#207 Jul 15, 2006
How can they conduct a full investigation in TWO days? Why were they so certain that it was Walter Barton after two days? Because someone went back to the police and made a statement that they were sure it was him, he had history, who else could it be? Spent 45 minutes imparting this opinion to the policeman involved, who said in court that he remembers the monologue but doesn't remember exactly what it was about. Guess who the person was who was so insistent that it was Walter Barton, Trinity?
Man gets third death sentence for 1991 Ozark murder
Friday July 07, 2006
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.(AP) A man who was tried five times for the 1991 murder of an 81-year-old woman in an Ozark mobile home park has been sentenced to death for the third time.
Walter Barton, 50, was sentenced Thursday by a Cass County judge after a jury in March convicted him for a third time of murder and recommended he receive the death penalty.
Judge Joseph Dandurand overruled a motion for a new trial from Barton and imposed the sentence, said John Fougere, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's Office.
Barton, then 35, was arraigned JUST TWO DAYS after Gladys M. Kuehler was found dead in her mobile home in October 1991. Kuehlerk, the manager of Riverview Mobile Home Park in Ozark, had been stabbed 52 times, beaten and sexually assaulted.
Barton was charged with the first-degree murder of his former landlord.
But two mistrials were declared before a Callaway County jury found him guilty in April 1994. He was sentenced to death.
Two years later, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered a new trial, which took place in 1998 in Warsaw. Barton was again convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
In 2004, he was granted a fifth trial through a post-conviction relief motion.
#208 Jul 15, 2006
We, the Undersigned, hereby request Missouri Supreme Court to authorise the complete and full re-investigation into the murder of Ms Gladys Kuehler. We request this re-investigation on the following grounds:
Incomplete DNA testing hair and blood cell debris discovered are not consistent to Walter Barton. Sexual assault after death, with no DNA evidence left behind to conclusively prove assault was committed by male. We believe that these two components should have resulted in DNA from fingernail debris and hair being tested against ALL those who were relevant to this case, both Male AND Female. This did not happen.
Motive. Ms Selvidge originally testified that substantial sum of money was missing from trailer, from sale of car. No indication of receipt confirming sale of car mentioned in transcripts. However, victim's checkbook, jewellery and purse with money inside, left untouched.
Constant Retraction of statements on Prosecution Witnesss part, especially the statements that previously confirmed Mr Bartons Innocence, as follows:-
Telephone call by Ms Debra Selvidge as originally being one of 25 minutes duration, which confirmed that Ms Selvidge spoke with Ms Kuehler after Walter Bartons departure from Ms Kuehlers trailer. This statement changed to TWO calls at a later date, and no response on the second call, thereby removing possibility of Innocence, as supplied with original testimony.
(Refer Proboard 'Arkie's Case for details.)
Retraction of original TWO statements by Ms Debra Selvidge that verified Walter Bartons statement that he had slipped and fallen, thus receiving the tiny amount of blood on his shirt. This statement originally verified Mr Bartons innocence twice its retraction removed that fact.
Failure by State to authorise re-enactment for evidence purposes in consideration of Fall statement being true and actual, and to investigate inconsistencies with Ms Selvidges statements.
Revelation in court fifteen years into the case that Ms Selvidge did originally have key, but was asked to return it the night before Ms Kuehler was killed. Failure on States part to question as to why Ms Selvidge did not reveal this fact to Missouri State policeman Lyle Hodges at the time of incident.
to be cont'd...
#209 Jul 15, 2006
Walter Bartons presence at discovery. Ms Selvidge stated in court that the reason for her request for attendance and subsequent placement of both Walter Barton and Carol Horton at crime scene, was to verify to my grandmother that I wasnt breaking in. Failure on States part to investigate this statement further.
Ante-mortem bruising on legs and inner thighs. Failure by State to disclose whether this ante-mortem bruising was part of this attack, or indications of a recent, prior attack.
Check. State investigated handwriting (match with victims), and prints (none usable) but failed to investigate climatic conditions at time of discovery. Weather conditions between period of 9th-12th October 1991, were not conducive to a small slip of paper (check) remaining in gutter for period of three days prior to discovery. Wind speeds arose on 11th October of 21mph. High probability in light of this fact, that the check was dropped on the evening of the 11th after 21mph winds had abated, and at which point Walter Barton was already in custody.
Failure by State to consider statement on Ms Selvidges part, regarding Grandmothers wishes on not calling so often. Ms Selvidge stated that she visited Ms Kuehler each day for 6-8 hours, and called her 12 times each day. When questioned by State as to whether Ms Kuehler had requested her not to do this, Ms Selvidge smiled and said yes, but I just ignored her. In view of Ms Kuehlers age and excess weight (240lbs on a 5ft 1in frame) exasperating her health problems (Degenerative Disc disease) and possibly causing Ms Kuehler pain and distress on occasions (thus initiating the plea to be left alone), this refusal to comply should have been questioned.
