Inmates on the death row

Execution warrant sought for Nevada death row inmate Zane Floyd


As lawmakers weigh the future of capital punishment in Nevada, Clark County prosecutors plan to seek a warrant of execution for a death row inmate.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, deputies from District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s appellate division could ask a judge to sign the paperwork for Zane Floyd in the coming weeks.

The 45-year-old Floyd was convicted of killing four people and wounding another inside a Las Vegas supermarket in June 1999.

The Review-Journal reports that Floyd’s federal appeals were exhausted last November. However, a bill introduced in the state Assembly would make Nevada the 24th state to abolish the death penalty and the sentences of 70 men on Death Row would be commuted to life in prison. 

Zane Floyd

Texas’ highest criminal court tosses death sentence of Raymond Riles, state’s longest-serving death row inmate


Riles has been deemed mentally incompetent for execution repeatedly in his decades on death row.

April 14, 2021

Raymond Riles has been on Texas’ death row longer than anyone else, first sent there in 1976. Despite several execution dates being set, he has repeatedly been deemed mentally incompetent to be put to death, instead lingering on the row and the prison’s psychiatric units for more than 45 years. At one point, he set himself on fire and was hospitalized for months.

Raymond Riles

On Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed his death sentence.

The state court sent his case back to Harris County to again determine his punishment because the jury wasn’t instructed to weigh his mental illness when deciding between a punishment of life in prison or death. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which supported tossing the sentence, did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday as to whether the office would again seek the death penalty. His conviction of capital murder is not changed.

Copiah County man convicted of capital murder will remain on death row


David Dickerson was convicted for the murder of Paula Hamilton in 2012.

A Copiah County man will remain on death row.

The State Supreme Court denied the appeal of 51-year-old David Dickerson. He was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Paula Hamilton, who was the mother of his daughter.

Mississippi justices reject latest appeal in death row case | WJTV
Dickerson was convicted in 2012 for shooting Paula Hamilton to death and setting her body on fire in Copiah County.
Paula Hamilton

Dickerson shot Hamilton to death and then burned her body. He was convicted of capital murder in 2012.

Dickerson appealed his conviction and death sentence based upon an alleged intellectual disability.

In a mental evaluation, Dickerson was ruled mentally competent to stand trial and doctors said he had no credible symptoms of mental illness according to court documents.

The doctors also said Dickerson was uncooperative and fabricated psychiatric symptoms. His appeal was denied Thursday.

Governor Issues Reprieve For Three Ohio Death Row Inmates


April, 9 2021

Three Ohio death row inmates will not be executed this year as planned.

Governor Mike DeWine has issued a reprieve for Timothy Hoffner, John David Stumpf and Lawrence Landrum. The three were supposed to be executed on different dates this summer and fall.

But DeWine says he’s postponing them due to ongoing problems with getting the supply of drugs used for lethal injections. The three men’s execution dates are reset for the summer and fall of 2024.

Conviction, death penalty upheld of Oklahoman in beheading


March 18, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of man in the beheading of a co-worker in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.

The court rejected claims that Alton Alexander Nolen, 36, was mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial in addition to improper jury selection, improper photographic evidence and prosecutorial misconduct.

Nolen’s defence attorneys did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Nolen was convicted and sentenced to death in for the 2014 beheading of 54-year-old Colleen Hufford at Vaughan Foods.

Prosecutors said Nolen killed Hufford and wounded another co-worker after being suspended from his job at the plant for making threatening statements to co-workers.

San Quentin death row inmate dies


March 17, 2021

Another condemned inmate at San Quentin has died, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

64-year-old Johnny Mungia passed away at a hospital on Tuesday, March 16th.

This Aug. 24, 2018, photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Johnny Mungia, a 64-year-old death row inmate who died on March 16, 2021, at a hospital. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

Mungia’s cause of death is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.

An official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy by the Marin County Coroner.

On April 7, 1997, Mungia was found guilty of the first-degree murder of 73-year-old Alma Franklin by a Riverside County jury and sentenced to death on April 14, 1997.

There are currently 705 people on California’s death row.

