Delaware lacks lethal injection drugs needed to execute death row inmates

march 5, 2014

Delaware has 17 condemned prisoners facing the death penalty, but no means of executing any of them.

Like other states, Delaware prison officials have found it difficult to get the drugs used in lethal injections because major manufacturers several years ago began prohibiting the use of their products in executions out of ethical concerns and fearing the unwanted publicity.

As a result, supplies of two of the three drugs used in Delaware executions have expired, according to records obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. Moreover, prison officials aren’t even trying to get the necessary drugs.

“These drugs can be costly, and these drugs have a shelf life,” correction department commissioner Robert Coupe said. “There is also the challenge of navigating the marketplace because of the attention that this type of purchase gets.”

The source of the drugs is moving to the forefront of the death penalty debate, as lawyers and death penalty opponents seek to find out which companies are providing the drugs. Compounding pharmacies — which custom-mix prescription drugs for doctors and patients — seemed like the answer, but some of them are starting to back away, too.

As a result, many of the 32 states that allow the death penalty are having difficulty not only in restocking supplies, but in trying to find what alternative drugs might be available and changing their execution protocols accordingly.

“It’s not just the shortage or the inability to find the drug. It’s the inability to make a final determination of what their whole protocol should be and get that approved,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington, DC-based Death Penalty Information Center.

The result, according to Dieter, has been a de facto moratorium on executions in some states, such as Arkansas and California. Virginia lawmakers considered legislation this year allowing the state to use the electric chair if lethal injection drugs were not available. In Mississippi, lawyers for a condemned woman sued the department of correction this week, asking for more information about the procurement and expiration dates of lethal injection drugs.

“No state has said ‘We’re ending the death penalty, we can’t find the drugs.’ … It’s more of a hold on executions rather than backing out of the whole process,” said Dieter, adding that it’s hard to pin down a number for how many states have had drugs expire.

Delaware prison officials have taken a wait-and-see approach, in part because no execution dates are expected to be set in the next six months.

“We are watching and learning and listening from those news reports as to what options would be available for us to explore if we get an execution schedule,” Coupe said.

Coupe believes the agency could find the necessary drugs if an execution date is set.

The last person put to death in Delaware was convicted killer Shannon Johnson, who was executed in April 2012 after waiving his appeals. The state used pentobarbital as the initial sedative before administering two other drugs.

A bill to repeal the death penalty in Delaware cleared the Democrat-led Senate by a single vote last year, even after the chief sponsor removed a provision that would have spared the lives of the 17 inmates awaiting execution. The measure later stalled in a House committee, with majority Democrats acknowledging there were not enough votes.

Currently, Delaware prison officials have only one of the necessary lethal injection drugs on hand, according to records obtained by the AP. The prison agency initially refused to provide the records in response to a July 2013 FOIA request.

“The DOC’s contacts with any person or entity regarding the supply, manufacture, prescription or compounding of drugs used in the execution of a death sentence should be a confidential state and trade secret under FOIA,” deputy attorney general Catherine Damavandi wrote in October 2013. “Given the controversy surrounding administration of the death penalty, the need for confidentiality to protect the identities of persons or entities who may supply the DOC with lethal injection drugs is obvious.”

The AP appealed the records denial to the attorney general’s office, which ordered the agency to supply them, just as it had done in 2011 in response to the agency’s denial of a previous FOIA request.

Under Delaware’s current execution protocol, a condemned inmate is rendered unconscious by a sedative or anesthetic before receiving fatal and potentially painful doses of two paralytic drugs, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Delaware used sodium thiopental as the initial drug before its sole U.S. manufacturer stopped making it in 2009. The state then began using pentobarbital.

Records show that the correction department obtained 50 vials of potassium chloride from Cardinal Health in February 2013, replacing 51 vials that expired that same month. The current supply of potassium chloride, enough for four executions, expires in October.

Meanwhile, supplies of the other two drugs, pancuronium bromide and pentobarbital, expired in July 2012 and September 2013, respectively.

Dieter said he was not aware of any state that had considered using expired drugs. Such a move could be fraught with trouble, and likely would result in claims of cruel and unusual punishment.

