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Bruce Carneil Webster - Federal Death Row
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Thread: Bruce Carneil Webster - Federal Death Row

  1. #1
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Bruce Carneil Webster - Federal Death Row



    Lisa Rene





    Summary of Offense:

    Tried in Fort Worth, Texas for the abduction, sexual assault and beating murder of 16-year-old Lisa Rene in 1994. Bruce Carneil Webster was sentenced to death in June 1996. Co-defendant Orlando Hall had previously been sentenced to death in November 1995.

    Webster was scheduled for execution on April 16, 2007. However, the execution was stayed. Webster had joined the lethal injection challenge filed by other inmates.

    For more on Hall, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...arneil+webster

  2. #2
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    On April 28, 2010, Webster was denied a Certificate of Appealability by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Opinion

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    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    July 18, 2010

    Mental retardation evidence may not save Arlington teen's killer from death chamber

    Bruce Carneil Webster helped kidnap, rape, torture and bury alive Arlington teen Lisa Rene.

    A judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees that new evidence, including psychological examinations, appears to show that Webster is mentally retarded.

    But although the U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty for the mentally retarded eight years ago, 5th Circuit Judge Jacques Wiener Jr. and his two colleagues agree that they can't stop Webster's execution. The panel says he exhausted his appeals to the point that it can't consider new evidence unless it is likely to prove he was innocent.

    And since everyone agrees he's guilty, Webster still faces death.

    "We today have no choice but to condone just such an unconstitutional punishment," Wiener wrote as part of the panel's April 28 ruling denying Webster's request for a hearing on the new evidence.

    Experts say the case is headed for a constitutional showdown.

    "It's an outrageous situation," said David Bruck, a death penalty expert at Washington and Lee University law school in Virginia. "Sometimes the law just doesn't fit the facts. This is one of those times."

    Steven Wells, Webster's attorney, said he plans to ask the Supreme Court to untangle the mess.

    "If we're allowed to bring this new evidence before a fair and impartial judge, they will find that Bruce Webster is mentally retarded," Wells said.

    Deadly night

    On Sept. 24, 1994, Webster and three other men from Pine Bluff, Ark., went to the Polo Run apartments in Arlington. They were hunting two drug dealers who had taken $5,000 but failed to deliver a load of marijuana.

    The dealers weren't home. Their sister, Lisa, a high school honor student, was.

    The men crashed through a glass patio door, put her in a car and drove her to Arkansas. They repeatedly raped her over the next two days in motel rooms, and then led her to a nearby park.

    Webster and the others hit her on the head with a shovel until she lost consciousness. Webster then gagged her, dragged her into a grave they had dug, stripped her, doused her with gasoline and buried her alive.

    One other man, Orlando Hall, also is on death row. Three others – including a man not involved in the kidnapping but charged in her death – also were convicted in the murder and sent to prison.

    Evidence claiming Webster is mentally retarded was a major part of his 1996 criminal trial, and has been a part of his appeals.

    At his trial, jurors heard defense experts and Webster's family say he is mentally retarded. Prosecutors acknowledged his low IQ, but argued that he was able to adapt to his lack of intellect and knew right from wrong. A fellow inmate testified he saw Webster appear to be reading law books and making notes from them while in prison.

    After the jury found him guilty, jurors were asked whether they thought Webster was or could be mentally retarded. Four of the 12 answered "yes."

    U.S. District Judge Terry Means ruled then that Webster was not mentally retarded and sentenced him to death. His attorneys appealed.

    High court ruling

    In 2002, the Supreme Court clarified laws on mental retardation and execution in Atkins vs. Virginia, ruling that executing the mentally retarded constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Webster's attorneys cited that decision in their appeal, but the 5th Circuit soon upheld Webster's death sentence, relying on the same arguments and evidence used at trial.

    In February 2009, Webster's attorneys received records from when Webster applied for Social Security benefits to treat a sinus condition and headaches.

    Those records, from a year before the killing, show that three doctors who examined him had found him to be mentally retarded.

    The Social Security forms show that Webster had answered questions in nearly illegible, childlike handwriting: "I sleeps look at cartoon," he scrawled in answer to a question asking how he spent most days. When asked what books he liked, he answered, "Playboy naked books."

    The records also show that Webster had been in special education classes as a child, contrary to what government witnesses told jurors at his trial.

    In a motion opposing Webster's request for a hearing on the new evidence, prosecutors noted that one of the Social Security doctors said Webster was a "somewhat mild retarded con man, but very streetwise."

    They also argued that Webster had just as much motivation to lie about his retardation to get Social Security benefits as he did to get out of the death penalty.

    Richard Roper, who prosecuted Webster in his original Fort Worth trial, said the new evidence is not conclusive.

    "This was extensively litigated at trial," he said. "I don't agree that this new evidence clearly establishes mental retardation."

    It doesn't matter. The 5th Circuit found that because Webster had no new information showing he was innocent of the killing, it interpreted the law to mean it could not grant the new hearing.

    The "Kafkaesque" situation, as Wiener describes it, arises out of changes made to federal criminal law in 1996. After the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center attack, Congress put strict limits on the number of times federal inmates can challenge their sentences.

    To file more than one appeal, an inmate has to have new information "sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable fact finder would have found the [defendant] guilty of the offense," the law states.

