Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Impending Execution of Eddie Duval Powell

Eddie Duval Powell III is scheduled to be executed by the people of Alabama tomorrow, on 16 June 2011. After a three-week self-imposed break from blogging, I am once again attempting to review each death penalty case before the person is executed. Regarding Eddie Powell, I offer this summary from his appeal to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals
(1) In the early morning hours before sunrise on March 25, 1995, the victim, [M.W.], was brutally attacked, raped, sodomized and shot to death. The victim was an elderly widow and was attacked in her home in Holt, Alabama, as she apparently attempted to escape her attacker.

(2) Defendant and a friend, Bobby Johnson, lived at the Johnson home across the street from the victim. Defendant and Bobby Johnson both worked at O'Charley's restaurant. Defendant borrowed Bobby Johnson's leather jacket and left the Johnson home in the early hours of March 25, 1995.

(3) The evidence plainly showed that the Defendant had been at the home of the victim, contrary to Defendant's statement. The Defendant's semen was found in the victim's mouth, rectum, and vagina. The victim's blood was found on the Defendant's pants and on Bobby Johnson's leather jacket, which was worn by the Defendant on this date. The Defendant's handprint was found on the window on the front of the victim's home, where a screen had been cut. A matchbook from O'Charley's restaurant was found in the unfinished basement under the victim's home immediately after the murder. The matchbook appeared to have been there only a short time since it had no dust on it, unlike most other things in the basement.

(4) The victim was shot about 5:25 A.M. on March 25, 1995, and the Defendant was first seen on videotape at the Shell Oil Station in Alberta City about an hour later at 6:27 A.M. This station was a walking distance of about forty-two minutes from the victim's home, considering a stop the Defendant made along the way, that was in evidence. The Shell Oil Station employee testified that the Defendant paid for wine mostly in nickels and had a lot of change in small coins. This was significant because the victim kept a container of small change in her purse for use in nickel and dime card games. The container of small change was missing, and the victim's handgun was missing also. The Defendant appeared at the Shell Oil Station wearing a leather jacket with a wet stain on it. The victim's blood was on the leather jacket worn by the Defendant on March 25, 1995. The Defendant wore this bloodstained jacket, which belonged to Bobby Johnson, to the residence of his friend, Jason Long, on the morning the victim was killed.

(5) Testimony showed that the contents of the leather jacket pockets included an O'Charley's matchbook, small change, and jewelry similar to jewelry owned by the victim. None of these items belonged to Bobby Johnson, who owned the jacket and stated that no bloodstain was on the jacket when the Defendant took it.

(6) The evidence showed that Defendant had a handgun after he arrived at the residence of Jason Long, which was about daybreak or between 6:30 and 7:00 A.M. on March 25, 1995. The Defendant asked Jason Long, who lived near the Shell Oil Station, to get rid of the handgun. Jason Long complied with this request, and the handgun was never found.

(7) On the morning of March 25, 1995, the Defendant had fresh scratches on the back of his neck. Lawrence Bunkley, an acquaintance of Defendant and a friend of Jason Long, testified that the Defendant told him on the day the victim was killed something to the effect that he did the bitch, she ran up on him and he shot her.
With respect to the execution of Eddie Duval Powell III, I stand mute.

The Impending Execution of Lee Taylor

Because of demands elsewhere, I removed myself from blogging for the last three weeks. During that period, one execution, that of Gaylord Bradford, was carried out though I had not reviewed it. Now late in this day, the 15th of June,  will review the cases of two people about to die.

I begin with the case of Lee Andrew Taylor of Texas. The case is, from my perspective, simple. He killed a fellow prisoner with malice and premeditation. Of that, there seems to be little dispute.  From his District Court appeal, I offer the following summary.
At the age of sixteen, Taylor was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated robbery. On April 1, 1999, while serving that sentence, he killed Donta Greene, another inmate. Greene had been involved in stealing property from inmate Daniel Richbourg, who was a friend of Taylor's. During the night of March 31, 1999, Taylor and Richbourg, communicating by note, planned a response to the theft. The next morning, Taylor fastened an ice-pick like weapon to his hand, and, when he encountered Greene, stabbed him some thirteen times. Richbourg, who had fastened a knife-like weapon to his hand, kept other inmates from breaking up the fight between Taylor and Greene. Eventually the guards gassed the room and ordered the inmates to lay down. Taylor did so, and then unfastened his weapon and threw it to the guards. As he was being led from the room, he shouted to Greene, "That's what you get for stealing, Bitch." Greene died shortly thereafter.
While I oppose the execution of anyone who might be factually innocent of the crime for which they were sentenced to death, I stand mute regarding the probity, wisdom, or morality of most executions.

In the case of Lee Taylor, I stand mute.