Willingham was selling perfume door to door in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Working his way through a downtown building, he came to the office
occupied by Mrs. Jayne Van Wey. Although she told him she did not
wish to purchase any perfume, he continued to press her, adhering to
his standard sales procedure of insisting on three "no" answers from
a potential customer.
The repeated rejections that ensued led to an
what Willingham claims was a rude rebuff.
After calling on some other offices in the building, Willingham
noticed Mrs. Van Wey enter a restroom off the hallway near her
office. Still angry over their earlier confrontation, he eventually
followed her into the restroom, pulled her from a stall, and struck
her several times in the face.
As she continued to struggle with him,
he slammed her head into the wall and kicked her in the face with
his boot. Mrs. Van Wey lost consciousness and died asphyxiating on
the blood from her injuries.
Police found a sales brochure left at one of the other offices, and
eventually questioned Willingham, who at first denied any
involvement then confessed.
Willingham v. State, 947 P.2d 1074 (Okl.Cr. 1997) (Direct
Fettuccine alfredo, a small deep dish pepperoni pizza, breadsticks
and two peppermint patties.
In his last statement, Willingham apologized to the Van Wey family
and said he hoped that his execution brought them some closure and
they could someday forgive him. "I love you," Willingham said to his
family members. "Okay, I'm ready."
Oklahoma Department of
Inmate: Jackie L. Willingham
Height: 6 ft. 01 in
Weight: 175 pounds
Location: Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Mcalester
Salesman Executed for Murder of Woman Who Didn't
July 24, 2003
McAlester, Okla. - A travelling salesman who beat
a woman to death because she refused to buy perfume from him was
executed at the state prison Thursdy night. Jackie Lee Willingham
was put to death for the robbery and murder of Jayne Van Wey.
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board had
recommended that Willingham, 33, receive clemency from the governor
for the murder. But, Gov. Brad Henry had not granted any clemencies
since he took office in January.
The murder occurred on Dec. 20, 1984 in the
victim's Lawton office. Willingham had stopped in the office and
tried to sell Van Wey perfume. When she refused and asked him to
leave, he followed her into a bathroom and beat and robbed the 62-year-old
woman. Willingham confessed to the killing. The pardons panel had
voted 3-2 to recommend clemency.
In his last statement, Willingham apologized to
the Van Wey family and said he hoped that his execution brought them
some closure and they could someday forgive him. "I love you,"
Willingham said to his family members. "Okay, I'm ready."
injection of chemicals began at 6:07 p.m. and Willingham was
pronounced dead two minutes later - the 13th condemned killer put to
death in Oklahoma in 2003 and the second this week.
Fred Staggs, the condemned man's lawyer, believed
that the slaying was a crime of passion and that jurors should have
been given the option of convicting Willingham of second degree
murder, which would not have carried the death penalty. During his
trial Willingham said he didn't mean to kill Van Wey. Willingham
claimed that the woman was rude to him.
Supreme Court Refusal
KFDX Channel 3 NewsCenter
Thursday, July 24, 2003
The US supreme court this morning refused to stay
today`s scheduled execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate. Jackie
Willingham is to die at 6 this evening for the 1994 beating death of
Jayne Van Wey in Lawton.
Van Wey was killed in her office bathroom
after refusing to buy perfume from Willingham. The state pardon and
parole board last month recommended clemency for Willingham, but the
recommendation was rejected by Governor Henry.
requested a last meal of fettuccine alfredo, a small deep dish
pepperoni pizza, breadsticks and two peppermint patties. Willingham
will be the 13th inmate put to death this year, the fourth this
month and the second this week.
Henry Rejects Clemency Recommendation
Oklahoma.com Channel 5
July 18, 2003
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Brad Henry rejected a
Pardon and Parole Board recommendation Friday to commute the
sentence of death-row inmate Jackie Lee Willingham to life without
parole. Willingham, 33, is scheduled to be executed Thursday for
killing a woman who refused to buy perfume from him.
Attorneys for an Willingham had filed a request
with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution. The Pardon and
Parole Board voted 3-2 on June 25 to recommend clemency for the
Henry said he thoroughly reviewed arguments and
evidence in the case, meeting personally with Willingham's defense
attorney and the attorney general and his staff. "After having
listened to the presentations and thoroughly reviewing the record in
this matter, as well as information presented at the clemency
hearing, I have determined that clemency should be denied in this
case," Henry said in a letter to Patrick Morgan, chairman of the
Pardon and Parole Board.
The Oklahoma death row inmate filed a request
with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to stay his July 24 execution.
Fred Staggs, Willingham's attorney, argued jurors should have been
given the option to convict Willingham of second-degree murder for
what he described as a crime of passion. Willingham confessed to
killing Jayne Ellen Van Wey, 62, in her Lawton office Dec. 20, 1994.
