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James Anderson Dellinger - Tennessee Death Row
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Thread: James Anderson Dellinger - Tennessee Death Row

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    James Anderson Dellinger - Tennessee Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Convicted, along with Gary Sutton, in the shooting death of Tommy Griffin. Griffin, 24, was shot at close range with a shotgun, then his body was left alongside Little River in Townsend on February 21, 1992. The body was found on February 24. After an extensive investigation, Blount County authorities charged Sutton and Dellinger with Griffin's murder.

    Dellinger was sentenced to death on September 3, 1996.

    For more on Sutton, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...ssee-Death-Row

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    January 22, 2009

    Court upholds Dellinger death penalty on appeal

    In Nashville, the Tennessee Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a death row inmate who claimed he had ineffective counsel.

    James A. Dellinger, who was convicted in the 1992 shooting death of Tommy Griffin, had identified a number of issues on which he said his conviction and sentence should have been reversed, claiming problems with imposing the state's death penalty law among his points.

    The court, which filed the ruling Thursday upholding an appeals court judgment, said Dellinger's death sentence shall be carried out June 3.

    Griffin's body was found with a shotgun wound at the base of his skull. Shells found at the scene matched fired shells found in Dellinger's yard.

    Another Tennessee death row inmate, Steve Henley, is scheduled to be executed next month.

    (Source: The Associated Press)

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    January 25, 2009

    Court orders Dellinger to die June 3

    The Tennessee Supreme Court rejected an appeal Thursday from a death row inmate convicted of murders in Blount County and Sevier County.

    James A. Dellinger, who was convicted in the 1992 shooting death of Tommy Griffin, claimed he had ineffective counsel. He identified a number of issues on which he said his conviction and sentence should have been reversed, claiming problems with imposing the state's death penalty among his points.

    The court filed a ruling Thursday upholding an appeals court judgment. The court ordered his death sentence be carried out on June 3.

    In 1996, Dellinger and Gary Sutton were convicted of first degree murder of Griffin and sentenced to death.

    Griffin, 24, was shot at close range with a shotgun, then his body was left alongside Little River in Townsend on Feb. 21, 1992. The body was found on Feb. 24. After an extensive investigation, Blount County authorities charged Sutton and Dellinger with Griffin's murder.

    The 2 Sevier County men were also charged by authorities there with the death of Griffin's sister, 34-year-old Connie Branam, whose charred body was found in her burned out car. Dellinger and Sutton were sentenced to life in prison after their conviction in Sevier County.

    The execution date brings some closure for the family, said 52-year-old Stella Griffin, older sister to both victims.

    Stella Griffin, a Sevierville resident, went to every trial in Blount County and Sevier County. That was the promise that she made her mother, who died in 1994, that she would go to each one.

    "There is so much -- so much that these people have done," said Stella Griffin, 52. "It killed my mama."

    She said Dellinger was a neighbor of both Connie's and Tommy's. They all lived on Gibson Hollow Road in Sevier County. Ten days before the murders, Gary Sutton moved in with Dellinger, she recalled.

    "They found them guilty. I know God had to be with us," she said. "He's been with us through all of this."

    (Source: The Maryville Daily Times)

  4. #4
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    Life on death row

    The death penalty has been in the news a lot recently after an inmate's life was spared at the last minute. It's something you hear a lot about, but we wanted to see what it's like to live on death row.

    The death penalty has been in the news a lot recently after an inmate's life was spared at the last minute.

    It's something you hear a lot about, but we wanted to see what it's like to live on death row.

    We take you inside Tennessee's death row as an East Tennessee inmate talks living with other inmates, why he chooses lethal injection over execution, and why he won't have a final meal.

    James Dellinger spends every waking moment on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville, TN.

    James Dellinger says, "When I'm in the cell, I've got my TV on and I'm listening to it and walking the floor."

    In 1996 he was found guilty for the 92 murder of Tommy Griffin and his sister Connie Branum.

    On death row, inmates find friendship among themselves.

    James Dellinger says, "Each everyone of us here try to help one another out cause we know we're in the same boat. If we don't get no help, we're all gonna go over to the death house eventually you know."

    Fellow inmate Stephen West was set to die November 2010, but got a last minute stay of execution.

    James Dellinger says, "We stay up till we see how it goes till the very last minute. We hate it right along with him I guess."

    West is still alive, but time ran out on other inmates.

    Dellinger has watched many go to the death house and not come back.

    James Dellinger says, "It keeps you tore up. You don't sleep. It's just like part of you died when a good friend goes over there."

    So how do you say goodbye to a friend like that?

