Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

April 23

13 TEXAS Robert Campbell
21 TEXAS Robert Pruett
21 MISSOURI Russell Bucklew
28 OHIO Arthur Tyler
29 TEXAS Edgardo Cubas (Foreign National) – STAYED

LOUISIANA – Child killer’s formal death sentencing set May 28 – Brian Horn

april 9, 2014

MANSFIELD — Recently convicted child killer Brian Horn will be formally sentenced to death at 9 a.m. May 28.

District Judge Robert Burgess set the sentencing date Wednesday. It falls a few days after the 45-day window he initially envisioned Saturday after a jury voted unanimously to sentence Horn to death.

Even though the sentence is a given because of the jury vote, Burgess said he is required by the Louisiana Supreme Court to prepare a uniform capital sentence report. It likely will be dozens of pages in length to give a comprehensive overview of Horn and aspects of his trial.

For example, the report will include information such as the makeup of Horn’s family, his education level, any expert witnesses who testified at the penalty phase, work history, criminal history, details of the crime and victim, acknowledgment of the defense counsel and their years of experience and general information about the trial, including jury selection.

Also added will be a listing of previous first-degree murder cases, not restricted to capital cases, on dockets of the 42nd Judicial District, formerly the 11th Judicial District.

“It is a lot of work. It not only includes the name of the case but the facts of the case,” Burgess said.

Additionally, the sentencing order requires the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ Division of Probation and Parole to perform a complete capital sentence investigation report, with that information attached to Burgess’ report.

Horn, 37, of Keachi was convicted April 2 of first-degree murder in the March 30, 2010 death of Justin M. Bloxom, 12, of Stonewall. The twice-convicted sex offender used text messages, portraying himself as a teenage girl, to lure Bloxom away from a friend’s home.

Horn picked up Bloxom in his Action Taxi cab. He ran out of gas on U.S. Highway 171 near Stonewall’s southern limits. And that’s where he smothered Bloxom to death, leaving his body in a small depression of water across the highway fence row.

Horn’s defense team conceded his guilt from the start. However, they contended Bloxom’s death was accidental so they asked for a lesser sentence – one that would have sent Horn to prison for life.

The jury of East Baton Rouge Parish residents took less than an hour to convict Horn after listening to three and a half days of testimony. That moved the trial into the penalty phase, and after two and a half days of additional testimony, the same jury again was again on the same page in deciding Horn should die for the crime.

During the penalty phase, members of Bloxom’s family were able to express to the jury how devastating his death has been for them. At the sentencing, family members will be able to address Horn directly.

OKLAHOMA – Limited drug supply may hinder executions

April 30 source

Michael B. Selsor: His execution is set for Tuesday unless the governor intervenes.

When (and if) Michael Selsor’s death sentence is carried out Tuesday, Oklahoma will only have enough supply of its lethal injection cocktail to execute one more inmate.

The pentobarbital that Oklahoma has used for the first part of its three-step execution process is in short supply nationally, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has nearly exhausted its remaining doses with the executions of Gary Welch and Timothy Stemple earlier this year.

“We’re still exploring our options,” DOC spokesman Jerry Massie said.

Pentobarbital became the first step of Oklahoma’s three-part lethal injection formula in 2010, after sodium thiopental supplies ran short and a federal judge blocked states from using foreign-manufactured versions of the drug.

In the second and third steps of Oklahoma’s lethal injection, vecuronium bromide stops respiratory function and potassium chloride stops the heart, Massie said.

According to Board of Corrections reports, as many as seven executions are possible in Oklahoma this year, which would be double the annual average. In 2001, the state executed a record 18 inmates.

Unless the governor intervenes, Selsor is scheduled to die Tuesday at Oklahoma State Penitentiary for his role in the shooting death of a Tulsa convenience store manager during a 1975 robbery spree that left at least three other people injured. He was originally sentenced to death, but that sentence was commuted to life in prison after the state’s death penalty law was found unconstitutional. An appeals court granted him a new trial in 1998, and another jury found him guilty and once again sentenced him to die.

Because execution dates aren’t set until an inmate’s final appeal is denied, and the U.S. Supreme Court takes its recess in June, officials don’t anticipate having to make a decision regarding the lethal injection drugs for several months, Massie said.

