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Tyrone Delano GILLIAM Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Abduction - Robbery - Drugs
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 2, 1988
Date of birth: 1956
Victim profile: Christine Doerfler (female, 21)
Method of murder: Shooting (sawed-off shotgun)
Location: Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Maryland on November 16, 1998
 
 
 
 
 

United States Court of Appeals
For the Fourth Circuit

 
opinion 97-14
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tyrone Gilliam, 32, was convicted in the Dec. 2, 1988, murder of Christine Doerfler. Gilliam and 2 codefendants abducted the 21-year- old as she arrived at her sister's Baltimore County home and forced her to drive to an automated teller machine.

The men got no more money, and after driving to a dead-end street, Gilliam put a sawed-off shotgun to the back of Miss Doerfler's head and pulled the trigger.

Gilliam said the killing came during a frenzied search for drug money while he was high on PCP and crack cocaine. He said he confessed twice to the shooting because of police coercion and bad advice from his attorney.

Gilliam's codefendants, brothers Tony and Kelvin Drummond, were both convicted of murder and given life sentences.

Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin

 
 

Tyrone X Gilliam, 98-11-16, Maryland

Maryland Sun

The 6 people who pumped lethal drugs into Tyrone X Gilliam's arm Monday night stood behind a wall in the death chamber so that no one would know who they were.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge John F. Fader II didn't strap Gilliam to the table or start the drip. But it was Fader's decision that put Gilliam in the death chamber -- a decision he made in public, in his courtroom, where there was no wall to shield him.

On Monday night, just as on the day nine years ago when he sentenced Gilliam to death for murdering 21-year-old Christine Doerfler, Fader said he had a heavy heart.

"You come out here and you do the job that needs to be done," Fader said, sitting in the Towson courtroom where he tried Gilliam's case. "It's certainly not a pleasant duty. It's very, very hard."

Fader, 57, better known for trying to sort out messy divorce and child custody cases, was put in a position with the Gilliam case.

In death-penalty cases, a jury usually decides the fate of the defendant in either the criminal case or the sentencing phase.

A jury decided Flint Gregory Hunt should be put to death for killing a city police officer. Hunt was executed last year by lethal injection.

Fader alone convicted and sentenced Gilliam for Doerfler's murder in a robbery that netted $3.

"It's one of the most difficult decisions" a judge has to make, said Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel, a colleague of Fader, who has sentenced one man to death. "You have in your hands the ultimate sanction. That is an awesome responsibility."

Gilliam, 32, is the only man Fader has sentenced to death. Fader has given life in prison to 2 other defendants facing execution in his courtroom.

In one of those cases, the jury had voted to send a man to the death chamber, but the sentence was reversed on appeal. Fader gave him a life sentence.

In both cases, Fader saw reasons to spare their lives. One of the defendants had a history of psychiatric problems -- and later hanged herself in prison. The other had been in foster care his entire life and was living in a bus at the time of the murder he committed.

Fader saw no reason under the law to excuse Gilliam from the ultimate punishment.
"It was a coldblooded murder, and what a waste of human life, a vibrant life," he said.
Gilliam had confessed to the crime. A co-defendant testified that Gilliam had done it. Fader did not believe drugs Gilliam had taken that night -- PCP and cocaine -- had fundamentally impaired his judgment.

"He had as much support help from a loving, caring family with the ability to help as most people have in life," Fader said at the 1989 sentencing hearing. "He chose not to accept that advice, that counseling, that opportunity. He chose drugs, and the crime that was committed here."

When he sentenced Gilliam, the judge said he thought of the picture of Christine Doerfler with a 2-inch hole in the back of her head.

He said he thought of the life draining out of her young body as she sat in her car at the deadend of a road.

"I can say only with a heavy heart and with no satisfaction with the duty that I must perform that I conclude that death is the sentence to be applied in this case," Fader said at the time.

He signed Gilliam's death warrant several times over the past 9 years as the case was appealed to court after court. When he signed the warrant in October, he knew that this would be the last one. Every time he saw Doerfler's picture flash across the screen, he said, he thought of the crime again.

On Monday night, Fader watched the accounts of the execution on television. He had no regrets. Just a heavy heart.

"Sometimes the events of life surround all of us like thick smoke in a closed room," he said, recounting the words of a favorite book.

"That is a death penalty case from the minute it is filed. You are smothered with the magnitude of the situation."

