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Thread: Carman L. Deck - Missouri Death Row

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    Carman L. Deck - Missouri Death Row


    James and Zelma Long




    Summary of Offense:

    On November 7, 2008, Carman L. Deck was sentenced for a third time to death for the 1996 fatal shootings of an elderly couple from De Soto. Two previous death sentences for Deck, now 43, had been overturned on appeal. The death sentence was imposed today at Hillsboro by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gary Kramer, who accepted the recommendation of a jury that heard the arguments for the death penalty in September.

    In June 1996, Deck planned a burglary with his mother's boyfriend, Jim Boliek, to help Boliek obtain money for a trip to Oklahoma. Deck targeted James and Zelma Long, the victims in this case, because he had known the Longs' grandson and had accompanied him to the Longs' home in DeSoto, Missouri, where the grandson had stolen money from a safe. The original plan was to break into the Longs' home on a Sunday while the Longs were at church. In preparation for the burglary, Deck and Boliek drove to DeSoto several times to canvass the area.

    On Monday, July 8, 1996, Boliek told Deck that he and Deck's mother wanted to leave for Oklahoma on Friday, and he gave Deck his .22 caliber High Standard automatic loading pistol. That Monday evening, Deck and his sister, Tonia Cummings, drove in her car to rural Jefferson County, near DeSoto, and parked on a back road, waiting for nightfall. Around nine o'clock, Deck and Cummings pulled into the Longs' driveway. Deck and Cummings knocked on the door and Zelma Long answered. Deck asked for directions to Laguana Palma, whereupon Mrs. Long invited them into the house.

    As she explained the directions and as Mr. Long wrote them down, Deck walked toward the front door and pulled the pistol from his waistband. He then turned around and ordered the Longs to go lie face down on their bed, and they complied without a struggle. Next, Deck told Mr. Long to open the safe, but because he did not know the combination, Mrs. Long opened it instead. She gave Deck the papers and jewelry inside and then told Deck she had two hundred dollars in her purse in the kitchen. Deck sent her into the kitchen and she brought the money back to him. Mr. Long then told Deck that a canister on top of the television contained money, so Deck took the canister, as well.

    Hoping to avoid harm, Mr. Long even offered to write a check. Deck again ordered the Longs to lie on their stomachs on the bed, with their faces to the side. For ten minutes or so, while the Longs begged for their lives, Deck stood at the foot of the bed trying to decide what to do. Cummings, who bad been a lookout at the front door, decided time was running short and ran out the door to the car. Deck put the gun to Mr. Long's head and fired twice into his temple, just above his ear and just behind his forehead. Then Deck put the gun to Mrs. Long's head and shot her twice, once in the back of the head and once above the ear. Both of the Longs died from the gunshots.

    After the shooting, Deck grabbed the money and left the house. While fleeing in the car, Cummings complained of stomach pains, so Deck took her to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted. Deck gave her about two hundred fifty dollars of the Lung's money and then drove back to St. Louis County.

    Based on a tip from an informant earlier that same day, St. Louis County Police Officer Vince Wood was dispatched to the apartment complex where Deck and Cummings lived. Officer Wood confronted Deck late that night after he observed him driving the car into the apartment parking lot with the headlights turned off. During a search for weapons, Officer Wood found a pistol concealed under the front seat of the car and, then, placed Deck under arrest. Deck later gave a full account of the murders in oral, written and audio taped statements.

  2. #2
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    November 7, 2008

    HILLSBORO ---- Carman L. Deck was sentenced for a third time today to death for the 1996 fatal shootings of an elderly couple from De Soto.

    Two previous death sentences for Deck, now 43, had been overturned on appeal. He was convicted in 1998 of the murders of James Long, 69, and Zelma Long, 67, during a robbery at the Longs' home.

    The death sentence was imposed today at Hillsboro by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gary Kramer, who accepted the recommendation of a jury that heard the arguments for the death penalty in September.

    The murder conviction has stood over the years. But the previous death sentences were overturned because of legal flaws in two previous death penalty hearings.