“You need something that’s effective as an anesthetic, and if its 90 percent effective, you might have partial consciousness, partial awareness,” he said. “If it’s past its expiration date, there are just no guarantees. It might work, it might not.”

Facing an impending shortage of pentobarbital, Delaware officials turned to West-Ward Pharmaceuticals of Eatontown, NJ, in April 2013 to try to obtain a similar barbiturate, phenobarbital. The prison agency’s former bureau chief for management services exchanged emails with West-Ward’s regional sales manager over a week, but the phenobarbital was never obtained.

Similarly, the agency was unsuccessful in trying to obtain pancuronium bromide from Cardinal Health.

“I can’t seem to get anyone from Cardinal to call me back or respond to my messages,” former DOC bureau chief Kim Wheatley wrote in a July 2013 email to a Cardinal representative. “Not sure what is going on, but I have most recently been told that the item that was on backorder for us is no longer on backorder and in fact was blocked for our purchase from the very beginning.”

The Cardinal representative responded three days later, telling Wheatley, “unfortunately, both Teva and Hospira continue to have this item on backorder with no ETA.”

Cardinal Health said in a statement it follows manufacturers’ instructions regarding restrictions on the distribution of their products.

West-Ward’s parent company, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, said it was notified last year about the potential misuse of phenobarbital for executions in Arkansas.

“As we strongly object to the use of our products for capital punishment, once alerted to the potential misuse, we took action,” Hikma vice president Susan Ringdal said in an email.

(the guardian)

DELAWARE – James Cooke receives death sentence on Lindsey Bonistall murder

September 18, 2012

 James Cooke                                                                                                          Lindsey Bonistall

WILMINGTON — Nearly six years ago, more than a year after she was killed, Lindsey M. Bonistall’s family watched the months-long trial and conviction of James Cooke. That was followed by years of appeals, then a second months-long trial and conviction.

On Monday, just like in 2007, a judge imposed a sentence of death by lethal injection.

Superior Court Judge Charles H. Toliver IV on Monday briefly prolonged the agony by announcing his sentences on the non-capital charges first, including burglary and rape, that added up to 127 years in prison.

Then, after a dramatic pause, Toliver told Cooke and the packed courtroom, “I must conclude, as did the jury, the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors … and the defendant, as a result, must be sentenced to death.”

“The evidence presented at trial leads to the inescapable conclusion that the murder of Lindsey Bonistall was committed in an unusually cruel and depraved fashion,” wrote Toliver in his 71-page opinion released afterward.

There were gasps, sobs and one quiet cheer of “Yes” from the side of the courtroom where Lindsey Bonistall’s family and friends were sitting.

The Bonistalls then passed around a box of tissues.

Cooke, 41, did not immediately react.

Lindsey’s mother, Kathleen Bonistall, emerged from the courtroom with her hands raised, announcing, “We did it,” to gathered family and friends. She then exchanged hugs with family and seven jurors who had voted to convict Cooke at the retrial.

Kathy Maguire, who acted as foreperson for the retrial jury, said she was satisfied with the outcome, noting it has been a long journey for the members of the jury – who continue to communicate via social media – and even longer and more difficult for the Bonistall family.

“I think we got it right,” said juror Bilal Hawkins, before correcting himself, “I know we got it right.”

Bonistall said they went in without any strong opinion about the sentence because it was a decision that was out of their control. She said for the family “there is no justice because Lindsey is not coming home with us.”

“This is an end to an arduous process,” she said in the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse to a swarm of reporters. “We just want this process to end. It has been seven and a half years. I hope this is the end. I hope the Supreme Court will decide this is the end for this particular case.”

She said, from her point of view, the judicial system is broken in that it fails to take into account the rights of victims and their families, noting the difficulty of having to sit through a second trial and hear “lies” told about their daughter by James Cooke.

She said that the judicial process should be made “kinder and gentler” for victims, but said she did not know if that was possible.

According to testimony, early on May 1, 2005, Cooke broke into Lindsey Bonistall’s off-campus apartment near the University of Delaware, beat the 20-year-old student, bound her with an electrical cord, gagged her with a T-shirt and then sexually assaulted her before strangling her to death.

