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Charles Troy COLEMAN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1976 - 1979
Date of arrest: April 28, 1979
Date of birth: 1947
Victims profile: 4 men
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: California/Oklahoma, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on September 10, 1990
 
 
 
 
 

Charles Troy Coleman, a white man, was 32 when he was sentenced to death in Muskogee County for the 1979 murder of Muskogee resident John Seward. He also was accused of 2 other killings. Coleman spent 10 years and 11 months on death row and was executed on Sept. 10, 1990.

 
 

COLEMAN v. STATE
1983 OK CR 138
670 P.2d 596
Case Number: F-80-150
Decided: 09/23/1983

CHARLES TROY COLEMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, APPELLEE

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

An Appeal from the District Court of Tulsa County; Jay D. Dalton, District Judge.

Charles Troy Coleman, appellant, was convicted of Murder in the First Degree in Tulsa County District Court Case No. CRF-79-2176, sentenced to death, and appeals.

REVERSED and REMANDED for a new trial.

Patti Palmer, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Norman, for appellant.

Jan Eric Cartwright, Atty. Gen., Robert C. Smith, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Oklahoma City, for appellee.

OPINION

BRETT, Judge:

[670 P.2d 596]

1 Appellant, Charles Troy Coleman, was charged, tried, and convicted of Murder in the First Degree in Tulsa County District Court, Case No. CRF-79-2176. The jury assessed the death penalty as punishment pursuant to 21 O.S. 1981 701.10 [21-701.10].

2 The evidence presented by the State to convict appellant for the death of Russell Lewis was almost entirely circumstantial except for very damaging testimony given by a former cellmate of appellant's. EliMaghe was being held in the Tulsa County jail when appellant was there pending trial in the present case. Maghe testified that while the two of them were in jail, appellant confessed to killing a man near Chandler Park in Tulsa after robbing him. Appellant told Maghe that he shot the man using a revolver which he had taken from a [670 P.2d 597] police officer, and which he subsequently discarded in Arizona.

3 The remaining evidence at trial is best understood when stated chronologically.

4 On April 24, 1979, a police officer in Luther, Oklahoma, stopped a car driven by appellant for speeding. Following a driver's license check, appellant overpowered the officer, slashed his throat, and took his revolver. Appellant left the officer handcuffed and locked in the backseat of his patrol car.

5 Two days later, Russell Lewis, the murder victim, who was temporarily residing in Tulsa, was paid by his employer. On the night of April 26, he had stopped for a beer at a club he frequented, and left around 8:30 p.m. He was not seen alive again.

6 On April 28, 1979, an employee of the Frisco Railroad in Tulsa found Mr. Lewis' body down an embankment near Chandler Park and reported the discovery to the sheriff's office. A search of the victim's clothes produced no billfold or money. Evidence showed that Mr. Lewis died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

7 On that same day, Officer Parrish of the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff's office stopped appellant in Arizona for driving erratically. Appellant was driving a pickup truck that he claimed belonged to his father, Mr. Lewis. Appellant pulled a gun on Officer Parrish, took his gun, and then drove the officer's car into the desert and left him locked inside. Within minutes, other officers were in pursuit of appellant and apprehended him. Appellant was driving the victim's pickup truck and possessed keys that fit door locks at the victim's home. A Turner Turnpike ticket stub found in the truck placed appellant entering the turnpike at the Bristow, Oklahoma, entrance on April 27 at 12:42 a.m., several hours after the victim was last seen alive, and exiting in Oklahoma City at 3:34 a.m. the same morning.

8 Nearly three months later, the Luther, Oklahoma, officer's gun was discovered in the Arizona desert near the point where appellant was apprehended. The man that inadvertently found the gun testified that it contained five shells and the sixth chamber was empty.

9 Appellant presents thirteen assignments of error in this appeal. Insofar as this conviction must be reversed, it will be necessary to discuss only those issues which will have a bearing on a new trial.

10 In one of his assignment's of error, appellant alleges that his right to self-representation was denied at trial and in support of this allegation cites Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975). Appellant did not, however, unequivocally express his desire to represent himself. He filed several motions placing certain conditions on the assertion of his right. The trial court properly conducted a hearing and determined that even though his initial request might have been timely made, the subsequent motions placing the various conditions on his request caused his expression not to be unequivocal.

11 In view of the fact that the issue of self-representation may arise again, the trial court is directed to Johnson v. State, 556 P.2d 1285 (Okl.Cr. 1976), for guidance; and further, the trial court is admonished that the request to represent oneself at trial must be unequivocal.

12 In another assignment or error, appellant challenged the exclusion of prospective jurors from the jury panel who had expressed reservations about the death penalty. Our review of the voir dire is governed by the holding in Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 510, 88 S.Ct. 1770, 20 L.Ed.2d 776 (1968), where the Supreme Court held, "[a] sentence of death cannot be carried out if the jury that imposed or recommended it was chosen by excluding venireman for cause simply because they voiced general objections to the death penalty or expressed conscientious or religious scruples against its infliction." A juror may be excused for cause only if he is unwilling to consider all of the penalties provided by the State law and is irrevocably committed, before the trial has begun, to vote against the penalty of death regardless of the circumstances that might emerge in the course of the [670 P.2d 598] proceedings. Id. at 522, n. 21, 88 S.Ct. at 1777 n. 21.

13 Appellant claims that Jurors Wright and Able were excused in violation of Witherspoon. A review of the voir dire leads this Court to conclude that Juror Wright was properly challenged for cause when she unambiguously stated that she could not impose the death penalty under any circumstances. This is in accordance with Witherspoon, as Wright would not consider one of the penalties death.

14 We have determined, however, that Juror Able was improperly excused for cause. His voir dire at best reflects general objections to the death penalty or conscientious and religious scruples against its infliction.

15 The following voir dire of Juror Ables was conducted:

"You have heard all the questions I have asked, do you feel you could be a fair and impartial juror in the trial of this case?

MR. ABEL: I guess.

"THE COURT: You say you guess

"MR. ABEL: I'm having a little bit of moral trouble with the death penalty.

"THE COURT: Okay. I'll get to that as soon as we have talked to all of the jurors a little bit more in detail. Do you feel at this point that you could be a fair and impartial juror in the trial of this case? Is that correct? or do you feel there is something let me ask you this question. I'll just get into it right now, and I'll ask you this. In a case where the law and evidence warrant, in a proper case, could you without doing violence to your conscience agree to a verdict imposing the death penalty?

"MR. ABEL: No.

