Archives for posts with tag: execution

In this case, the court’s majority denied a writ of habeas corpus to a convicted cult leader, Jeffrey Lundgren, who claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. The word “ninja” appears in the dissent, in which Judge Merritt argues that the defense counsel’s failure to claim the insanity defense was ineffective assistance. But the majority saw it as a reasonable decision and would not let the defendant get the opportunity to first test the case at trial and then allege insanity. The particular facts are about insanity by “deific degree”, meaning the defendant acted under belief he was ordered by god to kill.

JEFFREY D. LUNDGREN, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
BETTY MITCHELL, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 02-3001; 440 F.3d 754
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

Decided, March 13, 2006, Judge Merritt’s dissent begins:

Lundgren testified that he killed a family of five cult members as a religious sacrifice. He did so, he said, because he received a command from God that this sacrifice was necessary to prepare for “Zion” and the “Second Coming.” I disagree with our Court’s decision and reasoning in section II.D.3. above rejecting Lundgren’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on trial counsel’s inexplicable failure to raise the defense of insanity. Other than insanity Lundgren had no defense. In many similar “deific decree” cases in which a “delusional” person like Lundgren professed to be following God’s command to kill, defense lawyers have almost uniformly entered an insanity plea — and the jury has accepted the defense in some of the cases. As we shall see, even the prosecutors in the case could not understand why Lundgren’s lawyers did not enter such a defense. I will also apply Ohio’s definition of insanity in light of a mental illness theory counsel overlooked in bypassing his only available defense. I will then show why, in light of these considerations, the conduct of Lundgren’s counsel was manifestly ineffective. The writ of habeas corpus should have issued in this case to require a new trial in which Lundgren would be allowed to present the insanity defense before the jury.

The dissent then continues by listing a variety of deific decree insanity defenses over the past 200 years:

State v. Lafferty, 2001 UT 19, 20 P.3d 342, 363 (Utah 2001) (Mormon fundamentalist, who killed his sister-in-law and her infant child pursuant to God’s “removal revelation,” presented insanity defense to jury);

People v. Coddington, 23 Cal. 4th 529, 97 Cal. Rptr. 2d 528, 2 P.3d 1081, 1103, 1110-14 (Cal. 2000), overruled on different grounds by Price v. Superior Court, 25 Cal. 4th 1046, 108 Cal. Rptr. 2d 409, 25 P.3d 618, 633 n.13 (Cal. 2001) (defendant presented insanity defense to jury after strangling chaperones of two girls he sexually abused professedly because God commanded the actions);

State v. Blair, 143 N.H. 669, 732 A.2d 448, 449-50 (N.H. 1999) (counsel presented insanity defense to jury in case in which husband bludgeoned his wife and son with a hammer after experiencing a “trance” in which God revealed that he would be cast into the lake of fire if he refused to do so);

People v. Serravo, 823 P.2d 128, 130 (Colo. 1992) (en banc) (jury found defendant not guilty by reason of insanity for stabbing his wife “in order to sever the marriage bond” in accordance with God’s purported instructions);

State v. Ryan, 233 Neb. 74, 444 N.W.2d 610, 632 (Neb. 1989) (cult leader entered plea of not guilty by reason of insanity after following Yahweh’s “command” to torture and kill an “unfaithful” cult member);

Laney v. State, 486 So. 2d 1242, 1245-46 (Miss. 1986) (defendant shot police officers because God purportedly commanded the act and presented insanity defense to jury);

State v. Cameron, 100 Wn.2d 520, 674 P.2d 650, 654 (Wash. 1983) (en banc) (jury question regarding insanity defense existed when defendant implemented God’s “command” to stab repeatedly his stepmother to stop the “evil spirit” within her);

State v. Malumphy, 105 Ariz. 200, 461 P.2d 677, 678 (Ariz. 1969) (defendant, who shot and killed two co-employees due to his belief that God sanctioned the deeds, presented insanity defense to jury);

State v. Di Paolo, 34 N.J. 279, 168 A.2d 401, 407-08 (N.J. 1961) (defendant repeatedly stabbed ex-girlfriend because God professedly commanded the actions and presented insanity defense to jury);

