Defendants Executed
After 1976

Except by Texas
22 Cases

Mobile County, AL

Freddie Lee Wright

Dec 1, 1977 (Mount Vernon)

On Dec 1, 1977, Warren and Lois Green were murdered during a robbery of the Western Auto store that they owned and operated in Mount Vernon. Shortly before the murders, a customer, Mary Johnson, noticed a man entering the store as she was leaving. After she heard about the murders, she identified Theodore Otis Roberts from a police photo spread as the man she saw entering along with his blue car that she saw parked outside.
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Monroe County, AL

Brian Baldwin

Mar 14, 1977

Brian Keith Baldwin, a black male, was executed for the torture and murder of 16-year-old Naomi Rolon, a white female. On Mar 12, 1977, Baldwin, 18, and Edward Dean Horsley, 19, escaped from a youth detention center in North Carolina. Within hours of their escape, the two hitched a ride with Rolon in Hudson, NC, and drove to Alabama. Presumably Rolon went to Alabama involuntarily as her original plan was just to drive across town. Baldwin got out in Alabama and stole an El Camino pickup truck, while Horsley drove off with Rolon. The two males may have planned to release Rolon and drive away in a car Rolon could not identify. Rolon was subsequently found murdered, and a day afterwards, Horsley and Baldwin were captured by police.
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Maricopa County, AZ

Eric King

Dec 27, 1989 (Phoenix)

Eric John King was convicted of the murders of Ron Barman, a store clerk, and Richard Butts, a security guard. The murders occurred during a midnight robbery of the Short Stop convenience market at 48th Street and Broadway in Phoenix. The robbery was captured on videotape and grainy images from it showed the robber was a black male wearing a dark sweater with a band of light colored, diamond-shaped markings across his chest and arms.
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Pulaski County, AR

Barry Lee Fairchild

Feb 26, 1983

Barry Lee Fairchild was convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 22-year-old Marjorie “Greta” Mason. Mason was a white Air Force nurse and a former homecoming queen. Six days after the murder and after the media had reported many details of the crime, the police received a tip from an unnamed informant, a man described in police files as inaccurate about half the time, with a tendency to exaggerate. He named Barry Lee Fairchild as one of the culprits.
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Sebastian County, AR

Wilburn Henderson

Nov 26, 1980 (Ft. Smith)

Wilburn L. Henderson was sentenced to death for the murder of Willa Dean O'Neal. The murder occurred during an alleged robbery of $41 at a Ft. Smith furniture store that the victim owned with her husband. Police found a yellow piece of paper in the store containing two phone numbers that a real estate agent had given to Henderson. Henderson conceded the paper was his and that he must have dropped it when he was in the store days before the murder. Under police interrogation Henderson gave a statement that he had just happened to have been in the store when another man committed the crime. He later recanted the statement saying he only made it because he feared police would harm him. According to the prosecution, Henderson had obtained a gun from a pawnshop and then pawned it back just after the murder. However, ballistics tests on the gun were inconclusive that it was the murder weapon.
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 Bradford County, FL

Bennie Demps

Sept 6, 1976

Bennie Eddie Demps was sentenced to death for the murder of Alfred Sturgis inside Florida State Prison. At trial, inmate Larry Hathaway testified that he reported seeing James Jackson stab Sturgis with a shank, while Demps held down Sturgis and Harry Mungin acted as lookout. Demps, Sturgis, and Hathaway were all convicted murderers. Two prison guards, A.V. Rhoden and Hershel Wilson testified that Sturgis named Demps as one of his three assailants. Demps had previously been sentenced to death for a double homicide, but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972 when the U.S. Supreme Court declared capital punishment unconstitutional because it was carried out in an arbitrary manner. Demps claimed prison officials framed him for the Sturgis killing because he had escaped his earlier death sentence.

