Robert Diamond – White, age 33

Sentenced in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge after waiving a jury
Date of crime: August 1, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Diamond gunned down two former coworkers: Angel Guadalupe (age 46) and Reginald Woodson (age 52). Diamond pleaded guilty to the murders in a deal where the prosecution agreed to allow a judge to decide the penalty should Diamond abandon his mental health defense. The state pointed out that the murders appeared to have racial motivations.
Sources: Bucks County Courier Times (PA) 04/14/09 (2009 WLNR 7261222), 04/16/09 (2009 WLNR7594823), 04/19/09 (2009 WLNR 7984090); Intelligencer (PA) 04/17/09 (2009 WLNR 7747055), 04/19/09 (2009 WLNR 7808158)

Harve Lamar Johnson – Black, age 26

Sentenced in York County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: April 6, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson beat to death Darisabel Baez (age 2). Johnson became enraged when Johnson’s diaper leaked on to the ground after he spanked her. The autopsy was unable to determine which one of Baez’s 150 fresh injuries was the fatal blow, but several were considered to have had the potential to be individually fatal.
Sources: York Daily Record (PA) 05/05/10 (2010 WLNR 9299187), 05/28/10 (2010 WLNR 11000956); York Dispatch (PA) 05/05/10 (2010 WLNR 9303186).

Joseph Kindler – White, age 24 (re-sentence after appellate review)

Sentenced in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: July 25, 1982
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Kindler beat David Bernstein (age 22) with a baseball bat and drowned him in a nearby river. Bernstein was scheduled to provide testimony against Kindler the next day about a robbery. Kindler had escaped the detention center he was held in while awaiting trial in 1984. He was recaptured in Quebec, but escaped once again while awaiting extradition. Kindler was captured again in 1988 after being featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” Kindler required a second sentencing because the trial judge deemed certain post-verdict claims to be waived after Kindler escaped. The U.S. Supreme Court said that the state court needed to consider the issues with the jury instructions.
Sources: Philadelphia Daily News (PA) 09/27/03 (2003 WLNR 14634863), 12/09/09 (2009 WLNR 24797316); AP Alert 05/18/09 – PA 14:14:33; AP DataStream 12/08/09 – 15:53:37; Morning Call (Allentown, PA) 02/12/94 (1994 WLNR 1964427); Legal Intelligencer 10/13/94 (1994 WLNR 5421805).

John “Jordan” Lewis – Black, age 21

Sentenced in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: October 31, 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lewis shot to death Chuck Cassidy, a veteran police officer, during a doughnut-store robbery. Lewis vowed to take responsibility for the killing. Lewis had been captured a few days after the murder while staying at a Miami homeless shelter. Sources: News Journal (Wilmington, DE) 11/25/09 (2009 WLNR 24007325).

Harold Murray IV – Black, age 29

Sentenced in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
By: a jury
Date of crime: January 31, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Murray shot and killed Jennifer Pennington (also killing her unborn baby), and Shawne Mims (age 33) in retaliation for the victims robbing him of crack cocaine the day before. This was the Philadelphia-area’s first prosecution for homicide of an unborn child. Sources: AP Alert 07/22/09 – PA 10:48:37, 07/22/09 – PA 12:52:27 Albert Perez – Latino, age 25 Sentenced in Berks County, Pennsylvania By: a jury Date of crime: January 15, 2007 Prosecution’s case/defense response: Perez hung Duceliz Diaz-Santiago (age 22) and her daughter Kayla (age 5). Perez then sent an email pretending to be Diaz-Santiago to cover his tracks. Defense offered evidence of his childhood to show the nature of his youth.
Sources: Reading Eagle (PA) 05/15/09 (2009 WLNR 9294107), 05/21/09 (2009 WLNR 9653473), 05/27/09 (2009 WLNR 10032770), 05/28/09 (2009 WLNR 10100619)

David Ramtahal – Black, age 21

Sentenced in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
By: a jury
Date of crime: November 15, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ramtahal shot and killed Jarrett Osborne (age 18) during a robbery. Ramtahal believed that Osborne was a drug dealer and would have a lot of money. The police solved the crime by matching the bullet taken from Osborne and matching it to a bullet taken from another murder for which Ramtahal was already serving a life sentence. The state showed three aggravating factors: the murder occurred during the commission of another felony, he put others in danger during the murder, and Ramtahal had a violent history. Defense offered evidence of Ramtahal’s childhood as possible mitigating factors. During the penalty phase a juror asked to speak to the judge because she was “struggling with moral issues,” but the judge did not provide any guidance beyond an instruction to keep deliberating.
Sources: Bucks County Courier Times (PA) 05/15/09 (2009 WLNR 10542354), 05/17/09 (2009 WLNR 10707238), 05/19/09 (2009 WLNR 10798620)

Gaylord Spell – Black, age 44

Sentenced in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: March 1, 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Spell beat to death Sueann Brest (age 40) with a blunt object. The prosecution tied Spell to the murder through DNA evidence collected on Brest’s body. The finding of DNA evidence was used to show that Spell knew Brest despite claiming he did not during interrogation. The state argued the aggravating circumstance of torture based on the extensive injuries Brest suffered.
Sources: AP Alert 04/26/07 – PA 10:30:15; New Castle News (PA) 05/04/09 (2009 WLNR 8474681); Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 04/21/07 (2007 WLNR 7552302).

Ronald Lee Weiss – White, age 19 (re-sentence after appellate review)

Sentenced in Indiana County, Pennsylvania
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: October 23, 1978
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Weiss crushed the skull of Barbara Bruzda (age 16) with an unknown tool in order to prevent her from telling the police about the large marijuana plants on his family’s farm. Weiss was convicted in 1985, but a judge dismissed the case because the state relied on testimony of Weiss’ wife. Being the spouse of the suspect meant that, under state law, she was to be found incompetent to take the witness stand against her husband. A change in the state law in 1997 allowed Weiss’ wife to testify against him. The Defender Association claimed that Weiss was denied a fair trial because of conflicts in interest for the defense attorneys, because counsel did not investigate a diminished capacity defense, the judge failed to excuse a biased juror, the trial should have been held in a different venue. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction because the trial court’s decision lacked substance. Weiss was again found guilty.
Sources: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) 07/11/97 (1997 WLNR 2909770), Pittsburgh Tribune Review 07/13/03 (2003 WLNR 13954126).