Johnny Johnson – white, age 23

Sentenced to death in St. Louis County, Missouri
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/26/2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson lured six-year-old Cassandra Williamson to an abandoned glass factory where he attempted to rape her and then beat her to death when she resisted. Johnson admitted to police that he intended to rape and kill Williamson. The defense admitted Johnson killed Williamson but argued Johnson should be convicted of second-degree murder. The defense presented evidence of mental illness and argued Johnson did not act with deliberation.
Prosecutor(s): Robert P. McCulloch Defense lawyer(s): Bevy Beimdiek, Beth Keyyer
Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1/16/2005, 1/18/2005, 1/19/2005, 3/8/2005

Vincent McFadden – black, age 21

Sentenced to death in St. Louis County, Missouri
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/3/2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: McFadden was a member of a street gang. He fatally shot Todd Franklin, who had testified against two members of his gang in an earlier proceeding. After his cohort, Michael Douglas, shot Franklin first, McFadden finished him off, saying “I want to make sure you are dead” while standing over the prone Franklin and firing three shots into him. McFadden had also been convicted of firing shots into a car full of rival gang members. Further, the prosecution presented proof that he had killed his former girlfriend’s sister while she begged for her life. The defense claimed as to the Franklin murder that McFadden had an alibi. In mitigation the defense presented evidence of McFadden’s terrible childhood.
Prosecutor(s): Mark Bishop, Dean Waldemer
Defense lawyer(s): Sharon Turlington, Karen Kraft
Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12/18/04 (2004 WLNR 14340273), 3/8/05 (2005 WLNR 3597490), 3/9/05 (2005 WLNR 3695974), 3/12/05 (2005 WLNR 3906294), 4/24/05 (2005 WLNR 6389760)