Did You Know?

Four men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

News

Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

Update: Tuesday, May 12, 2015  7:43 pm EDT

 

Derrick Dwayne Charles has been executed by the state of Texas.  Read the full story here.

 

Update: Tuesday, May 12, 2015  7:00 pm EDT

 

The Supreme Court of the United States has denied two requests by Derrick Dewayne Charles to stay his execution.

 

Update: Monday, May 11, 2015  11:42 am EDT

 

Derrick Dewayne Charles' execution scheduled to occur  at 7 pm CDT, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Thirty-two-year-old Derrick is convicted of murdering 77-year-old Obie Lee Bennett, 44-year-old Brenda Bennett, and his 15-year-old girlfriend Myiesha Bennett, on July 2, 2002, in their Harris County, Texas home.  Derrick has spent the last 11 years on Texas’ death row.

 

Derrick had a difficult birth and childhood.  He was born prematurely to a mother who had schizophrenia.  As an infant Derrick suffered from at least two seizures.  Throughout his life he had a history of depression.  Derrick grew up in poverty and, due to his mother’s mental state, was not always provided with food and clothing.  Life at home was turbulent.  Due to his mother’s mental illness, Derrick was never able to receive proper treatment for his depression growing up.  He was violent at school and expelled at least four times due to his violence and disruptiveness.  During the limited treatment he received for his depression, Derrick was uncooperative.  Derrick was arrested several times as a juvenile and spent time in the Texas Youth Commission, where it was frequently documented that he misbehaved.

 

On July 2, 2002, Derrick Charles was hiding in the closet of his underage girlfriend, Myiesha Bennett.  After she and her mother left, Charles exited the closet and was surprised to find Myiesha’s grandfather, Obie, still in the house.  Charles beat the elderly man with his fists, a lamp, and two trophies before strangling him to death.

 

Charles then waited for over three hours for Myiesha and her mother to return home.  Once they returned home, Charles beat Myiesha with stereo speakers, dropped a television on her head, and strangled her.  She did not survive.  Charles also killed Brenda, Myiesha’s mother.  Charles put her in a tub of water and threw a plugged-in television in with her.  He then dragged her throughout the house and raped her before strangling her to death.  Allegedly, Charles was upset with Brenda because she had told the police that he was sleeping with her daughter.

 

Charles was arrested the following day.  At the time of the murders, Charles was on parole for a burglary conviction.  Charles confessed to the three murders.  He was sentenced to death on May 27, 2003.

 

Charles has asked for a stay of execution to allow time to further explore claims that he is insane and thereby ineligible for the execution.  US Judge Nancy Atlas, in denying the request, noted that Charles attorney had waited four months after the execution date was set, and days before the execution is scheduled to occur, to file the claim.  Charles and his attorney plan to appeal this decision.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the Bennett family.  Please pray for strength for the family of Derrick Charles.  Please pray that if Derrick is innocent on lacks the mental competency to be executed, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution.  Please pray that Derrick may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 2015  8:33 pm EDT

  

David Zink has been executed by the state of Missouri.  Read the full story here.

 

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 2015  8:33 pm EDT

  

The Supreme Court of the United States has denied several requests for a stay of execution for David Zink.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has also denied David clemency.  His execution is scheduled to occur tonight.

 

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 2015  7:28 pm EDT

  

The execution of David Zink has been delayed for approximately one hour due to paperwork issues involving the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 2015  1:01 pm EDT

 

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by David Zink for a stay of execution earlier today.  The Court had no comment regarding their reason for denying the stay.  A lawsuit by taxpayers also had the potential to stop the execution.  The lawsuit argued that Missouri had illegally obtained execution drugs, however Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce has rejected the lawsuit.

 

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 2015  8:48 am EDT

 

David Zink has asked Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for clemency.  David also has appeals pending with the Missouri Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Update: Monday, July 6, 2015  10:28 am EDT

 

David Michael Zink is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.  Fifty-five-year-old David is convicted of the kidnapping and brutal murder of Amanda Morton on July 12, 2001, in Strafford, Missouri.  David has spent the last 11 years on Missouri’s death row.

