Federal Death Row Prisoners
Updated January 10, 2016
- List of Death Row Prisoners (alphabetical by last name)
- Synopsis of Cases: (chronological by date of sentencing)
- List of Federal Capital Offenses
- List of Federal Executions Since 1927
- RACE: Black = 27 Latino = 8 Native American = 1 Asian = 1 White = 26
- GENDER: Males = 62 Females = 1
- T0TAL = 63
- Since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 1988, 76 defendants have been sentenced to death of whom 3 have been executed and 10 have been finally removed from death row. Three other defendants have had a jury recommendation for death, but no death sentence by the judge. Two of those 3 have now received lesser sentences. In the third (John Wayne Johnson), the authorization to seek death was withdrawn. (Race chart as of Mar. 23, 2015).
|Race||State||Year of Sentence||Crime Facts|
|Agofsky, Shannon||White||TX||2004||Murder of an inmate at Beaumont Federal Penitentiary in Texas.|
|Allen, Billy Jerome||Black||MO||1998||Fatally shot a bank guard during a robbery in St. Louis. (Co-defendant with Norris Holder)|
|Aquart, Azibo||Black||CT||2012||A triple murder of multiple alleged rivals in the drug business by leaders of a Jamaican drug gang.|
|Barnette, Marcivicci Aquilia||Black||NC||1998||Killed his ex-girlfriend and another man in a car jacking.|
|Barrett, Kenneth Eugene||White||OK||2005||Murdered a state police officer during a drug crime.|
|Basham, Brandon||White||SC||2004||Kidnapped and murdered a 44-year-old woman during his co-defendant's escape from prison. (Co-defendant with Chadrick Fulks)|
|Battle, Anthony||Black||GA||1997||Sentenced to death for the murder of a prison guard.|
|Bernard, Brandon||Black||TX||2000||Convicted at the age of 18 for carjacking and murdering a couple visting Texas. (Co-defendant with Christopher Vialva)|
|Bolden, Robert||Black||MO||2006||Killed a bank security guard during an attempted robbery in St. Louis|
|Bourgeois, Alfred||Black||TX||2004||Murdered his daughter at the Corpus Christi (TX) Naval Air Station.|
|Brown, Meier Jason||Black||GA||2003||Convicted of murdering a 48-year-old postal worker.|
|Caro, Carlos||Latino||WV||2007||Killed his cellmate; Both were reportedly members of a gang called the Texas Syndicate.|
|Coonce, Wesley||White||MO||2014||Killed an inmate in a federal prison. (Co-defendant with Charles Hall)|
|Corly, Odell (Naish Ra'id)||Black||IN||2004||Murdered two bank employees during a robbery attempt.|
|Davis, Len||Black||LA||2005||Ordered the murder of a young woman who witnessed his beating of a witness in an unrelated incident.|
|Duncan, Joseph||White||ID||2008||Pleaded guilty to ten federal charges, including the kidnapping and murders of a young boy and girl in 2005.|
|Ebron, Joseph||Black||TX||2009||Murdered a fellow inmate at a federal prison in Beaumont, TX.|
|[Fell, Donald]||White||VT||2005||Convicted of carjacking and kidnapping resulting in death. Conviction overturned (juror misconduct) July 25, 2014|
|Fields, Edward||White||OK||2005||Former prison guard convicted of murdering two white campers while wearing a homemade sniper suit; may be mentally ill.|
|Fields, Sherman Lamont||Black||TX||2004||Shot and killed his girlfriend after he escaped from a detention center where he was being held on a federal weapons charge.|
|Fulks, Chadrick||White||SC||2004||Kidnapped and killed a woman after escaping from a Kentucky jail. (Co-defendant with Brandon Basham)|
|Gabrion, Marvin||White||MI||2002||Sentenced to death for a 1997 murder in Michigan's Manistee National Forest. Death sentence overturned by 6th Circuit panel (Aug. 3, 2011); panel overruled by en banc 6th Cir. (Nov. 2011).|
|Garcia, Edgar||Latino||TX||2010||Murdered a fellow inmate; also stabbed and wounded two corrections officers. (Co-defendant with Mark Snarr)|
|Hager, Thomas||Black||VA||2007||Convicted of a drug-related murder.|
|Hall, Charles||White||MO||2014||Killed an inmate in a federal prison. (Co-defendant with Wesley Coonce)|
|Hall, Orlando||Black||TX||2007||Abducted, raped, beat, and murdered a 16-year-old female in Ft. Worth. (Co-defendant with Bruce Webster)|
|Higgs, Dustin||Black||MD||2000||Murdered three women after arguing with one of them in his apartment.|
|Holder, Norris||Black||MO||1998||Shot and killed a bank guard during a robbery in St. Louis. (Co-defendant with Billie Jerome Allen)|
|Honken, Dustin||White||IA||2004||Sentenced to death for the muder of two girls, ages 10 and 6 who were witnesses to the murder of their mother; Honken received a life sentence for the mother's murder. (Co-defendant with Angela Johnson)|
|Jackson, Richard Allen||White||NC||2001||Convicted of use of a firearm on federal property (Bend Creek Recreation Area) during a felony resulting in the death of the victim.|
|Johnson, Corey||Black||VA||1993||Sentenced to death for his participation in a series of drug-related murders. (Co-defendant with Richard Tipton & James H. Roane, Jr.)|
|Kadamovas, Jurijus||White||CA||2007||Convicted of murders in a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme targeting Russian immigrants. (Co-defendant with Iouri Mikhel)|
|Lawrence, Daryl||Black||OH||2006||Murdered a police officer during an attempted bank robbery in Columbus.|
|LeCroy, Jr., William||White||GA||2001||Sentenced to death for the carjacking and murder of a North Georgia woman.|
|Lee, Danny||White||AR||2002||Carried out the triple murder of a gun dealer and his family.|
|Lighty, Kenneth||Black||MD||2005||Kidnapped and murdered an alleged PCP dealer and son of a Washington, D.C. police lieutenant.|
|Mikhel, Iouri||White||CA||2007||Took part in murders in a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme targeting Russian immigrants. (Co-defendant with Jurijus Kadamovas)|
|Mikos, Ronald||White||IL||2005||A Chicago podiatrist who shot and killed a former patient to prevent her from testifying in a federal probe of a Medicare fraud scheme.|