Death-row inmate Garry Thomas Allen was scheduled to be executed this month, but a federal judge issued a stay so that questions regarding his mental competency might be examined.

There are other drugs on the market that work similarly to pentobarbital, but switching drugs would likely initiate a court challenge similar to what the state faced when it switched to pentobarbital from sodium thiopental, Massie said. A judge ultimately ruled to allow Oklahoma to use the drug, which is widely used in veterinary medicine.

Over the past few years, several drug manufacturers have refused to sell those drugs to states that intend to use them for executions.


ARIZONA – Samuel Villegas Lopez – execution – May 16 RESCHEDULED

 Inmate 043833, Samuel V. Lopez

On October 29, 1986, Lopez broke into the apartment of 59-year-old Estafana Holmes. Lopez raped, beat, and stabbed Ms. Holmes. Her body was found nude from the waist down, with her pajama bottoms tied around her eyes. A lace scarf was crammed tightly into her mouth. She had been stabbed 23 times in the left breast and upper chest, three times in her lower abdomen, and her throat was cut. Lopez’ body fluids matched seminal fluids found in Ms. Holmes’ body.


Presiding Judge: Hon. Peter T. D’Angelo
Prosecutor:Paul Ahler
Defense Counsel: Joel Brown
Start of Trial: April 16, 1987
Verdict: April 27, 1987
Sentencing: June 25, 1987
Resentencing: August 3, 1990

Aggravating Circumstances
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved

State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 163 Ariz. 108, 786 P.2d 959 (1990).
State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 175 Ariz. 407, 857 P.2d 1261 (1993).

affidavit of Samuel villegas Lopez (us.court) pdf file

petition for post conviction relief (us court) pdf file


May 23, Source :

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”


PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona’s top court issued a stay of execution on Tuesday for death row inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez, a day before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, to address claims that he had been denied a chance at a fair clemency hearing.

Villegas Lopez was sentenced to death for raping 59-year-old Estafana Holmes and stabbing her to death in a violent, drawn-out assault at her Phoenix apartment in 1986

The Arizona Supreme Court rescheduled his execution for June 27 so that attorneys could address claims that he was denied a fair clemency hearing because some members of the state clemency board had not received a mandated four-week training course.

“We conclude that the interests of justice are best served by staying the pending execution and forthwith issuing … a new warrant of execution, for June 27,” the court said in its ruling.

“The period between now and the new execution date will allow training of new board members and a clemency hearing to be subsequently held by the board,” it added.

He had been due to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, at the state prison in Florence, some 60 miles southeast of Phoenix.


Update may 9, 2012 source :

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”


Update may  7, 2012 source :

PHOENIX, ARIZ.– Lawyers for a death row inmate set to be executed next week will ask the courts to put a hold on the execution because of concerns about how new members were appointed to the Arizona’s Executive Clemency Board, and whether those new members have had adequate training.

Samuel Villegas Lopez is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday May 16 for the brutal rape and murder of Phoenix woman Estefana “Essie” Holmes in 1986. At his clemency hearing on Monday, his attorneys walked out, claiming the appointments of three new members to the board violated state law.

Kelley Henry, a federal public defender who has worked on Lopez’ case for more than a decade, said she believes there have been at least 16 violations of state statutes surrounding the appointments of the new members.

Among her allegations: that the state violated open meeting laws by failing to properly post information about board vacancies, that the new members have not had the four weeks of training required by statute, and that one of the board members has a clear conflict of interest voting on death penalty cases.

After Henry presented the board with her concerns, the members went into a closed-door executive session for close to an hour. When they re-opened the meeting to the public, they said they believed they could fairly continue the hearing, but Henry and her team disagreed and walked out.

“As we know it at this time, this board does not have the authority to conduct the hearing, or move forward,” Henry said.

After the meeting new board Chairman Jesse Hernandez accused Henry of “grasping at straws” and said he and the other two new members, Melvin Thomas and Brian Livingston, are “more than qualified to serve on the board.”

As for questions regarding the amount of training they’ve one, Hernandez said the training process has been started and that’s within the confines of the law.

