State of Florida vs. Robert Eugene Hendrix- Death Warrant Case

Robert-E--Hendrix-jpg

 

Case Details:

– Robert Hendrix and Elmer Scott (his cousin) were involved in a residential burglary where Scott was then apprehended by authorities.

– Scott entered into a plea deal with the authorities that says while he was guilty of the crime, he pled guilty to burglary, he had to serve two years, and testify against Hendrix.

– Hendrix was then arrested and charged with armed burglary. There was a plea offered to Hendrix; 4 years prison and 5 years probation.

– Prior to the scheduled court date, Hendrix told friends that he wanted to kill Scott to keep him from testifying against him because he didn’t want to take the offered plea. Hendrix also mentioned to his girlfriend, Denise Turbyville, various plans to carry out his intention.

– Hendrix then found a throw away gun that wasn’t traceable back to him and constructed a silencer for it. He took a mask, hat and gloves with him to Scotts home. Denise Turbeyville was the driver. She heard several shots fired and Hendrix returned to the car.

– Hendrix told Denise that he shot Scott in the head used a knife to kill his wife Michelle by slitting her throat.  Hendrix further slashed  Scott’s throat with the knife as well.

– The police arrested Hendrix and was subsequently tried for his crimes. 

Counts:
Count I:  Conspiracy to Commit Murder-30 years
Count II:  Conspiracy to Commit Murder-30 years
Count III:  First Degree Murder-Death                             
Count IV:  First Degree Murder-Death
Count V:  Armed burglary-Life
*Taken from: (http://murderpedia.org/male.H/h/hendrix-robert-eugene.htm)*

Appeals Opinions can be read here:
1) April 21, 1994
2) July 7, 2005 – Corrected Opinion
3) 11th Circuit Appeal

His execution is scheduled for 4/23/14 at 6pm in Florida.

This page will be updated as information becomes available.

party-duck

 

State of Florida vs. Robert Lavern Henry- Death Warrant Case

Quick Facts:

– November 1, 1987, police and firefighters respond to a 9:30 p.m. call about a fire at a Deerfield Beach fabric store where they discovered Phyllis Harris and Janet Thermidor, two of the store’s employees.

– Phyllis Harris was found tied up, deceased, in the mens restroom.

– Janet Thermidor was found in the women’s restroom, conscious, with severe burns on 90% of her body and a head wound. While at the hospital, she told an officer that she was hit over the head in the store offrice by Mr. Henry not only stole the store’s money but threw some liquid on her and set her on fire. She ran to the restroom to try to put out the fire. She later died.

– The police then arrested and questioned Mr. Henry who initially stated that he was kidnapped by three strangers who then robbed the store, but later, he made self-incriminating statements to the contrary.

11/18/87   Mr. Henry was indicted on:

–  Count I: First-Degree Murder
–  Count II: First-Degree Murder
–  Count III: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon
–  Count IV: Arson with a Deadly Weapon

09/29/88- Mr. Henry was found guilty on all counts

10/06/88- Was recommended Death for Count I by a vote of 8-4 and Count II by a vote of 9-3

11/09/88- Sentencing

– Count 1: First- Degree Murder- Death
– Count II: First-Degree Murder- Death
– Count III: Robbery with a Deadly Weapon- Life
– Count IV: Arson with a Deadly Weapon- Life

 Mr. Henry’s execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, 2014

This page will be updated!

Texas vs. Ray Jasper- Death Warrant Case- 3/19/14

Image

 

3-19-14 ***UPDATE 2!***

Courts denied request for stay!

Opinion can be read in its entirety here

 

3-19-14      ***UPDATE***

The last appeal in this case was filed 4/26/12 arguing that:
1) Race based jury selection is unconstitutional and a potential juror at his trial was excluded improperly because he was black.
2) Jasper claims that he had insufficient legal help at his trial .
3) Texas death penalty is unconstitutional.

The court then rejected all the arguments.

His execution is scheduled for today and you can listen to Execution Watch live here on the Execution Watch home page today from 6pm-7pm CT.