In light of ante-mortem bruising Failure by State to consider possibility of previous Elder Abuse.(See Link below.)
In light of sexual assault after Death having no DNA, being of lesser violence (sharp weapon put down and blunt instrument being used),- Failure by State to consider possibility of Staged Sexual Assault.(See Link below.)
In light of the inconsistencies, retractions, and anomalies created by Ms Selvidges testimony, along with her now public convictions in Greene County Circuit Court whether Ms Selvidge is still viable as a witness.(See below.)
We hereby request that in light of the above disclosures and omissions on both State and Witness part, this case be re-investigated in the name of Justice for both Walter Barton and Gladys Kuehler.
#211 Jul 15, 2006
Red Flags Indicating Staging
Crime Classification Manual
Sheppard Crime Scene
Inappropriate items taken from the crime scene if burglary appeared to be the motive. The crime scene was staged to appear as though burglary was a motive (drawers pulled out, contents dumped, etc.) but nothing of value was taken from the scene. Ms. Sheppards watch was apparently taken from her wrist, but left downstairs and Dr. Sheppards watch was allegedly taken from his wrist but recovered in a green bag along with other personal articles outside the house. Dr. Sheppard alleged that a small sum of money was taken from his wallet. In effect, nothing of value was taken from the crime scene.
Did the point of entry make sense? No point of entry was determined. Dr. Sheppard indicated that the doors remained unlocked when he was home and if an intruder entered it is most logical that the point of entry was through an unlocked door. There is some speculation that the point of entry may have been a basement door as fresh tool marks were found on that door two weeks after the homicide. This is not a logical point of entry, as it would make no sense to break in a basement door when the ground floor doors were unlocked.
Did the perpetration of this crime pose a high risk to the offender? If an intruder perpetrated this crime, he did so at high risk for detection. If one believes that the intent was to sexually assault the victim, the intruder would have been attempting to do so with both the victims husband and son in close proximity. This high-risk approach is very uncommon for rapists, who are usually cowardly by nature. If an alleged intruder was in the house to burglarize or rape, he was doing so at great risk for detection.
Excessive trauma beyond that necessary to cause death (OVERKILL). 35 injuries were noted on the autopsy report. The cause of death was listed as multiple impacts to the head and face with comminuted fractures of skull and separation of frontal suture, bilateral subdural hemorrhages, diffuse bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhages and contusions of the brain. The number and severity of these injuries can reasonably be considered overkill.
The offender will often manipulate the victims discovery by a neighbor or family member. Dr. Sheppard called his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Houk, and asked them to come to the house stating,I think theyve killed Marilyn. Once Mr. and Mrs. Houk arrived, Dr. Sheppard remained downstairs and they went upstairs where they discovered her body. Although Dr. Sheppard testified that he had discovered his wifes body on two separate occasions he never called the police. Instead he called his neighbors who, once they discovered the body, called the police.
[i] John E. Douglas, Ann W. Burgess, Allen G. Burgess and Robert K. Ressler Crime Classification Manual (New York. Lexington Books 1992)
[ii] Vernon J. Geberth, Practical Homicide Investigation (New York CRC Press, 1996). Pg. 359
[iii] John E. Douglas, et al, Crime Classification Manual (New York. Lexington Books 1992) Pg. 252-253
[iv] Ibid Pg. 254-255
#212 Jul 18, 2006
Springfield to pursue work camp
July 18, 2006
By Dave Reed Herald Staff
SPRINGFIELD The Springfield Select Board wants to pursue a prison work camp within the town's borders.
On a 4-1 vote Monday night, the Select Board rejected a move by Select Board member John Hall to tell the state Department of Buildings and General Services and the Department of Corrections that Springfield wasn't interested in hosting a second correctional facility.
Hall said that the "logical" spot for the work camp would be the industrial park next to the new Southern State Correctional Facility, land which is promised to the town after some industrial pollution problems are resolved.
Hall, who works in economic development, said that the town shouldn't put all its economic eggs in the government job basket and he urged fellow board members to look beyond state jobs. The land's highest use would be in the private sector, he said.
"I would hate to see it utilized, hate is a strong word I would not like to see it utilized," for another prison, Hall said.
But his fellow board members, while not coming right out and saying they supported the new prison work camp, said they thought the town should pursue it and let the townspeople decide.
The board and Town Manager Robert Forguites have said that the town would only go forward after a townwide vote. Such a vote was tentatively set for the November elections, to take advantage of the high voter turnout, Forguites said.
Select Board member Terri Benton said she was in favor of the jobs that the prison work camp would bring, and she said Springfield had too many vacant buildings and lots already to worry about than the land next to the prison.
"A dollar is a dollar is a dollar and I don't care whose dollar it is," Benton said. "It's still a dollar."