|Mitchell, Lezmond||Native American||AZ||2003||Killed a woman and her nine-year-old son after getting a ride from them; stole the car and used it in an armed robbery.|
|Montgomery, Lisa||White (Female)||MO||2007||Kidnapped and killed a woman and stole her unborn baby, claiming the baby was hers.|
|Nelson, Keith D.||White||MO||2002||Convicted of kidnapping a girl from her home in Kansas and murdering her.|
|Ortiz, Arboleda||Latino||MO||2000||Participated in the murder of a drug dealer. (Co-defendant with German Sinistera, who died on death row)|
|Paul, Jeffrey Williams||White||AR||1997||Robbed and murdered a retired National Park employee on federal land.|
|Purkey, Wesley||White||MO||1998||Sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a Kansas City teen.|
|Roane, Jr., James H.||Black||VA||1993||Richmond gang member who participated in a series of drug-related murders. (Co-defendant with Corey Johnson & Richard Tipton)|
|Robinson, Julius||Black||TX||2002||Killed two men in drug-related incidents in Ft. Worth|
|Rodriguez, Jr., Alfonso||Latino||ND||2006||Convicted of the kidnapping and murder of a college student.|
|Roof, Dylann *||White||SC||2017||Killed nine African-American parishioners worshipping at an historic Black church in Charleston. First person capitally prosecuted under the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act.|
|Runyon, David||Asian||VA||2009||Shot and killed a Naval officer in a murder-for-hire plot in Newport News.|
|Sampson, Gary *||White||MA||2003||Pled guilty to the carjacking and murder of two Massachusetts men during a weeklong crime spree. Death sentence overturned in Oct. 2011 as a result of juror misconduct. Reversal upheld by U.S. Court of Appeals for 1st Cir., July 2013. Jury imposed death penalty in re-sentencing hearing In January 2017.|
|Sanchez, Jr., Ricardo||Latino||FL||2009||Murdered two children on the Florida Turnpike in 2006; Also received life sentences for murdering the children's parents. (Co-defendant with Daniel Troya)|
|Sanders, Thomas||White||LA||2014||Kidnapped and murdered a 12-year old girl.|
|Savage, Kaboni||Black||PA||2013||Orchestrated murders of 12 people in relation to drug crimes|
|Snarr, Mark||White||TX||2010||Killed a fellow inmate and stabbed and wounded two corrections officers at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont. (Co-defendant with Edgar Garcia)|
|Taylor, Rejon||Black||TN||2008||Convicted of carjacking, kidnapping, and murdering a businessman from Atlanta, GA.|
|Tipton, Richard||Black||VA||1993||Richmond gang member convicted for his role in a series of drug-related murders. (Co-defendant with Corey Johnson & James H. Roane, Jr.)|
|Torrez, Jorge||Latino||VA||2014||Ex-marine convicted of killing a fellow service member in 2009. Allegedly committed other murders in Illinois. Torrez instructed attorneys not to put on mitigating evidence. Formally sentenced on May 30.|
|Troya, Daniel||Latino||FL||2009||Killed two children, as well as their parents on the Florida Turnpike in 2006 allegedly because of a drug debt. (Co-defendant with Ricardo Sanchez, Jr.)|
|Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar||White||MA||2015||Convicted of 30 counts including murder related to the Boston Marathon bombing (2013). Three victims died in the bombing, and a police officer was killed in an attempt to avoid arrest. A verdict of death was returned by the jury for one of the bombing deaths.|
|Umana, Alejandro||Latino||NC||2010||MS-13 gang member who killed two brothers in a Greensboro restaurant.|
|Vialva, Christopher||Black||TX||2000||Took part in the murder of a couple visiting Texas; Was 19-years-old at the time of his arrest. (Co-defendant with Brandon Bernard)|
|Webster, Bruce||Black||TX||1996||Charged with the abduction, sexual assault, and beating death of a 16-year-old female. (Co-defendant with Orlando Hall)|
|[Wilson, Ronell]||Black||NY||2007||Convicted of the murder of two police officers on Staten Island, NY. Re-sentenced to death in 2013. Sentenced reversed in 2016. Reversal being appealed by DOJ.|
Note: Names in [ ] are defendants whose conviction or death sentence have been reversed by the courts but the reversal is not yet final, or who are awaiting capital retrials or resentencings after an initial conviction or death sentence was overturned. From time to time, this list may include defendants whose cases are marked with an asterisk (*). This indicates that the defendant has received a verdict of death from the jury, but the judge has not yet issued a formal sentence. In the federal system, the judge is obliged to follow a unanimous jury recommendation. (Source: Federal Capital Habeas Project).
Because of different definitions of what constitutes being "on death row," some organizations such as the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel or the Bureau of Justice Statistics, may have a slightly different list of those on death row.
Synopsis of Cases (in chronological order of sentence)
Richard Tipton, Corey Johnson, James H. Roane, Jr. - Members of an inner-city gang in Richmond, VA. These three black defendants were sentenced to death in February 1993 for their participation in a series of drug-related murders.
UPDATE: Execution dates were set for the three co-defendants in May 2006, but the executions were stayed because of a challenge to the lethal injection process. (Roane v. Holder, D.C. Dist. Ct.).
Orlando Hall, Bruce Webster - Black; charged in Fort Worth, Texas with the abduction, sexual assault and beating murder of a 16-year-old black female. Hall was sentenced to death in November 1995. In a separate trial, Webster was sentenced to death in June 1996.
UPDATE: Webster had been scheduled for execution on April 16, 2007. UPDATE: Execution was stayed. Webster had joined the lethal injection challenge filed by other inmates.
