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Thomas Alexander Porter - Virginia Death Row
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Thread: Thomas Alexander Porter - Virginia Death Row

  1. #1
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    Thomas Alexander Porter - Virginia Death Row


    Officer Stanley Reaves




    Summary of Offense:

    Born on November 1, 1975 and sentenced to death in the City of Norfolk on July 16, 2007.

    Thomas Alexander Porter was sentenced to death for the October 28, 2005, capital murder of Stanley Reaves, a Norfolk police officer shot to death as he attempted to stop and question him.

    Porter and a friend, Reginald Copeland, drove in Porter’s Jeep to an apartment to buy marijuana from a friend of Copeland’s.

    Porter, a felon, was carrying a concealed, 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a crime punishable by five years in prison. The men entered the apartment, which was occupied by the friend and several other women and girls.

    The women said they did not have any marijuana for sale, angering Porter, who argued with them and brandished his handgun, threatening to shoot one of them. Copeland left the apartment but Porter remained, locking the door from the inside.

    Copeland reported his concerns about Porter to three police officers, one of them Reaves, who he encountered a block away. Reaves drove his marked police car to the front of the apartment with Copeland following on foot.

    As Reaves approached the building, Copeland pointed out Porter to the officer. Porter was leaving the apartment after he learned a police car had arrived. Reaves confronted Porter, told him to take his hands out of his pockets and then grabbed Porter’s left arm.

    Two witnesses then saw Porter shoot Reaves. One of them, Simone Coleman, testified that the officer did not have his firearm out. She saw Porter draw his gun out of his pocket, aim at Reaves’ head and shoot.

    Reaves fell to the ground, said Coleman. Another witnesses said that after Reaves fell, Porter shot him twice more, “between the back of the head and neck.” No witness ever saw Reaves draw his weapon.

    Porter took Reaves’ gun and fled to New York City. He was caught a month later in White Plains, New York, with the murder weapon in his possession. Reaves’ gun was found in Yonkers, New York.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    July 16, 2007

    Porter sentenced to die for killing Norfolk police officer

    A judge imposed the death penalty Monday on Thomas A. Porter, the man convicted of killing city police Officer Stanley C. Reaves. Circuit Judge Chuck Griffith announced the sentence in a courtroom crowded with friends, family and colleagues of the fallen officer.

    Reaves was responding to a complaint on Oct. 28, 2005, in Park Place when he approached Porter, who shot him in the head. It happened in broad daylight in front of several witnesses.

    Porter was convicted of capital murder in March in Arlington, where the trial was moved because of publicity. Jurors there recommended the death sentence.

    Monday's hearing was held in a courtroom much larger than Griffith's usual space on the second floor of the courthouse.

    By the time the hearing began, police officers in uniforms and suits had filled the nine benches on the right of the room, and some stood along the walls in the back. Reaves' widow, Treva, sat near the front.

    On the other side of the aisle, a few people waited in support of Porter, including Juanice Hendricks, who was Porter's girlfriend at the time of the shooting. Porter drove her Jeep Cherokee into Park Place that day.

    One of Porter's lawyers, Capital Defender Joseph A. Migliozzi Jr., again asked the judge to recuse himself from the case. He also asked Griffith to declare the death penalty unconstitutional and to set aside the jury's recommendation of death and impose a life prison sentence instead. Griffith denied the requests.

    Neither Migliozzi nor Commonwealth's Attorney Jack Doyle presented evidence.

    Porter spoke at length before Griffith imposed the sentence. He said he had been ill-treated at the jail while awaiting trial because of the charge he faced. He said he was not the monster prosecutors made him out to be.

    And he addressed Reaves' family.

    "I can pretty much understand what you're going through," he said, "because I go through it every day myself."

    He asked Griffith not to impose the death penalty. A life for a life would not be fair, Porter said, as it would not bring Reaves back.

    Griffith also spoke at length. He summarized some of the evidence from the trial and said that although Porter and Reaves came from similar backgrounds, both raised by a single mother, they chose drastically divergent paths.

    "One chose being a law enforcement officer," Griffith said. "You chose - from your criminal history - being predatory."

    Treva Reaves declined to speak after the hearing, but she later gave a written statement. She thanked many people for their love and support and said her family, the city and the Police Department had suffered a huge loss.

    "I hope that those of you that were fortunate enough to have met Stanley will never forget him," she wrote. "We never will."

    Griffith set Porter's execution for Feb. 4, but that date likely will be delayed by appeals.

    As he was led out of the courtroom, Porter looked at his family and friends and let out a stream of air through his teeth.

