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By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff | January 23, 1991
Two days after a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury convicted Steven H. Oken of murdering Dawn Marie Garvin, Oken's professed amnesia of the event evaporated, as he described in chilling detail the sexual assault and murder to two of his psychiatrists, testimony showed.The psychiatrists, who met with Oken on Sunday at the county Detention Center, testified yesterday that Oken is not criminally responsible for the Nov. 2, 1987, killing because he suffers from "sexual sadism disorder," a rare affliction in which the person is obsessed with kidnapping, raping and humiliating women.
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NEWS
By JULIE BYKOWICZ and JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER | December 3, 2005
The Romano family stood outside the old state penitentiary on East Madison Street and chanted "Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye," as the hearse carrying the body of Steven Howard Oken drove off into the night June 17, 2004. Death penalty opponents who were corralled across the street considered the celebration tasteless. But Fred A. Romano, the brother of one of the three women Oken sexually assaulted and killed in 1987, said that after waiting for 17 years, he deserved some release. "The burden has been lifted," he said that night.
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NEWS
March 28, 2003
On March 25, 2003; ROSA OKEN (nee Hudson); beloved wife of the late Louis Edward Oken; loving mother of David M., Charles J., Richard L., Marc D. and Gary L. Oken and Marcia Zitowsky; dear sister of James, Lawrence and Calvert Hudson, Doris Kahrs and Rena Myers and the late Virgnia Bowen and Hazel Kates. Also, survived by 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Friends may call at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc., 1050 York Road (Beltway Exit 26A) on Friday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Immaculate Conception Church (Ware Avenue)
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | September 30, 2004
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken the case of a Sykesville woman charged with sending harassing e-mails in June to an outspoken proponent of the death penalty. Rachael Lee Riffee, 34, is accused of writing several obscenity-laced e-mail messages and Web site postings in the days around Steven Howard Oken's June 17 execution, according to charging documents. The messages were sent to a pro-death penalty Web site hosted by Fred A. Romano, the brother of Dawn Marie Garvin, who was raped and killed by Oken in 1987.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | June 11, 2004
A federal judge has agreed to hear convicted killer Steven Oken's last-minute appeal for an execution delay based on his claim that Maryland's method of lethal injection violates the Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, lawyers for Oken and the state said yesterday. In addition, Oken's lawyers said they have other legal maneuvers in the works, including an expected filing with the Supreme Court. Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard at 2 p.m. Monday by U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in federal court in Greenbelt, lawyers for the two sides said.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | June 3, 2004
Two of convicted killer Steven Oken's legal efforts to halt his execution were rejected yesterday by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge. Judge John G. Turnbull II, who in April signed a warrant setting Oken's execution for later this month, sided with lawyers from the state in Oken's lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of lethal injection as a method of execution. The judge also denied Oken's request for an emergency hearing on a motion he had filed that claimed the Division of Correction does not administer lethal injections in the manner outlined by Maryland law. Fred Warren Bennett, Oken's lawyer, said news of the judge's rulings did not surprise him. He said he will focus on the state's highest court in his effort to stop Oken's execution.
NEWS
By Deborah I. Greene and Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun | January 15, 1991
As police searched for murder suspect Steven H. Oken, they found in his White Marsh home a grisly shopping list that included gags, chloroform, surgical gloves and "dark pantyhose to cover hair and face."Prosecutors at Oken's murder trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court offered yesterday that list and testimony from people who lived near Dawn Marie Garvin, 20, as evidence that Oken had plotted several sex-related slayings in November 1987, including the killing of Mrs. Garvin, a White Marsh newlywed.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff | January 17, 1991
A half-inch strip of white rubber found in the otherwise tidy apartment of Dawn Marie Garvin matches a similarly sized hole on a tennis shoe belonging to Garvin's accused killer, Steven H. Oken, an FBI expert has testified.Special Agent William Heilman, an expert in torn-edge comparison, told a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury that, "The piece of rubber had at one time been part of the sole of the shoe."The tiny strip of rubber is considered a key piece of evidence in the prosecution's case against Oken, 29, the White Marsh man accused of raping and killing Garvin on Nov. 2, 1987.
NEWS
By Deborah I. Greene and Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun | January 18, 1991
There is no conclusive evidence to place Steven H. Oken in the apartment of a White Marsh woman he is accused of murdering -- not even a strip of rubber that prosecutors say matched his tennis shoe, a defense lawyer argued yesterday.Attorney Benjamin Lipsitz questioned whether the strip of rubber actually came from Oken's shoe, challenged other evidence and offered the possibility of another suspect in the Nov. 1, 1987, murder and sexual assault of Dawn M. Garvin, 20."This jury is being asked to speculate beyond the realm of reason," he told Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr., in an attempt to get Oken, 30, of White Marsh acquitted for lack of evidence midway in the trial.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff | January 21, 1991
A Baltimore County Circuit Court hearing on whether convicted murderer Steven H. Oken is sane and criminally responsible for his actions was postponed until tomorrow.The second stage of the murder trial, which had been scheduled to begin today, was postponed by Judge James Smith at the request of defense attorney Benjamin Lipsitz, who said he needed time to prepare for the insanity defense.Beginning tomorrow, Lipsitz is planning to call several psychiatrists and other witnesses to try to prove that Oken, 29, formerly of White Marsh, was insane at the time of the Nov. 2, 1987, slaying of Dawn Marie Garvin.