Lopez’ attorneys plan to file a lawsuit in court Tuesday asking a judge to step in.

In the meantime, at least one board member, former Attorney General Jack LaSota, said he believed Governor Brewer should vacate the warrant for Lopez’ execution to allow time for the issues to be addressed.

“I think the man is entitled at this point to a hearing by a board that has been determined to be appropriate,” LaSota said, adding, “I think our board is appropriate.”

Matt Benson, a spokesman for the Governor, said the Executive Board of Clemency and the selection committee charged with selecting candidates for the vacant seats acted fully within the law.

Benson said the allegations were nothing more than an attempt to delay justice for the family of Lopez’ victim.

Lopez’ attorneys originally planned to argue before the board that their client’s sentence should be commuted to life without parole because of inadequate legal counsel during his trials and initial appeals.

May 3 , 2012

Us court appeals : pdf file

Update May 2, 2012  Source :

PHOENIX — Lawyers for an Arizona death-row inmate are fighting his upcoming execution.

Samuel Villegas Lopez’s attorneys argued in one filing Tuesday that three newly appointed clemency board members are unprepared to consider his arguments for mercy.

In another filing Tuesday, they argued that the state Department of Corrections is violating Lopez’s constitutional rights by repeatedly violating its own execution protocol.

Lopez, 49, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 in what would be the fourth execution in the state this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing Estafana Holmes, 59, to death in her Phoenix apartment in October 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

Petitioner – Appellant,: SAMUEL VILLEGAS LOPEZ
Respondent – Appellee,s: CHARLES L. RYAN and GEORGE HERMAN, Warden, Arizona State Prison – Eyman Complex
Case Number: 12-99001
Filed: May 1, 2012
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Nature of Suit: P. Petitions – Death Penalty
Previous Case: Lopez, et al v. Stewart, et al (2:1998cv00072)

TEXAS – Steven Staley – Execution – may 16 – STAYED

Facts of the Case

On September 18, 1989, Steven Staley escaped from a community correctional center in Denver, Colorado. Following his escape, Staley embarked upon a series of nine armed robberies as he fled through four states from Colorado to Texas. On October 14, 1989, Staley, accompanied by two friends, Tracey Duke and Brenda Rayburn, went to the Steak and Ale Restaurant in Tarrant County, Texas for dinner. After dinner, and just prior to closing, Staley and Duke removed two semi-automatic pistols from Rayburn’s purse. Staley gathered the employees in the rear kitchen storeroom while Duke secured the front of the restaurant. While this was happening, an assistant manager escaped through a rear door and called the police.

Once all the staff was gathered in the storeroom, Staley demanded that the restaurant’s manager identify himself. Robert Read stepped forward. Read was then ordered by Staley to open the cash registers and the safe. Staley also forced the other employees to get down on the floor and throw out their wallets and purses. One person attempted to stand up, prompting Staley to kick him in the chest and threaten to “blow away” the “next person that puts their head up”.

While this was transpiring, the police, having been alerted by the assistant manager, arrived at the restaurant. Staley, believing that Read had activated a silent alarm, threatened to kill Read if he discovered that the police were outside. Read responded by assuring Staley that the restaurant had no such alarms. He volunteered to serve as a hostage if Staley promised not to hurt the other employees. Staley agreed to Read’s proposal and left the restaurant with Read, Duke and Rayburn, using Read as a human shield. They then hijacked a car and Staley pushed Read into the back seat with him. Police officers subsequently reported hearing several gunshots before the car pulled off and while the car was accelerating away. A high-speed chase ensued, ultimately ending when the stolen car broke down. Staley, Duke and Rayburn then attempted to flee the scene but were apprehended by the police. The police found Read dead in the back of the car. According to the medical examiner, Read had been shot in the head at point blank range. The evidence indicated that both Staley and Duke had shot Read.

On April 8, 1991 Steven Staley was found guilty of capital murder. He was subsequently sentenced to death on April 25, 1991. Prior to his conviction, Staley had given a written statement implicating himself in the shooting. Tracey Duke was sentenced to three life sentences in Texas and an additional 30 year sentence in Colorado for murder and armed robbery. Brenda Rayburn, as part of a plea bargain, was sentenced to 30 years.

