Mario Phillips black, age 35

Sentenced to death in Moore County, North Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: December 2003
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Phillips was convicted of four counts of first degree murder for the killings of Eddie Ryals, Carl Justice Jr., Joseph Harden, and Daryl Hobson; along with trying to kill 15 year old Amanda Cook during a robbery and arson in Ryals’ home. Phillips’ lawyers argued that he did not deserve the death penalty because his ability to control his actions was impaired by a childhood of abuse, drugs and alcohol, a low IQ, and no history of violent crime. Phillips’s lawyers also argued that Phillips was suffering from mental anguish because his brother had been shot on the same day. The prosecution argued that the murders were committed in order to take money, drugs, and other property from Ryals house. The prosecution also argued that the murders were prolonged over a period of two hours of beating, stabbing, and shooting the victims before setting fire to the house.
Prosecutor(s): Paul Strickland
Defense lawyer(s): Bruce Cunningham
Sources: The Fayetteville Observer 10/11/07 2007 WLNR 19921756, 10/17/07 2007 WLNR 20364869, 10/18/07 2007 WLNR 20435038

Byron Waring – black, age 19

Sentenced to death in Wake County, North Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: November, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Waring was convicted of first degree murder for the killing of Lauren Redman in 2005. Waring was one of two men charged with killing Redman, who was raped and stabbed repeatedly. The other man was Joseph Sanderlin. During the sentencing phase of the trial, Waring’s lawyers argued that his low IQ and troubled upbringing led him to be easily influenced by Sanderlin. The prosecution revealed the brutality of the rape followed by the bloody knife attack and torture committed against Redman. Even though some members of the jury agreed that Waring was mentally challenged, they deemed the brutality of the murder as outweighing Waring’s possible lack of understanding of the crime.
Prosecutor(s): Doug Faucette
Defense lawyer(s): Rosemary Godwin, Anne Groninger
Sources: The News and Observer 7/06/07 2007WLNR 12803563, 7/07/07 2007 WLNR 12894011, 7/10/07 2007 WLNR 13021768; University Wire 7/19/07 23:24:42

Eugine Williams – black, age 26

Sentenced to death in Cumberland County, North Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: October 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Williams was convicted of the murders of Cedric Leavy, and Nicholas Gillard who were both shot to death. Williams simultaneously shot Leavy and Gillard several times in the back of the head before stuffing them in the trunk of his car. Williams should have been sentenced in 2004 following his conviction, however, Williams lawyers withdrew from the case after Williams assaulted one of them. The prosecution argued that Williams deserved the death penalty because he killed two men in the course of committing a crime which is the legal standard set by the North Carolina legislature. The defense argued that Williams is a good man who made bad choices following a childhood of abuse. The defense further argued that two murders committed by Williams were together at one moment so it doesn’t meet the legal requirement for a death sentence.
Prosecutor(s): Cal Colyer
Defense lawyer(s): John Britt, Michael Howell