Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Counting the wrong thousand

Recently I learned that Kenneth Lee Boyd could become the 1000th murderer executed since 1977, when capital punishment was reinstated. I’ve given the issue of capital punishment serious thought over the past few years and publicly shared some of my thoughts about this issue on occasion. Death penalty foes and the media have focused on a grim statistic, one that demonstrates their confusion about the issue in general. My point here is that they are counting murderers as if they are some kind of victim.

The statistics that persons who advocate against the death penalty often fail to acknowledge are the lives of innocent victims who died at the hands of these condemned/executed inmates. I found the following information on the Internet:


1977 - 1997 Executions





1998 Executions



1999 Executions



2000 Executions



2001 Executions



2002 Executions



2003 Executions



2004 Executions





It’s easy to see that there is an average of nearly two victims per murderer or inmate who gets executed. Another statistic that death penalty foes fail to acknowledge is that 100% of these condemned inmates were guilty of the capital murders they were executed for.

I don’t make a point of attending death penalty related rallies or protests. Persons like me who support capital punishment are not “bloodthirsty” or vengeful. We only expect that the law be carried out to its fullest (so that the innocent might be better protected). Death penalty protests are usually held or organized by persons who have some tie to condemned inmates. Such persons are quick to equate convictions with executions or an acquittal with actual innocence. There is no sense in trying to reason with such persons. Many of these rallies are attended by students whose knowledge of the judicial system comes from fictional works such as “Dead Man Walking”, “The Green Mile” or the “The Fugitive”. They’ve already made up their minds. Their motivations are often very selfish or narrow minded. They are there to dance for the cameras, to court the media and each other.

I would consider going to Central Prison on the night of an execution. I wouldn’t join the protesters in the parking lot though. I sent Warden Polk an email a while back requesting to be a witness for the state if space were made available. I have my own reasons for supporting capital punishment and if I were asked to attend an execution it would be to confirm my beliefs about this subject. I doubt it would change my perspective much though.

There don't seem to be any questions of guilt in Boyd’s case, he’s admitted to the murders. It seems like a slam dunk in terms of an execution this time. To my knowledge, family members of the victims support this sentence. I plan to send a letter to Governor Easley supporting the execution of this double murderer today.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Three NC Murderers Scheduled for Execution

North Carolina Department of Correction Secretary Theodis Beck has set the execution dates for three North Carolina inmates.

Steven Van McHone is scheduled to be executed at 2 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2005. The execution is scheduled for 2 a.m. at Central Prison in Raleigh.

McHone, 35, was sentenced to death March 7, 1991 in Surry County Superior Court for the June 1990 murders of Mildred Johnson Adams and Wesley Dalton Adams Sr.




Elias Hanna Syriani is scheduled to be executed at 2 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2005.

Syriani, 67, was sentenced to death June 12, 1991 in Mecklenburg County Superior Court for the summer 1990 murder of Teresa Yousef Syriani. He stabbed her 28 times with a screwdriver. She had filed for divorce days earlier.


Syriani’s prison behaviors include: DISOBEY ORDER.
Syriani’s convictions include: MURDER FIRST DEGREE (PRINCIPAL).

Kenneth Lee Boyd
, is scheduled to be executed at 2 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2005.

Boyd, 57, was sentenced to death July 14, 1994 in Rockingham County Superior Court for the March 1988 murders of Julie Curry Boyd and Thomas Dillard Curry.


Boyd’s prison behaviors include: PROFANE LANGUAGE, and DISOBEY ORDER.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Matters of Procedure vs. Political Hacks

Cries for a study on capital punishment in North Carolina have been driven by an occasional acquittal, pardon, some decisions retry cases or exonerations. Not to resort to legal "nitpicking" but at least one of these cases where doubts of guilt existed still resembles “OJ type innocence” (hardly proven or actual). Come to think of it, no one-armed men were seen running from the crime scene and the victim didn't "murder himself". If the "legal landscape" had been unchanged by all of these events, reasonable persons might wonder if we should expect more of the same. Fortunately, and as a matter of procedure and ongoing review by persons more intimately (professionally) interested and involved in the process, this is not so.