With regard to his competency to be executed, Staley was examined by two experts, including Dr. Mark D. Cunningham, a clinical and forensic psychologist who submitted an affidavit on behalf of the defense. In his affidavit, Dr. Cunningham stated that although he found Staley to be coherent and generally orientated and aware of his impending execution (originally set for March 23rd), Staley’s unmedicated status, the psychotic symptoms he exhibited, and his “apparent growing psychotic decompensation” made “probable that he will become markedly more psychotic” between the time of evaluation (March 16, 2005) and his execution. As a corollary of this, Dr. Cunningham asserted that, as Staley’s “psychosis increases in severity, it may well diminish or negate his understanding” of his death sentence or the execution. He concluded that there was “no assurance that the awareness he displayed regarding his execution [during the examination] will be present at the time of his execution”.

Mental Illness

Staley suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. People diagnosed with such mental disorders frequently have a close biological relative with similar mental illnesses. In Staley’s case, his mother had a long history of mental illness. She was hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital on numerous occasions and treated with psychiatric medications and electroconvulsive therapy. Her records document an “acute schizophrenic episode”.

From an early age, Staley was exposed to violent and erratic behaviour. His mother attempted to pound a wooden stake through his chest at the age of six or seven and, at a later date, attempted to stab both Staley and his sister with a butcher’s knife. On each occasion she was committed to mental health institutions. Staley’s father was a severe alcoholic and was killed in a road traffic accident in 1985. His maternal grandfather also committed suicide. Staley, himself, subsequently attempted suicide when he was 16 or 17 and was later placed on suicide precautions during his incarceration.

Following his incarceration, Staley was hospitalized on numerous occasions for psychiatric care. The first instance occurred on June 17, 1994 and lasted for 3 months until his discharge on September 17, 1994. Immediately following this however, Staley was found unresponsive in his cell and subsequently re-admitted on September 21, 1994 for six weeks. He was forcibly medicated despite his refusals. Staley was then diagnosed with major depression with delusional features and schizoid personality disorder with anti-social features.

Staley subsequently refused to co-operate with medical treatment, attend doctor’s appointments or attend clinics. This culminated in a nurse being called to his cell to treat a seizure. Staley was then re-hospitalised, during which time he reported feelings of paralysis and audio hallucinations with voices torturing him. Again, he was released and then re-hospitalised, this time, however Staley was catatonic. Subsequent psychiatric evaluations “suggested a psychotic valley which is typical of schizophrenia, paranoid type”. Hallucinations, delusions and extreme suspiciousness were noted. He was then discharged.

Staley’s behaviour subsequently deteriorated and he exhibited psychotic, bizarre and on occasions, hostile behaviour. He also reported hallucinations, paralysis and exhibited delusional thinking. Staley was hospitalised ten times in total and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and anti-social personality type. During this period, Staley also suffered from depression and was placed on suicide precautions. Staley was most recently hospitalised for approximately 19 months from November 28, 2002 to June 17, 2004.

The diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia made during his incarceration is further supported by an examination by Dr. Cunningham. Dr. Cunningham also concluded that Staley suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is psychotic. In his March 17, 2005 affidavit, Dr. Cunningham reports that Staley’s “speech is characterised by robot-like tone, odd syntax, neologisms (personally created words), alliterations, pseudo-intellectualism, excessive detail, and repetitive phrasing”. Staley also reported “grandiose and paranoid delusional beliefs” believing himself to be on a part-time “security mission to save the world from war” with security clearance. Staley further believed that Texas was out to kill him, either by lethal injection or, “if found innocent possibly by shooting in the outside world, stabbing or poisoning by fellow inmates in prison and general mischievousness”. Staley also claimed to have invented the first car, sold the blueprints to a character from Star Trek and to have been recruited as an undercover police officer at the age of thirteen.

from Steven Staley blog :

Sat Mar 3, 2007 1:13 am (PST)

Order to forcibly medicate killer is debated


FORT WORTH — For more than eight months, officials have been forcibly injecting convicted murderer Steven Kenneth Staley with anti- psychotic drugs that one day may make him sane enough to be executed.Whether Staley deserves to die is not an issue — that was decided long ago by a Tarrant County jury and upheld by the appellate courts. The controversy surrounding Staley now is a complex issue at the forefront of a legal debate about the death penalty in the United States:

Is it constitutional to forcibly medicate a mentally ill Death Row inmate to make him competent enough to be executed?

