Location:
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT;
Scope:
Court Cases; Background;

OLR Research Report


April 11, 2011

 

2011-R-0170

DEATH ROW INMATES

By: Christopher Reinhart, Chief Attorney

You asked for information on each death row inmate including the crimes they committed, their offense and sentencing dates, and the status of their appeals and habeas corpus petitions.

Death row currently houses 10 inmates. Robert Breton has been on death row the longest. He was first sentenced to death in 1989. Although the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned his sentence and ordered a new sentencing hearing, Breton remained on death row and was again sentenced to death in 1998. Steven Hayes is the most recent person sentenced to death (2010).

The cases for six of the 10 inmates have not completed the initial appellate review by the Connecticut Supreme Court. Four of the 10 inmates have finished their direct appeals to the Connecticut Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court denied their petition for review. All four of these inmates filed state habeas corpus petitions: in two cases the Superior Court denied the petition and the case is on appeal, one is currently at trial, and one is awaiting trial.

Table 1 provides, for each of the 10 inmates sentenced to death, a brief description of their crimes, offense and sentencing dates, and the status of direct appeals and habeas petitions. It is in order of the offense dates from earliest to latest.

In addition to the habeas petitions listed in the table, most death row inmates and some others are part of a habeas proceeding consolidating all racial disparity claims by inmates sentenced to death (In re: Racial Disparity et al. v. Commissioner of Correction).

Table 1: Information on Inmates Sentenced to Death as of March 30, 2011

Name

Description of Offense

Offense Date

Sentencing Date

Direct Appeal

Habeas Corpus

Robert Breton

Convicted in the beating and stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, JoAnn Breton, and their 16-year-old son, Robert Breton, Jr. at his ex-wife's apartment.

December 13, 1987

October 27, 1989

January 9, 1998

Connecticut Supreme Court overturns sentence: August 22, 1995

Connecticut Supreme Court upholds new sentence: June 24, 2003

U.S. Supreme Court denies petition to hear case: December 1, 2003

State habeas petition: trial pending

Daniel Webb

Convicted of kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder of Diane Gellenbeck.

August 24, 1989

September 12, 1991

Connecticut Supreme Court upheld sentence but remands for hearing on constitutionality of lethal injection: July 30, 1996

Connecticut Supreme Court affirms lethal injection: February 15, 2000

U.S. Supreme Court denies petition to hear case: October 2, 2000

State habeas petition: Superior Court's decision is on appeal to the Appellate Court

Sedrick Cobb

Convicted of rape and murder of Julia Ashe, whom he kidnapped from a Waterbury department store parking lot.

December 16, 1989

September 24, 1991

Connecticut Supreme Court ruling on racial disparity: August 8, 1995

Connecticut Supreme Court affirms sentence: December 7, 1999

U.S. Supreme Court denies petition to hear case: October 2, 2000

State habeas petition: Superior Court denies petition, appeal to Connecticut Supreme Court is pending the result of the racial disparity habeas litigation

Name

Description of Offense

Offense Date

Sentencing Date

Direct Appeal

Habeas Corpus

Richard Reynolds

Convicted of murdering Waterbury police officer Walter T. Williams.

December 18, 1992

April 13, 1995

Connecticut Supreme Court affirms sentence: June 3, 2003

U.S. Supreme Court denies petition to hear case: March 8, 2004

State habeas petition: trial under way

Todd Rizzo

Convicted of killing 13-year-old Stanley Edwards with a 3-pound sledgehammer.

September 30, 1997

August 13, 1999

June 23, 2005

Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a new penalty hearing: November 14, 2003

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal on new death sentence pending

 

Russell Peeler, Jr.

Convicted of ordering the killing of an 8-year-old boy and his mother. The boy was expected to be a witness against Peeler in the shooting of the mother's boyfriend.

January 7, 1999

December 10, 2007

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal pending

 

Jessie Campbell III

Convicted of killing his son's mother and her friend and attempting to kill another woman who witnessed the shootings.

August 26, 2000

August 16, 2007

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal pending

 

Eduardo Santiago

Convicted of shooting Joseph Niwinski in a murder-for-hire scheme in exchange for a snowmobile.

December 13, 2000

January 31, 2005

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal pending

 

Lazale Ashby

Convicted of raping and murdering his 21-year old neighbor in her apartment.

December 2, 2002

March 28, 2008

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal pending

 

Steven Hayes

Convicted of Cheshire home invasion and the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela.

July 23, 2007

December 2, 2010

   

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