Cooke then set fire to the apartment and Bonistall’s body before fleeing.

The retrial jury voted 11-1 in favor of imposing the death sentence after convicting Cooke of rape, arson and murder.

Cooke’s previous conviction and death sentence in 2007 was tossed out by a divided Delaware Supreme Court in 2009. A majority of the justices ruled Cooke’s first set of attorneys violated Cooke’s rights by entering a plea of guilty-but-mentally-ill over Cooke’s objections.

Death will likely not come quickly for Cooke. Appeals in capital cases generally take a decade or more as they move through the state and federal courts.

More than 15 years after his 1995 conviction, ax killer Robert W. Jackson was taken to the lethal injection chamber at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in 2011. Killer Shannon Johnson was executed in 2012, four years after he was convicted of his crimes, but that quicker result only came after Johnson waived all his appeals in order to speed his own execution. Even then, legal fights over Johnson’s ability to waive those appeals took nearly two of those four years.

Cooke’s first appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court is automatic, according to one of his defense attorneys, Anthony Figliola, who said he will continue to represent Cooke despite the fact Cooke charged in court Monday that Figliola and co-counsel Peter Veith were guilty of “attorney malpractice” in their representation of him.

Cooke again also charged, after Toliver announced the sentence, that he was innocent and that the trial was just a set-up and corrupt. Toliver ended Cooke’s rant with a wave and guards took Cooke from the courtroom.

At the retrial, Cooke maintained on the stand that he did not kill Bonistall and that his DNA was found in her body because they had consensual sex. Prosecutors Steve Wood and Diane Coffey, however, pointed out to the jury that Bonistall was at work when Cooke alleged he was having consensual sex with her.

In his ruling, Toliver noted how Cooke’s version of events “simply lacks credibility” and that Cooke initially denied knowing Bonistall only to allege a sexual relationship after he found out about the DNA results. “Ms. Bonistall was truly an innocent victim of a violent crime,” Toliver wrote. “She had no involvement in and did not contribute to the crimes which ultimately led to her death.”

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was in the courtroom for the sentencing.

Biden said he was pleased that the sentence handed down “reflects the brutality” of what James Cooke inflicted on Lindsey Bonistall in 2005.

DELAWARE – How Delaware got rare execution drug

april 22 Source

DOVER — Just days before a manufacturer cracked down on the use of a key execution drug last year, Delaware was able to get a shipment of the sedative from one of the drugmaker’s suppliers through a complicated and secretive procurement process.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that the process involved a state official with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and was kept secret from all but a few Department of Correction officials as it unfolded. Even the attorney general was kept out of the loop for much of the process.

The documents offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Delaware officials navigated a procurement process that can be fraught with political and legal consequences. States have been scrambling during the past two years to revamp their execution procedures and find the sedatives needed to carry them out as manufacturers have sought to keep two key drugs out of execution chambers.

When the DOC needed to replenish its supply of lethal injection drugs last spring, it turned to a man who spent years cultivating contacts in the pharmaceutical industry: Delaware Economic Development Director Alan Levin. Like many other states, Delaware early last year began considering using pentobarbital after supplies of another execution mainstay, sodium thiopental, dwindled and its production was halted in the U.S.

At the time, however, there also was consternation over the use of pentobarbital. The Danish manufacturer of that drug had sought to curb its use in executions by sending letters to government authorities.

Before Levin’s involvement, DOC Commissioner Carl Danberg and his staff had tried other ways of getting execution drugs, including sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, without success. But with a single email, Levin, former head of the Happy Harry’s drugstore chain, was able to get the ball rolling, allowing the DOC to get the drugs it needed in time for an execution last July.

“Once Alan provided me with a contact, things fell into place,” Danberg said.

The department’s previous supplies of lethal injection drugs expired after the 2005 execution of Brian Steckel. The batch of drugs delivered last June was enough for several lethal injections, including that of convicted killer Shannon Johnson, who was executed Friday. The warden of the state prison in Smyrna that houses Delaware’s death row purchased a wine refrigerator to keep some of the drugs at the proper temperature.

Records obtained by the AP after it successfully appealed the DOC’s denial of a Freedom of Information Act request show that Danberg asked Levin last May for help in finding execution drugs.

