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Thread: Jerry Buck Inman - South Carolina Death Row

  1. #1
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    Oct 2010

    Jerry Buck Inman - South Carolina Death Row

    Tiffany Marie Souers

    Summary of Offense:

    Convicted of the May 26, 2006 rape and murder of 20-year-old Clemson University engineering student Tiffany Marie Souers.

    Inman was sentenced to death on April 22, 2009 in Pickens County.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2010
    April 23, 2009

    PICKENS -- Jerry Buck Inman was sentenced to death Wednesday in the rape and killing of Clemson University student Tiffany Souers, but whether Inman's July date for execution is fulfilled or delayed for years by appeals is almost entirely up to him, his attorney said.

    Throughout Inman's sentencing trial, the serial rapist said he is an "animal" who deserves to die -- and Inman's attorney, following his sentencing, said he believes Inman at some point will waive his right to delay his execution.

    There is "no question" that Inman wants to die for killing the 20-year-old engineering student in May 2006, his attorney, Jim Bannister, said after the hearing in which Circuit Judge Ned Miller sentenced Inman to be executed on July 27.

    "I'm certain he will ultimately end up waiving his appeals at some point -- it's the when of it that I can't answer," Bannister told The Greenville News.

    The chief prosecutor in the case, 13th Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail, said after the hearing that a life without parole sentence could have brought immediate closure for Souers' mother and father.

    However, Ariail said, the death penalty was the only appropriate punishment for a crime that terrorized a broad community that blends both the life of a college campus and the bucolic calm of a rural county.

    "It's something they'll have to go through," Ariail said, "and they knew that from the beginning."

    Because Inman pleaded guilty to killing Souers, state law required that the judge -- not a jury -- be solely responsible for deciding Inman's fate.

    Inman's defense tried during the sentencing trial to convince Miller to sentence him to life in prison, but Inman himself told the judge there was no other choice but death.

    "There's really only one viable sentence to impose for someone like me," Inman told the judge before Miller sentenced him to death. "And I ask that you impose that sentence."

    Inman -- whose mother and stepfather embraced one another as they sat behind him in the courtroom -- told the judge that he is incapable of functioning in society or in prison, where he said he's already tried to escape twice. Inman told the judge that defense claims that he was molested as a child aren't true and that other people "had it a lot worse than I did."

    Inman elected to wait until after the sentencing to apologize to Souers' parents, who had been present in the courtroom last September but remained at home in their St. Louis suburb this week as the trial resumed after a seven-month delay.

    The decision to wait to apologize was a sign that Inman truly wants to die, Bannister told The News after the hearing.

    In sentencing Inman, Judge Miller lamented the position of being responsible for ordering someone to die, calling it "painful and agonizing."

    South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal appointed Miller to the case.

    "While this has been one of the hardest decisions of my life," Miller said, "I am firmly convinced that the murder and rape of Tiffany Souers and the characteristics of Jerry Buck Inman warrant the penalty of death."

    Even so, Miller said that evidence presented by Inman's defense that Inman had suffered a nightmarish childhood in which he was raped by his father led the judge to have sympathy for the killer.

    Inman spent most of his adult life in prison after raping a Florida woman in 1987 at age 17 and killed Souers just nine months after being released from prison.

    "The court views Mr. Inman as a tortured soul, whose inner demons will never leave him," Miller said, describing Inman further as "a person with no opportunity to escape his tragic circumstances."

    Inman's defense team raised several issues during the trial to try to spare his life -- among them the fact that Inman wasn't allowed to have a jury sentence him after pleading guilty.

    Bannister said he will try to have that stipulation in South Carolina law overturned, though it might not be possible because he expects Inman to waive his appeal rights at some point.

    In closing arguments Wednesday, Bannister referred to Christian theology -- such as the apostle Paul's conversion from his evil ways on the road to Damascus -- and appealed to the judge to grant Inman grace and spare his life.

    Souers was characterized earlier in court testimony as a charitable, forgiving Christian.

    A death sentence, Bannister said, "doesn't do honor to Tiffany Souers and the life that she led."

    Bannister said the worse sentence would be for Inman to have to worry about being targeted in prison by other inmates because he is a sex offender.

    He also said that Inman would likely try to kill himself again after seven other suicide attempts in prison, one that involved him swallowing barbed wire.