    Authorities gave this account of the killings:

    About 15 years before the murders, Deck, of St. Louis County, had befriended one of the Longs' grandchildren, who told him his grandparents kept profits from their gas station in a safe at night. Deck spent the next decade in and out of prison, but never forgot about the Longs and their safe.

    In 1996, he convinced his sister, Tonia Cummings, to help him rob the couple.

    The two demanded money from the safe. But the Longs no longer owned the gas station and gave Deck what they had on hand.

    He ordered them to lie on their bed. In an audiotaped confession, he said he stood over them for about 10 minutes trying to decide whether to kill them because he knew they could identify him. In the end, he shot both in the head, twice.

    In 1998, Cummings pleaded guilty to her part in the crimes and was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

    That same year, a jury convicted Deck of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty. But Deck's attorneys appealed, arguing that a jury instruction had been omitted in the trial; the death sentence was overturned.

    Then, in 2003, another Jefferson County jury recommended the death penalty and a judge again sentenced Deck to death. His appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the sentence after finding that Deck's shackles in the courtroom implied to the jury that he was dangerous.

    (Source: Stltoday.com)

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    January 29, 2010

    High court splits on death penalty reviews

    Jefferson City -- The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of a 1996 double murder. But it is divided about how to consider death penalty cases.

    The court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Carmen Deck of his sentence for the shooting deaths of James and Zelma Long during a robbery of their home near De Soto. But judges expressed differences on how to reach that decision.

    At issue is what cases should be reviewed to determine if the death penalty is a proportionate sentence for a crime. Some judges say it's only necessary to review other death penalty cases, while other judges say they should also review cases with life sentences.

    Either way, the Supreme Court concluded that Deck's death sentence was appropriate.

    http://www.news-leader.com/article/2...433/1001/RSS01

    Opinion is here:

    http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=36703 (pdf)

  4. #4
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    Inmate Personal Information

    DOB: 08/09/1965
    Race: White
    Gender: Male

    Crime and Trial Information

    * County of conviction: Jefferson
    * Number of counts: Two
    * Race of Victims: White/White
    * Gender of Victims: 1 Male/ 1 Female
    * Date of crime: 07/08/1996
    * Date of Sentencing: 04/27/1998

    Legal Status

    Current Proceedings:
    Rule 29.15 PCR

    Attorney

    Jean Marie Willibey

    Court Opinions

    State v. Deck, 994 S.W.2d 527 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1009 (1999); Deck v. State, 68 S.W.3d 418 (Mo. banc 2002) (reversing in part the denial of post‐conviction relief); State v. Deck, 136 S.W.3d 481 (Mo. banc), cert. granted, 543 U.S. 942 (2004); Deck v. Missouri, 544 U.S. 622 (2005) (reversing and remanding); State v. Deck, 303 S.W.3d 527 (Mo. banc 2010) (appeal after new sentencing hearing).

    Legal Issues

    As to first death sentence (reversed in post‐conviction proceedings):
    1. The sufficiency under Batson of State's proffered race‐neutral reasons for striking minority jurors but not similarly‐situated white jurors
    2. The excessive emotional outbursts during victim impact testimony
    3. The failure to instruct jury that mitigating circumstances did not have to unanimously found to exist

    As to second death sentence (reversed on appeal to SCOTUS):
    1. whether due process was violated by trial court's requirement that Mr. Deck appear in restraints throughout the proceedings

    As to third death sentence (on appeal to MO Supreme Court):
    1. whether trial court was statutorily required to impose sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole

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    Mo. court rejects appeals of 2 death row inmates

    The state Supreme Court rejected the appeals Tuesday of two death row inmates from eastern Missouri who had claimed their attorneys provided ineffective aid during their murder trials.

    The court issued unanimous decisions upholding the convictions and death sentences for Carman Deck and Scott McLaughlin.

