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A Woman in the Spotlight. “The argument for you gains a great deal of attention because you’re a woman. We could dare say if you were a man we wouldn't be here and you wouldn’t be getting a lot of attention, unless a lot of prominent people were speaking up for you.” Larry King.

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a woman in the spotlight
A Woman in the Spotlight

“The argument for you gains a great deal of attention because you’re a woman. We could dare say if you were a man we wouldn't be here and you wouldn’t be getting a lot of attention, unless a lot of prominent people were speaking up for you.”

Larry King

slide3

Guinevere Garcia

January 16, 1996 (commuted)

Illinois

A Troubled Past

  • Guin Garcia was born in 1959.
  • Before the age of 2, she witnessed her mother commit suicide.
  • Her father left her in the care of her grandmother when she was 4 years old.
  • While in the care of her grandmother, she was regularly raped by her uncle.
  • She became an alcoholic by the age of 12.
  • She was gang-raped at 15.
  • At 16, her grandfather “sold” her in marriage to an Iranian seeking U.S. citizenship for $1,500, after which she was divorced.
  • Soon thereafter, she became a prostitute.
slide4

Guinevere Garcia

A Life of Crime

  • In 1976, at 17, Garcia was addicted and pregnant.
  • She gave birth to a baby girl, Sara, whom she suffocated less than a month before Sara's first birthday.
  • In 1981, after being picked up by police on another charge, Guinevere confessed to the crime.
  • While incarcerated, she married George Garcia, a man nearly thirty years her senior, whom she met while working as a prostitute. This ill-fated marriage ended in divorce, before Guin even left prison.
  • After 10 years in jail, Garcia was considered for parole.
  • Her ex-husband offered her shelter in his home, on the condition she remarry him.
slide5

Guinevere Garcia

A Life of Crime

  • She remarried Garcia, but they lived together only a few weeks. During that brief interval, according to court documents, George Garcia reportedly mutilated his wife's genitalia.
  • In 1991, only 4 months after being released from prison she shot and killed her husband in the parking lot of his Chicago suburban condominium.
a history of abuse
A History of Abuse

“He ripped her private parts with a broken bottle.”

Bianca Jagger

slide7

Guinevere Garcia

And the Sentence Is Death

  • Garcia was drunk at the time of her crime and her arrest.
  • She was convicted of first degree murder, when the jury concluded that she went to her husband's apartment, armed with a .357 magnum and motivated by his $30,000 life insurance policy.
  • She was sentenced to death and scheduled to be the first woman to be executed in the U.S. in 20 years.
  • Over Garcia's objections, death penalty opponents Sister Miriam and Amnesty International's Bianca Jagger campaigned for her clemency.
  • On January 16, 1996, just 14 hours before her scheduled execution, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar commuted her sentence to life in prison.
  • Edgar rejected arguments that Garcia was a victim of battered woman's syndrome and his aides said that neither media attention nor Garcia's gender influenced his decision.
a reprieve
A Reprieve

“Horrible as was her crime, it is an offense comparable to those that judges and jurors have determined over and over again should not be punishable by death.”

Illinois Governor Jim Edgar

slide9

Karla Faye Tucker

February 3, 1998

Texas

A Troubled Past

  • Karla Faye Tucker grew up in Houston, Texas.
  • At a young age, her family life disintegrated–her mother was a heavy drug user who “lived a wild life,” and her father “had no control.”
  • She described her youth up to the age of 23 as a series of bad choices, destructive relationships, and substance abuse.
a lack of guidance
A Lack of Guidance

“A lot of drugs, a lot of anger and confusion, no real guidance. I was just out of hand, and had no guidance at a certain point in my life when I was most impressionable and probably could have been steered the right way. There wasn’t anybody there to steer me.”

Karla Faye Tucker

slide11

Karla Faye Tucker

A Life of Crime

  • In June, 1983, 23-year old Karla Faye was living with her 37-year old boyfriend Daniel Garrett.
  • During a 3-day party for her sister, Karla, Daniel, and her friends, on a “considerable amount of coke and bathtub speed,” started talking about the recent break-up of mutual friends Shawn and Jerry Lynn Dean.
  • Shawn attended the party, with a broken nose and busted lip; she had left her biker husband a week earlier after he had physically abused her.
  • “I saw what he had done to (Shawn), and I was really mad (because) I was really protective of her,” said Karla Faye.
  • Daniel left the party mid-evening on June 13, 1983, to bartend.
slide12

Karla Faye Tucker

A Life of Crime

  • At 2 a.m., Jimmy Leibrant and Karla Faye went to pick up Daniel from work. The 3 friends planned that night to steal Jerry Dean’s motorcycle.
  • Knowing that Dean would probably be sleeping, they dressed in black and went to Dean’s apartment to “case the joint out.”
  • Armed with a .38mm shotgun (for protection), Karla and Danny went into Dean’s apartment while Jimmy acted as the look-out.
  • When they entered the apartment, they discovered that the motorcycle was in pieces, and Dean was awake.
  • Danny began striking Dean with a hammer from an open toolbox. Karla, following Danny’s lead, took up a pickaxe that had been leaning against the wall and struck Dean over 20 times.
  • Discovering (surprise) Deborah Thornton under the bed sheets, Karla struck her with the pickaxe until she was also dead.
  • Neither Karla or Dean fled from town.
a crazy violent time
A Crazy, Violent Time

“I was–at that time in my life, I was very excited about doing different crazy, violent things, yes. It was a part of me that was used to fit in with the crowd that I was hanging around to be accepted.”