Benton questioned Forguites about whether the environmental cleanup had been completed at the prison site and the adjoining land, which is supposed to be turned over to the town as part of the town's negotiated agreement with the state to host the 350-bed maximum security prison, the biggest in the state.
Forguites said that toxic waste left over from a coal-tar plant had been cleaned up somewhat, but that a membrane had been placed over an area that was still contaminated.
If that membrane is pierced, there would be problems, he said.
Hall said there was another loose end over the original prison agreement the reconstruction of Route 143, known locally as Skitchewaug Trail. The only prison work camp in the state is in St. Johnsbury.
The Douglas administration would like to build another 100-bed camp to help alleviate the prison overcrowding, and bring some of the Vermont inmates back from prisons in the South.
Select Board member John Swanson said Hall's motion was premature and that the town needed a chance to weigh in on the prison work camp.
"We should definitely poll the town," said Select Board member Mark Blanchard.
Forguites was instructed to come back with wording for the prison camp article at the next board meeting, which is in August.
#213 Jul 20, 2006
Man wrongfully convicted of rape freed
By JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer
(Updated Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 7:31 PM)
CLAYTON, Mo.(AP)- A man who was wrongfully convicted of rape and
served 23 years in prison was released Wednesday after DNA tests
indicated someone else committed the crime.
Johnny Briscoe, 52, walked out of a state prison in Charleston, a day
after he was declared innocent by a judge. He was in seclusion with
his family and authorities said he was expected to speak to the media
St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who was not the
prosecutor when the case was tried, called Briscoe's incarceration a
"terrible mistake." He said it was exacerbated by the county crime
lab's failure to locate evidence when the prosecutor first requested
a review six years ago.
The name of the new suspect was not released, but McCulloch said the
man is serving a life term for another rape. McCulloch said a
decision has not been made on whether to charge him.
The victim in the case "is very traumatized by this," McCulloch said.
"But she takes comfort that the other man is already in prison."
The rape occurred in 1982. McCulloch said a man was burglarizing the
victim's apartment and raped her when she awoke. After the attack,
the rapist stayed for about an hour and spoke with the victim in a
well-lit room, telling her his name was Johnny Briscoe. McCulloch
said the rapist and Briscoe knew each other.
The rapist called hours later and authorities traced the call to a
pay phone near Briscoe's home. The woman later provided details for a
composite drawing that looked like Briscoe, and pointed him out from
a mug shot that had been taken for a separate burglary.
Briscoe also weakened his alibi during the trial when he said he was
watching Game 7 of the 1982 World Series with a nephew the night of
the rape. When asked who won, Briscoe incorrectly named the Milwaukee
Brewers instead of the Cardinals.
He was sentenced to 30 years for rape, plus an additional 15 years on
In 2000, when the county acquired technology to test DNA evidence
that previously could not be tested, McCulloch ordered a review of
several old cases, but the crime lab could not find the old evidence.
During an inventory of the lab in 2004, the cigarette butt was found
in a freezer, but McCulloch's office didn't learn of it until July 6.
A spokeswoman for St. Louis County police, who operate the crime lab,
said a statement would be released Thursday.
#214 Jul 23, 2006
Twenty three years of that poor mans life taken for nothing.
This is what happens when someone gets blamed for something they didnt do.
The real killers and rapists think they are geting away with it at the expense of someone else but justice does work evenutually and when it does and the real criminal is convicted they should also get extra time for the suffering they caused their other victims. Them being the man who spent all those years in prison for a crime he did not commit and his family who suffered along with him.
In the case of MR Briscoe the victim also is suffering great pain over this.
I hope both of them can move on and find peace and love in their lives.
#215 Jul 31, 2006
Arkie is now back at Potosi prison which is a relief:)
Debs has been offline but will be back soon.
#216 Aug 1, 2006
Lethal injection remains humane method of execution
Stephen Johns was executed at the Potosi Correctional Center in October
2001, and I served as a state's witness. Johns was 55 years old. He
like a harmless, middle-aged man. He was almost completely bald, and he
wore large glasses. He was a little chunky. He professed his innocence
the end, and he had written a last statement in which he compared his
executioners to Nazis.
There were three viewing areas. The state's witnesses were on one side
the execution chamber. To our left, but separated from us by a
was the viewing area for the family of the victim. Directly across from
was the viewing area for Johns' family.
We were escorted into our area five minutes before the execution. We
chairs on an elevated platform right up against the window to the
which was blocked by a Venetian blind. At one minute past midnight, the
blinds were opened. Johns was strapped to a gurney. I could see his
in the viewing area across the chamber. She waved at her son. He
acknowledged her with a nod. He did not look around. He seemed to keep
eyes on his mother. She watched him intently.
