Information on Defendants Who Were Executed Since 1976 and Designated as "Volunteers"

The following is a list of execution "volunteers," i.e. those who continued to waive at least part of their ordinary appeals at the time of their execution. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 through to the date below, 141 defendants have been volunteers.

Death Penalty Information Center 
July 29, 2013

Defendant 

Year of Execution 

State 

Indication of Volunteer Status from News Article* 

Andrew Lackey

2013

AL

 "(Lackey) had previously dropped his appeals and court records show he did nothing recently to try to block the execution from being carried out."

Robert Gleason

2013

VA

"Gleason already is serving a life sentence for killing another man. He fired his lawyers last month — they were trying to work out a deal to keep him from getting the death penalty — so he could plead guilty to capital murder. He's vowed not to appeal his sentence if the judge sentences him to death."

Eric Robert

2012

SD

 "He pleaded guilty to Johnson's slaying and asked to be sentenced to death, telling a judge last October that he would otherwise kill again. He never appealed his sentence and even tried to bypass a mandatory state review in hopes of expediting his death."

Shannon Johnson

2012

DE

"Ever since Johnson was found guilty in 2008 of the murder of Cameron Hamlin, he has told any attorney, court or jury that would listen to hurry up and put him to death."

Christopher Johnson

2011

AL

 "After he was sentenced to death, he refused to pursue appeals in his case, and filed court papers in May saying he didn’t want anyone to go to court on his behalf."

Jeffrey Motts

2011

SC

"Motts abandoned all his appeals and volunteered for the death chamber."

Gerald Bordelon

2010

LA

 

Jack Trawick 

2009 

AL 

“No legal efforts made to stop his execution.” Asked Circuit Judge to be sentenced to death. 

David Martinez 

2009 

TX 

“Martinez won permission from the courts to stop appeals attempting to spare his life” 

Marco Allen Chapman 

2008 

KY 

“Resisted all appeals to stop his execution […] fought to fire his attorney to clear the way.” 

Michael Rodriguez

2008

TX

 

David Mark Hill 

2008 

SC 

“Convicted in 1996; asked South Carolina to drop his appeals.” The court approved. 

Daryl Holton 

2007 

TN 

Execution was delayed by a 90-day moratorium, but “for the most part, Holton refused to file appeals.”  

Elijah Page 

2007 

SD 

“Gave up appeals and asked Judge to be sentenced to death.”  

Christopher Newton 

2007 

OH 

“Insisted on the death penalty and made no attempt to appeal […]Newton wanted to die.” 

Robert Charles Comer 

2007 

AZ 

“Fought for seven years to drop his appeals and be allowed to die […]fought since 2000 to prove competency.” 

Christopher Swift 

2007 

TX 

“Spurned all appeals; according to attorney “Receiving the death penalty is what he wanted form day one.” 

David Dawson 

2006 

MT 

In 2004, “Dawson fired his attorneys and asked to die, fighting all appeals on his behalf.” State District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock rejected all appeals noting that Dawson had specifically asked them all to be dropped.  

Darrell Ferguson 

2006 

OH 

“He asked for the death penalty and chose not to pursue appeals, which could have delayed his execution for years.” 

William Downs 

2006 

SC 

“Downs, who did not pursue any appeals, pleaded guilty to the crimes in 2002. Before he was sentenced to death, Downs told Circuit Judge Casey Manning he deserved to die.” 

Rocky Barton 

2006 

OH 

“Barton has been on death row for less than three years […] he is the fifth volunteer to waive his rights to appeal.” 

Daryl Mack 

2006 

NV 

 “Mack had said in court statements that he’d rather be executed than spend the rest of his life locked up on death row […] he is the 11th condemned prisoner in the state to voluntarily give up available appeals.”

Arthur Hastings Wise 

2005 

SC 

“Wise never disputed his guilt and refused to let witnesses testify for him […] he then dropped his appeals and asked the state to execute him.” 

Herman Ashworth 

2005 

OH 

“Ashworth became the fourth death row inmate in Ohio since 1999 to drop his appeals to speed his death sentence […] he refused to try any appeals.” 