 
 

Tyrone X. Gilliam executed

The Washington Post

Convicted murderer Tyrone D. Gilliam was executed by chemical injection at the Maryland Penitentiary late last night, the 1st of at least 6 condemned men across the country scheduled to be executed this week.

Gilliam, 32, who was convicted in the Dec. 2, 1988, shotgun slaying of 21-year-old Baltimore hardware store accountant Christine Doerfler in a $3 robbery and carjacking, was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m., a few minutes after prison guards administered a lethal dose of drugs through intravenous lines.

Before the injections started, Gilliam said, "Allah, forgive them for what they do." Then he turned toward his attorney and a Muslim spiritual adviser among the witnesses and said, "I love you," according to media representatives who were present.

His final words, they said, were "Allah akbar," Arabic for 'God is great.'

Outside the stone and brick penitentiary a half-mile from Baltimore's bustling Inner Harbor, more than 200 capital punishment opponents, many holding candles, sang songs of support for Gilliam and chanted, "They say death row, we say hell no."

Earlier in the day, both the Supreme Court and Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) rebuffed 11th-hour petitions to spare Gilliam.

His case attracted national attention when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan issued an urgent plea for mercy Sunday to Glendening, saying that Gilliam's conversion to Islam had "helped him to see the error of his ways." Gilliam joined the Nation of Islam in 1994 and went by the names Tyrone X. Gilliam and Minister As-siid Ben Maryam.

Gilliam was the third inmate executed in Maryland in this decade after a hiatus of almost 33 years.

At least 5 other condemned men in prisons from Virginia to California are awaiting execution this week, one of the largest numbers scheduled in 1 week in recent years, according to anti-capital punishment groups that monitor death penalty cases. 3 men, including one in Virginia, are set to be executed Tuesday.

"It's an unusual number by any measure," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. So far this year, he said, there have been 54 executions.

In Gilliam's case, Glendening turned down a petition for clemency, saying the facts in the case showed that "Mr. Gilliam shot and murdered Miss Doerfler in cold blood."

In a 5-paragraph statement, the governor said he had reviewed evidence in the case since Gilliam's death warrant was issued Oct. 5. In the course of his review, he said, he had found that Gilliam confessed twice to pulling the trigger and that his confessions were corroborated by 2 co-defendants in the case.

Glendening also noted that Gilliam's case has been reviewed and upheld 16 times by state and federal appellate courts.

According to trial testimony, Gilliam and brothers Kelvin LeGrant Drummond and Delano Anthony "Tony" Drummond ambushed Doerfler in a suburban parking lot after a day of heavy drinking and drug use. When they found she had only $3, according to testimony, they ordered her to drive them to an automated teller machine.

On the way, they changed their minds and forced her to drive to a secluded area in Baltimore County where, Kelvin Drummond and police testified, Gilliam shot Doerfler in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Drummond testified that Gilliam told him he killed Doerfler because she had seen his face.

Gilliam, convicted as the trigger man, was sentenced to death.

Kelvin Drummond, who testified under a plea agreement, received a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Tony Drummond drew a sentence of life without parole.

Since the murder, Gilliam changed his account, at one point saying he was not the trigger man.

Last week, he told reporters he was so heavily drugged during the incident that he could not remember what happened.

Gilliam's attorney, Jerome H. Nickerson Jr., also produced affidavits from the Drummond brothers stating that Gilliam was not the trigger man. Neither affidavit said who fired the shotgun, but Nickerson said Saturday that if he could get a court hearing, the shooter would be identified.

On Sunday, prosecutors obtained new statements from both Drummonds, in which the brothers said the affidavits they had given Nickerson were not true.

The new statements were included in prosecutors' filings with the governor in his consideration of Gilliam's bid for clemency.

  


 

Maryland executes man for robbery-murder that netted $3

November 17, 1998

BALTIMORE (CNN) -- A man who killed a woman during a robbery that netted $3 was executed by injection Monday night.

Tyrone Gilliam, 32, had been convicted in the Dec. 2, 1988, murder of Christine Doerfler.

Gilliam and two codefendants abducted the 21-year-old as she arrived at her sister's Baltimore County home and forced her to drive to an automated teller machine.

The men got no more money, and after driving to a dead-end street, Gilliam put a sawed-off shotgun to the back of Doerfler's head and pulled the trigger.

According to Gilliam, the killing came during a frenzied search for drug money while he was high on PCP and crack cocaine. He said he confessed twice to the shooting because of police coercion and bad advice from his attorney.