Important Details:

– November 29, 1998- Ray Jasper and two other co-defendants caused the death of David Alejandro during an attempted robbery.
– The victim was a business partner and owner of a recording studio in San Antonio, Texas.
– Ray Jasper walked up to the victim from behind, grabbed his hair and slit his throat and then stabbed repeatedly to death. The victim was then covered in a black sheet.
– The defendants then loaded equipment from the studio into waiting vehicles and made several trips two and from the site.
– After Jasper was apprehended, he later confessed to planning the crime. His confession describes events in detail that were later corroborated and matched up with the physical evidence discovered by investigators.
– He was indicted for robbery related capital murder where he was found guilty.
– February 4, 2000, Jasper was sentenced to death.

– Most recent Habeas appeal was denied on 3/10/14 and can be read here.

On 3/4/14 Ray Jasper sent a letter to Gawker which has caused a lot of backlash to Gawker. It can be read in it’s entirety here.

“Family prepares for execution of son’s killer”- Can be read here, as you have to be a member of the original newspaper site to read it there.

“Brother of Ray Jasper’s Victim Shares his Story”here.

As always, this post will be updated with any last minute stay’s or appeals filed.

party-duck

 

State of Florida vs. Paul Augustus Howell – Death Warrant Case

Quick Facts:

– Mr. Howell was involved in a drug ring in which Tammie Bailey (the would-be victim) could link Mr. Howell & his brother (Patrick) to a previous murder so she needed to be eliminated.

– Mr. Howell constructed a bomb that was placed in a microwave oven wrapped to look like a present. After hiring Lester Watson to deliver the “gift”, Mr. Watson was pulled over for speeding, in a car rented by Mr. Howell.  Watson provided a false name and date of birth because he didn’t have a valid drivers license. After the sheriff  ran a registration check, it came back that it was rented to Mr. Howell.

– The cops contacted Mr. Howell who said that he lent the car to Watson but didn’t realize he would be so far from home. Mr. Howell was informed that Watson would be taken to jail. The Sheriffs department was given permission to search the car and saw the gift wrapped package in the trunk. Watson was taken to jail and shortly after they left, there was a massive explosion. Trooper Fulford was holding the package when it was detonated.

– Mr. Howell was charged with the death of Trooper Fulford. The venue of the trial was moved from Jefferson County to Escambia County. Mr.. Howell, after trial, was sentenced to death in 1995.
– Lester Watson, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
– Patrick Howell (brother of defendant) is serving a life sentence without eligibility of parole for 25 years for his involvement.

There was an opinion filed by the Florida Supreme Court on 2/220/14 that can be read here which upheld the denial for post conviction relief.

He is set to be executed today 2/26/14 at 6pm EST.

 

**This page will be updated with any last minute appeals**

Mistrial? AZ vs. James Ray

I would love to write the details of this story, the drama, the nailbiting….but Lynne LaMaster already did a fantastic job and I will refer you to her written work as well as post it here. She does a great job posting links and explaining in detail what has happened so far:

Taken directly from (I didn’t write this, I’m just posting it): http://www.prescottenews.com/news/current-news/item/18043-motion-for-mistrial-in-james-ray-case-oral-arguments-on-wednesday

Motion for Mistrial in James Ray Case; Oral Arguments on Wednesday

Written by  Lynne LaMaster

Is it possible a mistrial might be declared in the James Ray case?

There have been 29 long days of testimony in the manslaughter trial of James Arthur Ray.

Ray was leading a Spiritual Warrior retreat at the Angel Valley Lodge in the hills between Sedona and Cottonwood, in October, 2009. The final event of the Spiritual Warrior retreat was a sweat lodge, where he and approximately 60 participants, crowded together for 8 rounds, lasting nearly 2 hours. By the time the sweat lodge event was done, Kirby Brown and James Shore had died, and 19 others were transported to nearby hospitals. In the days following the incident, another participant, Liz Neuman, also died.

During those 29 days, testimony has been heard from participants; James Ray International (JRI) volunteers and staff; medical personnel and Angel Lodge employees. People have come from Canada, California and the eastern United States to testify.

