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Karl Douglas Roberts - Arkansas Death Row
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    Karl Douglas Roberts - Arkansas Death Row


    Andi Brewer, 12





    Facts of the Crime:

    Karl Roberts, then 35, was convicted in May 2000 by a Polk County Circuit Court jury of capital murder in the May 17, 1999 rape and strangling of his 12-year-old niece, Andria Brewer. Roberts during the July 2000 sentencing phase of his trial told the court, "I want to die." Her body was found May 17, 1999, two days after disappearing from a relative's home in Hatfield in Polk County. Her body was found near Cove in a clear-cut area. Roberts' defense attorney argued he suffered a head injury when hit by a dump truck at age 12 and lost 15 percent of his brain, including a portion tied to the ability to understand consequences for one's actions. Prosecutors argued Roberts knew right from wrong. After his sentence, Roberts waived his rights to any appeals. A judge, however, said his sentence would automatically be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The high court in April reviewed Roberts' case and in a 6-1 decision upheld the death sentence.

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    STATE of Arkansas v. Karl ROBERTS

    CR 03-780

    SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS

    354 Ark. 399; 123 S.W.3d 881; 2003 Ark. LEXIS 509

    October 9, 2003, Opinion Delivered

    SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: Dismissed by Roberts v. Norris, 415 F.3d 816, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 14421 (8th Cir. Ark., 2005)

    PRIOR HISTORY:

    [*1]
    Roberts v. State, 352 Ark. 489, 102 S.W.3d 482, 2003 Ark. LEXIS 181 (Ark., 2003)

    DISPOSITION:

    Motion to Review Record; granted.

    COUNSEL: Mike Beebe, Att'y Gen., by: Jeffrey Weber, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellant.

    No response.

    JUDGES: THORNTON, J., not participating.

    OPINION

    PER CURIAM. May 19, 2000, Karl Douglas Roberts was convicted in Polk County Circuit Court of capital murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. On June 13, 2000, Roberts filed a waiver of appeal requesting that his death sentence be carried out without his attorneys taking any further action to challenge his conviction or sentence. On July 19, 2000, a hearing was held in which Roberts reiterated his desire to forego any challenge to his conviction or death sentence.

    On February 7, 2002, this court issued a per curiam opinion in which we appointed attorney Tim Buckley to abstract the brief and set out any points of error. See Roberts v. State, 2002 Ark. LEXIS 80, CR02-22, slip. op. (Feb. 7, 2002). Appointed counsel raised four points of error, including whether the trial court erred in its finding that Roberts knowingly and intelligently waived his right to appeal. On April 29, 2003, this court affirmed his conviction. Roberts v. State, 352 Ark. 489, 102 S.W.3d 482 (2003). In affirming, we upheld [*2] the trial court's finding that Roberts was competent to waive his appeal. Id.

    On May 20, 2003, a hearing was held in Polk County Circuit Court pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.5. At that hearing, Roberts appeared pro se. The judge indicated that he had previously reviewed the transcript of testimony by the following witnesses: Charles Mallory, Ph.D., a staff psychologist with the Arkansas State Hospital; Reginald John Rutherford, M.D., a neurologist; Lee Archer, M.D., a staff member of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Mary M.C. Wetherby, Ph.D., a psychologist; and Danny Davis, former employer of Roberts. The judge also reviewed the transcript of other trial testimony pertinent to Roberts's competency and the transcript of the July 19, 2000 posttrial hearing.

    The circuit court advised Roberts of the availability of Rule 37.5 postconviction relief, and the time frame in which a petition for Rule 37.5 relief must be filed. Roberts was also advised of his right to have an attorney appointed to represent him pursuant to Rule 37.5 because of his indigent status, and his right to appeal the denial of any postconviction relief, as well as his right to pursue federal [*3] habeas corpus relief. Furthermore, Roberts was advised that his waiver and willful failure to pursue postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37.5 could impair his ability to seek federal habeas corpus relief and would result in his death sentence being carried out.

    After being advised of all these rights, Roberts stated he was still indigent; he testified he did not wish to have an attorney to represent him; and he affirmed that he understood he was under sentence of death and was effectively waiving rights to seek further relief. Roberts further testified that nothing had changed regarding his ability to intelligently and knowingly waive his rights and that he was not under the influence of medication or any other substance in making this waiver.