A disembodied voice said, "Operation. Stand by." A moment later, "The
first drug is being administered." The first drug was sodium pentothal,
which puts the condemned man to sleep. Johns' chest heaved, and he
coughed. "The 2nd drug is being administered." This was pancurionium
bromide, which stops a person's breathing. "The third drug is being
administered." This was potassium chloride to stop the heart. I could
no reaction from Johns to the last 2 drugs. At 12:03, the voice said,
"Operation complete. The doctor has pronounced Stephen Johns deceased."
The blinds dropped.
That was it. Frankly, it is hard to imagine a more humane way to
person. All the other modes - firing squads, hanging, gas chambers and
electric chairs - seem primitive by comparison.
All this came to mind while reading the fascinating account in Sunday's
paper of Alan Doerhoff, the doctor who supervises executions in
He has been sued for malpractice more than 20 times. Hospitals have
him privileges. He has been disciplined by a state agency. He does not
seem like the sort of doctor I would want working on me.
It is probably not surprising that he has ended up as Missouri's
doctor. Not many doctors would want the job.
Actually, I think a person could make the case that as long as the
is going to execute people, let's be humane about it. Of course, there
some who would say, "Why be humane about it?" If we're going to kill
killers, why not use whatever means they used? The killers will have
determined their own fates.
#217 Aug 1, 2006
In that case, Johns would have been shot in the back of the head.
how he killed Donny Voepel, a 17-year-old high school senior who was
working part-time at a gas station. Johns, who was 35 years old, robbed
the gas station. He had 2 19-year-old accomplices. They got almost
nothing. A few bucks, a few cartons of cigarettes. Johns had a gun, and
directed Voepel to lie on the floor. Then he shot him 3 times in the
of the head.
To my thinking, that's a good death penalty case. Provided, of course,
that you have the right guy. While the standard for conviction is
reasonable doubt, I think the standard for execution should be beyond
doubt. I thought the state met that burden in Johns' case, and I had no
qualms about serving as a state's witness at his execution.
Still, I understand that many thoughtful people oppose the death
They have an honorable position. But I would think that even death
opponents would agree that if we are going to execute people, we ought
do it in the most humane way possible. That viewpoint should have
to do with questions about the competence of Alan Doerhoff.
(source: Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
#218 Aug 2, 2006
In the last two days, two inmates at the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City have died.
LaPorte County Chief Deputy Coroner John Sullivan says autopsies have been performed on both men, but a cause of death hasn't been given.
Sullivan says it's possible the intense heat inside the un-air-conditioned prison may have contributed to the deaths, a place where Sullivan says one or two inmates die each week due to health problems.
The deputy coroner says the prison has brought in extra fans and moved inmates off hotter third floor cells.
A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Sundays death was ruled natural causes.
#219 Aug 2, 2006
Federal Hearing on Investigations and Prosecutions of Sexual Assaults of
August 1, 2006
DETROIT - A startling number of cases of sexual abuse of prisoners are
never prosecuted, leading to an atmosphere of impunity for these serious
crimes. While severe underreporting and a lack of political will do
exist, prison officials' failure to investigate suspected or reported
abuse promptly and properly is also to blame.
In Detroit on August 3, 2006, former prisoners who have sought the
investigation and prosecution of sexual violence in detention,
corrections authorities, prosecutors and other experts on this subject
will testify at a public hearing held by the bipartisan National Prison
Rape Elimination Commission. Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR), a national human
rights organization, is facilitating the participation of two survivors
at the hearing -- one who endured years of sexual violence by a
corrections officer, and another who experienced an emotional breakdown
after her reports of abuse of other prisoners were ignored.
Necole Brown was repeatedly sexually assaulted and threatened by the
same corrections officer between 1996 and 2001, while imprisoned in
three different facilities in Michigan and while she was out of prison
on supervised release. Ms. Brown will testify at the hearing on Thursday
that the corrections officer constantly threatened me. He made it
clear that either I do what he requests, or I do not go home. She had
seen other inmates suffer retaliation when they reported similar abuse.
Once a lawyer began to assist her, she reported her abuser, but despite
an abundance of available evidence, the corrections officer was never
The second survivors testimony will illustrate the slow response to
reports of sexual abuse in some correctional facilities. Despite Dana
Ragsdales reports to federal prison authorities that a corrections
officer was engaging in sexual misconduct with an inmate, she was
shocked to find that no investigation was initiated until this employee
had sexually assaulted several more prisoners. He finally was prosecuted
for three sexual assaults and received a sentence of just four months in
Despite the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)
and increasing public awareness of prisoner rape, men, women and youth
behind bars still contend with correctional systems that look the other
way and discourage inmates from reporting sexual abuse. Correctional
facilities must adopt and fully implement protocols requiring the prompt
and effective investigation of sexual violence. Moreover, officials and
prosecutors must work together to ensure that corrections personnel are
no longer allowed to get away with the sexual assault of detainees,
said SPR Board President T.J. Parsell, who is himself a survivor of rape
in a Michigan prison.
