death warrant

Outcomes of Death Warrants in 2022

September 30.2022 Update

Executions and Stays 2022

48 execution dates have been scheduled by 9 states for 2022.
To date, there have been 10 executions by 5 states.
10 executions have been stayed.*
No executions have been halted by commutation.
16 executions have been halted by reprieve.
1 warrant has been withdrawn/removed/vacated/rescheduled.
1 failed execution was halted when execution personnel were unable to set an IV line.
1 prisoner has died on death row while his warrant was pending.
9 death warrants are pending.^

PENNSYLVANIA – Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday signed a death warrant ordering the execution of a man convicted nearly 25 years ago for the grisly murder of a 2-year old girl.

february 20, 2014 (tribune-democrat)

Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday signed a death warrant ordering the execution of a man convicted nearly 25 years ago for the grisly murder of a 2-year old girl.

The execution of Stephen Rex Edmiston, now 55, has been ordered for April 16, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Edmiston was convicted in 1989 by a Cambria County jury for the 1988 murder of Bobbi Jo Matthew.

Edmiston was living in Huntingdon County when he took the girl from the home of her grandmother, Nancy Dotts, in Beccaria, Clearfield County, during the early morning hours of Oct. 5, 1988.

The child’s body was found two days later in a remote area of Reade Township in northeastern Cambria County.

Edmiston maintained his innocence at his trial. But state police testified that he drew a map with an X marking the location where, he said, “You’ll find a dead, raped little girl.”

Police found the girl’s body at the location and Edmiston allegedly admitted to raping her in his truck, then hitting her three or four times until she became quiet.

An autopsy showed Bobbi Jo was partially scalped, had blunt force injuries to her torso and a skull fracture. Her body was burned and her genital area obliterated, according to trial testimony.

Edmiston, who has been housed at SCI-Greene for several years, has been involved in the appeals process for more than two decades.

Cambria County attorneys David Kaltenbaugh and Kenneth Sottile defended Edmiston at his trial, but the appeal process was assumed several years ago by Robert Dunham of the Federal Defenders Office in Philadelphia.

Dunham could not be immediately reached for comment late Thursday.

Kaltenbaugh said he had lost track of where Edmiston was in the appeal process, but said of death row inmates: “They never really exhaust their appeals.”

Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection, but it is highly unlikely that the execution will be carried out this spring.

The last time anyone was executed in Pennsylvania was in 1999, when Gary Heidnik of Philadelphia was executed, said Joshua Maus, of the Governor’s Office of General Counsel.

That execution occurred only after Heidnik voluntarily give up his appeal process so he could be put to death.

The Edmiston execution warrant was the 31st signed by Corbett, Maus said.

Trial testimony and information provided by the governor’s office was that Bobbi Jo went to bed in the home she shared with her grandmother and her father, Harold Matthew, on the night she was abducted.

Around 3:30 a.m., Harold Matthew, who was sleeping on a sofa in the home, was awakened by a man with a beard, the father later told authorities.

The man was wearing a baseball cap and apologized to Harold Matthew for waking him, according to trial testimony.

At some point, Edmiston went into a bedroom shared by three children, including Bobbi Jo, and removed her from the home.

Edmiston was said to be the nephew of the boyfriend of Dotts, the child’s grandmother, who discovered her missing when she came home at 5:30 a.m.

Edmiston is the last Cambria County inmate on death row. The death sentence for Larry Christie, convicted in the murder of a night watchman at the Oriential Ball Room in Gallitzin was reduced to life in prison after it became apparent the courts would rule in his favor of his appeal.

Ernest “Ernie,” Simmons, convicted in the 1990s  murder of Anna Knaze, had his status changed when an appeals court ordered a new trial and prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to third-degree murder.

Simmons was expected to be given credit for time served, and released, but is now back in prison on a parole violation.

Late last year the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the Simmons appeal regarding the parole violation.