    When asked by the trial court what he wanted to occur at that point, Roberts responded, "Well, I don't think a guilty person should be allowed to live or he should at least be able to accept responsibility, his punishment whatever it may be." To the court's question of whether he understood he was choosing death over life, Roberts answered, "Yes, sir." The court then went back over all his questions and asked them again of Roberts to ensure [*4] his answers were the same.

    In an order entered on May 22, 2003, the court made the following findings:

    (a) the Defendant has the capacity and is clearly competent to understand the choice between life and death; and,

    (b) the Defendant has the capacity and is clearly competent to knowingly and intelligently waive any and all rights to pursue postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37.5 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure or habeas corpus relief in federal court; and,

    (c) the Defendant has the capacity and is clearly competent to knowingly and intelligently reject his right to counsel appointed at no charge to him to pursue on his behalf postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37.5 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure; and,

    (d) the Defendant has unequivocally expressed his desire to freely, voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently reject his right for the appointment of an attorney at no cost to him and waive his right to pursue postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37.5 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure; and,

    (e) the Defendant has completely demonstrated he fully understands the legal consequences of (i) his waiver of his right to have [*5] an attorney appointed to him, (ii) the waiver of his right to pursue postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37.5 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the waiver to pursue habeas corpus relief in federal court; and,

    (f) the Defendant has unequivocally expressed his desire for his death sentence to be carried out by the State of Arkansas and to die by lethal injection.

    The circuit court also noted that the written findings and order were filed in compliance with Rule 37.5(b) and, as required by Rule 37.5(g), the court ordered a stay of execution of the sentence of death against Roberts that would remain in effect until dissolved by a court with competent jurisdiction or by operation of law.

    The State now submits to this court a transcript of the lower court's proceedings along with its motion to review the record for the purpose of affirming the trial court's findings. We grant the motion and hold that the trial court's findings are supported by the transcript of the hearing held on May 20, 2003, and the record in this matter. We affirm the trial court's findings, as set out above.

    Motion granted.

    THORNTON, J., not participating.

    https://www.lexisone.com/lx1/caselaw...=y&l1loc=FCLOW

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    January 7, 2004

    Partial Story

    Karl Roberts, convicted of the 1999 kidnapping, rape and murder of his 12-year-old niece, filed a motion just hours before the scheduled 9 p.m. (10 p.m. ET) execution by lethal injection. Roberts has not exhausted the appeals in his case but has never before made a move to avoid the death penalty.

    His stay was granted Tuesday by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. State Attorney General Mike Beebe filed an appeal of the stay, which was rejected. His office is now considering whether to appeal to the Supreme Court, spokesman Matt DeCample said.

    Roberts' warrant for execution expires at midnight.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2004-01-06/j...tion?_s=PM:LAW

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    Eighth Circuit decision July 2005

    Karl Roberts asks us to dismiss the pending appeal by the State of an order
    staying execution by the district court.1 We dismiss the State’s appeal as moot.


    Full opinion

    http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/05/07/041032P.pdf

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    In Loving Memory of Murdered Children

    Andria Brewer, a twelve-year-old from Arkansas, USA in May 1999. For three days police investigated her disappearance, her body was found under a bush pile until her uncle by marriage Karl Roberts confessed to the crime. He had abducted her and drove her 10 miles away to Cove, Arkansas. There Andria was raped and strangled to death. She had fought till the end, promising not to tell about the rape if the killer just bring her home. Andria's killer was sentenced to death penalty. Her mother had forgiven Andria's killer, and wrote a blog in memory of her daughter. The blog could be read here: http://sunnybrookrebecca.blogspot.com/2007/02/andi.html.

    http://murderedangels.webs.com/3.htm

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    June 28, 2010

    Death Appeal Stalls In Court

    Karl Douglas Roberts' appeal of his death sentence remains stalled in Polk County Circuit Court, 18 months after a judge rejected his claim he had ineffective counsel when he was tried and sentenced.

    On May 23, 2000, a Polk County jury convicted Roberts, 42, of capital murder and sentenced him to die for the rape and strangulation of Andria Nichole Brewer, his 12-year-old niece, whom he murdered a year earlier.

    Within two weeks of being condemned, Roberts announced he wouldn't appeal the sentence.

    Although he waived his right to appeal, the Arkansas Supreme Court did a mandatory review of his case for any errors that could have led to a wrongful conviction, and upheld Roberts' death sentence in April 2003.