Len Davis - Davis, a black New Orleans police officer who was under investigation in a drug conspiracy case, was sentenced to death on two convictions in April 1996 for ordering the murder of a young black woman who witnessed his beating of a witness in an unrelated incident. A co-defendant, Paul Hardy, also black, was the triggerman in the killing. Hardy was also sentenced to death on two convictions in May 1996. The Fifth Circuit reversed the sentences for both defendants and one of the two capital convictions for each defendant. The court ordered a new sentencing hearing for both defendants. UPDATE: A federal jury again recommended a sentence of death for Len Davis on August 9, 2005. A judge will formally impose the sentence at a later date. (Associated Press, Aug. 10, 2005). Hardy is not under a sentence of death.
Anthony Battle - Black inmate incarcerated in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia; history of psychiatric problems; sentenced to death in March 1997 for the murder of a prison guard. An appeal before the Eleventh Circuit is pending.
Jeffrey Paul - White; sentenced to death in June 1997 for the robbery-murder of a retired National Parks employee on federal land in Arkansas. An appeal before the Eighth Circuit is pending.
Aquilia Barnette - Black; convicted of murdering a man in North Carolina in a carjacking and a woman in Virginia, who was his former girlfriend. Sentenced to death by a jury on 2/10/98. The Fourth Circuit reversed his death sentence on 5/4/00. Barnette was re-sentenced to death in 2002. On Oct. 3, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the judgment against Barnette and remanded the case back to the Fourth Circuit in light of the Court's 2005 ruling in Miller-El v. Dretke. UPDATE: The subsequent Batson challenge was denied.
Billie Jerome Allen and Norris Holder- Both black; convicted of the fatal shooting of a bank guard during a robbery in St. Louis, Missouri. Allen was sentenced to death by a jury on Mar. 10, 1998. In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated Allen's death sentence and remanded the case back to the Eighth Circuit for reconsideration in light of the Court's ruling in Ring v. Arizona. Because his federal indictment did not include the aggravating factors necessary to support his death sentence, the 8th Circuit said Allen's sentence should be reduced to life in prison. (February 5, 2004, St. Louis Post-Dispatch). However, in September 2004, the 8th Circuit conducted a rehearing en banc of the earlier decision and reinstated Allen's death sentence. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 3, 2005). Holder was sentenced to death by a jury on April 3, 1998.
Arboleda Ortiz - Hispanic; in May, 2000, a federal jury in Kansas City, Missouri, recommended a death sentence for Ortiz for his role in the murder of a drug dealer. Ortiz and two co-defendants, German Sinisterra and Plutarco Tello, are Colombian nationals. The jury recommended a death sentence for Ortiz and Sinistera, but not for Tello. The judge sentenced the two to death. Sinistera died in prison in 2013.
Christopher Andre' Vialva and Brandon Am Bernard - Black* defendants; a federal jury in Waco, TX, convicted the two in June, 2000, of carjacking and the murder of an Iowa couple visiting central Texas. Both defendants were sentenced to death. Vialva was 19-years-old at the time of his arrest, and Bernard was 18. Four younger teen-agers have also pled guilty to federal charges relating to the crime.
*Mr. Vialva's mother points out that her son is bi-racial, since she is white and Vialva's father is from the West Indies.
Dustin John Higgs - Black; Higgs was convicted in October 2000 of ordering the 1996 murder of three Maryland women after arguing with one of them in his apartment. The triggerman, Willis Mark Haynes, was convicted in May 2000 and sentenced to life plus 45 years in prison. Higgs's case is the third death penalty prosecution in Maryland since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, but marks the first time a jury has imposed the death penalty. Under federal law, the judge is obligated to follow the jury's sentencing determination. (Washington Post, 10/27/00)
Richard Allen Jackson - White; Jackson was convicted in federal court on May 7, 2001 for use of a firearm on federal property (Bend Creek Recreation Area) during a felony resulting in the death of the victim. He was subsequently sentenced to death. Jackson had earlier been convicted in North Carolina state court for offenses arising from the same actions. He was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Karen Lynn Styles in 1994. That conviction was overturned and Jackson later pleaded guilty to second degree murder.
Keith Nelson - White; Nelson was convicted of kidnapping a girl from her Kansas home and murdering her in Missouri. On November 28, 2001 a jury recommended the death penalty for Nelson, and on March 11, 2002, a federal judge imposed the death penalty.
Marvin Gabrion - White; On March 16, 2002, Marvin Gabrion was sentenced to death for a 1997 murder in Michigan's Manistee National Forest. Although Michigan does not have the death penalty, Gabrion was sentenced under the federal system because the victim was killed on federal property. Gabrion's case marks the first federal death sentence imposed on a defendant in a state that does not have the death penalty since the federal death penalty was reinstated. UPDATE: Death sentence overturned by 6th Circuit (Chic. Trib., Aug. 3, 2011) because trial judge did not allow defense to raise issue that Michigan could not sentence Gabrion to death if he had been tried in state court. UPDATE: The 6th Cir. reveiwed the panel's decision and reversed en banc. (Nov. 2011). There are still sentencing issues to be decided.
Julius Robinson - Black; Robinson was sentenced to death on March 18, 2002, for the killings of Juan Reyes in May 1999 and Rudolph Resendez in June 1999 in Fort Worth, Texas. Both men were killed drug related incidents. Robinson was formally sentenced by the trial judge on June 5, 2002.
Daniel Lee - White; convicted in Arkansas in May, 1999 of a triple murder of a gun dealer and his family. Lee was convicted along with Chevie Kehoe in a plot to set up a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest. Kehoe was considered by prosecutors to be the mastermind of the plot, but he was given a life sentence by the same jury. The jury in Lee's case recommended a sentence of death. Lee was formally sentenced to death on May 13, 2002.
Lezmond Mitchell - Native American. Mitchell and his co-defendants (including a juvenile) allegedly got a ride from a woman and her 9 year old granddaughter in Arizona. They killed both victims and stole the car supposedly for use in an armed robbery. Each victim was stabbed at a separate location. The Attorney General required a capital prosecution against Mitchell under a carjacking theory -- although the tribe has not "opted in" to the federal death penalty. Attorney General Ashcroft required a capital prosecution. Mitchell was found guilty on May 20, and sentenced to death on September 15, 2003.