Staley’s attorney, Jack Strickland, says forcibly medicating Staley, 44, is cruel and unusual punishment and should be stopped immediately.
Tarrant County prosecutor Chuck Mallin says forcibly medicating Staley is necessary to control his psychosis and to carry out a
sentence imposed by a jury more than 15 years ago.
On Thursday, both sides argued the issue before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is expected to issue an opinion in the near
The nine-judge panel heard the arguments before a standing-room- only crowd in an auditorium at Texas Wesleyan School of Law in downtown Fort Worth.
The state’s highest criminal court occasionally travels from Austin to law schools around the state to give students a chance to hear
arguments and see the criminal justice system at work.

Crime and punishment

On Oct. 14, 1989, Staley and two friends went to a Steak and Ale restaurant in west Fort Worth and sat down to eat.

After finishing their meal, they pulled out semiautomatic weapons and demanded access to the cash register and the safe. As customers and employees huddled at the rear of the restaurant, an assistant manager slipped out and called police.

A short time later, police surrounded the restaurant, and 35-year-old Robert Read, the manager, offered himself as a hostage to spare the others. The three took him up on his offer and held him at gunpoint as they tried to escape.

When Read resisted after they tried to force him into a hijacked car, he was fatally shot.

In April 1991, a Tarrant County jury sentenced Staley to death. Four months later, he found himself on Death Row.

Confined to a tiny cell, Staley — a Charles Manson look-alike who suffers from a severe form of paranoid schizophrenia — was prone to
lying in his urine-soaked cell and blackening his eyes by repeatedly beating himself in the face.

Over the years, he has refused to take his medication because he thinks he is being poisoned. He has been hospitalized up to 19 times.

Three times, Staley has managed to avoid execution after experts determined that he is incompetent and doesn’t understand why he is being put to death.Federal and state law prohibits the execution of an insane or incompetent person.

Last year, Mallin and fellow prosecutor Jim Gibson filed a motion asking state District Judge Wayne Salvant to forcibly medicate Staley to restore his competence and carry out the jury’s verdict.

Staley was moved to the Tarrant County Jail and continued to refuse to take his medication. In April, after a long hearing in which
Staley picked at his hair and mumbled nonsensical phrases, Salvant granted the motion — marking what is believed to be the first time a Texas judge has ordered an incompetent Death Row inmate to be forcibly medicated.

Strickland responded by filing a flurry of legal paperwork, seeking an emergency stay of Salvant’s order. But his requests were denied.

During the week of June 5, according to court documents, Salvant’s order was carried out and officials began forcibly medicating Staley in the Tarrant County Jail, where he remains today.

The appeal

During the hearing Thursday, Strickland asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to stop Salvant’s order until he has time to explore all his
legal options.

“If allowed to stand, it would be the first time such an order has been found to be valid,” Strickland said.

Strickland maintains that, in addition to being cruel and unusual, forcibly medicating Staley is indecent; violates medical ethics as
well as Staley’s rights to privacy and liberty; and produces artificial competence with psychotropic drugs that have painful and
debilitating side effects.

Mallin, meanwhile, urged the court not to intervene, saying he believes that it lacks jurisdiction to stop Salvant’s order.

Mallin said that Staley suffers when he is unmedicated and that the drugs’ side effects do not outweigh their benefits. Treating Staley,
Mallin contended, is necessary and medically appropriate.

“When he takes it, he is competent,” Mallin said. “It is by his own volition that he has decided that he is going to be incompetent. ”

Strickland and Mallin each received about 20 minutes to state their cases but, most of the time, the judges peppered them with questions.

When one of the judges questioned whether they had authority to weigh in on the issue at this stage, Mallin’s reply drew laughs: “The
mountain came to Muhammad,” he said, referring to the panel’s trip from Austin to Fort Worth.

