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Death Warrant

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NEWS
December 13, 2007
Gov. Rendell yesterday signed the death warrant for Derrick G. Ragan, 36, of Philadelphia, who in 1992 was sentenced to die for the slaying two years earlier of 22-year-old Darren Brown. Ragan's execution by lethal injection was set for Feb. 7. Ragan shot Brown 13 times after a June 26, 1990, argument over who could use a basketball court at the Tustin playground in West Philadelphia, according to a news release from Rendell's office. Ragan has been an inmate at Graterford state prison since July 1991.
NEWS
April 16, 2004 | By Stephanie L. Arnold INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A death warrant was signed yesterday for Arthur Bomar, convicted of the slaying of 22-year-old college lacrosse and soccer champion Aimee Willard. Bomar, 45, was sentenced to death six years ago for the 1996 kidnapping, rape and murder of Willard, who disappeared while heading home to Brookhaven from a Main Line bar. The warrant, the 17th signed by Gov. Rendell, orders Bomar's execution by lethal injection on June 10. The state Supreme Court upheld Bomar's death sentence in 2003 but ordered a lower court to resentence Bomar on convictions of rape, kidnapping and abuse of corpse.
NEWS
March 18, 1989 | By Robert Zausner, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Gov. Casey yesterday signed a death warrant against Frederick Maxwell, who was convicted of robbing and murdering an encyclopedia salesman after luring him to his Olney home nearly 10 years ago. Maxwell, 52, became "weak and a little shaky, rubbery-legged" about an hour after learning that he faces death in the electric chair on Sept. 19 and was taken to the Graterford Prison infirmary, according to Kenneth Robinson, a spokesman for the state Corrections Department. He said Maxwell, who has a history of heart problems, showed "fluctuating" blood pressure and electrocardiogram readings but apparently suffered no serious ailment.
NEWS
May 13, 1999 | by John M. Baer and Leon Taylor, Daily News Staff Writers
Gov. Ridge has once again signed a death warrant and scheduled an execution for sex-torture-killer Gary Heidnik, who held six women captive and savagely murdered two of them in his North Philadelphia home more than a dozen years ago. Ridge set July 6 as the date for Heidnik's death by lethal injection. Deputy Philadelphia DA and Chief of Homicide Charles Gallagher, who originally prosecuted Heidnik, said his office "is gratified the long course of prosecution is reaching a conclusion . . .we believe it's proper for the sentence to be carried out. " Heidnik's lawyer, Robert Dunham, of the Center for Legal Education, Advocacy and Defense Assistance, said appeals were pending and more will follow.
NEWS
June 17, 1994 | by John M. Baer, Daily News Staff Writer
Gov. Casey, under fire from many state lawmakers for not signing death warrants fast enough, has signed the death warrant of a Philadelphia man convicted of killing a Graterford prison guard in 1979. Casey yesterday set the week of Aug. 14 for the death by lethal injection of Benjamin Terry, also known as Samuel Terry, 44, an inmate at the Pittsburgh state prison. The warrant was released after normal business hours. The signing comes just two days after the state Senate narrowly missed an override attempt on a bill Casey vetoed to speed state executions.
NEWS
March 5, 1988 | By Robert Zausner, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Gov. Casey signed an execution warrant yesterday for a man convicted in the death of his wife, restarting a process that could result in the first death in Pennsylvania's electric chair in 26 years. Casey set the week of June 13 for the execution of Roderick H. Frey, 51, a Lancaster County truck driver, who was convicted of first-degree murder for hiring two men in 1979 to kill his wife, Barbara Jean. Frey received the death sentence March 20, 1981. The warden at the state prison in Rockview, Centre County, where the death penalty is to be carried out, will set the exact day of Frey's execution.
NEWS
August 10, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Thirteen years after Pennsylvania last executed a person, a 46-year-old former Philadelphia man has been ordered put to death by lethal injection Oct. 3. The death warrant for Terrance Williams - convicted in a 1984 robbery-murder when he was an 18-year-old college freshman - was signed Thursday by Gov. Corbett. Experts say Williams' execution is likely to happen. He has exhausted three appellate avenues through state and federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his last appeal June 29. Williams' only legal hope is an emergency petition asking a Philadelphia judge to stay execution based on newly discovered evidence that Williams had been sexually molested throughout his life - including for a dozen years by the man he murdered.
NEWS
September 23, 1994 | By Robert Moran, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
Gov. Casey signed a death warrant yesterday that sets the week of Dec. 4 for the execution of Steven Duffey, who was convicted of first-degree murder for a 1984 robbery slaying in Lackawanna County. Duffey, 33, was found guilty of the stabbing death of Kathy Kurimchak, 20, at a restaurant in Dickson City where both worked. Duffey stabbed her 30 times after he took money and a watch from her. He was sentenced to death in 1986, and the sentence was upheld by the state Supreme Court in 1988.