People v. Schmidt, 216 N.Y. 324, 110 N.E. 945, 945, 34 N.Y. Cr. 51 (N.Y. 1915) (defendant, who claimed God commanded him to kill a woman as a sacrifice, presented insanity defense to jury);

State v. Hudson, 1999 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 144, No. 01C01-9508-CC-00270, 1999 WL 77844, at **1, 8 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 19, 1999) (appellate court remanded for entry of a judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity in case in which defendant shot her one-month-old nephew, believing that God had instructed her to kill “the son of Satan”);

State v. McDaniel, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 6122, No. 18805, 1998 WL 887184, at **2-3 (Ohio Ct. App. Dec. 16, 1998) (defendant, after experiencing religious delusion that God commanded him to kill his wife with a baseball bat, presented insanity defense to jury);

Ivery v. State, 686 So. 2d 495, 499-503 (Ala. Crim. App. 1996) (defendant, who claimed to be the “ninja of God” and to have followed God’s command “to kill people at will and to take their money as the spoils of victory,” presented insanity defense to jury);

People v. Wilhoite, 228 Ill. App. 3d 12, 592 N.E.2d 48, 55-58, 169 Ill. Dec. 561 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991) (court found defendant not guilty by reason of insanity after she followed God’s “command” to shove her nine-year-old daughter out of apartment window to pass “a test to see if the defendant could get into heaven” prior to the imminent end of the world);

Perkey v. Cardwell, 369 F. Supp. 770, 770-74 (S.D. Ohio 1973), aff’d, 492 F.2d 1244 (6th Cir. 1974) (defendant claimed he was carrying out God’s orders by shooting victim and entered plea of not guilty by reason of insanity);

United States v. Guiteau, 10 F. 161, 186 (D.D.C. 1882) (defendant alleged he was following God’s command to kill the president and presented insanity defense to jury);

Elizabeth Mehren, Fellow Inmate Guilty of Murdering Ex-Priest, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 26, 2006, at A15 (Massachusetts inmate, who claimed God commanded him to kill defrocked priest, presented insanity defense to jury);

Mom Who Killed Kids with Rocks Committed to Mental Hospital, Chi. Trib., Apr. 7, 2004, at 8 (Texas jury found mother innocent by reason of insanity after she stoned two of her young sons to death with heavy rocks professedly in accordance with God’s instructions); Richard Moran, The Origin of Insanity as a Special Verdict: The Trial for Treason of James Hadfield (1800), 19 Law & Soc’y Rev. 487, 508 (1985) (jury acquitted defendant who pled insanity defense following attempted shooting of the king of England purportedly at God’s direction);

cf. State v. Wilson, 242 Conn. 605, 700 A.2d 633, 641 (Conn. 1997) (“An individual laboring under a delusion that causes him to believe in the divine approbation of his conduct is an individual who, in all practicality, is unlikely to be able fully to appreciate the wrongfulness of that conduct.”).

With footnote #1

I am aware of only a few deific decree cases in which the insanity defense was not presented. In one of them, the failure to do so was held to constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. Galloway v. State, 1985 OK CR 42, 698 P.2d 940, 942 (Okla. Crim. App. 1985) (defendant, at the professed direction of God, “drove demons out” of his neighbor by killing him). In another, the defendant represented himself. Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven xxii-xxiii (large print ed. 2003) (Mormon fundamentalist killed his sister-in-law and her infant child pursuant to God’s “removal revelation”). The brother of the aforementioned defendant declined to raise the insanity defense in his first trial because he believed the jury would interpret that defense as an admission of guilt, but, in his retrial, allowed counsel to present the insanity defense. State v. Lafferty, 2001 UT 19, 20 P.3d 342, 363 (Utah 2001); State v. Lafferty, 749 P.2d 1239, 1250 (Utah 1988). In addition, prosecutors wondered why some of Lundgren’s followers did not raise the insanity defense. See Cynthia Stalter Sasse & Peggy Murphy Widder, The Kirtland Massacre 273 (1991).

And so here, the word “ninja” is actually a reference to another case entirely. That case was in an Alabama criminal court. Again, in that case, and in this citing case, we see “ninja” in a case related to murder and religion.