* * * * * *

"I'll get to the original question I asked. In a case where the law and the evidence warrant, in a proper case, could you without doing violence to your conscience agree to a verdict imposing the death penalty?

"MR. ABEL: I really couldn't.

"THE COURT: You don't feel that you could?

"MR. ABEL: To be honest, I couldn't.

(Tr. 30-31).

The following transpired during defense counsel's voir dire of Juror Abel:

"MR. EARL: If Your Honor please, we would like to ask Mr. Abel a question.

"Mr. Abel, we're not talking about this particular case, because quite obviously you don't know any of the facts of this case so far. Is it impossible for you to conceive of any situation whatsoever, regardless of how heinous it may be, that would prevent you from assessing the death penalty?

"MR. ABEL: Well, I've been taught in church that God has the only right to do this thing, put someone to death.

"MR. EARL: As an obligation, as a citizen to serve on a jury panel, if the Court were to instruct you that under certain circumstances it was appropriate to assess such a penalty, can you conceive of any such factual situation where you would be able to follow the Court's instruction and do as the Court instructed you in applying to that factual situation?

"MR. ABEL: I could, but I think it would bother my conscience.

"MR. EARL: You could follow the instructions of the Court and assess a death penalty if you thought it was appropriate in this particular situation?

"MR. ABEL: Yes, but I couldn't with a clear conscience. If it really had to be, I could.

"MR. EARL: That's the question. I would understand, and I would hope that everybody would have a question or a problem, but given the factual situation are you now telling the Court that you would assess the death penalty if the Court instructed you it was correct?

"MR. ABEL: I think I could, yeah.

(Tr. 32-33).

16 The State relies on the initial question asked Able to support the challenge for [670 P.2d 599] cause.1 Unfortunately, the answer to that question indicates only that the juror had conscientious objections to imposing the death penalty. To excuse him for that reason is in direct contravention of the Witherspoon mandate that a juror may not be excused because of conscientious or religious scruples against the death penalty. Juror Able made it abundantly clear that he possessed those qualms by his answer. In fact, Witherspoon states in footnote 9 that "[o]bviously many jurors `could, notwithstanding their conscientious scruples [against capital punishment], return . . . [a] verdict [of death]' . . . ."

17 Subsequent voir dire questions are more indicative of Able's position. He indicated he was not irrevocably committed before trial had begun to vote against the death penalty by his answer to defense counsel's question, "You could follow the instructions of the court and assess the death penalty if you thought it was appropriate in this particular situation?" When Able answered, "Yes, but I couldn't with a clear conscience. If it really had to be I could," he disclosed his ability to consider all of the penalties; it was not an unambiguous refusal to vote for the death penalty.

18 Witherspoon mandated the seating of a "neutral" jury and criticized the seating of a hanging jury. The line of neutrality was crossed when the State "swept from the jury all who expressed conscientious or religious scruples against capital punishment . . . ." Id. 88 S.Ct. at 1776. Because Juror Ables was improperly excused in violation of Witherspoon, the subsequently imposed death penalty cannot stand. Davis v. Georgia, 429 U.S. 122, 97 S.Ct. 399, 50 L.Ed.2d 339 (1976).

19 Therefore, for the reasons stated herein it is necessary that this conviction be REVERSED and REMANDED for a new trial.

BUSSEY, P.J., and CORNISH, J., concur.

 
 

COLEMAN v. STATE
1983 OK CR 101
668 P.2d 1126
Case Number: F-79-600
Decided: 07/11/1983
Modified: 09/19/1983

CHARLES TROY COLEMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, APPELLEE

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

An Appeal from the District Court of Muskogee County; Hardy Summers, District Judge.

Charles Troy Coleman, appellant, was convicted of the crime of Murder in the First Degree, in the District Court of Muskogee County, Case No. CRF-79-102. He was sentenced to death, and he appeals. AFFIRMED.

D.D. Hayes, Muskogee, for appellant.

Jan Eric Cartwright, Atty. Gen., Dena L. Bates, Asst. Atty. Gen., Oklahoma City, for appellee.

OPINION

BUSSEY, Presiding Judge:

[668 P.2d 1129]

1 Charles Troy Coleman was convicted of Murder in the First Degree, in Muskogee County District Court, Case No. CRF-79-76. In the second stage of the trial, pursuant to 21 O.S. 1981 701.10 [21-701.10], the jury assessed the death penalty.

2 At approximately 4:15 p.m. on February 9, 1979, John Seward was found in the basement of his sister's home, dead as a result of a single shotgun wound to the back of his head. His wife, Roxie Seward, was found next to him, dead as a result of four shotgun wounds inflicted from only inches away. Determined to be missing from the home of Mr. and Mrs. B.L. Warren were the Seward's wallets, Mrs. Warren's turquoise watch, packages of frozen meat stamped "Hogle, Not for Sale," and various other food items.

3 Later that same day, shortly after 6:00 p.m., the defendant was stopped and arrested for traffic violations. A search of the camper pickup truck he was driving revealed the Seward's wallets, the packaged meat and other various food items, which were subsequently identified by Mrs. Warren at trial as being from her pantry.

[668 P.2d 1130]

I.

4 In his first assignment of error, the defendant alleges that the trial court erred in failing to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the warrantless search of his pickup truck. Specifically, the defendant alleges the following: That the warrantless search was not justifiable as incident to an arrest for a traffic offense; that his vehicle was illegally impounded on private property; that the alleged inventory search was a subterfuge; and that there was no consent to search the vehicle.

5 At approximately 6:00 p.m. on the afternoon in question, Officer Ralph Rose, an off-duty dispatcher for the Wagoner County Sheriff's Department, motioned at the defendant for speeding and passing in a no passing zone, by shaking his finger at him as he passed. Officer Rose testified that Coleman pulled his pickup truck to the side of the road, and a conversation ensued which culminated when Coleman got back into his vehicle. As the defendant departed at a high rate of speed, Officer Rose testified that he observed the passenger in the defendant's truck drinking a beer. Rose turned on his red lights and pursued the defendant at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. With the assistance of Highway Patrol Trooper Glen Smithson and Wagoner County Sheriff Tommy Gilbert, Officer Rose stopped the defendant's vehicle and placed him under arrest for various traffic violations and possible driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Since Officer Rose observed the defendant speeding, passing in a no passing zone, attempting to elude an officer and exhibiting intoxicated behavior, he had probable cause to arrest Coleman, pursuant to 22 O.S. 1981 196 [22-196], for committing misdemeanors in his presence. Thus, Coleman's initial arrest was proper and valid.

