In Starke, Fla., the executioner wears a black hood and a long black robe. He earns $150 for each person he electrocutes.
In Parchman, Miss., the man who releases cyanide pellets in the gas chamber is a retired custodian who was appointed to the job by the governor and holds the official title of “Mississippi Executioner.” Between executions, he sells vegetables at a roadside stand.
In Jackson, Ga., Death Row inmates eye their jailers uneasily, wondering whether the uniformed deputy who delivers their dinner will be the same one who sends a deadly shot of electricity through their limbs. For in Georgia, prison guards can volunteer to do the electrocutions.
Texas offers the “most humane way” to execute--"if there is a humane way of killing a person,” said Robert Ott, 42, a member of the state’s execution team in Huntsville. The team straps the condemned person to a gurney and injects a fatal solution that causes quick death.
Electric Chairs Nicknamed
The machinations of capital punishment vary from state to state like the nicknames of the electric chairs themselves: Old Sparky in Florida, Yellow Mama in Alabama, Gruesome Gertie in Louisiana. But it is no coincidence that all but three of the 47 people executed since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976 went to their deaths in the South.
The South has become what one attorney calls “the death belt” of the nation.
The three men executed outside the South voluntarily waived their appeals and asked to die. Since 1982 no one has been executed north of the Mason-Dixon line, but in the South the pace has quickened: 2 in 1982, 5 in 1983, 21 in 1984 and 15 in the first seven months of this year.
“Our people are tried quicker, our supreme courts don’t sit on the cases and our laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court first,” said Florida Assistant Atty. Gen. Ray Marky.
The bulk of the executions have been in Florida, Texas, Georgia and Louisiana. Three of these states--Florida, Texas and Georgia--were the first to adopt death penalty laws after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. None of the four provides public funds for the legal defense of the condemned after the first post-conviction appeal to the state supreme court, although Florida will set up an office for such appeals under a law passed this year.
There are signs of support for the death penalty throughout the South. Miniature electric chairs adorn the offices of some public officials. The toy chairs emit a tiny jolt to the touch.
Rowdy crowds occasionally turn out for executions, transforming prison surroundings with tailgate parties complete with fireworks, lawn chairs and heavy drinking.
After the bars close in Huntsville, Tex., on execution nights, students from Sam Houston State University often go to the state prison to continue their revelry. When a man who killed a clerk for a six-pack of beer was to be executed, the students carried signs, “This Bud’s for You.” The students booed when the attorney general announced that the condemned man had received a last-minute reprieve.
During Virginia’s most recent execution in June, members of a cheering crowd hollered, “Bring back lynching!” and carried signs saying, “Fry the Nigger.”
Supports Capital Punishment
In Florida, Wendy Nelson, 36, packs up her mobile home and drives 125 miles to the state prison on execution mornings. She stands in a cow pasture across from the prison to demonstrate support for capital punishment. Her daughter, Elisa, 10, was slashed and beaten to death by a convicted rapist who is now on Death Row.
Nelson wants him executed as “a statement as to the value of Elisa’s life, that the state of Florida feels her life was so valuable that they’re willing to commit this negative act.”
In Macon, Ga., David’s Lounge held an execution party the night a young man was electrocuted for the abduction, rape and murder of a nursing student. When the condemned man’s death was announced shortly after midnight, patrons in the dimly lit tavern whooped and hollered. A live band played on a makeshift stage where a Confederate flag hangs.
David Little, 34, owner of the bar, advertised the party on a billboard. “He’s just a son of a bitch,” Little said of the man whose death he celebrated. “Lucky I didn’t catch him in my sight.”
But as executions grow more routine, the numbers outside the prison drop. There are usually bands of protesters who carry candles and sing “We Shall Overcome.” And sometimes there are relatives of the condemned.
On a hot, humid June afternoon in Huntsville, Tex., a condemned man wrote his last statement, ordered his last meal and considered how to distribute his possessions as he prepared himself to meet the executioner’s needle at midnight.
Outside, 15 members of his family, dressed in their finest clothes, sat at a cement table under a tree facing the prison entrance. They sat there hour after hour, adults and children, waiting in the sticky heat. Prison officials, some of whom were to witness the execution, passed by periodically, glancing uneasily at the family scene before averting their eyes.
