug on the row that day

Update :  Condemned prisoner Yokamon Hearn is headed to the Texas death chamber after having his appeals rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas — An inmate who once bragged about the headlines generated by the carjacking and murder that sent him to death row will be noted in Texas history for a different reason: Yokamon Hearn will be the first prisoner executed under the state’s new single-drug procedure.

Hearn, 33, is set to die Wednesday for the March 1998 fatal shooting of Frank Meziere, a 23-year-old suburban Dallas stockbroker who was abducted at gunpoint while he cleaned his car at a self-service car wash in Dallas. Meziere was driven to an industrial area and shot 10 times before his body was dumped on the side of a road.

Hearn will be the sixth Texas prisoner executed this year, but the first since the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced its switch to single-drug lethal injections amid a drug shortage that has left states scrambling for acceptable alternatives.

Texas said last week it will now use a single dose of pentobarbital, instead of using the sedative in combination with two other drugs. Ohio became the first state a year ago to use a single drug, and several other states have since made the switch. Courts have upheld the practice, despite death penalty opponents’ claims that it takes prisoners take longer to die with a single drug.

Hearn has not made an appeal based on method of execution or claims of innocence. Instead, his appeals have focused on his mental capacity, the competence of his attorneys and whether recent lower federal court rulings improperly blocked his current lawyers from pursuing appeals.

In 2004, a federal court spared Hearn less than an hour before he could have been taken to the Huntsville death chamber so that it could consider arguments that he was mentally impaired and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

That appeal subsequently was rejected, and attorneys more recently told the U.S. Supreme Court that while tests show Hearn’s IQ is considerably higher than levels determining mental impairment, he suffers from a fetal alcohol disorder that should disqualify him from execution.

Jason January, the former Dallas County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Hearn for capital murder, dismissed claims that Hearn was disabled.

“He was quite capable of functioning and figuring out how to rob people,” January said this week. “What I really recall is the medical examiner at trial placing demonstrative knitting needles through a Styrofoam head 10 times through and through, depicting the different bullets that went through Meziere’s head.”

Hearn, known to his friends as “Yogi,” was 19 at the time of Meziere’s murder and had a lengthy record that included burglary, robbery, assault, sexual assault and weapons possession.

A security camera video at a convenience store next to the car wash captured images of Hearn with two other Dallas men and a woman from Oklahoma City. They had been out looking for someone to carjack, authorities said.

According to trial testimony, Hearn and Delvin Diles forced Meziere into the stockbroker’s car, and Hearn drove it to an area near Dallas’ wastewater treatment plant. The two others, Dwight Burley and Teresa Shirley, followed in a second car.

Meziere, from Plano, was shot with a stolen, assault-style rifle and then with a .22-caliber pistol. Shirley testified that Hearn shot Meziere with the rifle and then continued to fire after he hit the ground. Diles then shot him with the pistol.

She also testified that Hearn later waved around a newspaper account of the crime and was pleased it said Meziere had been shot in the head, or “domed” in street slang. According to The Dallas Morning News, Hearn told her: “I told you I domed him. I told you. I told you.”

Diles, 19 at the time, pleaded guilty and received consecutive life terms for Meziere’s death and an unrelated aggravated robbery. Shirley, 19, and Burley, then 20, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and received 10-year prison sentences.

Hearn would be the 483rd inmate executed since Texas resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. He is among at least nine men with execution dates in the coming months.

Associed Press – Miami Herald

UN expert calls on US states to halt impending executions of mentally disabled prisoners


July, 18 2012 

A United Nations human rights investigator has called on the US states of Georgia and Texas to halt the impending executions of two mentally disabled men scheduled in the upcoming week, condemning the state killings as a breach of the US Constitution and a violation of international law.

Barring any last-minute reprieve, Yokamon Hearn will be executed in Texas tonight. In Georgia on Monday, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied commutation of the death sentence of Warren Hill, opening the way for his execution. Hill’s execution, originally set for tonight, has been rescheduled for Monday, July 23, as Georgia changes over to a single-drug execution protocol.