    "Great God almighty," he said, smiling and shaking his head.

    http://hamptonroads.com/node/296651

  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    June 7, 2008

    State Supreme Court upholds Porter conviction

    The state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Thomas A. Porter, who was sentenced to death for the killing of Norfolk police Officer Stanley Reaves in October 2005.

    Two justices dissented.

    Porter had appealed his conviction on grounds that the trial judge made several errors. The justices also asked lawyers for both sides to argue on whether that judge, former Norfolk Circuit Judge Chuck Griffith, had jurisdiction to hear the case once he had granted a change of venue and moved the trial to Arlington.

    Reaves was shot repeatedly as he investigated a complaint about a man with a gun in the Park Place neighborhood in Norfolk.

    The majority opinion, written by Justice G. Steven Agee, said Porter never objected to jurisdiction during the trial and knew because of orders entered by Griffith that he would be hearing the case in Arlington. Justices also rejected Porter's arguments on the constitutionality of lethal injection, that jurors should have been permitted to consider the lesser charge of second-degree murder, and that the jury had been prejudiced against him by the proximity of deputies who provided courtroom security.

    The dissenting opinions, written by Justices Barbara M. Keenan and Lawrence L. Koontz Jr., said that Griffith's failure to seek a designation that would permit him to hear the trial in the Arlington court rendered Porter's conviction and sentence void, and they would have granted Porter a new trial.

    Koontz also wrote that the trial court should have permitted expert testimony about whether Porter would have posed "a continuing threat to society" if he were limited to the walls of prison under a life-without-parole sentence.

    "I am compelled to warn that the various issues raised in this case may tend to exemplify certain aspects of the conduct of capital murder trials in this Commonwealth that slowly, but inexorably, will erode public confidence that the death penalty is being imposed in a fair and consistent manner," Koontz wrote.

    Porter's lawyer, Joseph A. Migliozzi Jr., traveled to visit his client on death row on Friday to explain the court's rulings. He said the decision fell in line with the justices' rare reversal of death penalty cases. However, he said, the questions raised by the dissenting justices would bring "even greater scrutiny on the federal level," where Porter's appeals will go next.

    Commonwealth's Attorney Jack Doyle, who led the prosecution against Porter, expressed satisfaction with the court's decision to uphold the conviction.

    "From my vantage point, I'm certain the jury based their verdict and sentence on the evidence and the law," Doyle said.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/06/stat...ction?cid=srch

  4. #4
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    2 on death row seek evidence after Norfolk detective convicted

    Two death row inmates sought Monday to bring new evidence to their appeals based on the recent criminal conviction of former Norfolk detective Robert Glenn Ford.

    Lawyers for Anthony Juniper and Thomas Porter asked a Norfolk Circuit Court judge to allow them to review evidence and files used in the federal criminal case against Ford, a lead investigator in both cases. They also asked for new, sworn testimony from Ford, several witnesses and lawyers.

    The two-hour hearing on Monday marked the latest scrutiny of Norfolk murder convictions since Ford was indicted in May. A jury convicted him of extortion and lying to the FBI in October based on misconduct in cases dating back to 2003.

    Four Navy sailors convicted of the 1997 murder of a woman whose husband was in the Navy have also accused Ford in court papers recently of tainting their cases. The Norfolk Four have been released from prison, and three have received partial pardons from former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

    Lawyers for Juniper and Porter argued that they should have access to any new evidence relating to their cases that federal investigators have uncovered against Ford.

    State attorneys said Ford was a minor witness in both trials and a search for new evidence would be costly and time-consuming.

    "This is nothing if not a fishing expedition," said Steven Witmer, a senior lawyer in the state attorney general's office.

    Chief Circuit Judge Everett A. Martin Jr. said he plans to rule on Juniper's and Porter's requests this week.

    The Virginia Supreme Court ordered the hearing in October as part of the men's death row appeals. Juniper was convicted in 2005 of killing his ex-girlfriend, her brother and her two small children in an apartment on Kingston Avenue. A jury found Porter guilty in 2007 of killing Norfolk police officer Stanley Reaves.

    Federal prosecutors have not alleged any misconduct by Ford in either of the cases.

    However, Dawn Davison, Juniper's attorney, said there was "considerable testimony" about Juniper's case during Ford's criminal trial. Federal investigators may have more evidence that Juniper has a right to see, she said.

    Davison requested that lawyers be allowed to take sworn depositions from Ford and other Norfolk detectives, witnesses and prosecutors. She also asked to question two former prosecutors and sitting Circuit Judges Jack Doyle and Karen Burrell.