Charles Milton, 34, was to die for killing Maneree Denton during a 1977 robbery of a Fort Worth liquor store she owned with her husband, Leonard. Leonard Denton, 66, publicly called for Milton’s execution and stayed up until the early morning hours watching television so he could go to bed assured that Milton was dead.
During the robbery, Denton grabbed Milton’s pistol while Denton’s wife hit Milton over the head with a bottle. She was shot as the two men struggled over the gun.
‘No Justice Done’
“I believe if we had the money to get a (better) lawyer for Charles it might not have come this far,” said Milton’s sister, Joyce Smith, 39, weeping and groping for a tissue in her purse as she waited to visit her brother. “I feel there is no justice done.”
Milton’s three daughters sat next to their aunt. Consuela, 15, cried but said she did not really believe that her dad would die. Gloria, 17, surveyed the others nervously. Natasha, 9, played with her hair ribbons. Their brother, Charles Jr., the eldest at 18, sat quietly and betrayed no emotion.
Inside the prison, Milton had advised his teen-age daughters to finish high school and to go to college. He recommended a military career for his son but asked him to avoid the Marines because too many were getting killed. He told his eldest daughter that she was to have his typewriter after his death. And he made his children promise to watch out for each other and stay out of trouble.
Several hours later, when night breezes cooled the air and the unrelenting chant of crickets was everywhere, prison officials strapped Milton to a gurney and injected him with a deadly combination of drugs. His eyes rolled back in his head and he died.
The 15 family members, who had spent the final hours inside a prison lounge, boarded the church van in which they had arrived. A guard tossed in an onion sack containing the dead man’s possessions, and the family drove away.
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the country’s capital punishment laws in 1972, declaring that the hodgepodge of statutes around the country made imposition of the death penalty arbitrary and unconstitutional. Persons convicted under the old laws had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment.
But death penalty advocates were not deterred. States began passing new laws, written to conform to requirements that the high court laid down in 1976, and Death Rows once again began to fill.
Gary Gilmore led the way. On Jan. 17, 1977, Gilmore was put to death by a firing squad in Utah. The convicted murderer had for months demanded to die, cursing attorneys who tried to block his execution.
But it was the second execution, on May 25, 1979, in Florida that set the pattern for what was to come. John Spenkelink, sentenced to death for fatally shooting a traveling companion in 1973, did not want to die. Attorneys battled for his life until the last minute.
On the morning of Spenkelink’s execution, the Florida Supreme Court gathered in the living room of then-Chief Justice Arthur England Jr. The justices arrived at England’s home on the outskirts of Tallahassee at 7 a.m., three hours before Spenkelink was scheduled to die, to consider last-minute appeals from defense attorneys.
England recalls looking out of his living room window and seeing Florida Assistant Atty. Gen. Ray Marky leaning over a car in the street and sobbing. Marky had traveled from state to state investigating Spenkelink’s background and beating back defense attempts to prevent the execution. Marky, worn thin emotionally, was facing his final challenge.
After the court heard and denied two separate motions, England told the governor by telephone that the execution could proceed. He turned on the television and the judges watched the scene outside the state prison in Starke, where more than 100 reporters had gathered to record the first time that a man had been executed against his will since 1967.
“We all sat there numbly,” England said. “I don’t think we had much desire to go to work or much capacity for it. The telephone rang 10 minutes later and the attorney general was advised not to come to work, that there had been threats on him. . . . The rest of us sort of drifted away. It was a terrible morning.”
Prison officials elsewhere began preparing for the executions they knew would come. Death chambers were repainted, cyanide pellets ordered, electric chairs rewired. Georgia built itself a brand new chair and put the old one in storage. Prison officials hope one day to retrieve it for public exhibition, possibly in a museum.
In Louisiana, state penitentiary Warden Frank Blackburn pulled the electric chair out of his garage, where it had been stored for 10 years. “The wife had wanted to paint it white and cut a hole in it for a plant,” Blackburn said. “I wouldn’t let her.”
Executioners also had to be hired. Advertisements for them ran in the classified sections of newspapers. Blackburn interviewed three candidates, all certified electricians, and chose a man who is “just like you and me” who wears a baseball cap, an old shirt and jeans to executions. He is paid $400 an electrocution.
