May 17, 2013 |
PHOENIX - The same jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murder one week ago took about three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the stabbing and shooting death of her onetime lover in his bathroom five years ago. The decision came after a day of testimony in the "aggravation" phase of the trial, during which prosecutor Juan Martinez hoped to prove the June 2008 killing was committed in an especially cruel...
May 15, 2013 |
THE CASE against Kermit Gosnell is expected to come to an end today, when the disgraced abortion doctor is sentenced after he unexpectedly waived his right to appeal in order to avoid a death sentence. Gosnell, 72, who was convicted of the first-degree murders of three babies born alive in his West Philadelphia abortion clinic, was supposed to face a penalty-phase hearing starting Tuesday. But yesterday afternoon, Gosnell changed the script when he stood before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart and waived all of his appellate rights in exchange for a life-without-parole sentence.
May 12, 2013 |
Jurors at the federal murder and racketeering trial of accused drug kingpin Kaboni Savage closed their first week of deliberations without a verdict. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick discharged the nine women and three men early Friday afternoon after five days of talks without any signals of their progress. The group had only a few evidence requests over the week, including one for a transcript of testimony by Lamont Lewis, the admitted killer who said Savage directed him in October 2004 to firebomb the North Philadelphia home of a former gang associate cooperating with the FBI. Two adults and four children died in the fire, which officials have called one of the worst cases of witness retaliation in city history.
May 11, 2013 |
CLEVELAND - Prosecutors said Thursday they may seek the death penalty against Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning three women at his home for a decade, as police charged that he impregnated one of his captives at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly. The allegations were contained in a police report that also said another woman, Amanda Berry, was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office will decide whether to bring aggravated-murder charges punishable by death in connection with the pregnancies that were terminated by force.
May 9, 2013 |
PHOENIX - Jodi Arias spent 18 days on the stand sharing emotional and oftentimes X-rated details of her life before a rapt television and online audience. She had hoped it all might convince a jury that she killed her onetime boyfriend in self-defense. But the eight men and four women on the panel didn't buy it, convicting Arias of first-degree murder after about 15 hours of deliberations. Jurors will return Thursday to begin the next phase of the trial that could set the stage for Arias' receiving a death sentence - a penalty she said she now desires in a stunning interview after her conviction.
May 6, 2013
As it hits the half-century mark, the historic 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that every criminal defendant has a right to a lawyer casts a harsh spotlight on Philadelphia's thrift-shop system of paying counsel appointed to represent defendants facing the death penalty. City courts - with backing by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court - dramatically boosted fees for lawyers in capital cases a year ago, but Philadelphia remains far behind other major cities in providing adequate resources to assure these defendants' rights.
May 4, 2013 |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Opponents of capital punishment marked a milestone Thursday as Maryland became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to abolish the death penalty. The passage was a significant victory for Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Roman Catholic who opposes capital punishment and is considering seeking the 2016 presidential nomination. Death penalty opponents said the governor helped maintain the national momentum of repeal efforts by making Maryland the sixth state in as many years to abolish capital punishment.
April 26, 2013 |
READING - A federal judge has thrown out the death penalty given to an Pennsylvania man who's spent 15 years on death row. District Judge Anita Brody also overturned Shawnfatee Bridges' murder conviction because prosecutors did not provide the defense with police records that could have impeached a key witness. Bridges had been found guilty of the 1996 drug-related slayings of Reading cousins Damon and Gregory Banks. Brody overturned the death penalty because the defense didn't call an expert psychiatric witness during the sentencing hearing.
April 24, 2013 |
BOSTON - The Boston area held funerals for two more of its dead Tuesday - including an 8-year-old boy - as evidence mounted that the older Tsarnaev brother had embraced a radical, anti-American strain of Islam and was the driving force behind the Boston Marathon bombing. Younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's condition was upgraded from serious to fair as investigators continued building their case against the 19-year-old college student. He could face the death penalty after being charged Monday with joining forces with his brother, now dead, in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people.
April 23, 2013 |
The death penalty is very much in play in the Boston bomber case, even though Massachusetts is one of more than a dozen states without capital punishment. The surviving bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged today, not under state law, but under federal law for using a weapon of mass destruction and for malicious destruction of property resulting in death. The Justice Department said that, if convicted, Tsarnaev could face the federal death penalty. Although such executions are rare, there are 59 people on federal death row. The final decision to seek the ultimate penalty belongs to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, as was explained by Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, following Tsarnaev's capture Friday night.