Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Impending Execution of William Glenn Boyd

William Glenn Boyd is scheduled to be executed by the people of Alabama on 31 Mar 2011 for the murders of Fred and Evelyn Blackmon. Boyd admits to participating in the robbery and kidnapping of the two victims. Boyd claims, however, that Robert Denton Milstead (his partner-in-crime) is the one who actually murdered the victims. Milstead claimed that Boyd is the one who actually murdered the victims.

Boyd drew the short straw. After five tries, Milstead finally told the story the State wanted to hear. They then allowed him to turn state's evidence in exchange for his life.

As I've said before, we no longer have a jury-based justice system in this country. We have a prosecutor-based system.  The prosecutor decides who talks and who walks, who gets tried and who gets fried.

From the appellate decision in Boyd v. Allen, I offer this summary of the conflicting stories of Boyd and Milstead. It was a brutal, gruesome crime regardless of the roles.
At trial, there was conflicting testimony regarding whether Boyd had murdered Fred Blackmon, Evelyn Blackmon, or both victims. Anniston Police investigator Gary Carroll testified that Boyd insisted in his first statement to the police that his accomplice, Milstead, had killed both victims. Specifically, Boyd told the police that on the morning of March 26, 1986, he and Milstead, both armed, gained entry into the Blackmons' home. Boyd and Milstead had previously discussed robbing the Blackmons. Boyd admitted that he accompanied Mr. Blackmon to the bank, where Mr. Blackmon withdrew $5,000 and turned it over to Boyd, and returned to the Blackmons' house. Boyd and Milstead then forced the Blackmons into Mr. Blackmon's Cadillac Eldorado and drove to an area in Ohatchee, Alabama, near the river. After the car was parked, Milstead, according to Boyd, physically assaulted Mrs. Blackmon, and then shot her. Mr. Blackmon tried to barter for his life, but Boyd hit him on the back of the head, and then Milstead shot him too. Boyd and Milstead left the crime scene in the Cadillac Eldorado, only to return later that night. They stuffed Mr. Blackmon's body in the trunk of the Cadillac Eldorado and rolled the car down a boat ramp into the river. They left and returned to the crime scene still again the next morning, stuffed Mrs. Blackmon's body into a 55-gallon barrel and rolled the barrel into the river. They later disposed of the two guns used during the crime by throwing them into a creek.

On April 4, 1986, Boyd gave a second statement to the police that provided a detailed description of how to find the locations of the crime scenes. Boyd provided a third statement on April 6, 1986, claiming that he had remained in the car with Mr. Blackmon while Milstead took Mrs. Blackmon into the woods. Boyd said that Milstead was just supposed to leave her there, but decided to kill her instead. Boyd accompanied police to a creek on April 11, 1986, to show them where the guns had been discarded after the murders. A nickel-plated Raven Arms Company.25 caliber automatic pistol and a black .22 caliber pistol were recovered. There was one unfired round in the .25 caliber pistol, and five rounds still in the .22 pistol.

Milstead's statements and testimony, on the other hand, said that Boyd had killed both victims. Milstead pleaded guilty to capital murder and testified for the State against Boyd, in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Prior to testifying, he had given five statements to the police, which varied in certain respects, but four of them consistently accused Boyd of shooting both victims as well as assaulting them.

Milstead testified that on the morning of the crime, Milstead, who did not know the Blackmons, gained entry into the Blackmons' house along with Boyd; they were both armed with loaded pistols. Boyd then gagged and blindfolded Mrs. Blackmon, and threatened the Blackmons that Mrs. Blackmon's daughter, Julie, had been taken hostage and would be killed if the Blackmons did not pay a ransom. Boyd forced Fred Blackmon to go to the bank to withdraw money, leaving Mrs. Blackmon alone at the house with Milstead. After Mr. Blackmon withdrew $5,000 and gave the money to Boyd, they returned to the home. Boyd and Milstead then forced Fred and Evelyn Blackmon at gunpoint into Mr. Blackmon's Cadillac Eldorado, and drove them to a secluded area by the river.

At that point, they separated the Blackmons, first forcing Mrs. Blackmon to walk away from the car to a clearing behind a brush pile. Boyd then re-gagged and blindfolded Mrs. Blackmon, and, after talking to her, struck Evelyn Blackmon across her forehead and nose with a stick. Mrs. Blackmon screamed, whereupon Boyd tried to strangle her with a cloth. Boyd then shot Mrs. Blackmon with a .22 caliber pistol, which he had muffled with the cloth. After she continued to fight for her life, Boyd took the .25 caliber gun from Milstead, who was standing with them, and shot her still again in the back and in the head.

Boyd and Milstead returned to the car and drove Mr. Blackmon to another location. After exiting the car, Boyd hit Mr. Blackmon's head with a stick. This blow also broke the taillight on Mr. Blackmon's Cadillac. Boyd then took a piece of cloth and started choking Mr. Blackmon with it. When Fred Blackmon struggled for his life and stabbed Boyd with a stick, Boyd took out the .25 caliber pistol and put it to Mr. Blackmon's throat. Mr. Blackmon begged Boyd not to shoot him, offering to give him $50,000. Boyd told Fred Blackmon that it was too late, and shot him in the chest and neck with the .25 caliber pistol. Boyd and Milstead left the scene in Mr. Blackmon's car. They returned later that night to the location of Fred Blackmon's murder, stuffed his body into the trunk of his car, and rolled it into the Coosa River. After a few minutes, the car sank. They threw the two pistols into a creek that night.

The next morning, Boyd and Milstead returned to the crime scene, finding Mrs. Blackmon's body. By Milstead's account, Boyd said the body was too stiff, so he took Milstead's ax and tried to cut Mrs. Blackmon's body in half. Boyd then took the body and broke Evelyn Blackmon's back, and along with Milstead threw her body into a metal barrel along with some cement blocks and rocks. Boyd cut some holes in the barrel with the ax. He and Milstead rolled the barrel into the river. The barrel sank in the water.
I oppose the execution of people who might be factually innocent of the crime for which they are to die. I suspect that to prevent the execution of the factually innocent, we might have to ban the death penalty entirely.

I find no evidence that William Glenn Boyd did not participate in the armed robbery and kidnapping that led to the deaths of Fred and Evelyn Blackmon. Since I limit my efforts to people who are in all respects factually innocent, I stand mute with regard to the execution of William Glenn Boyd.

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