Ultimately, the higher courts did not agree with Judge Merritt’s dissenting analysis (though a stay of execution was at one point temporarily ordered) and Jeffrey Lundgren was executed by the State of Ohio on October 24, 2006. The final clemency report can be read, with eight signatures recommending denial of clemency and explaining further details about his case. May the ninja gods have mercy on their souls.

In this 2003 case, “Ninja” is a gang nickname (in 1988) for someone who was going to sell or give guns (“artillery” or “jammies”) to the convicted criminal conspirators. The crime is the execution-style murder of a police officer.

PHILIP COPELAND, Petitioner, – against – HANS G. WALKER, Superintendent, Auburn Correctional Facility, Respondent.
97-CV-2082 (ERK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
258 F. Supp. 2d 105;

Decided – April 15, 2003

Opinion by Judge Edward R. Korman explains:

In the early morning hours of February 26, 1988, a young, newly appointed New York City Police Officer, Edward Byrne, sitting in his patrol car outside the home of a witness he was assigned to protect, was shot five times in the head from a distance of two feet. Officer Byrne died instantly. The killing was apparently meant to send a message to law enforcement authorities from Howard “Pappy” Mason, one of two Queens drug lords who were incarcerated at the time. Petitioner, Philip Copeland, was convicted by a jury sitting in New York State Supreme Court of carrying out this crime along with his co-defendants Todd Scott, David McClary, and Scott Cobb. Howard “Pappy” Mason was convicted his for his role in the offense.

And:

Petitioner’s role in the planning of this execution-style murder was firmly established through the testimony of Darrell Newby and Martin Howell, who were both members of the drug gang known as the “Beebos,” to which petitioner also belonged (T. 362-63, 527-28, 746, 754). Howell and Newby testified that on February 25, 1988, the night before Officer Byrne was killed, they attended a meeting in an apartment along with petitioner, Todd Scott, and Scott Cobb (T. 369, 370-71, 379). Prior to petitioner’s arrival, Howell heard Scott announce that “the boss had put out an order to hit a cop” (T. 532, 589-90, 591, 593). Scott assured that anyone who participated would receive $ 8,000 in return and would not get caught because “the guy sleeps on the job and it would be easy” (T. 532, 593). Upon petitioner’s arrival at the apartment, Newby (petitioner’s cousin), overheard Todd Scott tell petitioner and Cobb “that we have to kill a police officer regarding a witness” (T. 372, 481-82). Newby then observed both petitioner and Cobb nod their heads “up and down” in response to Scott’s remark (T. 374, 460, 464). Howell also overheard petitioner ask Scott if he had the “jammies,” or guns (T. 602, 664, 717, 727). Scott replied that he was going to get the “artillery” from “Ninja” (T. 603). Howell then heard petitioner say to Cobb, “We’re going to use your car” (T. 537, 603).

Petitioner’s complicity in the conspiracy to murder Officer Byrne is further evidenced by statements made both before the planning session and after the killing. Howell testified that earlier on February 25, petitioner declared to him that “the [*120] Boss [Pappy Mason] was very pissed off and he wanted to see it on TV while he was on Riker’s Island that a cop got iced” (T. 763-64, 770). In addition, the morning following the shooting Scott Cobb confessed to Newby that “We killed the cop” (T. 508, 521). That same day, Cobb told Howell, in petitioner’s presence, how two cars had been used in the “hit” — one car was “dumped” while the other was used to take the participants to a party in Manhattan after the killing (T. 576, 740-41). Howell also heard petitioner tell Cobb that he did not want to hear anymore about “the situation” (T. 577, 665, 743). On the Monday following the crime, Newby also overheard Scott Cobb confess to a third person that he had pulled up behind the police officer’s car and shot him (T. 508-09). Finally, on the Saturday following the shooting when some money was missing from the profits of drug sales, petitioner warned Howell and others that “if you all want to end up like that MF-ing cop, then that money better turn up” (T. 764-65).