NEWS
April 13, 1994 | By Russell E. Eshleman Jr., INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
After an angry confrontation outside his Capitol office yesterday, Gov. Casey agreed to meet with those who want to free convicted killer Mumia Abu Jamal and those who want him put to death. The former Philadelphia radio reporter, convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, is on death row at Huntingdon State Prison. Over the last 13 years, his case has become a cause - both for people who believe he was wrongly convicted and for people who want him executed for the slaying.
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NEWS
July 10, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Calling Gov. Wolf's moratorium on the death penalty "an egregious violation" of the state constitution, Pennsylvania's top prosecutor is asking its Supreme Court to clear the path for the state's first execution in more than a decade. In a filing Wednesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane asked the court to allow the execution of Hubert L. Michael Jr., who confessed to murdering a York County teenager two decades ago. Kane argued that it is "blatantly unconstitutional" for Wolf to stay all death sentences, and that allowing Wolf's moratorium to stand would effectively grant him the authority to ignore any laws with which he does not agree.
NEWS
March 21, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Since Gov. Wolf declared his moratorium on the death penalty last month, proponents of capital punishment have rallied around one case to push their cause - the scuttled execution of Terrance Williams, a Philadelphia man sentenced to die in 1986 for the beating death of a Germantown church volunteer. But on Thursday, the widow of Williams' victim had a message for critics of the governor's action: Leave me out of it. In a publicly circulated letter, Mamie Norwood, whose husband, Amos, was killed by Williams in 1984, accused State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery)
NEWS
February 16, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
Pennsylvania's death penalty - used just three times since 1978 but as controversial as ever - was shelved by Gov. Wolf on Friday until after he gets the report of a task force studying the future of capital punishment. Acting on concerns he first expressed during last year's campaign, the new governor cited a wave of exonerations nationwide and questions about the effectiveness of executions. "This decision is based on a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive," Wolf said.
NEWS
November 23, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Gov. Corbett on Friday signed an execution warrant for the man convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird in a 1996 bank robbery. Christopher Roney's execution date was set for Jan. 8 - almost exactly 19 years to the day since Vaird was shot while responding to a robbery at a PNC Bank in Feltonville. The death warrant is Corbett's 41st signed since he assumed office. The governor also signed warrants for two other men, according to a statement from his office.
NEWS
May 2, 2014
A botched lethal injection in Oklahoma Tuesday left a condemned man convulsing for nearly 45 minutes before he died, suggesting officials need to do far more than tinker with the machinery of death. The horrific scene was the latest evidence that the nation's clinical approach to execution can prove as gruesome as a hanging, and stand as an affront to the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. But the troubling means of execution is only a corollary to the greater threat that - due to fatal flaws and inequities in the death penalty's application - the wrong person might be strapped to the gurney.
NEWS
June 20, 2013 | By Amy Worden and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Like the Packard automobile popular at the time of its founding, the end of the road has arrived for Philadelphia Traffic Court. Gov. Corbett on Wednesday signed legislation that abolishes the scandal-plagued court and immediately transfers its duties to Municipal Court. "Traffic Court has been the subject of calls for elimination for decades, and it finally reached such heights of corruption there really was no other choice," said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware)
NEWS
October 4, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has refused a prosecution plea to reinstate Wednesday's execution of condemned Philadelphia killer Terrance Williams. At about 3:45 p.m., the court in a one-sentence order denied the District Attorney's emergency motion and ordered court personnel to draft a schedule for filing legal briefs and, perhaps, an oral argument. The state's high court decision let stand last Friday's ruling by Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina that the 1986 trial prosecutor made Williams' death sentence more likely by withholding informtion that Williams was sexually molested by his victim.
NEWS
October 3, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday rejected a defense motion to disqualify himself from the case of Terrance Williams because he had been the city district attorney when Williams was condemned to death. Trying to preserve a stay that will keep Williams, 46, out of the execution chamber Wednesday, Williams' lawyers contended that Castille's participation created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Castille, however, denied the motion in a one-sentence order late Monday.
NEWS
October 2, 2012
The historic ruling Friday by a Philadelphia judge to stay the execution of condemned killer Terrance Williams has given Pennsylvania yet another compelling reason to vacate Williams' death sentence once and for all. With the clock still ticking, the courts and Gov. Corbett have an opportunity to correct a horrific wrong by sparing Williams' life and commuting his punishment to life in prison, a more appropriate sentence. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina made the right ruling in staying the execution scheduled for Wednesday.
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