    James Dellinger says, "You don't say goodbye. There's always a chance things are going to be all right."

    Dellinger is still appealing and hopes the court rules in his favor.

    But if not, he says lethal injection is the way he wants to go.

    James Dellinger says, "Everybody else is doing it. It seems like a simple easier way. But from what I hear it can be awful painful too."

    And as for his last meal.

    James Dellinger says, "I don't think I'll choose a meal. I don't think I will. It'll be a waste of good food and I'll just eat what I'm used to."

    Dellinger was supposed to be put to death June 2009, but now he's on a temporary stay of execution awaiting an appeal.

    (Source: WVLT-TV News)

  5. #5
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    On March 12, 2009, Dellinger filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/ten...cv00104/53338/

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    Blount death row inmate James Anderson Dellinger loses appeal

    The latest appeal to reopen the premeditated first-degree murder case of death row inmate James Anderson Dellinger, 61, was dismissed Aug. 14 by Blount County Circuit Court Judge David R. Duggan.

    After being convicted 16 years ago on Sept. 5, 1996, Dellinger and his accomplice, Gary Wayne Sutton, 48, were sentenced to death in the electric chair (now by lethal injection) by then Blount County Circuit Court Judge D. Kelly Thomas.

    The were to have been electrocuted Nov. 9, 1996, but appeals have delayed the execution, with more appeals anticipated.

    The Sevier County men were convicted of killing Tommy M. Griffin, 25, with a shotgun blast to the base of his skull on Feb. 21, 1992, in Walland, The body was found three days later at a spot beside Little River known as “the Blue Hole,” a popular swimming area at Walland.

    Griffin’s sister, Connie Griffin Branham of Sevier County, was concerned about her brother and went looking for him on the day he was killed. She made contact with Dellinger and Sutton, but did not locate her brother.

    Her body was found Feb. 28 inside her burned-out car in a remote section of Sevier County. She had been shot in the back of the head. A fire had been reported and at least one witness testified to hearing two gunshots in the Clear Fork area of Sevier County.

    Both Dellinger and Sutton were charged by Sevier County authorities with her murder. The men were found guilty of first-degree murder in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison.

    The fact that the pair had already been sentenced to life in another murder reportedly played a part in Blount County jury’s recommendation that they be given the death sentence.

    The prosecutors in the 1996 case were now Blount County District Attorney General Mike Flynn and then Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Ed Bailey.

    During the lengthy trial, the state presented evidence to show that Dellinger and Sutton burned Griffin’s trailer around 9 p.m. Feb. 21, killed him just before midnight, then killed his sister the next evening to hide the first murder.

    Current Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Kenlyn Foster represented the prosecution in opposing the appeal to reopen the case.

    Duggan ruled that the contention that Dellinger was intellectually disabled with an IQ below 70 had been raised in court previously. Since 1990 under state law, a person with an IQ of 70 or below cannot be sentenced to death.

    “As previously indicated, the court previously determined that petitioner is not intellectually disabled that this the evidence referred to would not qualify as ‘new evidence’ and would be merely to contradict other evidence previously considered,” according to Duggan’s refusal to reopen his post-conviction proceedings.

    Dr. Peter Young, an expert witness for the defense, earlier testified that Dellinger had an IQ in the 72 to 83 range.

    Foster expects Dellinger to continue these appeal claims in higher courts.

    http://www.thedailytimes.com/Local_N...peal-id-040004
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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    Knoxville Court of Criminal Appeals denies appeal request for James Anderson Dellinger

    By Iva Butler
    The Daily Times

    A convicted murderer who has been on death row for 16 years was denied a request to appeal a ruling by a Blount County judge.

    James Anderson Dellinger, 61, was denied an appeal Jan. 16 by the Knoxville Court of Criminal Appeals.

    The court affirmed Judge David R. Duggan’s ruling, Blount County Assistant Attorney General Kenlyn Foster said.

    Dellinger has been sitting on death row since he was convicted and sentenced 16 years ago, along with his accomplice Gary Wayne Sutton, 48. Both Sevier County men were sentenced to death by then Blount County Circuit Court Judge D. Kelley Thomas.

    The original execution date was set for Nov. 9, 1996, but appeals have delayed it.

    Dellinger and Sutton were convicted of killing Tommy M. Griffin, 25, with a shotgun blast to the base of his skull on Feb. 21, 1992, in Walland. The body was found three days later at a spot beside Little River known as “the Blue Hole,” a popular swimming area at Walland.

    Griffin’s sister, Connie Griffin Branham, of Sevier County, was concerned about her brother and went looking for him on the day he was killed. She saw Dellinger and Sutton, but did not locate her brother.

