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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

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elizabeth king

Elizabeth King

Presentations submitted in fulfillment of Master of Arts Degree from Siena Heights University

written by steven h gettinger
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
        • James David Raulerson
  • Steven Gettinger is a reporter who interviewed these men in order to write this book.
  • Each story gives

Background on the prisoner

Details of the crime

Insight into various aspects of the death penalty

  • At the time of publication, only one of the inmates, Luis Jose Monge, had been executed. To learn of their fate, I searched the internet to find records of the remaining seven men.
  • George Vasil
  • Clifford Hallman
  • Jessie Lewis Pulliam
  • Ronald O’Bryan

Elizabeth Sizemore

Book Talk 1

Siena Heights University

June 20, 2007

History and Philosophy of Ideas


Sentenced to Die

luis jose monge
Return of the Executioner

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.

Chapter 1

This is my Time

Luis Jose Monge
  • Profile
  • Born in Puerto Rico in 1918
  • Parents died when he was 11
  • Sent to Brooklyn, NY to live with various relatives
  • Quit school after the 10th grade
  • Joined Army Air Corps in 1940
  • Married Delores Milta in 1944
  • Settled in Denver
  • Fathered seven boys and two girls
  • Worked as a door to door salesman
  • Suffered from severe asthma

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.

charles proffitt
The New Death Penalty

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

Chapter 2

The Empty Chair

Charles Proffitt
  • Profile
  • Hard worker (according to his wife)
  • Married
  • Lost his only child to illness at infancy
  • Heavy drinker
  • Often suffered severe headaches
richard hager
Waiting for the Needle

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.

Chapter 3

The Road to

Glory Row

Richard Hager
  • Profile
  • Charismatic
  • Often told many colorful stories (tall tales)
  • Persuasive
  • Intelligent
  • Joined Army
    • Went AWOL
  • High school drop-out
  • Previous trouble with the law
  • Married and divorced twice

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.

james david raulerson
The Social Issue: Protection

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

Chapter 4

I Never Stopped

to Think

James David Raulerson
  • Profile
  • Born David Allen Scott
  • Unofficially adopted by Dennis Raulerson
  • They ran a restaurant in Ohio
  • Dennis was killed by an armed robber of the restaurant
  • James David moved to Georgia
  • He married Kate
  • They had a baby girl in February 1974
  • A few months later, he could not support the family and started to commit burglaries
  • He used the extra money to buy a service station for his brother.

Lethal Injection

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.

name george vasil

Chapter 5

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?


You choose

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
  • Profile
  • 15 years old in 1974
  • Was in 10th grade in public school
  • Lived in Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Only child (adopted)
  • Quiet, keep to himself
  • Played tennis and YMCA football
  • His dad owned the Putt Putt Mini Golf
  • George was an avid mini golfer

State of Florida vs. Vasil

1979: Reduced to life sentence

name clifford hallman

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.

Chapter 6

It Could Have Gone

Either Way

Name: Clifford Hallman
  • Profile
  • 23 years old in 1973
  • Third of six children
  • Grew up in Tampa, Florida
  • Father was an alcoholic
  • Partially deaf
  • Dropped out of school in the 10th grade
  • Married in March 1973
  • Quit his old job to start a new one the day of the crime

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.

name jessie lewis pulliam

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.






Chapter 7

Death of a White Cab Driver

Name: Jessie Lewis Pulliam
  • Profile
  • Epileptic
  • Black
  • Poor
  • Very little education
  • Dropped out of school in the 10th grade at age 17
  • Illiterate
  • At age 22 was working at a car wash
  • Hung out with a 15 year old boy, Johnny Wilson
name ronald o bryan

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.



Chapter 8

The Man Who Killed Halloween

Name: Ronald O’Bryan
  • Profile
  • Married to Sheila
  • Two kids, Tim and Nancy Starr
  • Very active in church
  • Had moderate financial trouble
  • President of the P.T.O.
  • Treasurer of the Kiwanis Club
  • Worked consistently but had 21 jobs over a few years time