Many of those who advocate for more study chose not to acknowledge that the current appellate process culled these cases where questions about guilt might exist from the “capital stringer” before they were executed (or even scheduled for execution). Equally ignored by moratorium or study sponsors are newly enacted laws requiring all prosecutors to disclose more evidence prior to trial or during the discovery process. Some of the requirements related to disclosure merely documented the existing procedures practiced by DA’s. To be sure, it’s clear that all lawyers (prosecutors and defense) involved in capital trials will now have to abide the same predefined (by law) levels of discovery.

There is no rush to execute those who are condemned and innocent persons are not being executed in our state. It’s arguable that many persons who advocate for an outright moratorium on executions confuse occasional wrongful convictions with wrongful executions. The wrongful execution rate is zero.

Many of those who have requested the proposed study on capital punishment have clients to represent or an agenda that includes abolition of the death penalty. A “fake death penalty” (or policy of moratoria) serves them just as well as (or better than) outright abolition. There’s no arguing with persons who insist on referring to unpublished or incomplete UNC studies that include questionable interpretations of possible racial bias when it comes to sentencing proven murderers. There are others who find it politically convenient to attack the judicial system or delay executions of murderers that truly deserve their sentence. Instead investing careful thought into how the courts work or providing thoughtful suggestions on how the courts might respond more fairly towards minorities, these persons waste little time demanding that the capital process be (temporarily?) shut down.

It’s not new news that a contentious issue such as capital punishment is likely to draw persons who really have no desires to see what some persons call “justice”. The creation of another legislative study commission could create a venue for these persons to grandstand for their causes or engage in self promotion and further erode public confidence in the system. What would moratorium or study sponsors say if the participants in proposed study commissions were required to be “death qualified” in many of the same ways that juries are?

Instead of allowing political hacks and special interests to manipulate the justice system, we should encourage thoughtful review of each criminal case (individually) using the courts as they are intended. Requiring “just another study” would amount to a “one-time review” of the system. Isn’t this redundant because the appellate process already provides multiple levels of mandatory review as a matter of procedure in each and every capital case? Put another way, doesn’t each and every capital case trigger a review of the issues of fairness in the system? What can’t moratorium (or study) sponsors study (on their own?) while executions of the guilty continue? Why should North Carolinians be forced to fund and endure the personal learning curves of moratorium advocates while proven predators escape justice?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Avoiding a lethal Oops...

The bedwetting alarmists are calling for a moratorium on executions again in the Raleigh News and Disturber. That should come as no surprise to even casual readers of the paper because those on staff there (editors or columnists or some combination of both) have already decided somehow that only a moratorium (on executing the guilty) can be in our best interests.

Imbedded in the “pep talk” to persons who’d support the idea of a halt to executions is another reference to their “poster boy” Alan Gell. No surprise there either. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the N&O to acknowledge that Gell was never even scheduled for an execution and that a working system (minus the new laws relating to disclosure) is what eventually led to his eventual acquittal. Acquittals occur when there’s a weak case state’s against a suspect in a case. Does anyone remember O.J. Simpson, or Ron and Nicole? Nobody at the N&O (or promoting a moratorium) is writing about Allen Ray Jenkins, that’s for sure.

The wheels of justice are surely slow but there are no doubts about the guilt of those who’ve been recently executed and no one is currently scheduled for execution now. So why can’t these alarmists schedule a review while justice runs her course? The answer to that question is apparent, the moratorium (or halt) is the real goal and the study or any potential improvement or constructive suggestion that these persons might have for the system is an afterthought (for moratorium supporters or death penalty foes, in some circles it has been said that these are really the same persons).

Oops, in case no one noticed, the wrongful execution rate is zero. Meanwhile, the number of inmates who have already murdered who could have been executed or who committed additional crimes while behind bars is certainly greater than zero and increasing almost every day.


Should North Carolinians be encouraged to support a study commission that consists of a league of moratorium supporters? Will other persons who can demonstrate that their interests lie in what's best for all North Carolinians (not just death row inmates) be included? Now there are some questions that need to be asked and answered before Speaker Black considers taking a bill to the floor for a vote or creating any special study commissions!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Death penalty foes try to buy justice

Don’t get me wrong, if we can encourage condemned inmates to behave during their time behind bars that’s a good thing. Promotion of constructive behaviors in our prisons can certainly help reduce medical expenses that result from the assaults that are inflicted on other inmates and corrections staff. Good behaviors behind bars don’t make up for past bad deeds though. The Lord knows; families of victims deserve more restitution when/if they can get some.