Levin immediately sent an email to Mike Kaufmann, CEO of the pharmaceutical segment for Cardinal Health Inc., one of the largest wholesale distributors of prescription drugs in the United States. Cardinal also was a supplier for the manufacturer of pentobarbital, Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., and would later become subject to Lundbeck’s restrictions on distributors providing pentobarbital for use in executions.

“While I know this is a bit of a political issue, since Cardinal is not located in Delaware I believed it may be easier for Cardinal to do this,” Levin wrote to Kaufmann.

“Is this something that Cardinal would be interested in selling to the state of Delaware? If not, do you have any recommendations who else we can pursue? While our need is not immediate, we do believe that we may need the drugs within the next 90 days.”

Three days later,Danberg received an email from Cardinal’s vice president of government accounts. During the next several weeks, Cardinal representatives worked with DOC employees to procure and ship quantities of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

“I was happy to help facilitate it,” said Levin, explaining that Happy Harry’s, which he sold in 2006 to Walgreen Co., had done business with Cardinal for a decade or more.

“I understand the judicial system,” added Levin, a former prosecutor who noted that he believes in the death penalty.

A Cardinal spokeswoman said the company would not comment on Delaware’s procurement process and that it does not comment on specific interactions with customers.

But the emails show that DOC officials were aware of the sensitive nature of their purchase and they took pains to keep the process quiet.

“This is NOT for discussion or distribution to anyone, including your own staff until we get a chance to discuss,” Danberg wrote in a May 25 email to key lieutenants.

“Emphasize that I do not want this discussed yet. Certainly not until the drugs are on hand. I am not even telling the AG yet,” Danberg wrote.

Asked about the secrecy, Danberg noted that supplies of sodium thiopental — once a key execution drug for many states — dried up because of what he believes was public pressure on the supplier. Many states switched to pentobarbital after the sole U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental said last year that it would not resume production.

“I did not want it getting outside the smallest number of people as possible how we were pursuing the chemicals because I wanted to make sure we had a supply of the chemicals first,” Danberg said. ” … I did not want the supplier of the chemicals to go public, to be publicly known, simply because I did not want that source to dry up.”

Danberg’s caution was understandable, given that Lundbeck had stated in January 2011 that pentobarbital was not intended for use in lethal injections. It also sent letters to corrections officials in the U.S. urging them to stop the practice.

DELAWARE : Jury recommends death penalty for Cooke

may 3,2012 source :

A New Castle County Superior Court jury recommended Thursday, in a vote of 11 – 1, that James Cooke receive a death sentence for the May 2005 rape and murder of University of Delaware student Lindsay Bonistall in her off-campus apartment in Newark.

Cooke’s first conviction and sentence, in 2007, were thrown out by the Delaware Supreme Court in 2009 because his public defenders argued that he was guilty but mentally ill, despite the fact that Cooke repeatedly claimed his innocence.

Newark’s fire chief discovered the lifeless body of Bonistall, a University of Delaware junior, in the bathtub of her Towne Court apartment on May 1, 2005 while responding to a report of possible arson. Graffiti written on the apartment’s walls included racially charged words like “KKK” and “White power.” An autopsy revealed that she had been strangled and raped.

Cooke, now 41, who lived about a block away from Bonistall’s apartment complex, was also tried and convicted of two nearby burglaries of two young women in the days leading up to Bonistall’s killing.

Judge Charles Toliver will make the final ruling on whether Cooke will receive life or death. No date has been set for that ruling. Delaware law requires judges to give “great weight” to the jury’s recommendation.

Lindsey Bonistall’s mom : ‘This the end of difficult time’ 

watch the video : click here 

BREAKING NEWS – Court lifts stay on Johnson’s execution – Executed 2:55 a.m

SMYRNA, Del. — A convicted Delaware killer who waived his right to further appeals and sought to speed his execution was put to death by lethal injection early Friday after a flurry of court filings spurred by federal public defenders seeking to spare his life.

