Sunday, October 7, 2007

Killer’s death row freedom bid fails

Oct 7 2007

by Marc Baker, Wales On Sunday

A KILLER of Welsh descent who raped and strangled a nurse in America has been re-sentenced to death.

Roderick Michael Orme hoped a jury would save him from the electric chair over a desperate plea that he was suffering from manic depression at the time of the murder.

But Orme, 46, (pictured) is now back on Death Row after having his plea that he was suffering from bipolar disorder rejected by a US court.

Orme – who has a tattoo of a Welsh dragon on his left arm – was sentenced to death in 1993 for strangling nurse Lisa Redd while high on cocaine at a motel in Panama City, Florida.

Orme stole Redd’s car, money and jewellery after the killing and bought more drugs.

He denied murder but was found guilty after a jury heard how he subjected his ex girlfriend to a savage beating on March 4, 1992 because she had split up from him. He was snared by DNA evidence.

In February 2005, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Orme’s sentence, but upheld his conviction and returned him to court for a new penalty trial.

But Orme’s plea to escape the electric chair has now been rejected after a jury refused to accept he was suffering from manic depression at the time of the murder.

The jury’s verdict comes just a year after Orme wrote to Wales on Sunday in a bid to trace his relatives living in Wales.

Last year, in a letter from the maximum security Union Correctional Institution in Florida, he wrote: “Wales is where my father’s side of the family come from. Just knowing that I have ties to Wales has given me a desire to write to someone from there. I wonder about my relatives over in Wales, sitting down to dinner and laughing. I wonder if they are oblivious of me.”

Orme would have been eligible for parole in 10 years if he had been sentenced to life.

After their verdict, Miss Redd’s relatives hoped Orme would now ‘rot in Hell’ after being resentenced to death.

Miss Redd’s sister Carol Atwell said: “I can honestly say that I hate him.”

Miss Redd’s son, Jedidiah Redd, who was 13 years old at the time of the murder, said: “Only when justice is carried out will my mother truly rest in peace.”

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