6 The defendant relies upon Lee v. State, 628 P.2d 1172 (Okl.Cr. 1981) and Kelly v. State, 607 P.2d 706 (Okl.Cr. 1980), to support his argument that his vehicle was on private property and therefore the law enforcement officers were without authority to impound it without a request by the property owner. We are of the opinion that the facts in the instant case are distinguishable from the facts in Lee, supra, and Kelly, supra. In the instant case the vehicle in question was involved in a high speed, hot pursuit chase which ended only when the defendant pulled into a residential driveway and stopped.

7 Coleman initially contended that he lived at the residence; however, Sheriff Gilbert was personally acquainted with the people who owned the property, and knew that neither the defendant nor others whom he subsequently claimed to be visiting lived there. It was obvious to the officers that the defendant had merely driven his vehicle into the residential driveway to seek sanctuary. From Sheriff Gilbert's association with the actual residents and the presence of perishable foodstuffs in plain view in the truck's camper, it was apparent that the vehicle would have to be removed from the property. Coleman was in custody; his companion who had been observed drinking beer was properly forbidden to drive the vehicle; and, the defendant was unable to make other arrangements for the safekeeping of his belongings. We are of the opinion that the officers acted properly when they impounded the defendant's vehicle for the purpose of caretaking the defendant's property in accordance with South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 96 S.Ct. 3092, 49 L.Ed.2d 1000 (1976).

8 Trooper Smithson testified that he handed an inventory sheet to Officer Rose and instructed him to inventory the truck while he and Sheriff Gilbert transported the Colemans to the Wagoner County Jail. Furthermore, the trooper stated that while taking the defendant into custody, he had observed, in plain view, open wallets in the truck's glove compartment bearing the names "Seward," and a box of frozen meat stamped "Hogle, Not for Sale," in the truck's camper, and that he routinely questioned Coleman about them. In route to Wagoner, his investigatory instincts having been aroused, Trooper Smithson radioed the scene of the ongoing homicide investigation in Muskogee County and inquired whether [668 P.2d 1131] the victims' names were "Seward" and if meat stamped "Hogle, Not for Sale," had been taken. Upon receiving an affirmative reply, Trooper Smithson immediately stopped his cruiser, handcuffed Jeanette, read both Colemans their Miranda rights, turned his vehicle around and transported the Colemans to the Muskogee County Jail.

9 Officer Rose stated that pursuant to a radio communication from Trooper Smithson, informing him that the Colemans had been arrested as suspects in the Muskogee murders, he stopped his inventory, without having written anything on the inventory sheet, and waited for homicide investigators to arrive.

10 Both Officer Rose and Trooper Smithson testified that the inventory initiated at the time of the defendant and his passenger's arrest was pursuant to established departmental policy. As stated above, the wallets, the meat marked "Hogle, Not For Sale" and the other foodstuffs were all found during the initial stages of the inventory. The fact that neither Officer Rose nor the other officers had yet to reduce the findings of their inventory to writing is immaterial. The record discloses the good faith in which the inventory was initiated. It was only the sudden focus upon the defendant as a murder suspect which prevented completion of the list.

11 Although Agent Chrisco may have had time to arrange for a search warrant to be obtained while the pickup was being towed to Muskogee, we need not reach the issue of the appropriateness of his actions. The evidence complained of had previously been legally discovered, and was properly in police custody by virtue of the impoundment of the vehicle and the contents thereof. Swain v. State, 621 P.2d 1181 (Okl.Cr. 1980); South Dakota v. Opperman, supra.

12 Thus, we find that the arrest of the defendant and the subsequent impoundment and inventory of his vehicle were proper, and the evidence of which the defendant now complains was properly admitted. This assignment of error is without merit.

II.

13 In his second assignment of error, the defendant alleges that the trial court erred in failing to exclude statements made by him at the time of his arrest, because he did not immediately receive the Miranda warnings. Defendant complains of three separate incidents in which Officer Smithson testified that the defendant made inculpatory statements to questions regarding the wallets, groceries, and the defendant's reasons for stopping at the residence where he was arrested.

[668 P.2d 1132]

14 We initially note that the defendant failed to object to Trooper Smithson's testimony at the time it was offered at trial. This Court has consistently held that when no specific objections are made at trial to the admission of a defendant's inculpatory statements, such objections cannot later be made as assignments of error on appeal. Long v. State, 567 P.2d 110 (Okl.Cr. 1977). See also, U.S. v. Holliday, 474 F.2d 320 (10th Cir. 1973).

15 In addition, the defendant did not include this assignment of error in his motion for new trial nor in his petition in error, and has not properly preserved this assignment of error for review. Hawkins v. State, 569 P.2d 490 (Okl.Cr. 1977); Chronister v. State, 538 P.2d 215 (Okl.Cr. 1975).

16 Furthermore, even if the alleged error had been properly preserved for review, we are of the opinion, after having carefully reviewed the record before us, that the questions asked of the defendant were purely investigatory in nature, and were not accusatory. The law enforcement officer who asked the questions had no inkling that Coleman had been involved in a homicide, at the time the questions were asked; thus, it cannot be said that the purpose of the questioning was to elicit a confession. The defendant was arrested for traffic violations and possible D.U.I., and it was not until Trooper Smithson called the homicide scene, while in route to the Wagoner County Jail, that the defendant became the "focus" of a homicide investigation, and he was immediately read his Miranda rights warning at that time. See, Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964). Thus, we are of the opinion that the questioning was not improper.

17 Moreover, even if the questioning had been improper, it is well established that the admission of statements obtained in violation of Miranda may be said to constitute harmless error.3 Harryman v. Estelle, 616 F.2d 870 (5th Cir. 1980), cert. denied 449 U.S. 860, 101 S.Ct. 161, 66 L.Ed.2d 76; Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18, 87 S.Ct. 824, 17 L.Ed.2d 705 (1967). In determining whether the harmless error rule is applicable, we must determine whether, absent the unconstitutional defect, "the evidence remains not only sufficient to support the verdict but so overwhelming as to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt." Chapman, supra.