Shannon Johnson was pronounced dead at 2:55 a.m., just minutes before the 3 a.m. deadline for his execution.
Johnson’s last meal was chicken lo mein, carrots, cake, wheat bread and iced tea – the same meal that all other prisoners had – he did not have a special request.
According to a Department of Corrections spokesman, Johnson spent his last few days sleeping, eating, reading, writing letters, watching TV, and speaking with his attorney.
Johnson was already strapped to a gurney when witness were led into the execution chamber.
“Loyalty is important. Without loyalty you have nothing. Death before dishonor,” he said when asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement. Johnson then uttered a few words in Arabic before he closed his eyes and the first of three chemicals began flowing through his veins.
As the sedative pentobarbital was administered, Johnson’s breathing became labored and his chest heaved several times. A few seconds later, he was motionless and showed no more signs of movement. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.

source :

WILMINGTON — The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on Shannon Johnson’s execution tonight, clearing the way for the lethal injection to take place between midnight and 3 a.m.

The three-judge panel, in a decision handed down just after 5 p.m., wrote that the fact that Johnson himself joined in the appeal filed by Delaware prosecutors seeking to lift the hold on the execution “speaks volumes about the case.”

“From the time of Johnson’s penalty phase to this very day, Johnson has consistently indicated his wish to proceed with his state-ordered execution,” wrote Judge Thomas Hardiman on behalf of the panel.

“[Johnson] has informed every court he has been before and every lawyer involved in his proceedings that he wishes to waive all further … challenges and proceed to execution,” Hardiman wrote.

It is possible the Delaware Federal Defender’s Office – which won a stay from U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet on Wednesday — may now turn to the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and re-impose the stay. Federal defenders, however, were not immediately available for comment.

Johnson’s attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said her client, was “very pleased with the ruling and hopes there are no further appeals.”

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office declined comment on the ruling.

Department of Correction officials had been proceeding as if the execution were going to happen tonight and indicated it will go forward as scheduled between midnight and 3 a.m.

Delaware – Shannon M. Johnson execution – april 20, 2012 – EXECUTED

Shannon M. Johnson Mug Shot

Shannon M. Johnson
DOB: 11/18/1983
Race: Black Gender: Male
Offense: Murder 1st
Sentenced to Death: 09/05/2008
Date of Offense: 09/24/2006

Update april 17, source

WILMINGTON,  The attorney for a Delaware death row inmate facing execution this week is asking a federal judge to reject an attempt by the convicted killer’s estranged sister to stop the execution.

Shannon M. Johnson has waived his right to further appeals of his conviction and death sentence and faces death by lethal injection early Friday.

But federal public defenders are trying for the second time to intervene in the case without Johnson’s consent.

They are arguing on behalf of Johnson’s sister that he is mentally incompetent and should not be executed.

But Johnson’s lawyer says in a letter to the court that she spoke with Johnson on Monday, and that he remains committed to proceeding with his execution.

Johnson was sentenced to death in 2008 for the September 2006 murder of a man who he found sitting in a car with Johnson’s former girlfriend. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

march 14, 2012  source

Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady ordered the April execution of Shannon Johnson after Johnson waived his right to a requirement that an execution be held no sooner than 90 days from the sentencing date.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Cameron Hamlin, 25, who was shot after Johnson found him sitting in a car with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend near downtown Wilmington. Johnson later shot the former girlfriend, but she survived.

After the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in 2009, Johnson said he did not want to pursue any further appeals.

“The court system has prevailed here and we can start having closure here in the Hamlin family,” Vandrick Hamlin, the victim’s father, said after Wednesday’s brief sentencing hearing.

“I think the judge sent a message out to the thugs and killers that you will not get away with murder here in the city of Wilmington.”

After Johnson sought to waive all further appeals following the state Supreme Court’s decision, federal public defenders tried to intervene in his case without his consent, arguing that Johnson was incompetent because he was mentally disabled. After Brady refused to allow them to participate in a state court competency hearing, they defied her order to turn over their files on Johnson to state prosecutors and Johnson’s state court attorneys.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Sleet last year ordered the federal public defenders to turn over their files to state prosecutors and defense attorneys. He also voided their appointments to represent Johnson, declaring that they had misled the federal court into believing that they were acting with his knowledge and consent.

