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Elmo Smith

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NEWS
May 3, 1995 | by Joseph R. Daughen, Daily News Staff Writer
The first slender shoots of grass were pushing up through the earth and forsythia buds were bursting with the promise of new life as I strode across the prison yard to watch a man die. It was early evening on April 2, 1962, and before the day was over, Elmo Smith, 41, would be a corpse, executed in the name of the citizens of Pennsylvania for the brutal rape-murder of Maryann Mitchell, a pretty, red-haired 16-year-old. I had covered the investigation and Smith's arrest as a reporter for the Daily News.
NEWS
January 13, 1992 | by John M. Baer, Daily News Staff Writer
"I held my breath when the smoke came out of his head. I didn't want to smell the flesh. " It was 30 years ago, but Francis J. Fanucci holds vivid memories of the night he watched a man die in the electric chair. Fanucci, a media consultant living outside Harrisburg, was a 27-year-old general assignment reporter for the Centre Daily Times in State College when Elmo Smith was executed April 2, 1962. Smith, 38, was the last person executed in the state. He was put to death for the 1959 rape, mutilation and murder of a 16-year-old Montgomery County girl, Maryanne Mitchell.
NEWS
September 27, 1986 | By JIM SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
Leslie C. Beasley, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer and a bicyclist in separate shootings in 1980, yesterday asked a federal judge to postpone his scheduled Dec. 2 execution. Acting as his own attorney, Beasley, 35, formerly of Mount Airy, contends in a handwritten petition that the death sentence is unconstitutional and that he did not get fair trials for the two murders. His case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Edward N. Cahn and an expedited hearing is expected.
NEWS
June 3, 1989 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
A federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday postponed the execution of convicted wife-killer Roderick H. Frey of Lancaster without even asking how the county prosecutor felt about a delay. Frey, 52, a former truck driver, was scheduled to die in the electric chair on June 13 in what would have been the first state-authorized execution in 27 years. This is the second time in a year a court blocked Frey's execution within two weeks of his scheduled death. Last June, the state Supreme Court halted his execution less than a week before it was to take place.
NEWS
January 11, 1992 | by Dave Racher and Anthony S. Twyman, Daily News Staff Writers
A Common Pleas Court judge yesterday denied a request to stay next Tuesday's scheduled execution of convicted murderer Henry Fahy. Senior Judge Albert F. Sabo said a last minute attempt to save the life of the convicted killer of a 12-year-old girl in 1981 is nothing more than "a dilatory tactic. " "You just can't let this go on indefinitely," Sabo said. "Someone has to take the position that this is the end. " Fahy, 34, would be the first person executed in Pennsylvania in 30 years.
NEWS
March 7, 1988 | By MARK McDONALD, Daily News Staff Writer
Death penalty proponents and opponents agree on one thing - Roderick H. Frey, a former truck driver convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his wife - almost certainly will not be executed during the week of June 13. On Friday, Gov. Casey signed his first execution warrant, setting Frey's execution for the week of June 13 and noting Frey, a Lancaster County man who paid two men $5,000 to kill his estranged wife in 1979, had lost two...
NEWS
January 30, 1990 | By Joseph P. Blake, Daily News Staff Writer
Triple murderer Leslie C. Beasley is back on death row after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated his death sentence yesterday in the 1980 fatal shooting of Police Officer Ernest Davis. The high court ruled that Superior Court "erred" in 1986 when it set aside Beasley's original sentence of death. The Superior Court said that Beasley's attorney did not object to comments made by then-Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill during the trial's penalty-setting phase. McGill had told the jury that defendants sentenced to die had the right to "almost endless appeals" and asked the jury " . . . when, can you remember, was the last person who was executed in Pennsylvania?
NEWS
March 1, 1990 | By Kurt Heine, Daily News Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's death row houses some of the worst, most evil, most unredeemable human beings who ever breathed the commonwealth's air. Needless to say, all are convicted murderers. Many have murdered more than one person. And all have killed in a manner so atrocious that, under the law, their punishment can only be death. Death row, actually isolated parts of the state's three biggest prisons, has been growing more crowded in recent years. Now, 112 killers are lined up to be executed in the state's oak electric chair, unused since sex-killer Elmo Smith was put to death in 1962 for murdering a Manayunk teen.
NEWS
November 30, 1990 | By John M. Baer, Daily News Staff Writer
Inmates condemned to die for their crimes will be executed by lethal injection instead of the electric chair under a law signed by Gov. Casey yesterday. But while the measure is seen as a pro-death-penalty step, it could further delay use of capital punishment in the state. Pennsylvania hasn't executed anyone since 1962. Since taking office in 1987, Casey has signed execution warrants for eight of the state's 119 death-row inmates. All eight warrants have been stayed by the courts, including a stay granted yesterday for a Philadelphia killer who had been scheduled to die in less than two weeks.
NEWS
April 29, 1995 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Lawyers for the state and those representing death-penalty opponents argued in a federal courtroom in Scranton yesterday over whether convicted murderer Keith Zettlemoyer should be executed on Tuesday. The lawyers spent more than six hours before U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik arguing the legality of a petition filed Thursday by the Pennsylvania Capital Case Resource Center seeking to block Zettlemoyer's scheduled execution in the 1980 shooting death of Charles DeVetsco. Kosik's chambers said the hearing would continue today.