Despite all the preparations, there were hitches. In 1983, Alabama electrocuted a man who had fatally shot a pawnbroker in a robbery. It was the state’s first execution in 18 years. Witnesses said sparks danced around the man’s head and smoke curled from his body. It took three surges of electricity before doctors pronounced him dead.
In Texas, an inmate with a history of drug use had to lie on a gurney for 40 minutes before paramedics could find a vein that would take the deadly needle.
In Mississippi’s gas chamber, a condemned man who raped, sodomized and suffocated a 3-year-old girl was reported to have gasped and struggled for air during his execution. He repeatedly banged his head against a metal pole behind the chair. A reporter counted his moans. There were 11.
Partly because of that execution, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill allowing for lethal injection. And, for inmates sentenced before passage of that law, the prison installed a padded head rest obtained from a barber’s chair.
“That should solve any confusion over whether he died from the gas or banging himself to death,” said Mississippi State Penitentiary Warden Donald Cabana.
The task of defending those accused of capital crimes often falls to court-appointed attorneys. For many of them, especially in rural towns, the case will mean not only a loss of income but criticism or even ostracism from a community still reeling from the loss of the victim.
Volunteer attorneys must be recruited in states that provide no legal assistance after the conviction and first appeal. Thirty Death Row inmates in Florida now have no lawyers. Finding volunteer attorneys is difficult not only because of the financial hardship but because of the pressures defense attorneys feel as their clients approach the execution date.
Stephen Bright, 36, has grown accustomed to practicing law with a stopwatch running. As director of the Southern Prisoners’ Defense Committee in Atlanta since 1982, the intense, boyish-looking Bright handles the appeals of the condemned when no other lawyer can be found.
Bright represented Joseph Carl Shaw, a three-time killer in South Carolina who admitted mutilating the body of a 14-year-old girl he murdered. Bright and Shaw, both reared in Kentucky, became friends.
Pro-Execution Bumper Stickers
While Bright was filing motions to save Shaw from the electric chair, the citizens of South Carolina were growing impatient. A merchants group distributed 1,000 black and white bumper stickers with a picture of the electric chair and the words, “Use It!”
On the night before the execution, Bright sat with Shaw and helped him prepare his final statement. Trying to divert Shaw’s attention from the preparations for his death, Bright talked to him as a guard shaved Shaw’s head and legs.
The next day, after Shaw was strapped into the electric chair, Bright kissed him on the cheek and watched his electrocution.
Bright spent the next two days comforting Shaw’s family and attending the funeral. Then Bright flew to Florida to take up the case of another condemned man, whose execution he would also eventually watch.
“I think sometimes the only service I provide my clients is knowing them and comforting them,” Bright said wearily. “I don’t know. Since I’ve been here I’ve been so busy. We really lurch from crisis to crisis. I have never, I mean, I get real sad. But after the execution, there is just so much to do, you have to keep on going.”
Earns $12,000 a Year
Bright earns about $12,000 a year for 80-hour weeks. He does it not just because of his moral opposition to the death penalty but because he believes many in the South receive an inadequate legal defense.
Bright is now handling the appeal of a Georgia case in which the trial began at 9 a.m. and the defendant was sentenced to death 17 hours later at 2 a.m. Shortly after midnight, a juror who refused to vote with the others, and who according to the jury foreman begged to be removed from the panel, was taken off and a substitute juror took his place. Three minutes later a guilty verdict was returned, and two hours later the defendant was sentenced to death.
One Georgia defendant was represented by an attorney who entered the trial without knowing that a death penalty case is tried in two phases--one to determine guilt or innocence, the other for sentencing. A higher court sent the case back for a new trial. Another Georgia lawyer asked the jury to excuse his client because he was just a “crazy nigger.” The conviction was later thrown out. Yet another attorney in Georgia defended his client as a “135-pound nigger man with an IQ not over 70.” That case is on appeal.
“When the (higher) courts first started getting these cases, they were shocked by them,” Bright said. “But now they’ve gotten so many of them that they’re totally desensitized.”
If Bright exemplifies the kind of attorney who defends the condemned, Georgia prosecutor Joseph H. Briley represents the country prosecutor who persuades juries to send men to their deaths.
