Earl Forrest II—white, age 53
Sentenced to death in Dent County, Missouri
Date of crime: 12/9/02
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Forrest killed Harriet Smith and Michael Wells in an apparent drug dispute. Sheriff Bob Wofford and Deputy JoAnn Barnes went to a home to question Forrest. When the door was opened, he began shooting at them, killing Barnes and wounding Wofford. Forrest surrendered after a brief stand-off. No information is available concerning the defense approach to the case.
Defense lawyers(s) unknown
Sources: News-Leader (Springfield, MO) 12/11/02 (2002 WL 103682878), 12/19/02 (103683134)
Mark Anthony Gill – black, age 31
Sentenced to death in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/12/2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gill was living at Ralph Lape Jr.’s home to do yard work for him. Lape was out of town when Gill and Justin Brown were going through Lape’s bank records and discovered Lape had $100,000 in a bank account. To get to Lape’s money, Gill and Brown beat Lape and tied him up with duct tape. They drove Lape 90 miles out of town to a cornfield. They dug a grave shot Lape in the head, and buried him. Gill and Brown then stole Lape’s ATM card, but soon realized they could only withdrawal $400 at a time. Ultimately, they heard that in Las Vegas you can withdrawal any amount of money. They went to Las Vegas but were caught in New Mexico with Lape’s ATM card. The prosecution presented a videotaped confession from Gill. In mitigation, the defense presented evidence that Gill had a troubled childhood.
Prosecutor(s): Morely Swingle
Defense lawyer(s): Sharon Turlington, David Kenyon
Sources: Associated Press 3/5/04; St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3/6/04; Phone call with prosecutor Swingle 10/13/04
David Zink—white, age 42
Sentenced to death by a Lafayette County jury sitting (apparently due to sequestration) in St. Clair County, Missouri
By: A jury Date of crime: July 12, 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Zink kidnapped 19-year-old Amanda Morton, sodomized her, tied her to a tree, and inflicted numerous injuries on her: numerous blunt-force traumas, strangling, choking, stabbing, putting mud in her mouth, and breaking her neck (which was the fatal injury). Zink confessed and led investigators to where he had buried Morton’s body in the woods. Zink had convictions for raping and kidnapping two women in 1980, for which he had been released on parole only five months before killing Morton. Zink’s attorney’s contended he was mentally ill and unable to formulate the intent for first-degree murder, while Zink pursued a different strategy that he had been enraged and thus should be convicted only of manslaughter. In the penalty phase the defense offered evidence of Zink’s troubled childhood, his narcissistic personality disorder, and his alcohol dependence.
Prosecutor(s): Robert Ahsens
Defense lawyer(s): Thomas Jacquinot, Curtis Winegarner, although Zink acted as his own primary defense lawyer
Sources: News-Leader (Springfield, MO) 7/30/04, 9/8/04