Brothers Tony and Kelvin Drummond, Gilliam's codefendants, were both convicted of murder and given life sentences.

Gilliam's last words were to his Nation of Islam spiritual advisor, Ashiddi Muhammed. "Allah forgive them, for they know not what they do," he said.

His execution came after Gov. Parris Glendening refused to grant clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Gilliam refused a last meal.

About 60 protesters stood on a street in front of the prison.

They heard Gilliam's father, Tyrone Gilliam Sr., say before the execution in a rambling and emotional speech: "Although this may silence him, don't let his life stop the struggle."

 
 

Don't let Maryland kill Tyrone Gilliam

By Virginia Harabin - NoDeathPenalty.org

Tyrone Gilliam, whose voice has convinced hundreds to become active against the death penalty all across the nation, faces execution by the state of Maryland during the week of November 16, 1998. As the New Abolitionist went to press, activists from across the East Coast were preparing for the largest mobilization of death penalty opponents the state of Maryland has ever seen. Abolitionists will travel to Baltimore on November 7 to march on the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in an all-out effort to demand clemency for Tyrone Gilliam.

Tyrone was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Christine Doerfler. But he didn't receive a fair trial. The prosecution withheld facts that they were required to give to the defense-for example, that the "confession" extracted from Tyrone was obtained when he was high on PCP and suffering from massive head injuries inflicted by a car wreck.

The arresting officer testified that Tyrone did not know who or where he was when he was arrested. Other evidence withheld from the defense includes the fact that one of Tyrone's codefendants received a deal from the prosecution in exchange for fingering Tyrone. Now both codefendants who do not sit on death row say that Tyrone wasn't the triggerman and never handled the gun that killed the victim.

Despite the evidence that Tyrone was denied a fair trial, and despite Maryland's clear history of racist sentencing patterns in capital cases, Maryland is prepared to kill Tyrone anyway.

As one of the founders of the event called "Live from Death Row," Tyrone, along with fellow death-row inmate Kenny Collins, has become a leading spokesperson against the racist and class-biased nature of the death penalty. People from Oakland to Chicago to Boston have spoken directly with Tyrone and been moved to action to prevent his death. Courageously addressing audiences he cannot see, ready to answer any question or comment that might come from the floor, Tyrone has used every opportunity to lead the fight against the death penalty. Hearing someone like Tyrone-an eloquent, sincere and passionate man on death row-breaks every stereotype associated with the people sitting death rows in the U.S.

Less than a year ago, the case of Karla Faye Tucker helped reopen the national debate about the death penalty, and many people were challenged to rethink their support for it. We can trace significant progress in building opposition to the death penalty since then. While his case is more typical of all the cases that receive little publicity and have previously not generated much support, Tyrone's work with the Campaign has done much to change this. Large numbers of people are angered by Maryland's plan to silence Tyrone X Gilliam.

As an activist, Tyrone has made the issue of the death penalty a personal one for hundreds of people who have heard him speak, and this has helped reinvigorate the fight against the death penalty for a new generation of activists. "Live from Death Row" events have involved inmates' families and friends in the fight against the death penalty. As John Price-Gilliam, Tyrone's brother-in-law, has often remarked, "We are in the midst of a war on minorities and the poor."

Tyrone uses his own experience to illustrate the arbitrary use of the death penalty by prosecutors seeking to advance careers at the expense of individuals, families and entire communities of ordinary working people. By phone at an event in New York recently, Tyrone said, "My crime was the result of poverty and desperation. Politicians kill for power and prestige." Tyrone and his family have helped forge a strategy to combat the terror and isolation of the death penalty by bringing more and more people into the struggle to end it.

 
 

Physician Participation in Executing Tyrone Gilliam

By Max Obuszewski

BaltimoreChronicle.com

Gov. Parris Glendening rejected Tyrone X Gilliamís plea for clemency. As a result, on Nov. 16,1998, I joined with hundreds of others in a vigil outside the Maryland Penitentiary, a Gothic monstrosity that admitted its first prisoner in 1811.

As we vigiled, Gilliam was strapped down at 10 p.m. inside the penís death chamber and a needle was inserted through his skin. Execution commander William Sondervan then ordered the lethal injection. The State of Maryland completed the execution at 10:27 p.m.

