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  1. #1

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    Laquaille Bryant - Pennsylvania Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    Bryant aborted a full murder trial on April 21, 2010 by pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the January 19, 2008 shootings of Wright and friend Octavia Green, both 23. Prosecutors Carlos Vega and Brian Zarallo say Bryant deserves death because he killed two people, including a protected federal witness, and did it for money to stop Wright from testifying against Akeem Bey, head of a violent South Philadelphia drug gang. Bey is serving life for a murder Wright witnessed. He has not been charged in the slayings of Wright and Green. But while Bryant pleaded guilty, he did not testify in his defense and his confession said the shootings were spontaneous, not a hit paid for by Bey.

    Bryant was sentenced to death in Philadelphia County on May 5, 2010.

  2. #2

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    May 6, 2010

    Killer of witness and friend gets death sentence

    He began the trial by pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the 2008 shootings of a childhood friend and a woman he did not know.

    He then sat silently through two weeks of testimony on whether he deserved death by lethal injection or life in prison without parole.

    On Wednesday, minutes after a Philadelphia jury of nine women and three men had twice sentenced him to death, Laquaille Bryant spoke up - to apologize.

    "Miss Daisy, Miss Renee, the Green family," Bryant called out to the grandmother and mother of Chante Wright and the parents of Octavia Green. "I'm really, really, really, really sorry. Real sorry."

    Green's father, Michael T. Green, glared at Bryant and shook his head.

    Then, as deputies led him away, Bryant turned and tried once more: "I'm sorry!"

    The jury worked about five hours Tuesday and Wednesday before finding that Bryant, 28, of South Philadelphia, had been paid to kill 23-year-old Wright, a federally protected witness, to stop her from testifying in the murder trial of South Philadelphia drug lord Hakeem Bey.

    Green, also 23, was sitting in the passenger seat of Wright's rental car on Jan. 19, 2008, when Wright picked up Bryant. He shot both from the rear seat as they traveled on Patton Street near Tasker Street in South Philadelphia.

    In formally sentencing Bryant, Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart called the killings "heartless and cowardly acts, to shoot two people from behind."

    Under Pennsylvania law, Bryant's sentence will be automatically reviewed by the state Supreme Court. During that time, he will be housed at the state prison at Greene, in southwestern Pennsylvania. He will spend 23 hours a day in a cell, with one hour of exercise in a caged yard.

    Bryant becomes the 221st person on Pennsylvania's "death row," the fourth-largest population of condemned inmates among the 35 states with capital punishment.

    Only three men have been executed in Pennsylvania since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. The last was Gary R. Heidnick, 55, of Philadelphia, who suspended his appeals and was put to death in 1999 for the sexual assault, torture, and murder of two women.

    None of Bryant's family attended the trial or the sentencing. But the victims' relatives were there, lauding the double death penalty.

    "Finally, justice is served," said Green's mother, Kathleen Webb, who is raising her own daughter's son, 6, and daughter, 4. "I'm just glad I can go home and tell her children, 'They got him.' "

    Green's father said, "I looked at him to see if he had any expression, any remorse, and he stood there and tried to look stupid." He was referring to a defense claim that Bryant has brain damage and "borderline" mental retardation.

    The jury found that Bryant's traumatic early childhood - born to a 14-year-old with mental illness and drug addictions, reared in a home where drug use was the norm - affected his mental ability.

    But the jurors decided that those factors mitigating life in prison did not outweigh "aggravating factors": a double murder, a murder for hire, and witness retaliation.

    Wright's grandmother Daisy Pough began to weep after the sentencing as she spoke of her feelings of betrayal.

    "He was raised up with us," she said of Bryant. "He knew her, he knew me. He ate meals with us. He calls her his 'little sister,' and then he killed her."

    Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega knew Wright, persuaded her to testify against Bey, and was instrumental in getting her into the witness-protection program. Bryant deserved death, he said. "You cannot have a justice system and let somebody get away with killing witnesses."