The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
reported earlier this week that for the year 2005, correctional
authorities received 6,241 allegations of sexual violence in prisons and
jails, a significant increase over reports in 2004. Staff were arrested
or referred for prosecution in 45 percent of substantiated incidents of
staff sexual misconduct.(Link to SPR Press Release on BJS report.)
The hearing begins at 9:00 a.m. on August 3, 2006, at the Theodore Levin
United States Courthouse at 231 West Lafayette Boulevard in Detroit,
Michigan. The two survivors testifying and T.J. Parsell will be
available for interviews by appointment.
#220 Aug 2, 2006
Doctor overseeing executions had history of lawsuits, reprimands
By Jeremy Kohler
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS - Missouri officials fought to keep the moment from happening.
From behind a screen in a Kansas City court June 5, the doctor who devised and supervised the state's lethal injection procedure described it in terms so troubling to a federal judge that he ordered it halted.
The doctor testified anonymously that he is dyslexic. That he sometimes confused names of drugs. That he sometimes gave inconsistent testimony. That the injection protocol was not written down, and that he made changes on his "independent authority."
And that turns out not to be all.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has confirmed the man behind the screen was Dr. Alan R. Doerhoff, 62, of Jefferson City. Two Missouri hospitals won't allow him to practice within their walls. He has been sued for malpractice more than 20 times, by his own estimate, and was publicly reprimanded in 2003 by the state Board of Healing Arts for failing to disclose malpractice suits to a hospital where he was treating patients.
It is unclear how much U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. was told before he strongly questioned the doctor's qualifications - and whether Missouri was delivering unconstitutionally cruel punishment in its death chamber.
Doerhoff's reprimand was no secret to Attorney General Jay Nixon's office. Nixon's office, which fought to keep Doerhoff's identity a secret in death penalty appeals, signed off on the discipline.
Over five years, the board has doled out the same or worse discipline to only 2 percent of the state's practicing physicians.
A public reprimand can have bad consequences, veteran physicians say. It may be a red flag that causes a hospital to investigate further before conveying privileges.
Typically, if a doctor is cited for concealing malpractice complaints, it could signal to an insurer that "maybe his skills are not what they're looking for," said Dr. Robert Gibbons, president of the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City.
"Doctors don't take it lightly," he said.
But the rebuke from one arm of Missouri government did not affect Doerhoff's status with another arm, the Department of Corrections.
#221 Aug 2, 2006
Even after the reprimand, Doerhoff, who had supervised 48 executions, continued to supervise six more. And he had prepared injections for a seventh - Michael A. Taylor, who raped and murdered a teenager in Kansas City in 1989. It was Taylor's appeal that led to Gaitan's landmark order.
A deeper dive into court records shows that Doerhoff made false statements in at least two different court cases about his history of mistakes.
In one case, he was to be the expert witness for a woman suing a Tennessee surgeon in Nashville for allegedly botching a bladder repair. But lawyers dropped the suit just before the trial when the judge ruled that he would allow evidence that Doerhoff had misrepresented a disciplinary action taken against him.
Gary B. Kempker, who served as director of the Missouri Department of Corrections under Gov. Bob Holden from 2001 to 2005, said he spoke with Doerhoff before each of the 16 executions over that time.
He said he never knew Doerhoff had a disability or had been reprimanded by the Board of Healing Arts.
Doerhoff had been involved with executions long before Kempker took over as director, he said, and Kempker said he saw no reason to question or replace the doctor.
Doerhoff's role was to supervise the injections but he did not push the plunger.
Kempker, a former police chief in Jefferson City, said he had known Doerhoff from living in the same small city. He also knew other members of Doerhoff's family, prominent professionals who included Doerhoff's wife, Adelia, an anesthesiologist, brother Carl, a general surgeon, and brother Dale, former president of the Missouri State Bar Association.
Alan Doerhoff was the only one of them involved in executions, Kempker said.
"He had been trusted by the Department of Corrections for a long time," Kempker said.
"I would say it was very humane and it was a process that I ... know all the staff took extremely seriously about our legal mandate," he said.
When a reporter approached Doerhoff at his home Thursday and asked about his role in executions, he said, "Read my lips: I don't do them." Then he shut the door.
The Post-Dispatch asked Friday to speak with Attorney General Nixon about his office's defense of Missouri's lethal-injection process, its efforts to conceal Doerhoff's identity in court, and whether he knew about the reprimand.
The department said Nixon was unavailable, but issued this statement:
"The doctor who administers this procedure was hired and retained by the Department of Corrections. We will continue to defend this method of execution against constitutional challenges. All questions about the qualifications of this doctor would be better addressed by those who hired and retained him."
Larry Crawford, the director of the Department of Corrections appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt in January 2005, did not respond last week to a request to be interviewed.
The Post-Dispatch asked the department July 17 for records of the state's payments to the physician who supervises the lethal injections. The Missouri Sunshine Law requires public bodies to respond to requests for records within three days and that the cause of any delay beyond that must be explained in detail.