A convicted Oklahoma killer’s death sentence was overturned because of a landmark US Supreme Court ruling


March12, 2021

The murder convictions and death sentence of Shaun Michael Bosse, seen in this undated photo, were overturned by an Oklahoma appeals court on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
 Shaun Michael Bosse

An Oklahoma death row inmate is set to receive a new trial after a court overturned his conviction based on a US Supreme Court ruling last year that determined a large part of the state is Native American territory for the purposes of federal criminal law

.The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Thursday the state did not have the jurisdiction to prosecute Shaun Bosse, who was sentenced to death in 2012 for the murders of 24-year-old Katrina Griffin, her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter because the victims were members of the Chickasaw Nation and the murders took place on the reservation.The appeals court cited the Supreme Court’s landmark July 2020 ruling in McGirt vs. Oklahoma, in which the justices ruled 5-4 that a broad swath of the state was Native American land for the purposes of federal criminal law. According to federal law, crimes that involve Native Americans on a reservation are subject to federal, not state, jurisdiction.CNN has reached out to an attorney for Bosse for comment.District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who prosecuted Bosse, told CNN in an interview Friday that federal prosecutors will assume jurisdiction in the case.”I’m devastated for the family (of Bosse’s victims),” Mashburn said. “They can’t heal. They’re just going to have to go through this whole process again. I’m just really upset for them and hate that they’re going to have to sit through another trial.”

Autopsy: California serial killer known as ‘I-5 Strangler’ was strangled himself in prison


March, 2021 A California serial killer who authorities say strangled and raped at least seven women was fatally choked himself in a state prison, officials said Wednesday.

Roger Reece Kibbe, 81, known as the “I-5 Strangler” in the 1970s and 1980s, was spotted unresponsive Sunday in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison southeast of Sacramento — his 40-year-old cellmate standing nearby.

This Aug. 1, 2013, photo provided by the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation shows inmate Roger Reece Kibbe.

An autopsy showed Kibbe had been manually strangled, the Amador County Sheriff’s Office said, calling the death a homicide.

No charges have been filed in the death of Kibbe, a former suburban Sacramento furniture maker whose brother was a law enforcement officer.

He was initially convicted in 1991 of strangling Darcine Frackenpohl, a 17-year-old who had run away from her home in Seattle. Her nearly nude body was found west of South Lake Tahoe below Echo Summit in September 1987.

Investigators said then that they suspected him in other similar slayings.

But it wasn’t until 2009 that a San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office investigator used new developments in evidence to connect him to six additional slayings in multiple Northern California counties, with several victims found alongside Interstate 5 or other highways in 1986. Kibbe was serving multiple life terms for the slayings when he was killed.

Authorities said they never stopped trying to prove that he was responsible for even more deaths. Investigators secretly took him on multiple field trips from prison with the hope that he would reveal the whereabouts of more victims.

They would buy him an egg McMuffin and a Coke for breakfast, another Coke and a hamburger and fries for lunch, Vito Bertocchini, a retired San Joaquin County sheriff’s detective and district attorney’s investigator, told The Sacramento Bee.

Bertocchini spent nearly two decades pursuing Kibbe and thinks he must have killed others during the 10-year gap between his first and last known slayings. Investigators have said they found other women who had been killed and dumped with Kibbe’s trademark of cutting his victims’ clothing in odd patterns.

He was finally captured after Sacramento police said a would-be victim escaped and they recovered a garrote made from a pair of dowels and parachute cord along with scissors and other items.

Investigators said they matched the cord to rope found with Frackenpohl’s body and at Kibbe’s house, all with microscopic dots of red paint. DNA eventually linked him to two other victims, and he agreed to cooperate in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.

Kibbe never admitted to other killings beyond those with which he was charged, but Bertocchini said he never stopped trying to elicit another confession.

Even after he retired in 2012, each year he sent Kibbe birthday and Christmas cards, asking him to speak up if he recalled anything about other victims. He and his old partner last visited Kibbe in prison in 2019, but still he wouldn’t admit to any more victims.

Now it’s too late, but Bertocchini called Kibbe’s death by strangulation “some fitting justice.”

“I don’t wish ill on anyone,” Bertocchini said. “But I hope he remembered every one of his victims while he was being killed.”

Wyoming considering repeal of death penalty


The state has had only one execution in 55 years.

March 9, Wyoming may become the next state to outlaw capital punishment.

bill was introduced in the state Senate last week by Republican Sen. Brian Boner that would end the death penalty as potential punishment for a murder conviction. Boner told ABC News that the current law, in effect since 1976, is antiquated and costs taxpayers over $750,000 a year.