Karla Faye Tucker

slide14

Karla Faye Tucker

And the Sentence Is Death

  • About 1 month after the murders occurred, Karla and Danny were arrested.
  • Karla was indicted in Harris County, Texas, for the murder of Jerry Lynn Dean, while in the course of committing and attempting to commit robbery.
  • After Karla entered a plea of not guilty in the 180th District Court, the jury found her guilty of capital murder on April 19, 1984.
  • On April 25, after a separate hearing on the issue of punishment, the jury answered affirmatively the special issues submitted pursuant to the former provisions of Article 37.071 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (repealed effective September 1, 1991). In accordance with state law, the trial court sentenced Tucker to death by lethal injection.
slide15

Karla Faye Tucker

And the Sentence Is Death

  • Karla also admitted a history of drug use and prostitution, as well as to having ingested several substances the night of the murders.
  • Leibrant turned state’s witness. Danny was tried and convicted in a separate trial.
  • While in prison, Karla became a born-again Christian and repented of her crimes. She was married by proxy to the prison chaplain Dana Lane Brown, whom she was allowed to see during the ceremony through an acrylic glass barrier.
  • In 1993, Daniel Garrett died in prison from liver disease.
  • Before Tucker was executed, there were pleas for clemency from various world figures and from conservative American political figures such as Newt Gingrich and Pat Robertson. She was interviewed by Larry King in January, 1998.
  • Then Texas governor George W. Bush did not grant the (30-day) reprieve, and Karla Faye Tucker’s execution went forward.
the execution went forward
The Execution Went Forward

“I believe that's up to the almighty God to make that decision. And so when confronted with the facts—the two questions that a governor— at least I ask—is guilt or innocence and was… Karla Faye—either had full access to the courts of law in the state of Texas and Washington, D.C., in the federal courts - when I answered those affirmatively, I signed the—the execution went forward.”

George W. Bush

last words
Last Words

“Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you, the Thornton family and Jerry Dean's family that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this.”

Karla Faye Tucker

slide18

Aileen Wuornos

October 9, 2002

Florida

A Troubled Past

  • Aileen Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan, to Diane Wuornos and Leo Dale Pittman. Her father, whom she never knew, was a psychopathic child molester who served time in Kansas and Michigan mental hospitals. He hanged himself in 1969 while in prison.
  • Wuornos' mother, Diane abandoned her two children in 1960, leaving them in the care of their Finnish-born grandparents Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who raised them in Troy, Michigan.
  • Wuornos claimed that her grandfather physically and sexually abused her as a child and her grandmother was an abusive alcoholic.
  • Wuornos became pregnant at the age of fourteen.
slide19

Aileen Wuornos

October 9, 2002

Florida

A Troubled Past

  • Upon giving birth to her child in 1971, she was banished from her family home and disowned by the community. The child was put up for adoption soon after birth.
  • Wuornos was forced to take shelter in an abandoned car in the woods. Soon after she was sent to a home for unwed mothers.
  • After their grandmother's death, Wuornos and her brother became wards of the court.
  • Still at school, she began to work as a prostitute.
  • From 1974 to 1988, Wuornos committed a multitude of crimes, including drunk driving, disorderly conduct, armed robbery, passing forged checks, grand theft auto, and resisting arrest.
slide20

Aileen Wuornos

A Life of Crime

  • In 1986, Aileen met 24-year old Tyria Moore at a gay bar. The two became lovers and had a year of romance followed by friendship.
  • Aileen supported herself and Moore with earnings from truck-stop prostitution and theft.
  • From November 1989 to November 1990, Aileen killed 7 of her “johns.” Her victims were Richard Mallory, David Spears, Charles Carskaddon, Peter Siems (body never found), Troy Burress, Dick Humphreys, and Walter Antonio.
  • Wuornos was eventually identified when she and Moore were involved in an accident while driving a victim's car.
slide21

Aileen Wuornos

And the Sentence Is Death

  • At trial, Wuornos cited self-defense for Mallory's murder, maintaining that he had attempted to rape her. She was convicted of his murder in January, 1992 with help from Moore’s testimony.
  • Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears. She pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon and of Walter Gino Antonio.
  • Although at her trial she told a graphic story of rape, sodomy and torture at the hands of her victims, forcing her to act in self defense, in her last few months she recanted her testimony, insisting she was never the victim of any violence. She swore instead that she simply robbed her johns for their money, then murdered them to cover up her crime.
scumbags of america
Scumbags of America

“I’m innocent. I was raped! I hope you get raped! Scumbags of America!”

Aileen Wuornos

slide23

Aileen Wuornos

And the Sentence Is Death

  • At trial, Wuornos cited self-defense for Mallory's murder, maintaining that he had attempted to rape her. She was convicted of his murder in January, 1992 with help from Moore’s testimony.
  • Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears, saying she wanted to “get right with God.” She pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon and of Walter Gino Antonio.
  • Although at her trial she told a graphic story of rape, sodomy and torture at the hands of her victims, forcing her to act in self defense, in her last few months she recanted her testimony, insisting she was never the victim of any violence. She swore instead that she simply robbed her johns for their money, then murdered them to cover up her crime.
  • She was executed on October 9, 2002.
last words24
Last Words

“I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”

Aileen Wuornos