The department, through its spokesman Brian Hauswirth, responded three days later that it was gathering records and needed seven working days to review them. It has not responded to the newspaper's requests to explain the delay.
In a previous interview, Crawford said that he was concerned that revealing the execution doctor's identity would expose him to harassment, even put him in physical danger.
Crawford said he was grateful to have a doctor participate in something that most physicians avoid as a matter of medical ethics.
#222 Aug 2, 2006
Kent Gipson, of the Public Interest Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, questioned exactly what the state sought to protect with its secrecy. He suggested, "It was to hide the embarrassment of hiring somebody with that many problems."
Said Gipson, who has represented Missouri inmates appealing death sentences, "It sounds to me that if that's the best they can do, that's sort of a sad commentary on how the department does business."
According to statements Doerhoff made in regard to Taylor's appeal, corrections officials first consulted with him in 1989, when George Mercer became the first Missouri inmate to be executed in 24 years. The state had purchased a lethal injection machine. Doerhoff said he suggested changes to the injections planned for Mercer.
In his deposition, Doerhoff said he overhauled Missouri's lethal-injection protocol at the request of corrections officials after a debacle on May 3, 1995, when it took more than 30 minutes for the state to execute Emmitt Foster.
Foster "was a drug addict and they could not get an IV line in," Doerhoff explained in the deposition. "They finally put the needle in his thumb ... so it was a prolonged execution which caused a lot of embarrassment and it should not have happened."
He then stayed on as a long-term contractor. In court filings, he described his role as preparing the injections, inserting the intravenous line, ensuring proper functioning of medical equipment and providing medical support for the offender and witnesses. Other staffers actually injected the drugs, he wrote.
Doerhoff spoke in a malpractice suit filed against him about what else was happening in his life during 1995: He had a heart attack, he was $4 million in debt and was depressed.
On top of that, a woman sued Doerhoff in St. Louis Circuit Court that May, alleging that he was having sex with her while she was under his care, that he performed an operation to restore her virginity and other sex-related procedures, and that he gave her an abortion in a Jefferson City hotel room.
The case was settled with the woman being paid $100,000 in an agreement in which Doerhoff admitted no wrong, according to court records. She suggested in a recent interview that her lawyer fabricated some of the claims.
In a 1998 deposition, Doerhoff said he had been sued about 20 times after as many as 35,000 surgeries. He mentioned a settlement paid in one, and other records show at least four more settlements plus a judgment for $262,000 that he appealed and lost.
Doerhoff's work for the Department of Corrections goes back to at least the mid-1970s. He and his brother, Carl Doerhoff, had a contract to perform surgeries on Missouri prisoners. Each also has served as medical examiner in Cole County, a title Carl Doerhoff now holds.
Contacted by phone, Carl Doerhoff said he had no knowledge about who may have been involved with executions, and otherwise declined to comment.
Alan Doerhoff participated in more than half of Missouri's executions - 54 out of 105 - since the Department of Corrections took over the responsibility from counties in 1938.
#223 Aug 2, 2006
Records indicate the Department of Corrections paid him $33,020 since mid-2001, typically in checks of $2,000 that were issued a few weeks to a few months after each of the past 17 executions. Earlier pay records were not available.
Doerhoff has testified that he brought special knowledge to the death chamber. "I was the only physician available anywhere to ask about how and what," he said in a deposition in Taylor's appeal. "No one has any experience (with the execution drugs) so I have to be the authority, I guess."
It was that deposition in June that led to a moratorium on Missouri executions. A U.S. Supreme Court decision made it easier for death row inmates to file suits challenging lethal injection as unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
Lawyers for Missouri's condemned inmates have seized upon that issue in the past year, claiming that Missouri inmates were not being sufficiently numbed before the final two injections in the three-drug cycle. The reasoning is that if the condemned is not properly numbed by the first drug, paralysis from the second could make it impossible to communicate pain from the third.
The argument gained traction with Gaitan after the state acknowledged during Taylor's appeal that its own logs of the chemicals given to prisoners were incorrect. Over Nixon's objection, Gaitan allowed Taylor's legal team to depose Doerhoff.
To comply with an earlier protective order that sealed Doerhoff's identity, Gaitan allowed Doerhoff to testify from behind a screen, and arranged for identifying references to be blacked out of public records.
Though court records have cloaked his name, they left enough clues to identify Doerhoff. Interviews with three men who had official roles at executions, including Kempker, confirmed Doerhoff's name.
Some of Doerhoff's problems are a matter of public record.
In August 1997, a letter from Lake of the Ozarks General Hospital informed Doerhoff that his request for active staff status was denied and that his privileges were revoked. The letter accused Doerhoff of failing to disclose malpractice claims against him, misrepresenting how many cases were brought against him, and of having an "extensive" history of cases he did disclose.