    However, Ariail said in his closing arguments that he would not be satisfied with anything but a death sentence because Inman is "the worst of the worst."

    "Tiffany Souers deserves justice," Ariail said. "We don't forget her just because she's not here."

    Inman "wandered" to Clemson from his Tennessee home on May 25, 2006, "looking for some stuff to steal" when he spotted Souers outside her apartment in Central. After midnight, he entered her home while she slept, raped her and then strangled her with a bathing suit top.

    Inman then tried to access her bank account but forgot the access codes he had forced her to give him.

    In the days before he killed Souers, Inman had raped a Tennessee woman while her young daughter watched and had attempted to rape an Alabama woman before she talked him out of it while praying aloud.
    Normally these administrative execution dates mean nothing and we don't usually worry about posting them. However in this case since he asked for death and received it we are adding it to the scheduled list. Hopefully he will decide to face his final justice. This one will be interesting to watch.


  3. #3
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    Oct 2010
    July 31, 2009

    Jerry Inman won't get new trial, sentence in Clemson student's slaying

    A judge on Thursday denied a request by serial rapist Jerry Inman's attorney to grant a new trial or reconsider his death sentence in the rape and killing of Clemson University student Tiffany Souers.

    Circuit Judge Ned Miller denied the motion, four months after sentencing Inman to death. "With the denial of this motion, we are one step closer to having Mr. Inman's death sentence carried out," 13th Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail said.

    Following Inman's sentencing, his attorney, Jim Bannister, said Inman "at some point" will waive his right to delay his execution because there is "no question" he wants to die for killing the 20-year-old engineering student.

    Bannister couldn't be reached to comment Thursday.

    Inman's execution date had originally been set for Monday but through the normal process of appeals has been delayed.

    Even though Inman has said he wants to die, legal experts say rulings on his competency to waive his appeals likely will delay his execution for years, though not nearly as long as those who exhaust their appeals.

    The shortest time lapse between a death sentence being imposed and an actual execution in South Carolina is 2 years, when in 2002 a Myrtle Beach man who killed his young daughter waived his appeals and was executed.

    (Source: The Greenville News)

  4. #4
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Man on death row for killing SC student appeals

    A man on death row for raping and strangling a Clemson University student five years ago is asking South Carolina's top court to throw out his sentence because he claims prosecutors intimidated one of his key witnesses.

    Jerry Buck Inman's lawyers will ask the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to toss out his guilty plea and death sentence. Authorities said the 40-year-old with previous rape convictions broke into Tiffany Souers' apartment near campus in May 2006. The engineering student from Ladue, Mo., was found dead by a roommate, with the bikini top used to kill her still wrapped around her neck.

    Much of Inman's appeal centers on social worker Marti Loring of Atlanta, who was supposed to testify at sentencing hearings following his September 2008 plea. She had been slated to discuss abuse Inman suffered growing up and his mental health problems.

    Loring was not licensed in South Carolina, and during questioning about her credentials, Solicitor Bob Ariail suggested she could face charges for practicing without a license in Inman's case and others she worked on in the state.

    Loring then said she felt threatened and wasn't sure if she could properly represent Inman's best interests even after the judge offered her immunity from prosecution.

    Inman's lawyer asked for a mistrial, and when that motion was denied he unsuccessfully sought to have Ariail and his other prosecutors thrown off the case.

    "It violates the essential demands of fairness for the solicitor, as the one did here, to intimidate a defense expert to essentially remove her as an effective defense witness," Inman's lawyers wrote in their appeal.

    The state attorney general's office said if Loring didn't want her credentials questioned or the suggestion of criminal charges made, she should have gotten licensed in South Carolina instead of assuming her Georgia credentials would be honored. They said questioning an expert's qualifications is a vital step taken by both prosecutors and defense lawyers.

    Inman's lawyers also are appealing his guilty plea. Inman wanted to plead guilty to murder and then be sentenced by a jury, but state law does not allow that. During Inman's plea, his lawyers went back and forth with the judge over whether Inman would be allowed to appeal being sentenced by a judge instead of a jury. Inman's lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on that as well.

    A habitual criminal, Inman spent years in prison for rapes he committed as a teenager in North Carolina and Florida. He had been free from prison for about nine months before Souers' death.

    Inman also faces charges in an attempted rape in Alabama and a rape in Tennessee that authorities have said occurred in the days before Souers' death.

