Capital punishment in Nevada

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A hanging that took place in Nevada. Hanging was the method used for most executions before that of Gee Jon in 1924.

Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment in the U.S. state of Nevada. The first recorded execution in the area that is now Nevada was the hanging of John Carr for murdering Bernhard Cherry of Carson City on November 30, 1860 and the first record execution in the Nevada Territory was the hanging of Allen Milstead outside Dayton for killing Lyon County Commissioner T. Varney at Ragtown. These were the first of 60 executions from 1860 to the present. Since 1976, 12 people have been executed by the state. As of May 12, 2013 there were 83 people on Death Row.

Elizabeth Potts, who was hanged in 1890, was the only woman legally executed in the state.[1]

Process[edit]

The jury decides the sentence in a capital cases. It decides if aggravating and mitigating circumstances raised by the prosecution and defense are true. If aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances, the sentences that could be made include death, life imprisonment without parole, life imprisonment with parole in twenty years at a minimum or imprisonment for fifty years with parole in twenty years at a minimum. The amount of aggravating circumstances and the amount of mitigating circumstances equal, if no mitigating or aggravating circumstances exist or mitigating circumstances outweigh aggravating circumstances, the sentences that could be made include death, life imprisonment without parole, life imprisonment with parole in twenty years at a minimum or imprisonment for fifty years with parole in twenty years at a minimum. The Governor of Nevada sits on a board that determines clemency.

As in any other state, people who are under 18 at the time of commission of the capital crime[2] or mentally retarded[3] are constitutionally precluded from being executed.

Method[edit]

Andriza Mircovich was the only inmate in Nevada to be executed by shooting.

Hanging was the method prescribed by law from 1860 to 1921. The venue of executions moved from the counties to Nevada State Prison in 1903. In response to Mormon preferences,[4] the Nevada State Legislature passed a statute in 1910 that became effective in January 1911,[5] allowing condemned prisoners to choose between execution by shooting or hanging.[6] On May 14, 1913, Andriza Mircovich became the only inmate in Nevada to be executed by shooting.[7] After the warden of Nevada State Prison was unable to find five men to form a firing squad,[8] a shooting machine was built to carry out Mircovich's execution.[9] A law in 1921 replaced hanging with the gas chamber, which was used from the 1924 execution of Gee Jon to the 1979 execution of Jesse Bishop, both at Nevada State Prison. Lethal injection remains the sole method of execution in Nevada.

Death row in Nevada is located at Ely State Prison.[10] Executions by the state of Nevada are still carried out at Nevada State Prison.[11]

Capital offenses[edit]

  • First Degree Murder
    • Murder perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait or torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.
    • Murder committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, robbery, burglary, invasion of the home, sexual abuse of a child, sexual molestation of a child under the age of 14 years or child abuse.
    • Murder committed to avoid or prevent the lawful arrest of any person by a peace officer or to effect the escape of any person from legal custody.
    • Murder committed on the property of a public or private school, at an activity sponsored by a public or private school or on a school bus while the bus was engaged in its official duties by a person who intended to create a great risk of death or substantial bodily harm to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action that would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
    • Murder committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of an act of terrorism.
    • When these aggravating factors exist:
      • The murder was committed by a person under sentence of imprisonment.
      • The murder was committed by a person who, at any time before a penalty hearing is conducted for the murder pursuant to NRS 175.552, is or has been convicted of:
        • Another murder and the provisions of subsection 12 do not otherwise apply to that other murder; or
        • A felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person of another and the provisions of subsection 4 do not otherwise apply to that felony.
      • The murder was committed by a person who knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
      • The murder was committed while the person was engaged, alone or with others, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any robbery, arson in the first degree, burglary, invasion of the home or kidnapping in the first degree, and the person charged:
        • Killed or attempted to kill the person murdered; or
        • Knew or had reason to know that life would be taken or lethal force used.
      • The murder was committed to avoid or prevent a lawful arrest or to effect an escape from custody.
      • The murder was committed by a person, for himself or another, to receive money or any other thing of monetary value.
      • The murder was committed upon a peace officer or firefighter who was killed while engaged in the performance of his official duty or because of an act performed in his official capacity, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer or firefighter. For the purposes of this subsection, "peace officer" means:
        • An employee of the Department of Corrections who does not exercise general control over offenders imprisoned within the institutions and facilities of the Department, but whose normal duties require him to come into contact with those offenders when carrying out the duties prescribed by the Director of the Department.
        • Any person upon whom some or all of the powers of a peace officer are conferred pursuant to NRS 289.150 to 289.360, inclusive, when carrying out those powers.
      • The murder involved torture or the mutilation of the victim.
      • The murder was committed upon one or more persons at random and without apparent motive.
      • The murder was committed upon a person less than 14 years of age.
      • The murder was committed upon a person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation of that person.
      • The defendant has, in the immediate proceeding, been convicted of more than one offense of murder in the first or second degree. For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to have been convicted of a murder at the time the jury verdict of guilt is rendered or upon pronouncement of guilt by a judge or judges sitting without a jury.
      • The person, alone or with others, subjected or attempted to subject the victim of the murder to nonconsensual sexual penetration immediately before, during or immediately after the commission of the murder. For the purposes of this subsection:
        • "Nonconsensual" means against the victim’s will or under conditions in which the person knows or reasonably should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting, consenting or understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, conditions in which the person knows or reasonably should know that the victim is dead.
        • "Sexual penetration" means cunnilingus, fellatio or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the victim’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person, alone or with others, into the genital or anal openings of the body of the victim, whether or not the victim is alive. The term includes, but is not limited to, anal intercourse and sexual intercourse in what would be its ordinary meaning.
      • The murder was committed on the property of a public or private school, at an activity sponsored by a public or private school or on a school bus while the bus was engaged in its official duties by a person who intended to create a great risk of death or substantial bodily harm to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action that would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person. For the purposes of this subsection, "school bus" has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 483.160.
      • The murder was committed with the intent to commit, cause, aid, further or conceal an act of terrorism. For the purposes of this subsection, "act of terrorism" has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.4415.