The letter, signed by Michael E. Henze, the hospital's chief executive officer, said the hospital had found a history of poor record-keeping at another hospital and that there were "continuity of care concerns" at more than one hospital.
Henze sent a second letter, to the Board of Healing Arts, saying the hospital's decision was based on "Dr. Doerhoff's material misrepresentations, misstatements, and omissions from his applications for medical staff membership and corresponding clinical privileges."
A year later, Doerhoff was contacted by Stephen Doughty, a lawyer in Nashville representing a woman in a malpractice claim against a surgeon and a hospital. Doerhoff agreed to be paid in exchange for his testimony as an expert that the surgeon had not used the standard of care required in a bladder repair. The plaintiff, Katrinka Stalsworth, claimed that she was in constant pain from severed nerve endings.
#224 Aug 2, 2006
In a deposition on Nov. 23, 1998, the defense lawyer, Phillip North, asked Doerhoff where he practiced.
"Well, I've always had staff privileges at (Hermann) Hospital and Lake Ozark Hospital," he said. "They are hospitals I helped organize."
Later, North revisited the issue. "These ... are full privileges, no qualifications, no restrictions or anything like that?"
Doerhoff: "Lake Ozark, I no longer have staff privileges there. There's too much to do.... I helped build the Lake hospital, but I had not admitted a patient there for about 10 years and after a heart attack, my wife and I decided that we were going to retire and move to the lake, so I informed the Lake hospital I would be moving there, and they took away my staff privileges."
Doerhoff said the hospital gave no reason for taking his privileges. "The surgeon that was on the credentials committee saw me as a threat, and he wanted the hospital to hire him as a partner, so he terminated my privileges."
The defendant secured a copy of the letter revoking Doerhoff's privileges. Just before the trial was to begin, the judge ruled that he would admit it as evidence, which Doughty said he saw as a crucial blow to Doerhoff's credibility.
"He was our expert witness and ... now there was some question about the truthfulness of his answers," said Doughty. "It was not the kind of thing you want to find out about on the eve of the trial."
Doughty withdrew the case.
A year later, Doerhoff was the defendant in a malpractice case. John Kerr, a minister in Jefferson City, accused Doerhoff of damaging his stomach during an appendectomy.
Kerr's lawyer, John Beger of Rolla, issued written questions to Doerhoff to clarify matters of evidence. He asked Doerhoff, "Have you now or at any time in your career had your license or staff privileges revoked, terminated, suspended, or limited in any way?"
Doerhoff's reply: "No."
Beger said he obtained the Lake of the Ozarks letter - as well as a transcript from Doerhoff's deposition in the Tennessee case - and knew that the answer was false.
Beger filed a motion to compel Doerhoff to turn over records pertaining to his hospital privileges, writing that he believed Doerhoff's written answer was "incorrect." Within days, the suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.
In May 2000, Doerhoff's request for privileges was denied at St. Mary's Health Center in Jefferson City. The hospital alleged that he had failed to fully disclose malpractice cases filed against him. Doerhoff then withdrew his application from St. Mary's and did not appeal.
The matter was reported to the Board of Healing Arts, which opened a discipline case against Doerhoff. The two sides settled in 2003 with Doerhoff agreeing to his penalty - a public reprimand.
Doerhoff is now on staff at a hair-removal business in Jefferson City and has made trips with groups of physicians to treat the Third World poor.
In a deposition in Kerr's suit in 1999, Doerhoff said he was looking forward to the new challenge of working overseas.
"It's really difficult to find surgeons that can operate under difficult circumstances," he said. The mission group "needs people that are able to go into a very primitive area and function without a lot of support. So I'm the type of person they're looking for.
"So it's a lot more interesting than sitting around in Jeff City waiting to die."
© 2006, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at http://www.stltoday.com
#225 Aug 2, 2006
Jury acquits mother in 1997 stabbing of son
By Kevin McDermott
POST-DISPATCH SPRINGFIELD BUREAU
Wednesday, Jul. 26 2006
Nine years after the brutal slaying of fifth-grader Joel Kirkpatrick, a jury on
Wednesday acquitted his mother, who claims a roving serial killer with St.
Louis ties may have been the real killer.
Julie Rea Harper cried out and collapsed to the floor as Circuit Judge Barry
Vaughan read the verdict clearing her in the 1997 stabbing death of which she
had previously been convicted.
Harper had been imprisoned for the crime in 2002 but set free on a technicality
two years later. She sobbed loudly in the arms of her attorney and her husband
as Vaughan questioned the jurors to confirm the verdict.
Later, outside the courthouse, Harper was still crying and declined to talk to
reporters. Her attorney, Ron Safer, said she was "tremendously gratified" by
the verdict. "This has been a nightmare nobody should have to live through."
Safer thanked what he said are the "heroes" who have backed Harper for years,
adding: "There are villains in this story, too" - an apparent reference to
convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells.
