Anthony Dick – white, age 43

Sentenced to death in Pennsylvania
By: A judge, after pleading guilty and telling the judge he wanted the death penalty.
Date of crime: January 24th, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Dick shotgunned to death his two children, ages 4 and 18 months, and seriously wounded his wife.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: AP Alert: 8/24/07 (PA 10:44:50)

Bryan S. Galvin – white, age 42

Sentenced to death in Berks County, Pennsylvania
By: A jury.
Date of crime: January 31, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Galvin shot Kristofer Kolesnik one time in the head. His neighbor, Michael L. Miller, helped load the 400 pound body into the back of a van. Galvin was later pulled over for not having a front headlight where the police discovered the body and arrested Galvin and Miller. The prosecution sought the death penalty after Galvin was found guilty based on DNA found on the mattress that Kolesnik was wrapped in as well as the bullet casing in Galvin’s apartment. The prosecutor focused on Galvin’s past criminal history, which included convictions of aggravated assault and robbery, to further their position that the death penalty is appropriate. District Attorney Mark C. Baldwin called Galvin a “poster child” for the death penalty. Galvin was also tried three times for the September 29, 1991 slaying of Todd W. Heck. In all three trials it was Galvin’s stance that Heck was a violent drunk who had stabbed him first. After eight years in prison Galvin was found not guilty of this charge.
Prosecutor(s): Mark C. Baldwin
Defense lawyer(s): Glenn D. Welsh and Timothy Biltcliff
Sources: Reading Eagle Newspaper 11/21/06 (2007 WLNR 17479857) and 09/07/07 (2006 WLNR 20202261)

Kareem Johnson – black, age 18

Sentenced to death in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
By: A jury
Date of crime: December 15, 2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson shot Walter Smith 12 times because Walter Smith was about to testify against Johnson’s fellow gang member, Clinton Robinson, in a separate shooting. Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson called Johnson one of the most “evil and violent” killers he had ever come across. The evidence against Johnson was overwhelming; including testimony of acquaintances, officers, and DNA experts. Galvin was also found guilty of the first degree murder of Fahem Thomas-Childs, a third-grader, caught in the cross fire between Johnson and rival drug dealers. Galvin was sentenced to life in prison for this murder. The facts surrounding this murder were told to the jury during the sentencing phase of the Smith murder trial.
Prosecutor(s): Michael Barry
Defense lawyer(s): Michael Coard
Prosecutor(s): Mark Gilson
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Philadelphia Daily News: 06/28/07 (2007 WLNR 12251675), 06/27/07 (2007 WLNR 12149611), 06/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11808424)

Richard Laird – white, age 24 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
By: A jury
Date of crime: December 15, 1987
Prosecution’s case/defense response: A Federal Appeals Court granted Laird a new trial after his first conviction. His conviction and death penalty sentence came nearly 20 years after the original crime. This presented several difficult issues for a prosecution team that was determined not to allow the time lapse allow Laird to walk free. Crime scene evidence showed Milano, the victim, was alive for five to ten minutes after Laird and his accomplice started slicing Milano. Their motive was believed to be that Milan was a homosexual.
Prosecutor(s): Diane Gibbons and Alan Rubenstein (original trial) and Michelle Henry and Robin Twombly (retrial)
Defense lawyer(s): John Kerrigan and Keith Williams
Sources: Bucks County Courier Times 2/13/07 (2007 WLNR 2943862), AP Alert 2/10/07 (PA 17:21:59), 2/12/07 (PA 10:58:27)

Angel Reyes – Latino, age 28 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Delaware County, Pennsylvania
By: A jury
Date of crime: sometime in the year before 1994
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Reyes was convicted of first degree murder for the drowning of his four year old daughter. He took her from a backyard where she was playing and dropped her off a bridge into a river because he was angry at her mother.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: AP Alert: 06/06/07 (PA 15:23:22)

Brentt Sherwood – white, age 25

Sentenced to death in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
By: A jury following a guilty verdict for the murder of 4 year old Marlee Rose Reed.
Date of crime: December 7, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Sherwood was found guilty of beating 4-year old Marlee Rose Reed to death while she was in his care. The child’s mother was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child for not taking proper steps to protect her child. Sherwood’s only defense was that he was high on drugs and did not intend to harm the child. A prosecution expert testified that there was no finding that Sherwood was intoxicated or suffering from delirium or psychosis at the time of the crime.
Defense lawyer(s): R. Bruce Manchester
Sherwood was also found guilty on the endangerment charges and sentenced to a concurrent 3.5-7 year prison sentence.
Sources: AP Alert: 4/30/07 (PA 12:32:09), 5/02/07 (PA 09:49:40), 7/31/07 (PA 12:32:09)

Donte Thomas – black, age 29

Sentenced to death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
By: the same jury who convicted Thomas of first degree murder
Date of crime: February 3, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Thomas was found guilty of first degree murder for the shooting death of 23 year old Tyreese Allen. Prosecutors say Thomas committed the murder on behalf of his friend who was himself on trial in which Allen was to testify against him. Thomas had visited his friend four days prior to shooting Allen. Additionally, Thomas himself attempted to recruit people to murder witnesses in his own murder trial, but to no avail. The prosecution presented the aggravator that the victim was a prosecution witness in another murder trial. The prosecution also focused on Thomas’s negative criminal history. The defense put on family members as well as Thomas’s girlfriend who pled to the jury to let him live; stating “his children still ask for him.”
Prosecutor(s): Mike Barry
Defense lawyer(s): Nino V. Tinari
Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, 09/19/07 (2007 WLNR 18324619), 09/20/07 (2007 WLNR 18405123)

James VanDivner – white, age 54

Sentenced to death in Fayette County, Pennsylvania
By: a jury after less than two hours of deliberation
Date of crime: July 5, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: VanDivner was found guilty for the murder of 41 year old Michelle Cable. VanDivner grabbed her by her hair and fired a bullet into her head behind her left ear. He also shot Cable’s son in the neck, who to this day has a bullet lodged near his spine as doctors are afraid to remove it for fear of paralyzing the young man. The prosecution focused on VanDivner’s criminal history of rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, and spousal support. The defense set forth evidence of VanDivner’s abusive childhood where he was often beat by his father with a lead pipe and forced to fight his brothers in front of spectators. The defense also attempted to get the death penalty off the table by claiming that VanDivner was mentally retarded, but the Court denied this claim. At the sentencing, Lawson Bernstein, a Pittsburg neuropsychiatrist, testified that VanDivner had a significant history of brain injuries, small strokes, and mild dementia. The jury found mitigating circumstances in VanDivner’s rough childhood but found it was outweighed by the state’s aggravators.
Prosecutor(s): Nancy Vernon
Defense lawyer(s): Dianne Zerega
Sources: Daily Courier, Pittsburg Tribune Review 02/13/07 (2007 WLNR 2846814), 02/10/07 (2007 WLNR 2680961), 12/09/06 (2006 WLNR 21285441)