NEWS
By Paul Moore | June 20, 2004
THE E-MAILS have been arriving steadily for weeks. After a Baltimore County judge signed a death warrant for convicted murderer Steven Oken April 26, and Mr. Oken's attorneys began a series of challenges to stop his scheduled execution, no recent series of articles in The Sun has produced more impassioned responses. Whether the reactions were to stories about Mr. Oken's family or articles on death penalty opponents or stories about the feelings of the families of the three women Mr. Oken killed, the level of interest kept growing.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Julie Bykowicz and Michael Dresser and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2004
Eight days before his execution, Steven H. Oken wrote a sharply worded letter to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. questioning the governor's political courage and asserting that by killing him Maryland would lose an opportunity to stop future murderers. Oken's letter, dated June 9 but not sent until Thursday night, acknowledges his guilt for the "despicable crime" of killing 20-year-old Dawn Marie Garvin and admits he deserved to be punished. However, the overall tone is less apologetic than disdainful - expressing doubt whether Ehrlich could make what Oken called "the difficult choice" of sparing his life.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | June 19, 2004
FOR THE FAMILY of Dawn Marie Garvin, who was tortured and mutilated before Steven Oken shot her in the head, Thursday night marked the end of 17 years of seeing Oken portrayed as the victim. Let's just cut to the chase and say that right at the top. For death penalty opponents - who have the dubious talent of being noble with the grief of the families of murder victims - it was Oken who was the victim in this matter. Garvin's brother, Fred A. Romano, her father, Fred J. Romano, her mother, Betty Romano, and all her other relatives and loved ones were just statistics.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2004
Steven Howard Oken's execution Thursday may be among the last within the sprawling prison complex on Madison Street, where the state has carried out all of its death sentences for nearly a century. Within two years, state officials hope to move death row inmates from the Baltimore facility to a prison near rural Cumberland, where executions will be conducted. "The plan is to eventually make the North Branch [Correctional Institute] what it was always intended to be - our primary maximum security facility," said state public safety and corrections chief Mary Ann Saar.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2004
The window, with a curtain drawn behind it, became a mirror. In its reflection: witnesses to an execution. The condemned man's lawyers, Fred Warren Bennett and Michael E. Lawlor, sat on the top row of a small set of prisoner-built bleachers, eyes downcast. Between them, Stefanie McArdle, a public defender who had labored over the case, wept. A retired police detective who 17 years ago investigated the murders of Dawn Garvin and Patricia Hirt, and who flew to Maine after Lori Ward was murdered, sat quietly, his face allowing no expression.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | June 18, 2004
Fred A. Romano's silver Grand Cherokee looked like a graffitti-ed subway car with all these anguished yellow daubings: "JUDGEMENT DAY IS HERE - OKEN MUST GO!" "JUSTICE HAS BEEN 17 YEARS TOO LONG!!" "REMEMBER THE VICTIMS." Romano had all the windows painted with slogans and addresses for pro-capital punishment Web sites, but that didn't seem quite enough. So with less than three hours to go before the state would execute Steven Oken, the man who killed his sister and two other women, Romano pulled a brown teddy bear out of a plastic bag and set it up on the Cherokee's roof, then stepped back and threw his left arm around a reporter.
NEWS
By Deborah I. Greene and Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun | January 11, 1991
Fred Romano is still haunted by what he discovered when he went to check on his daughter in White Marsh during the `D pre-dawn hours of Nov. 2, 1987.Dawn Marie Garvin, a 20-year-old newlywed, had been sexually assaulted and slain. Her nude body was propped up in bed, a bloody pillow sham over her head and a teddy bear under her arm."It was shocking . . . absolutely shocking," said Mr. Romano of Abingdon, who had gone to his daughter's apartment after her husband became frantic when she did not answer his telephone calls from a Navy base in Virginia.
NEWS
By Deborah I. Greene and Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun | January 23, 1991
Steven H. Oken knew that sexually assaulting and killing a White Marsh newlywed was wrong, but he couldn't stop himself because he suffers from a mental disorder characterized by fantasies of sadistic acts with women, a psychiatrist testified yesterday."
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Alec MacGillis and Julie Bykowicz and Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF | June 18, 2004
After a furious legal battle that ended only in his final hour, Steven Howard Oken wrote a letter expressing remorse, smiled with a priest and submitted to his death by lethal injection last night for the 1987 rape and murder of a White Marsh newlywed. Maryland's execution of Oken, a Baltimore County pharmacist's son, at 9:18 p.m., brought chants of "justice has been served" from a crowd of 60 people gathered with relatives of murder victim Dawn Marie Garvin outside the old state penitentiary on East Madison Street in Baltimore.
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