    In the 5th Circuit's ruling, Wiener wrote: "If the evidence that Webster attempts to introduce here were ever presented to a judge or jury for consideration on the merits, it is virtually guaranteed that he would be found to be mentally retarded."

    Roper, who is now in private practice, acknowledged that if the Supreme Court does not choose to hear the case, "it could still be up to President Obama as to whether an execution should go forward."

    Lisa's mother, Agnes Rene, who lives in the Virgin Islands, said Webster deserves no mercy.

    "He's just wicked," she said. "He claimed he was mentally retarded because he knew what was coming for him. He hit my daughter with a shovel. He buried her alive. The courts better know what they are doing. He was guilty. He is guilty. And he knew what he was doing."

    John Blume, a law professor and director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project, said the case is a test of the legal system's evenhandedness.

    "Is it fair to say that, because we don't like what this guy did, it's OK to not follow the law that says you can't execute someone who is mentally retarded?"

    Source

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    High court turns down federal death row inmate

    The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a federal death row prisoner who wants the courts to consider evidence that one federal judge said "is virtually guaranteed" to show the inmate is mentally retarded and thus barred from being executed.

    The court did not comment Monday in rejecting an appeal from Bruce Carneil Webster. He was sentenced to death more than 14 years ago and has since tried in vain to persuade federal judges that he is mentally retarded.

    Evidence recently provided by the Social Security Administration shows three federal doctors determined Webster was mentally retarded when he applied for disability benefits in 1993, a year before 16-year-old Lisa Rene was kidnapped and killed.

    Rene was raped, beaten and buried alive after her abduction was recorded in a desperate 911 call.

    Webster is not contesting his conviction, just his death sentence.

    But under a 1996 law, a federal court can only consider new evidence this late in the appeals process when it would provide evidence of a defendant's innocence.

    The case is Webster v. U.S., 10-150.

    (Source: The Washington Post)

  5. #5
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    Related

    Duncanville drug dealer whose rivals buried teenage sister alive gets 12 years in prison

    By CHRISTINA ROSALES
    The Dallas Morning News

    A Duncanville drug dealer whose rivals buried his teenage sister alive in 1994 was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for his involvement in a three-year drug-trafficking conspiracy.

    Neil Nick Rene, 37, pleaded guilty in October to carrying out a scheme in which he and others mailed packages of marijuana from North Texas to the Virgin Islands, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

    He was sentenced to 151 months in prison. Two conspirators were also sentenced after guilty pleas: April Michelle Greene, 37, of Fort Worth got 78 months and Kareem Ambrose, 33, received 12 months and a $1,000 fine.

    A third, 48-year-old Carl Gayheart Schou, pleaded guilty in November and is to be sentenced in October.

    This isn’t the first brush with the law for Rene. Authorities said the 1994 murder of his sister, Lisa Rene, came after he and his half brother, Stanfield Vitalis, owed $5,000 for drugs to Orlando Hall of El Dorado, Ark.

    When the brothers didn’t pay up, Hall and four other men headed to Arlington where the brothers lived. They didn’t find the brothers but in retaliation abducted the 16-year-old honor student.

    “You would have hoped he would have changed his ways, but that’s exactly why he got in trouble,” Richard Roper, the former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Lisa Rene’s killers, said after Rene’s arrest last year. “He got into things that led to a series of events that led to the murder of his sister, Lisa, who was completely innocent.”

    The girl was taken to Arkansas, where she was raped, beaten with a shovel and buried alive. She pleaded with her killers to spare her, apologizing for her brothers’ actions and promising to pay back the money.

    Hall was sentenced to death, along with Bruce Webster. Both men remain on death row at a federal prison in Indiana. Three accomplices pleaded guilty to kidnapping and testified against the killers.

    In the drug-trafficking conspiracy case against Nick Rene, authorities say he, Green and Schou mailed parcels of marijuana from several post offices in North Texas to buyers in St. Croix and used fake return addresses.

    The buyers in St. Croix would then mail the dealers proceeds from the sales in the form of U.S. Postal money orders, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaa’s office. To disguise the transactions further, Rene and Schou mailed the proceeds to third parties and deposited money orders into their own bank accounts or cashed them at several locations.

    Their arrests in April 2012 came after a two-year investigation and the arrests of several others in St. Croix. Authorities believe Rene was the ringleader in the conspiracy.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime...-in-prison.ece

  6. #6
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On January 9, 2014, Webster filed a habeas appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. I don't know why this is before the Seventh Circuit (which covers Indiana where Webster's locked up) and not the Fifth (since the crime took place in Texas).

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...ts/ca7/14-1049

  7. #7
    Senior Member Frequent Poster johncocacola's Avatar
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    Webster is a plaintiff in the lethal injection lawsuit, perhaps that lawsuit is being heard in the 7th circuit because it covers Indiana.

  8. #8
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    It could be. However, at least the original lethal-injection lawsuit, which is unresolved as far as I know, is being litigated in DC District Court.

  9. #9
    Weidmann1939
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    I think part of the hold up there is Holder wants to see most of the state Ll drug protocol litigation resolved. Rather then give DP states like Texas or Florida any standard to piggyback off of.

  10. #10
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On August 1, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit AFFIRMED the Federal District Court's denial of Webster's successive habeas petition (based on a claim of mental retardation).

    http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/...014-08-01.html

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