18 A review of the record reveals that evidence of Coleman's guilt, although circumstantial, was overwhelming. The fact that the statements were admitted had no effect on the other substantial evidence introduced against Coleman at trial. As discussed in the first assignment of error, the Sewards' wallets and the Warrens' meat and groceries, were discovered, pursuant to a valid search, in the defendant's pickup only two hours after the homicides. Also, [668 P.2d 1133] at the time of his arrest, approximately $210.00 in cash and a $2.00 bill were found in the defendant's shirt pocket. Mrs. Warren, the victim's sister, testified that her brother carried large sums of money and a $2.00 bill for good luck in his wallet. At trial, two witnesses identified the defendant's white camper pickup truck as being similar to a white camper pickup they had seen in front of the Warrens' residence at the approximate time of the homicides. Jeanette Coleman, the defendant's "alleged common law wife," testified that at approximately 3:30 on the afternoon of February 9, 1979, the defendant left their residence with a shotgun and shells and returned at approximately 4:15. Defendant's brother, Vernon Dale Coleman, Sr., testified that after the defendant's arrest on the evening of February 9, he retrieved a 28 gauge shotgun (State's Exhibit No. 19) and a box of Federal brand, No. 6 load shotgun shells from the defendant's residence and conveyed the evidence to Muskogee County Investigator Gary Sturm between February 10 and February 11, 1979. Tom Jordan, a ballistics specialist, testified that State's Exhibit No. 19 was an uncommon gauge and brand of shotgun and was consistent with the weapon and ammunition used in the Seward homicides. Finally, Eli Maghee, who was incarcerated with Coleman prior to trial, testified that the defendant recounted the details of the homicides and explained the reasons for the murders as being that, "you just don't leave any witnesses cause you got a lot less chance of getting convicted."

19 Further, the defendant does not allege that the admission of the statements precluded him from introducing exculpatory evidence or hindered his defense in any manner.4 The second assignment of error is without merit.

III.

20 In his third assignment of error, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by admitting, over objection, allegedly prejudicial photographs. Specifically, Coleman complains of State's Exhibits No. 12F and 121, which were black and white photographs of the murder victims taken at the scene of the homicides, and State's Exhibit No. 18A, which was a color photograph taken before the autopsy depicting the entrance wound in the back of the victim's head.

21 We are of the opinion that in accordance with the test set forth in Oxendine v. State, 335 P.2d 940 (Okl.Cr. 1958), the probative value of the evidence in question outweighs any prejudicial effect. See also, Glidewell v. State, 626 P.2d 1351 (Okl.Cr. 1981). In the instant case, the photographs of the victims at the scene of the crime tend to show that the victims were killed in an execution type manner in the basement. Also, the photograph of the entry wound in the back of the victim's head corroborates the ballistics expert's testimony and the pathologist's testimony that the shotgun was fired at point blank range. These photographs show definitely that the intent was to kill.

22 Finally, the admission of allegedly gruesome photographs is within the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. Glidewell v. State, supra. We note that the trial court excluded several other photographs for their prejudicial effect and determined that Exhibits 12F, 12I and 18A were probative and admissible. This assignment of error is without merit.

IV.

23 In his fourth assignment of error, the defendant alleges that the trial court erred by allowing Jeanette Coleman, the defendant's alleged common law wife,5 to testify. [668 P.2d 1134] He contends that her testimony violates the husband/wife privilege under 22 O.S. 1981 702 [22-702] and 12 O.S. 1981 2504 [12-2504]. In Lavicky v. State, 632 P.2d 1234 (Okl.Cr. 1981), we said that although 22 O.S. 1981 702 [22-702] has not been specifically repealed, the legislature intended that 12 O.S. 1981 2504 [12-2504] supercede all prior legislation on the subject. Accordingly, the statute to apply in the present case is 12 O.S. 1981 2504 [12-2504] which provides in pertinent part:

A. A communication is confidential for purposes of this section if it is made privately by any person to his spouse and is not intended for disclosure to any person.

B. An accused in a criminal proceeding has a privilege to prevent his spouse from testifying as to any confidential communication between the accused and the spouse.

24 At trial, Jeanette Coleman testified in regard to the events of the day of the homicide. Our initial inquiry is whether her testimony breached any confidential communications.

25 Jeanette testified that on the day of the homicide, the defendant came home at approximately 3:30, retrieved a shotgun and shells from their bedroom, left in his white camper pickup, and returned at approximately 4:15 p.m. We are of the opinion that this testimony did not concern a privileged communication. The privilege does not extend to matters learned through observation of the spouse's non-communicative acts which are not intended to be confidential. See, Moore v. State, 270 Ark. 592, 605 S.W.2d 445 (Ark. 1980); State v. Benner, 284 A.2d 91 (Me. 1971). In the instant case, the defendant had been hunting earlier that day and therefore Jeanette's suspicions weren't aroused when he left for the second time with the shotgun. It is clear that the defendant's conduct occurred without any intent by him that his conduct be kept confidential. State v. Benner, supra.

26 Jeanette also testified that, prior to going grocery shopping the defendant stated that they owned the groceries in the back of the camper. Finally, she stated that at the scene of their arrest, the defendant gave her a turquoise watch to keep, and then requested she give it back when they were being transported to Muskogee. We are of the opinion that this testimony also did not breach any confidential communications. Communications are not confidential if made in the presence of third parties. Lavicky v. State, supra. Since these statements of the defendant, to which Jeanette testified, were made in the presence of third parties, his contention is without merit. Accordingly, this assignment of error is also without merit.

V.

27 In his fifth assignment of error, Coleman contends that the trial court committed reversible error by admitting evidence of his escape from the county jail, evidence of the burglary of the Warren residence and evidence of the murder of Roxie Seward.

28 We initially find, from a review of the record, that the State complied with procedures necessary to introduce evidence of other crimes, as set forth by Burks v. State, 594 P.2d 771 (Okl.Cr. 1979). The State furnished the defendant with written notice, ten days before trial,6 of its intent to introduce evidence of the escape, burglary and murder. In the notice of intent to introduce evidence of other crimes, and at the time the evidence was offered, the prosecutor specified the exception under which the evidence was sought to be admitted.7 Additionally, the trial court gave the jury a limiting instruction regarding evidence of other crimes. Further, it is well established that evidence of an escape from custody by an accused is admissible as showing consciousness of guilt. Odum v. State, 651 P.2d 703 (Okl.Cr. 1982). See also, Brinlee v. [668 P.2d 1135] State, 608 F.2d 839, 10th Cir. 1979, cert. denied 444 U.S. 1047, 100 S.Ct. 737, 62 L.Ed.2d 733 (1980).

29 Finally, we note that the burglary of the Warren residence and the murder of Roxie Seward can be considered to be a part of the res gestae of the murder of John Seward. Burks v. State, supra. The burglary and murder were committed contemporaneously with the murder of John Seward and were inseparable parts of a single criminal episode; the charges should have been filed in a single information, listing the various counts. See, Chaney v. State, 612 P.2d 269 (Okl.Cr. 1980). We find no merit in the defendant's fifth assignment of error.

