Robert Arrington – white, age 53

Sentenced to death in Richmond County, Georgia
By: A jury
Date of crime: 4/3/2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Arrington robbed and beat to death his girlfriend, Kathy Hutchens in her home (and beat her German Shepherd to death, also). Arrington claimed he had found Hutchens in her house and was too scared to call the police. (Hutchens’ body was in fact discovered ten days later by her sister.) Arrington served five years in prison for strangling his wife in 1986, after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. In the sentencing phase, the defense argued that the jury did not need to vote for the death penalty because a life sentence would still keep the community safe.
Prosecutor(s): Danny Craig, Michael Carlson
Defense lawyer(s): William Sussman, Jeffrey Bowman
Sources: Augusta Chronicle 4/28/04, 5/5/04, 5/6/04, 5/7/04, 5/11/04, 5/12/04

Donnie Hulett, Jr. – white, age 20

Sentenced to death in Walker County, Georgia
By: A judge, after Hulett waived a jury for the penalty phase
Date of crime: 7/22/2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hulett used a rifle to shoot, and also bludgeoned 69-year-old, Arvine Phleps and his brother Larry, 62, to death in order to steal a pickup truck. In mitigation, the defense presented evidence that Hulett had a terrible childhood filled with drugs and alcohol.
Prosecutor(s): Herbert Franklin Jr.
Defense lawyer(s): Larry Hill
Sources: Walker County Messenger (Georgia) 4/15/04, 4/16/04, 4/20/04, 4/21/04, 4/28/04, 4/29/04

Reinaldo Rivera—Latino, age 36

Sentenced to death in Richmond County, Georgia
By: A jury
Date of crime: 9/4/00, victim survived until 9/9/00
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Rivera was a serial killer. This trial involved the rape-murder of Army Sgt. Marni Glista in her home. Rivera also admitted to the rape-murders of two 17-year-old girls in Aiken County in 1999, another of a 17-year-old girl in Augusta on 6/29/00, and the rape and attempted murder of an 18-year-old-girl in Augusta on 10/10/00 (who he later couldn’t believe had survived). The defense did not contest guilt. Mitigation was that he had been consumed by a sexual obsession since childhood that had eventually gotten out of control, and that he had good aspects to his life as a husband, father, and Navy veteran. The defense asked for a verdict of guilty but mentally ill. In the penalty phase, Rivera took the witness stand and advised the jury it should give him the death penalty because of the severity of his crimes, and because he would kill again if he were ever free.
Prosecutor(s): Ashley Wright, Danny Craig
Defense lawyer(s): Peter Johnson, Jacque Hawk
Sources: Augusta Chronicle 1/14/04, 1/15/04, 1/21/04, 1/24/04, 1/25/04, 2/13/04

Joseph Williams – black, age 27

Sentenced to death in Chatham County, Georgia
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Williams was in prison for murder when he killed former police officer, Michael Deal. Williams killed Deal because Williams was afraid Deal would inform authorities about an escape plot being hatched by Williams and another inmate. Williams strangled Deal with an Ace bandage and hung a bed sheet in his cell to make it appear like a suicide. While awaiting trial for the Deal murder, Williams killed one inmate with multiple stab wounds from a prison shank, and attempted to kill another inmate the same way because he thought they were snitches. The defense offered no excuses for the murders.
Prosecutor(s): David Lock
Defense lawyer(s): Michael Edwards, Tammy Stockes
Sources: Associated Press Newswires 3/29/04, 4/6/04; Law Discussion Forum (accessed 10/4/04)