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  1. #1
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    Tony Savalis Summers - North Carolina Death Row



    Prosecutors are trying Guilford County’s first death penalty case in nearly four years.

    Jury selection began last week and will continue this week in Guilford County Superior Court in the murder and rape trial of Tony Savalis Summers.

    Summers, 36, of Greensboro is accused of raping Lavell N. Williams and stabbing her 40 times at her McIntosh Street apartment on Nov. 7, 2006.

    He also is charged with a second count of rape, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, four counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

    Selecting a jury in this case — one that could lead to a death sentence — may take a while, especially since the interview process is being done one potential juror at a time.

    Typically, 12 jurors are questioned by the prosecution and defense at a time. As people are dismissed, questioning narrows to the unfilled seats. Then, alternates are questioned and selected.

    As of Friday, four jurors out of a pool of about 50 had been selected. Another eight will be needed, along with two or three alternates.

    This trial, because it involves the death penalty, will take place in two phases. In the first phase, the jury will be asked to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charges.

    If the jury convicts on the murder charge, then it will have to decide whether the death penalty is warranted in phase two.

    Assistant District Attorney Stephen Cole, Assistant Public Defender David Clark and defense attorney Robert McClellan declined to comment Friday.

    In previous hearings, Cole argued that capital punishment is warranted because Summers had been convicted of sex offenses, the heinousness of the crime, and the accusation that the murder occurred during the commission of other crimes.

    Cole said Summers broke into Williams’ home, bound her with shoelaces, and raped and killed her while her three children — ages 16, 11 and 5 at the time — were home. The two older children were bound and stabbed. The oldest child escaped and ran to a neighbor’s home.

    Summers fled in a pickup and was later involved in a hit-and-run. He was arrested two days after Williams’ death.

    In the county’s last death penalty case in 2007, the jury couldn’t agree on the punishment. So a judge gave William James Schreiber back-to-back life sentences for killing his girlfriend and drowning her 8-month-old daughter.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2..._homicide_case

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    Capital trial has 13 jurors in place

    GREENSBORO — After more than a month, jury selection in the county’s first death penalty case to be tried in several years appears to be coming to a close.

    Twelve jurors and one alternate had been selected as of Monday in the murder and rape trial of Tony Savalis Summers, 36, of Greensboro.

    Opening arguments will take place once the final two alternates are picked, possibly by Thursday or Friday.

    Summers is accused of raping Lavell N. Williams and stabbing her to death at her McIntosh Street apartment on Nov. 7, 2006.

    He also is charged with a second count of rape, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, four counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

    According to prosecutors, Summers broke into Williams’ apartment, bound her with shoelaces, and raped and killed her while her three children — ages 16, 11 and 5 at the time — were home. The two older children were bound and stabbed. The oldest child escaped and ran to a neighbor’s home.
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    Both the prosecution and defense have declined to comment on the case.

    But their questioning of potential jurors indicates that the defense might argue diminished capacity, meaning their client was in some way mentally deficient at the time the crimes were committed.

    Potential jurors in the Summers case have been questioned one at a time instead of in a group, as is typical. That has lengthened the process.

    The jury will be asked to make two decisions regarding the capital portion of the case: whether the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder; and if he is found guilty, whether he should receive life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...urors_in_place

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    Tony Summers Trial Begins, Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty

    Guilford County's first death penalty case in nearly four years began Monday morning.

    Tony Savalis Summers, 36, is accused in 2006 stabbing death of Lavell Williams. Jury selection for the trial began in January. The jury consists of 12 jurors and three alternates. The judge will not allow cameras in the courtroom.

    Summers is being tried on charges of first degree murder, two charges of rape and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, four counts of kidnapping and one burglary count.

    Investigators said Summers, a convicted sex offender, broke into a home on McIntosh Street during the night of November 7, 2006.

    Police said he attacked Williams and her two daughters, ages 11 and 16. Both daughters were taken to the hospital with stab wounds but survived the attack. Williams' young son was also in the home during the attack. He was not injured.

