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News Scan

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Cop killer Michael Lambert is scheduled to be executed this Friday in Indiana. Lambert was found drunk by officer Gregg Winters on December 27, 1990 and placed in the back of his patrol car. Shortly after, Lambert shot Winters in the back of the head 5 times with a concealed stolen gun that he had in his pocket. Eleven days later, Winters died. Yesterday, a petition was filed with the U. S. Supreme Court by Lambert’s attorneys asking to stop the execution partially based on the fact that during Lambert’s appeals, 3 out of 5 of the Indiana Supreme Court justices have “at times” ruled that his death sentence is “constitutionally deficient.” Tom Coyne’s AP story has reported that the court has not yet responded to yesterday’s petition.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Cathy Lynn Henderson a stay of execution yesterday by a vote of 5-3 and is now ordering a review of new evidence. Brandon Baugh’s 3-month-old body was found buried in a wine cooler box in 1995 with a bashed in skull. Before fleeing to Missouri, Henderson claims she accidentally dropped Brandon on her concrete floor while babysitting him, performed CPR on the baby, then because she wasn’t “thinking clearly,” proceeded to wrap him in a blanket and bury him in a field. Scientific testing that was not available in 1995 has the medical examiner claiming that he was incorrect in his finding that Brandon’s death was not accidental, reports Michael Graczyk with the AP. Henderson’s death row picture is available on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Death Row website.

Christopher Scott Emmett is scheduled to be executed tomorrow in Virginia. In 2001, Emmett beat his co-worker, John Fenton Langley to death so he could rob him of his cash in order to support his crack cocaine habit. Emmett’s attorneys are trying to prove that he suffered “egregious injustice at trial” and are asking the U. S. Supreme Court and Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine to cease his execution. Emmett claims that his trial attorney’s performance was insufficient and failed to reveal his abusive childhood. The state pointed out that Emmett’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel have been rejected numerous times by courts, and that he did not experience an abusive childhood as noted by the AG’s office. Reporter Kristen Gelineau of the AP has the full story here.

A San Quentin death row inmate committed suicide Sunday night. Tony Lee Reynolds raped and murdered Estela Perez in March 2005 in her children’s bedroom in Riverside, CA. A couple months later, Reynolds raped another woman in Riverside, and lo and behold the DNA matched evidence from Perez’s cold-blooded murder. Prior to those crimes, he was convicted on burglary charges and served only 19 days in prison and ordered to live in a group home. Guards found him hanging from a bed sheet noose in his cell shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday. According to this Press-Enterprise story by Paige Austin and Sonja Bjelland, more California inmates on death row die of natural causes than are executed. Those that are executed average 17½ years on death row.

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Re: Cathy Henderson--that's right, an innocent person after dropping an infant leaves the scene, doesn't call 911 and buries the child in a wine box and flees the state.

"Only appellate judges could swallow such a tale." A statement that could apply to a lot of cases we have today, including this one.

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