    Then on Jan 6, 2004, only hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, Roberts allowed his defense team to file a motion to stay his execution.

    The motion was granted by U.S. District Judge George Howard and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The appeals journey through federal court and back to state court before returning to federal began.

    The case moved forward in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas until the summer of 2005, but Howard became ill and the case lay dormant until the judge's death in 2007.

    On April 21, 2007, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf, who stayed the federal proceedings in December 2007, until all claims in state court are exhausted.

    Roberts' defense team filed a 245-page "Rule 37" petition in Polk County Circuit Court, claiming Roberts had ineffective counsel, couldn't receive a fair trial in Polk County and was incompetent to stand trial, among other arguments.

    A Rule 37 petition argues a defendant had ineffective counsel at trial and/or sentencing.

    Following a December 2008 hearing, Polk County Circuit Court Judge J.W. Looney issued a five-page letter in January 2009 ruling on Roberts' petition, rejecting each argument point-by-point.

    The majority of the arguments raised by Roberts' federal public defender were previously rejected by the Arkansas Supreme Court, waived by Roberts or outside the scope of a Rule 37 petition, according to Looney's findings.

    At the conclusion of the five-page letter, Looney requested Polk County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson prepare an order based on his finding.

    On Sept. 29, Looney sent a letter to the federal public defender and Williamson - and placed a copy of it in the case file - that read, "I just checked the file in this matter and note that an order was never entered although I provided a decision letter on January 5, 2009."

    Until the order is entered, Roberts' defense team is prevented from appealing Looney's decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court, because it isn't official without the order.

    Neither Looney nor Williamson responded to messages seeking comment.

    Once an order is entered and Roberts' appeal moves forward, the Arkansas Supreme Court will either remand the case to Polk County Circuit Court for further action or affirm Looney's decision, which will return the case to federal court.

    Roberts confessed to raping and strangling Brewer on May 17, 1999, two days after she went missing from her father's Hatfield home.

    Initially, Roberts denied any knowledge of his niece's disappearance, but later led investigators to her broken body next to a remote logging road near Cove.

    Roberts' trial began exactly one year after his confession.

    His defense team didn't deny Roberts raped and strangled his niece, but attorneys argued he wasn't guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

    Roberts suffered brain damage when he was hit by a truck when he was 12 years old.

    The defense provided experts who told jurors the injury left Roberts with no impulse control or the ability to understand consequences and reason. Prosecution experts acknowledged Roberts' brain damage, but said the injury did not explain his actions.

    The jury rejected Roberts' defense and his plea for mercy, finding him guilty of capital murder and sentencing him to death.

    In a letter he wrote after he was sentenced, to Brewer's mother, Rebecca DeMauro, Roberts simply stated "I have no excuse."

    http://www.swtimes.com/news/article_...cc4c002e0.html

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    June 30, 2010

    Prosecutor Takes Blame For Delay

    Polk County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson said he is solely responsible for the stalled appeal of death-row inmate Karl Douglas Roberts.

    On Feb. 1, 2008, Roberts' defense team filed a 245-page petition in Polk County Circuit Court, claiming Roberts had ineffective counsel, couldn't receive a fair trial in Polk County and was incompetent to stand trial, among other arguments.

    Following a December 2008 hearing, Circuit Court Judge J.W. Looney issued a five-page letter in January 2009 ruling on Roberts' petition, rejecting each argument point by point.

    At the conclusion of the letter, Looney asked Williamson to prepare an order based on his findings.

    An order has never been entered, and until it is, Roberts' defensive team is prevented from appealing Looney's decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court, because it isn't official without the order.

    Williamson said he has now completed the order and forwarded it to the defense and Looney for their review, and it should be filed within the next two weeks.

    On May 23, 2000, a Polk County jury convicted Roberts, 42, of capital murder and sentenced him to die for the rape and strangulation of Andria Nichole Brewer, his 12-year-old niece, whom he murdered a year earlier.

    Within two weeks of being condemned, Roberts announced he wouldn't appeal the sentence, but only hours before a scheduled execution on Jan. 6, 2004, he allowed his defense team to file a motion to stay his execution.

    The motion was granted by U.S. District Judge George Howard, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and the case moved forward in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas until the summer of 2005, when Howard became ill.

    Howard died in 2007, and the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf, who stayed the federal proceedings in federal court until all claims in state court are exhausted, which led to the February 2008 filing.