    Police said a 911 hangup call was made from the home the night of the attack. They said an officer checking on the call did not hear or see any signs of struggle and could not act. The daughter that made the call later told police she was scared the attacker would hear her if she made a sound.

    The trial is expected to last 2-3 weeks from the start of opening statement to the verdict.

    Local attorney Locke Clifford tells WFMY News 2 that one of the reasons for the long delay in getting to trial was that the attorneys involved filed around 80 pre-trial motions. Clifford is not affiliated with this particular case.

    At the time of the crime, Summers was a registered sex offender whose last address was listed on Hanner Street in Greensboro. That's almost three miles from the crime scene.

    According to the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry, Summers was convicted of a second-degree sex offense in 1993 and served six years in prison. He changed his address 15 times with the registry since his release in March 1999.

    The state Department of Corrections said Summers was convicted twice of failing to register as a sex offender. The first resulted in a three-month prison stint in 2002. The second conviction landed him behind bars in 2004 for nine months. He was released in January 2005.

    http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/s...63565&catid=57

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    First-degree murder trial gets under way

    The prosecution laid out a grim scene of a family home invaded in the early morning hours and children forced to watch the rape of their mother in opening arguments today in the county's first capital murder case to be tried in several years.

    Tony Savalis Summers, 36, of Greensboro is accused of raping Lavell N. Williams and stabbing her to death at her McIntosh Street apartment on Nov. 7, 2006, while her three children were home. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty.

    Stephen Cole, an assistant Guilford County district attorney, told the jury that Williams' two daughters, who were 16 and 11 at the time, are expected to testify.
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    The defense told jurors they will show that their client, who has a learning disability, grew up in an environment that led to his use of cocaine and alcohol.

    Assistant Public Defender David Clark told the jury that medical experts will testify that Summers also suffers from frontal lobe damage. That damage, combined with alcohol and cocaine use, left him unable to understand what he did or determine what he did was wrong at the time, Clark said.

    Superior Court Judge Brad Long told the jury the trial could last up to three weeks but that he was making no promises.

    "That's what we're shooting for. It could be longer," he said. "I didn't think jury selection would take five weeks."

    Summers also is charged with a second count of rape, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, four counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

    According to prosecutors, Summers broke into Williams’ apartment, bound her with shoelaces, and raped and killed her while her three children — girls ages 16 and 11 and a boy who was 5 at the time — were home. The two older children were bound and stabbed. The oldest child escaped and ran to a neighbor’s home.

    The oldest daughter, Kiyhana Williams, now 20, began testifying shortly before the lunch break today. The trial resumes at 2 p.m.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2..._resumes_today

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    Summers murder trial begins

    Kiyhana Williams kneeled at the foot of the stairs, bleeding from the stab wound to her neck, her mother dying on the floor next to her.

    She debated whether to give up or make a run for it — maybe save her family.

    Williams, then 16, bolted, twisting sideways to open the door with hands bound behind her back with shoe laces.

    The attacker pursued her, snatched at her shirt, but missed.

    On Monday, Williams recounted her escape during the first day of testimony in the rape and murder trial of Tony Savalis Summers in Guilford County Superior Court.
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    Summers, 36, of Greensboro is accused of raping Lavell N. Williams and stabbing her to death at the family’s McIntosh Street apartment on Nov. 7, 2006. If convicted of first-degree murder, Summers could face the death penalty.

    Kiyhana Williams testified that her mother was repeatedly raped while she, her then 11-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother were in the bed with her. They had fallen asleep in their mother’s bedroom the night before while watching the movie “All About the Benjamins,” she said.

    During opening arguments earlier Monday, the defense told jurors that their client, who has a learning disability, grew up in an environment that led to his use of cocaine and alcohol. Summers also is charged with a second count of rape, burglary, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and four counts of kidnapping.

    “I’m not going to ask you to forgive him or excuse him,” David Clark, an assistant public defender, said. “This case is not only about what happened. It’s about why it happened.”