Oklahoma Attorney General News
News Release - W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney
Execution Date Set for Willingham 06/02/2003
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals today set
July execution dates for two death row inmates, and Attorney General
Drew Edmondson requested an execution date for a third. Execution
dates were scheduled for Bryan Anthony Toles, July 22, and Jackie
Lee Willingham, July 24. Edmondson requested the execution dates
April 1 and May 19, respectively, after the U.S. Supreme Court
denied the inmates' final appeals.
Willingham, 33, was sentenced to death in
Comanche County District Court after confessing to the Dec. 20,
1994, murder of Jayne Ellen Van Wey, 62. Willingham was working as a
traveling salesman when he attempted to sell perfume to Van Wey at
her Lawton office. Van Wey refused Willingham's offer and asked him
to leave. He then followed her into a bathroom where she was fatally
beaten and robbed.
Edmondson is asking family members of Jayne Ellen
Van Wey to contact his office. Edmondson said his office attempts to
notify victims' family members any time he requests an execution
date. Under Oklahoma law, certain victim family members are
permitted to witness executions, if they so desire. Family members
are asked to contact Allyson Carson at (405) 521-3921.
Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish
the Death Penalty
Jackie Willingham (OK) - July 24, 2003
The state of Oklahoma is scheduled to execute
Jackie Willingham, a white man, July 24 for the 1994 murder of Jayne
Van Wey in Lawton. Willingham, a traveling salesman, confessed to
beating Van Wey in the restroom of her office building, but claimed
he had no intentions of killing her. The two apparently engaged in a
verbal altercation approximately 15 minutes earlier, and he
testified that he attacked her out of anger. He left her lying face
down on the floor, and she died as a result of aspirating in her own
At trial, Willingham challenged the state’s case
on the element of intent, and requested instructions on the lesser
offenses of heat-of-passion manslaughter and second-degree depraved-mind
murder. The trial court granted the first instruction but denied the
second. The jury ultimately rejected Mr. Willingham’s intent defense
and found him guilty of first-degree malice murder.
The state should punish Willingham for his
violent aggression; however, the death penalty is clearly a
disproportionate sentence considering the circumstances. The
sentence was likely a reaction to several victim impact statements,
which the trial court should not have allowed. One of the victim’s
daughters suggested that Willingham be confined to a small area,
beaten, and made to choke on his own blood. Although the victims
have every right to feel anger toward Willingham, suggestions of
such torturous penalties have no place in civilized courtrooms.
Aside from his principle defense – that he never
intended to kill Van Wey – Willingham also provided significant
mitigating evidence. He suffered serious abuse as a child, and grew
up in a household dominated by frequent drugs and alcohol. He had no
prior history of violence, and showed remorse for the Van Wey
Willingham is the last of four Oklahoma inmates
facing execution in July. All four cases have serious issues that
call into question the fairness of the state’s death penalty system.
Please contact Gov. Brad Henry and request a commutation of his
Murderer Set to Die Thursday
By Doug Russell - McAlester News-Capital &
July 19, 2003
Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, the
execution must go on. That's the decision of Gov. Brad Henry, who
announced Friday that he was denying clemency for Comanche County
killer Jackie Lee Willingham. The 33-year-old ex-Marine is scheduled
to die Thursday for the 1994 beating death of a Lawton woman.
Attorneys for Willingham have filed a request
with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his execution. If clemency had
been granted, Willingham's sentence would have been commuted to life
The three attorneys on the Oklahoma Pardon and
Parole Board had voted on June 25 to recommend clemency. The other
two members of the board, a teacher and a former Department of
Corrections employee, voted against clemency. In Oklahoma, the
governor has the final say on whether clemency should be granted.
The Pardon and Parole Board can recommend clemency, after which the
governor decides whether or not to grant it. The governor cannot
grant clemency if it is not recommended by the board.
In a letter to Patrick Morgan, chairman of the
Pardon and Parole Board, Henry said he had met with the state
attorney general and his staff as well as with Willingham's attorney.
"After having listened to the presentations and thoroughly reviewing
the record in this matter, as well as information presented at the
clemency hearing, I have determined that clemency should be denied
in this case," Henry wrote.
Oklahoma City attorney Fred Staggs said jurors
should have been given the option to convict Willingham of second-degree
murder for what he described as a "depraved mind murder."
Willingham confessed to killing Jayne Ellen Van
Wey, 62, in her Lawton office building Dec. 20, 1994. According to
Staggs, three psychologists found that Willingham was symbolically
destroying his abusive mother when he attacked Van Wey. According to
court documents, Willingham attacked Van Wey inside a restroom of a
Lawton office building, hitting and kicking her so severely she
choked to death on her own blood.
Willingham is scheduled to be the 13th Oklahoma
inmate executed this year. The 12th, Bryan Anthony Toles, is
scheduled to die Tuesday for the killings of 39-year-old Juan
Franceschi and 15-year-old son Lonnie Franceschi, also in Lawton.
