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Donald Whatley - Alabama Death Row
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Thread: Donald Whatley - Alabama Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Donald Whatley - Alabama Death Row

    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced to death on January 22, 2009 for the December 28, 2003 slaying of Pete Patel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    January 23, 2009

    Downtown Mobile motel owner's killer gets death sentence

    A Mobile judge Thursday ordered the execution of Donald Whatley for the December 2003 slaying of downtown motel owner Pete Patel.

    Circuit Judge Joseph "Rusty" Johnston read aloud from an 11-page order, announcing he was following the "advisory verdict" handed down by a jury in November.

    After finding Whatley guilty of capital murder, the jury voted 10-2 in favor of capital punishment.

    No one spoke Thursday but Johnston.

    In a previous hearing, Patel's relatives and prosecutors asked for the death penalty and a sister of Whatley's asked that his life be spared.

    Whatley, 34, who watched the proceedings through a pair of thick glasses, declined to say anything Thursday.

    As Johnston announced his decision, it appeared to take Whatley a moment to absorb what the judge was saying.

    Slowly, as he sat deathly still, Whatley's jailhouse pallor flushed into red.

    Some members of Patel's family bore nearly imperceptible smiles as the death sentence was announced.

    On his way back to a holding cell afterward and with his back to the gallery, Whatley waved his cuffed hands above his head as some members of his family quietly wiped tears from their eyes.

    With half a dozen security officers dispersed around the courtroom, Johnston carefully took everyone through the course of Whatley's life and crimes.

    Johnston noted that during the trial a pathologist described "19 pages of injuries" inflicted on the diminutive, 43-year-old victim, including beating, choking and being run over by his own car.

    Whatley claimed he met Patel at a downtown bar and that they had gone together to a spot beneath the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge to have sex.

    During the trial, prosecutors inexplicably showed jurors a photograph of a condom found near Patel's body but later acknowledged it was not used by either Whatley or Patel.

    Johnston noted Thursday that a cigarette found at the crime scene contained Whatley's DNA.

    After Whatley killed Patel and fled to Jefferson County, Texas, the judge noted, a woman named Sheila Overstreet "provided him a roof over his head" and Whatley "responded to Ms. Overstreet's kindness by ... cutting her throat" and murdering her.

    The judge also noted Whatley's claims to have "turned his life over to Christ."

    If so, Johnston said, "this is miraculous and commendable and may assure him everlasting life."

    The judge said that while incarcerated in the Mobile County Metro Jail, Whatley posed a constant physical threat to fellow inmates, whom the convicted killer looked down on.

    Johnston said he believed Whatley would always pose a danger to other people.

    The "possibility of future crimes," the judge said, was "a valid factor" in determining whether Whatley should live or die.

    (Source: The Mobile Press-Register)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Court Remands EJI Death Penalty Case After Showing of Racial Discrimination

    The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on October 1, 2010, remanded the case of death row prisoner Donald Whatley because there was evidence that the prosecutor at his trial illegally excluded African Americans from jury service on the basis of race.

    At trial, the prosecutor excluded 17 of the 22 qualified African Americans from Mr. Whatley's jury. The African Americans who were excluded shared similarities with whites who were permitted to serve on the jury. And the Mobile County District Attorney's Association has a long history of racial discrimination in jury selection.

    On appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, EJI lawyers argued that this evidence established an inference of racial discrimination by the prosecutor. The law requires that, where the evidence shows an inference of discrimination, the prosecutor must provide race-neutral reasons for excluding African Americans from jury service. If those reasons are mere pretext for excluding jurors on the basis of race, then a new trial is required.

    The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that the evidence of racial discrimination in Mr. Whatley's case requires the prosecutor to explain why she excluded so many African Americans from Mr. Whatley's jury. It sent the case back to the trial court for the prosecutor to give reasons for her strikes. "If the prosecution cannot provide race-neutral reasons for its use of peremptory challenges against black veniremembers," the court ruled, "Whatley shall be entitled to a new trial."