But, now, all that may be for nothing, as Judge Warren Darrow has placed the Ray trial in recess until further notice, after a second defense motion for a mistrial was filed Monday. That motion requested expedited oral argument.

In response, Judge Darrow’s order states:

briefingschedule

 

What Led Up To This?

The Prosecution and the Defense have had innumerable legal wrangles and quarrels over the course of the last eight weeks in court, and before, during the sixteen months of trial preparation. Each side has accused the other of using language that is unfair and even prejudicial; asking improper questions; witholding evidence that should have been provided to the other party, and much more. Most of the time, Judge Darrow has responded even-handedly and calmly, but there have been times when his patience appeared to be stretched to the limit.

Three key situations, however, have the potential for costly remedies, or, even, under extreme circumstances, a mistrial.

Situation One: The Medical Examiner Meeting

This situation occurred several months before the trial began. In December 2009, the State called the medical examiners together for a meeting to determine cause of death. Afterwards, the State did not reveal this to the Defense, going so far as to tell the parties at the meeting that they should not disclose any of the details of this meeting.

The State’s reasoning? According to a motion filed by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, “…the State honestly believed and continues to believe [the meeting notes and related information] were non-disclosable work product.”

Judge Darrow unequivocally disagreed with the State, and on September 20, 2010, pdf Motion Regarding Medical Examiner Dec. 2009 meeting ruled, “As the meeting among the prosecutors, law enforcement representatives, and the expert witnesses apparently was not recorded, the State must disclose any and all notes, regardless of the organizational affiliation of the author, summarizing the medical examiners’ oral communications at the meeting… The Court also concludes that… the imposition of monetary sanctions in accordance with Rule 15.7 (a) is appropriate.”

To boil the legal jargon down, the Court ruled that the State would have to reimburse the Defense for the costs associated with re-interviewing the medical examiners about this meeting and their findings.

The State complied with the disclosure order. On January 19, 2011, the Defense submitted a pdf bill in the amount of $31,259.43 .

That caused the State to return to the Court for relief. In a motion dated January 21, 2011, Polk asked for a pdf reconsideration of the impositon of monetary sanctions.  The Defense,  pdf, replied, justifying their perspective,  to which the pdf State responded again.

Judge Darrow’s ruling read, “The Court sustains the State’s objection to the statement of costs, and the attorneys for the Defendant are directed to submit a revised statement. The State’s motion for reconsideration is denied.”

pdf Judge Darrow’s Response

At this point, the Defense has not yet apparently submitted a revised statement.

Situation Two: First Mistrial Motion

It was Wednesday morning, April 6, that Judge Darrow agreed with County Attorney Polk that evidence pertaining to previous sweat lodges held by Ray at other Spiritual Warrior events could be admitted as evidence, as long as the evidence had to do with ‘causation of death’.

Mark Duncan, reporting for Camp Verde’s paper, The Bugle, in an article titled, Witness tells of troubles at three Ray-led sweat lodges, writes, “In a Feb. 3 ruling, Darrow ordered that ‘without medical testimony connecting the observations of physical and mental distress exhibited by the pre-2009 sweat lodge participants with a risk of death and without evidence of the defendant’s knowledge of the actual type of risk, the evidence is not relevant to the stated purpose.'”

Duncan continued, “Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk argued Wednesday that the medical testimony has taken place and that the alleged suffering of participants in Ray’s pre-2009 sweat lodge ceremonies established a pattern she said was inescapable: that when Ray led a sweat lodge at the Angel Valley Retreat Center, people got sick, and that when others did so, no one got sick.”

Despite several points of argument from Defense attorneys Tom Kelly and Luis Li, Judge Darrow was calm and resolute.

The Defense then moved for a mistrial. The Judge decisively denied the motion.