Should monetary compensation be considered before a condemned inmate is actually executed?

Anti-Death penalty groups seem to be asking that question. It’s quite possible that many death penalty foes have forgotten that in the list of ingredients (aggravating and motivating factors) that got many of these condemned inmates where they are (death row) there is often 1 part “camouflage” for every part “predator”. No murderer can ever make up for the life or lives that they’ve already extinguished (certainly not with money).

Who can say for sure what motivates some inmates to attempt to compensate their victims for the trouble they caused? It’s also worth asking, who can guarantee that many of these same murderers won’t attempt even more violent crimes (additional murders and escape)?

Today’s “poster boy” for “not executing the guilty” seems to be a Jeffrey Kandies whose current residence is Central Prison in North Carolina. Too bad articles about him fail to mention his 9 infraction records behind bars. Most of these infractions are for using profane language or disobeying an order but he was found guilty of possession of a weapon during his incarceration. Obviously, wise persons would never turn their back towards a proven murderer (even this one).

Kandies’ execution seems to be getting closer as his appeals work their way through the courts. His infractions are minor compared to other condemned inmates but one must never lose track of what crime he committed to “earn” his death sentence. Some prosecutors could argue at length that those on death row are no closer to dying than the average citizen. A moratorium on executions could make Kandies’ execution a little less real for him (and for those that remain on death row or others who might consider murdering an innocent victim).

Legislators in North Carolina are currently considering what some persons call a “temporary halt” to executions while they conduct a study of the judicial system. At the same time they fail to explain why they can’t study the system without a moratorium. Moratorium supporters (alarmists?) seem to think that an innocent person might be executed or that the system is unfair. Most families of victims view moratoria as a “legislative continuance with additional uncertainty” (not a judicial one) in an already endless series of reviews (a defense tactic).

What no one is asking is, “what constitutes fairness for those who would be forced to endure the learning curve of the moratorium advocates?” (i.e., families of victims or those that feel threatened by these murderers). No one seems to expect death penalty foes to accept responsibility for any death row inmates who might be executed during the two year “time out” if one stabs another inmate or a corrections staff person. What’s “fair” about that?

When condemned inmates or those that advocate for them actually help victims, it’s admirable but, no one should be tempted into thinking that restitution can make the families of murder victims whole. Justice should never be “For Sale” because some murderers attempt to compensate their victims.

Let’s just hope that our leaders aren’t so simple minded that they will decide right from wrong on this issue based only on the number of phone calls or emails that they get from the alarmists that think a moratorium is necessary.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lazy Reporting

Patricia Parker doesn't really know if she wants her brother's killer punished by death. Her brother’s murderer has not been brought to justice and she has not been presented with all of the facts related to the crime. Her first hand qualifications for judging the judicial system don’t exist (yet).

Yet she’s being quoted by news media (as a representative of murder victims or their families?) and advocating for a moratorium on executions as if she really knew or represented all of their best interests? As a relative of a murder victim she’s certainly entitled to her opinions whatever they are on capital punishment (as an individual) but she doesn’t speak for all victims! It’s worth noting that if her brother’s case ever gets tried in “capital” way and the murderer is sentenced to death she stands a good chance of having at least two opportunities (sentencing and clemency) to voice her opinions on what she thinks the appropriate sentence might be (in the proper forums, i.e., not just the media).

Parker doesn’t even speak for the majority of persons who’ve lost a loved one to homicide or a majority of those family members who’ve seen the murderer of their loved one sent to death row. Reality is that District Attorneys are reluctant to pursue a sentence that the family of a murder victim doesn’t support. This doesn’t mean that all murder cases should be treated the same when relatives of murder victims oppose (or support) the execution of a murderer either. Sometimes the best interests of the state require an execution (or clemency) and these interests conflict with the desires of those who are related to the victims. These “conflicts” don’t mean that the death penalty (or an occasion commutation) is wrong.

But that’s what Parker and moratorium advocates are saying. If a moratorium is enacted, and by delaying executions for at least two years, the state will be treating all proven murderers in the same way. Moratorium supporters are engaging outright dismissals of the heinousness, brutality, dangerousness (even behind bars) of the murderers. Juries have said that these crimes scream for or “require a death sentence”. Even the sheer number of victims that some murderers killed (of those who might be executed in those two years) is being dismissed to some extent.