Both condemned men demonstrate clear signs of mental disability. In a 6-3 decision in June 2002, the US Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded is a violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.” The high court’s ruling, however, left it to the states to determine what constitutes mental retardation.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, stated it would be a “violation of death penalty safeguards” to execute individuals suffering from “psychosocial disabilities.” A spokesman for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week also appealed to Georgia to halt the execution there as a “first step to abolishing the death penalty” worldwide.

The life stories and legal cases of the two men to be put to death have similarities: a history of mental disability, poor legal representation, and a blatant disregard of these factors by the court systems in their respective cases.

Warren Lee Hill, Jr., now 52, was convicted in the 1990 beating death of his cellmate, when he was already serving a life sentence for the 1986 murder of his girlfriend. Hill’s attorneys asked the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute his sentence to life without parole. Former president Jimmy Carter also petitioned the board for Hill’s clemency. The board denied Hill’s appeal, as well as his attorneys’ request for a 90-day day stay of execution.

Hill’s attorney, Brian Kammer, denounced the decision of the Georgia board, stating, “This shameful decision violates Georgia’s and our nation’s moral values and renders meaningless state and federal constitutional protections against wrongful execution of persons with mental disabilities.”

Tests have shown that Hill has an IQ of about 70, which puts him in the range of mild mental retardation. In their petition for clemency, Hill’s attorneys included a statement from two of his former elementary school teachers, who said it was “obvious” to them that he was mentally disabled. The AtlantaJournal-Constitution reported the teachers said Hill could not read or write at grade level and was “virtually non-communicative.”

The juries at Hill’s two murder trials were not informed of his IQ or signs of his mental disability. According to the Journal-Constitution, in a June 18 letter to the Georgia pardons board, Richard Handspike, the nephew of the inmate killed by Hill in 1990, wrote that his family “feels strongly that persons with any kind of significant mental disabilities should not be put to death.”

In 1988, Georgia was the first US state to outlaw the execution of inmates with learning disabilities. But the state statute requires that mental impairment be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” setting the bar higher than in any other state. In 2002, a lower Georgia Court found Hill to be “mentally retarded.” However, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned this ruling in 2003, saying that Hill’s mental disability had not been proven according to the “reasonable doubt” standard.

Defense attorney Kammer has filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court as a final effort to halt his client’s execution. In a perverse turn of events, Hill’s execution has been delayed until Monday solely due to the fact that Georgia is changing its lethal execution protocol.

The state of Texas will put 33-year-old Yokamon Laneal Hearn to death tonight despite clear evidence that he has suffered brain damage since early childhood. Hearn was convicted and sentenced to death for a 1998 murder in connection with a carjacking.

In the course of Hearn’s capital trial, his attorney conducted virtually no investigation into his life history. The jury that sentenced him to death did not know, among other things, that he was neglected by his parents, had a history of mental health problems, and had been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome due to his mother’s excessive drinking during pregnancy.

Hearn’s post-trial lawyer, who filed his habeas appeal, also failed to conduct a detailed investigation into Hearn’s life circumstances and mental disabilities. Hearn’s current counsel hoped to get relief for their client following a US Supreme Court decision in March of this year, which held that defendants were entitled to have federal courts review their “ineffective assistance of counsel” claims even if those claims were otherwise procedurally barred.

However, earlier this month US District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater ruled that Hearn was not entitled to further relief. This decision was based on a 5th Circuit Court ruling that so narrowly interpreted the US Supreme Court decision as to make it virtually inapplicable to cases in Texas.

Yokamon Hearn and Warren Hill’s executions will be the 24th and 25th executions in the US in 2012 if they proceed as scheduled. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, from 1976—when the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty—to 2002, 44 individuals with some form of mental retardation were sent to their deaths. It is unclear how many state killings of the mentally disabled have taken place since the high court’s 2002 ruling outlawing executions of the mentally retarded.