Kevin Conner 

2005 

IN 

“Connor had wanted no protests, no efforts to save his life, and told Gov. Mitch Daniels that “killing a person is far more honest and humane than imposed repression under the guise of justice in the penal system.” 

Alexander Martinez  

2005 

TX 

“As the execution date loomed, Martinez instructed his defense attorney, Houston lawyer, Pat McCann, no to file any appeals to delay his death.” 

Michael Ross 

2005 

CT 

“Michael Ross sought death despite having years of appeals still available to him. Though Ross was adamant that he be allowed to give up his appeals, he had to persuade several judges that he was competent to do so.  

Mario Centobie 

2005 

AL 

“Puzone, a federal public defender, tried to get a court order blocking the execution. A final appeal was denied Thursday by the Supreme Court. Centobie opposed Puzone’s efforts, saying he was sane but preferred death over life in prison.  

Glen Ocha 

2005 

FL 

“Ocha would not let a public defender present evidence to avoid execution. After the state Supreme Court affirmed his conviction in 2002, Ocha filed a motion to drop his appeals and dismiss his lawyers.                    

James Porter 

2005 

TX 

Porter “spurned appeals and voluntarily went to the Texas death chamber […] Porter never wavered from his desire to die.” 

Charles Roache 

2004 

NC 

“After one mandatory appeal, Roache gave up years’ worth of further possible appeals and told the to go ahead and kill him. He said it was to show his remorse and try to make up for his crimes.” 

Peter Miniel 

2004 

TX 

“Minel exhausted his appeals in the 1990s. Officials with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles said that Miniel had not sought a reprieve.”  

David Kevin Hocker 

2004 

AL 

“Hocker, a mentally ill 33-year-old, refused to fight his 1998 capital murder conviction. Hocker’s death marks the first time someone has been executed by the state without Alabama Supreme Court reviewing the case, but Hocker resisted attorneys’ efforts to save his life.  

James Hudson 

2004 

VA 

 “Hudson never challenged his death sentence and refused to let his lawyers file appeals. Hudson pleaded guilty to capital murder.”

Terry Jess Dennis 

2004 

NV 

‘Dennis was a volunteer, meaning an inmate sentenced to death who refused to try to appeal his case. He told court officials at one hearing: “Death is preferable to another 15-20 years in prison.” 

Scott Mink 

2004 

OH 

“After pleading guilty to charges of aggravated murder in 2001, Mink asked a three-judge panel in Montgomery County to sentence him to death.” He later appealed, but the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the death sentence. 

Stephen Vrabel  

2004 

OH 

“Vrabel, who confessed to the killings, voluntarily dropped appeals on his two murder convictions to speed his execution […] The Ohio Supreme Court upheld Vrabel’s death sentence by a 4-3 vote.” 

John Blackwelder 

2004 

FL 

“After his death sentence was affirmed by the Supreme Court last year, Blackwelder waived his appeals and made no secret of his desire to die.” 

Lawrence Colwell Jr. 

2004 

NV 

“Colwell said he wanted no more appeals […] refusing to seek a stay from a federal judge who said he would stop the execution if Cowell asked.”  

Ynobe Matthews 

2004 

TX 

“Matthews, who had been on death row since June 2001, waived appeals and asked that his execution be carried out.”  

John Clayton Smith 

2003 

MO 

“His push to halt appeals of his sentence dated to at least mid-2001 […] Smith waived his appeals and said he had wanted to die.”  

Larry Hayes 

2003 

TX 

“Hayes expedited his execution by waiving his appeals […] Hayes said he did not want to appeal his case because he wanted to atone for his crime.” 

Paul Hill 

2003 

FL 

“Since losing his automatic appeals, Hill has not fought his execution, and insisted on death.” 

Newton Slawson 

2003 

FL 

“After eight years on death row, Slawson asked to end his legal appeals, telling a judge, “there simply comes a time when death is a release, not a punishment.” 

Aileen Wournos 

2002 

FL 

“Wournos dropped all appeals” 

 

Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco 

2002 

FL 

“”Velasco, 43, had been declrred competent to make that decision [drop his appeals] and was sentenced to death following a psychiatric evaluation.” 

