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Thread: Robert Paul Langley, Jr. - Oregon Death Row

  1. #1
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    Oct 2010

    Robert Paul Langley, Jr. - Oregon Death Row

    Facts of the Crime:

    Langley was convicted and received death sentences for the 1988 murders of Anne Gray and Larry Rockenbrant. Rockenbrant’s body was buried underneath a garden on the grounds of the Oregon State Mental Hospital, where Langley was residing. Both convictions were overturned because the jury was not allowed to hear mitigating evidence during the Gray case, and evidence was presented on the Gray murder during the Rockenbrant murder trial. At the first retrial, Langley was given life in prison for the Rockenbrant murder and a death sentence for the Gray murder.

    The Oregon Supreme Court again overturned the death sentence conviction in 2000, ruling the judge should have allowed the jury to consider giving Langley life in prison without parole. Langley has fired the four different attorneys who were appointed to represent him and the court also fired his attorneys at another instance when they were accused of stalling. Langley refused to participate in the latest trial stating he was not granted attorneys to his liking. Langley is thought to have tortured and killed eight other people.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    State Supreme Court overturns death sentence against Robert Langley for fourth time

    The Oregon Supreme Court for the fourth time has overturned a death sentence for Robert Paul Langley Jr., finding that a judge should not have forced the convicted murderer to represent himself before jurors determining his punishment.

    The decision marks the latest setback for prosecutors who have pressed to execute Langley -- and persuaded four juries to hand down Oregon's harshest sentence -- over more than two decades.

    Langley, 52, is one of the longest-serving inmates on Oregon's death row, joining the group after juries sentenced him to death for two separate murders, both prosecuted in 1989.

    But since then, one death sentence has been converted to a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years in prison. The other has been turned away three times by the state Supreme Court.

    Marion County Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy, who secured the latest death sentence against Langley, said he was disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision.

    "I would absolutely expect we would seek death" again, he said. "We will continue to do what we have always felt was right in regards to Mr. Langley."

    Langley, who was living at the Oregon State Hospital where he took part in a program for mentally and emotionally disabled prison inmates, was arrested for the 1988 murder of a former prison friend, Larry Richard Rockenbrant.

    Rockenbrant's body was found underneath a cactus garden on the hospital grounds. He had been beaten with a baseball bat.

    The grisly discovery led Langley's aunt to contact police and tell them about a hole Langley had dug in her backyard several months earlier. There, police discovered the decomposed corpse of Anne Louise Gray. Langley had duct-taped her mouth and nose, suffocating her, and watched her die, prosecutors said.

    In an opinion issued Thursday, the Supreme Court laid out the history that led to the latest reversal.

    Langley, facing a January 2003 resentencing trial for Gray's murder, had gone through multiple lawyers as the date approached. The changes contributed to a delay in the proceeding until October 2005.

    Less than four months before the trial was to begin, Langley's attorneys said they had too many conflicts with Langley to continue representing him. Although Marion County Circuit Judge Joseph Ochoa allowed one to be removed, he told Langley that he must either cooperate with the remaining attorney or represent himself.

    Langley, Ochoa wrote at the time, had gone through seven defense attorneys in five years and "has demonstrated an undeniable pattern of manipulation. The defendant has cooperated with defense attorneys only as long as they were willing and able to obtain continuances of trial dates."

    But Langley said he did not want to choose either option, the court wrote. At the resentencing trial, he appeared in his white prison jumpsuit and failed to mount a defense. He did not deliver an opening statement or closing argument and did not cross-examine witnesses, the court wrote.

    The jury delivered a death sentence after less than 20 minutes of deliberation.

    Experts at the time theorized he may have been laying the groundwork for yet another reversal.

    In overturning the sentence, the Supreme Court rejected the state's arguments that Langley's behavior left the circuit judge no option but to find that Langley had waived his right to counsel and should represent himself. It also found that the judge had not adequately considered Langley's objections to his lawyers before presenting him with the choice of cooperating or representing himself.