    Wednesday's jury decision closes a case that began in 2000 when Wright, then 17, was in the rear seat of a car and saw Bey shoot and kill Moses Williams, 23, purportedly a member of a rival street gang. Williams had insulted Bey's brother, prosecutors said.

    Wright identified Bey as the shooter but recanted after receiving threats. She decided to testify after being placed in witness protection and relocated to Florida.

    Several months before Bey's trial, Wright's great-grandmother became terminally ill. In violation of witness-protection rules, Wright returned to Philadelphia for a final visit.

    On Jan. 18, 2008, Wright called Green and Bryant to go out together after she saw her great-grandmother. Seven hours after she arrived, Wright and Green were dead.

    Bey is serving life for the Williams murder. He has not been charged in the slayings of Wright and Green.



    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local..._sentence.html

  3. #3
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    Pennsylvania v. Bryant

    Opinion Date: May 28, 2013

    Court: Pennsylvania Supreme Court

    Appellant Laquaille Bryant directly appealed his death sentence to the Supreme Court, seeking a new penalty-phased hearing on three grounds: (1) the Suppression Court erred in denying a motion to suppress; (2) the court erred in permitting "extremely inflammatory and prejudicial" photographs of the victim, introduced at the penalty phase hearing; and (3) due to prosecutorial misconduct. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed Appellant's verdict and death sentence.
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  4. #4
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    Governor Corbett Signs Execution Warrants of Two Men Convicted of Murder

    Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed execution warrants for two men, one convicted of killing a night watchman during a robbery in Jefferson County, and the other convicted of killing two women, one – a witness to another homicide in Philadelphia.

    Robert Gene Rega was convicted in Jefferson County Court of first-degree murder for the execution-style shooting of night watchman, 50-year-old Christopher Lauth, during a robbery on the evening of Dec. 21, 2000.

    Laquaille Bryant was convicted in Philadelphia County Court of two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Chante Wright and Octavia Green in the early morning hours of Jan. 19, 2008.

    Both men are incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene. Rega’s execution has been scheduled for Jan. 28, 2014. Bryant’s execution date has been scheduled for Jan. 29, 2014.

    The execution warrants signed today for Rega and Bryant were Governor Corbett’s 28th and 29th warrants signed since taking office.

    Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection. For more information, visit the Department of Corrections online at www.cor.state.pa.us and select “Death Penalty’’ from the left-side navigation bar.

    Case Background:

    Rega, now 47, was sentenced to death in June 2002 in Jefferson County Court.

    Motivated by a lack of money to buy Christmas presents for his children, Rega recruited several friends to go to a local motel and hold the night watchman hostage, and then forced the owner to give them money from the ATM and safe.

    The robbers went to the motel and confronted the night watchman, but the owner could not be found. Changing their plans, Rega stayed with the watchman as his companions loaded the safe into their car.

    Once he was alone with the watchman, Rega shot and killed Lauth. A pathologist’s report indicated Lauth was on his knees with his arms raised when he was shot four times, including the back and head.

    Bryant, now 32, was sentenced to death twice in May 2010 in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division of Philadelphia County.

    Bryant pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Chante Wright and Octavia Green in the early morning of Jan. 19, 2008.

    Wright had been a witness in an unrelated Philadelphia homicide that was scheduled to go to trial in May 2008. She had been living in Florida through the witness protection program, but left the program and returned to Philadelphia on January 18, 2008 to visit her ailing great-grandmother.

    On the day she returned, Wright repeatedly contacted Bryant. Wright and a friend, Octavia Green, picked Bryant up in their rental car and drove around the city. Around 2 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2008, Bryant – who was sitting in the rear seat of the car – pulled out a gun and shot each woman three times, killing both. Bryant later told a friend he believed he was going to be paid for killing Wright for her role as a witness in the other homicide.

    http://www.bradfordtoday.com/2013/12...ted-of-murder/

  5. #5
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    Could it be that Pennsylvania may start executing people again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha2312 View Post
    Could it be that Pennsylvania may start executing people again.
    I'm going to go ahead and say they both get a stay. Just my guess though.

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