    Witmer, of the state attorney general's office, said Ford was a minor witness in Juniper's case and the former detective did not taint the verdict.

    Brian French, a lawyer for Porter, said Ford may have interviewed key witnesses when investigating Porter. Although Porter's case was not mentioned during the Ford trial, he said, federal investigators may still have valuable information about Porter's case.

    "Ford's conviction changes things dramatically," French said.

    But Matthew Dullaghan, a senior assistant attorney general, said no evidence suggests Ford manipulated any witnesses in Porter's case. The detective's testimony was limited to facts not disputed by prosecutors or defense attorneys, he said.

    Dullaghan described the information being sought by Porter's and Juniper's lawyers as "enormous."

    Brent Johnson, chief deputy for the Norfolk commonwealth's attorney, testified that the department turned over between 12 and 20 files to federal officials for the Ford investigation. Johnson said the office does not know which documents federal prosecutors copied for their files.

    Ford's lawyer, Lawrence Woodward, said his client will comply with any ruling from the state court. Ford worked for the Norfolk Police Department for about 30 years and retired in 2007.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/2-de...tive-convicted

  5. #5
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    Judge rejects inmates' appeals in Norfolk cases

    By Louis Hansen
    The Virginian-Pilot

    NORFOLK - A judge rejected appeals by two death-row inmates seeking new evidence in their cases based on the potential misconduct of former detective Robert Glenn Ford.

    In a written decision, Circuit Court Chief Judge Everett A. Martin Jr. said Ford had little or no relevance in several assertions made in court documents by Anthony Juniper and Thomas A. Porter. He described the appeals as "a fishing expedition."

    A federal jury convicted Ford in October of two counts of extortion and giving a false statement to investigators for cases he worked on dating to 2003. Ford served about 30 years on the Norfolk police force until he retired in 2007. As a homicide detective, he investigated some of the highest-profile murders in the city.

    The federal investigation and Ford's conviction have ignited appeals in several cases, including the convictions for rape and murder of four former sailors known as the Norfolk Four.

    Ford investigated the Juniper and Porter cases and testified at their capital murder trials. Juniper was found guilty in 2005 of killing four people, including his ex-girlfriend and two small children. Porter was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer.

    In his written decision, Martin rejected the argument that Ford played a key role in the verdicts of either case. For example, ample evidence including DNA samples linked Juniper to the murders, Martin wrote. Porter confessed to shooting Norfolk police Officer Stanley Reaves during his trial, the judge wrote.

    Juniper's case was mentioned several times during Ford's trial. But Martin found little direct connection between the witnesses in Juniper's case and those in Ford's case.

    Juniper's attorneys also sought access to between 12 and 20 criminal case files from the Norfolk commonwealth's attorney's office that federal investigators reviewed for their case against Ford.

    Martin wrote that even if information about witnesses in Juniper's case was found in the files, it's unknown whether it would be relevant or helpful to Juniper. "Speculation is piled upon speculation," he wrote.

    Juniper's attorneys also requested to take new sworn depositions from Ford, prosecutors and witnesses. Two prosecutors involved in the cases, Jack Doyle and Karen Burrell, have since become Norfolk Circuit Court judges.

    Martin denied the request for the new sworn testimony.

    The judge noted that Porter's case was never mentioned during Ford's trial. He wrote that Ford testified five times during Porter's trial and "there was no objection to any of his testimony."

    A phone call to an attorney for Juniper and Porter was not returned.

    http://hamptonroads.com/node/581045

  6. #6
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    Va. Justices Reject Death Row Inmate's Appeal

    The Virginia Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man sentenced to death for killing a Norfolk police officer.

    Thomas Porter admitted shooting Stanley Reaves three times in the head. His trial was moved to Arlington because of heavy news coverage of the case in Norfolk.

    Porter raised a number of issues on appeal, including that a juror failed to disclose that his brother was a deputy sheriff. Porter also said his defense attorney failed to introduce evidence of his rough childhood and how well he adapted to prison life.

    The court unanimously rejected all of Porter's claims Friday.

    http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/mar/0...al-ar-1735443/

  7. #7
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On July 27, 2012, Porter filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/vir...v00550/283003/

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    On August 21, 2014, Porter's habeas petition was DENIED in Federal District Court.

    http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal...0550/283003/77

  9. #9
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    On November 18, 2014, Porter filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...ourts/ca4/14-5

  10. #10
    Moderator MRBAM's Avatar
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    That should mean a year and a half left at the most........no??

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