Dion Banks– black, age 29

Sentenced to death in Cook County, Illinois
By: A judge, after a recommendation of death by a jury
Date of crime: 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Banks killed Rose Newburn in front of her two children during a carjacking at a mall.  Banks attempted to attack the judge by charging the bench on the first day of trial.  The jury had yet to enter the room, so a mistrial was not allowed.  Defense said that Banks was abused as a child and forced to live on his own by age 16.  Prosecution presented evidence of his long criminal history, including rape, robbery and murder.  The jury took two hours to decide on the death penalty.
Prosecutor(s): Michael Hood    Defense lawyer(s): Gary Copp
Sources: Chicago Tribune 5/13/06, 5/16/06, 5/26/06

Paul Runge – Latino, age 27

Sentenced to death in Cook County, Illinois
Date of Crime:  2/3/97
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Runge was a sexually-motivated serial killer.  He admitted in a police interrogation video to eight murders.  These were committed after he had been paroled for the kidnap and sexual assault of a 14-year-old.  The specific murders for which he was sentenced to death were the killings of Yolanda Gutierrez and her 10-month-old daughter Jessica Muniz.  Runge responded to a sign Gutierrez had posted in her yard to sell exercise equipment.  Once inside, Runge raped Gutierrez, slashed her throat and her daughter’s, and burned the apartment.  Runge also had once escaped from incarceration.
Prosecutor(s):  Bernie Murray Defense Lawyer(s):  William Wolf, Woody Jordan
Sources:  AP Alert – Illinois 6/5/06; Chicago Tribune 6/6/06 (2006 WLNR 9657561); AP Alert – Crime 6/6/06; Daily Herald 8/14/06 (2006 WLNR 14323377).