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Margaret Ann Allen - Florida Death Row
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Thread: Margaret Ann Allen - Florida Death Row

  1. #1
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    Margaret Ann Allen - Florida Death Row

    Wendy Wright, 39

    September 11, 2010

    Titusville woman may meet death row

    The state thinks 44-year-old Margaret Allen deserves to die for her role in the 2005 torture and murder of an acquaintance she thought stole her purse and $2,000.

    Prosecutors will pursue a conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and kidnapping, saying the Titusville woman hit Wenda Wright, 39, again and again -- then poured bleach, nail-polish remover and ammonia over her face and choked her with a belt.

    Allen's trial is scheduled to begin as early as Monday, with jury selection. A guilty verdict could send Allen to death row, where she'd be one of only two women currently facing execution, compared with 390 men.

    Although female death-row inmates are rare, their executions are even rarer.

    Experts say the system doesn't favor women: They just commit fewer crimes that make them eligible.

    "You have to commit an aggravated murder," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

    He said women commit about 10 percent of murders in the country, but only about 1 percent of those executed are women.

    Women rarely kill a stranger, or torture and kill someone, Dieter said.

    "They have only had 11 executions of women since 1976. It is a rare phenomenon."

    According to the Florida Department of Corrections, two women have been executed in the state, including suspected serial killer Aileen Wuornos -- the subject of the 2003 movie "Monster," starring Charlize Theron.

    Sixteen women have been sentenced to death in Florida, dating back to 1926, according to the department, but 13 of the original sentences were commuted.

    Nationwide, there are 61 women facing execution, making up less than 2 percent of the total death row population.

    Theft accusation

    Wright was reported missing on Feb. 8, 2005, and Titusville police began their investigation.

    Two days later, two people not involved with the crime went to the police department and told officers Wright had been murdered.

    Then Quinton Allen, Margaret's nephew who is now 24, came forward and told police Wright was killed in his presence.

    Police served a search warrant at Margaret Allen's house, 415 S. Robbins Ave., where the murder allegedly occurred. She and James Martin, now 60, were arrested.

    Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to discuss the Allen case with FLORIDA TODAY, but court and police documents paint a grisly picture.

    Allen's purse was missing and she suspected Wright, her housekeeper, who kept denying she had taken it.

    At some point during the confrontation, according to documents, Allen started hitting Wright: "Quinton Allen said he was directed to help hold the victim, while Margaret Allen used a cloth belt to bind the victim's legs, and then he was instructed to hold the victim's hands and keep her from getting up . . ."

    Police said he feared for his safety because his aunt was carrying a semi-automatic handgun.

    Allen then put her knee on the victim's neck and started pouring the bleach and other chemicals on Wright's face.

    "The victim was gagging on the chemicals, crying and begging for her life," the documents said.

    Margaret tried to put adhesive on her mouth but "the tape would not stick due to the chemicals," Quinton Allen said during a prior hearing.

    Wright stopped moving. She was unconscious, Margaret Allen told her nephew, according to records. A day later, she picked up Quinton Allen and told him he would have to help dispose of the body.

    A medical examiner's report said the primary cause of her death was homicidal violence and cocaine intoxication.

    Shallow grave

    According to reports, Margaret Allen, her nephew and Martin had trouble getting rid of Wright's body, which weighed more than 300 pounds. They buried it in a shallow grave near State Road 46 in North Brevard.

    "Quinton Allen took us to the scene and the grave was located," a police report said.

    Quinton Allen pleaded to a second-degree murder charge and is expected to be released from prison in 2019, while Martin pleaded to a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and served about five years. He was released in October 2009, but is back in jail on a violation of probation charge.

    Both received reduced charges and sentences for agreeing to testify against Margaret Allen, whom police believe was the ring leader in the Wright slaying.

    She had been convicted of numerous felony charges before the homicide, including possession and sale of drugs and aggravated assault.

    In 1991, she faced a charge of first-degree murder, but was found guilty of battery and aggravated battery. Records on that case weren't available.


