The Daily Times-News from Burlington, North Carolina on September 19, 1976 · Page 10
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The Daily Times-News from Burlington, North Carolina · Page 10

Burlington, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 19, 1976
Page 10
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10A Burlington, (N.C.) TIMES - NEWS Sun., Sept. 19, 1976 Waiting on Death Row Is Killing Inmates EDITOR'S NOTE - "We are already dead on Death Row, you just haven't buried us yet." James Burns, 23, awaiting execution in Texas' electric chair for murder. By MIKE SILVERMAN Associated Press Writer "The waiting is what kills a man," says Carl Isaacs, who may be one of the first to die if capital punishment resumes in the United States. Isaacs and 30 other men wait on Death Row in Georgia one of three states whose death penalty - laws were specifically upheld in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on July 2. Death Rows in the two other states, Florida and Texas, house an additional 116 men and one woman. Hundreds more are under death sentences in states whose laws are being tested in lower courts. For many of these prisoners, the question uppermost in their minds is the one asked by Charles Prof - fitt, condemned in Florida: "Who's going to be the first to go?" Prison officials don't yet know who or when, but those expecting executions have spent the summer gearing up. In Texas, electricians have already checked the electric chair at the state prison. In Florida, state prison Supt. Bobby Leverette said he was looking for an executioner to push a button and pull a lever to generate power in the electric chair. The former officeholder wore a black hood and earned $100 per execution the last two of which were in Mav 1964. Proffitt's question must remain unanswered until the Supreme Court reconvenes. Justice Lewis Powell, who sided with the 7 - 2 majority in reimposing capital punishment, issued a temporary - stay so the full court could decide whether to reconsider its ruling. While they waii for the court to reconvene, the prisoners sit in their cells. some resigned, some still hopeful. "I try real hard to get it out of mv mind and sometimes I can." said Mark Morton Moore, 24, who waits on Death Row in Texas. He was sentenced to die for raping and killing a woman. "If I thought about it all the time, it would run me crazy," Moore said in an interview. It has been nine years since the death penalty was carried out in this country. Between 1930, when reliable records were first kept, and 1967. 3.859 persons were executed. The Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that existing death penalty laws gave too much discretion to judges and juries to be equally applied. Most states then wrote new l. - iws. and the court upheld three that allow judges and juries to consider mitigating factors before imposing sentence. The court struck down statutes in North Carolina and Louisiana that made the death penalty mandatory for certain crimes. At the time. 572 men and 10 women were on Death Rows in 30 states. Georgia's Carl Isaacs, for whom the worst dread is waiting, said, "I'd rather go ahead if they're going to burn me. This goddamned cell gets smaller by the day. I don't think I can take it if there are a lot of hearings and postponements before they put me in the chair." Isaacs, 22. is one of three men sentenced to die for the 1973 execution - style slayings of six members of the Alday family at their farm near Donalsonville, Ga. In an interview with Charles Postell. state editor at the Albany. Ga.. Herald. Isaacs dis cussed his feelings about dying, and how he reacted to the news of the Supreme Court decision. "I know that the crime I was convicted of is a heinous crime and the public don't dig it ..." he said. "I'm paying my debt to society by sitting in that chair ... Society and the jury never did say nothing about making me suffer before I sat in that chair. They didn't say. well, the Georgia penal system, take all his stuff, and make Bodies Remain Unidentified SUMTER. S.C. (AP) - Two young people, found shot to death beside a dirt road in Sumter County Aug. 9, remain unidentified. "These kids belong to someone. Somewhere, somebody has got to be concerned about their whereabouts and their safety," says deputy coroner Verna Moore. Investigators who have tried unsuccessfully for five weeks to identify the pair don't they they were homeless runaways. In fact, they believe they were probably from well - to - do families, since both were wellgroomed and had had regular dental work. The young man had exceptional dental work. Sumter dentists who examined his body said he was in the process of having a complete mouth restoration, with several thousands of dollars worth of root canal X - rays of the dental work has been sent to the American dental Association for nationwide publication. Jewelry found on the bodies appears to support the theory that they were from well - to - do homes. The man had a Bullova Accutron wristwatch and a gold ring with a star sapphire stone inscribed inside with the initials JPF. She wore several rings that appear to be authentic Mexican or Indian jewelry. Investigators know the two probably traveled in the West. He had a book of matches in his pocket from a Grant's Truck Stop in either York, Neb.; Boise, Idaho; or Lupton. Ariz. After photos of the victims were sent to law enforcement officials in those communities, a mechanic in Nebraska said he thought the man was someone who had had work done on a vehicle with either Washington or Oregon pites. But that lead has so far failed to produce any other information. The bodies are at a Sumter funeral home as the sheriff's department fields thousands of calls from across the country. Most call about a missing acquaintance. Sheriff I. Byrd Parnell says, "We have got to get them identified. Until