The tobacco-chewing Briley, who has only been challenged once in 11 years for election as district attorney of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, is said to have won more death sentences than any other prosecutor in Georgia. Briley smiles at this and says he does not keep count. He notes, however, that he once tried and won four death penalty cases in 21 days.
Briley runs the prosecutor’s office out of a small, red brick building he shares with a beauty parlor in a tiny town 100 miles south of Atlanta. During a recent interview, he left the door to his office open, calling out “hey” to the ladies who passed on the way to have their hair rolled. He addressed each by name.
Briley is irritated by stories about incompetent defense counsel for the condemned. Take, for example, the attorney who told the jury his client was just a “crazy nigger.” Briley said he does not endorse such a defense but can understand why an attorney might resort to it. Southern lawyers, he said, have “freed many a black man by getting up and denigrating (him) and getting the jury to feeling sorry for him.”
“Now when it’s read by a Yankee judge sitting on his haunches in the Northeast who has never faced Southern juries and their philosophy and their feelings, it seems terrible to him. . . ,” Briley said. “But you’ve got to remember we’ve moved 100 years in a period of 15 years down here.”
Briley said the “crazy nigger” argument is not unlike the current practice of defense attorneys telling jurors about a defendant’s “troubled background, that he had been raised in poverty, the fact he was an illegitimate child, he didn’t know who his daddy was.”
He compares festivities on execution nights to Fourth of July celebrations. In the South, the demonstrators are celebrating a victory in the war against crime, he said.
“The South has a low tolerance for crime against a person,” he added. “The North, because of its congestion, its mode of living, has become inured to crime. We just don’t believe a man has the right to mess with another man.”
In a region where Ku Klux Klansmen in full regalia occasionally show up at executions and where lawyers talk uneasily about a history of lynching, the issue of race is never far below the surface in discussions of capital punishment.
Of the 43 men and one woman executed in the South since 1979, 17 were black and two were Latino. Death penalty critics note that of the last 10 persons executed, only two were white.
In Atlanta last month, death penalty opponents held a rally in which capital punishment was condemned as racist. Opponents hope to enlist the support of black leaders in the campaign to end capital punishment. The audience was reminded, for example, that Georgia has executed 342 blacks compared to 76 whites since 1930.
Three white women whose sons are on Georgia’s Death Row left the rally uneasily, discussing among themselves whether the state could speed up executions of whites to erase the racial charge.
Race of Victims
But it is the race of the victims of the condemned, rather than the race of the defendants, that is at the core of legal efforts to abolish capital punishment. Victims of all but four of the 44 executed in the South so far were white. A black and a white were victims of a fifth. A study of death sentences in Georgia concluded that defendants are more likely to be sentenced to death if their victims are white than if their victims are black. The issue is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Death penalty proponents dismiss the study and note that it was rejected by courts that have heard the case. They maintain that the study failed to account for differences in the relationships of the defendants to the victims.
They also caution against drawing conclusions from racially toned demonstrations on execution nights, noting that Virginia Gov. Charles S. Robb has deplored the general carnival atmosphere surrounding the four executions in that state.
Marie Deans, an anti-death penalty activist in Virginia, said she believes that executions bring out the worst in people.
“I was born and raised in the deep South and I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said Deans, 45.
Clergy members, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons and Amnesty International lead the fight against capital punishment. Low-paid workers or volunteers moved by religion or secular moral beliefs staff small, cluttered offices throughout the South, monitoring Death Rows for those who are most in jeopardy.
In Florida, death penalty opponents poured red food coloring in the fountain outside the state Capitol, sent a cake with black crosses to the attorney general on his birthday and picketed the wedding of Gov. Bob Graham’s daughter, wearing black hoods and carrying bouquets of black flowers.
Mark Olive, 32, an attorney, works for the Florida Bar helping to find lawyers to take Death Row cases and then advising them on capital law. At times, the frustration is intense. Trying to save the life of an inmate already under warrant of death is “like trying to stop a freight train,” he said.
“And once there is one execution, it’s much easier for there to be more,” he said. “I think the first execution is very, very important for a state--just psychologically. It’s easier to kill again than to first kill.”
Opposes Capital Punishment
Olive said he opposes capital punishment without exception and strives never to let his personal feelings about a defendant enter into his professional decisions. He cited the case of a notorious Florida killer. It might be tempting to sleep three hours extra some mornings rather than come in to work on that defendant’s case, he said.