    Deck was convicted of the fatal shootings of James and Zelma Long during a robbery of their home near De Soto in 1996. His two death sentences were twice overturned, most recently by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 because he had been shackled in the presence of jurors. But at a third re-sentencing hearing, Deck again received two death sentences, which were upheld by the state Supreme Court in January 2010.

    In his latest appeal, Deck argued that his attorney erred in a variety of ways, including by not calling additional mitigating witnesses to testify about his troubled childhood and by failing to conduct neuropsychological testing on him.

    McLaughlin was convicted of raping and fatally stabbing his former girlfriend, Beverly Guenther, in St. Louis County in 2003. He was sentenced to death by a judge after jurors agreed he had acted with the necessary depravity of mind to be executed but deadlocked on whether that was trumped by other mitigating factors. The state Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in 2008.

    In his latest appeal, McLaughlin argued that the judge who sentenced him to death should have been disqualified from presiding over his subsequent claims that his trial attorney was ineffective. Among other things, McLaughlin claimed his attorney should have presented evidence about his mental health and neuropsychological impairments as mitigating evidence in the penalty phase.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/M...es-3682181.php
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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  6. #6
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    On August 27, 2012, Deck filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/mis...v01527/122159/

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    2 decades after murders, Lake of the Ozarks family still looking for justice

    Convicted murderer Carmen Deck's continuing existence haunts the family of James and Zelma Long as does the push in some quarters to abolish the death penalty.

    2 decades after the murder of a DeSoto, Mo.,couple with ties to the Lake of the Ozarks, their killer is still alive, appealing his death sentence though not his guilt.

    Convicted murderer Carmen Deck's continuing existence haunts the family of James and Zelma Long as does the push in some quarters to abolish the death penalty.

    On July 8, 1996, James and Zelma Long were killed in DeSoto by Carmen Deck who fired 2 gunshots into each of their heads during a burglary of the Longs' home. Jim was 69 years old and Zelma, 67.

    The Longs had stayed in DeSoto for the weekend for a wedding, according to Karen Long, married to Jim and Zelma's son Bill.Bill and Karen are now full time residents of Lake Ozark.

    Normally, Jim and Zelma would have been at their 2nd home on the Lake of the Ozarks. According to Karen, spending weekends at the Lake was the Longs' typical routine.

    Jim and Zelma had loved Lake life - a balm after the death of their son in a car accident in 1972. They each had their own boat and would often go out crappie fishing, competing for the best catch. Among their neighborhood, Karen said, they were known for their annual holiday fish fries that close to 100 relatives and friends would attend.

    "He knew they were usually gone on the weekends," said Karen.

    At the family's Lake home on the weekend of the murder, Karen answered the phone to a "terrible whispering" - her sister-in-law (Jim and Zelma's daughter) breaking down saying over and over "mom and dad are dead."

    Karen gave the phone to Bill who got the awful news that his parents had been murdered.

    Arrested the same day as the murder, Deck gave full accounts of what happened and was convicted in 1998 by a Jefferson County jury of 2 counts of 1st degree murder, 2 counts of armed criminal action, 1st degree robbery and 1st degree burglary.

    On April 27, 1998, Deck received 2 death sentences for the murders, concurrent life sentences for the 2 counts of armed criminal action, consecutive sentences of 30 years imprisonment for robbery and 15 years for burglary.

    He has since been through multiple appeals of his death sentences - 1 going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The death sentences have been tossed out in the appeals process twice based on technical issues during sentencing (1 from a missing line in the jury's written instructions that the judge read to the jury, and the other that went to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing bias was created because Deck was shackled during sentencing). Each time his death sentences have been thrown out, Deck has been resentenced to death again, the last being in 2008.

    "What have we learned in 2 decades? We have learned this murderer is still guilty of pressing a gun to the scalp of 2 innocent people and pulling the trigger 4 times. Not in all the do-overs since 1996 has one attorney been able to say this was not true," wrote Karen in a letter to Lake Media.

    According to Karen, in the appeals that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the original jurors were not aware he was even shackled and assumed he was supposed to be for their safety.