  2. #2
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    Trial of Titusville woman accused of killing maid gets under way

    A defense attorney cast doubt on the credibility of a key witness during opening statements Wednesday in the death penalty trial of Margaret Allen.

    Allen, a 44-year-old Titusville woman, is accused of torturing and killing Wenda Wright, her friend and housekeeper, before burying her body near a dirt road off State Road 46 in North Brevard in February 2005.

    2 men -- Quinton Allen, 24, and 60-year-old James Martin -- were alleged to have played a role in the killing and body disposal but were given plea deals in return for their testimony against Allen.

    Following nearly 3 days of jury selection and the seating of a 14-member panel, opening statements began late Wednesday. Defense Attorney Frank Bankowitz asked the jurors to weigh the credibility of the witnesses expected to testify.

    "What Quinton Allen says has to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt," he said.

    The state says Quinton Allen was present during the killing of Wright.

    He pleaded to second-degree murder and is expected to be released from prison in 2019.

    Martin, who confessed to helping dispose of Wright's body, served five years in prison and is back in jail on a violation of probation charge. Prosecutor Russ Bausch said Quinton Allen confessed to police "because he could not let it go. It was weighing on his conscience." In his opening statement, Bausch painted a gory picture of the crime, in which Allen is accused of beating and choking Wright because she suspected her of stealing a purse that contained about $2,000.

    He described how Wright was choked with a belt and how Allen poured nail polish remover and other cosmetic fluids on her face. Foam came out of Wright's mouth, Bausch said.

    "And then she didn't move anymore," he added.

    Johnny Dublin, Wright's common-law husband, testified in court Wednesday about how Allen came to his house and offered him $200 for the missing purse. Dublin said he told her he did not know anything about the purse.

    (Source: Florida Today)

  3. #3
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    September 17, 2010

    Witness offers graphic testimony in Titusville housekeeper's slaying

    A key witness in the death penalty trial of Margaret Allen recounted the slaying of a Titusville housekeeper in sometimes excruciating detail Thursday.

    Quinton Allen, who isn't related to the defendant, told investigators he saw Allen kill Wenda Wright in February 2005, and then -- along with another man--helped her bury the body in north Brevard.

    He testified Thursday he helped hold Wright down as Allen choked her with a belt and poured nail polish remover and other chemicals on her face.

    He said Allen was upset about losing a purse containing about $2,000 and kept asking Wright about it.

    Quinton Allen accepted a plea deal in the case in return for his testimony. The 24-year-old is scheduled to be in prison until 2019 on a second-degree murder charge.

    James Martin, another man who helped bury the body, also accepted a plea deal and served about five years in prison. He is back in jail on a violation of probation charge.

    On Thursday, Quinton Allen said Allen used a semi-automatic pistol to threaten him into complying during the crime.

    Prosecutor Russ Bausch asked if he feared for his life.

    "Yes, sir, I was," he said, occasionally looking over at 44-year-old Allen, who has been charged with first-degree felony murder and kidnapping.

    Wright's common law husband, Johnny Dublin, quietly cried as Quinton Allen recounted the details of the gruesome killing.

    "She began to shake and after about three minutes, she did not move anymore," he said.

    At another point in his testimony, Quinton Allen said the hole they dug for Wright's body near a dirt road off State Road 46 in north Brevard wasn't big enough. A piece of plywood was then placed on the body and Martin was asked to jump on it, he said.

    During cross examination, defense attorney Frank Bankowitz concentrated on possible discrepancies in Quinton Allen's deposition to law enforcement authorities and his testimony in court.

    When Bankowitz pressed for some details, he said: "I can't remember at this moment sir, I can't remember."

    "Did she pour the ammonia in her mouth?" Bankowitz asked.

    "I told you she poured the chemicals on her face," Quinton Allen said.

    In initial police reports of the incident, Quinton Allen is referred to as Allen's nephew. But it is likely that they are not blood relatives, according to court testimony.

    The only other witness testifying Thursday was a Lowe's employee who reportedly saw Allen and the two men buying a piece of plywood used to help move Wright's body.