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NEWS
September 27, 2012 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News asked a federal court Wednesday to literally pull back the curtain on the state's execution chamber and allow witnesses to see the whole procedure. The suit says the state Department of Corrections is violating the state constitution by a policy preventing witnesses to the commonwealth's first execution in 13 years from observing the entire process. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District one week before convicted murdered Terrance Williams is scheduled to be executed at Rockview state prison in Centre County for the 1984 bludgeoning death of Amos Norwood in Philadelphia.
NEWS
September 8, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
With less than a month before condemned murderer Terrance Williams is scheduled to die by lethal injection, his advocates on Thursday chose an option not used in a half-century: a plea for clemency from the governor. Lawyers for Williams, 46, formerly of Philadelphia, filed the petition asking Gov. Corbett and the state Board of Pardons to stop Williams' Oct. 3 execution and commute his sentence to life in prison without parole. A broad-based group of lawyers and former judges, child advocates, and religious figures - including the widow of the man Williams killed in 1984 - urged that his life be spared for a crime committed three months after he turned 18, the minimum age for someone to be sentenced to death in the United States.
NEWS
September 7, 2012 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With less than a month before condemned murderer Terrance Williams is scheduled to die by lethal injection, his advocates on Thursday chose an option not used in a half-century: a plea for clemency from the governor. Lawyers for Williams, 46, formerly of Philadelphia, filed the petition asking Gov. Corbett and the state Board of Pardons to stop Williams' Oct. 3 execution and commute his sentence to life in prison without parole. A broad-based group of lawyers and former judges, child advocates, and religious figures - including the widow of the man Williams killed in 1984 - urged that his life be spared for a crime committed three months after he turned 18, the minimum age for someone to be sentenced to death in the United States.
NEWS
July 1, 2007 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Harrison "Marty" Graham was sent to death row in 1988 for strangling seven women, whose corpses he kept beneath piles of trash in his North Philadelphia apartment. In 2003, a state trial-court judge threw out the sentence, and Graham now is serving life. Kenneth Ford was condemned to die after a jury found him guilty in 1991 of killing two women with a 10-inch Bowie knife in a West Philadelphia candy store. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the sentence, and Ford now is serving life.
NEWS
December 11, 2000 | By Susan Q. Stranahan, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
George M. Sauer, 97, who during a 33-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police helped send three murderers to the electric chair, died Saturday at the Willow Ridge Nursing Home in Hatboro. He had lived most of his life in Flourtown. Mr. Sauer joined the state police in 1929 - when all troopers were expected to train on horseback and chase chicken thieves. He rose through the ranks, retiring in 1963 as deputy commissioner. Although he held supervisory positions for much of his career, Mr. Sauer's reputation was built on his skills as an investigator.
NEWS
April 14, 1997 | by Gloria Campisi, Daily News Staff Writer
As his date with the executioner draws near, sex torturer Gary Heidnik yesterday was hauled from death row to Philadelphia, where an anti-death-penalty group today will battle to save him from tomorrow's scheduled lethal injection. A hearing was scheduled for noon on a petition by the Center for Legal Education, Advocacy and Defense Assistance, claiming Heidnik is too insane to be put to death. Neither Heidnik nor his lawyer has appealed to stop the execution. Heidnik received a double death sentence for kidnapping and raping six women, and murdering two between November 1986 and March 1987.
NEWS
May 3, 1995 | by Kurt Heine, Daily News Staff Writer Staff writer Myung Oak Kim contributed to this report
The man who wanted to die got his wish last night. Keith Zettlemoyer, 39, became the first person to be executed in Pennsylvania in 33 years when he was injected with fatal fluids in the execution chamber of Rockview state prison. He was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m. Zettlemoyer, a native of Selinsgrove, had fired his lawyers and begged the courts to let him die. "I see my execution as an end of suffering to my imprisonment - a blessed, merciful release from all these health symptoms that I'm constantly suffering with," he said in testimony before the U.S. Court of Appeals on Saturday.
NEWS
May 3, 1995 | by Joseph R. Daughen, Daily News Staff Writer
The first slender shoots of grass were pushing up through the earth and forsythia buds were bursting with the promise of new life as I strode across the prison yard to watch a man die. It was early evening on April 2, 1962, and before the day was over, Elmo Smith, 41, would be a corpse, executed in the name of the citizens of Pennsylvania for the brutal rape-murder of Maryann Mitchell, a pretty, red-haired 16-year-old. I had covered the investigation and Smith's arrest as a reporter for the Daily News.
NEWS
May 3, 1995 | By Larry King, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The night of April 2, 1962, Gov. David L. Lawrence shuffled papers at his desk in Harrisburg, somberly awaiting what would turn out to be Pennsylvania's last execution in 33 years. Attorney General David Stahl paced uncomfortably in an adjoining office, watched by Lawrence's secretary and Saul Kohler, an Inquirer reporter whose deadline approached. No one spoke. About 100 miles away in Bellefonte, guards at Rockview Penitentiary, as the State Correctional Institution at Rockview was then known, strapped a freshly shaved murderer named Elmo Lee Smith into the great, solid-oak electric chair where 349 men and women had died since 1915.
NEWS
May 2, 1995 | by Joseph R. Daughen, Daily News Staff Writer
The battle to keep convicted murderer Keith Zettlemoyer alive against his wishes faces a literal deadline of 10 tonight. If anti-death-penalty lawyers cannot find a judge to issue a stay by then, Zettlemoyer, 39, is scheduled to be given a lethal injection at the State Correctional Institute at Rockview. Those lawyers already have asked the U.S. Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Common Pleas Court of Dauphin County, where Zettlemoyer was convicted on April 24, 1981, to halt the execution.
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