In the last 55 years, the state has only held one execution, back in 1992, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks death row inmates.

“We are dealing with a significant budget crisis, and we’re looking at old rules that don’t work,” Boner told ABC News. “It’s time to get rid of it.”

The bill passed the state Senate’s revenue committee with a 4-1 vote on March 4 and will move on to a full vote. The legislative session ends April 2.

If the bill passes and is signed into law, Wyoming would become the 24th state to abolish the death penalty since the federal government allowed it in 1973.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, testified at the committee hearing. He told ABC News that Wyoming is following a similar path to one seen across the country, with fewer juries and judges giving out death penalty sentences. That decrease has garnered the attention of politicians on both sides of the aisle, Dunham added.

“We have seen an abolition in practice follow by an abolishing in the law,” Dunham said.

Dunham added that there is an increased sense of morality when it comes to executions because, on average, there has been one exoneration for every eight executions.

“It is no longer debatable that innocent people are going to be sentenced to death. It is no longer debatable that innocent people have been executed,” he said. “That’s given legislators of all political and philosophical beliefs great pause.”

Boner agreed and said that eliminating the death penalty in Wyoming would create a “more efficient criminal justice system.” Two years ago, a similar measure passed in the Wyoming House but failed in the Senate with a vote of 18-12. Boner said a lot has changed since then, particularly during the pandemic.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon told legislators last summer that he was “very seriously” considering imposing a moratorium on the use of capital punishment, claiming it is “a luxury that we cannot afford.”

Dunham said that there will likely be a bigger push from advocates to repeal the law and more pressure on other states to re-examine their policies. Last month, Virginia’s Legislature passed a bill to end death penalty in the state.

“Regardless of what the outcome is,” Dunham added, “what we are seeing in Wyoming is the declining support of capital punishment across all demographic groups.”

Former Alabama Chief Justice, lieutenant governor back new trial for death row inmate


March 19, A group of 14 former judges and prosecutors — including a former Alabama lieutenant governor and a former Alabama Chief Justice — urged a Jefferson County judge Tuesday to set a new trial for a death row inmate convicted in 1998.

In two of seven friend-of-the-court briefs filed with the Jefferson County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning, the signatories wrote that the court should follow the guidance of Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, who said the court should grant Toforest Johnson a new trial amid questions about the conduct in the first. 

“The DA’s decision to vacate Mr. Johnson’s conviction is a heavy one made after an exhaustive investigation of the surrounding circumstances and irregularities leading to his conviction; this weighty decision should be given significant deference by the Court,” said a brief signed by former Alabama Chief Justice Drayton Nabers; former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Ralph Cook; former Alabama State Bar President Bill Clark; retired Judge William Bowen and attorney Bobby Segall. “To disregard District Attorney Carr’s decision would frustrate the exact duties he was elected to perform and further undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system.”

Toforest Johnson’s conviction

A jury convicted Johnson in 1998 of the 1995 murder of William Hardy, a Jefferson County deputy sheriff. Hardy was working as a private security guard at a Birmingham hotel when he was shot and killed in the hotel’s parking lot early in the morning of July 19, 1995. Police arrested Johnson and charged him with murder a few hours later. 

No physical evidence linked Johnson to the scene, and Johnson, 48, maintains his innocence. A jury could not reach a verdict in the first trial, but a jury in a second trial convicted Johnson. After the conviction, Johnson’s attorneys learned that a witness for the prosecution named Violet Ellison received $5,000 from the state after approaching the police in response to a reward offered. 

Johnson’s attorneys filed a motion known as a Brady claim, saying prosecutors withheld evidence that could have raised questions about the witness’ credibility. State courts upheld the conviction, but the U.S. Supreme Court ordered new hearings on the Brady claim in 2017. 

Last year, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa T. Pulliam denied Johnson’s Brady claim, ruling that Johnson had not established “by a preponderance of the evidence” that Ellison “either came forward or gave testimony out of a ‘hope of reward,’ or that the state had knowledge of such motivation at or before the time of the trial.” 

But in June, Carr said Johnson should get a new trial, citing issues with Ellison and other witnesses and the fact that prosecutors could not settle on a theory of the case. 

“A prosecutor’s duty is not merely to secure convictions, but to seek justice,” Carr wrote in a brief to the court.

Toforest Johnson