Howell vs Florida – Supreme court Opinion february 20, 2014

Supreme Court of Florida
No. SC14-167

[February 20, 2014

Paul Augustus Howell is a prisoner under sentence of death for whom a death warrant has been signed and execution set for February 26, 2014. Howell was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death when the bomb he constructed, for the specific purpose of killing a witness, instead detonated and killed a Florida Highway PatrolTrooper.Howell v. State, 707  So. 2d 674, 683 (Fla. 1998) (affirming Howell’s convictions and death sentence on direct appeal).
Howell now appeals the denial of his amended third successive motion for postconviction relief, filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851, in which he challenges the Florida lethal injection protocol as applied to him.
Read the full opinion : click here

Fla. Gov. Scott signs death warrant for 1987 killer Robert Henry

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 14 (UPI) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a death warrant for convicted killer Robert Lavern Henry, the day after the execution of Juan Carlos Chavez. his office said.

Chavez, convicted for the 1995 rape, dismemberment and death of Jimmy Ryce, 9, in Redland, Fla., was put to death Wednesday.

Scott announced Thursday he had signed an order for the execution of Henry, who bludgeoned and burned two Deerfield Park, Fla., coworkers in a 1987 staged robbery.

Henry’s execution is scheduled for March 20. He will become the 84th person executed in Florida since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976, and the 14th during Scott’s tenure as governor.

Since the death penalty returned, no other Florida governor has presided over as many executions in his first term, the Miami Herald said Friday.

(Source: UPI)

With 132 Death Row Inmates Readied for Execution, Lawyers Contest Fast-Track Law Before Florida Justices

February 4, 2014 (

A new law intended to speed up executions did little to change the status quo, an attorney representing the state told the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday.

But a lawyer representing Death Row inmates argued that the “Timely Justice Act” is premised on a faulty list that violates the constitutionally protected separation of powers as well as inmates’ rights to due process.

More than 150 lawyers and Death Row inmates are challenging the law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June.

The law requires the Supreme Court clerk to give the governor a certified list of Death Row inmates whose initial state and federal appeals have been exhausted. The law orders the governor to sign death warrants for the condemned on the list within 30 days and to direct the warden to schedule their executions within 180 days — but only once the executive clemency process has been completed. Scott and his lawyers maintain that the clemency process ends when the governor signs a warrant.

In October, then-Supreme Court Clerk Tom Hall certified to Scott an initial list of 132 inmates who are at least partially “warrant ready” under the requirements of the law.

Scott has signed four death warrants since the law went into effect. Prior to that, Scott ordered nine executions since taking office in 2011.

Marty McClain, who represented the lawyers and inmates during oral arguments before the court on Tuesday morning, said the “warrant ready” list was flawed and included some Death Row convicts whose litigation was still pending.

But Assistant Attorney General Carol Dittmar told the justices that “the list is just to provide for information purposes” and did not change the process by which warrants are signed by the governor. Lawmakers who sponsored the legislation said it was intended to shorten the time between conviction and execution, which now is longer than two decades.

“It seems that the argument being made is that the Timely Justice Act was all for show and didn’t actually change anything,” McClain argued. “Certainly that was not what was expressed by the Legislature at the time. They meant to make changes.”

Some of the justices took issue with McClain’s argument that the Legislature had encroached on their power by forcing their administrator to generate the list.

Justice R. Fred Lewis said he found “difficult to understand why it’s unconstitutional for this court to give information” because that is “very natural and normal” within court operations.

Justice Barbara Pariente suggested that, although “we may not all agree that this is the best policy,” the court could add more information to the list and give lawyers representing Death Row inmates the chance to show why their clients should not be included on it before sending it to the governor.

And she pointed out that there is nothing in the new law that prohibits the court from issuing a stay once a warrant has been signed, pointing to the case of Ray Swafford, whose execution was halted by the court hours before he was scheduled to be put to death in 1990. Swafford, who was deemed “warrant ready” by Hall in October, has spent 28 years on Death Row for the abduction, rape and murder of a gas station attendant in Volusia County.

In November, the Florida high court vacated Swafford’s sentence and ordered a new trial based on new DNA evidence. But McClain said the Swafford case was a perfect example why the law is problematic.

Swafford had at least five appeals before the court ordered a new trial in the fall, McClain pointed out.

“Twenty-one years after the conviction, the information develops. He could have been executed in 1990,” McClain said.