 

David’s family has a history of psychological disorders and he had a difficult childhood.  His parents were emotionally distant and emotionally abusive.  David’s home environment was chaotic and his parents frequently used alcohol.  As an adult, David also abused alcohol.  David also alleged that he was abandoned as a child and was sexually traumatized.  Witnesses at David’s trial testified that he was a caring person and hard worker.

 

Amanda Morton’s vehicle was found abandoned by the police on July 12, 2001.  The keys were still in the ignition with the engine running.  The headlights and hazard lights were also still on, with the driver’s side window rolled down.  Upon further investigation, police discovered Amanda’s purse, including credit cards and medications, inside the vehicle.

 

That evening a motel owner recognized Amanda’s picture on the news.  She had checked in earlier that day with a Mr. David Zink.  Using information provided by the motel owner, police were able to apprehend Zink at his home.  

 

Zink waived his Miranda rights, and shortly thereafter, confessed to the crime, telling police where he had buried Amanda.  Amanda had a broken neck, sustained injuries consistent with strangulation and being tied up, had eight broken ribs, and between 50 and 100 blunt force injuries.  It was also later determined that Zink had run Amanda off the road.

 

Zink also confessed to hitting Amanda’s car, although he changed his statement regarding whether Amanda went with him willing.  He decided to kill her, fearing that she would go to the police and he would end up back in prison, as he was on parole at the time.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Amanda Morton.  Please pray for the family of David Zink.  Please pray that if David is innocent, or lacks the competency to be executed, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution.  Please pray that David may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

Update: Thursday, July 16, 2015  2:18 pm EDT

 

Clifton Lamar Williams has been granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  The stay was granted to examine his claim that incorrect statistical evidence was presented at his trial.  Prosecutors argue that this incorrect statistical evidence, which came via an FBI report, does not dispute the "overwhelming" evidence against Clifton.  Clifton's execution has been stayed to allow the court to review the evidence and determine if it would have affected the outcome of his original trial.

 

Update: Tuesday, July 13, 2015  8:50 am EDT

 

Clifton Lamar Williams is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Thirty-one-year-old Clifton is convicted of murdering 93-year-old Cecilia Schneider, in her Tyler, Texas home on July 9, 2005.  Clifton has spent the last 9 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

 

Clifton dropped out of high school after the 11th grade.  He worked as a laborer prior to his arrested.  Clifton did not have a prior criminal record.  Clifton was addicted to crack cocaine at the time of the murder.

 

On July 9, 2005, Clifton Williams broke into the home Cecilia Schneider.  When he discovered Cecilia, Williams beat, strangled, and stabbed her to death.  Authorities also believe that she had been raped, although they were unable to confirm their suspicions as Williams laid her body on the bed and set it on fire before fleeing the home in Cecilia’s car.  Williams also stole Cecilia’s purse.

 

After his arrest, Williams claimed that an acquaintance, Jamarist “Monterrall” Paxton, forced Williams to accompany him to the home.  Paxton then killed Cecilia and forced Williams to cut his hand, leaving DNA evidence at the crime scene.  Williams also alleged that Paxton forced Williams to drive Cecilia’s car during their escape.  Williams unsuccessfully attempted to argue that he should not be convicted of murder, much less sentenced to death, because there was no DNA evidence at the crime scene, and that Paxton was the one who actually committed the murder.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Cecilia Schneider.  Please pray for the family of Clifton Williams.  Please pray that if Clifton is innocent, or lacks the mental competency to be executed, evidence will be presented prior to his execution.  Please pray that Clifton will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.

Update: Wednesday, August 12, 2015  7:40 pm EDT

 

Daniel Lee Lopez was executed by the state of Texas.  Read the full story here.