“I worry about that and if anything, I might even work even harder on that case to overcompensate,” he said.
Patsy Morris, 55, who runs an ACLU office in Atlanta, said much of the defense strategy involves delaying appeals in hope that a federal court will decide an issue in the meantime that might weigh favorably in a client’s case.
The craftier lawyers “know how to slow things down, filing motions for new trials, filing complex motions and, in the old days, convincing the court reporter that the death penalty was the least important case to transcribe,” she said.
“The problem is you occasionally get antsy clients who do dumb things like write courts asking why nothing has been done on their case,” Morris said. “One client wrote to various courts and, by God, his case got found and got found fast, and he was dead within a year and half. In Georgia, I think the men have learned that time is their friend.”
The delay strategy has proved so effective that Florida Gov. Graham recently warned a group of federal judges that capital punishment may become unenforceable if courts do not process the cases faster. Each capital case must be reviewed for clemency by the governor .
Graham, who owes much of his popularity to his strong support of capital punishment, estimates that his successor will have a backlog of 100 cases to consider.
Future governors, Graham said, will “grow progressively further behind--or be forced to neglect other duties of the office of the governor.”
One high-level Florida prosecutor, in fact, predicts that capital punishment will be scrapped because of the cost and length of time it takes to execute someone. The prosecutor asked not to be identified because of threats against his life.
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice England, who resigned to return to private practice in 1981, said capital cases consumed a third of the court’s time and became “absolutely the worst thing the court did.” Each new case made the process harder, he said.
Rules Kept Changing
“Every time we thought that we had identified and solved a particular legal problem--a constitutional issue, for example, or an interpretation of a statute, the rules changed,” either because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling or legislative action, or because “we found that the nice, clear pristine rule that made a lot of sense for application didn’t work.”
Cases that were decided earlier in the game would have had a different outcome later as the rules changed, England said. In fact, he added, Spenkelink might not have been executed if his case were before the courts today.
“It became more and more difficult to keep out personal feelings because the factual situations were so god-awful. You can’t keep seeing these, one after another, by the hundreds, and be indifferent and say, ‘I’m going to be detached, unemotional. I’m going to approach this from a clinical legal point of view.’ You just can’t do that time and again. . . .
“The ultimate consequence is that the U.S. Supreme Court’s objective of absolute objectivity, non-discriminatory, non-freakish application of the death penalty is not possible because human beings are deciding who lives and who dies on several levels.”
Substantial Part of Workload
Florida Justice James C. Adkins Jr. said he believes the process has eased with time, although capital punishment still represents at least a quarter of the court’s workload. In his Tallahassee office, a table is stacked several feet high with the red folders that represent death penalty cases.
Adkins said he has never had second thoughts about his decisions to affirm death sentences.
“Some people just ought to be eliminated,” the justice said, referring to a child killer who was put to death. “We kill rattlesnakes. We don’t keep them as pets.”
In Jacksonville, Fla., Jack and Helen Stewart visit a nearby cemetery once a week to stand at the grave of their only son, Michael, a young police officer shot and killed in 1975 after interrupting a robbery.
Jack Stewart, 61, a telephone company manager, campaigned for years to ensure that Michael’s killer, David Raulerson, would “burn” in the electric chair.
In the Stewarts’ living room is a videocassette in a box marked “Michael.” It is filled with excerpts from the evening news: Stewart tells an interviewer that he vowed to his dead son to watch Raulerson die. Raulerson, in a separate interview, tearfully pleads for mercy. Stewart tells another reporter that he is upset that the execution has been postponed. Raulerson, in a prison interview, says he understands Stewart’s wish to see him dead.
While Stewart plays the tape, his wife, Helen, 60, stands alone in an adjoining kitchen and smokes a cigarette in silence. Unlike her husband, she does not like to talk or hear about the killing.
Stewart watched the electrocution from a middle seat in the second row of chairs in the death chamber. Raulerson’s eyes passed from witness to witness and stopped at Stewart. “The whole time, I looked at him right in the eye,” Stewart said. “I never did move my head.”
But the execution did not end Stewart’s torment. He now sits in his modest duplex home and agonizes that his son’s killer--who found religion before his execution--went to heaven and is better off than he would have been alive.