Meier Jason Brown - Black. A U.S. District judge affirmed the recommendation of a jury for a death sentence against Meier Brown on November 8, 2003. Brown was convicted of the November 2002 murder of a 48-year-old white female-- a Fleming, Georgia postal worker-- during a robbery. Brown had agreed to plead guilty in return for a sentence of life without parole in light of Brown's confession, but federal prosecutors sought the death sentence. (Savannah Morning News, November 8, 2003)
Wesley Purkey - White. A jury recommended that Purkey be sentneced to death for the 1998 kidnapping, rape, and murder of a Kansas City, Missouri, teen. While serving life in prison for another 1998 murder in Kansas, Purkey confessed to the Kansas City crime in hopes of being transferred to federal prison. Prosecutors instead chose to seek the death penalty for Purkey under the 1994 federal statute. The judge is required to follow the jury's recommendation. (Kansas City Star, November 19, 2003)
Gary Sampson* - White. Sampson pled guilty to the carjacking and murder of two Massachusetts men during a weeklong crime spree. A jury sentenced Sampson to death on December 23, 2003. Sampson is only the second federal case tried in Massachusetts since the federal government reinstated the federal death penalty in 1988. (Las Vegas Sun, December 23, 2003) Judge Mark L. Wolf sentenced Sampson to death, but ordered that the execution be carried out in New Hampshire, which has not carried out an execution since 1939. (Boston Globe, January 30, 2004). UPDATE: Judge Wolf overturned Sampson's sentence because a juror had made significant misrepresentations during voir dire. (Boston Globe, Oct. 20, 2011).
UPDATE: First Circuit upheld the District Court's reversal of sentence. (July 25, 2013). UPDATE: A jury re-sentenced Sampson to death on one of the two murder charges. The jury did not reach a unanimous verdict on the second charge, which will result in a life sentence. (Associated Press, January 9, 2017)
William LeCroy, Jr. - White. A jury sentenced LeCroy to death in the 2001 carjacking and murder of a North Georgia woman. Attorneys for LeCroy argued that the murder took place inside the victim's house, and thus did not fall under the 1994 federal death penalty statute. The judge is required to follow the jury recommendation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2004)
Alfred Bourgeois - Black. On March 24, 2004 a jury recommended a death sentence for Alfred Bourgeois for the 2002 murder of his daughter at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas, based in part on the testimony of a prisoner housed with Bourgeois. The judge is required to follow the jury's sentencing recommendation. (Department of Justice Press Release, March 24, 2004)
Sherman Lamont Fields - Black. A jury sentenced Fields to death for the shooting death of his girlfriend in 2001. Fields was also sentenced to lengthy prison terms for other charges. An U. S. District Judge formalized the sentence in April 2004, and ordered Fields transferred to Terre Haute, IN. The murder took place during Fields' escape from a detention center in Texas while Fields was being held on a federal weapons charge. (Associated Press, April 8, 2004)
Chadrick Fulks and Branden Basham - Both White. A jury recommended the death sentence for the 2002 kidnapping and murder of a 44-year-old-white South Carolina woman following Fulks' escape from a Kentucky jail. Fulks' codefendant, Branden Basham, was tried in September 2004 for crimes committed during the escape. Fulks is the first federal death conviction in South Carolina. The judge is required to uphold the recommendation and confirm the death sentence. (The State (Columbia, SC), July 1, 2004). On November 2, 2004, a jury recommended a death sentence for Basham for the murder. The judge is required to follow the recommendation of the jury and impose a death sentence. (Associated Press, November 2, 2004).
Shannon Agofsky - White. Agofsky was given a death sentence on July 17, 2004 for the murder of a fellow inmate at the Beaumont Federal Penitentiary in Texas in 2001. The jury was shown a video of the attack that prison officials said was gang-related. Agofsky was originally in prison for a murder that occurred when he was 18. (Associated Press, July 18, 2004).
Dustin Honken - white. On October 27, 2004 a federal jury voted to sentence Honken to death for the murder of two girls in Iowa in 1993. Honken was also given three life sentences: one for the murder of the girls' mother, and two more for the murders of two other adults who were to have testified against Honken in a federal drug case. The children, white girls age 10 and 6, were witnesses to the murder of their mother. The judge is required to uphold the jury's recommendation and impose the death sentence. (Des Moines Register, October 28, 2004). This is the third federal death sentence handed down in a state that does not have the death penalty in its own law. The other two were in Michigan and Massachusetts.
Naish Ra'id (formerly Odell Corley) - Black. On October 29, 2004, a jury recommended a death sentence for Ra'id for the murder of two white bank employees during a robbery attempt at a Porter, Indiana bank in 2002. Ra'id's sentence will be the first one in the history of the Northern District of Indiana federal court system. The judge is required to impose the sentence against Ra'id, who was alleged to be the triggerman in the robbery. Two co-defendants pleaded guilty and were given lesser sentences. (Indiana Herald - Argus, October 29, 2004).
Ronald Mikos - White. On May 23, 2005 a jury recommended a death sentence for this 56-year-old Chicago podiatrist who was convicted of fatally shooting Joyce Brannon, a white former patient, to prevent her from testifying in a federal probe of a Medicare fraud scheme in January 2002. (Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2005). In the federal system, a jury's recommendation for either life without parole or death is binding on the judge.
[Donald Fell] - White. On July 14, 2005, a jury in Vermont recommended a death sentence for Fell, 25, for a carjacking in Vermont and subsequent murder of a woman in New York in 2000. He was convicted of carjacking and kidnapping resulting in death. The woman and her car were seized by Fell and a codefendant as they were fleeing Vermont where Fell's mother and a friend were also killed hours earlier. The co-defendant hanged himself in prison in 2003. Prosecutors had originally arranged a plea bargain for Fell in which he would have been sentenced to life without parole, but the deal was rejected by Attorney General John Ashcroft. This was the first capital trial in Vermont in nearly 50 years. (N.Y. Times, July 15, 2005). Conviction overturned because of juror misconduct. (WCAX News, July 26, 2014).