In addition to this testimonial evidence, the prosecution also presented physical evidence linking petitioner to the crime. Specifically, petitioner’s fingerprint was found on an Econo-Lodge scratch pad, which was recovered from the yellow car used by the perpetrators (T. 942, 1490, 1732). Based on this evidence, a rational juror could certainly conclude that petitioner was guilty of intentional murder.

The Court here denies the petition for habeas corpus and denies certificate of appealability.

Recall also, this is the second time we’ve seen Ninja as a gang member’s nickname in Federal Court.

Richard Allen Jackson raped and killed a woman. When arrested he waived Miranda and confessed completely. Substantial corroborating evidence was found at his home. He was sentenced to death. But then a judge reversed saying the confession should be barred. Instead of a new trial, he plead guilty to lesser crimes with agreement to serve 30 years. But no one told him that he could face federal charges too. And he did. And he was sentenced to death again. Below, the Federal appeal. He lost. Jackson is currently on Federal Death Row awaiting execution.

Richard Allen Jackson


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICHARD ALLEN JACKSON, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 01-9
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
327 F.3d 273
; 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 4834; 60 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 1319
September 23, 2002, Argued
March 18, 2003, Decided

The opinion by Judge Niemeyer describes the horrific incident and the procedural history prior to this appeal:

On Halloween morning, October 31, 1994, Karen Styles, a recent college graduate, disappeared from a trail in the Pisgah National Forest. A search initiated that evening, after Styles failed to return home, revealed no trace of Styles herself. Her car was, however, still parked at the lot at the head of the trail, and her car key was found on the trail two-tenths of a mile from the parking lot.

A little more than three weeks later, Styles’ nude body was discovered by a hunter, duct-taped to a tree, where investigators also found a duct-tape wrapper, a pornographic magazine, and one spent Remington .22 caliber rifle casing. An autopsy revealed that Styles died from a single bullet wound to the head. She also had suffered ten stun-gun wounds to her body, nine of them inflicted within six inches of her pubic area. Investigators recognized from the duct-tape wrapper that the brand was sold at K-Mart. When sheriff’s deputies contacted the nearest K-Mart store, located approximately one mile from the murder site, they discovered a receipt for a transaction that occurred on October 28, 1994, evidencing the purchase of a .22 rifle, a box of Remington .22 rifle ammunition, duct tape, a flashlight, and batteries. The ATF Form 4473 generated upon the purchase of the rifle revealed the purchaser to be Richard Allen Jackson.

On December 20, 1994, Jackson voluntarily accompanied police to the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department for an interview. After the officers advised Jackson of his Miranda rights, Jackson waived them and answered questions for approximately three hours about his background and his whereabouts in the days surrounding the date of Styles’ murder. When the sheriff asked Jackson what he did with the rifle that he used to shoot Karen Styles, Jackson responded, “I think I need a lawyer present.” The sheriff then informed Jackson that he would not ask him any more questions and stated, “Son, I know you bought the rifle and the duct tape at K-Mart on the 28th of October. I know you were in Bent Creek on the day she was killed, and that’s fine, but you need help.” At this point Jackson broke down, crying and insisting that he did not mean to kill anybody. After the officers informed Jackson that he did not need to say anything because he had invoked his right to counsel, Jackson stated that he wanted to tell the whole story to get it off of his chest. He then signed another waiver of his Miranda rights.

Jackson confessed fully. He stated that he arrived at the park around 8:00 a.m. and watched Styles as she stretched and walked down the trail. After sitting for a while, he took the gun out of the back of the car, loaded it, and started down the trail. He also had duct tape, a stun gun, and a pornographic magazine in his coat pockets. After Karen Styles passed him on the trail, Jackson turned around and pointed the gun at her, whereupon Styles took a key out of her shoe and told Jackson that there was money in her car and that he could take the car. She pleaded with him not to hurt her. Jackson placed duct tape over Styles’ eyes and mouth and led her to a remote area, where he stood her with her back to a tree and duct-taped her to the tree. The duct tape on Styles’ mouth had come loose by this time, and Styles again asked him not to hurt her. Jackson taped her mouth shut again, ripped off her shorts and underpants, and then raped her vaginally. Although Jackson’s rendition did not describe his use of the stun gun, evidence was presented at trial that he shocked Styles with a stun gun once above her left breast and several times in the pubic area. Jackson stated that he then moved away from Styles and looked at his pornographic magazine while masturbating. The tape over Styles’ mouth loosened, and Styles began screaming. Jackson walked up to her, put the gun to her head, and shot her once. That afternoon, Jackson went back to the K-Mart, returned the gun, and received a refund.