List of individuals executed between 1861 and 1903[edit]

Between late 1861, when Nevada Territory was organized, and 1903, executions by hanging were conducted at the county seats in which the person was convicted.

There has not been a definitive compilation of legal executions conducted in Nevada prior to 1903, however there are 20 known legal executions between 1861 and 1903:[12]

Year Date Executed Person County
1 1863 January 9 Allen Milstead Dayton
2 1868 April 24 John Milleain (Millan, Millian, or Milliean) Virginia City
3 1868 October 30 Rufus B. Anderson Austin
4 1870 December 16 Ah Fung Unionville
5 1870 December 16 Ah Ung Unionville
6 1873 October 17 David M. Hall Belmont
7 1874 April 24 John Stewart Aurora
8 1874 December 29 John Murphy Carson City (at the foot of Lone Mountain)
9 1877 January 19 Peter Larkin Virginia City
10 1877 October 30 Robert Crozier Winnemucca
11 1877 December 22 Sam Mills Elko
12 1878 February 19 J. W. Rover Reno
13 1880 April 6 Charles Wesley Hymer Winnemucca
14 1882 February 9 Charley Hing Winnemucca
15 1885 January 23 Indian Dave Belmont
16 1886 March 5 Clarence Gray Winnemucca
17 1886 December 31 Edward Crutchley Hamilton
18 1890 June 20 Elizabeth Potts Elko
19 1890 June 20 Josiah Potts Elko
20 1890 December 12 Hank Parish Ely

1903-1921 Individuals executed at the State Capital (Carson City) and Type of Execution[edit]

The 1901 state legislature required that all executions be conducted at the State Prison in Carson City beginning in 1903.

The 1911 state legislature provided that a death row inmate could elect to die by shooting or hanging.

Year Date Executed Person Type of Execution
1 1905 September 8 John Hancock Hanging
2 1905 November 17 Thomas F. Gorman Hanging
3 1905 November 17 Al Linderman Hanging
4 1905 November 17 Fred Reidt Hanging
5 1905 November 17 John P. Sevener Hanging
6 1906 December 7 Indian Johnny Hanging
7 1906 December 7 Joe Ibapah Hanging
8 1913 May 14 Andriza Mircovich Firing Squad (Machine)

1921-1976 Nevada State Prison Gas Chamber[edit]

Prior to January 1, 1912 the law prescribed hanging as the means of carrying out the death sentence in the State of Nevada, however, upon revision of the statutes in 1911 the condemned were allowed a choice between the gallows and the firing squad. This remained the law until March 28, 1921 when an amendment was adopted providing for execution by means of lethal gas. Nevada was the first state to sanction the use of the gas chamber.

The first execution by use of lethal gas took place in February 1924 and has been used as the means of carrying out the death sentence a total of thirty-one times. The last execution was held October 22, 1979.[13]