Edward Fields - White. On July 22, 2005, a jury in the eastern district of Oklahoma recommended a death sentence for Fields, 38, a former prison guard. Fields pleaded guilty to the murder of two white campers in the Ouachita National Forest while wearing his homemade sniper suit. There was some evidence that Fields was mentally ill. A federal judge sentenced him to death on Nov. 8, 2005. (Muskogee Phoenix, July 26, 2005; Associated Press, July 15, 2005).
Kenneth Lighty - Black. On Nov. 10, 2005, a federal jury in Maryland recommended a death sentence for Lighty for the kidnapping and murder of Eric Hayes (black), an alleged PCP dealer and son of a D.C. police lieutentant, in 2001. The kidnapping occurred in Washington, DC and the murder was committed in Maryland. Lighty was convicted on October 21. A co-defendant, James Flood was also found guilty but faces a mandatory life sentence. In April, a 3rd defendant, Lorenzo Wilson, was convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and faces a life sentence.
Kenneth Barrett - White. On Nov. 18, 2005, a federal jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma, recommended a death sentence for Barrett for the murder of a white police officer, David Eales, on Sept. 24, 1999. The death sentence was for intentionally killing a state law enforcement officer during a drug crime and during the officer's performance of his official duties. Another officer was wounded. Barrett had already been convicted of first-degree manslaughter in state court for the murder of Eales, and he was given a 20-year sentence, followed by 10 years for the wounding. (Muskogee Phoenix, Nov. 21, 2005).
Robert Bolden - Black. On May 23, 2006, a federal jury in St. Louis, Missouri, recommended a death sentence for Bolden for the murder of a white bank security guard, Nathan Ley, during an attempted robbery in St. Louis in 2002. Two accomplices pleaded guilty to attempted bank robbery. The formal sentencing will take place on August 25. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 23, 2006). Bolden is a Canadian citizen.
Daryl Lawrence - Black. Convicted on Feb. 28, 2006 of the murder of a police officer, Bryan Hurst, during an attempted bank robbery in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 6, 2005. Lawrence was also convicted of other bank robberies in Ohio. A jury recommended a sentence of death on Mar. 10, 2006. (Press Release, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern Dist. of OH, Mar. 10, 2006). His death sentence was overturned by the trial judge (e-mail from Diane Menashe, Counsel for Daryl Lawrence, on July 3, 2007). That decision was reversed by the 6th Circuit in 2009, reinstating his death sentence.
Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr. - Hispanic. Convicted on August 30, 2006, of the murder of a college student, Dru Sjodin. Sjodin was kidnapped from North Dakota and her body was found in Minnesota. A jury in North Dakota recommended a death sentence on September 22. The judge formally sentenced Rodriguez to death on Feb. 8, 2007. North Dakota does not have a state death penalty and has not had an execution since 1905. The judge chose South Dakota as the place of execution. South Dakota utilizes lethal injection for executions, though none has been carried out. South Dakota's execution process is being reviewed by the legislature. The U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Rodriguez, Drew Wrigley, commented about the state's distaste for the death penalty: "It's just not part of the culture up here really at all. We live in the safest state in the the union." (Associated Press, Sept. 22, 2006; N.Y. Times, Feb. 9, 2007).
Jurijus Kadamovas and Iouri Mikhel - White. In Los Angeles, a federal jury recommended the death penalty on Feb. 13, 2007 for two men convicted of murders in a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme targeting Russian immigrants. Prosecutors said the two men kidnapped affluent Russian immigrants from Los Angeles in late 2001 and early 2002 and attempted to extort money from their families and friends. Three co-conspirators pleaded guilty and testified at the trial for the government. The judge has scheduled formal sentencing on March 12. (Associated Press, Feb. 13, 2007). UPDATE: The judge pronounced the death sentence for Kadamovas on March 12 and was scheduled to pronounce the death sentence for Mikhel on the same day. (CBS News, Mar. 12, 2007).
[Ronell Wilson] - Black. This was the first federal death sentence handed down in New York since 1954. Wilson, 24, was convicted of killing two undercover police detectives in Staten Island in 2003. The jury recommended a sentence of death on January 30, 2007. The judge issued the formal sentence at a later date. (Associated Press, February 1, 2007). UPDATE: Wilson was formally sentenced to death in U.S. District Court on Mar. 29, 2007. UPDATE: In June 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned Wilson's death sentence because the prosecutor had made arguments in the sentencing phase of the trial that interfered with Wilson's rights to remain silent and have a trial. The government decided not to seek Supreme Court review of the 2d Circuit opinion. UPDATE: A District Court held on Feb. 7, 2013 that Wilson was not exempt from the death penalty because of mental retardation, and hence can be re-sentenced to death. UPDATE: On July 24, 2013, a jury in Brooklyn, NY, unanimously voted to resentence Wilson to death. The trial judge formally imposed the death sentence on Sept. 10. UPDATE: On Mar. 15, 2016, the District Court reviewing Wilson's sentence found that he was intellectually disabled in light of the Supreme Court's recent opinion in Hall v. Florida (requiring consideration of deficits in adaptive functioning along with IQ). DOJ said it would appeal the reversal.
Carlos Caro - Latino. A jury in the Western District of Virginia recommended a death sentence for Caro on Feb. 13, 2007 for the murder of his cellmate, Robert Sandoval. Caro was serving a 30-year sentence for drug offenses. Both Caro and Sandoval were reportedly members of a prison gang called the Texas Syndicate. The murder occurred in 2003. A judge will still have to pronounce the formal sentence at a later date. (Roanoke Times, Feb. 14, 2007). UPDATE: Caro was formally sentenced to death in District Court on March 30, 2007.
