Posted by Curt on 20 February, 2006 at 11:27 pm. 6 comments already!



Even more good news:

SAN FRANCISCO – The state on Tuesday postponed indefinitely the execution of a condemned killer amid a court battle over the state’s method of lethal injection and the role doctors may play in the death chamber.

State officials notified the federal courts they would be unable to comply with a judge’s order to have a medical profesional administer a lethal dose of barbiturate to Michael Morales in the execution chamber, a court spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

It was unclear when the execution would be carried out. Prison officials were not immediately available for comment.

Only in California people. Disgusting.


Delayed once again

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. ? The planned execution of a man convicted of raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl was delayed until Tuesday night after two anesthesiologists refused to participate because of ethical concerns.

With the execution scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, defense lawyers requested a stay from the federal judge who last week ordered San Quentin State Prison to have an anesthesiologist on hand to minimize Michael Angelo Morales’ pain as he was put to death by lethal injection. A second anesthesiologist was retained as a backup.

Although U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel denied the motion, both anesthesiologists withdrew, citing ethical concerns raised by his ruling.

The exact wording of the judge’s order was not immediately available, but the anesthesiologists issued a statement through the prison saying they were concerned about a requirement that they intervene in the event that Morales woke up or appeared to be in pain.

“Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical,” said the doctors, who have not been identified. “As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process.”

The American Medical Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the California Medical Association all opposed the anesthesiologists’ participation as unethical and unprofessional.

Prison officials rescheduled the execution for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and said they would employ a different technique: administering a fatal overdose of barbiturate in lieu of the three-drug cocktail typically used in lethal injections.

Morales’ attorneys had argued that the three-part lethal injection cocktail used in California and 35 other states violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. They said a prisoner would feel excruciating pain from the last two chemicals if he were not fully sedated.

Fogel refused to derail the execution, but he gave prison officials two options: retain the doctors to ensure Morales would be properly anesthetized, or forgo the paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs and overdose him on a sedative. With the anesthesiologists withdrawing, prison officials said they would use the second option.

Prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said the prison has until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to execute Morales. After that, the “death warrant” expires and officials would have to go back to the trial judge who imposed the death sentence in 1983 for another warrant.

Seeking another warrant could prove difficult for the state, however, since the original sentencing judge, Charles McGrath, joined Morales this month in asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency in the case.

McGrath said he no longer believed the credibility of a jailhouse informant whose testimony helped land Morales on death row.

Just under 30 minutes to go until Morales, the cold blooded killer, will meet his fate….some 20+ years later for killing this young girl:

Condemned inmate Michael Morales began the morning before his execution with a bowl of oatmeal, and snacked on Top Ramen noodle soup and candy bars throughout the day, according to a San Quentin State Prison spokesman.

Morales, whose execution by lethal injection will take place just after midnight, spent most of the day in his cell talking on the phone to family members and loved ones, prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said.

Morales, 46, was sentenced to death in 1983 for the 1981 murder of 17-year-old Terri Winchell of Lodi. Morales strangled Winchell with a belt, beat her over the head with a hammer, then dragged her into a vineyard where he raped her and stabbed her to death.

Morales did not meet with family, friends or supporters today, telling Crittendon that he wanted to be “remembered for the good times that they had in the past.”

None of his family members will be present for the execution.

Considering his imminent death, Morales has had a good appetite and remains in good spirits, according to Crittendon, who spoke with the inmate around 7:15 p.m.

Morales appeared “very resigned that shortly after midnight he will not be with us,” Crittendon said.

Well isn’t that sweet. A news report wasting bandwidth on what this scumbag has eaten. Typically the media will talk about nothing else about this piece of dung who deserves a much more painful death then the one he gets in a few minutes. At least this one outlet did the victim justice:

Terri Winchell was only 3 years old when she first heard Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and learned the German composer from the 18th century was deaf.