Jackson was crying during his entire confession, and the report of his confession indicates that at times during the interview the officers could not understand his words. Jackson repeated many times that he did not mean to kill Styles.

A search of Jackson’s home and cars, conducted pursuant to a search warrant, led investigators to recover a functional stun gun, a flashlight, a black “Ninja” outfit, a wrapper to an adult magazine, and a partially empty box of .22 caliber rifle bullets.

Jackson was charged in Buncombe County with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree rape. After the trial court denied Jackson’s pretrial motion to suppress his confession, a jury returned a guilty verdict on all three charges. On the jury’s recommendation, the court imposed the death penalty for the murder conviction and prison sentences for the rape and kidnapping convictions. On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed Jackson’s conviction and ordered a new trial, concluding that police had violated Jackson’s Miranda right not to be interrogated after he had invoked his right to counsel. State v. Jackson, 348 N.C. 52, 497 S.E.2d 409, 412 (N.C. 1998).

On March 3, 2000, Jackson pled guilty in State court to second degree murder, first-degree rape, and second-degree kidnapping. The stipulated prison sentences in the agreement totaled over 31 years, and Jackson received credit for 5 years already served. At the time of Jackson’s plea, none of his lawyers considered the possibility of a federal prosecution, and none advised Jackson that he could be subject to federal prosecution.

On November 6, 2000, a federal grand jury returned a superseding bill of indictment charging Jackson, in one count, of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, specifically murder, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual abuse, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1). At trial, the government called 22 witnesses during the guilt phase and introduced extensive physical and testimonial evidence, including Jackson’s confession, which was received without objection. The jury returned a guilty verdict and then proceeded to consider the appropriate sentence.

During the sentencing phase, the government presented the testimony of the victim’s mother, Kathleen Styles, and the defense presented the testimony of Jackson’s adoptive mother, Sally Jackson. The defense also attempted to offer the testimony of the adoptive parents of Jackson’s natural sister, who suffered behavioral disorders, but the district court did not allow this testimony without any expert testimony linking the sister’s mental condition to Jackson’s. To rebut Sally Jackson’s testimony, the government played for the jury, over Jackson’s objection, portions of a videotaped interview given by Jackson for FOX News in October 2000, after his State conviction had been reversed and he had been sentenced pursuant to a guilty plea. The jury found unanimously that the government had proved beyond a reasonable doubt four aggravating factors, including the fact that Karen Styles’ death occurred during the commission of the offense of kidnapping, as defined under 18 U.S.C. § 1201, and the fact that Jackson committed the crime in an “especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to Karen Styles.” Various jurors found 14 mitigating circumstances, and the jury found unanimously that “the aggravating factor or factors found to exist sufficiently outweighed all the mitigating factor or factors found to exist to justify a death sentence.” All 12 jurors signed the verdict form, unanimously recommending that Jackson be sentenced to death.

In accordance with that recommendation, the district court entered judgment on May 14, 2001, finding Jackson guilty of the offense charged in the indictment and imposing the sentence of death. The judgment also provided: “This judgment is effective immediately and is neither consecutive to nor delayed by the judgment and sentence previously imposed by the State of North Carolina.”

The Court finds no reversible error and upholds the conviction and death sentence. US Supreme Court certiorari denied, 124 S. Ct. 566 (2003).

Recall also the NinjaLaw case of the Ninja-pants killer. Also from North Carolina, and also currently awaiting death sentence in Federal Death Row. It is unclear when either of these people might be executed.

karen styles grave

In 1992, a US Army court of Military Review decided an petition of appeal on the court martial of Specialist Ronald A. Gray, convicted of “attempted murder, premeditated murder (two specifications), rape (three specifications), larceny, robbery (two specifications), forcible sodomy (two specifications), and burglary” and was sentenced (at his 1991 trial) to death.