    After his arrest in Tennessee, a state agent testified that as he told Inman his charges could make him eligible for the death penalty, Inman interrupted the officer.

    "That's what I want," Inman said, according to the agent. "I killed a 20-year-old college student with everything to live for."

    The Jefferson County, Tenn., deputy who arrested Inman said he described himself as an "animal," using a curse word for emphasis, immediately after he was taken into custody.

    State prison officials said Inman has had no disciplinary infractions since being sent to death row in April 2009.


  5. #5
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    SC Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Fairness Of Inman's Death Sentence

    At the Wednesday South Carolina Supreme Court appeal of a death sentence for the man who killed a Clemson student, Chief Justice Jean Toal said she wants to send attorneys across the state that it’s not OK to bully witnesses.

    The state’s high court took the bench to hear arguments about the trial of Jerry Buck Inman, 40, who plead guilty to raping and killing a Clemson student in her off campus apartment in May 2006.

    Inman raped and strangled Tiffany Souers, then 20, just nine months after being released from prison in Tennessee, his home state, for raping a woman when he was 17. In 2009, Greenville circuit court Judge Ned Miller sentenced him to death.

    Inman did not appear in court in Columbia, but arguments centered around a prosecutor intimidating the defense's main witness.

    During the initial trial Miller found former solicitor Bob Ariail did commit prosecutorial misconduct when he threatened Georgia-based social historian Dr. Marti Loring with criminal sanctions for testifying in the state without the proper licensing.

    Loring was responsible for interviewing Inman’s family in Tennessee and to testify about his childhood and dark background. According to her testimony his mother was schizophrenic and his father an alcoholic who sexually abused him at a young age.

    However, during her testimony she said she didn't do as good a job relaying her expert opinion as she could've because of a seven month gap between talking to those who knew Inman and taking the stand. The delay stemmed from Loring refusing to testifying after Ariail’s threats. At one point Loring was taken into custody in Georgia because she missed a hearing she was unaware of.

    Appellate Defender Robert Dudek told the Supreme Court justices that she was the defense’s star witness and that the harassment she received scared and rattled her, making her testimony incomplete.

    The justices asked the Deputy Attorney General Donald Zelenka, who spoke for the state, why Ariail would have confronted the witness while she was on the stand other than to intimidate her, calling the antics “kabuki theatre” unnecessary in front of a judge trial.

    Chief Justice Toal was particularly disturbed that Ariail’s conduct undermined the fairness of the initial trial.

    However, the justices asked the defense many times how Loring’s testimony would have been different, and Dudek provided only one story she left out but said the fact that she didn’t think she relayed her evidence well is enough for a mistrial.

    Another issue debated was whether Inman was lead to believe that he could plead guilty to a judge, but have a jury sentence him because all death penalty cases are automatically appealed in South Carolina.

    The court recessed after 45 minutes, and will give an opinion once the five justices have fully reviewed whether the trial was fair and whether any wrong doing actually affected the outcome. It could be several weeks before a decision is made.

    Dudek said he would like the case to either get a whole new trial, or just give the sentencing another hearing.

    Inman raped a woman in Tenneesee three days before he killed Souers and a day later broke into an Alabama woman’s home to rape her.

    Dudek called him a “conflicted individual” and said he has attempted suicide seven times, six of which were will he was in prison.

    But Dudek said that while the pressures of living on death row are enormous, Inman should not be sentenced to death because he had an unfair trial and wants to die some days.


  6. #6
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    27081 - State v. Inman

    SC justices uphold Clemson murder death sentence

    South Carolina's highest court has affirmed the guilty plea and death sentence of a man condemned to die for strangling a Clemson University student with her bikini top.

    The state Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the fate of Jerry Buck Inman.

    The 41-year-old sex offender confessed to killing 20-year-old Tiffany Souers in 2006 and pleaded guilty to murder. A judge then heard evidence about whether Inman should get a life sentence or the death penalty and sentenced him to die.

    Inman had asked justices to reconsider his fate, arguing that the man who prosecuted his case should have been removed because he intentionally intimidated a witness testifying on Inman's behalf.

    The court ruled that Solicitor Bob Ariail did intimidate the witness but that Inman's plea and sentence were valid.


  7. #7
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Inman's petition for a writ of certiorari was DENIED.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  8. #8
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Man on SC death row for rape, murder of Clemson student to be re-sentenced after 15 years


    For years, the Upstate has lived with a deep wound left by the gruesome murder of 20-year-old Clemson University student Tiffany Souers, who was raped and strangled with her own bikini top inside her off-campus apartment.