“But I don’t want to be rude and say you need to go home.”

Strickland acknowledged that the case has entered uncharted waters. He told the panel that if Salvant’s order is stayed, it would let him
explore options that might include trying to commute Staley’s sentence to life in prison.

In his final words to the court, Strickland urged the judges not to let Texas become the first state to forcibly medicate someone so he
is competent enough to be executed.

Staley believes that he works for the CIA, that judges and prosecutors were conspiring to steal his car, and that the Prince of  Wales has a summer home in Huntsville and communicates with him telepathically, Strickland said.

“We have an opportunity to do what is right, what is fair, what is decent and what is humane, and that is not to execute a crazy person,” he said.

It could be months before the Court of Criminal Appeals issues its opinion. Officials said the panel could decide that it doesn’t have
jurisdiction and decline to get involved; could agree with Salvant and allow the forcible medication to continue; could stop Salvant’s
order; or could come up with another solution.

Regardless of the decision, one thing is certain: The issue is far from over.

LOUISIANA – Todd Wessinger – execution may 9, 2012 STAYED

Update 25 april source :


A federal judge in Baton Rouge has granted a temporary stay of execution for a man convicted in the 1995 slaying of two workers at a now-closed restaurant.
The Advocate reports Todd Wessinger was scheduled to be executed May 9 but U.S. District Judge James Brady granted the stay while he reviews arguments presented Wednesday by his attorneys, who asked for a permanent stay of the death penalty order.
Brady did not say when he would rule on the request.
Wessinger, a former dishwasher at a now-closed Calendar’s restaurant, was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for fatally shooting 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwell on Nov. 19, 1995.


acts from The Supreme court Louisiana

This case arises from the murder of two employees of Calendar’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge on Sunday, November 19, 1995, at approximately 9:30 a.m. The evidence shows that defendant, a former employee at Calendar’s, rode his bicycle tothe restaurant that morning armed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol. Mike Armentor, a bartender at the restaurant, saw defendant just outside of the restaurant, and they exchanged greetings. Immediately after entering the restaurant through a rear door, defendant shot Armentor twice inthe back. Although Armentor sustained severe abdominal injuries, he survived. Defendant then tried to shoot Alvin Ricks, a dishwasher, in the head, but the gun would not fire. As Ricks ran out of the restaurant, defendant attempted to shoot him in the leg, but the gun misfired. As he was running across the street to call 911, Ricks told Willie Grigsby, another employee of the restaurant who escaped the restaurant without being seen by defendant, that he had seen the perpetrator, and the perpetrator was Todd. Ricks also told the 911 operator that the perpetrator was Todd.

Stephanie Guzzardo, the manager on duty that morning, heard the commotion and called 911. Before she could speak to the operator, defendant entered the office, armed with the gun.  After a short exchange with Guzzardo, in which she begged for her life, defendant, after telling her to “shut up,” shot her through the heart. Guzzardo died approximately thirty seconds after being shot. Defendant then removed approximately $7000 from the office. Defendant next found David Breakwell, a cook at the restaurant who had been hiding in a cooler, and shot him as he begged for his life. Defendant then left the restaurant on his bicycle. EMS personnel arrived at the scene shortly there after, and Breakwell died en route to the hospital.

Defendant was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder. Testimony adduced at trial established that defendant had asked one of his friends to commit the robbery with him, and that he planned to leave no witnesses to the crime. Several people also testified that they had seen the defendant with large sums of money after the crime. The murderweapon was subsequently discovered, along with a pair of gloves worn during the crime, at an abandoned house across the street from defendant’s residence. One of defendant’s friends testified that defendant had asked him to remove the murder weapon from the abandoned house.
Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Breakwell and Guzzardo and sentenced to death. The jury found three aggravating circumstances:

(1) that defendant was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated burglary orarmed robbery;

(2) that defendant knowingly created a risk of death or great bodily harm to more
than one person; and

(3) the offense was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner.

read full opinion

Update april 12, 2012  source :

Attorneys for convicted killer Todd Wessinger, who is scheduled to be executed May 9 for the 1995 slaying of two workers at a now-closed Baton Rouge restaurant, has asked a federal judge to reconsider his recent denial of a new trial or sentencing.