“We say if we repent for our sins, we’ll be forgiven and then will be entered into heaven,” said Stewart, his face troubled and intent. “Well, what was to prevent him from being forgiven and entering into heaven with all the good people?”
THE DEATH PENALTY ACROSS AMERICA
As of Aug. 1, 1985, the total number of inmates on death row in the nation’s prisons was 1,540 (1,520 men, 20 women).
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down capital punishment in all states, ruling that the death penalty was applied too arbitrarily. However, four years later, the court laid down new guidelines.
DEATH ROW BY RACE
% of inmates % of U.S. pop. WHITE 51% 80% BLACK 41% 12% LATINO 6% 6% NATIVE AMERICAN 1% 1% ASIAN 1% 1%
ELECTROCUTION 33 LETHAL INJECTION 12 FIRING SQUAD 1 GAS CHAMBER 1 HANGING 0
COMMUTATIONS 43 SUICIDES 18 DIED (of Natural Causes or Killed While Under Death Sentence) 19
States That Have Executed
Florida 13 Texas 9 Georgia 6 Louisiana 6 Virginia 4 N. Carolina 2 Alabama 2 Indiana 1 Mississippi 1 Nevada 1 S. Carolina 1 Utah 1 TOTAL 47
Source: NAACP Legal Defense Fund, California Department of Corrections
These are the Death Row inmates executed since restoration of the death penalty. All were killed since 1977.
Prisoner Date State 1. Gary Gilmore, 36 Jan. 17, 1977 Utah 2. John Spenkelink, 30 May 25, 1979 Fla. 3. Jesse Bishop, 46 Oct. 22, 1979 Nev. 4. Steven Judy, 24 March 9, 1981 Ind. 5. Frank Coppola, 38 Aug. 10, 1982 Va. 6. Charlie Brooks Jr., 40 Dec. 7, 1982 Tex. 7. John Evans III, 33 April 22, 1983 Ala. 8. Jimmy Lee Gray, 34 Sept. 2, 1983 Miss. 9. Robert Sullivan, 36 Nov. 30, 1983 Fla. 10. Robert Williams, 31 Dec. 14, 1983 La. 11. John Eldon Smith, 53 Dec. 15, 1983 Ga. 12. Anthony Antone, 66 Jan. 26, 1984 Fla. 13. Johnny Taylor Jr., 30 Feb. 29, 1984 La. 14. James D. Autry, 29 March 14, 1984 Tex. 15. James Hutchins, 54 March 16, 1984 N.C. 16. Ronald C. O’Bryan, 39 March 31, 1984 Tex. 17. Elmo P. Sonnier, 35 April 5, 1984 La. 18. Arthur F. Goode III, 30 April 5, 1984 Fla. 19. James Adams, 47 May 10, 1984 Fla. 20. Carl Shriner, 30 June 20, 1984 Fla. 21. Ivon R. Stanley, 28 July 12, 1984 Ga. 22. David L. Washington, 34 July 13, 1984 Fla. 23. Ernest Dobbert Jr., 46 Sept. 7, 1984 Fla. 24. Timothy Baldwin, 46 Sept. 10, 1984 La. 25. James Henry, 34 Sept. 20, 1984 Fla. 26. Linwood Briley, 30 Oct. 13, 1984 Va. 27. Earnest Knighton, 38 Oct. 30, 1984 La. 28. Thomas Barefoot, 39 Oct. 30, 1984 Tex. 29. Velma Barfield, 52 Nov. 2, 1984 N.C. 30. Timothy Palmes, 37 Nov. 8, 1984 Fla. 31. Alpha Stephens, 39 Dec. 12, 1984 Ga. 32. Robert Lee Willie, 26 Dec. 28, 1984 La. 33. David Dene Martin, 32 Jan. 4, 1985 La. 34. Roosevelt Green, 28 Jan. 9, 1985 Ga. 35. Joseph Carl Shaw, 29 Jan. 11, 1985 S.C. 36. Doyle Skillern, 48 Jan. 16, 1985 Tex. 37. James Raulerson, 33 Jan. 30, 1985 Fla. 38. Van R. Solomon, 42 Feb. 20, 1985 Ga. 39. Johnny Paul Witt, 42 March 6, 1985 Fla. 40. Stephen P. Morin, 37 March 13, 1985 Tex. 41. John C. Young, 28 March 20, 1985 Ga. 42. James D. Briley, 28 April 18, 1985 Va. 43. Jesse de la Rosa, 24 May 14, 1985 Tex. 44. Marvin Francois, 39 May 29, 1985 Fla. 45. Charles Milton, 34 June 25, 1985 Tex. 46. Morris O. Mason, 32 June 25, 1985 Va. 47. Henry M. Porter, 43 July 9, 1985 Tex.