Michael Passaro 

2002 

SC 

“The 40-year old inmate could have stopped his execution any time because he has never appealed his sentence […] Passaro personally appeared before the State Supreme Court, asking them to let him go to his death without a judge ever reviewing the case.” 

Earl Alexander Frederick, Sr. 

2002 

OK 

“Fredrick told the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office he wanted to waive appeals to his sentence.” 

Lynda Lyon Block 

2002 

AL 

“Block declined to pursue final appeals late Thursday, claiming the courts were corrupt and lacked jurisdiction in her case.” 

Daniel Zirkle 

2002 

VA 

“Zirkle did not appeal his sentence […] and asked for the death sentence at both his trials. He also refused to let his attorneys present mitigating evidence.” 

James Earl Patterson 

2002 

VA 

“Patterson asked his lawyers not to appeal or request clemency, pleading guilt and asking to be sentenced t death.” 

Terry Clark 

2001 

NM 

“Clark, who decided in March to end his appeals, changed his mind more than once about whether he wanted to die. Against the wishes of his lawyers, who argued that he was incompetent and mentally ill, Clark asked a judge to go ahead with his execution.” 

James Elledge 

2001 

WA 

“Elledge took no legal steps to prevent his execution and had told his lawyer not to put on a defense during the penalty phase of his trial.” 

Timothy McVeigh 

2001 

FED

McVeigh dropped his remaining appeals. 

Clay King Smith 

2001 

AR 

“Smith said he wouldn’t appeal his sentence because it would bring more torment to the families of his five victims. Smith had not filed any appeals with the federal court and did not as Gov. Mike Huckabee for clemency.” 

Sebastian Bridges 

2001 

NV 

“Bridges had declined to appeal his death sentences through the courts. No attempt was made to seek a pardon because Bridges did not want to spend the rest of his life in prison.” 

Ronald Fluke 

2001 

OK 

“Over the objections of public defenders, the former safety consultant was deemed mentally competent to plead guilty and not fight his death sentence.” 

Robert Lee Massie 

2001 

CA 

“Massie, who had spent 21 years seeking to overturn his convictions, formally dropped his appeals last year to protest what he called the snail’s pace of the California death penalty system.”  

Gerald Bivins 

2001 

IN 

“Bivins declined to exhaust his appeals, saying he was tired of prison life and frustrated.” The Governor refused to intervene because Bivins had abandoned his appeals. 

Thomas Akers 

2001 

VA 

“An appeal filed by his lawyers—over Akers’ objections—was rejected by the US Supreme Court. His lawyers contended that Akers, who is retarded, was suicidal, mentally ill and incompetent. 

Floyd Medlock 

2001 

OK 

“Medlock turned himself in and later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Medlock did not request a clemency hearing and filed no emergency appeals to try and stop his execution.” 

Edward Castro  

2000 

FL 

“Castro confessed to the murder.” 

Dan Hauser 

2000 

FL 

“Hauser confessed to the killing and provided prosecutors with gruesome details. Throughout his appeal, Hauser repeatedly asked state officials to carry out his death sentence.” 

Pernell Ford 

2000 

AL 

“Ford dropped his appeals and fired his defense attorney LaJuana Davis in 1997. A federal appeals court ruled that Ford was competent to drop his appeals and fire his attorney.” 

Christina Riggs 

2000 

AR 

“At her 19998 trial, Ms. Riggs asked jurors to sentence her to death. Initially, Ms. Riggs pursued appeal of her death sentence, but she soon withdrew it.” 

James Hampton 

2000 

MO 

“Hampton did not seek clemency from Gov. Mel Carnahan […] refusing for years to appeal his case amid claims that a gunshot wound had affected his judgment.” 

Robert Atworth 

1999 

TX 

“Atworth had asked that no appeals be made on his behalf and that he be executed. My Atworth wrote the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, saying he wanted to waive all appeals.” 

Joseph Parsons 

1999 

UT 

After twelve years on death row “Parsons demanded that appeals of his death sentence be dropped.” 