    Her body was found Feb. 28 inside her burned-out car in a remote section of Sevier County. She had been shot in the back of the head. A fire had been reported and at least one witness testified to hearing two gunshots in the Clear Fork area of Sevier County.

    Both Dellinger and Sutton were charged by Sevier County authorities with her murder. The men were found guilty of first-degree murder in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison.

    The fact that the pair had already been sentenced to life in another murder reportedly played a part in Blount County jury’s recommendation that they be given the death sentence.

    During the lengthy trial, the state presented evidence to show that Dellinger and Sutton burned Griffin’s trailer around 9 p.m. Feb. 21 and killed him just before midnight. They then killed his sister the next evening to hide the first murder.

    Current Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Kenlyn Foster represented the prosecution in opposing the appeal to reopen the case.

    Duggan ruled that the contention that Dellinger was intellectually disabled with an IQ below 70 had been raised in court previously. Since 1990 under state law, a person with an IQ of 70 or below cannot be sentenced to death.

    “As previously indicated, the court previously determined that petitioner is not intellectually disabled that this the evidence referred to would not qualify as ‘new evidence’ and would be merely to contradict other evidence previously considered,” according to Duggan’s refusal to reopen his post-conviction proceedings.

    Dr. Peter Young, an expert witness for the defense, earlier testified that Dellinger had an IQ in the 72 to 83 range.

    Foster said Dellinger now has 60 days to apply for an appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

    If that appeal was denied, Dellinger would then have the right to appeal at the federal level. If the appeal was denied at the federal level the case would go to the death penalty ruling.

    http://www.thedailytimes.com/Local_N...nger-id-046025

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    East TN death row inmate gets rare reprieve

    A federal magistrate judge says two state attorneys doomed an East Tennessee death row inmate, with one too mentally ill to handle the case and the other too busy to care.

    In an extraordinary ruling for its outright labeling of two former Office of the Post-Conviction Defender attorneys as grossly negligent, U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley on Monday gave James Dellinger what the law says he cannot have — a second chance at escaping death.

    “The undersigned (Shirley) cannot imagine anything less just, under all the circumstances, than to effectively consign (Dellinger) to die, rather than simply allow his petition to be deemed timely filed,” Shirley wrote. “He was abandoned by his lawyers; he should not be abandoned by the courts.”

    Dellinger is on death row for the 1992 slayings of Tommy Griffin and his sister, Connie Branam. His nephew and co-defendant, Gary Wayne Sutton, also was sentenced to death.

    Griffin was shot to death in Blount County after Dellinger and Sutton bailed him out of jail. Branam was shot and her body burned in Sevier County after she went looking for her missing brother and met up with Dellinger and Sutton at a Walland bar.

    Dellinger, whom Shirley described as “illiterate” and mentally challenged, was tried in both counties with different lawyers in each case. More attorneys handled initial appeals.

    But he saw rescue in Catherine Brockenborough and Don Dawson, both employed at the state agency tasked with handling the final round of state appeals known as post-conviction petitioning, Shirley said.

    Brockenborough repeatedly assured Dellinger all necessary litigation was being filed either by her or in concert with others. Shirley said Dawson offered similar promises.

    But the pair did no such thing, allowing a key deadline to pass and blocking Dellinger under federal law from seeking relief in U.S. District Court, Shirley wrote. And Dellinger, he said, had no idea.

    According to Shirley’s opinion, Brockenborough was suffering from bipolar disorder throughout her dealings with Dellinger, “falling apart psychologically and professionally.” She was, in fact, fired in 2007. Dawson, meanwhile, complained he was too overworked to properly manage her or her progress in Dellinger’s case. He retired in 2012.

    It would take a probe by the Federal Defender Services in Middle Tennessee to uncover the pair’s failings in Dellinger’s case. Tennessee Post-Conviction Defender Justyna Garbaczewska Scalpone said she did not know if the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility was investigating Brockenborough or Dawson. Such probes are confidential until formal disciplinary action is filed.

    Dawson’s law license remains active, according to a BPR database. Brokenborough’s license is labeled inactive. Neither has any pending or prior disciplinary action listed.

    Shirley did not mince words in his critique of the pair’s performance in Dellinger’s case.

    “It goes without saying that Ms. Brockenborough’s handling of (Dellinger’s) case while severely mentally impaired, as well as Mr. Dawson’s failure to supervise her or inform (Dellinger) of her limitations, was egregious and unprofessional,” he wrote.

    The state likely will appeal Shirley’s ruling to Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan.

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/watchfu...rieve_78284391
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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