Rasheed Simpson, Pennsylvania

 

Update: Monday, August 31, 2015 9:31 am EDT

Rasheed Simpson was scheduled to be executed on at 6 pm EDT, on Friday, September 18, 2015, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. Rasheed’s execution has been stayed. Forty-one-year-old Rasheed is convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Andrew Haynes on December 8, 1993, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rasheed has spent the last 17 years of his life on Pennsylvania’s death row.

Rasheed was granted a stay of execution by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. They granted the stay on August 20, 2015.

Rasheed alleges that he was raised in a broken home with a father who sold and abused drugs. Rasheed also alleges that he and his father did not have a relationship and that his relationship with his step-father was one of physical abuse. He also alleges that his mother was often ill during his childhood and drank while pregnant with him. After being attacked in school, Rasheed began using drugs and allegedly became a local drug dealer.

Around 9:00 pm, on December 8, 1993, Andrew Haynes was walking, when four men grabbed him and threw him into a van. The four men took Andrew to the apartment of a friend, Rasheema Washington, who was startled by the groups arrival and protested the use of her apartment as a place to hold a kidnapped man. Rasheema observed the four men, one of whom was Rasheed Simpson, repeated kick and beat Andrew, who was bound, gagged, and had a hat over his face to prevent him from seeing.

 

Shortly after arriving, Simpson and another man entered her bedroom and to use the telephone. As revealed later, they called Andrew’s apartment and spoke to one of Andrew’s friends. Simpson told the friend that he had robbed the apartment several week’s earlier and that he had kidnapped Andrew. Simpson also told the friend that if he was not paid $20,000 within fifteen minutes that he was going to kill Andrew. The friend asked if the caller was “Rasheed.” Simpson acknowledged that he was and repeated his demands before hanging up.

 

Approximately a half hour after arriving at Rasheema’s apartment, the kidnappers left, taking Andrew with them. They left following Rasheema’s insistence.

 

The friend who received the phone call, immediately informed Andrew’s family. Andrew’s brother, Selvan Haynes immediately went to his brother’s apartment, where he received a second phone call, repeating the demands. Selvan attempted to reason with the kidnappers, saying that such a large sum of money would take time to gather. The kidnappers repeated their demands and hung up.

 

During a third phone call, Selvan offered the kidnapper $3,000 in cash and two vehicles. The offer was rejected. During a fourth phone call, Selvan was allowed to speak with Andrew, who begged Selvan to do whatever it took to save his life. During the fifth and final phone call, the kidnappers repeated their demands. Around midnight, Andrew’s body was discovered in a vacant lot, with four bullet wounds to the back of his head. He was still bound, gagged, and eyes covered.

 

In June of 1996, Rasheema informed police of the events that happened at her apartment on the night of December 8, 1993. Simpson was arrested approximately one month later. In December of 1997, he was found guilty of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, and possession of an instrument of crime. Simpson was sentenced the death. Two others were sentenced to life in prison. The fourth man has not been identified.

 

Rasheed Simpson’s execution will likely be stayed. On Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he receives and reviews a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011. In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and "expensive." The governor will continue to issue stay of executions until all problems in the report are satisfactorily addressed. Read more about the announcement here.

 

Due to Governor’s Wolf’s decision, he has refused to sign any execution warrants. Rasheed’s notice of execution was issued by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wentzel, which is in accordance with state law. State law requires the corrections secretary to issue an execution notice if the governor does not sign a warrant within a specific time frame.

 

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

 

 

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