    Langley's legal saga began with his aggravated murder convictions and death sentences in both slayings in 1989.

    In 1992, the Supreme Court threw out the original death sentence for Gray's murder because jurors weren't sufficiently instructed to consider mitigating evidence in determining Langley's punishment.

    The Supreme Court in 1992 also reversed the conviction in the Rockenbrant case because evidence from Gray's murder should not have been introduced into the Rockenbrant trial. Five years later, in an abbreviated retrial in which both the prosecution and defense agreed to facts, a judge found him guilty of aggravated murder and gave him a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years.

    Langley faced resentencing in the Gray case in 1994. A jury again delivered a death sentence, but the Supreme Court in 2000 found that the judge improperly instructed jurors that they could only choose death or life in prison with the possibility of parole as punishments. The jurors should have been allowed to consider life in prison without the possibility of parole, the high court ruled in overturning the death sentence.

    The decision set up the 2005 resentencing trial. A jury sentenced him to death -- the verdict thrown out Thursday.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Murderer again faces the death penalty

    Robert Paul Langley Jr. will face a fourth death-penalty proceeding in connection with an aggravated murder he committed in Salem in 1987.

    District Attorney Walt Beglau announced Tuesday that prosecutors will return to Marion County Circuit Court, where Langley three times has been sentenced to death in the case of Anne Gray.

    The Oregon Supreme Court has reversed the sentence three times, most recently last week, and returned the case to circuit court.

    I intend to present evidence and seek the death penalty in Mr. Langleys case, Beglau said in an email to the Statesman Journal.

    Gray was 39 when she was strangled Dec. 10, 1987. Her body was found buried in the backyard of Langleys aunt in April 1988. That same month, on April 14, Larry Rockenbrant, 24, was killed. His body was buried in a cactus garden at Oregon State Hospital, where Langley lived while he took part in a program for mentally and emotionally disturbed prison inmates.

    Langley was convicted of aggravated murder in separate trials in 1989 and sentenced to death. He is now 52.

    The Supreme Court reversed both death sentences in 1992. It ruled that in Grays case, the jury was not allowed to hear mitigating evidence, and in Rockenbrants case, evidence from Grays murder was improperly admitted in the trial.

    In 1994, Langley was sentenced to death for a second time in Grays murder, but sentenced to life in prison with a 30-year minimum in Rockenbrants murder.

    The Supreme Court overturned that death sentence in 2000, ruling that the jury failed to consider the option of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Langley was sentenced to death for a third time in Grays murder in 2005. But the high court overturned that sentence last week, ruling that the trial judge erroneously compelled Langley to represent himself in court. That self-representation followed several reshufflings by Langley of his defense lawyers.

    If Langley is sentenced to death again, his case will go back to the Supreme Court on an automatic review, as all death sentences are.

    Based on previous reviews of Langleys second and third death sentences, the latest review is likely to reach the high court five or six years after the sentence is handed down in circuit court. Thats likely to put the latest review close to or beyond the tenure of current Gov. John Kitzhaber, who during his first term let stand Oregons most recent executions in 1996 and 1997.

    Kitzhaber announced Nov. 22 he was imposing a moratorium on executions for the rest of his current term, which ends Jan. 12, 2015. If he were to win another four-year term in 2014 he has not announced his intentions that term would end Jan. 14, 2019.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  4. #4
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Jury decides in favor of death penalty for Robert Langley

    A 12-person jury unanimously ruled in favor of the death penalty Wednesday in the case of a man originally convicted of murder in 1989.

    Robert Langley, 54, listened as Marion County Circuit Judge Mary James read the jury's response to whether he deserved the death penalty for the torture-murder of Anne Gray.