VI.

30 In his sixth assignment of error, the defendant argues that he was denied a fair trial by reason of the district attorney's improper and inflammatory remarks made during closing argument. We initially note that although defense counsel moved for a mistrial based on improper prosecutorial remarks at the conclusion of State's argument, he did not interpose an objection to any of the statements during the course of closing argument. Since no objection was made at the time the alleged prejudicial statements were made, nor was any request made for an admonishment to the jury regarding them, the error has not been properly preserved for review. Smith v. State, 594 P.2d 784 (Okl.Cr. 1979). Although defense counsel failed to object to the numerous instances of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, we shall review the record for fundamental error. Cobbs v. State, 629 P.2d 368 (Okl.Cr. 1981).

31 While some of the remarks were unnecessary and are not to be condoned,8 they were not so grossly improper, in light of the evidence presented, as to have affected the verdict of the jury; thus, no modification or reversal is required. See, Chaney v. State, supra.

VII.

32 In his seventh assignment of error, the defendant alleges that reversible error occurred at trial by reason of the prosecutor's knowing use of perjured testimony. Prosecution witness, Eli Maghee, was incarcerated with the defendant during the summer of 1979, and testified as to conversations he had with Coleman.

[668 P.2d 1136]

33 Citing 21 O.S. 1981 496 [21-496], the defendant alleges a discrepancy exists between witness Maghee's testimony at the defendant's preliminary hearing in Tulsa County for the murder of Russell Lewis and Maghee's testimony at the trial in Muskogee County for the murder of John Seward, because at the preliminary hearing in Tulsa Maghee did not testify as to his conversations with the defendant regarding the murders of the Sewards in Muskogee County.

34 A review of the preliminary hearing transcript from the Tulsa County case reveals that there was no questioning by the State's counsel on the subject of the Seward murders. Obviously, the omission of testimony lacks an essential element of perjury. See, Holt v. State, 506 P.2d 561 (Okl.Cr. 1973).

35 Further, at trial in the present case, the defense counsel had ample opportunity to cross-examine witness Maghee concerning any inconsistent statements which he might have given. Taylor v. State, 555 P.2d 1073 (Okl.Cr. 1976). The jury was properly instructed in regard to the weight and credibility to be given the testimony of any witness. We find this assignment of error to be without merit.

VIII.

36 In his eighth assignment of error, the defendant alleges that he should have received a preliminary hearing on the bill of particulars. Specifically, he argues that since a preliminary hearing is required in all after former conviction of a felony (AFCF) cases, the same requirement should be had in capital cases. We have recently rejected this argument in Brewer v. State, 650 P.2d 54 (Okl.Cr. 1982). In Brewer, supra, we stated that 21 O.S. 1981 701.9 [21-701.9] apprises the defendant of all possible penalties he faces. In addition, 21 O.S. 1981 701.10 [21-701.10] specifically states that "only such evidence in aggravation as the State has made known to the defendant prior to his trial shall be admissible." These procedures eliminate any element of surprise; therefore, this assignment of error is without merit.

IX.

37 In his ninth assignment of error, the defendant alleges that the trial court improperly admitted evidence in the second stage which was not previously made known to him. In support of his argument he cites 21 O.S. 1981 701.10 [21-701.10], and alleges that he did not receive notice in the Bill of Particulars that the State intended to introduce evidence that he kidnapped an Arizona highway patrolman after his escape from county jail.

38 The Bill of Particulars contained the following pertinent language:

5. That there exists a probability that the defendant Charles Troy Coleman will commit future criminal acts of violence that will constitute a continuing threat to society, based on the following:

* * * * * *

On the 23rd day of April, 1979, after the defendant had been bound over for trial for the murders of John and Roxie Seward, and it appearing that he would be held accountable for these two deaths and would be taken to trial for the commission of the murders, he did then and there escape from lawful confinement in the Muskogee County jail, fleeing beyond the borders of the State of Oklahoma, further illustrating his contempt and total disregard for the rules of a structured and orderly society and creating a further danger to other lives, including those of the law abiding citizens of this state, and in other areas of this nation; . . .

39 We are of the opinion that the defendant did receive sufficient notice of the evidence which the State intended to introduce in support of the aggravating circumstance.9 The Bill of Particulars is specific in its [668 P.2d 1137] allegation of defendant's escape from the county jail, and the defendant kidnapped the Arizona highway patrolman on the five day spree subsequent to his escape. Furthermore, the defendant was made aware of the evidence because the Arizona highway patrolman had testified to the details of the kidnapping at the preliminary hearing in the Tulsa County murder, a transcript of which had been provided defense counsel. In Chaney v. State, supra, we said that 21 O.S. 1981 701.10 [21-701.10] is designed to give the defendant appropriate notice of the evidence of aggravating circumstance(s). We are of the opinion that in the instant case the State complied with this requirement. Accordingly, this assignment of error is without merit.

X.

40 In his tenth assignment of error, the defendant complains that four prospective jurors were excused for cause in violation of Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 510, 88 S.Ct. 1770, 20 L.Ed.2d 776 (1968). In Chaney v. State, supra, we said:

In Witherspoon, the Supreme Court held that persons cannot be excused from jury service for cause just because they are opposed to the death penalty. They can be excused for cause if their views are so strong that they would refuse to return a verdict of guilty, where it was justified, because the defendant could be sentenced to death. Prospective jurors can also be excused for cause if they have decided in advance that they will not vote to impose the death penalty, regardless of the circumstances. However, the questioning in this area during voir dire cannot be too specific:

`. . . The most that can be demanded of a venireman . . . is that he be willing to consider all of the penalties provided by state law, and that he not be irrevocably committed, before the trial has begun, to vote against the penalty of death regardless of the facts and circumstances that might emerge in the course of the proceedings . . .' (Emphasis original).

41 In the instant case, we believe that it was proper to excuse the jurors for cause. All four jurors stated unequivocably that they would not impose the death penalty regardless of the facts and circumstances that might emerge in the course of the proceedings.10 See also, Parks v. State, 651 P.2d 686 (Okl.Cr. 1982). We therefore find this assignment of error to be without merit.

XI.