then, our investigation into the murders is completely stalled. Once we get that, we will be able to learn how they got there and where they were coming from." He and chief deputy T. L. McJunkin believe they were possibly traveling across the country when they picked up hitchhikers who killed them and stole their car. But they admit that's only a theory. Aside from the date they died, this is what is definitely known: Both were white and in their late teens or early 20s. The man was about six feet tall, weighed about 155 pounds and wore faded blue jeans, a red tee - shirt with Coors beer lettered on the front and Camel Challenger GT Sebring 75 on the back with a picture of Snoopy, and sandals. She was about 5 - foot - 5, 105 pounds, and had cut - off jeans, a pink halter top with a white muslin blouse, and pink - andlavender wedge shoes. him sit up there with nothing and make humbug out of his mind before you burn him On hearing of the court ruling from a fellow inmate at the Reidsville jail. Isaacs said, "I turned around and started grinning and looked up at a friend of mine and said, 'Well, those SOBs done got what they wanted, so that's it ..." I went back to a friend of mine and told him. 'Well, it looks like our time has come, it's over.' He didn't say too much. He was sort of quiet." Isaacs said he has "a feeling I'm going to be the first they fry in this place." but added, "I'm not saying I'm just going to walk up there and sit down. No ... I'm going to fight like a tiger all the way. Ain't no way they can sedate me enough to sit down in that chair on my own." He said he would not ask his family to come to the prison on the day of his execution. "No, I've thought about that." he said, "and I believe I've made them suffer enough as it is." One of his biggest worries about that last day, he said, is. "I'm afraid I'm going to dirty myself when they come get me." William Roberts, one of 48 men on Ohio's Death Row. said he is not afraid to die because "I am spiritually ready for anything that happens to me in this life. I consider it the will of God." Robets said he was sitting in his cell at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville drawing a picture when he learned of the court's ruling. "I was calm and collected." he said. "I went right on drawing that picture." Ohio's death penalty law was found to meet the Supreme Court's standards in an Aug. 10 ruling by a state court of appeals. The ruling can be appealed to higher state courts and federal courts. In a nearby cell. Carl Osborne. 22, said he "felt kind of weak for a second, to be honest with you." when he heard the court's ruling. Osborne, his mother and another man were convicted in separate trials of killing Hermalee Ross. Osborne maintains he is innocent. "I can't believe I'm going to the electric chair," he said. "I can't see dying for something I didn't do." Georgia's Isaacs said he. too. has become interested in religion. A woman sent him a Bible, and he said he'd read it through twice. "I believe there's a God. yes. I've even got down on my knees and prayed to that God ..." Isaacs said. "I've got a whole wall of Bible cer - tificates from correspondence courses. I believe if there is a God. I don't know whether ITT be on his list or not." But for Wayne K. Patterson, of Denver, it will mean relief at "shedding the mantle of being the last man to perform an execution."' Patterson, former Colorado State Penitentiary warden, pulled the switch that released a deadly cyanide pill and killed Luis Jose Monge. 48, in the gas chamber on June 2, 1967. The Great Debate John F. Kennedy, left, eyes Richard Nixon as the latter answers a question on Oct. 7, 1960, during their nationally - televised debate on the issues of their campaign for the presidency. In 1 976, it will be Jimmy Carter and Pres. Gerald Ford who will face each other on the issues. Their debate is set for Thursday in Philadelphia. (AP) McCain, Lee Take Top Posts RALEIGH ( AP) - North Carolina Democrats Saturday elected Betty McCain of Wilson and Howard Lee of Chapel Hill to top party positions. At the recommendation of Lt. Gov. Jim Hunt, the state Democratic Executive Committee chose Mrs. McCain as state democratic chairman and Lee as first vice - chairman. Sally Howard of Concord was chosen secretary. Hunt, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, told the committee members that Democrats should "pledge to the people of North Carolina that the Democratic party will be open to you, it will listen to you and it will respond to your needs and it will help you change North Carolina." Mrs. McCain served as cochairman of Hunt's primary campaign. Lee, former mayor of Chapel Hill, was defeated for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor by House Speaker Jimmy Green in Tuesday's primary. Mrs. McCain succeeded Jim Sugg of New Bern, who formally stepped down Saturday from the post the had held 3 "2 years. Lee succeeded Alfreda Webb of Greensboro. Mrs. McCain and Lee will serve out the remainder of their terms which end after the Nov. 2 elections. Hunt told the committee in a speech that "today marks the beginning of a new spirit in the Democratic Party in North Carolina. It's a winning spirit; it's a united spirit and it's more. It's a spirit of determination to reaffirm its heritage as the party of the people of North Carolina. OPEN DAILY 10 - 10 SUNDAY 1 - 6 fMAffCf irT? Wt HON Ok) 1 m mam - , m I U FULL - FASHIONED GIRLS' PERKY POLOS AIRY, NO - CAP WIG CONTROL PANTY HOSE FLUORESCENT BULB R Neck styles galore on nylon or Our 2.96, Fabr.c choice 7 - 14 Close - cut curls of DyneU Control - top panty hose of stretch All - purpose 40 - watt fluorescent polyester slip - ons. Save now. our 2.57, Polo, Size 4 - 6, $2 modacrylicbjr. Save nylon. Basic colors. SM: MTT. bulb. 48 - inches iong. Cool white. 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