Before trial, Hathaway told an attorney for a prisoners rights group that he did not witness the Sturgis murder. After the trial, three inmates came forward to say that Hathaway was nowhere near the scene of the stabbing. In 1994, Hathaway told a defense investigator that he had lied at trial. Seven months after the Sturgis killing, inmate Leroy Colbroth was murdered. Several inmates swore in depositions that Colbroth was killed because he had stabbed Sturgis. Other inmates later said that they saw Colbroth kill Sturgis or that he admitted killing him. This information was withheld from Demps' lawyers. Some of these inmates were willing to help Demps, but did not, stating in sworn affidavits that prison officials either threatened them with retribution if they testified or offered incentives, such as transfers or shorter sentences, for refusing.

Gerald Kogan, the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, later stated that he had “grave doubts about Demps,” even though he did not vote to give Demps a new trial. Demps was executed by lethal injection on June 7, 2000.  (Chicago Tribune) (Justice: Denied) (81) (84) (10/87) (11/87) (89) (98) (6/5/00) (6/7/00)  [8/08]

Broward County, FL 

Tafero & Jacobs

Feb 20, 1976

Along with Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs and Walter Rhodes, Jesse Joseph Tafero was convicted of murdering Florida highway patrolman Phillip Black and visiting Canadian constable Donald Irwin at an I-95 rest stop. The conviction was based largely on the testimony of Rhodes, who named Tafero as the shooter. The state withheld from the defense results of a polygraph that indicated Rhodes had failed. The state also withheld gunpowder test results that indicated Rhodes was the only person to have fired a gun.

Rhodes recanted his testimony on three occasions in 1977, 1979, and 1982, stating that he, not Tafero, shot the policemen. A statement from a prison guard corroborating Rhodes' recantations was suppressed and found years later. Rhodes has since reverted to his original testimony. The trial judge, “Maximum Dan” Futch, had been a highway patrolman three years before the trial and wore his police hat to work. He kept a miniature replica of an electric chair on his desk. He did not allow Tafero to call witnesses, nor would not allow him hearings on this decision. Two eyewitnesses, testifying for the state, said that while the shots were being fired, one officer was holding Tafero over the hood of the car. Tafero was executed in the electric chair on May 4, 1990. Officials interrupted the execution three times because flames and smoke shot out of his head.

Like Tafero, Jacobs was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1981. In Jacobs' 1992 appeal, the new evidence was presented which resulted in the reversal of her conviction. Had the evidence been found before Tafero's execution, it is highly probable that his conviction would have been likewise overturned. Jacobs later accepted a plea bargain in which she did not have to admit guilt and was released. She affirms her innocence. A 1996 ABC TV movie was made about the case entitled In the Blink of an Eye.  (CWC) (NY Times)  [6/05]

 Duval County, FL

Leo Jones

May 23, 1981

Leo Jones, a black man, was convicted of the sniper killing of white police officer Thomas Szafranski, 28, and sentenced to death. The main witness against Jones later recanted. Two key officers in the case had left the Jacksonville Police Department under a cloud, and allegations that one of them beat Jones before he supposedly confessed had gained credence.

A retired police officer, Cleveland Smith, came forward and said Officer Lynwood Mundy had bragged that he beat Jones after his arrest. Smith, who described Mundy as an “enforcer,” testified that he once watched Mundy get a confession from a suspect by squeezing the suspect's genitals in a vise grip. He said Mundy unabashedly described beating Jones. Smith waited until his 1997 retirement to come forward because he wanted to secure his pension.

More than a dozen people had implicated another man as the killer, saying they either saw him carrying a rifle as he ran from the crime scene or heard him brag he had shot the officer. Even Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw, who formerly headed a division of the state attorney's office, wrote that Jones's case had become “a horse of a different color.” Newly discovered evidence, Shaw wrote, “casts serious doubt on Jones's guilt.” Shaw and one other judge voted to grant Jones a new trial. But a five-judge majority ruled against Jones. Jones was executed one week later in the electric chair on March 24, 1998.  (Chicago Tribune)  [11/05]

Chatham County, GA

Troy Davis

Aug 19, 1989 (Savannah)

