NC Death Penalty Year in Review 2009

December 29, 2009

Quick Numbers

# of executions – 0

# of inmates leaving death row for other reasons – 5

# of new death sentences – 2

# of death penalty trials resulting in less than death – 7

Individual Cases

* Capital Trials

Michael Sherrill (Mecklenburg) – death

Hasson Bacote (Johnston) – death

Mark Andrews (Cumberland) – mistrial (jury could not decide whether guilty or innocent)

Michael Ryan (Gaston) – mistrial (jury could not decide whether guilty or innocent)

John Hester (Bladen) – life without parole

Myron Britt (Robeson) – life without parole

Louis Scates (Lincoln) – life without parole (plea during jury selection)

Lawrence Flood (Alamance) – life without parole

Anthony McMillan (Cumberland) – life without parole

* Death Row Cases

William Gray (Lenoir) – removed from death row after US Supreme Court denied State’s appeal of federal court order for new sentencing hearing

Elmer Ray McNeill (Wake) – removed from death row after federal court granted new sentencing hearing

Dane Locklear (Robeson) – removed from death row after NC Supreme Court granted new sentencing hearing

George “Stephan” Goode (Johnston) – removed from death row after federal court granted new sentencing hearing

Jimmy McNeill (Scotland) – removed from death row after state court granted new sentencing hearing; State agreed to life without parole

* Other Cases

David Gainey (Harnett) – still housed on death row but awarded a new trial

Johnny Burr (Alamance) – still housed on death row; magistrate recommended new trial, but district court has not made the recommendation final

Johnny Parker (Sampson) – still housed on death row, but federal court has granted a hearing on Brady issues

Michael Maske (Forsyth) – removed from death row in 2004, re-sentenced to life without parole this year

Stanley Sanders (Transylvania) – removed from death row in 1990, re-sentenced to life this year

And last but certainly not least, 2009 was the year in which North Carolina passed the Racial Justice Act.  The RJA provides that:

No person shall be subject to or given a sentence of death or shall be executed pursuant to any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race.

One would have hoped that it wouldn’t have taken us until 2009 to get this far, but North Carolina has the most comprehensive law in the country aimed at eliminating racial prejudice from the administration of capital punishment, and for that we are thankful.

Onward to 2010.

Life Sentence for Flood

December 18, 2009

Lawrence Donell Flood (Nasir Amin Muhammad) was unanimously sentenced to life without parole by an Alamance County jury.  The jury deliberated for just 3 1/2 hours before deciding that Flood should not be sentenced to death.  The trial lasted over two months.  Flood is now at Raleigh’s Central Prison.

Flood Found Guilty

December 10, 2009

An Alamance County jury found Lawrence Flood guilty of first-degree murder yesterday.  Tomorrow, they will begin hearing evidence to help them decide whether Flood should be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole for the 2007 murder of Gregory Watlington.

Closing Arguments in Flood Trial

December 8, 2009

A jury will begin deliberating today in the trial of Lawrence Donell Flood, also known as Nasir A. Mohammed.  The Alamance County jury will decide whether Flood is guilty of the 2007 murder of Gregory Jerrod Watlington.  The defense says that police focused on Flood from the beginning, ignoring clues that might have led them to the real killer.

For example, if the victim was shot in Flood’s apartment as the State claims, why was none of his blood found there?  Why was a large pool of blood found at a different residence, connected to two of the State’s witnesses who now claim Flood was the shooter?

If Flood is convicted, he could face the death penalty.

State Rests in Flood Murder Trial

December 1, 2009

The State has rested in the Alamance County murder trial of Lawrence Donell Flood.  Flood is accused of killing Gregory Jerrod Watlington in 2007.  If convicted, Flood could face the death penalty.

Jury Selection Underway for Flood

October 26, 2009

In Alamance County, three jurors have been selected for the trial of Lawrence Donell Flood, Sr. If convicted of first-degree murder, Flood could be sentenced to death.  Flood has been charged with the 2007 slaying of Gregory Jerrod Watlington.


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