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Thread: Robert Keith Woodall - Kentucky Death Row

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    Robert Keith Woodall - Kentucky Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Was sentenced to death on September 4, 1998 in Caldwell County for capital murder, capital kidnapping and first-degree rape. On January 25, 1997, Robert Keith Woodall abducted Sarah Hansen from the Minit Mart parking lot in Greenville, Kentucky. He then drove to Luzerne Lake where he proceeded to rape her. Woodall beat her and used a box-cutter knife to inflict cuts in Sarah Hansen’s throat. Her body was dragged and discarded into the water. Results of an autopsy revealed that water was found in Sarah Hansen’s lungs and reports that she died as a result of drowning.

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    February 25, 2009

    Judge Overturns Death Sentence for Kentucky Honor Student's Murder

    A western Kentucky man convicted of raping and murdering an honor student had his death sentence overturned by a federal judge who said Tuesday that justice demands a new hearing even though there's no doubt about the brutality of the crime.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell sent 34-year-old Robert Keith Woodall's case back to state court for re-sentencing. Russell found that the state judge improperly instructed the jury before sentencing and denied Woodall a chance to object to a black juror being dismissed.

    "The crimes Woodall admitted to committing are revolting and despicable," Russell wrote in a 92-page ruling. "There is also no question that the victim and her family deserve justice. However, ours is a system of law that is concerned with justice for both the victim and the accused."

    Woodall in 1998 pleaded guilty to killing 16-year-old Sarah Hansen after abducting her from a convenience store in Greenville in western Kentucky. A jury sentenced him to death for the murder plea and life in prison for kidnapping and rape.

    Hansen, a member of the National Honor Society, vanished on Jan. 25, 1997, after going to the store to rent a movie with plans to return home and watch it with her boyfriend. About two hours later, police began searching for Hansen before finding the minivan she was driving at Luzerne Lake, about a mile and a half from the store.

    Officers followed a 500-foot long blood trail from the van to the lake, where they found Hansen's unclothed body floating and her throat slashed. DNA, fingerprints and footprints led to Woodall. His case was later moved to Caldwell County because of pretrial publicity.

    Russell's decision rapped the state court judge for failing to properly instruct the jurors on how to consider Woodall's decision not to testify at the sentencing hearing. Russell also found that the court should have held a hearing after prosecutors used a challenge to excuse the lone black person remaining in the jury pool.

    Under federal law, it is impermissible to eliminate minorities from a jury pool, regardless of the race of the defendant.

    Allison Gardner Martin, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, said prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling.

    "There is no question a bout Robert Keith Woodall's guilt in this case," Martin said.

    Ralph Vick, the commonwealth attorney whose office prosecuted Woodall, also declined comment.

    Woodall's attorney, David Harshaw, said the ruling wasn't a surprise. Depending upon appeals, it could be some time before Woodall returns to court for resentencing, he said.

    "We could be talking a period of years," Harshaw said. "It's difficult to say."

    (Source: Fox News)

  3. #3
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    On April 8, 2009, the Commonwealth of Kentucky filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit over the granting of Woodall's habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...s/ca6/09-5406/

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    Federal appeals court sets arguments in November for western Ky. death penalty case

    A federal appeals court will hear arguments in November over whether a judge made the correct decision in throwing out the death sentence of a western Kentucky man who pleaded guilty to killing an honor student in 1997.

    The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals set the case of 37-year-old Robert Keith Woodall for Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. EDT in Cincinnati.

    Woodall pleaded guilty in 1998 to kidnapping 16-year-old Sarah Hansen from a store in Greenville. A jury sentenced him to death for the murder and life in prison for kidnapping and rape.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in 2009 overturned the death sentence, finding that a state judge improperly instructed the jury before sentencing.

    http://www.therepublic.com/view/stor...ce-Overturned/

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    Appeals court set to hear Western Kentucky death penalty case

    A federal appeals court will hear arguments over whether a judge made the correct decision in throwing out the death sentence of a Western Kentucky man who pleaded guilty to killing an honor student in 1997.

    The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals set the case of 37-year-old Robert Keith Woodall for 2 p.m. EST Tuesday in Cincinnati.

    Woodall pleaded guilty in 1998 to kidnapping 16-year-old Sarah Hansen from a store in Greenville. A jury sentenced him to death for the murder and life in prison for kidnapping and rape.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in 2009 overturned the death sentence, finding that a state judge improperly instructed the jury before sentencing.

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/201...ky-death-pena/

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    ROBERT KEITH WOODALL v THOMAS L. SIMPSON

    In today's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinions, the court AFFIRMED Robert Keith Woodall’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. 2254, and REMANDED the case with instructions to conditionally grant the writ unless the State of Kentucky elects to initiate resentencing proceedings within 180 days of the district court’s order.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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    Appeals court grants new sentencing in Western Kentucky slaying case

    A divided federal appeals court has granted a Kentucky death row inmate a new sentencing hearing in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old Western Kentucky girl.

    The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday found that a state judge should have instructed jurors not to draw any inference from 38-year-old Robert Keith Woodall's decision not to testify on his own behalf.

    Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr. wrote that the trial court improperly denied the requested jury instruction. Judge Deborah Cook wrote that a "mountain of evidence" pointed to Woodall's guilt in the 1997 death of 16-year-old Sarah Hansen.

    The decision upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in 2009.

    Woodall pleaded guilty to kidnapping Hansen from a convenience store in Greenville in western Kentucky.

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/201...estern-kentuc/
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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    Senior Member Member Jeffects's Avatar
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    images.jpg

    Once again, Sarah

    Well, the Judge messed up. Thanks to such an easily avoided mistake, this nightmare will now be prolonged for the victims family.

    I look at the picture of Sarah, the beautiful smiling face of an innocent child. Her whole life before her, and I imagine the last horrific moments of her young life. I look at the filth that brutalized this poor girl and destroyed the rest of her family's lives, and for what?

    When I read about these crimes, and look closely at the victim and the piece of garbage responsible for such evil and pain, I am amazed by people opposed to the death penalty.

    What if Sarah was your daughter? So smart, beautiful and full of life. You said "See you later" when she went to get a video, and the next hour of her life would be the most horrific any human being should have to endure.

    As bad as it is, hundreds of "people" sit on death row from crimes just as brutal and evil. They also recieve letters from pen-pals pledging their love and support for these animals.

    If you have so much time on your hands, write to Sarahs family. I, for one however, wouldn't begin to know what to say to them.
    Last edited by Jeffects; 07-13-2012 at 10:03 AM.

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    Senior Member Member Jeffects's Avatar
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    I didn't even want to put this monster in the previous post.

    Woodall.jpg

  10. #10
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    On December 26, 2012, the Commonwealth filed a certiorari petition with the US Supreme Court. Woodall's response is due by February 4, 2013.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...les/12-794.htm

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