NC Death Penalty Year in Review 2008

December 18, 2008

It has been an exceptional year for life in North Carolina.  No one was executed, and only one new person was added to death row (the lowest number since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977).  This year, as many capital defendants were acquitted as were sentenced to death.  More death row inmates were exonerated than executed.  North Carolina should be proud.

Nationally, executions began again following the Supreme Court’s decision in Baze v. Rees, but lethal injection remains stalled in North Carolina due to litigation by inmates subject to the procedure as well as the doctors forced to participate in it.

Capital Trial Statistics

Life without parole – 9 (Kenneth Hartley, Charles Dickerson, Eric Oakes, Jakiem Wilson, James Stitt, Robert Windsor, Lisa Greene, Neil Sargeant, James Blue)

Sentences less than life -3 (Pliney Purser, Jonte McLaurin, John Chavis Ross)

Death -1 (James Ray Little)

Military capital trial acquittals – 1 (Alberto Martinez)

Post-Conviction Statistics

Executions – 0

Exonerations – 2 (Levon “Bo” Jones, Glen Edward Chapman)

Death row inmates getting new trials – 2 (John Conaway, William Moore)

Death row inmates getting new sentencing hearings – 1 (William Gray)

Otherwise removed from death row – 2 (Clinton Smith, Carlos Cannady)

Incompetent for execution – 1 (Guy LeGrande)

Deaths from natural causes – 3 (Gary Greene, Leroy McNeill, George Page)

If you would like to be part of making 2009 another Year of Life, please consider making a donation to NC-based groups like the Fair Trial Initiative.

James Ray Little Sentenced to Death

November 25, 2008

James Ray Little III became the 163rd resident of North Carolina’s death row last week.   Little, 22, was sentenced to death for the 2006 robbery-murder of Winston-Salem cab driver Bira Gueye.  Gueye was a Senegalese immigrant who used his wages to support sixteen people in his home country.

After four hours of deliberations, jurors found that Little had limited intelligence and a poor upbringing, and that he had not set out intending to kill.  They sentenced him to death because he had a prior felony record (larceny of a motor vehicle and larceny from a person), the murder was committed for financial gain, and because Little committed other crimes that same night.

Little’s is the first new death sentence in North Carolina in 2008.  The last person sentenced to death in North Carolina was Mario Phillips, whose sentence was handed down over a year ago.


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