Saturday, January 1, 2011

Leroy White: Zero

Leroy White is scheduled to be executed by the state of Alabama on 13 January 2010. I have reviewed his case for any possibility of actual innocence. I find none.

I repeat below the facts of the case as presented in White v. State 587 So.2d 1218 (1990). Brackets are in the original.
The victim in this case, Ruby White, was the estranged wife of the defendant, Leroy White. The parties had separated during the month of August or September, 1988, when Ruby White left the marital dwelling at 2217 Evans Drive, Huntsville, Alabama, and moved into a shelter for abused spouses. During previous difficulties between the defendant and his wife, the defendant had shot her in the leg.
Following their separation, Ruby White employed an attorney and filed a petition for divorce. A ... hearing was scheduled at which time the defendant and Ruby White verbally agreed that the defendant would move out of the dwelling at 2217 Evans Drive and would allow Ruby White and her two children to return to the dwelling. The residence at 2217 Evans Drive was owned solely by Ruby White prior to her marriage to the defendant.
After her return to 2217 Evans Drive, Ruby White changed the door locks and her sister, Stella Lanier, moved in with Ruby and her two children. The children were Brian Smith, age 16, son of Ruby White and a former husband [John Smith] and Latonia White, age 17 months, daughter of Ruby White and Leroy White.
On the afternoon of October 17, 1988, the defendant, Leroy White, purchased a shotgun from Blue Springs Pawn Shop. After purchasing the shotgun, he went to Larry's Pawn Shop and purchased some double-aught shotgun shells. After making these purchases, the defendant drove to the home of Ruby White at 2217 Evans Drive. The testimony indicated that the defendant had been drinking alcoholic beverages during the day. On his first arrival at the home on Evans Drive, the defendant pulled his car into the driveway and almost ran over his 17 month old daughter. Stella Lanier observed this and the defendant and Stella got into an argument about his driving. The defendant then placed his daughter in the car and drove off.
At approximately 5:15 p.m. the defendant returned to the Evans Drive residence of his wife and exited his vehicle armed with a [12 gauge] shotgun and a [.38 caliber] pistol. Ruby and Stella observed the defendant pull up and get out of his car with the shotgun and pistol. They went into the house and locked the doors. Brian Smith was sent to a rear bedroom by his mother and told to hide under the bed. Latonia White was still in the defendant's car.
The defendant then came up to the front door of 2217 Evans Drive and finding it locked, shot the glass out of the storm door and shot the lock off the wooden front door. He then kicked the door open, entered the house and began to scuffle with Ruby and her sister, Stella. As Stella tried to flee the house, the defendant ran out on the front porch and shot four times. Stella fell in the yard [having been wounded in her right arm and right leg].
The defendant then went back in the house and confronted Ruby who was begging and pleading for her life. After a brief confrontation, Ruby ran out into the front yard at which time the defendant told her to stop or he would blow her legs off. She stopped and the defendant confronted her with the shotgun. Ruby grabbed the barrel of the shotgun and continued to plead for her life. Her daughter Latonia was in the defendant's car and her son Brian was in the house.
Finally, the defendant shoved Ruby away from the gun and fired at her at point blank range with the double-aught buckshot. The blast tore the flesh from her right arm as she tried to shield herself and the pellets penetrated her chest and abdomen. Ruby fell to the ground moaning but she was not dead. Testimony revealed that the defendant then went back into the house and called for Brian to come out of his hiding place. When Brian came out, the defendant told him to tell his daddy that "... when I get out of this, I'm going to kill him, too."
The defendant then went back outside, walked up to where Ruby lay on the ground moaning and said, "Bitch, you ain't dead yet." He then went to his car, re-loaded the shotgun, picked up his 17 month old daughter and walked back over to where Ruby lay on the ground. As he placed the muzzle of the shotgun to her neck, he said, "Bitch, this is the last thing you will see." He then smiled and pulled the trigger.
The blast tore a hole in Ruby's neck where the gun shot entered and blew off the back side of her head where it exited.
At this time, the police arrived and the defendant surrendered without incident.
With respect to the death penalty in the case of Leroy White, I stand mute.

