Elizabeth King. Presentations submitted in fulfillment of Master of Arts Degree from Siena Heights University. Written by Steven H. Gettinger. Each chapter tells the story of one man sentenced to death in the United States. Luis Jose Monge Charles Proffitt Richard Hager
Presentations submitted in fulfillment of Master of Arts Degree from Siena Heights University
Background on the prisoner
Details of the crime
Insight into various aspects of the death penalty
Book Talk 1
Siena Heights University
June 20, 2007
History and Philosophy of Ideas
History of punishment by death (very brief)
Began in Exodus with “an eye for an eye”
This meant that the punishment must fit the crime
Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC)
Gave the power to punish crime to the newly forming government – taking it away from the victim.
Henry VIII is credited with the deaths of some 72,000 people during his reign
Common methods were boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing and quartering.
Capital offenses included marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason.
The first recorded execution in the new colonial America was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608.
1834, Pennsylvania became the first state to move executions away from the public eye and into correctional facilities.
1846 - Michigan became the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason
No executions occurred in the United States from 1967 ~ 1977. This ended with the firing squad death of Gary Gilmore in Utah.
That same year Utah was the first state to adopt the lethal injection method of capital punishment
He was caught by family members molesting his daughters.
He reacted by killing his wife and three of his children
He had planned to murder the whole family and himself but could not bring himself to follow through.
This is my TimeLuis Jose Monge
Note: Luis was told that he would be given a stay of execution if he would only request it. He did not. The remaining members of his family stated their devoted love and forgiveness to their dad all the years of his incarceration.
1972 many states adopted new laws governing what types of murder could be punished with the death penalty.
Mass murders or situations where the lives of many people were threatened
Murder committed to escape from imprisonment or lawful custody
Assassinations or killing to hinder government functions
Killing for money or hiring others to kill
Murder by prisoner serving life term
“Especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel killings”
Killings that take place during the commission of another felony
Tried to rule out acts of passion
Established separate trial for sentencing
Broke into a stranger, Joel Medgebow’s, home at night and while he slept, Proffitt stabbed Joel to death with a butcher knife.
Punched his wife three times in the face but did not kill her
The Empty ChairCharles Proffitt
Explains in detail the procedures for inducing death through legal injection and electrocution
“Whether the condemned man is dragged to the execution chamber kicking or screaming, or rushes there to kiss the electric chair (as on Florida inmate did) makes little difference in the end. Almost everything will proceed exactly the same in any case. His last moments will be as rigid as the election of the pope. Executions are highly stylized rituals …”
Killed his friend Tommy Hughes
Richard Hagar and his second wife had recently divorced
He was living with his new girlfriend.
Sent Tommy over to check on his wife
They started a physical relationship
Richard found out one day and returned to the home to also have physical relations with his ex-wife
Tommy came over during the act
The two men had an argument, but soon Tommy waited in the other room for Richard and his wife to finish
Then the two men left and picked up a third friend.
They picked up some beer and went to a secluded spot on the banks of the Great Salt River
Richard shot Tommy first in the groin, then a few times in his body, and finally three times in his head.
The Road to
Glory RowRichard Hager
Oklahoma Case Law –
HAGER v. STATE, 1983
On appeal, this Court reversed and remanded for a new trial. … At the conclusion of the second stage of the trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, and the trial judge imposed a sentence of life imprisonment.
Debates both sides of the question, “Is capital punishment socially useful?”
Focuses on three topics
Will executing some murders frighten other killers out of committing violent crimes?
Is it necessary to execute a murder to keep him from killing again?
Does execution save tax payers a significant amount of money?
Killed a Georgia police officer during the robbery of a restaurant
I Never Stopped
to ThinkJames David Raulerson
Death Penalty News
Alabama, Penn., Texas, Florida, Arizona
Fri. 9 Jul 1999
James David Raulerson, 33, executed Jan. 30, 1985, for gunning down Jacksonville Police Officer Michael Stewart on April 27, 1975.
The Youngest Person on Death Row
Killed Peggy Pitzer (7th grader)
George saw her walking in Oleander Park
He ran up behind her with a knife
Took her to a secluded area in the woods
Told her to undress
He tried to rape her but could not perform
Frustrated, he ripped her panties
When she tried to scream, he gagged her with the underwear
He then hit her in the head with a rock and stabbed her between the legs with the knife
She died of suffocation
The Moral Issue: The Value of Life
Does the death penalty enhance the value of life or demean it?
Justice – Does the murderer deserve to die and only death will suffice?
Is life an inalienable right not subject to the judgment of man and therefore, never justified?Name: George Vasil
State of Florida vs. Vasil
1979: Reduced to life sentence
At a bar, he slashed the throat of the bar maid, Roxanne Mary Monroe, two times with a broken beer bottle
She was taken to the Emergency Room with one 5½” and one 1½” gash across her throat
Nurses stitched up the wound around 4:30pm
At 7pm, a nurse noticed Roxanne lying on a cot in the ER, not breathing
The Doctor cut a hole in her throat and she began to breathe again
Loss of oxygen caused brain damage
She died four days later
The Legal Issue: Reasonable Doubt
Can an innocent individual be sentenced to die?
Are the everyday workings of the legal system infallible?
Case in Texas where two men where accused of 1st Degree Murder for the same crime.
The victim's boyfriend was charged with hiring a bodyguard to kill the woman
They both plead innocent
The boyfriend was found guilty and sentenced to death
The security guard was set free
One verdict must be wrong.
It Could Have Gone
Either WayName: Clifford Hallman
Commutations in Capital Cases On Humanitarian Grounds
1979: Clifford Hallman granted clemency on the grounds that the death sentence was inappropriate for the crime.
The Hospital settled with the estate of Roxanne Monroe in response to a wrongful death malpractice suit. Her son was awarded $42,000. The doctor stated that Hallman’s wound would not have killed her if given proper treatment.
Occurred in Troup County, Georgia 1975
Jessie and Johnny took a cab from Alabama to Georgia
According to the cab driver’s account, Jessie was going to shoot the cab driver, but he lost his nerve
Tommy took the gun and shot from the back seat
The bullet severed the driver’s spinal cord
They took $16 and left him for dead
Ten days later, he went in for surgery to have the bullet removed
He died during surgery
The Discrimination Issue: Race
[I chose to use the statistics from the book (1979)]
Number of deaths avenged by execution
50% of those murdered are black
87% of those on death row were sent there for killing whites
Common for a black to kill a black but rare for a jury to sentence him to death.
When a black killed a white, the punishment most often handed down was the severest available
In 1978, 104/113 inmates on Florida death row were sent there for killing whites
Pulliam, Jessie L.
STATE OF GEORGIA - INCARCERATION HISTORY
Death of a White Cab DriverName: Jessie Lewis Pulliam
Houston, Texas 1974
Convicted of the murder of his son, Timothy
On Halloween, Tommy die of potassium cyanide poisoning
He ingested the cyanide after eating a pixy stick
The motive was insurance money
Ronald always proclaimed his innocence
He was convicted on overwhelming circumstantial evidence
The Conclusion: Punishing Murder
Does capital punishment protect us?
The Supreme Court states, “ Some crimes themselves are so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death.”
However, justice requires equity, fairness, and consistency
It can be said that the 1% of murders who receive the death sentence are not the worst of the bunch, just the unluckiest.
The Man Who Killed HalloweenName: Ronald O’Bryan