In a ruling last month in which she cited reports from several mental health experts, Brady declared that Johnson was not mentally disabled, was mentally competent to waive his right to further appeals, and that he understood the legal consequences of that decision.

Johnson’s defense attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, said after Wednesday’s hearing that he has been “steadfast” in his opposition to all further appeals.

“He fervently hopes no zealot files state or federal proceedings to override his competent decision,” she said.

The Facts  source : sentencing decision court (pdf)

Shannon Johnson, had a relationship with Lakeisha Truitt, from which was born a son. Ms. Truitt attempted to end the relationship on multiple occasions, because the Defendant was violent and unfaithful, and testified that she had not had a steady relationship with the Defendant for several years preceding the events that give rise to the charges in this matter. She did, however, continue to see the Defendant on some basis, including, but not limited to, effecting visitation with his son. From all appearances, Ms. Truitt had tried to move on with her life. She was a single mom, was employed, had purchased a home, and just prior to the initial incident in this case, began seeing another young man, Cameron Hamlin. By all accounts, Mr. Hamlin was a solid and sober individual, who had an interest in music, and was caring and thoughtful of his family. On September 24, 2006, Mr. Hamlin spent the night at Ms. Truitt’s home, and in the morning, was in the process of taking Ms. Truitt to her grandmother’s, where her son spent the night, and then was going to take his mother to church. The Defendant accosted the couple at a stop sign in his vehicle, and after some words were spoken, took out a gun and fired into Mr. Hamlin’s vehicle, killing him. Truitt was not injured in this incident. She ran to her grandmother’s, where she called the police, and reported the incident. Due to concern for her safety, she was advised not to go to her home until the Defendant was apprehended, but on November 10, 2006, she decided to go to her home and retrieve clothes for her son. On the way, she encountered one Rima Stewart, and had a brief conversation with her. As she was leaving her home, after having been there only a short time, the Defendant ran toward her car, brandishing a firearm, and fired several times, striking Ms. Truitt. To this day, a portion of one bullet remains lodged in her chest. The Defendant was later apprehended, and has been incarcerated since his arrest.

Statutory Aggravating Circumstance

The State alleged that the Defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use of, or threat of, force or violence upon another person, in this case, Rape in the Fourth Degree. To prove the Defendant’s prior conviction of the offense of Rape in the Fourth Degree, the State called the victim of that offense, Quana Thomas.Ms. Thomas testified that she had known the Defendant since she was of elementary school age, and that she saw him one day in the neighborhood and began talking with him regarding an incident involving a mutual friend, entering the Defendant’s car at some point in the conversation. During the conversation, the Defendant started the car, locked the doors and began to drive away. Ms. Thomas asked him where he was going, and asked to be let out of the car. The Defendant told her he had to take care of something and it would not take that long. He drove to an area near the Wilmington Hospital, at which time he stopped the car and began trying to kiss Ms. Thomas, who pushed him off her. She was 18, and seven to eight months pregnant at the time. Eventually he was able to pull her pants down and engage in vaginal intercourse with her. He told her the baby she was carrying should have been his. He then took her back to the neighborhood, and left her there. The Defendant was charged with Rape in the Second Degree and later entered a plea of guilty to a charge of Rape in the Fourth Degree. A certified copy of the
plea agreement was introduced as an exhibit.

September 5, 2008 Sentenced to death  read here

Convicted Killer Shannon Johnson Sentenced to Death Wilmington, DE – Today, Attorney General Beau Biden announced that Shannon M. Johnson, age 24 of Wilmington, was sentenced today by Judge M. Jane Brady to death by lethal injection plus 95 years
in prison.“Shannon Johnson is a threat to society. His conviction and today’s sentence ensures that justice will be served,” stated Attorney General Joseph R. Biden, III. “Victim and witness testimony was critically important to securing this conviction and I want to thank them for having the courage to come forward. Without their testimony a very dangerous person could be on the street.”
On September 24, 2006, Johnson shot and killed Cameron Hamlin in the City of Wilmington. On November 10, 2006, Johnson approached a car in Wilmington, driven by Lakeisha Truitt. He fired a gun at the car, smashed the driver’s side window, dragged her from the car, shot her, and fled the scene. Truitt was taken to the hospital, where she recovered. Johnson was arrested by Wilmington
Police on November 15, 2006. Johnson was convicted in New Castle County Superior Cour.

