Stephen Monroe Buckner – White, age 50

Sentenced in McDowell County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: January 18, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Buckner was guilty of the murder of Vicky Lynn Lowery (age 42), Rebecca Rose Buckner (age 25) and Chelsea Nicole Gregory (age 14). Authorities claimed Lowery’s decision to move out of the house prompted the shootings.  Defense attorneys argued Stephen had mental disorders, which played a vital role in the attacks.  They also maintained that because: the murders were committed while he was under the influence of alcohol, he was physically and emotionally abused by his other, he would adapt well to incarceration, he has shown remorse for the murder and his acknowledges the pain and harm he has caused the victims’ family members, Stephen should be spared.  Stephen was also charged with attempted murder for shooting Gina Edwards (age 21), in addition to six counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill for firing shots at six sheriff’s deputies.
Sources: McDowell News (NC) (2010 WLNR 16229368), Citizen-Times (NC) 9/15/10 (2010 WLNR 18277402), McDowell News (NC) 9/25/10 (2010 WLNR 19097938), McDowell News (NC) 11/05/10 (2010 WLNR 22180992), Citizen-Times (NC) 11/9/10 (2010 WLNR 22379272), McDowell News (NC) 11/11/10 (2010 WLNR 22570345).

Timothy Hartford – White, age 38

Sentenced in Forsyth County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: April 24, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hartford, along with his girlfriend, Ashley Kristine Smith (age 19), killed Anne Magness (age 77), and Bob Denning (age 64).  They also shot Magness’ husband Bill (age 78).  Hartford and Smith had been robbing Denning at his home (while fighting extradition to Winston-Salem), when Magness and her husband arrived with his lunch.
Sources: Winston-Salem Journal (NC) 6/11/08 (2008 WLNR 11015923), Winston-Salem Journal (NC) 6/26/08 (2008 WLNR 12024973), Winston-Salem Journal (NC) 6/28/08 (2008 WLNR 12168469), Winston-Salem Journal (NC) 11/20/10 AP Alert – NC 18:29:32.

Andrew Darrin Ramseur – Black, age 18

Sentenced in Iredell County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 16, 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ramseur was sentenced to die for two counts of first-degree murder when he shot convenience store clerk Jennifer Vincek (age 29) and a customer, Jeffrey Peck (age 52).  Ramseur was also charged with one count of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon.  Ramseur’s defense cited nearly 50 mitigating circumstances in an effort to overcome the three aggravating circumstances presented by the prosecution.  Ramseur had also previously robbed a convenience store where Vincek worked in 1997.  Furthermore, the state had 17 witnesses testify and introduced nearly 100 pieces of evidence, the strongest being the store’s surveillance camera footage.  Ramseur’s aunt, Dena Dixon, also claimed the trial was unfair due to her nephew being black and the jury being all white.
Sources: Statesville Record and Landmark (NC) 5/12/10 (2010 WLNR 9827076), Statesville Record and Landmark (NC) 5/22/10 (2010 WLNR 10613457), Statesville Record and Landmark (NC) 6/8/10 (2010 WLNR 11683506).

Michael Patrick Ryan – White, age 48

Sentenced in Gaston County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ryan fired his attorneys and ask to be sentenced to death, claiming that he didn’t want to die but that being on death row would give him more respect for other inmates and more chances to appeal.  Ryan admitted to being a crack dealer and stated to have 90 arrests, all of which were violent, in addition to spending over 25 years in jail.  The first jury deadlocked on the question of guilt.  The second jury, however, found him guilty of shooting David Farrar (age 65) in the backyard of his home during an armed robbery and gave him the death penalty.  Wesley Adair was also charged with killing Farrar, but was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and avoid a death sentence by testifying against Ryan.  Another man, Frank Parker, also testified against Ryan in order to have his sentence for federal drug charges reduced by as many as 35 years.
Sources: The Gaston Gazette (NC) 5/21/10 AP Alert – NC 10:28:47, The Charlotte Observer (NC) 8/11/10 (2010 WLNR 15954217), DeathWatch North Carolina 12/30/10 (