Billy Alverson: Zero

Billy Alverson is scheduled to be executed by the state of Oklahoma on  6 January 2010. I have reviewed his case for any possibility of actual innocence. I find none.

I repeat below the facts of the case as presented in Wilson v. State 983 P.2d 448 (1998). I have marked the references to Alverson in bold.
Michael Wilson and Richard Yost were employees at the QuikTrip convenience store located at 215 North Garnett Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wilson and his friends planned to rob the convenience store at least two weeks before this crime actually occurred. The plan commenced on February 25, 1995. Wilson had completed his shift at 11:00 p.m. with Yost beginning his shift at that time. Wilson and his three friends came into the store during the early morning hours of February 26 and waited for the most opportune time to accost Yost. The QuikTrip surveillance camera captured the events as they unfolded. The video of the events is quite telling.
Yost was cleaning the windows on the coolers with Wilson and the codefendants surrounding him. As Yost was walking near a passage way to the back room, all four defendants attacked him and dragged him to the back room. One of the defendants, identified as Billy Alverson came back out and picked up some items that were knocked from the shelves and kept watch for customers. A few moments later, Alverson and Richard Harjo walked out the front door of the store. While they were going out, Yost was yelling and screaming for help, possibly thinking that a customer had entered the store. Alverson and Harjo re-entered the store with Harjo carrying a black aluminum baseball bat. He carried the bat to where Yost had been taken. The surveillance camera picked up the sounds of the bat striking Yost. Circumstantial evidence showed that the baseball bat struck the handcuffs on Yost's wrists which Yost was holding above his head to ward off the blows. As the blows were being struck, Wilson walked from the back room, checked his hands, put on a QuikTrip jacket, got behind the counter and tried to move the safe. While Wilson was behind the counter, several customers came in. Wilson greeted them with a friendly greeting, sold them merchandise, then said "thank you, come again" or "have a nice day."
All this time Wilson continued to try and pull the safe from underneath the counter. He took money from the cash drawer and pulled money out of the currency change machine. At some point after this, Wilson left the counter area and took the video from surveillance camera recorder. The defendants then loaded the safes into Wilson's car using a dolly from QuikTrip.
Yost's body was discovered by Larry Wiseman, a customer, at about 6:00 a.m. Yost was laying on the floor in a pool of blood, milk and beer. Yost's ankles were taped together with duct tape. One handcuff was found near Yost's body. The other cuff was missing from the scene. Detectives learned that Wilson was at the store between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Wilson failed to show up for work at the scheduled time of 3:00 p.m. on the same day. Officer Allen set up surveillance on Wilson's house and at about 4:00 p.m. he spotted Wilson get into a gray vehicle. The vehicle was stopped. Wilson was taken into custody. Also arrested were the other occupants in the vehicle: codefendants Alverson, Harjo, and Darwin Brown. Large sums of money were recovered from all of the defendants except Wilson.
Wilson was questioned by Detective Folks. He told Folks that they planned on robbing the QuikTrip and that he knew Yost would be killed. He said that they had been talking about the robbery for about two weeks. The plan was for him to assume the role of sales clerk once Yost was "taken care of."
Officers searched Alverson's place of abode where they discovered the drop safe, the dolly, QuikTrip glass cleaner, money tubes and the store surveillance video tape. A search was conducted of Wilson's house but nothing of value was discovered. The next day Wilson's mother called Officer Makinson to come to her house. Once there, the detectives found several items of evidence on the front porch, including the baseball bat, a bloody QuikTrip jacket with Yost's name on it, Wilson's Nike jacket matching the one worn in the store video and the other cuff of the set of handcuffs.
With respect to the death penalty in the case of Billy Alverson, I stand mute.