  4. #4
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    September 20, 2010

    Judge ponders admission of evidence in Allen murder trial

    Judge George Maxwell sent jurors to an early lunch Monday giving him time to rule on whether to allow a medical report into evidence of Margaret Allen’s death penalty murder trial.

    At issue is whether the report – stating cocaine intoxication as one of two causes of death – be allowed when the doctor is not present to be cross-examined.

    Allen, 44, is charged with first-degree felony murder and kidnapping in the
    slaying of housekeeper Wenda Wright in February 2005.

    According to court testimony, Allen was upset about a missing purse containing about $2,000 and suspected Wright of taking it. She beat up Wright and tortured her with a belt around her neck and then buried her with the help of James Martin and Quinton Allen, prosecutors say.

    Both Martin and Quinton Allen have pleaded guilty in the case and testified against Margaret Allen.

    Prosecutor Gary Beatty urged Maxwell not to allow the medical report since he would not be able to challenge any of the findings in it.

    “It’s pure hearsay and cannot be allowed into evidence,” he said.

    Earlier, the jury heard Titusville Crime Scene Technician Denise Fitzgerald testify about finding the buried body of Wright in a wooded area off of State Road 46.

    “We uncovered what we believed to be human skin,” she said. “Then we found turquoise fabric and uncovered the toes of a person.”


  5. #5
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    September 20, 2010

    Trial Nears End For Woman Facing Death Row

    A Brevard County woman is on trial, accused of torturing and killing a cleaning lady by pouring chemicals down her throat. She could become just the second woman on Florida's death row.

    Monday, the defense rested without calling a single witness. Tuesday, at the Moore Justice Center, the state will make its final argument for convicting Margaret Allen of capital murder.

    Brevard County's chief medical examiner described a beating so brutal Monday it's likely 39-year-old Wenda Wright lost consciousness in the moments before she was strangled to death.

    "How long does it take," Dr. Sajid Syed Qaiser was asked in court Monday.

    "In four to six minutes they would be brain dead," he said.

    Prosecutors believe Allen was responsible for the February 2005 attack on Wright, because Allen believed her housekeeper and friend had stolen $2,000.

    Two witnesses took the stand saying they helped Allen dispose of Wright's body in a wooded area off State Road 46 in north Brevard County. Quinton Allen and James Martin described forcing Wright's body into a shallow grave.

    Wright, who was morbidly obese, also suffered from a heart ailment and cirrhosis of the liver. The victim also had traces of cocaine in her system during her autopsy. But Monday, the county's chief medical examiner was clear on the Titusville woman's cause of death.

    "Homicidal violence," Dr. Qaiser said.

    Defense attorney Frank Bankowitz has worked to cast doubt on the credibility of the state's witnesses as well as the physical evidence in the case.

    "Was there any evidence of the bleach being poured?" Bankowitz questioned.

    If convicted of first-degree felony murder, the state is seeking the death penalty for Allen. Only 16 women have ever been sentenced to death in Florida and most of their sentences were commuted.

    Only two women have been executed in Florida, including Aileen Wuornos, the subject of the 2003 movie "Monster."

    Closing arguments in this case are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

    Two other people have already pleaded guilty in the case. Quinton Allen, who is Margaret Allen's nephew, has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and is serving a 15-year sentence. James Martin pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder and admitted he helped get rid of Wright's body.


  6. #6
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    Titusville Woman May Face Death Penalty

    A Titusville woman may face the death penalty after her conviction on Tuesday for torture and murder.

    A jury found Margaret Allen guilty of killing her housekeeper in 2005 after she accused her of stealing money.

    The victim was strangled with a belt and had nail polish remover poured over her face.

    The jury returned the verdict in three hours and will now decide whether Allen should become the second woman on Florida's Death Row.


  7. #7
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    Jury Recommends Death For Murder Convict

    A jury on Thursday recommended the death penalty for Margaret Allen, the Titusville woman found guilty of first-degree murder earlier this week in the killing of her housekeeper in February 2005.

