Skip to comments.Tennessee: Execution stayed; killer resumes appeal process (7 death sentences)
Posted on 04/29/2003 6:07:27 AM PDT by GailA
Execution stayed; killer resumes appeal process By Sam Youngman, email@example.com and Richard Locker, firstname.lastname@example.org April 29, 2003
NASHVILLE - Minutes after a federal appeals court stayed his 1 a.m. execution, convicted killer Paul Dennis Reid decided to resume his own appeals, postponing his scheduled death by lethal injection for what could be years.
Reid took the 11th hour stay by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "as a sign from God" to resume the postconviction appeals process that he had halted on his own, his minister, Rev. Joe Ingle, said.
State officials confirmed shortly before 11 p.m. that the convicted killer of seven Middle Tennessee fast-food workers had signed the legal documents to resume his appeals, calling off his scheduled execution at 1 a.m. today.
The appeals court's stay order was issued at 9:23 p.m., just more than 3 d hours before Reid was to be put to death at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Reid had just finished communion prayers with Ingle when news of the stay arrived.
"He had just stood up . . . he was on his knees. He took the Sixth Circuit's intervention as a sign from God that he should not give up on his appeals," Ingle said. "He was preparing to die back there."
The state Attorney General's Office had rushed an immediate appeal of the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit's stay order to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the stay and proceed with the execution, when Reid's decision to take up his appeal rendered it moot. Legally, he could have decided up to the moment of his scheduled execution to resume the appeals.
Department of Correction spokesman Jennifer Johnson announced at 10:45 p.m. that Reid was being removed from death watch and families of the victims were being officially notified. "The appeals could take years."
If it had proceeded, it would have been Tennessee's second execution of a death penalty in 43 years. In April 2000, convicted child-killer Robert Glen Coe became the first person executed by the state since 1960.
Reid, 45, was convicted in 1999 for the murders of seven employees at three separate fast-food restaurants in Nashville and Clarksville, Tenn.
Monday night's developments climaxed a hectic day of legal maneuvering by Reid's relatives and lawyers.
In the stay order, the Sixth Circuit's judges concluded that attorneys for Reid's sister had shown reasonable cause for a full evidentiary hearing on Reid's competence to make the decision halting his appeals. His sister, Janet Kirkpatrick of Texas, began moving Friday to have the execution halted over his objections.
Earlier Monday after a four-hour hearing, U.S. Dist. Judge Todd Campbell of Nashville turned down Kirkpatrick's request to conduct the full evidentiary hearing.
Reid, who had asked repeatedly that there be no more appeals filed on his behalf, testified for 1 d hours on Monday, and repeatedly told the judge he was not mentally ill. Several times he mentioned victims, and once called all seven by name.
"Your honor, there are seven innocent people who have lost their lives, and I believe this court and all the courts should focus their attention on the surviving families," Reid said. "Three juries in the Bible Belt state of Tennessee have already decided I am guilty. I understand the ramifications, and I accept the verdict."
Reid said no one pressured him to drop his appeals.
Kirkpatrick's motion stated that Reid was mentally incompetent because of his claims of a military conspiracy and his decision not to appeal. Despite his objections, Reid's attorneys quickly sent a notice of appeal of Campbell's decision to the Sixth Circuit.
At a remembrance ceremony for the victims Monday in Nashville's Centennial Park, the mother of Sarah Jackson, who was 16 when she was killed by Reid at a Captain D's restaurant, said she hoped the execution would be carried out without any delays, adding that she wasn't seeking "closure, but justice."
"The up and down is awful," said Gina Jackson. "It just brings it all back."
Jackson's brother, Wayne, 29, said he had no reservations about capital punishment, and he and his family would witness the execution if it happened as scheduled.
"I feel like the death penalty was made for people like him," he said. "I view him as just a cold-blooded killer. As far as closure goes, I don't even know the meaning of that word."
Mike Grecu (center right) wipes away tears during a memorial service for victims of Paul Dennis Reids crime spree. His daughter, Angela Holmes, was 21 when she was killed at work at Baskin- Robbins in Clarksville in 1997.