The next murderer scheduled for an execution is Earl Richmond. By all accounts this offender is guilty of no less than four murders. Moratorium supporters would have the state delay his execution so that they might review the fairness of sentences like his. How many murders would Richmond have to commit to be eligible for death or for his death sentence to be “fair”?

The most recent execution was attended by at least two relatives of a victim (Mary Gladden). William “Bugs” Powell bludgeoned Gladden’s head to the point he’d dislodged one of her eyeballs. Despite the dislodged eye and evidence that Powell showed little or no concern for his victim after he was jailed Powell’s lawyers argued that the murder was not premeditated. Unbelievable!

What is believable is the murderers who have been executed in recent years will never cause harm to other persons (corrections staff, other inmates or themselves). The murderers, who were executed, are dead AND THEY WERE GUILTY! There are no looming questions about their guilt either.

Parker and her five friends do not speak for the majority of those who have lost a loved one to homicide. Giving moratorium advocates half the media exposure or half the attention doesn’t give their opinions more weight that others who are right. The arguments of capital punishment should not be reduced to infighting amongst persons who are related to murder victims. Victims should never be pitted against each other like moratorium advocates are attempting to encourage.

Isn’t it apparent that when moratoriums on executions are observed or abolition occurs that only those persons that oppose the idea of an occasional and deserved execution get what they want?

Hopefully the General Assembly won’t turn the moratorium issue into just another political issue. Some of our leaders have already engaged in tactics that include “race baiting” by focusing their observations on perceived racial disparities in prison or death row populations without acknowledging the behaviors (murder, rape, robbery etc), which require the sentences. Favors should not be traded or alliances made (or broken) so that we can protect some guilty and violent murderers from a timely execution. If lawmakers want to study the system or suggest constructive changes that will improve the system for all of those who are accused nothing prevents that. It’s clear that those who support a moratorium are only listening to persons who advocated for the condemned (defense attorneys, relatives of the murderers, prison clergy, pacifist/activists).

Moratorium supporters repeatedly (and conveniently) fail to acknowledge the value of a judicial system that has identified cases (including Gell) where guilt was less than absolutely sure and provided relief when it was appropriate. Instead of making constructive suggestions on how to improve the system, they merely promote indecision (delays) and promote one bill. When the system works, all they see is flaws. The moratorium legislation only amounts to an attack on a sentence; it’s not a genuine attempt to improve anything. They have one item on their agenda; no other tangible legislation is on their radar.

When it comes to the arguments about meting out death sentences (fairly); just who are the sponsors and supporters of the moratorium legislation listening to? When moratorium advocates listen to persons whose primary duty is to represent a client (to the exclusion of others), you should wonder how objective these persons could be. There’s no question about it, they will protect the guilty if they can. And the closer you look into their agenda, the less sense they make.

Death penalty opponents or moratorium advocates (some persons say they are the same thing) only understand that “they know what’s best for all murderers” and they really don’t care what the results of any studies are. They just want to steer us all down a course that includes more delays and indecision (not justice?). These persons who propose moratoria are not among those who might be most directly affected if a murderer escapes his prison cell or kills again. Maybe the next time a new prison needs to be built, it should be in “line of sight” of where these moratorium supporters live or work? Maybe then they might understand? Then again, maybe they have been so socially engineered by their precious murderers that they really don’t know or care how much of a danger they might represent to others anymore.

The "report" (by AP or ABC?) wasn't really a genuine attempt to report truth or real news. It represents more of an attempt to inflame (and misinform?) viewers/readers. Some relatives of murder victims might not support the execution of some murderers (Patricia Parker really doesn't know) but these persons don't speak for all friends and family members of homicide victims (nor should they). The "report" was just STAGED AND SPOONFED MORATORIUM PROPAGANDA AND A PRODUCT OF LAZY REPORTING