Troy Anthony Davis, a black man, was sentenced to death for the shooting murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, a white police officer. At the time MacPhail, 27, was working off-duty as a security guard for a Greyhound bus station. A homeless man, Larry Young, was being harassed by an assailant for the can of beer that Young held in a paper sack. A crowd of bystanders, some of whom spilled out a pool hall, followed the fight as it progressed up Oglethorpe Ave. toward the bus station. The assailant then pulled a pistol out of his pants and used it beat Young on the head. Fearing for his life Young yelled for someone to call the police, and Officer MacPhail responded. He was shot twice and died.

At trial Young identified Davis as the man who both assaulted him and murdered MacPhail. Young has since recanted. “After I was assaulted that night … some police officers grabbed me and threw me down on the hood of the police car and handcuffed me. They treated me like a criminal; like I was the one who killed the officer … They made it clear that we weren't leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear. They suggested answers and I would give them what they wanted. They put typed papers in my face and told me to sign them. I did sign them without reading them.”

There was no physical evidence against Davis and the murder weapon has never been found. The case against him depended entirely on the testimony of nine prosecution witnesses. Since the trial seven of the nine witnesses, including Young, have recanted their testimony. Many of the witnesses cited police pressure as the reason for their false trial testimony.

Davis said he was one of the bystanders who came out of the pool hall and watched the assailant torment Young. He stated he left after the assailant threatened to shoot Young and he never looked back. He also stated he did not have a gun and that the assailant was one of the remaining prosecution witnesses, Sylvester Coles. Coles was known as a neighborhood bully. Davis's appeals lawyers could not locate the other remaining witness. Davis was executed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011.  (  [7/07]

Houston County, GA 

Ellis Wayne Felker

Nov 24, 1981

Ellis Wayne Felker was convicted of the rape and murder of 19-year-old Evelyn Joy Ludlam. The conviction was obtained through hair analysis, which is notoriously unreliable, and by claimed similarities between the murder and another crime for which Felker was convicted years before. Felker was put under police surveillance within hours of Ludlam's disappearance on Nov. 24, 1981. Ludlam's body was found in Twiggs County fourteen days later floating in Scuffle Creek. An autopsy indicated that she had been strangled and put her death within the previous five days. However, when police realized this would have ruled Felker out as a suspect because he had been under surveillance, the findings of the autopsy were changed.

An unqualified lab technician conducted the autopsy. During appeals, Felker's lawyers showed notes and photos of Ludlam's body to pathologists who unanimously agreed that she could not have been dead for longer than three days. In spite of the medical opinion, appeal courts upheld Felker's conviction. Felker was executed on Nov. 15, 1996.

The state hid boxes of evidence from Felker's attorneys until just before his execution. Some held exonerating evidence, including another person's confession. Others held materials that could have been DNA tested.  (Felker v. State)

St. Clair County, IL 

Girvies Davis

Dec 22, 1978 (Belleville)

Girvies L. Davis, a black man, was convicted by an all white jury of the murder of Charles Biebel, 89. Davis allegedly confessed to the crime and was sentenced to death. There was no physical evidence or eyewitness testimony linking him to the murder. Davis, a 4th grade dropout, has been described as retarded and quite slow intellectually. After several days of questioning while in police custody, officers allege that Davis sent them a note from his cell stating that he wished to confess to a number of crimes. Subsequently, in the middle of the night, police took him out of his cell, and took him for an automobile ride. Two officers drove him around for hours before stopping and pulling out a briefcase from the trunk of the car. Davis said the officers placed some papers on the hood of the car, took off their gun belts, and told him he could either sign the papers or run.

“I signed everything they had,” Davis said. “I was fearful for my life. If they would have had more there, I would have signed more. I found out later I had signed statements for 10 murders and 10 attempted murders and my Miranda rights.” When asked if he had read the papers before signing, Davis said, “Naw, I couldn't even read back then. I could barely sign my name.”

