Maryland's Death Row

May 17, 1994

The execution of John Frederick Thanos leaves 13 men under sentence of death in Maryland. This is a brief description of their crimes and the status of their appeals.

TYRONE GILLIAM was sentenced to death in 1989 by a Baltimore County judge for the shotgun slaying of Christine J. Doerfler, 21. His execution is set for later this month, although appeals are expected to delay it. Trial testimony showed that Miss Doerfler, a hardware store clerk, was kidnapped and shot once in the back of the head.

Gilliam and two accomplices netted $3 in the robbery. Gilliam's death sentence has been upheld by Maryland's highest court, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider his appeal. Gilliam's post-conviction appeal has been denied, and a federal appeal is pending.

EUGENE SHERMAN COLVIN-EL has twice been sentenced to death for the September 1980 stabbing death of Lena Buchman, 82, a resident of Florida who was visiting relatives in Pikesville at the time of her death. Colvin-El's latest death sentence has been upheld by the Court of Appeals, and a post-conviction petition is pending.

WESLEY BAKER is under sentence of death for the June 1991 robbery and murder of Jane Tyson, a Baltimore County grandmother gunned down in the parking lot of Westview Mall in front of her two grandchildren. His death sentence has been upheld on direct appeal to the Court of Appeals, and a state post-conviction appeal is pending.

VERNON LEE "SHORTY" EVANS JR. twice has been sentenced to die for the contract killings of a federal witness and a bystander at the Warren House Motor Hotel in April 1983. His Baltimore County death sentences have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending.

MICHAEL WHITTLESEY was sentenced to death in April 1993 by a Caroline County jury for the 1982 Baltimore County murder of Jamie Griffin, a high school classmate whom Whittlesey robbed, killed and buried in Gunpowder Falls State Park. His case has been appealed to the Court of Appeals.

JOHN MARVIN "ACE" BOOTH twice has been sentenced to die for the 1983 stabbing deaths of an elderly couple, Irvin and Rose Bronstein, in their Northwest Baltimore home during a robbery. Booth's first death sentence was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. In a precedent that overturned many other Maryland death sentences, the high court ruled that during Booth's sentencing hearing the state improperly used emotional victim impact" statements from members of the Bronstein family. Booth has since been re-sentenced to death. A state post-conviction appeal is pending.

STEVEN OKEN was sentenced to death by a Baltimore County jury for the murder of Dawn Marie Garvin, a young White Marsh newlywed found dead Nov. 2, 1987. She had been sexually assaulted, then shot twice in the head with a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun. His post-conviction appeal has been denied, and he has appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals.

KIRK BRUCE, a Jamaican citizen, was sentenced to death for his role in the 1988 murders of five people during a shooting rampage in the apartment of a Landover drug dealer. Bruce's first death sentence was overturned on the basis that the trial judge improperly instructed the jury. His case is under post-conviction appeal.

IAN G. C. HENRY, like Kirk Bruce, was sentenced to die by a Prince George's County jury for the 1988 murders in Landover. His case is on post-conviction appeal.

KEVIN WIGGINS was sentenced to death by a Baltimore County jury for the 1988 robbery and murder of Florence Georgiana Lacs, a 77-year-old Woodlawn woman found submerged in her bathtub. Wiggins' conviction and death sentence were upheld by Maryland's highest court on Nov. 8, 1991. His case is now under post-conviction review.

KENNETH COLLINS was sentenced to die on May 2, 1988, for the 1986 murder of a Parkville man, Wayne L. Breeden, who was robbed of $80 after making a withdrawal from an automated teller machine. Mr. Breeden was beaten with the butt of a gun, then shot in the back as he tried to stagger away. Collins' conviction and sentence have been upheld by the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. His case is under post-conviction review.

FLINT GREGORY HUNT was sentenced to death for the second time in 1988 for the November 1985 murder of Baltimore police Officer Vincent Joseph Adolfo. Hunt's first death sentence was overturned in 1987 because the jury was presented with "victim impact" evidence from Officer Adolfo's family. His case is pending a federal habeas corpus appeal.

DONALD THOMAS is under sentence of death for the Baltimore County murders of an Arbutus couple, Donald and Sarah Spurling, and the rape of a female boarder. His conviction has been upheld on direct appeal and on post-conviction review. A federal appeal is pending.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.