    Rebecca DeMauro, Brewer's mother, said she only learned about the stalled appeal after a report was published in Monday's Times Record.

    DeMauro said the last time Williamson called to update her on the case - before Tuesday afternoon - was some time before Looney's January 2009 letter to Williamson and Roberts' defense team.

    "He told me, ‘I will fight for her,' and then to do this, I feel a little, I don't know, disregarded ... I wish he would just call and say, ‘we made a mistake.' I would be cool with that," DeMauro said on Tuesday morning, before Williamson called her later in the day.

    Williamson said it took him longer than needed to complete the order because of the level of detail required to complete it and his unfamiliarity with some matters raised in the 245-page petition and detailed response of Looney.

    A hard-drive crash and back surgery Williamson underwent were also contributing factors to the delay.

    On Sept. 29, Looney sent a letter to the federal public defender and Williamson - and placed a copy of it in the case file - that read, "I just checked the file in this matter and note that an order was never entered although I provided a decision letter on January 5, 2009."

    Although no subsequent notices were filed in the case file, Williamson said, Looney's case coordinator sent him several inquiries and the judge shares no fault in the untimely preparation of the order.

    "I'm to blame," Williamson said.

    Looney could not be reached for comment.

    After hearing Williamson's explanation, DeMauro said she told him it is an injustice Roberts' time on death row is approaching the length of her daughter's life before Roberts ended it.

    "I just want justice for my daughter," DeMauro said.

    http://www.swtimes.com/news/article_...cc4c002e0.html

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    Court rejects appeals in capital murder cases

    Justices dismissed an appeal by Karl Douglas Roberts, who is sentenced to die for the 1999 killing of 12-year-old Andria Brewer of Polk County.

    Roberts, now 43, who was convicted of capital murder in his nieces death and sentenced to die in May 2000. In June 2000, Roberts signed a waiver of his right to pursue appeals.

    Despite the waiver, the Supreme Court reviewed the case, as it does with all death-penalty cases, and upheld the conviction and sentence. It also affirmed Roberts waiver.

    Today, the high court dismissed an appeal by Roberts of a Polk County circuit judges ruling that Roberts was not entitled to a hearing on whether he received effective counsel from his attorney.

    The judge ruled that the petition for the hearing was not filed in a timely manner and that Roberts had waived his right to post-conviction relief.

    The Supreme Court agreed with the second point and said Roberts had to file a motion to reopen post-conviction relief before he could challenge the effectiveness of his attorney. The court dismissed the petition without prejudice, so Roberts could file it again later in the process.

    The court did not address the timeliness of the petition.

    http://arkansasnews.com/2011/12/01/c...-murder-cases/

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    Slain girl's mother becomes victims' advocate

    Almost 14 years after 12-year-old Andria Nichole Brewer was raped and strangled, her killer remains on Arkansas' death row and her family waits for justice.

    Melanie Thompson, 24, was 10 years old when her older sister by 20 months was killed by their uncle, Karl Douglas Roberts, on May 15, 1999. The date was the 4th birthday of their half sister, Kristin DeMauro, who will turn 18 and graduate from high school this year.

    Thompson, who's married now and the mother of 2-year-old son Dexter, said she and Brewer were so close that people often thought they were twins.

    Now 14 years later, Thompson said what stands out most vividly about the sister she looked up to is her eyes, which Thompson described as "vibrant and full of energy and fun" regardless of the circumstances, even when the sisters got in trouble.

    Rebecca DeMauro, 42, Brewer's mother, said "Andi" loved kids, loved Christmas, loved to laugh and loved to have a good time.

    "I don't want to make her this perfect angel, but she was a good kid. She was kind of a prankster. She loved to ride her four-wheeler. She was just a nice person. She would have been an asset to society," DeMauro said.

    Andi was abducted and killed May 15, 1999, but it wasn't until two days later, after Roberts offered to help search for his missing niece, that he confessed to her rape and murder and led authorities to her body on a remote logging road near Cove in Polk County.

    Roberts' signed confession offered a chilling and disturbing account of his crime; it was presented at his trial, which started a year to the day after his confession, on May 17, 2000.

    After convicting Roberts of capital murder, the Polk County jury sentenced him to death. Since then, DeMauro said instead of justice for Andi, both Roberts and the justice system have revictimized her family.

    After insisting for almost four years that he wanted to be executed, on Jan. 6, 2004, after he'd been served his last meal and met with his family for the last time, Roberts allowed his defense team to file a motion to stay his execution.