On April 6, the Defense also filed a 45-page miscellaneous memorandum detailing alleged pdf Prosecutorial misconduct

As stated in the introduction, “…When prosecutorial misconduct becomes pervasive, however, Arizona law provides that the cumulative effect may require a mistrial… And where the government’s misconduct is knowing, prejudicial and taken with ‘indifference to a signuficant resulting danger of mistrial or reversal,’ the Double Jeopardy clause bars retrial.”

The State has not yet filed a response (at least not one that has been uploaded to the Court’s website.)

Situation Three: Second MIstrial Motion

But it was on Monday, April 11 that the Defense dropped their biggest accusation yet, titled, “Defendant James Arthur Ray’s Motion for Mistrial Based on Intentional and Willful Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence, Emergency Hearing Requested“.

pdf Mistrial Motion

In that 41-page document, Ray’s attorneys insist that a mistrial must be granted and retrial barred, writing in the introductory statement, “The Defense has just learned of a constitutional violation that eclipses all other issues that have been litigated in this trial. For the past eleven months, the State has suppressed material, exculpatory evidence. The evidence – an expert witness report prepared by an environmental scientist at the State’s request – identifies a different cause of death and a differeent culpable party than those which the State has alleged throughout this case. This amounts to a severe violation of Brady v. Maryland, Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 15.1(b)(8), and Due Process. The trial’s entire trajectory has been infected, and the Court and jury misled, because of the suppression. The prejudice to the Defense cannot be cured. Under clearly established law, a mistrial must be granted and retrial barred.”

At issue is an April 29. 2010 report from an alleged environmental expert, Richard Haddow. In that report, Haddow offers other explanations regarding the cause of death for Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore.

The Defense maintains that the State did not disclose Haddow’s opinion or existence until he appeared on a witness list in late October, 2010. Despite several requests for information regarding Haddow, the Defense alleges that those requests were essentially ignored. Had they known the information in the report, they would likely have prepared their defense differently, they claim.

County Attorney Sheila Polk has not had an opportunity to respond yet to the charges, but Judge Darrow has ordered her to do so by 5 PM Tuesday night, April 12. Much is riding on that response. Until Polk’s official reply is released, it’s a wait-and-see situation.

The seriousness of this latest accusation by the Defense cannot be underestimated. While the first motion for a mistrial was dealt with in just a few minutes; in this case, Judge Darrow has called for oral arguments Wednesday at 8:30 AM, and will attempt to determine the facts.

For now, the trial is in recess until further notice. According to a note from Judge Darrow’s Judicial Assistant Diane Troxell, sent via email on Monday, “Please be advised that the James Ray trial will not be held tomorrow, April 12, 2011, due to a pending legal matter. The jurors are being asked to contact the Jury Commissioner at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday for further instructions.”

Side note: Imagine having another judge as part of your jury. A document uploaded to the County’s website reads, “The Court has been advised that Superior Court Judge Cele’ Hancock has been summoned to appear for jury duty in the matter of State of Arizona vs. James Arthur Ray…”Good cause appearing therefor, it is ordered excusing Judge Hancock from jury duty…”

pdf Excusing Judge Hancock

AZ vs. James Arthur Ray

The Defendant: James Arthur Ray- self-help guru & author



The Victims- Kirby Brown, 38 James Shore, 40 and Lizbeth Marie Neuman, 49

What happened: James Arthur Ray author of ran a sweat lodge ceremony in Sedona Arizona stating (taken from CNN):

“You’re not going to die,” “You may think you are, but you’re not going to die … You need to surrender to death to survive it.” “The sweat lodge ceremony consisted of eight rounds, with each round lasting 10 to 15 minutes. While they were not prevented from leaving, participants have said they were encouraged to wait until the breaks between rounds.

In interviews with authorities, some participants recounted feeling distress in the first few rounds. Later, they told police, people began to pass out, others began to vomit and still others went into shock. Some were encouraged to lie down in the dirt to seek relief from the heat.”

The ceremony was meant to be a rebirthing and resulted in two deaths that initial day (October 8, 2009) and a third death 9 days later.
James Arthur Ray is charged with 3 counts of reckless manslaughter and if convicted, can face up to 10 years in prison.

His website is here.