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News Scan

Gang Member Held on $19.5 Million Bail:  A Los Angeles gang member is being held in lieu of over $19.5  million bail for attempting to murder a police officer.  The Bay City News reports that Jose Rauda has been charged with 46 counts, including 19 counts of attempted murder on a police officer.  The charges stem from a June 15 attempt by police to conduct a probation search of Rauda at his South Los Angeles home.  When officers arrived Rauda fled.  He was spotted later hiding in a garbage can.  After shooting an approaching police dog, Rauda ran again and was spotted in a nearby home where he opened fire on approaching officers.  No officers were injured.   

Missouri Governor Halts Execution:  The Governor of Missouri has halted today's scheduled execution of convicted murderer Marcellus Williams.  The Los Angeles Times reports that Williams was sentenced to die for the 1998 robbery and murder of St. Louis newspaper reporter Lisha Gayle. The victim was stabbed 47 times with a butcher knife when she came out of the shower. Fox News reported  that yesterday, Williams' attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution and consider new evidence that his DNA was not found on the murder weapon.  One of his defense lawyers stated that the conviction was based on testimony from two felons.  But the Missouri Supreme Court, which refused to consider d Williams DNA claim last week, unanimously upheld his conviction and sentence in its 2003 decision on direct appeal, which details the substantial evidence of guilt.  The court concluded "that the death sentence in this case is neither excessive nor disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering the crime, the strength of the evidence and the defendant.  Williams confessed to the murder.  The crime involved a vicious attack during a burglary.  Williams has a lengthy and violent criminal record.  The sentence is not disproportionate."  

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