Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Does death row await Casey Anthony?

Even if she is sentenced to die, she might not be executed — few women are in Florida

By Sarah Lundy

Sentinel Staff Writer

April 26, 2009

In the past 82 years, 16 women were singled out to receive Florida's ultimate punishment: the death penalty.

These women killed their husbands. Or they killed cops. Half a dozen of them murdered multiple people. Some killed during robberies and murder-for-hire schemes. One tortured and killed her young son.

This month, prosecutors announced they are seeking the death penalty for Casey Anthony, an Orange County mother charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee Marie.

With Florida's death-row history, experts say prosecutors face an uphill challenge in convicting Anthony, sending her to death row and keeping her there.

Of the 16 women initially ordered to die by state execution, the lives of 13 have been spared when their sentences were vacated or commuted to life on appeal.

Death-penalty expert Victor Streib said there are fewer women on death row across the country because fewer women commit murder. Only about one in 10 murders is committed by a woman.

Those killings usually don't rise to the level of death-penalty cases — ones considered especially heinous, ones committed by violent habitual offenders or those committed during another crime, said Streib, a law professor at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.

Society sees women as the "source of life," Streib said, and there is a general urge to protect them. Juries could be biased, finding it harder to condemn a woman to death than a man. But there are exceptions, he conceded.

Florida has executed two: Judy "The Black Widow" Buenoano in 1998 and Aileen Wuornos in 2002.

Florida currently has 392 death-row inmates.

Only one is a woman.

Judy Buenoano,

Orange County

On March 30, 1998, officials strapped the 54-year-old 'Black Widow' to the electric chair, making her the first woman in Florida to be executed. Twice before, her death warrants were stayed. She was sentenced to die in 1985 for the 1971 arsenic poisoning of her husband in Orange County. In 1980, she drowned her paralyzed son in Santa Rosa County and was sentenced to life. Two years earlier, she poisoned her common-law husband in Colorado.

Aileen Wuornos,

Volusia County

On Oct. 9, 2002, Wuornos was executed. She was ordered to die for the 1989 shooting death of a Clearwater businessman. The former Volusia County prostitute confessed to killing seven men as she hitchhiked along Florida's highways.

Tiffany Cole,

Duval County

Cole is the only woman on death row. On March 6, 2008, she was sentenced to death for her part in the murder of a Jacksonville couple. She and three men kidnapped the couple, demanded their ATM numbers, then buried them alive in 2005. Two co-defendants also received the death penalty. The third testified against the others and received 45 years in prison.

Bertha Hall,

Duval County


Oct. 10, 1926

Hall and another man killed her husband. Sentence commuted in 1929; freed from prison by early 1935.

Billie Jackson,

Duval County


Feb. 1, 1927

Jackson stabbed her husband to death. Sentence commuted in September 1927. She was freed by early 1936.

Ruby McCollum,

Suwannee County

Sentenced: 1954

McCollum fatally shot a doctor. The state Supreme Court reversed her sentence in 1956. Sent to state mental hospital for 20 years before her release in 1974.

Irene Laverne Jackson,

Pasco County


April 24, 1962

Jackson killed her husband for insurance money. In 1964, after a new trial, she was convicted of second-degree murder and given life in prison. She was paroled in 1972.

Marie Dean


Hernando County


Dec. 6, 1968

Arrington was sentenced to die for killing the secretary of the Lake County public defender. She previously was convicted of manslaughter in the death of her husband but later escaped from prison. She was captured in Marion County. In 1972, her death sentence was commuted to life. She is at Lowell Annex in Marion County.

Sonia Jacobs, Broward County

Sentenced: 1976

Jacobs was sentenced to die for her part in killing two law-enforcement officers. But in 1981 her sentence was changed to life in prison. In 1992, her case was reversed on appeal. She pleaded to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served in prison. She was released Oct. 9, 1992.

Kaysie Dudley,

Pinellas County


Jan. 27, 1987

Sentenced to die for killing her mother's employer during a robbery, Dudley in 1989 was resentenced to life in prison with a 25-year minimum. She is housed at Lowell Correctional Institution in Marion County.

Carla Caillier, Hillsborough County


March 19, 1987

Sentenced to die for killing her husband, Caillier was resentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years in 1988. She was moved to a prison out of state for her own safety, according to Department of Corrections officials.

Dee Casteel,

Miami-Dade County


Sept. 16, 1987

Casteel paid two men to kill a woman after the woman asked about her missing son, whom Casteel had ordered killed a month earlier. In 1991 she was resentenced to life in prison. She died at Broward Correctional Institution in 2002.

Deidre Hunt,

Volusia County


Sept. 13, 1990

Hunt took part in the fatal shooting of two men with whom she was involved in a murder-for-money scheme. In 1998 she was resentenced to life in prison. She's housed at Homestead Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County.

Andrea Hicks


Duval County


Feb. 10, 1984

Jackson shot a Jacksonville police officer five times when he tried to arrest her for filing a false report. Her death warrant was signed in 1989 but was stayed two months later by the Florida Supreme Court. She was resentenced to life in 2000. She's at Lowell Correctional Institution in Marion County.

Ana Maria


Miami-Dade County


March 3, 1992

Cardona and her lover beat and tortured her 3-year-old son, whose 18-pound body was found on Miami Beach. The boy was often tied to the bed, locked in a closet or left in the bathtub in very cold or hot water. Cardona won an appeal in 2002 and a new trial, which is expected to begin this summer. She's at the Miami-Dade County Women's Detention Center.



Volusia County


May 11, 1993

Sentenced to die for her part in killing her husband, Larzelere was resentenced to life in prison in 2008. She is serving her time at Lowell Annex in Marion County.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from reading those short descriptions, every one of those women deserves to die and should have been executed speedily after their trials. no one seems to think about the pain, terror, etc. that their victims went through, or the pain and grieving that the victim families have to deal with for the rest of their lives. where is justice in this country?