Richard Wayne Smith 

1999 

TX 

“Smith dropped all appeals to his conviction for Bay town murder of Karen Birky, allowing the state to execute him instead of waiting to die from advancing hepatitis C.” 

Alan Willett 

1999 

AR 

“Willett waived his court appeals and asked that his execution be carried out.” 

Gary Heidnick 

1999 

PA 

“Heidnik had declined to pursue any appeals since he was sentenced in 1988. His lawyers pressed appeals in federal court contending that it was illegal to execute him because he was not mentally competent.” 

Charles Tuttle 

1999 

TX 

“Tuttle refused to allow his attorneys to file appeals on his behalf.” 

Edward Lee Harper 

1999 

KY 

“Harper wanted to be execute rather than face life in prison for the shooting deaths of his parents. He told a judge that he wanted to drop further appeals and fire his court-appointed lawyers.  

Aaron Foust 

1999 

TX 

“Foust demanded that no legal appeals be filed on his behalf, clearing the way for his execution.” 

Eric Payne  

1999 

VA 

“Payne was apparently one of just two Virginia men in modern times not to fight the death sentences with appeals.” 

Alavro Calambro 

1999 

NV 

“Calambro refused to file his own appeal.” 

 

 

James Rich 

1999 

NC 

“Rich pleaded guilty to stabbing Paul Gwyn at the Eastern Correctional Institution in 1994. Rich fired appeals lawyers and asked to be executed, and represented himself at trial.  

 

Wilford Berry 

1999 

OH 

“Mr. Berry campaigned for the sentence […] because he insisted that the sentence not be appealed.”  

Jeremy Sagastegui 

1998 

WA 

“Sagastegui acted as his own lawyer, never presented a defense, never introduced any witnesses on his behalf. He pleaded guilty and waived his right to appeal.” The Supreme Court held that he was competent to waive his rights. 

Roderick Abeyta 

1998 

NV 

“Abeyta had written to a judge to say he wanted to be executed. Abeyta chose to proceed with his execution rather than fight his sentence in the courts.” 

Stephen Wood 

1998 

Ok 

“Wood chose to waive his remaining appeals. At his competency hearing, Wood told a judge he had long supported the death penalty.” 

Arthur Martin Ross 

1998 

AZ 

“Ross had legal options available but didn’t use them, saying he was tired of living on death row and would rather die.” 

Michael Long 

1998 

OK 

“Long was executed after waiving his remaining appeals.” 

Steven Renfro 

1998 

TX 

“After a jury convicted him of capital murder, he ended his trial by telling jurors he should be put to death. The former laborer asked that no appeals be filed on his behalf.” 

Ricky Lee Sanderson 

1998 

NC 

“Sanderson, who went through three sentencing hearings, asked in 1992 that appeals be dropped so his execution could proceed.” 

Robert Smith 

1998 

IN 

“Smith turned down a plea for a 50-year sentence, eschewed all appeals and was granted with his wish to die but the Indiana Supreme Court. Smith had dismissed his state-appointed attorneys.” 

Lloyd Wayne Hampton 

1998 

IL 

“Hampton turned aside all appeals on his behalf and said he wanted to die rather than spend more time in prison.” 

Benjamin Stone 

1997 

TX 

“Refused legal help and refused to have any appeals filed on his behalf” after a 17-month death row stay. 

Michael Eugene Elkins 

1997 

SC 

“The condemned inmate waived his court appeals. His lawyer, Kevin Bell, said the once slightly built Elkins had swollen from spleen and liver problems and was uncomfortable in prison.” 

Harry Charles Moore 

1997 

OR 

“Moore threatened to sue anyone who tried to stop his execution, even petitioning the Oregon Supreme Court to drop his automatic appeal.” 

Scott Dawn Carpenter 

1997 

OK 

“Carpenter pleaded no contest and waived his right to appeal saying that he did not want to spend the rest of his life in prison.” 

Richard Brimage Junior 

1997 

TX 

“Brimage wrote to a judge in Texas that he deserved to die, waiving all remaining appeals.” 