    Clark told the jury that medical experts will testify that Summers suffers from frontal lobe damage. The brain damage, combined with alcohol and cocaine use that day, left him unable to understand what he did or determine that what he did was wrong at the time, Clark said.

    Doctors will testify the frontal lobe is the part of the brain that allows people to make reasoned decisions and controls intense emotions, he said.

    When Summers is not drinking or taking drugs, he is mild-mannered and polite, Clark said.

    The jury of nine women and three men heard testimony Monday from two officers who went to the apartment, the 911 dispatcher who took the initial call, Kiyhana Williams and her sister, Briana, now 15.

    Kiyhana Williams, now 20 and a college student, occasionally wiped tears with a tissue as she testified.

    Stephen Cole, an assistant Guilford County district attorney, apologized before asking her why no one fought back or ran before she managed to escape.

    “I think it’s because we were still in shock and trying to process everything,” she testified. “We were just stuck. We couldn’t do anything.”

    After the rapes, Summers told the mother to walk him downstairs to the door, Kiyhana Williams testified. She heard him ask for water, the refrigerator door opening and then their mother saying repeatedly, “You don’t want to do this.”

    “I could hear like a pounding sound. It almost sounded like somebody was clapping,” Kiyhana Williams testified. “I knew he was attacking her.

    “Briana asked me what was going on. I would just stare at the ceiling and told her I didn’t know.”

    Kiyhana Williams tried to get her brother, who was untied, to untie them.

    “But he was too scared. He just kept saying no.”

    The noise downstairs went on for awhile “as if it was never going to be over.”

    Medical evidence will show Lavell Williams was stabbed at least 39 times, Cole said.

    At some point, Summers returned to the bedroom and ordered the children to go downstairs with him, according to testimony.

    Kiyhana Williams told the jury she saw her mother lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs. She said she was halfway down when Summers started attacking her. He stabbed her in the throat and collarbone area, she testified.

    “When he stabbed me in the neck I fell down on my mother,” she told the jury. “I heard her moan ... I could hear my brother and sister screaming and crying.”

    She saw Summers stab her sister in the chest, Kiyhana Williams testified.

    “I was thinking, I just stay here and we all die, or I escape and save my whole family.

    “I got up and ran.”

    She made it to a neighbor’s apartment and someone called 911.

    The trial resumes today at 9:30 a.m.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...r_trial_begins

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    Brain injury made Summers impulsive, defense says


    GREENSBORO — Medical experts told jurors Monday that a brain injury left a man accused of raping and killing a woman in 2006 unable to understand the ramifications of what he’d done.

    Tony Savalis Summers, 36, of Greensboro could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Lavell N. Williams.

    A medical examiner testified last week that Williams suffered massive blood loss after being stabbed 39 times in the chin, neck and chest at her McIntosh Street apartment.

    She had been raped multiple times, most of them in front of her children, according to testimony from the oldest daughter, who was 16 at the time.

    “Normal brains and normal minds don’t do these things,” Dan Chartier, a Raleigh psychologist, testified Monday in Guilford County Superior Court as the defense began its case.

    Chartier testified that records he saw and his interview with Summers showed that Summers has a learning disability and that he suffered head trauma several times. The head trauma included multiple epileptic seizures when he was young and an accident in which a car hit his bicycle, Chartier said.

    He said his tests analyzing Summers’s brain waves show that he suffers from moderate damage to the frontal lobe, the area of the brain that governs reasoning and impulse control.

    Assistant District Attorney Stephen Cole asked how Summers could then go from window to window to enter the Williams home and stash a screen in the bushes to hide evidence. Chartier said those were impulsive acts of opportunity.

    Both he and Cary psychiatrist Moira Artigues said Summers could make some decisions, but they were more likely impulsive than planned.

    He might later regret what he had done, but in the moment would be governed by impulses, they testified.

    Artigues testified that Summers also suffers from attachment disorder because of severe abuse and neglect when he was a child. He was shuffled from home to home and studied at 15 schools in 11 years, she testified.

