Teodoro Baez—Latino, age 22

Sentenced to death in Cook County, Illinois
By: A judge. Baez pleaded guilty and waived sentencing by a jury.
Date of crime: 8/5/99
Prosecution’s case/defense response: In a drug dispute, Baez shot Juan Estrada twice and then slashed and stabbed him dozens of times with a samurai sword. He then lured Janet Mena, who was waiting in a car outside, into the apartment where he choked, kicked, and stabbed her repeatedly with the sword. He then dismembered the bodies and scattered the pieces around Chicago. The prosecution also presented evidence that he had assaulted one prisoner and one correctional officer in jail since his arrest. Baez also had a lengthy record of felonies. Baez told mental health professionals who interviewed him that he would welcome death as providing “closure.” The defense presented evidence of Baez’s hideous childhood
Prosecutor(s):John Murphy, Ray Brogan
Defense lawyer(s): Joseph Kennelly
Sources: Chicago Sun-Times 3/10/04; Chicago Tribune 3/10/04

Ricardo Harris—black, age 34

Sentenced to death in Cook County, Illinois
By: A jury
Date of crime: 5/13/99
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Harris robbed a liquor store, shot to death two employees (Dipak Patel and Ambalal Patel), and shot two customers (Christina Chisnick and Helen Chisnick) who did not die and identified him. At the time, Harris was an escapee from custody in Michigan on two armed robbery charges, where he stole a gun from a police officer that he used in these killings. He also committed other violent crimes in Michigan and North Carolina. The defense attempted to cast doubt on the eyewitness identifications. Harris refused to attend the penalty phase, or to allow his lawyers to present mitigating evidence.
Prosecutor(s): Mike Deno, Donna Norton
Defense lawyer(s): Matthew McQuaid, Will Fahy
Sources: Chicago Tribune 2/6/04, 2/10/04; Chicago Sun-Times 2/10/04, 3/16/04

Cecil Sutherland – white, age 31 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Marion County, Illinois
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/1/1987
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sutherland kidnapped, beat, strangled, and raped 10-year-old Amy Schulz. Sutherland was convicted previously for the murder, but the Illinois Supreme Court ordered a retrial. The prosecution presented evidence that DNA analysis linked hairs that were found on the girl to Sutherland. The case went unsolved until Sutherland was arrested in Montana for shooting at a park ranger. The defense argued that a relative of the girl’s family, who was previously convicted of molestation, was responsible for the murder. During sentencing, Sutherland requested the death penalty.
Prosecutor(s): Gary Duncan
Defense lawyer(s): John Paul Carroll
Sources: Belleville News-Democrat 6/12/04; Chicago Tribune 5/3/04, 6/18/04

Andrew Urdiales – white, age 31

Sentenced to death in Livingston County, Illinois
By: A jury
Date of crime: 1996
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Urdiales, a former Marine, shot and killed Cassandra Corum and dumped her body in the Vermilion River. Urdiales confessed to killing seven other women, two in the Chicago area and five in California between 1988 and 1996. While not mentioned in the news reports, it appears that these murders must have all involved kidnappings and sexual assaults, and death by both shooting and stabbing. Urdiales plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but later changed his plea to guilty but mentally ill; ultimately both pleas were rejected. In mitigation, the defense claimed Urdiales lacked mental capacity, was sexual abused and raised away from his mother. Urdiales had been on Death Row for the murders of the Chicago area women, but when Governor Ryan emptied death row Urdiales’s life was spared. However, the Corum murder case was still pending, and his death sentence in that case after the commutation made him the first Illinois prisoner to be sent back to Death Row.
Prosecutor(s): Thomas Brown
Defense lawyer(s): Steve Skelton, Jay Elmore
Sources: Chicago Sun-Times 3/5/04, 4/24/04, 5/25/04, 5/11/04, 8/18/04; Illinois Department of Corrections: www.idoc.state.il.us