42 In the final assignment of error, the defendant alleges that three of the convictions relied upon to establish the aggravating circumstance were void and therefore the sentence of death should not have been imposed. At trial, an authenticated copy of the minute entries from the District Court Clerk of Elmore County of the State of Alabama, which reflect the defendant's convictions in three cases, was admitted as evidence of his prior conviction of a felony involving the use or threat of violence.11 Defendant argues that these convictions are void because they do not show on their face that he knowingly and voluntarily waived his federal constitutional rights before entering a guilty plea. However, the record does indicate that he was represented by counsel upon entering his pleas of guilty. See, Burgett v. Texas, 389 U.S. 109, 88 S.Ct. 258, 19 L.Ed.2d 319 (1967). The record also reveals that an appeal was never perfected from the 1967 convictions. Defendant has not alleged that there are pending collateral attacks on the convictions through post-conviction relief. See, State v. Jordan, 126 Ariz. 283, 614 P.2d 825 (Ariz. 1980). We are of the opinion that the Alabama convictions were properly introduced. See, Ashlock v. State, 643 P.2d 324 (Okl.Cr. 1982). Further, [668 P.2d 1138] the State introduced another 1973 conviction12 from the Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County in the State of California, which supports the aggravating circumstance that he was convicted of a prior felony involving the use or threat of violence. Defendant's final assignment of error is without merit.

XII.

43 Pursuant to our statutorily imposed duty under 21 O.S. 1981 701.13 [21-701.13], we now hold:

1) The sentence of death was not imposed "under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor." This was indeed a merciless execution of two innocent people who intruded upon the defendant as he burglarized a home. However, a complete review of the record reveals that the trial court was sensitive to the nature of the case and that defendant's attorney competently protected his constitutional rights. We are of the opinion that the defendant received a fair and impartial trial;

2) The evidence supports the jury's finding of statutory aggravating circumstances as enumerated in Section 701.12. The basis for this holding should be clear from the body of this opinion.13

3) We have made a comparison of this case with other first degree murder cases before this Court and we find that the death penalty is not excessive.14 The jury found five aggravating circumstances present in the instant case. We find that the evidence supports all five aggravating circumstances. We find no reason to disturb or modify the imposition of the death sentence.

44 Accordingly, the judgment and sentence is AFFIRMED.

CORNISH and BRETT, JJ., concur.

Footnotes:

1 During Agent Chrisco's testimony at the defendant's trial, a list of items taken from the appellant's truck after it had been towed to the garage was introduced. We do not find Officer Chrisco's testimony to constitute error, since he simply enumerated the items which had already been discovered.

2 Specifically the defendant complains of the testimony by Officer Smithson as follows:

OFFICER SMITHSON:

A. I uh, went back and asked Mr. Coleman if what his last name was and he told me. And I asked him what his in-laws' name was, and he told me that, and I don't remember what his in-laws' name what he said they were, but it was not Seward. And, at that point, I went over and asked Mrs. Coleman the same questions, and neither of her answers were Seward either. So, I went back then and asked, Mr. Coleman where he had got the wallet. And he told me he had been to the Eight-Ball the night before, which is a Club in Muskogee, and he said that he had picked up a woman and her husband there who were having an argument and they had pickup trouble and they gave them a ride home. He said, apparently, she had left her wallet in the pickup and about this time Sheriff Gilbert and Ralph Rose was in the rear of the vehicle looking in it and they had discovered some groceries and meat and stuff in it and they called me over to look at it, and on the meat it had a name stamped HOGLE, and it was processed meat, and it had NOT FOR SALE stamped on it. I went back and asked Mr. Coleman about this and he told me that they had been to the Warehouse Market to buy groceries and he said that they bought their groceries there. I asked him if he bought all of them there, and he said: Yes, we bought all of our groceries at the Warehouse Market. And, at this time I asked him, or I told him that he could not buy the meat there. And I asked him: Where did you get the meat that's stamped NOT FOR SALE? You can't buy it at Warehouse Market. He told me that apparently the meat was left in the vehicle, also, from the night before cause the people had left meat in there when they took them home. He said: `We were all very drunk. Didn't know what we were doing.'

* * * * * *

OFFICER SMITHSON:

A. This is a picture of the groceries and frozen meat items that were also found in the rear of the pickup. I asked him about it, and he stated he had bought it at Warehouse Market.

MR. TURPEN:

Q. And he later stated what?

A. He later stated that it belonged to the people that he had picked up at the Eight-Ball.

MR. TURPEN:

Q. The night before?

A. Yes, sir.

* * * * * *

A. Okay. About that residence. Did you ever inquire as to why they stopped there?

A. Yes, I did. I asked Mr. Coleman why they had stopped at this residence. He said: We live here. And I asked his wife later the same question. She verified

MR. PEARSON: Asked who later? I'm sorry. A. His wife. And she verified it. I asked them if they had a key to the residence? They said: `No.' And later Mr. Coleman said: `It's a friend of ours house' and he called the friend's name. I don't remember what the name was. Sheriff Gilbert was there. He knew who lived there, who had built the house, and he stated that was not the name of the people that owned the house.

3 The record in this case reflects no evidence that defendant's statement was involuntary.

4 Defendant's defense was that he did not have time to commit the murder; that Eli Maghee had a reputation of being untruthful and that his sister-in-law had given him $400 in cash the week of the homicides.

5 The trial court ruled that Jeanette Coleman was the common law wife of the defendant's older brother Abe Coleman, whom she had not divorced; therefore, she could not be the defendant's common law wife.

6 The State filed a notice of intent to offer evidence of other crimes on August 27, 1979, and trial began on September 25, 1979.

7 The State advised that the evidence was offered as an exception to other crimes evidence based on res gestae as well as proof of identity of the defendant and defendant's intent to kill.

8 The transcript reads in part as follows:

Folks, what do we talk about when we talk about First Degree Murder? We're talking about we're talking about this man's head! I don't mean to be shocking, ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, but we're talking about this man's head being turned into a puddle of blood and gray hairs at the bottom of the stairs. That's the reality of it. I'm not trying to shock anybody. That's the reality of it. That a living human being's head was turned into a puddle of blood and hair because of him, based on the evidence. (Tr. 787).

* * * * * *

But I want you to think about the last few seconds in John Seward's life as he's being marched down those stairs with his wife, you know, to what became a human slaughter house, and think about the horror he must have felt. And think about the terror he must have felt as he spent his last few seconds on this earth a man who, I suggest to you, had the right to die with more dignity. Let's think about it. (Tr. 788).

* * * * * *

Last witness. Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren described this the home she lived in here that's where she lives. It's nice to live in a home where your brother was murdered in the back basement. Think about that, please.