Lisa Montgomery - White/Female. On Oct. 26, 2007, a jury in Kansas City, Missouri recommended a death sentence for Montgomery following her conviction for kidnapping and killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett, also white, and stealing her unborn baby. Montgomery took the baby with her to Kansas and claimed the baby was her child. (Kansas City Star, Oct. 26, 2007). Formal sentencing will occur later, but the judge is required to follow the jury's recommendation. Montgomery will be the third woman on the federal death row. UPDATE: Montgomery is to be formally sentenced to death on April 4, 2008 in U.S. District Court. (Topeka Capital-Journal, Apr. 3, 2008).
Thomas Hager - Black. On Nov. 1, 2007, a jury in Alexandria, Virginia recommended a death sentence for Hager, 34, after deliberating for 2 days. Hager was convicted of the drug-related murder of Barbara White committed in 1993. Prosecutors said that Hager killed White because she had learned of the safe house where he was staying. Two associates of Hager who were also responsible for White's murder received life sentences and testified against him. The defendant grew up in a poor area of Southeast Washington, DC, and both of his parents were drug addicts who neglected and abused their children. (Associated Press (Va. Daily Press), Nov. 1, 2007). The judge immediately imposed the death sentence on Hager.
Joseph Duncan - White. On Aug. 27, 2008, a jury in Idaho returned a unanimous verdict for a death sentence for Duncan after deliberating for 3 hours. Duncan had pleaded guilty to ten federal charges, including the murder and kidnapping of a young boy and the kidnapping of a young girl in May 2005. He insisted on defending himself, and offered no mitigating evidence and no closing argument in the sentencing trial. (KNDO/KNDU Web site, NBC affiliates; also AP, Aug. 27, 2008). The judge is required to follow the jury's verdict.
Rejon Taylor - Black. On Oct. 21, 2008, a jury in Chattanooga, Tennessee recommended a death sentence for Taylor after convicting him of murder, kidnapping and carjacking. The victim was Guy Luck, a white businessman who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. He was brought across state lines and murdered in Tennessee. Taylor's attorney said he was very confident that the verdict would be overturned on appeal. The judge indicated that formal sentencing would take place in about a month. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Oct. 22, 2008).
Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez, Jr. - Both Latino. On Mar. 31, 2009, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, recommended a death sentence for Troya and Sanchez for the murder of two children on the Florida Turnpike in 2006. The defendants also were convicted of murdering the children's parents and received life sentences for that crime. All the victims were Hispanic. The father of the children was allegedly killed because of a drug debt. The reputed kingpin of the drug operation did not receive a death sentence. The judge is required to follow the jury's recommendation in imposing the formal sentence. (South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 1, 2009). On May 13, 2009 both Troya and Sanchez were formally sentenced to death.
Joseph Ebron - Black. On May 11, 2009, a jury convicted Ebron of the 2005 murder of Keith Davis, also black, in a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas. The District Court judge followed the jury's recommendation and condemned Ebron to death on May 18. Both defendant and victim were said to be members of a Washington, D.C. gang. Ebron is 30 years old and has been incarcerated for most of his life since he was 15. (Beaumont Enterprise, May 19, 2009).
David Runyon - Asian. On August 27, 2009, a jury in Norfolk, Virginia, unanimously recommended a death sentence for Runyon for the murder of Cory Allen Voss, a white Naval officer, in Newport News in 2007. Runyon, a former soldier, was convicted of shooting Voss in a murder-for-hire plot organized by Voss's wife, Catherina Voss, and her boyfriend, Michael Draven. The federal government did not seek the death penalty against the other two defendants. Catherina Voss pled guilty and received a life sentence. Draven was found guilty and faces a life sentence. Catherina hired Runyon to kill her husband in the hope of being the beneficiary of a $500,000 life insurance policy. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith will formally sentence Runyon in December. (Daily Press, Aug. 27, 2009).
Alejandro Umana -Latino. On April 28, 2010, a jury in Charlotte, NC, unanimously recommended a death sentence for Umana, who was reputed to be a member of the gang MS-13. He was found guilty of killing 2 brothers in a Greensboro restaurant in 2007. Both victims were Latino. Umana was one of 26 suspected MS-13 gang members indicted in Charlotte in 2008. Chief U.S. District Judge Bob Conrad is required to follow the jurors' recommendation and impose the death penalty. (Charlotte Observer, Apri 29, 2010). Umana was formally sentenced to death on July 27, 2010.
Mark Snarr (White) and Edgar Garcia (Latino) - On May 24, 2010, a jury in Beaumont, Texas, recommended death sentences for these two federal prison inmates for the murder of a fellow inmate, Gabriel Rhone. They also stabbed and wounded 2 corrections officers. They were convicted on May 7, 2010, of the murder that occurred in the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont. Both inmates were serving lengthy sentences for drug trafficking. (AOL News, May 24, 2010). According to the FBI, the presiding judge sentenced the defendants to death on the same day.
Azibo Aquart (Black) - On June 15, 2011, a jury in New Haven, Connecticut, recommended a death sentence for Aquart's role in a 2005 triple murder of multiple alleged rivals in the drug business by leaders of a Jamaican drug gang. All victims were black. Azikiwe Aquart (Azibo's brother) is also facing capital prosecution in the offense. A third co-defendant who is cooperating with the government will not face the death penalty. The judge has given the defense 2 weeks to file motions on why the verdict should be set aside before pronouncing sentence. (CT Post, June 15, 2011). UPDATE: A federal judge formally sentenced Aquart to death on Dec. 17, 2012. His brother was sentenced to life earlier. Aquart is the first person in Connecticut history to receive the federal death penalty. (CT Post, Dec. 18, 2012).
Kaboni Savage (Black) - On May 31, 2013, a jury in Pennsylvania recommended the death penalty for each of 12 murders Savage committed or directed between 1988 and 2004, plus an additional death sentence related to witness retaliation. The murder victims were government witnesses, their relatives, and rivals in Savage's drug operation. A federal judge officially imposed 13 death sentences on June 3, 2013. (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 3, 2013).
Jorge Torrez (Latino) - On April 24, 2014, a jury in Virginia recommended the death penalty for this ex-marine convicted of killing a fellow service member in 2009. Torrez allegedly committed other murders in Illinois. He instructed his attorneys not to put on mitigating evidence. (Associated Press, Apr. 24, 2014). UPDATE: Torrez was formally sentenced to death by the judge on May 30, 2014.