 

Doyle Cecil Lucas 

1996 

SC 

“Lucas gave up appeals to hasten his execution and chose to die by injection instead of the electric chair.  

Joe Gonzales 

1996 

TX 

“Gonzales waived all appeals as he waited to die, spending less than 10 months on death row.”  

Douglas Franklin Wright 

1996 

OR 

“To the lat, Wright refused to appeal the death sentence he was given for killing three homeless men.” 

Michael Torrence 

1996 

SC 

“Torrence had petitioned the state Supreme Court since 1994 to let him drop his appeals.” 

Daren Lee Bolton 

1996 

AZ 

“The route to the death chamber for Bolton was quicker than most because he shunned some of the appeals that death-row inmates are entitled. Bolton said he would rather die than spend the rest of his life behind bars.” 

Robert South 

1996 

SC 

“South halted his appeals, saying he did not want to spend more years in prison.” 

James Clark Jr. 

1996 

DE 

“Clark pleaded guilty rather than stand trial for the shooting deaths […] and refused to file appeals, saying repeatedly that he wanted to die as soon as possible.” 

Leo Jenkins 

1996 

TX 

“Jenkins, who worked as a mechanic, has ordered all appeals to be stopped and is volunteering for death.” 

John Albert Taylor 

1996 

UT 

“Taylor, a condemned child killer who abandoned his appeals became the nation’s first convict in 19 years to be executed by firing squad.” 

Esequel Banda 

1995 

TX 

 “Banda fired his attorney and refused to file appeals after the Texas Court of Criminal appeals rejected his final plea for a new trial.”

Mickey Wayne Davidson 

1995 

VA 

“Davidson had long waived off legal attempts to prolong his life. He wavered once, three days before a 1993 execution, launching a round of court proceedings.” He finally disavowed any further appeals, saying he deserved to die. 

Phillip Lee Ingle 

1995 

NC 

“Mr. Ingle, who had said he wanted to die, stopped his appeals ‘so that the victims’ families can maybe find some peace to put an end to what has happened. A Superior Court judge demoed a request for a stay by Mr. Ingle’s sister.”  

Leon Moser 

1995 

PA 

“Moser who had said he wanted to die and refused to appeal his case. The United States Supreme Court reversed a stay by a lower to determine Moser’s competency.” 

Keith Zettlemoyer 

1995 

PA 

“Frustrated with prison life, Zattlemoyer had written to prosecutors asking to stop his appeals.” 

Thomas Grasso 

1995 

OK 

“The state Court of Criminal Appeals permitted Grasso to waive his rights to appeal his conviction and death sentence.” 

Nelson Shelton 

1995 

DE 

“Shelton refused to appeal his sentence, and last month told Superior Court that he wished to waiver the 90-day waiting period for executions.” 

George Lott 

1994 

TX 

“Lott refused any attempts to appeal his case or get any stays of executions.” 

John Thanos 

1994 

MD 

“Thanos cut short the usually years long appeals process by firing his state public defenders in 1993 […] he has repeatedly scorned efforts by both federal and state public defenders to block his execution.” 

Richard Lee Beavers 

1994 

TX 

“Beavers asked that no appeals be filed in his behalf. Beavers said he would rather be put to death than have layers telling lies in court on his behalf.” 

Keith Wells 

1994 

ID 

“The United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed against Mr. Wells’ wishes, contending that Mr. Wells was incompetent and therefore not capable of deciding whether to appeal his conviction.” 

Anthony Cook 

1993 

TX 

“”While on death row, My. Cook said in a letter to authorities, he had a religious conversion and wanted his punishment carried out.” 

Michael Durocher 

1993 

FL 

“”Durocher went to his death after the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected two appeals that had been filed over his objections.” 

David Mason 

1993 

CA 

“Mason decided not to appeal his sentence to the federal courts after it was upheld by the California Supreme Court. Appeals were filed against Mr. Mason’s wishes by a layer he had dismissed.” 

Andrew Chabrol 

1993 

VA 

“Chabrol lost his automatic review before the Virginia Supreme Court and chose not to pursue further appeals.” 