John Seward is dead and gone forever. Plus, there's more than one victim. We all suffer a little, but think of the family that's still living in the home and where her brother was murdered in the basement. See, it points out that there's more than one victim when it comes to cold-blooded murder. When a man does what this man did, Charles Coleman, on that day, February 9th, when he takes them down into the basement of the home and murders them in cold-blood, if you will, when you do that, you see you got more than one victim. You've got more than just Roxie and John Seward, you see, you got a family. You got people left behind. See, this was a pretty expensive shopping spree. I mean, a lot of people have suffered, if you know what I mean, based on the evidence, I mean, from the witness stand, that Mrs. Warren testified about. (Tr. 830).

9 The aggravating circumstance is found in 21 O.S. 1981 701.12.2 [21-701.12.2] which provides in part:

Aggravating circumstances shall be:

* * * * * *

7. The existence of a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society; or . . .

10 Defendant objected to the following jurors being excused for cause:

Juror Geisinger;

Juror Barnes;

Juror Halpain;

Juror Crager.

11 21 O.S. 1981 701.12 [21-701.12] provides that:

Aggravating circumstances shall be:

(1) The defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person.

12 Defendant has not challenged the validity of this conviction.

13 The jury found that the evidence supported the following five circumstances: 1) the defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person; 2) the defendant knowingly created a risk of death to more than one person; 3) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; 4) the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution; 5) the existence of probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.

14 We have compared this case with cases in which the defendant received the penalty of death:

Stafford v. State, 665 P.2d 1205 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Davis v. State, 665 P.2d 1186 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Ake v. State, 663 P.2d 1 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Smith v. State, 659 P.2d 330 (Okl.Cr. 1980); Parks v. State, 651 P.2d 686 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Jones v. State, 648 P.2d 1251 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Hays v. State, 617 P.2d 233 (Okl.Cr. 1980); Eddings v. State, 616 P.2d 1159 (Okl.Cr. 1980) (Remanded for resentencing, 455 U.S. 104, 102 S.Ct. 869, 71 L.Ed.2d 1), Chaney v. State, 612 P.2d 269 (Okl.Cr. 1980).

We have also compared Coleman's sentence in light of cases in which death sentences have been modified to life imprisonment: Glidewell v. State 663 P.2d 738 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Johnson v. State, 662 P.2d 687 (Okl.Cr. 1983) (53 OBAJ 730, Okl.Cr. 1982; opinion withdrawn); Boutwell v. State, 659 P.2d 322 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Driskell v. State, 659 P.2d 343 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Jones v. State, 660 P.2d 634 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Munn v. State, 658 P.2d 482 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Odum v. State, 651 P.2d 703 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Burrows v. State, 640 P.2d 533 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Franks v. State, 636 P.2d 361 (Okl.Cr. 1981); Irvin v. State, 617 P.2d 588 (Okl.Cr. 1980).

We have also considered this case in light of cases in which the defendant's convictions and sentences of death were reversed or otherwise remanded for subsequent proceedings: Hatch v. State, 662 P.2d 1377 (Okl.Cr. 1983); Hall v. State, 650 P.2d 893 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Brewer v. State, 650 P.2d 54 (Okl.Cr. 1982); Hager v. State, 612 P.2d 1369 (Okl.Cr. 1980).

 
 

This is an article written by Oklahoma Death Row prisoner Don Hawkins in 1990. Don was murdered by the State of Oklahoma April 8th 2003. This shows the Human side of what most would call a monster.

Stormy

THE LONG WALK

By Don Hawkins, Oklahoma Death Row Inmate

September 9-10, 1990

What are the right words for expressing one's feelings at a time like this? How can I spell out the tears that roll down my cheeks, the tightness in my jaws, the lump in my throat? I'm lying here on my bunk in my cell listening to the radio and watching a T.V. program called "The Ultimate Debt."

This morning I was awakened by the sound of shuffling feet outside my cell door. As l remember them there, I see the wardens, major, captain, and the goon squad made up of fifteen of the biggest prison guards wearing black jumpsuits, helmets with face shields and carrying long knight sticks. Each man is ready to take control of any trouble there may be. The lead man of the group is holding in front of him a 2' x 4' plexiglas eleetronic shield. I've heard it is charged with 10,000 volts and if hit with it a person will forget who he is for a while.

They are standing in front of my friend Chuck Coleman's cell, talking to him. He is dressed in new prison blues and looks to he ready to go with them. This time they won't handcuff him to move him outside of his cell. The warden decided to let him be a man today and not treat him like an animal when moving him. This is called "letting him keep his dignity."

Chuck has made this same walk several times before, but this time he just looks different. There's a sense of nervousness showing on his pale colored face. In his hand is a fairly large Bible. The door is opening now, and Chuck steps out with his arms raised. The warden pats him down, being sure to check every area of his outer body form.

A woman viewing this with a video camera is ready to get every detail. If there's an incident, they'll have it on tape as they restrain him with whatever force is necessary. The warden and Chuck exchange a few words about the property in his cell and then they move on down the run to the security gate. I watch them as they move as a group through the sally port doors and out into the rotunda where they disappear from my view. I lay my mirror down and feel an anger rise up in me. For a moment I seemed to he searching for a reasonable thought to give meaning to this experience.

The pretty black assistant warden has stayed behind and is standing here in front of my cell by Chuck's door. After about fifteen minute, one of the other wardens from the group that led Chuck out comes back and joins her to pack up Chuck's property. After a minute or two they are joined by the unit case manager.

I go back into the back of my cell and lie down. I wonder just what these people must be feeling as they handle Chuck's personal things,putting them into boxes. This it the first time these prison heads have had to pack up a man's property. Finally I drift off to sleep.

It's about noon as I wake up. It had been a long night Chuck, my good brother Randle, and I had been talking most of the night about the sovereign will of God. Several time, I'd have to pull back from the conversation and dry my eyes. All three of us were having a hard time being strong.

After eating my lunch I go out on the yard to get out of this building. It is just too quiet all of a sudden. For once in over twenty years the men were facing a paper tiger coming alive and putting fear into the air. Other than an occasional shout of victory from one of the men who has just beat another handball game, no one seems to be willing to talk on the yard either. It's a long hour of silent yard time.

Once back inside, I catch myself wanting to holler over at Chuck to past the time of day, only to see the empty cell peering at me. Every so often there isa news
special on T.V. giving an update on Chuck's situation. I am hoping for good news sol can look for the goon squad to be bringing him back, this time in handcuff's as they had done the previous time he took the long walk.