Prisoner Crime 1. Gary Gilmore, 36 Murdered motel clerk, 1976. 2. John Spenkelink, 30 Murdered traveling companion, 1973. 3. Jesse Bishop, 46 Murdered, robbed a newlywed, 1977. 4. Steven Judy, 24 Raped, killed woman and killed her three children, 1979. 5. Frank Coppola, 38 Beat woman to death during burglary, 1978. 6. Charlie Brooks Jr., 40 Kidnaped, murdered car salesman, 1976. 7. John Evans III, 33 Murdered pawnbroker in 1977 robbery. 8. Jimmy Lee Gray, 34 Kidnaped, raped and killed 3-year-old girl, 1976. 9. Robert Sullivan, 36 Murdered a motel clerk during a robbery, 1973. 10. Robert Williams, 31 Murdered guard during holdup, 1979. 11. John Eldon Smith, 53 Murdered a newlywed couple, 1974. 12. Anthony Antone, 66 Arranged murder of private investigator, 1975. 13. Johnny Taylor Jr., 30 Stabbed to death a man during robbery, 1980. 14. James D. Autry, 29 Shot to death a convenience store clerk, 1980. 15. James Hutchins, 54 Murdered three police officers, 1979. 16. Ronald C. O’Bryan, 39 Killed his son with poisoned candy, 1974. 17. Elmo P. Sonnier, 35 Kidnaped, killed two teen-agers, 1977. 18. Arthur F. Goode III, 30 Murdered a 9-year-old boy, 1976. 19. James Adams, 47 Beat to death a rancher during robbery, 1973. 20. Carl Shriner, 30 Killed store clerk during robbery, 1976. 21. Ivon R. Stanley, 28 Robbed, shot, buried alive a man, 1976. 22. David L. Washington, 34 Three murders during eight-day crime spree, 1976. 23. Ernest Dobbert Jr., 46 Killed his 9-year-old daughter, 1971. 24. Timothy Baldwin, 46 Beat to death an 81-year-old woman, 1978. 25. James Henry, 34 Murdered elderly man during robbery, 1974. 26. Linwood Briley, 30 Robbed and killed a disc jockey, 1979. 27. Earnest Knighton, 38 Murdered a gas station owner during robbery, 1981. 28. Thomas Barefoot, 39 Killed police officer, 1978. 29. Velma Barfield, 52 Poisoned boyfriend, 1978. 30. Timothy Palmes, 37 Murdered man who refused to hire him, 1976. 31. Alpha Stephens, 39 Killed burglary witness, 1974. 32. Robert Lee Willie, 26 Raped and murdered a woman, 1980. 33. David Dene Martin, 32 Murdered wife’s lover, three others, 1977. 34. Roosevelt Green, 28 Killed female nursing student, 1977. 35. Joseph Carl Shaw, 29 Murdered two teen-agers, raped girl, 1977. 36. Doyle Skillern, 48 Accomplice in the slaying of a Texas drug agent, 1974. 37. James Raulerson, 33 Killed policeman during robbery, 1975. 38. Van R. Solomon, 42 Killed convenience store clerk, 1979. 39. Johnny Paul Witt, 42 Killed boy and sexually abused his body, 1973. 40. Stephen P. Morin, 37 Murdered three women, 1981. 41. John C. Young, 28 Fatally beat three elderly people, 1974. 42. James D. Briley, 28 Killed pregnant woman and her son, 1979. 43. Jesse de la Rosa, 24 Killed convenience store clerk, 1979. 44. Marvin Francois, 39 Killed six in drug-related robbery, 1977. 45. Charles Milton, 34 Killed store owner in a robbery, 1977. 46. Morris O. Mason, 32 Murdered a 71-year-old woman, 1978. 47. Henry M. Porter, 43 Killed police officer, 1975.