The verdict presses the question of whether Sells was the real murderer. The
former St. Louis resident, who has said he may have killed Joel, is now on
death row in Texas for one murder and is implicated in several others,
including the 1997 slaying of 13-year-old Stephanie Mahaney of Springfield, Mo.
Stephanie died two days after Joel.
Harper's defense was that an intruder committed the murder, and her lawyers
spent much of the two-week trial showing how it could have been Sells.
In failing to convict Harper, 37, jurors handed a stinging defeat to police and
prosecutors, who have maintained for almost a decade that Harper stabbed her
10-year-old son 12 times as he slept in her Lawrenceville, Ill., home in the
pre-dawn hours of Oct. 13, 1997, then concocted the story of a masked intruder.
It was only later that Sells' name was attached to that theory, after he told
police, journalists and others that he may have committed the murder during his
national string of killings in the late 1990s.
Prosecutors remained adamant about Harper's guilt Wednesday. Special Prosecutor
David Rands was dismissive when asked whether officials would bring charges
"Tommy Lynn Sells was never involved in this," Rands said. "Tommy Lynn Sells
was a red herring" put up by the defense.
The jury deliberated about 12 hours over two days before reaching the verdict
on two counts of first-degree murder. Jurors left quickly afterward, with
several of them declining to give interviews.
In the front row of the packed courtroom, Joel's father, Len Kirkpatrick - who
has vociferously pursued allegations that his ex-wife killed their only son
during a bitter custody dispute - sat stoically during the reading of the
verdict, and quickly left afterward.
#226 Aug 2, 2006
The small courtroom in the Clinton County Courthouse has been packed throughout
the trial with press, law students, activists and family members both
supporting and condemning Harper.
Earlier on Wednesday, in the small basement chapel of a Methodist church down
the street from the courthouse, a handful of Harper's friends and supporters
gathered for an impromptu religious service, singing "Amazing Grace" as they
waited for the verdict. Among them was Larry Golden of the Downstate Innocence
Project, one of several organizations that have taken up Harper's cause.
"This has shaken her emotionally and physically," Golden said. "It's taken its
toll on her."
Harper, who had custody of Joel the weekend of his death, testified that she
was awakened by screams that she initially thought were part of a dream. She
said she rushed into Joel's room, fought with an intruder through the house and
out into the yard, was beaten against the ground, and then ran to a neighbor's
home, believing her son had been kidnapped.
In fact, Joel was dead on the floor on the far side of his bed with a dozen
stab wounds from a knife that had been taken from the kitchen.
Harper's story of a masked intruder, which she told from the beginning, was
rejected by a jury that convicted her of murder in 2002. She served two years
of a 64-year sentence at Dwight Correctional Center before the conviction was
overturned on a technicality in 2004.
In the interim, Sells - incarcerated in Texas since 2000 - has told journalists
and authorities that he may have been the intruder Harper claims to have
confronted. But his story has been inconsistent, offering differing details and
motives at different times.
Sells lived in St. Louis and other parts of Missouri in the 1990s. He is
awaiting execution in Texas for the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl in
1999. He has confessed to numerous other murders, including the slaying in 1987
of a family of four in Ina, Ill., about 75 miles southwest of Lawrenceville. A
grand jury in Springfield, Mo., indicted him two years ago in the 1997 slaying
of Stephanie Mahaney.
"There's a hatred burning in my heart that's been burning for ages," Sells says
in a 2004 television interview from Texas' death row that was shown to jurors
Harper - who lives in Michigan with her second husband - has been free on bond
pending her second trial. The trial was moved to Carlyle, about 90 miles west
of Lawrenceville, to avoid local publicity.
#227 Aug 2, 2006
Missouri Execution Ban Stands
The state revises its procedure for lethal injections but can't find an anesthesiologist to take part and prevent unnecessary suffering.
By Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
July 26, 2006
A federal judge on Tuesday found that Missouri's revised lethal injection procedure was not adequate to ensure that condemned inmates did not suffer unnecessary pain.
The state had modified its protocol in response to a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr., who barred executions until Missouri made significant changes to its procedure, which is similar to those used by about three dozen other states.
The existing procedure created an unnecessary risk that an inmate could be subjected to "unconstitutional pain and suffering when the lethal injection drugs are administered," Gaitan said.
In particular, he ordered that the state employ a board-certified anesthesiologist to make sure inmates are sufficiently anesthetized before the lethal drugs are administered.
Missouri's procedure involves a three-drug cocktail. The first to be administered, the sedative sodium thiopental, is meant to induce sleep; the second, pancuronium bromide, paralyzes the prisoner; the third, potassium chloride, stops the heart.
According to the lawsuit that prompted the Missouri ruling, and to other suits across the country, sedative doses at times have been inadequate to anesthetize inmates who were unable to tell officials they were in severe pain because they were paralyzed by the second drug.
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