John George Brewer 

1993 

AZ 

“Mr. Brewer had admitted to beating and strangling his 23-year old fiancée, who was 22 weeks pregnant. He contended that he deserved to be put to death.” 

James Allen Red Dog 

1993 

DE 

“Red Dog refused to appeal his sentence because he contended that doing so would violate his warrior’s code.” 

Westley Allan Dodd 

1993 

WA 

“Dodd vowed that he would sue anyone who sought to save him […] Mr. Dodd has waived all appeals and chosen to be die by hanging.” 

Steven B. Pennell 

1992 

DE 

“He was sentenced to death after pleading no contest to the multiple murders after representing himself in court.” Pernell waived his right to appeal, and the Supreme Court rejected his wife’s attempt to secure a stay. 

Charles Walker 1990 IL  

James Smith 

1990 

TX 

“Smith said he wanted to die because ‘do-gooders’ already have robbed him of the time in the next world.” 

Ronald Gene Simmons 

1990 

AR 

“Mr. Simmons said he would not appeal the verdict or the sentence and asked that no interfere with its being carried out.” 

Thomas Baal 

1990 

NV 

“Baal opposed his parents’ legal efforts to keep him alive, adding that ‘I want to have this execution over with so I can pay my debt.’” The US Supreme Court overturned a stay on the execution based on mental competency.  

Leonard Marvin Laws 

1990 

MO 

“Executed for participating in the robbery and shotgun slayings of an elderly couple.” 

Jerome Butler* 

1990 

TX 

“Butler refused to appeal his death sentence and said ‘I just want to get it over with.’” Prosecutors and judges were prepared to halt the execution if Butler had asked for a stay.  

Gerald Smith 

1990 

MO 

“Gerald Smith asked that his death sentenced be carried out, and had no last words.” 

Sean Patrick Flannagan 

1989 

NV 

No information 

William Paul Thompson 

1989 

NV 

No information 

Arthur Bishop 

1988 

UT 

“Bishop confessed to the murders of five children.” 

Elisio Moreno 

1987 

TX 

“Mr. Moreno spurned all efforts by others to try and save his life […]He told the judge who had sentenced him that he wanted no appeals.” 

Ramon Hernandez 

1987 

TX 

“Mr. Hernandez did not want to be represented by attorneys because he thought he would lose his right to represent himself.” Mr. Hernandez also turned down an offer of help from State District Judge Peter Peca, who offered him a stay of the execution. 

Jeffrey Allen Barney 

1986 

TX 

“Executed for the rape and murder of Ruby Mae Longsworth” volunteered to face his sentence of death. 

Carroll Cole 

1985 

NV 

“Cole, who admitted to killing 13 people over the years, has said he will not appeal the execution, and insisted that prolonging his life would be a waste of tax dollars.” 

William Vandiver 

1985 

IN 

“Prison officials said there was no indication that Vandiver would reconsider his choice of death in the electric chair instead of years of appeals on death row.” 

Charles Rumbaugh 

1985 

TX 

“Rumbaugh ordered his attorneys not to pursue any appeals that could get him a third stay of execution.” 

Stephen Peter Morin 

1985 

TX 

“Mr. Morin, once one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted criminals and sentenced to die in two states, had asked lawyers not to appeal.” 

Frank Coppola 

1982 

VA 

“Coppola, frustrated by the lengthy appeals process, had repeatedly demanded to be executed ever since he fired his lawyers and elected to withdraw all legal appeals.”  

Steven Judy 

1981 

IN 

“Judy, who resisted appeals and went willingly to his death, said he preferred death to life in prison.” 

Jesse Bishop 

1979 

NV 

“Bishop opposed appeals to higher courts, charging that stays of execution would only cause him and his family more agony.” 

Gary Gilmore  

1977 

UT 

“In November 1976, Gary Gilmore withdrew his rights of appeal from Utah’s legal system and requested that the courts enforce his death sentence as soon as possible.” 

*News articles are on file with the Death Penalty Information Center 

For more information, see "Killing the Willing: 'Volunteers,' Suicide and Competency," by J. Blume, Michigan Law Review, 2005.