    In December 1987, Langley bound and strangled Gray. He buried her body in a muddy hole behind a North Salem house where his aunt once lived. Four months later, Langley used a baseball bat to bludgeon to death Larry Rockenbrant in a garage on state hospital grounds. A prosecutor later told a jury that Langley and Rockenbrant knew each other and that Langley had told him about Gray's murder. Langley then killed Rockenbrant to keep him silent.

    On April 13, 1988, Langley buried Rockenbrant's body in a cactus garden.

    The murder cases against Langley have appeared and reappeared in Marion County Circuit Court since the late 1980s, and Wednesday's ruling was at least the fourth time he has been sentenced to death. Official sentencing for Langley is set for June.

    Langley was convicted of aggravated murder in separate trials in 1989 and sentenced to death in each case. The Oregon Supreme Court overturned both sentences because of problems with evidence.

    In retrials, Langley was sentenced to life in prison with a 30-year minimum in the Rockenbrant case. He was sentenced to death for the second time in the Gray case in 1992. The Oregon Supreme Court overturned that death sentence in December 2000, sending it back to the trial court.

    Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy and Gray's family members said Wednesday that they are hopeful that the jury's verdict will hold up.

    In closing arguments, defense attorney Christopher Clayhold said that he and his colleague Christopher Larsen were asking the jury whether it was necessary to put Langley to death.

    "They want to paint the picture to you that he is still a threat," Clayhold said.

    "He's been a very quiet inmate and done nothing wrong. For 13 years. Eight years before that in a restrictive housing system. For that entire time he's pretending?"

    In the prosecution's closing statements, Kemmy characterized Langley as a violent sociopath who can control his actions.

    "It's not that he can't control it. He can. That's what makes him so scary. He can control it for long periods of time," Kemmy said of Langley.

    "He relishes the idea of hurting people."

    The jury answered yes to four questions during their deliberations, which lasted about an hour and a half: whether Langley's conduct was deliberate; whether there was a probability of continued threat; whether his conduct was unreasonable to provocation, if there was any; and whether he should receive the death penalty.

    Gray's sister Judith Powell said her response to the verdict was relief, though she was not surprised. Her hope is not that Langley is put to death, but that he spend the rest of his life in a prison cell where he is no threat to anyone.

    "I'm relieved and thankful," Powell said. "It's been a very long 26 years."

    Powell's aunt Jewel Cooke said that while it was difficult to be in court with Gray's convicted murderer, she was pleased that it's now over.

    "We can go home and sleep in our beds. She would be here for us, so we have to be here for her," Cooke said. "I just hope that it's the last time."

    No person on Oregon's death row has been put to death in more than 16 years, and despite Wednesday's ruling, that will not change anytime soon.

    On Nov. 22, 2011, Gov. John Kitzhaber halted the scheduled Dec. 6 execution of Gary Haugen and vowed that no execution would occur in Oregon while he was governor.

    Kitzhaber's move came the day after the Oregon Supreme Court said that it would allow the lethal injection execution of Haugen to go forward.

    "It is time for this state to consider a different approach," Kitzhaber said at the time. "I refuse to be a part of a compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions to take place while I am governor."

    In taking that stand, Kitzhaber said the state's death penalty system was broken and he vowed to push for reforms in the 2013 Legislature. Those reforms have not materialized.


  5. #5
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Langley was formally sentenced to death on June 6, 2014.


  6. #6
    Senior Member Frequent Poster joe_con's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    Formally sentenced to death June 6, 2014, so he might get executed around November of 2040 unless he dies of some age related aliment.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Death sentence affirmed by Oregon Supreme Court on August 16th 2018.


  8. #8
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    On January 7, 2019, the United States Supreme Court DENIED Coble's petition for a writ of certiorari.

    Lower Ct: Court of Appeals of Oregon
    Case Numbers: (A161154)
    Decision Date: October 4, 2017
    Discretionary Court Decision Date: March 22, 2018


  9. #9
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Bobsicles's Avatar
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    Jan 2019
    Distributed for conference June 18, 2020.

    I believe in the death penalty

    ~James Dobson

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