Executed Person Conviction Date of Execution Age at time of Execution
1 Gee Jon convicted of killing Tom Quong Kee Executed, February 8, 1924 Age twenty-eight
2 Stanko Jukich convicted of killing of Jennie Medak Executed, April 6, 1925 Age twenty-nine
3 Robert H. White convicted of killing of Louis Laval Executed, June 2, 1930 Age forty-one
4 Luis Ceja convicted of killing Charlie Fong Executed, September 4, 1931 Age twenty-eight
5 John Hall convicted of killing John O'Brien Executed, November 28, 1932 Age fifty-two
6 Ray Elmer Miller convicted of murdering his estranged wife Executed, May 8, 1933 Age thirty-four
7 Joseph Behiter convicted of killing Sylvia Reither Executed, July 13, 1934 Age thirty-four
8 Luther Jones convicted of killing four men after a hold-up Executed, January 26, 1937 Age thirty-three
9 Domenico Nadal convicted of killing Joe Urrutia Executed, January 17, 1939 Age forty-seven
10 Burton Franklin Williamson convicted of killing his wife, Mrs.Pauline Williamson Executed, November 21, 1939 Age forty-three
11 Wilson Henry Boyd convicted of killing Floyd Robinson and his wife Executed, May 28, 1940
12 John A. Kramer convicted of killing Frances Collins Executed, August 28, 1942 Age sixty-four
13 Floyd L. McKinney convicted of killing Lieutenant and Mrs.Raymond Fisher Executed, November 27, 1943 Age thirty-four
14 Raymond Plunkett convicted of killing his infant son Executed, June 30, 1944 Age thirty-one
15 Floyd Loveless convicted of killing a policeman Executed, September 29, 1944 Age seventeen
16 Albert Everette Sala convicted of an Elko County murder Executed, August 23, 1946 Age thirty-five
17 Paul Maynard Skaug convicted of killing Mrs.Marie Voss Executed, January 10, 1947 Age twenty-six
18 David Blackwell convicted of killing two Reno police officers Executed, April 22, 1949 Age nineteen
19 Laszlo Varga convicted for the rape-slaying of Mrs.Rev.Morning Executed, June 7, 1949 Age twenty-four
20 Eugene Leo Gambetta convicted of killing his former wife Executed, October 18, 1949 Age forty-six
21 James Williams convicted of killing a fellow worker Executed, August 25, 1950 Age thirty-two
22 Theodore William Gregory convicted of killing his estranged wife Executed, January 29, 1951 Age forty-six
23 Owen Caudle Butner convicted of killing his former wife Executed, February 10, 1951 Age thirty-six
24 Gregorio Arellano convicted of killing a high school girl Executed, July 24, 1951
25 Domingo Echaverria convicted of killing nurse Elizabeth Catlett Executed, April 13, 1953 Age sixty-two
26 Clayton Octave Fouquette convicted of killing Donald Brown Executed, April 13, 1953 Age forty-one
27 Ferdinand A. Bourdlais convicted of killing Ward Budzien Sr Executed, April 23, 1954 Age twenty-seven
28 Leroy L. Linden convicted of killing Clarence Dodd Executed, July 15, 1954
29 Frank A. Pedrini convicted of killing Clarence Dodd Executed, July 15, 1954
30 Earl Lewis Steward convicted of killing Thomas Jessen Executed, February 24, 1960 Age forty-two
31 Thayne H. Archibald convicted of killing Albert Waters Executed, August 21, 1961 Age twenty-two
32 Jesse Walter Bishop convicted of killing David Ballard Executed, October 22, 1979 Age forty-six

List of individuals executed after 1976[edit]

A total of 12 individuals convicted of murder have been executed by the state of Nevada since 1976. The first execution was carried out by gas chamber; subsequent executions were carried out by lethal injection. All but one waived their appeals and asked that the execution be carried out.

Executed person Race Date of execution Victims Governor
1 Jesse Bishop White October 22, 1979 David Ballard Robert List
2 Carroll Cole White December 6, 1985 Marie Cushman Richard Bryan
3 William Paul Thompson White June 19, 1989 Randy Waldron Bob Miller
4 Sean Patrick Flanagan White June 23, 1989 Albert Duggens and James Lewandowski Bob Miller
5 Thomas E. Baal White June 3, 1990 Frances Maves Bob Miller
6 Richard Allen Moran White March 30, 1996 Sandra Devere, Russell Rhodes, and Linda VanderVoort Bob Miller
7 Roderick Abeyta Latino October 5, 1998 Donna Martin Bob Miller
8 Alvaro Calambro Asian April 5, 1999 Peggy Crawford and Keith Christopher Kenny Guinn
9 Sebastian Stephanous Bridges White April 21, 2001 Hunter Blatchford Kenny Guinn
10 Lawrence Colwell, Jr. White March 26, 2004 Frank Rosenstock Kenny Guinn
11 Terry Jess Dennis White August 12, 2004 Ilona Straumanis Kenny Guinn
12 Daryl Linnie Mack Black April 26, 2006 Betty Jane May Kenny Guinn

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rutter, Michael (1 June 2008). Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the Old West. Farcountry Press. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-56037-462-6. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)
  3. ^ Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)
  4. ^ Christianson, Scott (2010). The Last Gasp: The Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber. University of California Press. p. 62. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ "To Be Shot To Death.". The Montreal Gazette. June 17, 1912. p. 1. Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ Rocha, Guy Louis. "An Outline of Capital Punishment in Nevada". Nevada State Library and Archives. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Nevada State Prison Inmate Case Files: Andriza Mircovich". Nevada State Library and Archives. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ "No One To Shoot Murderer". The New York Times. August 12, 1912. Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ Cafferata, Patty (June 2010). "Capital Punishment Nevada Style". Nevada Lawyer (State Bar of Nevada). Retrieved November 8, 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ "NDOC: Ely State Prison". Nevada Department of Corrections. April 27, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ "NDOC: Organization". Nevada Department of Corrections. September 22, 2008. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120906051053/http://nsla.nevadaculture.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=960&Itemid=418
  13. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20121101090134/http://nsla.nevadaculture.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1539&Itemid=95

External links[edit]