 

Update: Monday, August 10, 2015  11:36 am EDT

 

Daniel Lee Lopez's execution is scheduled to occur at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel is convicted of the murder of 20-year veteran of the Corpus Christi Police Department Lt. Stuart Alexander, on March 11, 2009.  Daniel has spent the last 5 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

 

Daniel dropped out of school after the 10th grade.  Throughout his childhood, Daniel was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a learning disability, and poor impulse control.  At the age of 12, Daniel assaulted his mother.  By the age of 17, Daniel had numerous encounters with law enforcement.  Before his arrest, Daniel attempted to commit suicide twice.  

 

Shortly after midnight on March 11, 2009, Daniel Lopez was observed running a stop sign by a police officer.  The police officer pulled Lopez over, where a confrontation ensued.  Allegedly, the officer attempted to use pepper spray to subdue Lopez.  Lopez was able to escape when taser and radio wires became wrapped around his legs.

 

Lopez claims that he fled because he thought there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest and because he had drugs in the car.  Lopez led police on a car chase.  Police eventually laid down spike strips to flatten Lopez’s tires.  Lopez saw the strips and swerved, hitting Lt. Stuart Alexander with his car, killing the officer.

 

Police were eventually able to surround Lopez’s vehicle, at which point Lopez attempted to run over another officer to escape.  Lopez was finally subdued when he injured by a police officer shooting him. 

 

Daniel Lopez asked that his execution be expedited, waiving his rights to the normal appeals process.  However, Daniel then asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for a stay of execution, arguing that the Court should not have agreed to his request.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected his arguments and his request for a stay of execution.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Stuart Alexander.  Please pray for strength for the family of Daniel Lopez.  Please pray that if Daniel is innocent or lacks the competency to be executed, evidence will be revealed prior to his execution.  Please pray that Daniel may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.

Update: Tuesday, August 25, 2015  8:10 pm EDT

 

Bernardo Aban Tercero's execution has been stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  His execution was stayed to allow a lower court to examine the testimony of a witness who has since recanted.  The witness now claims that the information he testified to in court is false.

 

Update: Monday, August 24, 2015  10:39 am EDT

 

Bernardo Aban Tercero's execution is scheduled to occur at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Thirty-seven-year-old Bernardo is convicted of the murder of 38-year-old high school teacher Robert Keith Berger on March 31, 1997, in Houston, Texas.  Bernardo has spent the last 15 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

 

Bernardo was born in Chinadega, Nicaragua.  He dropped out of school following the seventh grade and came to the United States at the age of 17.  Bernardo had previously been convicted on two counts of theft in the United States.  Prior to his arrest, he worked as an auto mechanic and laborer.

 

On March 31, 1997, two men, Bernardo Tercero and Jorge Becencil Gonzales, forced their way through the back door of a dry cleaning establishment.  Gonzales held the employees at gunpoint while Tercero went to the front of the store and demanded money.  

 

Robert Berger, who was there with his three year old daughter, approached Tercero.  The two became physical and Robert was shot.  He died from his injuries.  Tercero and Gonzales fled.  Tercero went to Florida, while Gonzales left the country.  Tercero eventually fled to Nicaragua, where he is alleged to have been involved in a series of violent crimes, including robberies, shootings, and a kidnapping.  Tercero was extradited to the United States upon request.

 

Bernardo Tercero has two conflicting birth certificates.  The one (not used for this article) alleges that he was under 18 at the time of crime, making him ineligible for the death penalty.  Bernardo alleges that this is his correct birth certificate.  This discrepancy has been the focus of many appeals, non of which have been successful.  Additionally, supports of Bernardo question if he is mentally competent to be executed.  They argue that his family has a history of mental illness and that many of his relatives are currently in psychiatric facilities in Nicaragua.  His attorney is also asking for a stay of execution to allow further litigation.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Robert Berger.  Please pray for strength for the family of Bernardo.  Please pray that if Bernardo is innocent or lacks the mental competency to be executed, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution.  Please pray that Bernardo will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.

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