Feb 26, 2010 source :

WILMINGTON — Death row inmate Shannon M. Johnson appeared in court Thursday to demand an end to all his appeals to speed his execution date.

This follows a pattern that Johnson, 26, set after his 2008 trial when he told the judge, after he was convicted of the murder of
Cameron Hamlin, that he was not seeking mercy and wanted to be sentenced immediately — without a penalty hearing — even if that
meant the death penalty.Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit Thursday, Johnson told Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady in a calm and cool tone that he wanted to waive any further appeals. He also wanted Brady to instruct the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office to drop the appeals it filed on his behalf in U.S. District Court and with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Johnson said attorneys with that office ignored his explicit instructions against filing appeals and asked Brady to prevent attorneys from that office from contacting him again.

Johnson said he told federal defenders, “I’d rather not waste your time” and that they should instead work on other cases. But he said
the attorney “then did everything I asked her not to do.”

Julie Brain, Johnson’s federal defender, declined to comment Thursday.
Johnson was not asked and did not explain why he was ending his appeals.

His attorney, Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, declined to comment on Johnson’s reasons, stating that to do so would violate attorney-
client privilege.

At that same hearing, Johnson’s other appellate attorney, James J. Haley Jr., asked Brady for permission to withdraw from the case,
stating in a motion that Johnson’s desire “to be executed as soon as possible” conflicted with his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.

Johnson said he did not object to Haley’s departure, and Brady dismissed him from the case.

Johnson, however, said he wanted Aaronson to continue to represent him, although he acknowledged that Aaronson too had advised him against ending his appeals.

Brady told Johnson that before she can accept his waiver, she must have him evaluated by a psychologist to make sure he is competent and that he fully understands the ramifications of his decision.

She said it will take about 60 days for a doctor to perform the evaluation and file a report, followed by an additional 30 days for
state prosecutors to respond to that report.

While this process could speed up Johnson’s execution by as much as a decade, Brady told Johnson the court would not act hastily.

“This will not be a fast process,” she said, and will not result in an execution being set next week or next month. “This is to make sure
you have time to reflect and that you are certain about your decision.”

Johnson was convicted two years ago of the Sept. 24, 2006, slaying of Cameron Hamlin. According to police and testimony, Johnson shot Hamlin after he found him sitting in a car in Wilmington with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, who was also the mother of a child with

The ex-girlfriend escaped and was the only witness against Johnson in the homicide. Several weeks later, in November, Johnson tried to kill her by shooting her as she was getting into a car. She survived, and Johnson also was convicted of that shooting.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts, Johnson told the judge he wanted to be sentenced immediately, didn’t want to go through a
penalty hearing and would no longer cooperate with his attorneys. “I don’t need your mercy, the court’s mercy, none of that,” he told
Brady in March 2008. “If you want to sentence me to death … then let that be the case. All that other stuff, like, all that’s irrelevant.”

Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace said after Thursday’s hearing that this is not the first time a death row inmate has waived his
appeals to hasten his date with the executioner.

No. 09-8949      *** CAPITAL CASE ***
Shannon Johnson, Petitioner
Docketed: February 4, 2010
Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Delaware
  Case Nos.: (434, 2008; 489, 2008)
  Decision Date: November 4, 2009
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feb 2 2010 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due March 8, 2010)
Mar 10 2010 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including June 7, 2010.
Apr 23 2010 Brief of respondent Delaware in opposition filed.
May 3 2010 Reply of petitioner Shannon Johnson filed.
May 5 2010 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of May 20, 2010.
May 24 2010 Petition DENIED.

~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Julie Brain Chief, Capital Habeas Unit (302) 442-6545
Delaware Federal Public Defender
800 King Street
Suite 200
Wilmington, DE  19801
Julie Brain
Party name: Shannon Johnson
Attorneys for Respondent:
Paul R. Wallace Chief of Appeals (302) 577-8500
    Counsel of Record Criminal Division
Delaware Department of Justice
820 N. French Street, 7th Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
Party name: Delaware