    "The jurors were seated after him; boxes of case files blocked much of their view of him. He had a free hand to flip his hair and touch his lawyer and laugh at us, the jury, and the entire system," she said.

    In a later interview, Karen commented, "It's all a game to them [criminals], working the system. But this has destroyed Bill's family. His parents were the nucleus of the family."

    Now at the federal level in a new appeal, the case has "languished" in the United States District Court, District of Missouri Eastern Division, since 2013.

    "While 1 judge sat on it with no deadline, finally recusing from the case and causing the case to be assigned to another judge. It still has the 2 more courts to go through before being finished," said Karen, who wonders whether he will actually be executed for the murders or if he will just die in prison of natural causes.

    It's important to her and the Long family, she said, that he be executed and not just pass away in prison.

    "Most of our family had never given the death penalty much thought before that time; now we were immersed in it," wrote Karen. "We only knew we wanted justice for something so cold, so vile, and so unbelievable that yet today it still seems like a nightmare we cannot awake from. However, nearly 20 years later, we are still waiting for that wheel of justice to turn. Jim and Zelma's friends are nearly gone, as are their siblings; none seeing what they thought would be a fulfillment by our judicial system. Their children are now reaching the age their parents were when time stopped."

    As the 20th anniversary of the murders nears, family members of James and Zelma feel that justice has yet to be done with Deck still alive and still appealing.

    As time goes on, the family - also victims of Deck's - continues to be hurt by a system that drags out the process and remains uncertain, as the case faces continual appeals over technicalities and a bill to eliminate the death penalty in Missouri is filed every session.

    Bill and Karen Long have been advocates of the death penalty since the sentence was first issued against Deck. While they used to attend all the appeals hearings that they could and testify to the state legislature in favor of the death penalty, they've slowed down in the last few years as the system continues to cause frustration. 44 at the time of his parents' death, Bill is now 64 and not in the best of health.

    "I'm tired of being told to forgive. You don't know until it happens to you what it's like. This isn't about forgiveness. It's about the law. 3 juries have all agreed, and they've picked it apart, picked it apart and picked it apart," she said.

    In the meantime, Deck has shown no regret or remorse for what he did, said Karen, only appealing on technicalities, never disputing his actions.

    In her letter, Karen wrote, "They like to say how expensive the death penalty is compared to Life in Prison, but they're not sure if they're talking Life without parole or just life. They're not sure if there has even been a true cost comparison in Missouri, some are not even aware Missouri does not have a death row. Please don't even mention colors, we all bleed red - the law is black and white. We have been told the public doesn't care if we lose the death penalty for the most heinous of crimes, such as in our case, 2 people shot execution style in the bedroom they shared for 49 years. They don't believe that most family victim members are frozen for decades following and can barely become motivated to go to work, complete daily living activities. They are just hanging on, unable to advocate for their loved ones."

    Karen pointed out that there has never been a full study of the cost of the death penalty in Missouri, which does not have a separate death row but houses those convicts in general population in the maximum security Potosi Correctional Center.

    She has become disillusioned, too, with legislators who first sought to use the aging case for their agenda but just as often now don't want to deal with a topic that is no longer a buzzword in politics - the lives and deaths of Jim and Zelma becoming a political football that now has become too messy to touch.

    (Source: lakenewsonline.com)
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  8. #8
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    On April 13, 2017, US District Court Judge Catherine Perry (Clinton) GRANTED Deck's habeas petition and ordered that he be re-sentenced to life imprisonment.

    https://dockets.justia.com/docket/mi...cv01527/122159

  9. #9
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    This is the same federal judge that granted stays when Missouri was emptying their death row. I bet the 8th Circuit will reverse this one.

  10. #10
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Deck's petition for writ of certiorari as to his conviction was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    Case Numbers: (18-1617)
    Decision Date: August 20, 2018
    Rehearing Denied: October 10, 2018

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/18-8820.html

    The State of Missouri is still appealing before the Eighth Circuit the Federal District Court's reversal of Deck's death sentence.

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketP...pd%20final.pdf

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