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NEWS
May 17, 1994
The following is a chronology of events that led to John F. Thanos' execution.APRIL 15, 1990: Serving a seven-year sentence for a 1986 Harford County convenience store robbery, John F. Thanos is mistakenly released from prison 18 months before he should have been freed.AUG. 29, 1990: Thanos quits his job as a chicken processor in Salisbury and buys a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle for $159 at a sporting goods store.AUG. 29, 1990: Thanos robs and abducts Salisbury cab driver Milton Marsey, forcing Mr. Marsey into the trunk of his cab.AUG.
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NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin and Jennifer McMenamin,sun reporter | September 22, 2006
Maryland corrections officials recently modified their lethal injection procedures, adding better lighting in the room where the deadly drugs are injected and requiring a nursing assistant who inserts the intravenous catheters into the condemned prisoner's arms to remain in that room - perhaps in disguise - throughout the execution, a member of the state's execution team testified in a videotaped deposition played yesterday in federal court. The man - identified only as the execution team commander - said the changes were made in response to the lawsuit filed by death row inmate Vernon L. Evans Jr., whose attorneys have challenged Maryland's lethal injection procedures as unconstitutional and in violation of the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
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NEWS
By GLENN SMALL | May 22, 1994
I watched John Frederick Thanos die last week.He went quietly, without a last-second outburst or change of heart. He looked toward the ceiling, his eyes fluttered, his mouth dropped open, and he was asleep. Death took him moments later.As a criminal, John Thanos achieved more fame than he ever could have as a law-abiding citizen -- something he never was. From the age of 12, until his death at 45, Thanos was never far from trouble -- most, if not all of it, of his own making.His crimes were brutal -- he executed three teen-agers with a sawed-off .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle which he carried around Maryland in a leather doctor's bag. He calmly confessed to his crimes while smoking a cigarette, and while complaining that police failed to kill him."
NEWS
By JENNIFER MCMENAMIN and JENNIFER MCMENAMIN,SUN REPORTER | June 22, 2006
An administrative law judge has issued a decision in the case of death row inmate Vernon Lee Evans Jr. that could force Maryland to redevelop its lethal injection procedures. The decision stems from an inmate grievance Evans filed -- along with bringing state and federal lawsuits -- challenging how Maryland carries out executions and how the procedures were developed. It is a tentative finding that may be accepted or disregard by Mary Ann Saar, secretary of the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer | April 1, 1994
A judge has delayed the scheduled execution of convicted killer John Frederick Thanos to the week of May 16 to give Thanos time to consider how he wants to die.St. Mary's County Circuit Judge Marvin S. Kaminetz had originally scheduled Thanos to die the week of April 25 in the gas chamber, but he said he had to issue a new death warrant after the General Assembly passed a law making lethal injection the primary means of execution in Maryland.Thanos, 44, who confessed to killing three teen-agers during a week of crime in 1990, still may choose the gas chamber under the new law.For that reason, Judge Kaminetz has scheduled a hearing next week to explain the choice to him.Thanos' insistence on no further appeals has cleared the way for him to become the first prisoner executed in Maryland since 1961.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,Staff Writer | June 8, 1993
The Maryland Court of Appeals yesterday upheld death sentences given to John Frederick Thanos for the 1990 murders of two Baltimore County teen-agers, ruling that he was mentally competent when he was tried.Gary E. Bair, chief of the Maryland Attorney General's criminal appeals division, said the ruling by the state's highest court could clear the way for Thanos, who was sentenced to death in another case, to become the first person executed in Maryland since 1961."He could actually be at the head of the line for an actual execution date if he doesn't proceed at all with a post-conviction petition or an appeal to the Supreme Court," Mr. Bair said.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer | May 15, 1994
As time ticks away for condemned killer John Frederick Thanos, the last moments of his life are following a 36-page script -- a death manual written by Maryland corrections officials.It details everything from the moment prison officials received his warrant of execution to the disposal of Thanos' body and possessions. It's a hour-by-hour account of how Maryland officials will carry out their first execution in 33 years, and the first ever by lethal injection.Thanos has refused to appeal his sentence, and the courts last week rejected the final appeals brought on his behalf against his will.
NEWS
September 25, 1990
Kicking off his campaign for attorney general, Republican challenger Ed Blanton blamed incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. yesterday for the early release from prison of John F. Thanos, who is charged with crimes that left three people dead.In a statement, Mr. Blanton said that the attorney general was responsible for the early release program that allowed Thanos, a convicted rapist and robber, to get out of prison in April, about 18 months sooner than he would have been freed before the program began.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and JoAnna Daemmrich and Andrea F. Siegel and JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writers | May 16, 1994
With a mock hanging and prayers, more than 60 people protested yesterday afternoon the imminent execution of convicted murderer John Frederick Thanos.They staged an anti-death penalty, street-theater performance and tried to organize a vigil outside the Maryland Penitentiary, in which Thanos is likely to become the state's first prisoner to be executed in 33 years and the first to die by lethal injection.Thanos is scheduled to die between 12:01 a.m. today and midnight Saturday unless he appeals or the governor intervenes.
NEWS
By Marina Sarris and Marina Sarris,Evening Sun Staff | October 11, 1990
Worcester County jail officials have reduced the privileges of accused triple murderer John Frederick Thanos as a result of his escape attempt yesterday.Thanos will no longer be allowed outside the jail, said James T. Stant, the jail's security and custody supervisor. He will continue to be held in the maximum-security section in a cell by himself.Jail officials said Thanos, 41, scaled two fences topped with razor wire outside the Eastern Shore jail yesterday before four correctional officers, one armed with a shotgun, caught him. A third, 10-foot fence topped with barbed wire stood between him and freedom.
