Danny Hembree – White, age 47 

Sentenced in Gaston County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: 2009
Victim: Heather Catterton, 17
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Hembree suffocated Catterton and dumped her body.  The defense argued that she had actually overdosed on crack cocaine and that Hembree had dumped her body in a panic.  The defense argued mitigating factors including physical abuse as a child and a history of mental illness and self-destructive behavior.  The prosecution countered that Hembree knew right from wrong and linked him to two other murders by his own confession.
Sources: Charlotte Observer (NC) 11/19/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WLNR 23979722).

William Robinson – Black, age 23 

Sentenced in Stanly County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: November 2005
Victim: Keith Crump
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Robinson and an accomplice attempted to rob a bank, killing Crump and shooting another in the face who survived.  The prosecution argued aggravating factors existed including conviction of a previous violent crime and felony murder.  The defense brought a number of character witnesses testifying to his rough childhood, fetal alcohol syndrome, and borderline intelligence.
Sources: Stanly News and Press 12/9/11 (http://thesnaponline.com/x941115700/Closing-arguments-to-begin-jury-to-decide-on-sentence), Stanly News and Press 12/5/11 (http://thesnaponline.com/local/x1612758889/jury-convicts-robinson).

Tony Summers – Black, age 31

Sentenced in Guilford County, North Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: November 7, 2006
Victim: Lavell N. Williams
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Intoxicated and high on cocaine, Summers bound and repeatedly raped the victim before stabbing her 39 times in front of her three minor children, also bound.  Summers went on to stab two of the children, but all survived their injuries.  The defense argued that Summers suffered from frontal lobe brain damage affecting his ability to reason and making him more impulsive.  These injuries were likely due to seizures as a child and compounded by abuse and neglect.  Those tendencies were likely exaggerated by the alcohol and cocaine making him more impulsive and aggressive as a result.  The prosecution countered that his previous conviction for a sex offense indicated that he knew exactly what he was doing.
Sources: Greensboro News & Rec. (N.C.) A1 3/23/11 (2011 WLNR 5664236)