“She felt so sorry for Beethoven because he couldn’t hear his song,” Winchell’s mother, Barbara Christian, said about her daughter in an interview. “She had me play that song over and over.”

The story speaks volumes about the font of compassion and talent that ran through Winchell at an early age and continued until she was brutally murdered at the age of 17, people who knew her said. And it is one of many reasons she is so missed.

Winchell, of Lodi, was bludgeoned, raped and stabbed one January night in 1981, her unrecognizable body dumped in a vineyard in Acampo.

Much has been written about Michael Morales, 46, the man scheduled to be executed Tuesday at San Quentin State Prison for the brutal killing.

Less often chronicled, family members and friends said, is the life of the victim, who played piano by ear, sang in her church choir and donated time to charities such as the Special Olympics.

[…]Pictures of Winchell show an attractive youth with long, luxurious hair, clear skin and eyes that sparkled. But equally striking, those who knew her said, was the compassion she showed to people around her.

A straight-A student, Winchell used to spend time on the phone helping classmates with their homework, Christian said. While a student at Tokay High School, Winchell won a ribbon for being the best hugger of developmentally disabled children competing in the Special Olympics.

“When people had problems, she prayed for them,” Christian said.

Terri’s father, Mack Winchell, said he remembers a “lovely, vivacious young lady,” who always found time to spend with both her parents, who divorced when she was young.

“She would love to go out to dinner,” the 78-year-old said. “She loved steak, just like I did.”

But inside Terri Winchell’s petite, 5-foot frame was a ferocious fighter, which became clear on the night of Jan. 8, 1981.

With her mother ill, Winchell had volunteered to pick up fish and chips from a nearby restaurant. At the last minute, she agreed to make a detour after receiving a call from Ricky Ortega, who asked her to meet him at a shopping mall close by.

Unbeknownst to Winchell, Ortega, then 19, was involved romantically with a boy whom Winchell was dating, and he was looking for revenge. As soon as Winchell got into the front seat of Ortega’s car, she was assaulted by a 21-year-old Morales, Ortega’s cousin, who sat in the back and tried to strangle her with a leather belt.

“She really did fight for her life,” said Jacqueline Miles, a close family friend who learned many of the crime’s more grisly details from a neighbor who worked for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department. “Her fingernails dug into her neck trying to fight it off.” The belt eventually broke, Miles said.

Morales went on to beat Winchell in the head with a hammer so brutally and repeatedly that her face was no longer recognizable, Miles said. He then raped and stabbed her.

“She was not recognizable, and that’s what tore everybody up,” Miles said. “They said it was probably the worst this county has ever seen.”

Brian Pratt, another close family friend, said he had the painful task of identifying Winchell’s mutilated body and couldn’t fathom a crime “so graphic and so brutal” from Morales, who had no connection to her other than through his cousin.

“It would have been one thing if he shot her, but truly the way he killed her would be as if it was something personal,” Pratt said.

Morales has claimed Ortega got him drunk and high on PCP the day of the murder. Ortega was sentenced to life in prison for his role.

Even years after the slaying, family members and friends said, the pain persisted. It would be five years before Winchell’s father would be able to look at a picture of his daughter. And Winchell’s mother still is unable to listen to tapes of her singing.

Many family and friends say they believe Morales should be executed without any further delay.

“He’s the monster that killed the beauty, and he needs to pay for a crime that was senseless,” Miles said. “We need to actually show the world that people can’t get away with murdering people just because they get mad.”

A big thank you once again to Gov. Schwarzenegger for denying this guy clemency:

SAN FRANCISCO Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied a request by an attorney for condemned inmate Michael Morales that the governor reconsider granting Morales a clemency hearing.

[…]Schwarzenegger announced Friday that he had decided not to grant clemency to Morales, stating, “Morales’ claim that he is a changed man does not excuse the brutal murder and rape of Terri Winchell.”

Too bad he isn’t dying by the blunt edge of a hammer.

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