Friday, March 18, 2005

Execution Date Set for Earl Richmond - May 6th, 2005

Earl Richmond DOC# 0343602

Richmond was found guilty of the November 2nd, 1991 first-degree rape and the first-degree murder of Helisa Hayes. While at the home of his victim, defendant had "forceful" sex with Helisa, beat her, and strangled her to death. Defendant then took Helisa’s son Phillip into the bathroom, where defendant strangled him with the electrical cord of a curling iron and stabbed him numerous (at least 20!) times in his head and body with a pair of scissors. After killing Phillip, defendant went into Darien's bedroom, sat her up on her bed, and strangled her to death with a curling-iron cord. Ms. Hayes’ father, William Stewart, discovered the bodies of his daughter and two grandchildren on November 4th when, after having not heard
from Ms. Hayes for two days, he became concerned about her safety. During this initial interview, Richmond told police that he had not been to Ms. Hayes’ home during the weekend of the murders. Moreover, Richmond sought to shift attention from himself. Richmond became a suspect when his sister, Andrea Knight, informed police that she had dropped Richmond off near Ms. Hayes’ home on the early morning of November 2nd after they and others attended an all night house party. In light of this information, police requested a suspect rape kit from Richmond, which revealed, through DNA evidence, that the semen found inside of Ms. Hayes’ body belonged to Richmond. Richmond, after initially denying any involvement in the murders of Ms. Hayes and her two children, confessed to having committed the murders.

In the opinion of Dr. John D. Butts, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, the adult victim died as the result of strangulation. She had numerous blunt-force injuries; tears, scrapes, and bruises; abrading of the skin in the entrance to her vagina; and blood over a portion of her brain beneath a bruise on her scalp. Defendant's first-degree rape conviction properly supports his conviction for the first-degree murder of the adult victim under the felony murder theory.

While defendant may have consumed alcohol and cocaine prior to the murders, there is little evidence of the degree of his intoxication at the time of the murders. The evidence, however, suggests that defendant methodically killed everyone in the house, leading one victim into the bathroom and sitting another on the edge of the bed. He also tried to hide his crimes by pouring alcohol on the adult victim's genitals and taking with him the scissors he had used to stab one of the child victims. Such behavior is indicative of a capacity for premeditation and deliberation.

While awaiting trial on these charges, Richmond was charged in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey with the April 4, 1991 murder of Lisa Ann Nadeau, an army dispersing clerk at the Fort Dix military base. On May 28, 1993, Richmond was convicted of Ms. Nadeau’s murder and subsequently sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.


Monday, January 31, 2005

Long enough?

It’s amazing how much information you can glean from a short letter, if you just look. On January 31st, 2004 North Carolina inmate #0215851 had a letter to the editor published in the pages of the Raleigh News and Observer. Obviously offender Gregory H. Jones has too much time on his hands! Maybe he’s not had enough dishes to wash at Odom Correction Institute where he is being held in medium (not close?) custody.

Imagine if you were a relative of Jones’ victim(s?). The idea that the man who murdered your loved one and was supposedly “locked away” where no one would let him invade your lives again in 1978 just had his words delivered to your doorsteps today. Unfortunately, a “life sentence” then really hasn’t changed much today even though the lawyers say its “life without parole” and try to persuade folks that it should be enough. Justice isn’t always fair is she?

Aren’t Jones and other inmates like him who read and then write the papers using the media as a means to conduct further attacks on the families of their victims or others they have some grudge against? Some certainly think so. From the courtroom to the prison, and then they “court the media” from prison, for a life term? Isn’t this what’s happening now? What’s surprising is that Jones didn’t use some space in his editorial to complain about prison food or having to work.

How convenient it was that Jones saw fit to justify his own release stating that he’d served more time than he should have. Doesn’t he understand that he waived any rightful claim to parole after committing the first of his violent 103+ infractions behind bars?

Jones is in prison for 1st degree murder and another set of violent criminal offenses. His next review date is September 20th, 2005. It’s possible that the family and friends of his victims have passed or moved away. He committed his murders in the 1970’s.


Isn’t this (infraction record and the reason he’s in prison) proof to any reasonable person that Jones is and will remain a danger to himself and to others for the rest of his life? Yet each year he will be reviewed because he is “eligible” for parole. The law requires that parole commissioners review Jones’ case at least once a year now, until he dies in prison or is released.

The state changes sides in cases like these. The primary obligation of the state now seems to be to make sure that the offender is granted all of his rights and is protected. He must be protected from other inmates (and himself). He is also allowed to voice his opinions in the news. This is at the expense of the relatives of his victims and other innocent North Carolina taxpayers.