Charles Hall (White) and Wesley Coonce (White) received jury verdicts of death on June 2, 2014, for the murder of an Hispanic inmate in a federal prison in Missouri.
Thomas Sanders (White) received a jury verdict of death on Sept. 26, 2014, for the kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Louisiana in 2010. Sanders also killed the girl's mother earlier in Arizona.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (White) Convicted of 30 counts including murder related to the Boston (Mass.) Marathon bombing (2013). Three victims died in the bombing, hundreds were wounded, and a police officer was killed in an attempt to avoid arrest. A death verdict was returned by the jury on May 15, 2015, for one of the bombing deaths. Formal sentencing occurred on June 24, 2015.
Dylann Roof (White) was sentenced to death by a jury on January 10, 2017 for the race-related murders of nine parishioners at an historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Formal sentencing is pending.
John McCullah - White; sentenced to death for a drug-related kidnap/murder of a Muskogee, Oklahoma auto dealership employee. The 10th Circuit granted McCullah a new penalty hearing in 1996, and in February, 2000, McCullah was resentenced to life in prison.
David Ronald Chandler- White, marijuana grower in Alabama; sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder for hire of a white male under the drug kingpin statute. Most of the government's witnesses, including the triggerman in the killing, have now recanted their testimony. The Eleventh Circuit overturned his death sentence in October, 1999 because of ineffectiveness of counsel. In December, 1999, the Court voted to rehear the case en banc, and by a 6-5 vote re-affirmed his death sentence. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was filed. Sentence commuted to life by President Clinton on January 20, 2001.
Boutaem Chanthadara - Asian; sentenced to death in October 1996 for the armed robbery/murder of the female proprietor of a Chinese restaurant in Wichita, Kansas. In November, 2000, the 10th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned Chanthadara's death sentence and remanded his case for a new sentencing hearing. At resentencing, Chanthadara was sentenced to life in April 2002.
Paul Hardy - black, was the triggerman in a killing in New Orleans along with a co-defendant Len Davis. Hardy and Davis were sentenced to death on two convictions in May 1996. The Fifth Circuit reversed the sentences for both defendants and one of the two capital convictions for each defendant. The court ordered a new sentencing hearing for both defendants. Hardy is no longer under a sentence of death. UPDATE: U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan, who sentenced Hardy and Davis to death after their trial in 1996, found that Hardy is not eligible for death under a 2002 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the execution of the intellectually disabled. (WWL-TV News, Jan. 15, 2011). The U.S. Attorney's office is planning to appeal Judge Berrigan's decision regarding Hardy. Davis was resentenced to death.
Richard Thomas Stitt -Black; convicted of ordering the murder of three people in Norfolk, Virginia. He was sentenced to death by a jury in November 1998 after a joint trial with three codefendants, who did not face the death penalty. Stitt's death sentence was overturned by a federal District Court judge in April 2005 because of ineffectiveness of counsel. In March 2006, the District Court was unanimously upheld by the 4th Circuit, finding that Stitt's attorney did not render effective assistance because of a conflict of interest. (Associated Press, Mar. 25, 2006). UPDATE: The federal District Court ruled that Stitt's sentence should be reduced to life plus 65 years. The prosecution had requested a new sentencing jury. The government may appeal this ruling. (Virginian Pilot, June 17, 2007). UPDATE: The 4th Circuit overturned the District Court's sentence and allowed the government to conduct a new sentencing hearing. Attorney General Eric Holder approved the seeking of the death penalty at the new sentencing trial. (Virginian Pilot, Oct. 27, 2009). UPDATE: The government announced that it would no longer seek the death penalty against Stitt. (Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 20, 2010).
Darryl Alamont Johnson - Black; convicted of ordering the murder of two informants in Illinois in connection with the Gangster Disciples drug conspiracy cases. Sentenced to death on November 17, 1997. His co-defendant was sentenced to life in prison. UPDATE: A federal District Court in Illinois overturned Johnson's death sentence in Dec. 2010 because jurors were not given sufficient information about the conditions of confinement should they have chosen a life sentence. In 2011, the government decided not to appeal this decision, removing him from death row. UPDATE: On April 9, 2013, Johnson was sentenced to life without parole in District Court. The judge remarked that he was changed man since his conviction 16 years ago. (Business wire, Apr. 11, 2013).
German Sinistera - Hispanic; in May, 2000, a federal jury in Kansas City, Missouri, recommended a death sentence for Sinistera of Houston, Texas, for his role as triggerman in the murder of a drug dealer. Sinistera was a citizen of Colombia. He was convicted along with two co-defendants, Arboleda Ortiz and Plutarco Tello, who are also Colombian nationals. The jury also recommended a death sentence for Ortiz, but not for Tello. The judge sentenced Sinistera and Ortiz to death. In March 2013, Sinistera died in prison.
David Lee Jackson - Black. Case: E.D. TX CR No. 1:05-CR-51 B Jackson was convicted and sentenced to die in the Eastern District of Texas for the 1999 killing of an inmate at the federal prison in Beaumont, Texas. A jury recommended that he receive a death sentence on Nov. 13, 2006. He was formally sentenced on Dec. 15, 2006. Jackson had been incarcerated for a weapons violation. His co-defendant, Arzell Gully, was in prison for drug trafficking. Both were sent to the high security federal prison in Florence, Colorado, after the homicide. Gully did not face the death penalty. Jackson and Gully are black men, as was the victim. (Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel). UPDATE: Jackson's death sentence was vacated in District Court on March 25, 2013 and he was sentenced to life without parole on March 26, 2013. (Federal Capital Habeas Project).