    The Tennessee man behind the killing — Jerry Buck Inman — was a registered sex offender, a serial rapist, and a self-proclaimed "animal" whom a prosecutor called "the worst of the worst."

    Inman was sentenced to death by a Pickens County judge in 2006.

    Nearly 15 years later, Inman is expected to have another day in court.

    A presiding judge by special assignment of the state Supreme Court ruled that Inman's constitutional rights were violated and his sentencing should have been up to a 12-member jury, not a judge. Inman filed for post-conviction relief in 2012 and after years of litigation, the relief was granted April 21.

    The order states that Inman will be re-sentenced in Pickens County on a date not yet scheduled. A new hearing means that a jury will have the final say on whether Inman will be sentenced to life in prison or death.

    In South Carolina, the Attorney General's Office handles post-conviction relief cases and will now decide whether to appeal the state Supreme Court judge's ruling. If the AG's office does appeal, the case will go to the state Supreme Court to make a determination.

    13th Circuit Judge Ned Miller sentenced Inman to death April 21, 2009 after Inman pleaded guilty to murdering Souers. The case was laced with twists and turns throughout court proceedings including a defense attorney's request for a mistrial and former 13th Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail's improper handling of a witness.

    Miller ruled that Ariail committed prosecutorial misconduct in how he handled a witness during the sentencing hearing. Jim Bannister, of the Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey law firm was Inman's defense attorney at the time of the trial. Bannister argued at the time that an expert witness, a social historian, felt too threatened to testify at an earlier hearing and that Ariail had questioned her credentials.

    The misconduct, however, did not rise to the level of constituting a new trial, Miller ruled at the time.

    In post-conviction relief cases, a ruling can be overturned if there have been significant constitutional changes that would have impacted a trial. In Inman's case, the interpretation was different on how to apply a death sentence.

    "Our team had raised the issue at the trial stage that we wanted a jury trial for sentencing, but Judge Miller was constrained by the way in which the statute was interpreted back then to not allow that," Bannister said.

    During the hearings, details unraveled about Inman's past including other rape victims, a horrific childhood that included his own sexual assault by his father and an adult life spent mostly in prisons, according to an archived story in The Greenville News.

    Bannister, during one hearing, pointed out that Inman had attempted to kill himself on several occasions while incarcerated including one time that involved swallowing barbed wire, according to the 2009 news article.

    "I would say, it was probably one of about two to three cases that got national attention. The tragedy of it was so compelling that it made news all over the United States," Bannister told The News on Thursday. "Not that anything is an excuse for that behavior, but some of the stuff he had been subjected to from the moment he was born until he ended up back in jail, it was as horrid an experience as you can imagine."

    In the order filed last month, the assigned judge acknowledged Inman's argument that, based on a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Sixth Amendment "requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death."

    "I see this as a vindication of the issues that we raised back when we tried this case," Bannister said. "At the time, we made the argument that life without parole is in a lot of ways a worse sentence than to be executed."


  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
    AG's office files motion for judge to deny any relief to confessed killer of Clemson student after case error uncovered

    COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) The South Carolina Attorney Generals Office said Friday that a judge found an error in the original plea and sentencing proceedings for a man on death row who admitted to raping and killing a Clemson student.

    Jerry Buck Inman was sentenced to death in 2009 in Pickens County after pleading guilty one year earlier to kidnapping, raping, and killing 20-year-old Tiffany Marie Souers. The engineerings students body was found in her off-campus apartment in May 2006. She had been strangled with a bikini top.

    Now, the Attorney Generals office has asked the judge to reconsider his ruling on the initial plea and deny Inman any relief.

    An appeal cannot be taken until the judge rules on this motion., said Attorney Generals Office spokesman Robert Kittle. The matter remains pending in Pickens County. The Attorney Generals Office declines to comment on the specifics of the ruling or the arguments of the parties as this matter is still pending before the circuit court.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  10. #10
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Fact's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Underpants gnome logic from that judge.

    Hurst didn't change anything, it merely applied Ring to Florida's statute because the Florida Supreme Court had wrongly interpreted Ring. The SC Supreme Court has already--on multiple occasions--held that this procedure is fine under Ring.

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