The St. Clair County State's Attorney, Robert Haida, conceded that some of the confessions were false as other people were convicted of those crimes. Davis denied ever sending a note from his cell or seeing it before trial. Haida conceded that someone else wrote the note, but suggested Davis dictated it to a cellmate. While on death row, Davis learned to read and write. He earned a high school equivalency certificate and became an ordained minister. He spent much of his time reading the Bible. A former police chief, a former prosecutor, and a retired judge worked to stop Davis's execution, but Davis was executed by lethal injection on May 17, 1995.  (NY Times)  [1/07]

Bossier Parish, LA 

Alvin Moore

July 9, 1980 (Bossier City)

Alvin R. Moore Jr. was sentenced to death for the murder of JoAnn Wilson, 23, the wife of a former co-worker. Wilson called police and said, “Somebody stabbed me.” After police officer Bill Fields arrived on the scene, he asked her who stabbed her and she reportedly told him, “Elvin did it.” Fields later thought the victim meant “Alvin.” Moore, who is black, was having an affair with Wilson, who was white. Moore was arrested with a drop of blood on his pants. Tests showed the blood was Type O, the same as Wilson's, but shared by about 45% of the population. Moore had a different blood type. A stereo and a plastic jug containing pennies from Wilson's home were found in Moore's car.
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Ouachita Parish, LA 

Timothy Baldwin

Apr 4, 1978

Timothy George Baldwin was convicted of the murder of Mary James Peters, an 85-year-old West Monroe woman. Peters was a former neighbor of Baldwin and also godmother to his youngest child. Peters was severely beaten in her home on April 4, 1978, apparently in the late evening hours. She was found at noontime the next day by a Meals on Wheels worker who went to her home to serve her lunch. Although the assault left Peters with some brain damage, she remained conscious following her discovery. Even though she knew Baldwin well, she did not identify him as her assailant. Peters died the day after she was found.
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Webster Parish, LA 

Jimmy Wingo

Dec 25, 1982 (Dixie Inn)

Jimmy Wingo was convicted of murdering Newton and Erline Brown after breaking into their Dixie Inn home. Wingo and a co-defendant, Jimmy L. Glass, had escaped the day before from the Webster Parish Jail. Glass testified to the unlikely story that after he had stated Wingo's name within earshot of the Browns, Wingo held a shotgun to his head and forced him to kill the Browns. Centurion Ministries' investigation yielded videotaped recantations by the two main state witnesses who admitted they were coerced by a deputy sheriff into lying at Wingo's trial. A dismissive Louisiana Governor and Board of Pardons rejected this strong evidence. Wingo was executed by electric chair on June 16, 1987.  (CM)  [5/05]

St. Louis City, MO 

Larry Griffin

June 26, 1980

Larry Griffin was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Quintin Moss. Moss was killed in a drive-by shooting while allegedly dealing drugs on a St. Louis street corner. The conviction was based largely on the testimony of Robert Fitzgerald, who had been at the scene of the killing. He testified at trial that he saw three black males in the car from which the shots were fired and that he could identify Griffin as one of them. He testified that Griffin shot at the victim through the window of a car with his right hand. Griffin's lawyer, a recent law school graduate, had never tried a murder case. The lawyer did not challenge this testimony, even though Griffin was left-handed.

Griffin's fingerprints were not found on the car or weapons. All evidence against him was circumstantial. Evidence suggests that Fitzgerald was promised a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony. The jury was not provided with this information. Fitzgerald later recanted his testimony. He said the investigating officers showed him a photograph of Griffin and told him, “We know this man is involved.” Fitzgerald was then presented with five photos from which he identified Griffin. Griffin's lawyer failed to investigate an alibi witness. The prosecution was able to bring out that the alibi witness had erred about the day he and Griffin had been together, thus making it appear that the alibi had been fabricated.