So Jones wants to save the State and taxpayers a fortune. It’s quite likely that once released, Jones would cause harm to another victim and be right back where he is today or on death row in Central Prison. This would almost certainly mean that we would have to endure the extra expense of another indigent client and the costs of victimization to another taxpayer (or worse).

Obviously, we should all think twice before performing executions and use the laws and the courts to ensure that only the guilty and most dangerous offenders are the ones who get executed. Some death penalty foes contend that there is no real proof that capital punishment deters potential killers from committing murder. I’d prefer to believe that Jones represents one example of what deterrence can do. He’s not murdered any corrections staff (not yet anyway), but we continue to play the prison version of Russian roulette to pacify those who didn’t want him executed. Jones represents a loaded pistol with the hammer cocked; we are counting on him not to pull his own trigger and to control himself just enough not to actually harm himself or someone else.

Sometimes, (and despite the best efforts of corrections staff) offenders hurt others or become hurt. What incentive is there for an offender like Jones (who is obviously violent) from committing additional crimes? You can take away his television, visitation privileges, and access to the prison canteen and other things with only minimal effect. The only thing of value that this killer has left is the time he has on earth to eat, drink and breathe. The only thing he cares about is his life (not yours or anyone else’s). The threat of taking his life away is what has kept him from murdering again. A moratorium on executions only emboldens such inmates. When Justice blinks, the murderers abuse her.

31 on probation
277 on parole
182 on death row
5019 serving sentences inside NC Prisons

If justice were truly fair, Jones and inmates like him wouldn’t leave prison except to go to into a cemetery plot, and other inmates would be required to dig the hole. It’s too bad that there are more proven murderers who have served time for 1st degree murder who are on probation or parole than there are on death row. Maybe that’s what has motivated Jones to voice his opinions in the Raleigh News and Observer. It’s also a no-brainer that the N&O is probably one of the more popular newspapers in North Carolina prisons. Could this be because the Raleigh News and Observer more often sides with inmates, or confuses them with being victims? Or do many media sources like the N&O ignore victims and victim issues because their primary sources are those who advocate for the condemned or condemnable? I think it’s a little bit of both.

North Carolina legislators are considering a moratorium on executions. They believe that they might be doing the state a service by reviewing the fairness of sentencing of many murderers. Jones and a lot of other killers didn’t get to make it to death row. Is the General Assembly punishing the relatives of victims because we might not be executing often enough? Maybe...


Published: Jan 31, 2005Modified: Jan 31, 2005 1:15 AM
Long enough
According to your Jan. 8 article "New top-tier prison questioned," the state Department of Correction wants to build another $90 million, 1,000-man prison. Instead, why don't they parole the 2,600 prisoners eligible under the old laws?
The Fair Sentencing Act was in effect from 1980 to 1994. The "pre-fair" laws were before 1980. Some of us have done more than 24 years. I've done 29.
If the state would parole everyone eligible for parole, it wouldn't need new prisons. They could even close a few, and save the state a fortune.
Gregory H. Jones
(The writer, an inmate at Odom Correctional Institution, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Nice guys on death row?

In recent days, I’ve noted that ex-death row inmate Allan Gell has made statements to the media implying that condemned inmates are “motivated to behave” or they may find it even more likely to be executed. That generally speaking, “the row” is a less violent place than "general population". Such remarks were made in what is obviously weak attempt to re-humanize death row inmates in the minds of North Carolinians, an effort which is being led by death penalty foes like Gell who say that they are promoting a study of the justice system and at the same time demanding a moratorium on executions. Having never spent time on death row as an inmate, I can’t profess first hand knowledge of what it’s like there or understand all the motivations that drive death row inmates, so I entertained Gell’s comments for a spell.

If as Gell says, the mere threat of an impending execution is enough to make at least some inmates think twice before committing additional and obviously violent (or even annoying) infractions, is that not also proof that capital punishment has a deterrent effect on crime? If there are some offenders that can’t be deterred by any sanction, shouldn’t the state consider executing these bad players first (if it can)?

