Robert Courchesne—white, age 41

Sentenced to death in Waterbury County, Connecticut
By: A jury
Date of crime: 9/15/98
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Victim Demetris Rogers was haranguing Courchesne to pay her for crack cocaine she had supplied him earlier in the day when he stabbed her multiple times and left her to die in the street. Rogers was nine months pregnant—the baby was surgically delivered and survived for 42 days before succumbing due to lack of oxygen during the time her mother was dying. The death of the baby accounted for a second murder conviction against Courchesne. The defense did not contest guilt, but argued that Courchesne had lived a good life before he had developed his drug habit, and that the victim had in part provoked the attack through her illegal drug dealing. (Note: This is an unusual case where a white defendant received a death sentence for killing black victims.)
Prosecutor(s): John Connelly
Defense lawyer(s): Ronald Gold, Kenneth Simon
Sources: Hartford Courant 12/10/04, 12/11/04, 12/18/04, 1/16/04