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Thread: William Theodore Boliek, Jr. - Missouri Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    William Theodore Boliek, Jr. - Missouri Death Row

    Summary of Offense:

    In August of 1983, Boliek was living in Linda Turner’s home. Aside from Turner, other residents of the home included Boliek’s lover Jill Harless, Turner’s brother Don Anderson, and Vernon Wait. The victim, Jody Harless, arrived to visit her sister Jill, and stayed at the Turner house. One Friday evening, Boliek, Wait, Anderson, and Jody Harless robbed the home of an acquaintance, Stan Gray, at gunpoint. Afterward, fearing retaliation from Gray and his friends, Boliek acquired a 12 gauge shotgun, and Wait acquired a .410 sawed off shotgun. Boliek and Wait began to discuss the necessity of "getting rid of witnesses" to the robbery. Learning the police wanted to speak with Gray, Boliek, Wait and the Harless sisters left Kansas City on the following Monday.

    Boliek convinced them to drive to Thayer, Missouri to hide out with Boliek’s parents. They robbed a liquor store in Nevada on the way. Later that night, they made a rest stop along Route M in Oregon County. After the car stopped, Jody Harless got out. As she was walking back to the car, Boliek took the 12 gauge shotgun from the car and shot her. She grabbed her stomach but continued to walk towards the car. She began to plead with Boliek. Wait grabbed Harless and forced her to the ground and Boliek shot her again. Boliek told the victim's sister that he had fired the second shot into the victim’s mouth and neck so identification of the body would be impossible.

    Boliek was arrested on September 6, 1983, in Decatur, Illinois, for an armed robbery of a gas station committed earlier that day. When arrested, he had in his possession the shotgun and shotgun shells he had used to kill Jody Harless. Boliek managed to escape from custody but was recaptured. A rancher riding his fence line discovered the body of Jody Harless on September 10, 1983, 28 feet from Highway M in Oregon County. Police investigators discovered two live .410 shotgun shells and two 12 gauge expended shells near the body. The victims decomposed body was unidentifiable by viewing and had to be identified by dental records. She had been killed by a shotgun wound to the head. At trial, Boliek claimed that when he fired the first shot he did not know the gun was loaded. The second shot, he said, was fired by Wait. The jury found Boliek guilty of capital murder and imposed the death sentence.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    June 9, 2009

    A man who's been on death row for 25 years may never be executed because Gov. Mel Carnahan issued a stay that was not resolved before he died in a plane crash.

    William Theodore Boliek Jr. was sentenced to death for the August 1983 shooting death of Jody Harless, 18, of Kansas City.

    Carnahan issued a stay two days before Boliek was scheduled to die in August 1997. The governor ordered a board of inquiry to investigate claims that Boliek did not get adequate representation during his trial and later appeals.

    Carnahan did not announce a decision before he died in October of 2000. Lawyers for his successor, Bob Holden, said the stay was worded in a way that only Carnahan could act on it.

    State officials asked the Missouri Supreme Court in 2001 to invalidate the stay and set an execution date, but the court rejected the request.

    "The court's decision means that the stay will remain in effect and that Boliek will stay in prison for the rest of his life," said Scott Holste, spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon.

    Harless' family is frustrated by the situation.

    "I think he should have been dead a long time ago," said Darren Goodwin, Harless' older brother. "It's very disappointing."

    During later appeals, attorneys for Boliek said his trial attorney failed to present evidence of mental illness and brain damage Boliek had suffered as a child. The appeal was eventually rejected by courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Carnahan stopped the execution on Aug. 25, 1997, and a spokesman said "significant questions" had been raised about the quality of Boliek's trial defense.

    In the request for clemency, Boliek's attorneys argued that he would not have been sentenced to death if he had received competent legal help at trial and on appeal.

    The petition said his trial attorney was unprepared for the trial's penalty phase. That lawyer later testified that he was "shocked, devastated and panicked" by the jury's verdict because he had not prepared for the next phase.

    The board of inquiry had submitted a confidential report to Carnahan but he did not announce a decision before the fatal plane crash while he was campaigning for the U.S. Senate.


  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Inmate Personal Information

    DOB: 04/15/1956
    Race: White
    Gender: Male

    Crime and Trial Information

    * County of conviction: Camden
    * Number of counts: One
    * Race of Victim: White
    * Gender of Victim: Female
    * Date of crime: 09/30/1983
    * Date of Sentencing: 12/12/1984

    Legal Status

    Current Proceedings:
    Post certiorari (Gov. Carhahan stayed his execution and then died. In 2001, the MO
    Supreme Court refused to lift the stay)


    Charles Gordon
    David Jay DeSimone

    Court Opinions

    State v. Boliek, 706 S.W.2d 847 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 903 (1986); Boliek v. Delo, 912 F.Supp. 1199 (W.D. Mo. 1995) (granting habeas corpus); Boliek v. Bowersox, 96 F.3d 1070 (8th Cir. 1996) (reversing district court), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1267 (1997).

    Legal Issues

    On habeas appeal:
    1. whether defendant was procedurally barred from raising claims of ineffectiveness of counsel that he did not raise in state‐court postconviction proceeding, and
    2. whether defendant was prejudiced by his appellate lawyer's failure to argue that he was unconstitutionally denied access to psychiatrist to help him prepare for penalty phase of his trial.

  4. #4
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Given that Missouri has nearly run out of warrant-ready inmates, perhaps it's time that Attorney General Koster re-applies to the Missouri Supreme Court for a lifting of Boliek's stay. For the past few years, the court has been much less obstructionist on the death penalty than it once had been. So, hopefully, they might actually lift the stay.

  5. #5
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    William Boliek is likely to live out his life on death row. His execution was stayed by Gov. Mel Carnahan. Carnahan died in a plane crash without acting on it and a ruling determined that only Carnahan could overturn the stay. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon has said Boliek will not be executed.


  6. #6
    Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    That's absurd. All professional duties of a Governor are taken over by his successor, why wouldn't that apply to a stay of execution? Any idea where I can find said ruling?

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Richard86's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Wiltshire, England
    That's crazy, it's like Iran has said that the fatwa against Salman Rushdie is still in place because Ayatollah Khomeini issued it and he died in 1989, even though the current Iranian government has no interest in going out of its way to act upon it.

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