Another death row inmate, Harold Loyd McElmurry III, is to be
executed July 29 for the murders of 75-year-old Rosa Vivien Pendley
and her 80-year-old paraplegic husband, Robert Pendley, in Lenna.
Willimgham v. Mullin
(Habeas 10th Circuit)
BRORBY, Senior Circuit Judge.
Jackie Lee Willingham appeals from an order of
the district court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Upon a thorough review of the record and the
arguments presented, we conclude Mr. Willingham is not entitled to
In 1995, an Oklahoma jury found Mr. Willingham
guilty of first degree malice murder. See Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §
701.7. At the penalty phase, the jury rejected the State's
allegation that Mr. Willingham posed a continuing threat to society,
see id. § 701.12(7), but found that the murder was especially
heinous, atrocious, or cruel (HAC aggravator), see id. § 701.12(4).
After weighing the HAC aggravator against the evidence presented in
mitigation, the jury determined that Mr. Willingham should be put to
death for the crime. The trial court formally imposed the
recommended sentence, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA)
affirmed both conviction and sentence on direct appeal. See
Willingham v. State, 947 P.2d 1074 (Okla. Crim. App. 1997). The OCCA
also denied Mr. Willingham's subsequent application for post-conviction
relief. See Willingham v. State, No. PC-97-389 (Okla. Crim. App.
Mar. 19, 1998) (unpub.).
Mr. Willingham then commenced the instant habeas
proceeding, alleging fifteen grounds for relief. The district court
denied the petition in its entirety, and Mr. Willingham appealed.
The district court granted a certificate of appealability (COA) on
ten issues. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). Following the case
management conference, this court issued its standard order
directing that, unless Mr. Willingham submitted a motion to expand
the COA within ten days, "[t]he issues to be raised in the opening
brief are those set forth by the district court in its order
granting a [COA]." Case Management Order, April 18, 2001. No such
motion was filed. In accordance with the case management order and §
2253(c), we limit our consideration to the ten issues properly
certified for review:(1)
1. Refusal to Instruct on Second Degree Murder;
2. Use of Victim Impact Evidence; 3. Ineffective Assistance of
Counsel; 4. Admission of Willingham's Post-Arraignment Statements;
5. Prosecutorial Misconduct during Second Stage Closing Argument; 6.
Admission of Cumulative Photographs of the Victim; 7. Admission of
Willingham's Videotaped Statement at Crime Scene; 8. Sufficiency of
the Evidence Supporting the HAC Aggravator; 9. Use of an Improper
Reasonable Doubt Instruction; and 10. Cumulative Error
Most of the pertinent facts were established by
Mr. Willingham's own trial testimony and his earlier admissions to
On the day of the murder, Mr. Willingham was selling
perfume door to door in Lawton, Oklahoma. Working his way through a
downtown building, he came to the office occupied by Mrs. Jayne Van
Wey. Although she told him she did not wish to purchase any perfume,
he continued to press her, adhering to his standard sales procedure
of insisting on three "no" answers from a potential customer.
repeated rejections that ensued led to an escalation of the
situation to what Mr. Willingham claims was a rude rebuff by Mrs.
Van Wey and hostile vulgarity on both sides.
After calling on some other offices in the
building, Mr. Willingham noticed Mrs. Van Wey enter a restroom off
the hallway near her office. Still angry over their earlier
confrontation, he eventually followed her into the restroom, pulled
her from a stall, and struck her several times in the face.
continued to struggle with him, he slammed her head into the wall
and let her fall backward onto the floor. When she rolled over and
began to push herself up onto her hands and knees, he kicked her in
the face with his boot. At that point, all resistance ceased, and he
left. Mrs. Van Wey lost consciousness and died asphyxiating on the
blood from her injuries.
Shortly after the murder, the police found a
sales brochure left at one of the other offices Mr. Willingham had
visited. Upon contacting the company and speaking with a supervisor,
the police learned that a sales team in Lawton would be meeting at a
local restaurant later that afternoon. The supervisor also indicated
that at least one member of the team, Kevin Longenecker, fit the
The police proceeded to the restaurant and
approached the group of salesmen. Detective John Whittington asked
about Mr. Longenecker and was told by Mr. Willingham that he was not
there. Detective Whittington noticed that Mr. Willingham was
extremely uneasy and had a fresh scratch on his neck.
Willingham offered a facially implausible explanation of the scratch,
Detective Whittington asked him to come to the police station. The
detective said the entire group would need to come, and explained
that the police were investigating an attack on a woman (he did not
say murder) downtown that day.
At the police station, Mr. Willingham was advised
of his Miranda rights,(2) which he waived in writing. He initially
denied any involvement in the attack, but after Detective
Whittington pointed out what looked like blood on his boots and
asked him to tell his side of the story, Mr. Willingham admitted he
had beaten Mrs. Van Wey.