As word reached the vigilers standing behind yellow police tape, I thought of Christine Doerfler, who was murdered in 1988 after Gilliam and two others, who are not on death row, carjacked her. One of them shot her to death in a robbery that netted $3. But Gilliamís execution cannot bring her back

I also had to deal with my conscience, which told me not to allow the execution to come down without some gesture of resistance. This was the third time I passively accepted an execution. Gov. William Donald Schaefer finished off the abused and addled John Frederick Thanos in 1994, and Glendening executed Flint Gregory Hunt in 1997.

All citizens of Maryland who failed to resist the execution are responsible. Of course, the active participants must shoulder most of the blame--Gov. Glendening, Baltimore Circuit Judge John Fader II, who signed the death warrant, and the prosecutors from Baltimore County, Stateís Attorney Sandra OíConnor and Deputy Stateís Attorney Sue Schenning. To a lesser extent, blame is cast upon Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Stuart Simms, who operates the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and the Commissioner of the Division of Correction, Richard Lanham.

From an organizing perspective, I argue moral suasion will not work with these bureaucrats, though they should continue to be protested. If there is any hope of saving Kenneth Collins, next scheduled for execution, I would focus on the medical community.

Such a focus raises serious ethical questions that may influence some movers and shakers. Otherwise, it is likely Collins and the other Death Row inmates--Clarence Conyers, Jr., Jody Lee Miles, Kevin Wiggins, Anthony Grandison, Heath William Burch, James Edward Pert, Wallace Dudley Ball, Jean Alex Clermont, Steven Howard Oken, Wesley Baker, John Marvin Booth, Eugene Sherman Colvin and Vernon Evans--will also be strapped unto that death chamber gurney.

Physicians as a group hold a valued and sensitive position in society. Their knowledge and skills are to be used in the public interest, and in each patientís best interests. The medical profession is committed to humanity and the relief of suffering. Societyís trust is shattered, however, when medical skills are used to facilitate state executions.

This is contrary to the American Medical Associationís ethical opinion: ďA physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a legally authorized execution.Ē--1992 Code of Medical Ethics, Current Opinions of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association [article 2.061

Leonard Sipes, Jr., director of public information for the Department of Corrections, would not reveal the exact role played by physicians in the killing of Gilliam. However, a physician and psychiatrist presumably determined Gilliam, being of sound body and mind, could be executed. Sondervan, assumed to be without medical degree, and his staff, were surely trained by medical personnel. Someone inserted the needle into the prisonerís vein. A physician must have been present to monitor the heart. After s/he determined the demise of the prisoner, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. John E. Smialek, was called to determine the cause and manner of death.

In Maryland, mobs once cheered and made the executions festive occasions, so the legislators decided to hide the sordid affairs behind penitentiary walls. To cover up the role of the medical community, the State mandated anonymity.

The earliest recorded Maryland execution occurred Oct. 22, 1773, when four convict servants were hanged in Frederick for the murder of their master. Since 1923, Maryland performed 83 executions; probably all were men of poor or lower income status. Sixty-four of them were African Americans.

Hangings were public spectacles, until opposition surfaced, and in January, 1913 executions moved behind jail walls. Later, hanging would be discouraged as a humane method of disposal. So the State used asphyxiation to kill four prisoners. Now lethal injection, since March 25, 1994, is regarded as the more humane method of execution.

In the U.S., executions have ďfailed.Ē Physicians would then revive and resuscitate the prisoner so that the execution could be completed. On January 30, 1930, Jack Johnson was to be hung at the Maryland Penitentiary, but as the trap opened, the rope broke. His limp body was returned to the scaffold, and a fresh rope accomplished the stateís intention.

In response to physician participation in capital punishment, the American College of Physicians, Human Rights Watch, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Physicians for Human Rights published their conclusions in Breach of Trust:

(1) Laws should incorporate AMA guidelines excluding physician participation; (2) Violations of medical ethical standards such as anonymity clauses should be eliminated; (3) state medical societies should adopt AMA guidelines against medical participation; and (4) the state medical boards should define physician participation as unethical conduct and take appropriate action against violators.

Death penalty abolitionists must undertake a crusade with the medical community to work for these recommendations.

In April 1981, with some apprehension, I toured Auschwitz and entered a Nazi gas chamber, trying to imagine the horror of being locked in before the Zyklon B gas was released.

It was with similar displeasure that I undertook a tour of Marylandís death chamber on the Saturday before Gilliam was killed.

I could not help but make a comparison between the monstrous actions of amoral Nazis and the court-sanctioned activities of anonymous physicians and Department of Corrections employees.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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