The prosecution failed to reveal that there were two additional eyewitnesses who confirmed that Griffin was not involved in the murder. The first testified that he witnessed the shooting, and he did not recognize any of the three men who killed the victim. He knew Griffin and was certain that Griffin was not in the car with the shooters. The other witness, a 16-year-old member of a gang led by Griffin's brother at the time of the murder, also testified that Larry Griffin was not involved in the shooting and named the three men who were all members of the gang led by Griffin's slain brother. He was able to describe the exact sequence of events leading to Moss's murder and to testify to the killers' motive. He also was able to identify correctly the place where the car and guns had been abandoned and later found by the police.

Despite the compelling evidence of Griffin's innocence, appeals courts upheld his conviction and death sentence. Griffin was executed by lethal injection on June 21, 1995.  (EJ USA)  [1/07]

Robeson County, NC 

Henry Lee Hunt

Sept 8, 1984

Henry Lee Hunt was convicted of the murders of Jackie Ray Ransom and Larry Jones. Ransom had married Dorothy Locklear while she was still married to Rogers Locklear. Dorothy and Rogers then hired A. R. Barnes to kill Ransom so Dorothy could collect on a $25,000 life insurance policy. The policy paid a double indemnity for accidental death including homicide. Barnes recruited his brother, Elwell Barnes to help in the murder. Someone shot Ransom to death on Sept. 8, 1984 in the woods near a bar. A week later, on Sept. 14, someone shot and killed a man named Larry Jones, apparently because Jones was telling police what he knew about the Ransom murder. Jones was implicating Rogers Locklear in the murder, but made no mention of Hunt. Jones was buried in a shallow grave.

A. R. Barnes confessed to the crimes. Subsequently, he recanted and blamed Hunt, who had a criminal record and was in prison for a drug offense. Other witnesses also pointed to Hunt, although their initial statements conflicted with each other. According to two reconstruction experts, witness Jerome Ratley's account of Jones's murder could not have happened the way that Ratley told the jury at Hunt's trial. Prosecutors introduced a shovel into evidence that they said Hunt used to bury Jones, but they did not tell the jury that the soil on the shovel did not match the soil in which Jones had been buried.

Hunt consistently maintained his innocence and passed two lie detector tests regarding the murders. While such tests do not prove Hunt's innocence, they raise doubt about his guilt. Elwell Barnes signed an 1989 affidavit in which he wrote that Hunt “has been convicted for a crime that A. R. Barnes, Jerome Ratley, Roger Locklear and myself committed.” The prosecution withheld evidence and then “lost” field notes and other files that would have undermined the state's case. In 2003, the state was refusing to allow lawyers to see the evidence that remained. Hunt was executed by lethal injection on Sept. 13, 2003.  (Charlotte Observer) (Greensboro News & Record)  [5/08]

Coal County, OK 

Jessie James Cummings

Sept 5, 1991

Jessie James Cummings was executed for the murders of his sister and his niece. Cummings claimed that at the time of the murders he was over a hundred miles away in Oklahoma City. He said his ex-wives, Juanita and Sherry Cummings, shot and killed his sister, Judy Ann Moody Mayo, and killed his niece, 11-year-old Melissa Marie Moody. This case was open and unsolved from September 1991 until July 1994. Cummings was executed for the crimes on Sept. 25, 2008.  (IIPPI)

Oklahoma County, OK 

Malcolm Rent Johnson

Oct 27, 1981 (OK City)

Malcolm Rent Johnson was convicted of the murder of Ura Alma Thompson, 76, based on testimony by police chemist Joyce Gilchrist that semen found at murder scene matched Johnson's. Johnson was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on Jan. 6, 2000. Later it was determined that no semen was found at the scene, Gilchrist had performed no tests, and that her testimony was completely fabricated.  (NY Times) (AP)

Shelby County, TN 

Phillip Workman

Aug 5, 1981 (Memphis)

Phillip Workman robbed a Wendy's restaurant with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. On leaving, police officers gave chase and Workman tripped on a curb. He yelled, “I give up!” and tried to pull his gun from his pants to give to officers. As he tried to surrender his weapon, he was hit on the head with a flashlight. At that moment his pistol went off, aimed straight up at the sky. Suddenly he was surrounded by gunfire, and he tried to run again, but tripped and his gun went off, firing another shot into the air. Workman escaped the immediate melee, but a civilian found him hiding under a truck. He was covered with blood from his head wound, and had a shotgun wound to his buttocks.