The Advocate reports ( ) Todd Wessinger’s attorneys also asked that his execution be stayed.

Wessinger’s attorneys want U.S. District Judge James Brady to hold an evidentiary hearing on Wessinger’s federal constitutional claims. The attorneys argued that Brady issued his ruling Feb. 22 without ever holding such a hearing.

Wessinger, a former dishwasher at the restaurant, was found guilty and sentenced to die by lethal injection for fatally shooting 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwel on Nov. 19, 1995.

“This Court’s actions throughout these proceedings led Mr. Wessinger to believe that evidentiary hearings would take place,” Wessinger’s current attorneys — Danalynn Recer, of The Gulf Region Advocacy Center in Houston; Soren Gisleson, of New Orleans; and federal public defender Rebecca Hudsmith, of Lafayette — contend in court filings.

Those attorneys electronically filed a motion Tuesday in federal court in Baton Rouge to alter or amend Brady’s judgment. A supporting memorandum was electronically filed Wednesday.

In February, Brady rejected a dozen claims raised by the Wessinger, 44, including allegation that his trial attorneys provided ineffective assistance during jury selection and the guilt and penalty phases of his 1997 trial in Baton Rouge.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Wednesday he believes the judge’s decision “was sound and based on the facts presented by the record.”

“It seems that the defense is arguing that everyone involved in this case did something wrong, including the defense lawyers, experts and the court — that is everyone but the defendant, who committed a particularly brutal murder,” Moore stated.

“I hope that the execution date will remain intact although I anticipate more filings on behalf of the defendant to upset the carrying out of the jury’s verdict,” he added.

Brady, who described the state’s evidence against Wessinger in the guilt phase as “overwhelming,” said in his ruling that Wessinger faults his attorneys’ penalty phase preparation for not probing further into his childhood and upbringing.

Wessinger contends such an investigation would have led to evidence of a physically and mentally abusive childhood, possible mental defects and an alienation from society that led him to believe he did not belong.

Brady ruled that Wessinger is not attacking the quality or thoroughness of the investigation but “does not like the way his story was spun for the jury.”

“This is a clear factual error inconsistent with the record which must be revisited,” Wessinger’s attorneys argue in their memorandum.

“At penalty phase, trial counsel generally painted a rosy picture of Mr. Wessinger as ‘a caring and present father, a brother who cared for his handicapped sister growing up, and a hard worker from a stable family.’ Because trial counsel had not hired a mitigation specialist nor conducted any independent life history investigation, the presentation was an incomplete and inaccurate view of Mr. Wessinger,” his current attorneys maintain.

“It is not the case, as this court suggests, that trial counsel conducted the investigation and made strategic choices about what to present,” Wessinger’s attorneys add.

Texas – Anthony Bartee – execution – may 2, 2012 Stay granted

Picture of Offender

Sentenced to 10 years and 33 years for two counts of Aggravated Rape out of Bexar County.  Bartee was on parole when he committed the offense of capital murder described here.

Bartee was originally scheduled to be executed on February 28, 2012, even though DNA evidence collected at the crime scene had not been tested as ordered on at least two occasions by District Judge Mary Román. He received a reprieve on February 23, 2012 when Judge Román withdrew the execution warrant so that additional DNA testing could be conducted on strands of hair found in the hands of the victim, David Cook.  She also ordered the forensic lab to provide a detailed and comprehensive report to the court with an analysis of the results. Yet, before the testing occurred, Judge Román inexplicably set another execution date, for May 2, 2012.

According to Bartee’s attorneys, DNA testing was just conducted and indicated that hairs that were tested found in Cook’s hands belonged to Cook.  The jury never heard this evidence – and in fact wasn’t told about the hairs at all – which might have undermined the prosecution’s theory of the case that a violent struggle had ensued between Cook and his killer. Still, Judge Román entered the findings as unfavorable, opining that this evidence would not have made a difference in the outcome of the trial, had it been available to the jury. Under Article 64.05 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Bartee’s attorneys have the right to appeal the unfavorable findings. The fast-approaching execution date significantly impedes this right to due process, however.