SPORTS
August 30, 1998
WNBA gives girls heroinesThere are a million little boys out there who dream of the chance to be just like Mike or Cal Ripken or Tiger Woods.Women's basketball may be a sleepy sport to some, but now there is a chance for a million little girls to dream of being just like Rebecca Lobo or Cynthia Cooper or Teresa Weatherspoon. And that is something they did not have two years ago.) I thank God for the WNBA.Edie LippincottBaltimoreUp with soccer, UnitedI have been increasingly disgusted by several recent letters in The Sun attacking soccer.
NEWS
June 2, 1996
NOTHING IS easy about the death penalty. Because the punishment leaves no room for error, the criminal justice system must be extremely careful about imposing the penalty. But because it represents to many people an act of final justice, the inevitable delays exacerbate the roller-coaster emotions of the families hurt by the crime.Maryland is now seeing the passions of the death penalty played out in full force as the state faces its first contested execution in 35 years. In granting a stay of execution for Flint Gregory Hunt, the Court of Appeals has postponed a scheduled June execution until after it can hear the arguments against the penalty when it reconvenes in September.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,Sun Staff Writer | December 15, 1994
An assistant warden of the Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County has been fired after a 24-year career in the state prison system.Division of Correction spokeswoman Maxine Eldridge said Lewis E. Williams' employment would end Dec. 23. She refused to say whether he had been terminated, although she acknowledged that he "received notice" last Friday."
NEWS
By Carl Schoettler and Carl Schoettler,London Bureau of The Sun | November 10, 1994
CAMBRIDGE, England -- The execution of John Thanos in Maryland continues to raise echoes of compassion among the 1,600 Britons who write men and women on death row in America.They condemn his crimes but mourn his death. They are members of LifeLines, a 6-year-old organization devoted to writing to people sentenced to death in United States. They write to every one of the nearly 2,900 death row prisoners who wants a British "pen friend." They write to several condemned men in Maryland.Cathy Liddle, a Yorkshire woman who is LifeLines' Maryland coordinator, was profoundly moved by the Thanos execution, and perhaps became even more deeply concerned for his victims.
NEWS
By DAN RODRICKS | November 4, 1994
Remember the nurse practitioner who was denied a job because she failed to pass a drug urinalysis -- the likely source of her problem being morphine derived from consumption of a poppy seed bagel? The East Baltimore community health center that had been set to hire her refused the nurse a second chance at a drug screen. Indignant, she took her job application elsewhere. After the nurse's story appeared in the Oct. 19 edition of This Just In, she received several job offers, one of which -- a position with a pediatrician in Harford County -- she'staking.
NEWS
By Marina Sarris and Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writer | October 20, 1994
Memo to Marylanders who expected the race for attorney general to be an arcane legal debate: It's not.It's a contest filled with juicy accusations of political hanky-panky and, yes, even illegal activities.The bulk of the charges are coming from the Republican bunker of Richard D. Bennett. He has accused Democratic incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. of breaking the law (by failing to file a routine report) and misusing taxpayer money (by taking a state bodyguard to political events).He has even blamed Mr. Curran for the prison system's early release of John Frederick Thanos, who subsequently murdered three teen-agers.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer | May 12, 1994
A Baltimore Circuit judge refused last night to issue an injunction to stop next week's execution of John Frederick Thanos, as lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union had sought in a civil suit.Judge Joseph McCurdy Jr. said he was not convinced that there would be "irreparable harm" to Maryland taxpayers if he didn't issue an injunction to stop the execution of Thanos, 44, the confessed killer of three teen-agers. ACLU attorneys filed the suit yesterday, challenging the state's new lethal injection law as unconstitutional because the execution could be botched, causing a slow, torturous death for Thanos.
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Sandy Banisky, Scott Higham and David Michael Ettlin contributed to this report | May 17, 1994
John Frederick Thanos, the unrepentant killer of three teen-agers in a weeklong 1990 crime rampage, was put to death early today at the Maryland Penitentiary -- the first person executed here in 33 years.Thanos was pronounced dead at 1:10 a.m., his body strapped to a 300-pound steel table in Maryland's first execution by lethal injection.The remorseless, arrogant murderer, clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, met his fate at the hands of anonymous prison officials who injected three drugs into a blood vessel in his leg. The first drug rendered him unconscious, the second paralyzed his muscles, and the third stopped his heart.
NEWS
June 3, 1994
TravestyI hope you will permit a differing voice amid the avalanche of praise and admiration being heaped upon the memory of Jacqueline Kennedy.It is true that this woman, as a young mother, was subjected to a horrific tragedy which no one should even have to imagine. However, I cannot fathom the heights to which she has been elevated in the years since -- essentially for doing nothing more than not becoming embroiled in scandal.Will someone please tell me why we need a "Camelot?"I think it is sad (pathetic is perhaps a better word)
NEWS
June 3, 1994
We never thought we could say anything positive about Maryland's resumption of executing convicted murderers, but all things are relative, and relative to the State of Washington, what was done here to John Thanos looks positively humane.When Washington executed Charles Rodman Campbell late last month, it chose to do so "by hanging by the neck." This method is only legal in three places in the English-speaking world: Washington, Montana and South Africa. Montana hasn't actually done it in 50 years, and South Africa is about to abandon it.Why?
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