FEATURED POST

Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

Image
Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

Missouri: Prosecutors seek death penalty in killing of transgender teen

Ally Lee Steinfeld
HOUSTON, Mo. — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for one of the suspects in the slaying of a transgender teenager in rural southern Missouri.

Court records show plans requesting the sentence for Andrew Vrba were filed Monday. Vrba, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. Vrba's attorney hasn't responded to an email seeking comment.

Some of Ally Lee Steinfeld's burned remains were found in September 2017 in a bag in a Cabool chicken coop. Investigators say both of the transgender teen's eyes had been gouged out, and she had been stabbed in the genitals.

Steinfeld's roommate, Isis Schauer, 18, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder. Briana Calderas, 24, faces charges of first degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Her trial is set for Oct. 9-12, according to the Houston Herald.

James Grigsby, 25, has pleaded not guilty to abandonment of a corpse, reports the Herald.

Steinfeld's mother, Amber Steinfeld, still refers to her child as Joey, but said the teen identified as female to family and to friends on social media. She said her child was "loving and kind-hearted."

Steinfeld was engaged to a woman until they broke up in August, Amber Steinfeld said, and soon after began dating Calderas. She said Steinfeld and the two 18-year-old suspects were all living at Calderas' mobile home. She said that Steinfeld was upbeat before she disappeared, telling relatives that she loved them and was happy. 

Vrba told investigators he initially tried to poison Steinfeld, then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of Calderas' mobile home, Texas County police wrote in a probable cause statement. The female suspects said Vrba bragged to them about how he gouged Steinfeld's eyes and stabbed Steinfeld in the genitals. The probable cause statement does not offer any motive.

Authorities say the three suspects burned Steinfeld's body, placed some of the bones into a garbage bag and put the bag in the chicken coop. Calderas admitted helping burn the body and led authorities to the knife used in the killing, according to the statement.

Steinfeld was reportedly the 21st transgender person killed in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: CBS News, April 3, 2018


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire: Just two votes away from death penalty repeal

Lindsay Sandiford, 62, on Bali death row for 6 years, 'just wants to die'

Florida executes Bobby Joe Long

Oklahoma 'getting closer' to acquiring device necessary to carry out executions

Indonesian court sentences French drug smuggler to death

Florida: Death penalty opponents call on DeSantis to stop execution

Malaysian drug mule due to hang in Singapore gets last-minute stay of execution

Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

Japan: Death sentence finalized for man over 2015 murder of 2 children

Singapore says most drug traffickers Malaysians, will not go easy on them