At the scene of the shootout, a police officer, Lt. Ronald Oliver, lay dying from a bullet that passed completely through his body. Oliver would soon be dead. Workman was convicted of Oliver's murder and sentenced to death. In 1990, exculpatory ballistic evidence was discovered that showed that Oliver was not shot by a bullet from Workman's gun. Instead, Oliver must have been killed by “friendly fire.” An eyewitness at trial, Harold Davis, recanted testimony that he had seen the shooting. The police report on the crime scene never noted Davis's presence and five other people near the scene do not remember seeing Davis.

A civilian eyewitness, Steve Craig, who never testified at trial, said he saw Officer Parker fire a shotgun at Workman. Craig also stated that police told him, “There was no need to talk about this ... unless it was with someone from the department.” In the trial transcript, Officers Stoddard and Parker repeatedly testified that only two people fired guns, Workman and Oliver. Ballistics and Craig's statements imply Officers Stoddard and Parker committed perjury. The new evidence caused Workman's scheduled execution date to be postponed several times. Workman was executed by lethal injection on May 9, 2007.  (Justice: Denied)  [1/07]

Buchanan County, VA 

Roger Coleman

Mar 10, 1981 (Grundy)

Roger Coleman was convicted of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. He was sentenced to death and executed on May 20, 1992. Before this crime, Coleman was accused of attempted rape in April 1977. He was convicted because the victim identified him as the perpetrator despite his having a solid alibi provided by his high school principal. In Jan. 1981, Coleman was suspected of masturbating in front of two librarians at the public library, but maintained his innocence. Charges against him were initially brought in connection with his later murder charge, but apparently were only brought to prejudice the public since they were later dropped.
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Patrick County, VA 

Dennis Stockton

July 1978

Dennis Waldon Stockton was convicted of murdering his friend Kenny Arnder. Arnder's body was found in North Carolina, but Stockton was tried in Virginia based on the assumption that Arnder was killed there and his body was moved to the North Carolina side of the border. Stockton was convicted solely on the testimony of Randy Bowman, a convict, who in many respects was a more likely suspect in the killing. On appeal in 1995, Stockton's attorney presented affidavits from Bowman's former wife, his son, and a friend, stating that Bowman admitted to committing the murder. The affidavits had little effect and Stockton was executed two days later on Sept. 27, 1995 by lethal injection.

Stockton's case is the subject of a book entitled Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America by William F. Burke, Jr. and Joe Jackson.  (TWM)


Teng Xingshan

Apr 1987

Teng Xingshan was convicted of the murder of Shi Xiaorong. A chopped up body identified as Shi's was found in Mayang County, Hunan Province in April 1987. Police settled on Teng as the guilty party because he was a butcher and the dismemberment was “very professionally” done. Teng soon confessed to the murder, allegedly after police beat it out of him. However, he protested his innocence all the way to the execution ground. Authorities alleged that Teng had sex with Shi and killed her because he suspected she stole his money. Teng was executed by gunshot in Jan. 1989.

Teng's family had heard reports that Shi was alive in neighboring Guizhou province as early as 1993, but it took years to verify the reports and Teng's family lacked the funds and the courage to sue the government. The case first received publicity in May 2005, when the family formally filed a lawsuit with the Hunan Higher People's Court. News reports of another Chinese murder victim turning up alive in March 2005 may have prompted the decision. Shi denied ever meeting Teng and said she had been sold into marriage to a man in eastern Shandong Province a month before the chopped up body was found. Shi returned to her hometown in Guizhou Province in 1993. Teng was posthumously exonerated in Jan. 2006.  (UPI)  [4/08]