In addition, there is still more evidence that has not been tested for DNA, including cigarette butts and at least three drinking glasses found at the crime scene. In 2010, the court ordered that all items that had not been tested be tested, but these items still have not been tested.

from Texas Attorney General

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit described the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Cook as follows:

On 17 August 1996, the victim’s body was discovered by police and his family in his home in San Antonio, Texas. He had been shot twice in the head and stabbed in the shoulder. The bullet fragments at the scene were consistent with having been fired from a pistol owned by the victim. This pistol, and the victim’s red Harley Davidson motorcycle, were missing from his home.

At some point that summer, Bartee had asked an acquaintance to assist him in robbing and killing a neighbor, informing him this neighbor “had some gold [credit] cards and a motorcycle” that Bartee wanted. And, two days prior to the discovery of the victim’s body, Bartee had informed another acquaintance, Munoz, that he intended to “ace some white dude out”. Bartee unsuccessfully solicited both Munoz and several others to assist him in achieving this result. That same day, at nearly midnight, Bartee arrived at Munoz’[s] home, riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle and claiming to carry a gun. Several witnesses identified this motorcycle as being similar or identical to the victim’s.


On April 2, 1997, a Bexar County grand jury indicted Bartee for murdering David Cook.

On May 15, 1998, a Bexar County jury convicted Bartee of capital murder. After a separate punishment proceeding, Bartee was sentenced to death on May 19, 1998.

On May 3, 2000, Bartee’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas on direct appeal. Bartee did not appeal the state court’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead, he filed an application for habeas corpus relief which was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals on March 8, 2006.

On January 23, 2007, Bartee filed a motion for DNA testing in the 175th State District Court in Bexar County. On June 18, 2007, the district court granted Bartee’s motion and ordered that DNA tests be conducted on the crime scene evidence. After reviewing the test results, the court determined that the evidence did not exonerate Bartee because the DNA profiles developed from the blood and hair samples were consistent with the victim’s profile. Consequently, the convicting court rejected Bartee’s appeal and upheld the capital murder conviction. Bartee appealed the trial court’s finding to the Court of Criminal Appeals, but his appeal was dismissed as untimely on March 16, 2011.

On February 21, 2007, Bartee filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. The federal court denied Bartee’s petition on August 6, 2008.

On July 31, 2009, the Fifth Circuit rejected Bartee’s appeal and affirmed the denial of habeas corpus relief by the district court.

Bartee filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court on November 23, 2009, but the Supreme Court denied certiorari review on March 22, 2010.

On April 20, 2011, Bartee file a second application for habeas corpus relief which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals on September 14, 2011.

Convicted in the August 1996 robbery murder of a friend, Bartee was given a stay before his scheduled execution in February so that additional DNA testing could be done. When the May 2 date was announced, Bartee attorney David Dow sent the court a letter saying the new date should not have been set because DNA testing has not been done. Dow said no notice of a hearing for a new execution date was sent to him or Bartee.

unpublished docket  : opinion 2009

Click on the folder icons above for more case information.
Case Information:

Case Number: WR-63,381-01
Date Filed: 11/1/2005
Case Type: 11.071

Case Events:

  Date Event Type Description
View Event ORDER FILED 2/29/2012 ORDER FILED Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event MOT FEDERAL APPT 3/31/2006 MOT FEDERAL APPT Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event MOT FEDERAL APPT LETTER 3/20/2006 MOT FEDERAL APPT LETTER Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event 11.071 WRIT DISP 3/8/2006 11.071 WRIT DISP Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event WRIT SUBMITTED 2/23/2006 WRIT SUBMITTED Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event 11.071 WRIT RECD 11/1/2005 11.071 WRIT RECD Habeas Corpus – Capital Death


  Set Date Calendar Type Reason Set
View Party 3/8/2006 STORED WRIT STORED


  Party Party Type
View Party BARTEE, ANTHONY BARTEE, ANTHONY Applicant (writs)/Appellant…

Court of Appeals Case Information:

COA Case Number:
COA Disposition:
Opinion Cite:
Court of Appeals District:

Trial Court Information:

Trial Court: 175th District Court
County: Bexar
Case Number: 1997CR1659-W1
Court Reporter:

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