UNITED STATES, Appellee v. Specialist Four RONALD A. GRAY, 261-69-7258, United States Army, Appellant
ACMR 8800807
UNITED STATES ARMY COURT OF MILITARY REVIEW
37 M.J. 730

In the December 15, 1992, decision Judge Naughton wrote:

On 6 January, the authorities observed the appellant with a dark bundle underneath his arm. When the authorities apprehended the appellant, he no longer had the bundle; however, authorities found a pair of black karate or “ninja” pants close by in a garbage can. A portion of the cloth belt strap was missing from the pants. The appellant denied committing any offenses and invoked his right to counsel.

continuing:

A few hours later the authorities discovered Ms. R’s body in the woods not far from her taxi cab. The body was lying face down in a wooded area. The body was nude except for a pair of socks. Ms. R had been gagged with the black cloth belt strap from the appellant’s “ninja” pants, and her hands had been tied behind her back. She had received multiple stab wounds. She also suffered bruises on her eyebrow, bruises on her nose, and a laceration on her lip. Swabs taken from her vagina and anus revealed that she had been raped and sodomized. The appellant’s fingerprints were found on the interior door handle of Ms. R’s taxi, and money in his possession at the time of his arrest was found to have Ms. R’s fingerprints on it.

This Court went on to affirm the convictions and the sentence of death:

We conclude that the sentence is appropriate for the crimes of which the accused stands convicted.

But this was not the end (nor was it the beginning) for US v. Gray in the Federal Courts. In fact, Lexis Shepardizing lists this case with three prior history citations and 48(!) subsequent history citations – many many motions denied. In March 1995, the case was argued before the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and then reargued in December of 1996 and finally decided in May 1999. The Court again affirmed the criminal convictions and the order of death. This US v Gray case will appear again (when we get to #35) in our NinjaLaw review of all “ninja” opinions because the 1999 decision also mentions the “ninja pants” by including and appendix list of all of appellant’s claims of error, including:

18. The military judge improperly denied the defense motion to suppress the black “ninja” pants.

In 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States (Justices Rehnquist, Stevens, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer) denied the petition for writ of certiorari in March 2001 and then in May 2001 denied petition for rehearing.

But still that was not the end for Specialist Ronald Gray.

A 2008 court stayed the execution and just this past January 26, 2012, a US Army Court of Criminal Appeals decided yet another denial:

Private E1 RONALD GRAY United States Army, Petitioner v. Colonel ERIC BELCHER, Commandant, United States Disciplinary Barracks and THE UNITED STATES, Respondents
ARMY MISC 201100931
1 The docket number for petitioner’s direct appeal is ACMR 8800807.
UNITED STATES ARMY COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
70 M.J. 646

Judge Johnson denied this most recent motion, a “Petition for Extraordinary Relief in the Nature of a Writ of Error Coram Nobis”, and explained some of the recent history:

On 28 July 2008, the President of the United States [George W. Bush] approved petitioner’s sentence to death and ordered it executed. The Secretary of the Army scheduled petitioner’s execution for 10 December 2008; however, before it could be carried out, the United States District Court for the District of Kansas granted a stay of execution in anticipation of petitioner filing a petition for extraordinary relief in the nature of a writ of habeas corpus. Thereafter, petitioner filed a writ of habeas corpus, which is still pending before that court.

On 11 February 2011, petitioner filed with this court the instant petition for extraordinary relief in the nature of a writ of coram nobis. We then ordered the government to show cause why the writ should not issue, and it filed an answer brief on 14 March 2011. Petitioner filed a reply brief on 13 June 2011. Petitioner is currently in confinement at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Meanwhile, a 2008 opinion, US v. O’Neil, cited the 1992 Gray opinion for the principle: “photographs, although gruesome, are admissible”. By all accounts Gray was convicted of horrible acts of violence and nearly every Court since 1991 has ruled against him and yet still 20 years later his death sentence has not been imposed. This would be the first execution in the military since John A. Bennett in 1961.

But it still may be quite a long life left for Ronald Gray. Who knows how long these court proceedings could continue?