David Paul Hammer - White; convicted after killing a federal prison inmate at the federal penitentiary at Allenwood, PA where Hammer was serving a 1200+ year Oklahoma state sentence. Sentenced to death on July 24, 1998. The third Circuit allowed him to waive his appeal and an execution date of Nov. 15, 2000 was set. Hammer then filed a clemency petition and a request to appeal. The judge stayed his execution date, giving him until Jan. 31, 2001 to file an appeal. Hammer's death sentence was overturned by a federal District Court judge because the prosecution had withheld statements that might have led to a differenct sentence. (Associated Press, Dec. 27, 2005). UPDATE: On July 17, 2014, a federal District Court judge in Philadelphia rendered a sentence of life without parole after a three-week penalty hearing.
Angela Johnson - White; On June 21, 2005, a federal jury in Iowa recommended a death sentence for Angela Johnson (co-defendant with Dustin Honken) for her role in aiding drug kingpin Honken in 4 of the 5 murders he committed. If the sentence had been carried out, she would have been the first woman executed by the U.S. government since Bonnie Brown in December 1953. UPDATE: Johnson's death sentence overturned by Dist. Ct. because of ineffectiveness of counsel on Mar. 22, 2012. UPDATE: DOJ announced in mid-June 2012 that it will again seek the death penalty against Johnson. UPDATE: On Dec. 17, 2014, DOJ announced that it will no longer seek the death penalty against Johnson (Assoc. Press, Dec. 17, 2014).
Jury Verdict for Death but No Formal Sentence
George Lecco and Valerie Friend (female) - Both White. On May 29, 2007, a jury in Charleston, West Virginia, recommended death sentences for both defendants for the murder of Carla Collins in order to protect their drug ring. Prosecutors maintained that Lecco arranged to have Collins killed and that Friend did the shooting in 2005. These were the first federal death vericts in West Virginia since the federal law was reinstated in 1988. (Charleston Daily Mail, May 29, 2007). UPDATE: Prior to formal sentencing by the judge, Lecco and Friend's convictions were overturned by a federal District Court in May 2009 because a juror at the trial, William Griffith, did not reveal that he was under investigation for allegedly possessing child pornography by the same U.S. Attorney’s Office that was prosecuting Lecco and Friend. (Williamson Daily News, May 7, 2009). A new trial date of Oct. 27, 2009 was set for Friend and the prosecution said it intended to seek the death penalty. UPDATE: Valerie Friend pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2009 to a number of charges, including the murdeer of Collins. In exchange for her plea and cooperation against her co-defendant, she was sentenced to life in prison. (Assoc. Press, Oct. 1, 2009). UPDATE: On May 3, 2010, a federal jury chose not to sentence Lecco to death after finding him guilty. He was sentenced to life without parole. (Charleston Gazette, May 3, 2010).
John Wayne Johnson- Black. On May 27, 2009, a jury in New Orleans, Louisiana, unanimously recommended a death sentence for Johnson for the murder of an off-duty sheriff's deputy working as a guard during a bank robbery. There were two other accomplices in the 2004 robbery in which officer Sidney Zaffuto was killed. Johnson admitted he shot Zaffuto, but said it was unintentional. The jury found him guilty on May 19. Johnson's attorneys planned to appeal on several grounds, including an assertion that the federal death penalty is being employed unconstitutionally in New Orleans because all 42 defendants indicted on capital offenses were either black or Hispanic. (Times-Picayune, May 27, 2009). UPDATE: The District Court judge delayed formal sentencing until Feb. 3, 2010 to allow more time for a challenge to the trial. UPDATE: Prior to formal sentencing, the District Court vacated Johnson's death verdict and remanded the case for a new penalty hearing because of admission of improper victim-impact evidence; a discovery violation related to this victim-impact evidence; introduction of an unadjudicated murder which the jury found was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and; improper government argument in the penalty phase which (a) compared worth of defendant and victim, (b) compared conditions of a life sentence to the permanency of the victim's death, and (c) pressured the jury into believing that a life sentence would be a capitulation. (Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel, May 18, 2010). UPDATE: The U.S. Attorney moved to dismiss its appeal of the District Court order vacating Johnson's death verdict on Mar. 29, 2011 and that motion was granted. Authorization to seek death was withdrawn.Sentence to death and executed
Timothy McVeigh - White; sentenced to death in June 1997 for the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. The United States Supreme Court denied review on March 8, 1999. McVeigh was scheduled for execution on May 16, 2001 but was granted a 30 day stay by Attorney General John Ashcroft after it was discovered that the FBI did not disclose over 3,000 pages of document to McVeigh's defense team. McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001. McVeigh's co-defendant, Terry Nichols, was found guilty in a separate trial by the federal government and given a life sentence. Nichols was later tried by the state of Oklahoma for the murder of the 161 non-federal employees in Oklahoma City, found guilty, and again sentenced to life in prison.
Juan Raul Garza - Hispanic; marijuana distributor. Garza was sentenced to death in August 1993 in Texas for the murders of three other drug traffickers. Garza was denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in late 1999 and was facing an execution date of August 5, 2000. The date was postponed until the Justice Department finished drafting guidelines for federal death row inmates seeking presidential clemency, which were issued in early August. Garza was offered the opportunity to apply for clemency under the new guidelines and a new execution date of Dec. 12, 2000 was set. In December, 2000, President Clinton again delayed Garza's execution for at least six months to allow further study of the fairness of the federal death penalty. Garza was executed on June 19, 2001.
Louis Jones - Black; sentenced to death in November 1995 in Texas for the kidnap/murder of a young white female soldier. The United States Supreme Court granted review of the case and heard arguments on February 22, 1999. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction on June 21, 1999. Jones, a decorated Gulf War veteran who had no prior criminal record, claimed that his exposure to nerve gas in Iraq and post-traumatic stress from his combat tours contributed to his murder of Pvt. Tracie Joy McBride in Texas. President Bush refused Jones' clemency request. Jones was executed on March 18, 2003.
*Because of different definitions of what constitutes being "on death row," some organizations such as the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel or the Bureau of Justice Statistics, may have a slightly different list of those on death row. Names in [ ] are defendants whose court ordered conviction or sentence have been reversed but where a death sentence is still possible. This list may also include inmates who have received a verdict of death from the jury, but in which the judge has not yet issued the formal sentence. These cases are marked with an asterisk (*).
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