JUSTICE DELAYED, IS JUSTICE DENIED!
Reid's crimes, from Texas to Tennessee
Timeline of the crimes and trials of Paul Dennis Reid:
1982: Reid is convicted of a string of restaurant robberies in the Houston area. Pleaded guilty in one of the robberies after an earlier jury found him incompetent to stand trial and a second said he was mentally competent.
1984: Reid's wife divorces him after he was sentenced to a 20-year prison term.
1990: Reid is given an early release because of crowding in the Texas prison. He went to a Fort Worth, Texas, halfway house.
1995: Reid moves to Nashville to pursue a country music career. Told co-workers at a Shoney's in Donelson that he wanted to be ''another Garth Brooks.''
Feb. 15, 1997: Reid is fired from the Shoney's for being abusive to another employee.
Feb. 16, 1997: Sarah Jackson, 16, and Steve Hampton, 25, both employees at a Captain D's restaurant in Donelson, are shot execution-style during a robbery.
March 23, 1997: Three employees at a McDonald's in Hermitage Andrea Brown, 17, Ronald Santiago, 27, and Robert Sewell Jr., 23 are killed execution style during a robbery. A fourth employee, Jose Ramirez Gonzalez, is stabbed 17 times but survives. He will later testify against Reid.
April 23, 1997: Two employees at a Baskin-Robbins in Clarksville, Tenn. Angela Holmes, 21, and Michelle Mace, 16 are kidnapped during a robbery. Their bodies, throats slashed, are dumped at Dunbar Cave State Natural Area.
June 1, 1997: Reid is arrested after a kidnapping attempt at the home of the Shoney's manager who fired him.
June 2, 1997: Reid is charged with five homicides for the slayings at Captain D's and McDonald's.
June 25, 1997: Reid is charged in the kidnapping, robbery and stabbing deaths of the Baskin-Robbins employees.
April 20, 1999: Reid is convicted and sentenced to death for the Captain D's murders.
Sept. 22, 1999: Reid is convicted for the Baskin-Robbins murders and receives two more death sentences.
May 25, 2000: Reid is convicted for the McDonald's murders and attempted murder and later receives three more death sentences.
March 24, 2003: With a handwritten note, Reid drops his appeals in the Captain D's case, clearing the way for his execution.
Yesterday: U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell denies motion filed by Reid's sister to delay his execution. After Reid testified at a court hearing, Campbell finds Reid mentally ill but competent to drop his appeals. Hours later, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of execution and ordered Campbell to hold a full evidentiary hearing on the question of whether Reid's sister should be designated to act in her brother's legal behalf.
On one side of Campbell's courtroom sat the family members of Reid's victims. He was convicted of a series of three robbery-homicides that terrorized Nashville and Clarksville in 1997. Seven people were killed. After three trials, he was convicted each time. Specifically, though, he was scheduled to be executed for slayings of Sarah Jackson and Steve Hampton of Captain D's.
They included some of Reid's former attorneys; a group of psychologists who had examined him; and a few family members who for years have listened to Reid, an ex-convict from Texas who came to Nashville to become a country music star, describe how has been subjected to government mind-control experiments.
The reprieve for Reid might give attorneys more to time examine more cases than the seven Tennessee murders for which he was convicted. James Schropp, a Washington, D.C., attorney is working to reverse the conviction of Max Alexander Soffar, a Texas man sentenced to death in the slaying of three Houston bowling alley workers in 1980. Schropp believes Reid may have committed the murders, not Soffar, based on information provided by a former criminal accomplice of Reid's.
On another note - Reid had his "last meal" consisting of 16-oz prime rib, baked potato, asparagas and a big wedgie of German Chocolate cake at 5pm yesterday. Does this mean that when he finally IS executed, the warden will say, "Sorry, pal, you've already HAD yer last meal."
There are a lot of people that are enraged that this execution didn't go off. Justice is being denied once again so that the royers can get rich.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.