    That also would have affected his brain development, she said.

    Adding alcohol would increase impulsiveness and cocaine would fuel aggression, she said.

    Detectives testified last week that Summers told them he was drinking and taking powder cocaine that night.

    Cole questioned Chartier, who said someone with frontal lobe disorder could be easily provoked. What about what Summers said in his confession to police about why he’d gone to Lavell Williams’ home — because he had a crush on her?

    “Desire is provocation,” Chartier testified. “If there’s a desire, then that’s a provocation.”

    The defense used PowerPoint presentations, with many documents and a couple of videos, to bolster its argument.
    The video clips depicted scientific studies of attachment disorder.

    Jurors received a packet of Chartier’s presentation so they could follow along with the various charts and reports.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...e_defense_says

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    Closing arguments to begin Friday in capital murder case



    GREENSBORO -- Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments Friday morning in the trial of a man accused of raping and killing a woman at her Greensboro apartment in 2006.

    Tony Savalis Summers, 36, of Greensboro could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the Nov. 7, 2006 stabbing death of Lavell N. Williams.

    Eight days of testimony ended Wednesday. Attorneys spent Thursday going over the wording on the various charges the jury will have to decide on once it begins deliberations.

    Savalis is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of rape, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, four counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

    According to testimony, Summers broke into the Williams home while drunk and high on cocaine, raped Williams multiple times in front of her children, then stabbed her 39 times. Two children also were stabbed; one escaped and fled to a neighbor’s apartment where someone called 911.

    Defense attorneys contend that childhood injuries left Summers with brain damage that made him unable to comprehend the consequences of what he had done. Alcohol and cocaine use added to his inability to control himself that day, medical experts testified.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...al_murder_case

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    Edited

    Closing arguments began Monday in the case of a man accused of murdering a Greensboro woman and attacking her two children 5 years ago.

    http://www.myfox8.com/news/wghp-stor...,3511557.story

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    Jury finds Greensboro man guilty of murder

    A Guilford County jury returned guilty verdicts this morning in the first-degree murder trial of 36-year-old Tony Savalis Summers.

    Jurors convicted Summers of first-degree murder, two counts of rape, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and four counts of kidnapping. He showed little emotion to the decision.

    Defense attorneys will begin presenting their case Tuesday for why jurors should sentence Summers to life in prison rather than the death penalty.

    Summers was accused of murdering Lavell N. Williams in November 2006.

    According to testimony, Summers broke into the Williams home while drunk and high on cocaine, raped Williams multiple times in front of her children, then stabbed her 39 times. Two children also were stabbed; one escaped and fled to a neighbor’s apartment where someone called 911.

    Defense attorneys contend that childhood injuries left Summers with brain damage that made him unable to comprehend the consequences of what he had done. Alcohol and cocaine use added to his inability to control himself that day, medical experts testified.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...ilty_of_murder

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    Jury in capital murder case to continue deliberation

    A jury is set to continue its deliberation Friday morning as it decides the fate of a Greensboro man convicted of raping and killing a mother whose three children, according to testimony, watched the attack.

    On Monday, the jury found 36-year-old Tony Savalis Summers guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of rape, four counts of kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

    They will decide to sentence him to death or give him life in prison without possibility of parole for the first-degree murder conviction. The jurors deliberated for more than two hours and 10 minutes Thursday.

    Summers was convicted in connection with the Nov. 7, 2006, death of Lavell Williams at her McIntosh Street apartment. Her three children, ages 16, 11 and 5 at the time, were home and forced to watch as their mother was raped, according to testimony.

    Summers broke into the Williams home while drunk and high on cocaine, raped Williams multiple times, then stabbed her 39 times, according to testimony. Two children also were stabbed; one escaped and fled to a neighbor’s apartment where someone called 911.

    Defense attorneys contend that childhood injuries left Summers with brain damage that made him unable to comprehend the consequences of what he had done. Alcohol and cocaine use added to his inability to control himself that day, medical experts testified.

    http://www.news-record.com/content/2...e_deliberation

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