    Challenging racially biased exclusion of African Americans from juries in death penalty cases like Mr. Whatley's case is one part of EJI's work to eradicate racial discrimination in jury selection.


  4. #4
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Affirmed on direct appeal by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on December 10, 2011.


  5. #5
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Holy moley! The reasons the prosecutor had for excluding the jurors are worth repeating! I guess the Court of Criminal Appeals just kicked it back on the word of Whatley's attorney. What a waste of time and money. Even the original defense attorney sided with the prosecutor. 'If I'd thought he was excluding based on race I would have brought it up at the time.'

    Juror P.C.5 (No. 93)—Worked with mentally challenged individuals, has a brother who was charged with a stabbing and was acquitted, and does not believe in the death penalty because it goes against her faith to impose a death sentence.

    Juror G.W. (No. 76)—Expressed reservations about the death penalty, had heard and read about the case, and had rheumatoid arthritis.

    Juror L.W. (No. 85)—Knew one of the defense attorneys because he had represented her ex-boyfriend and had a family member who had alcohol and drug problems.

    Juror C.C. (No. 87)—Was working on a degree in rehabilitation and counseling with an emphasis on substance abuse and mental health and dealing with criminals and putting them back into society and has a stepbrother in prison for armed robbery.

    Juror C.A. (No. 1)—Worked for a local attorney and her cousin and husband had prior criminal histories.

    Juror A.P. (No. 27)—Knew the defense attorney because he had previously represented the father of her child in a robbery case.

    Juror J.W. (No. 16)—Indicated that she was scared and that it would be very tough for her to vote for the death penalty.

    Juror M.M. (No. 26)—On her questionnaire she answered that she did not believe in the death penalty, was hesitant in individual questioning about the death penalty, indicated that she would hold the State to a higher burden of proof, believes that there are innocent people on death row, and was hesitant to impose a death sentence.

    Juror B.D. (No. 34)—Husband had been at a mental hospital, nephew worked at Searcy mental-health facility, stepson has a drug and alcohol problem, and grandson was currently incarcerated for a probation violation.

    Juror K.J. (No. 50)—Her father and uncle were currently incarcerated for murder and attempted murder, respectively; she did not want to be put in a position of having to vote for the death penalty; and she had stayed at the Budget Inn motel, which had been owned by the victim.

    Juror C.O. (No. 40)—Had hearing problems, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, and expressed reservations about the death penalty, suffered from a manic depression, and had a son who had been convicted of murder, and had a drug and alcohol problem.

    Juror B.T. (No. 104)—Uncle was currently in prison for murder and juror had reservations about the death penalty.

    Juror K.S. (No. 75)—In individual voir dire indicated that she did not believe in the death penalty and could not vote for death.

    Juror S.W. (No. 66)—Had problems with his vision and other health problems and had a nephew in jail at the time of Whatley's trial.

    Juror C.H. (No. 61)—Had family members who worked in mental-health field, had two relatives who were in prison at the time of voir dire, specifically a niece had a drug problem and was in the city jail and a relative by marriage was serving time for murder.

    Juror O.J. (No. 24)—Brother-in-law had drug problem, two friends had been charged with robbery, and he was hesitant in answering questions on the death penalty.

    Juror T.P. (No. 74)—Grandfather is an alcoholic, and she was struck based on her responses to voir dire questions concerning drug use.
    Last edited by JimKay; 07-05-2013 at 08:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Even the original defense attorney sided with the prosecutor. 'If I'd thought he was excluding based on race I would have brought it up at the time.'
    Another froth and spittal balloon juice race induced flight from reality and the facts by The Opponents of Capital Punishment. The mere fact that The Defendants own Lawyer sided with The Prosecutor means nothing to them.

  7. #7
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Whatley's petition for certiorari.

    Lower Ct: Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama
    Case Nos.: (CR-08-0696)
    Decision Date: December 16, 2011
    Rehearing Denied: April 20, 2012
    Discretionary Court
    Decision Date: January 17, 2014
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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