    While Roberts met with his family, DeMauro and several members of her family were confined to an office where they were to witness the execution on close-circuit television, and remaining members of her family were sequestered in a tent outside in freezing weather.

    A federal judge granted a stay, but the matter languished in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas when the judge fell ill, and it wasn't assigned to a new judge until after he died in 2007.

    The new judge ruled Roberts must return to state court to exhaust appeals before a federal appeal could move forward.

    Roberts' defense team then filed a petition in Polk County Circuit Court claiming he had ineffective counsel, couldn't receive a fair trial in Polk County and that he was incompetent to stand trial.

    In January 2009, Circuit Court Judge J.W. Looney rejected the petition and determined Roberts' claim of ineffective counsel wasn't filed in a timely manner.

    But an order was entered until 2010, which was necessary for Looney's decision to be appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

    DeMauro said after Roberts was convicted, then-Polk County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson's office had limited contact with her, and she learned about the delayed order only when reading about it in the Times Record.

    Now with the Arkansas Attorney General's Office in charge of handling the appeal in the Supreme Court, DeMauro said Laura Shue, the deputy attorney general handling the case, is pretty good about giving her regular updates.

    Still, the appeals process leaves DeMauro always wondering what will go wrong next and acknowledges it's impacted her personal life.

    "I feel like it's my job as her mother to see to her last business on this earth," DeMauro said. "That's my job as a mom; I don't think my job as her mother is over and it never will be. I have to make sure everything happens."

    Not long after becoming an advocate for her daughter, DeMauro also became an advocate for children/victims' rights.

    Several years ago, DeMauro said, she held some resentment toward family and friends who suggested maybe it was time for her to move on or let Andi rest in peace, but that resentment is gone.

    Through her advocacy work, DeMauro came to understand most people simply don't know how to deal with victims, and her family and friends came to understand why what she does for Andi and others is so important to her.

    However, DeMauro said her passion for advocacy did contribute to the end of her 16-year marriage to Kristin's father in 2010.

    DeMauro is now living in northwest Arkansas and is a consultant for Fox Valley Technical College, where she trains law enforcement on aspects of the Amber Alert, doing a "family perspective presentation."

    "I can't keep it inside. So it's sort of a cathartic measure when I go to speak. I put a face to what these police officers are learning about," DeMauro said. "Basically I start out showing a video of Andi's life . by then end of the video, I see these officers wiping tears, and then I tell them what went right, what went wrong and what we can do to improve."

    She is also studying criminal justice at Arkansas Tech University with plans of becoming a professor and training police officers.

    Thompson said she never resented the energy DeMauro dedicated to justice for Andi or her advocacy work.

    She also credits the decisions and strength of her mother made with getting her through the trauma of losing her sister and setting an example for her.

    "Her still fighting, still advocating makes me want to be that type of mother," Thompson said.

    Although the advocacy helps DeMauro deal with Andi's loss, the "what if" aspect and frustration with the appeals process remain.

    As she watches Thompson and Kristin grow, achieve and reach milestones in life, she can't help but wonder if Andi would be a mother, and if she would be in medical school or a teacher like she wanted to be. Even in her grandson, Dexter, DeMauro sees Andi at his age, a "wild child" Andi surely would have egged on.

    DeMauro said justice for Andi remains uncertain and ever-present.

    When asked if she could accept a life sentence if Roberts successfully avoids the death penalty, DeMauro said she's accepted that it is out of her hands.

    "If that's what a jury of what 12 people say . then that's what supposed to happen. I can't live my life wishing for the death of another human," DeMauro said. "But I feel the first sentence should stand."

    Regardless of the outcome, DeMauro said it's time for things to end.

    "There needs to be a resolution . one way or another," DeMauro said. "I want this to be closed."

    http://www.couriernews.com/view/full...ims--advocate-
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    High court reopens death-row inmate's case

    The Arkansas Supreme Court says the case of a death-row inmate convicted of killing his 12-year-old niece ought to be reopened.

    The high court Thursday granted Karl Roberts request to reopen his case.

    Roberts was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1999 slaying of 12-year-old Andria Nichole Brewer in Hatfield.

    He initially waived his rights to appeal, but changed his mind hours before he was to be put to death during a planned double execution in 2004.

    The high court said Thursday that it previously failed to ensure that Roberts was competent to waive his rights to appeal.

    http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2...=news-arkansas
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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