However, some of the details of his version
of the attack did not fit the physical evidence, and he was asked to
return to the scene and clarify his account. After again waiving his
Miranda rights, Mr. Willingham walked through the crime scene
describing the attack, somewhat differently, on videotape.
Thereafter, Mr. Willingham learned that Mrs. Van
Wey had died. He was interviewed again to clear up additional
questions raised by the physical evidence, and at this point finally
admitted he had forcefully kicked Mrs. Van Wey in the head before
leaving the restroom.
Finally, after two of Mrs. Van Wey's credit
cards were found in the restaurant where Detective Whittington had
first spoken with Mr. Willingham, he was advised of his rights and
questioned once more, to explain this new development. He eventually
admitted he had not immediately followed Mrs. Van Wey into the
restroom but had stopped in her office and taken the cards from her
purse first, "to make it look like a robbery."
Mr. Willingham's only defense at trial was to
challenge the State's case on the element of intent. Specifically,
he testified that while he had attacked Mrs. Van Wey out of anger
over their prior confrontation, he had not intended to kill or
seriously injure her. Accordingly, the defense requested
instructions on the lesser offenses of heat-of-passion manslaughter
and second degree depraved-mind murder. The trial court granted the
first instruction but denied the second. The jury ultimately
rejected Mr. Willingham's intent defense, finding him guilty of
first degree malice murder.
* * * *
As indicated at various points throughout this
opinion, the strength of the State's case on both guilt and
aggravation effectively undercuts Mr. Willingham's assertion of
actionable prejudice in connection with the few errors which may
have occurred during the proceedings. Now, "[c]onsidering [any such]
errors in the aggregate, we conclude upon review of the entire
record that the cumulative [effect] is harmless" as well. United
States v. Becker, 230 F.3d 1224, 1233 (10th Cir. 2000), cert. denied,
121 S. Ct. 1666 (2001); see also Moore v. Gibson, 195 F.3d 1152,
1175 (10th Cir. 1999).
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court
Willingham v. State,
947 P.2d 1074 (Okl.Cr. 1997) (Direct Appeal).
Defendant was convicted in the District Court,
Comanche County, Allen McCall, District Judge, of first-degree
murder, and sentenced to death. Defendant appealed. The Court of
Criminal Appeals, Lane, J., held that: (1) probable cause existed to
support seizure of defendant's blood-covered boots during his first
interview with police; (2) second-degree depraved mind murder is not
lesser included offense of first-degree malice murder; (3) fact that
defendant intended to harm victim does not preclude conviction on
charge of second-degree depraved mind murder, so long as defendant
did not intend to take victim's life; overruling Palmer v. State,
871 P.2d 429; (4) any error resulting from giving of instruction on
lesser-included offense of first-degree heat of passion manslaughter
was harmless; (5) probative value of six photographs showing
injuries sustained to victim's face to demonstrate malice
aforethought outweighed prejudice to defendant; (6) evidence was
sufficient to support finding of heinous, atrocious or cruel
aggravating circumstance; and (7) sentence of death was appropriate.
Affirmed. Chapel, P.J., concurred in results. Lumpkin, J., concurred
specially with separate opinion.
Appellant, Jackie Lee Willingham, was charged with first degree
malice murder in violation of 21 O.S.1991, § 701.7 in the district
court of Comanche County, Case No. CRF-94-499. The State filed a
Bill of Particulars alleging two aggravating circumstances. A jury
trial was held before the Honorable Allen McCall, District Judge.
The jury found Appellant guilty of first degree murder and found
that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel. The
State also alleged that Appellant posed a continuing threat to
society. Appellant was sentenced to death. From this Judgment and
Sentence Appellant has perfected his appeal.
Sufficient evidence was presented to show that
Appellant, a traveling salesman, beat and kicked Jayne Van Wey,
while she was in the restroom of her office. Appellant left her
lying face down on the floor, bleeding and *1078 unconscious. Mrs.
Van Wey died as a result of aspirating her own blood.
Investigation by the Lawton police department led
to the arrest of Appellant, who, after being interviewed several
times admitted to beating Mrs. Van Wey. Appellant claimed that he
was upset because Mrs. Van Wey had rudely rebuffed his sales efforts
15 to 30 minutes before the attack. Appellant said that his intent
was to beat her, not enough to kill or seriously injure her, "as bad
as it was."
* * * *
After reviewing the record and carefully weighing
the aggravating circumstances and the mitigating evidence, we find
the sentence of death to be factually substantiated and appropriate.
We find that even absent the *1089 improper victim impact evidence,
the result would have been the same. Finding no error warranting
reversal or modification, Judgment and Sentence of the District
Court of Comanche County is AFFIRMED.