    After about two hours of deliberations in the penalty phase of Allen trail, the 12-member jury came back with a unanimous 12-0 verdict, recommending the death penalty.

    Under Florida law, the jury’s advisory sentence does not have to be unanimous. Judge George Maxwell will now decide on Allen’s fate after he ponders the jury’s advisory sentence, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

    A hearing will be held sometime in the next month or so before the judge, in which prosecutors and the defense attorney will once again make the case for and against the death penalty for Allen. At that time, family members of the victim might also speak in front of the judge.

    Allen, 44, was found guilty earlier this week in the February 2005 killing of Wenda Wright in Titusville. Allen suspected Wright of stealing a purse containing $2,000 and beat and tortured her before burying her in a shallow grave in north Brevard with the help of two men, according to court testimony.

    The men received plea deals from the state in exchange for testifying against Allen.

    Closing arguments in the penalty phase of Allen's trial were completed by 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

    In his argument, prosecutor Russ Bausch described to jurors how Wright was tortured and killed by Allen.

    “Heinous, atrocious, cruel,” Bausch said.

    He described how Wright must have gasped for breath as she was being choked. “Those are the last few moments of Wenda Wright’s life,” Bausch said.

    Defense attorney Frank Bankowitz said his client acted he way she did because she suffered from brain damage and is not able to control her emotions.

    “My client has brain damage, there is no question about it,” Bankowitz said.


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    Death penalty hearing postponed for Brevard woman convicted of murder

    Lawyers trying to keep a woman found guilty of murder off death row have asked for a continuance to gather more witnesses.

    Margaret Allen was convicted of killing Wenda Wright in 2005 after Allen accused her of stealing a purse containing $2,000.

    A jury in September recommended the death penalty for Allen.

    A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday for prosecutors and defense attorneys to make their case to the judge on an appropriate sentence.

    Allen’s lawyers, however, asked to postpone the hearing until Dec. 16.


  9. #9
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    Woman May Become Only 2nd On Death Row

    WFTV will be in a Viera courtroom Thursday morning when the families of a murder victim and the woman who killed her speak out.

    A judge will use what they say to decide whether he will send Margaret Allen to death row for torturing and killing her housekeeper.

    Emotions could run high as the court expects to hear from Allen herself. This will be her last chance to plead her case to the judge and potentially save her life.

    The jury already recommended death for Allen. The Titusville woman was convicted of first-degree felony murder for killing her house keeper Wenda Wright in 2005 because she thought Wright was stealing money for her.

    WFTV was in court in September of 2010 when a jury recommended Allen receive death by lethal injection. Allen did not move a muscle during the announcement.

    "By a vote of 12 to 0, advise and recommend to the court that it impose the death penalty on Margaret Ann Allen," a juror announced to the court.

    During the closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors that Allen deserved the death penalty because she also tortured Wright by tying her up, beating her and pouring liquids on her face.

    Allen could become only the second woman on Florida's death row.


  10. #10
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    Brevard County woman to wait to find out if she will be on death row

    A Brevard County woman will not learn for another couple of months if she will become the second woman on death row in the state of Florida.

    Margaret Allen has been convicted in the 2005 torture and murder of Wenda Wright, her friend and housekeeper.

    A jury recommended Allen receive the death penalty in September. But it's up to the judge if she will join one other woman on Florida's death row.

    Allen took the stand Thursday morning, handcuffed and with tears in her eyes.

    During a prepared statement she apologized to Wright's family, then said she was not guilty of strangling Wright with a belt, then helping to bury the body in a rural area of Northern Brevard County.

    Prosecutors said she killed her because she believed the housekeeper had stolen thousands of dollars from her. Allen denied her youngest daughter was present when Allen tortured Wright including pouring bleach on her.

    During questioning, a tearful Allen spoke of physical and sexual abuse as a child by family members, and confirmed she was severely beaten and put in the hospital when she was younger.

    Several relatives and friends spoke on Allen's behalf, pleading with the judge to spare her from death.


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