SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE DESPITE JURY OVERRIDE
By BOB JOHNSON
The Associated Press
11/22/02 6:31 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence given to a man convicted of killing his grandparents, even though the judge did not go along with the jury's recommended sentence of life in prison without parole.
The Supreme Court also upheld the death sentence in a second case, where attorneys had argued that a Tuscaloosa County man's sentence violated a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that retarded individuals should not be executed.
The Alabama Supreme Court in September held a hearing on the case of Bobby Wayne Waldrop. The court wanted to consider whether his death sentence should be thrown out because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned an Arizona death sentence because the sentencing decision was made by a judge and not a jury.
Waldrop was convicted of robbing and stabbing his grandparents in Randolph County in 1998. Circuit Judge Dale Segrest sentenced Waldrop to death after the jury had recommended life in prison on a 10-2 vote.
The state Supreme Court ruled that Alabama's law is different from Arizona's law in that it gives jurors a greater role in determining the final sentencing decision. The court also found that the death of Waldrop's
grandparents, who were stabbed numerous times, was particularly "heinous, atrocious and cruel" and that Segrest made the right decision.
In another case, the state Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Roy Edward Perkins, sentenced to die for the Aug. 9, 1990, abduction and killing of Cathy Gilliam in the Tuscaloosa County community of New
Perkins' attorneys argued that he is mentally retarded and should not be executed because of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that after a careful review of the case there was no
evidence that Perkins was retarded.
"The record indicates that Perkins earned a GED certificate while he has been in prison and has completed community college courses there," the ruling said. The ruling also encourages the Alabama Legislature to "develop procedures for determining whether a capital defendant is mentally retarded and thus ineligible for execution."
In a third death penalty case, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday upheld the death sentence given Phillip Wayne Tomlin for the 1977 murder-for-hire killing of two people in Mobile. Tomlin's appeal was also
based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Arizona case. But the appeals court ruled that there were aggravating circumstances in Tomlin's case that justified the judge's ruling.
Tomlin has been tried and sentenced to death four times in the 25 years since the crime occurred.
The criminal appeals court also sent the death sentence of Darryl D. Turner, convicted of the 1995 robbery and slaying of a Limestone County woman, back to the circuit court with instructions that several factors used in determining the death sentence be reconsidered.
The appeals court asked the trial court judge to further explain his finding that the murder was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel as compared to other capital murders." The appeals court also said the trial court erred when it considered arrests, instead of only convictions, to determine an aggravating circumstance.