Nothing I try to do throughout this long, quiet day seems to be important enough to calm my racing thoughts of Chuck's date. Now here it is 10:42 PM., and there's this special program coming on that is called, "The Ultimate Debt". The news cameras are set up out in front of the prison here. The news personality has just said that Chuck's lawyers say they have given up filing any more pleas for his life. The program ends at 10:50.

It is heartwarming to hear that Chuck is holding up strongly. He had a hamburger, candy bar,and two cokes for lunch. He refused a last meal, because he said it wouldn't be his last. His wife, kids, and grandkids were here to see him earlier in the day. They said everyone was smiling as he spoke with the kids about school and the crafts he'd been sending them. In forty-five minutes they'll move him from his death watch cell into the death chamber. I'm sure his thinking is going from the joy of his family visits to what waits forhim in that other room. He has to be an emotional yo-yo.

The prison staff were shown on the T.V. with sad, almost hollow, expressions. None wants to see Chuck die. They have dealt with him personally for twelve years and have known the man with emotions. No longer is his mind clouded by drugs, alcohol, and a certain order of life's events. His emotions surfaced and he now can feel pain and remorse. The Warden wouldn't even face the camera.

I don't think l'd want visitors when it's my date with the executioner. I won't play the tough guy. I love my family and friends. I'd feel my very heart being torn out to know I'd be leaving them behind. The reason I can wake up each new morning on Death Row, thanking God for another day of life, is because I can feel their love for me. But here l am thinking about me while my friend is going to die in about forty minutes.
I was talking to him last night, but tonight I can remember all the things I really wanted to say, and what I could have said but didn't. I want to think he's praying with his heart now. No time for "whatif's?" - time for genuine prayer as honest as he can feel to pray.

Thirty-seven minutes now - about twenty minutes until they move him into the death chamber and strap him down to the deathbed. There's al ive coverage show on the radio now. I can hear the people in the back-ground singing songs. The man says they have candles lit and are wearing T-shirts that say,"Don't kill for me."

Thirty two minutes now until midnight. The execution is scheduled for 12:01. If carrie out, it will be Oklahoma's first in over twenty-five years. I can think of many reprobates who are much more the candidates for execution than this repented man of God that I know who were given life or less for the same crime as Chuck's. On paper he's still the man who was sentenced to die, and that's the man the courts who decide his appeal see.

It's not easy to keep my mind on this pen and paper as I hear the mixed feelings of people being interviewed. Those who know Chuck speak of him as a friend. Those who only read the papers speak of him as an enemy. Which is he? Who would know best?

11:35 PM.

11:38 PM. - In five minutes he'll be moved into the death chamber.

11:40 PM. I would think they are telling him to get ready, without really having to say for what he should be getting ready. These are novel events for all who are involved, so I'm sure nerves are on pins and needles. Even though the prison staff has rehearsed the killing of a man several times so they'll be good at it when the time comes, it's different now that it is actually happening for real.

l can only imagine what's going on inside of Chuck's mind. Is there still a feeling of hope inside this man as he sees everyone doing opposite of what would support his hope? Does every unannounced sound stir a nervous response within him as he hears the sound of a clock's tick pounding inside his head? Can he even relax to think clearly enough to truly understand all that is going on around him? I wonder if the new prison blues he's wearing will witness to the next man what energies have moved through them? Is the only hope now being kept alive in the heart of his wife as she stands, feeling her place as the "silent" prisoner? Does "please" mean anything now as he, we, wait for any change in events?

11:47 P.M. I feel that by now he has been moved and strapped down to the deathbed. Fourteen minutes until the plunger is pushed by the executioner. The twelve witnesses are sure to he watching his every movement, listening for whatever sounds a condemned man would make.

Seven minutes now. Time goes by so fast when it is most precious. What thoughts could he possibly be exersising to escape from such excruciating torment as so many work together to see him dead? Of course, "excruciating" comes from a word relating to the Cross.

There will be three drugs administered at once. I'm not sure how they work, but one is supposed to put him to sleep while the others collapse the heart and lung muscles. It takes about 10- l5 minutes to execute a man from start to finish. Fifteen minutes is a long time to be feeling the clutches of death pulling on you.

12:00 Midnight. He must know it's over for him, because there's a clock for him to see. Time is in slow motion; yet the clock is moving in fast gear. What can I say? It wasn't God's will for him to live?

12:01 AM. I'd presume the executioner has pushed the plunger, and Chuck can now taste the drugs and feel them burn away at his life. He must be scared and praying as intelligibly as he can. I know I would be.

12:02; 12:03; 12:04; 12:05; 12:06; 12:07; 12:08; 12:09. They are saying they'll interview the twelve witnesses after it's over.

12:10. I'll say more as l hear something.

The phone just rang in the media center. False alarm. It was for a media personality.
12:17. The phone rings again. "The execution is running behind schedule," says Mr. Massey. Something else for Chuck to wonder about as he watches those people stumble over each other in the process of taking what God gave him.

A few moments of tears for me.

12:39 AM. The phone rings again. Mr. Massey is nodding his head, "Yes." Charles Troy Coleman was pronounced dead at 12:35 AM. They had trouble getting the needle in his right arm; so after several attempts they stuck it in his left arm. It took fourteen seconds to kill him once the drugs were administered. One witness said Charles' body went limp about 14 to 15 seconds after the warden looked at the executioner and instructed him to let it begin.

Just shortly sfter midnight. during the execution process, Chuck asked the warden to read a Bible text to him. Then he asked the chaplain to do the same reading. Psalm 23, as he was dying. The warden asked him if he had any final words. Chuck said, "Just tell everybody I love them, and I have peace in my heart." During the reading of the Bible text. Chuck would say, "Thank you, Jesus." Once during the execution he looked at Mandy Welch, his lawyer. and smiled. He told her that he loved her.

At 12:28 he took a heavy breath, and gurgling sounds were coming from him as his chest stopped moving. One witness said he took two to three breaths, lost color in his face, and then stopped moving. They all say it was such a somber peaceful event. He just left the prison for the last time, and this empty cell is calling for its next body to store away until the date of "the long walk."

The Death Row guard who works the Row just came tome with tears in his eyes. Every canteen day Chuck would buy an insane man some canteen items and put them in his cell as Chuck went to shower. Sonny would wake up and they'd be there for him. Sonny just woke up and didn't find anything. He asked the guard to go check with Chuck and see if he had something for him.

Forgive me if I stop here and cry.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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