Contrary to Gell’s statements, many death row inmates really are not well behaved. Recently executed murderers on North Carolina’s death row have been known to attack corrections officers and commit a number of different offenses while they sat on the row. If these inmates were moved to general population, there’s no guarantee that these murderers wouldn’t continue with their bad habits or become even more violent. More to the point, without an occasional and deserved execution these already violent felons could become even more violent. Seriously now, without a death penalty, what sanction will have any meaning to an offender who is already serving a life sentence (without parole)? You can’t add any real time to what the courts have already demanded that they serve. Adding a 2 years delay to the cycle only complicates matters and doesn’t come without some additional costs or risks.

How many proven “cop killers” or “kid killers”, wife beaters and robbers do we need to protect from an execution after they’ve already committed the most heinous crime of all (premeditated murder)? The death penalty abolitionists and state paid defense attorneys would have us protect all of them.

Today they are promoting a moratorium on executions. This they say is so that they can study the system and improve it. Supposedly their motivation is to save innocent lives. What about the innocent lives we risk (or lose) when we fail to execute? It slowly becomes more apparent that they intend to protect the guilty (even more than the innocent?).

Have the sponsors of the moratorium legislation actually lived in fear of a murderer who has already snuffed the life out of one of their loved ones? Doubtful. So whom do they represent?

A closer look at the persons who support the moratorium will show that they include persons of the clergy who minister to death row inmates, friends or family members of proven murderers, paid representation for the inmates (trial lawyers), well meaning but misguided students who are attacking a sentence instead of making constructive solutions, or so-called Person’s of Faith who would abolish capital punishment (no matter how violent the murderer).

Most of these moratorium supporters go home each night to a place that’s far away from Central Prison (or any other). They don’t live within line of sight of a corrections facility or a mental institution. They don’t get harassing phone calls from the murderers of their loved ones. They don’t live with the thought that a murderer might escape or disgrace the memory of their loved one even more by committing additional crimes either. Their social experiences include participation in these groups that glorify (or worship) death row inmates.

Due to the efforts and constant supervision of corrections staff, the average moratorium supporter, defense attorney or prison clergyman doesn’t have to worry very much about murderers attacking them when they visit "the row". It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most these murderers are reluctant to "bite the hands that feed them" (for as long as they are fed). Just who is using who more? Maybe that’s something they never considered studying… because they just can’t imagine murder happening to them or someone they love. Maybe one day, one of their "pets" will bite... and only then will one moratorium advocate understand why executions must continue... if for only a short time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Execution Date Set for William D. Powell

State officials have announced a March 11th execution date for death row inmate William Powell #0239098.


William Dillard Powell murdered Pantry convenience store clerk Mary Gladden on October 31st, 1991, by beating her on the head and face with a tire tool or lug wrench. Gladden was murdered for about $48 that was stolen from the register. Powell was observed at the crime scene; one eyewitness actually saw Powell inside the store at the approximate time (within 6 minutes) of the murder. Other evidence indicating Powell’s guilt includes taped confessions.

This murder was particularly brutal. The victim had numerous lacerations on her face, with corresponding skull fractures underneath. Part of her left ear was torn off. Her nose was broken on the left side, and her left eye was displaced due to a fracture of the bone behind the eye. The victim also had lacerations on her forearm and hand, indicating that she struggled for her life. Further, she had internal injuries. For example, she had bone fragments embedded in her brain from the numerous fractures. Her brain was torn in some places and protruded from the skull in others. Finally, she had several bruises on her brain and a sub-dural hemorrhage.

Powell has been determined to have an average IQ and normal concentration skills, language functions, sensory ability, and visual ability. Evidence showed that Powell was raised in a loving family, had worked as a jailer and with the fire department, and was well liked and not violent. An expert in psychology and neuropsychology, testified that he performed comprehensive testing of defendant on 22 November 1992. The results showed that defendant's memory, problem-solving skills, and motor functions are impaired. This was the result of using about a half gram of cocaine each day. Until two months prior to the murder the drugs were purchased from cashing social security checks that were meant for the support of his son. Prosecutors argued that Powell’s drug habit and lack of money is what motivated him to rob the grocery.

Two jailers at the Cleveland County jail testified that defendant had adjusted well to life as an inmate and had caused no problems. *Note: This contradicts his prison infraction record.

More information can be found in the State Supreme Court Opinion (Click Here)