VOL. 1, ISSUE 1 Mary Sylla, editor (



Victor L. Streib

Professor of Law Cleveland State University

Cleveland, Ohio

If a girl or woman arrested for capital murder happens to be lesbian, how does her lesbianism affect whether she is charged for a capital offense, actually sentenced to death, and finally executed? Is any such impact similar to or separate from the impact of her sex? These and related questions continue to plague me and were the impetus for this rudimentary article. My purpose is to let others know what I think in the hope that together we might begin to frame answers to these questions and to develop better questions. I have only one caveat: We must avoid resort to anecdote and hyperbole as the primary bases for the inquiry if our findings are to be of value.

For the past decade I have researched the treatment of female offenders within various capital punishment systems, both domestic and foreign, historical and current. This topic generally has been neglected by criminological and legal scholars, only recently receiving some preliminary attention.1 My first exploratory paper on this general topic was presented in 1986,2 and I published an overview piece in 1990,3 but my research continues and has far to go.

In addition to trying to identify and understand the general outlines and themes of this phenomenon, I have isolated narrower subtopics within the area of the death penalty for female offenders. This effort has resulted in periodic reports monitoring current death sentencing of females4 and in articles on the death penalty for female juveniles5 and for battered women.6 This article follows in that tradition, reporting what I know, think, and speculate so far concerning the issue of an offender's lesbianism within the context of the death penalty for female offenders.

The narrow goal of this article is to explore all of the

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cases of recently death sentenced female offenders to determine which if any involved evidence or inferences of the offender's lesbianism. Having identified at least a few such cases, they are then examined to determine what effect the offender's lesbianism might have had in the capital punishment process.

This inquiry is not to a point at which carefully crafted hypotheses can be formulated and tested. Neither am I willing just to assume that an offender's lesbianism always is a major factor in her receiving the death sentence, drawing on what is generally known about the intolerance of lesbianism in many parts of our society.7 However, since most death penalty cases occur in the Southeast, an area of the country not well known for tolerance of lesbianism and lesbian lifestyles, my research on this topic has proceeded on the informal working assumption that, all other things being equal, a female offender's lesbianism would be a disadvantage rather than an advantage in the capital punishment process.


Both the female death sentencing rate and the female death row population remain very small in comparison to that for males. Actual execution of female offenders throughout American history is quite rare, with only 511 documented instances beginning with the first in 1632.9 These 511 female executions constitute less than 3% of the total of approximately 18,585 confirmed executions since 1608.10 The last female offender executed was Velma Barfield in North Carolina on November 2, 1984,11 the only female among the 226 offenders executed in the post-Furman v. Georgia12 era (January 1, 1973, to December 31, 1993).13

Female Death Sentences Imposed in the Current Era:

The current American death penalty era began when new death penalty statutes were passed following the Supreme Court's decision in Furman in 1972, which in effect struck down all then- existing death penalty statutes. Sentencing began under the new statutes in 1973 and continues through today.14 Although the constitutionality of these current era statutes was not recognized formally by the United States Supreme Court until 1976 in Gregg v. Georgia15 and actual executions did not begin until 1977,16 the current era of sentencing began in 1973.

Table 1 lists the sentences imposed each year according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and to my research. A total of ninety-nine female death sentences have been imposed on ninety- two individual female offenders, representing only 2% of the total of about 5,042 death sentences for all offenders. Of the ninety-two females sentenced to death, four were juveniles at the times of their crimes17 and the rest were ages eighteen to sixty-seven at the times of their crimes. Despite some fluctuations particularly in the early years of this period, the death sentencing rate for female offenders was typically about five per year beginning in the 1980s.

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JANUAR 1, 1973, TO DECEMBER 31, 1993

Total Death Female Death Portion ear Sentences* Sentences of Total

1973 42 1 2.4%

1974 167 1 0.6% 1975 322 7 2.2%

1976 249 3 1.2% 1977 159 1 0.6%

1978 209 4 1.9% 1979 172 4 2.3%

1980 198 2 1.0% 1981 245 3 1.2%

1982 264 5 1.9% 1983 259 4 1.5%

1984 280 8 2.9% 1985 273 5 1.8%

1986 297 3 1.0% 1987 299 5 1.7%

1988 296 5 1.7% 1989 251 11 4.4%

1990 244 7 2.8% 1991 266 6 2.3%

1992 275** 10 3.0% 1993 275** 4 1.5%

Totals: 5,042** 99 2.0%


1992 at 673, Table 6.132 (1993); U.S. Dept. of Justice, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 1992 AT 1



In 1989 the annual death sentencing rate of five doubled for reasons unknown. In 1990 and 1991, the sentencing rate seemed to have returned to just above the pre-1989 levels. Then the rate surged to ten in 1992, portending an annual rate again nearly double that of the 1980s. This is apparently about 4% of the death sentences imposed in 1992, suggesting a significant increase in the rate of the death sentencing of female offenders. However, four of these ten female death sentences in 1992 were imposed on the same person (Aileen Wuornos, Florida), leaving only six other female death sentences during 1992. Total female death sentences then returned to normal levels -- four in 1993. In any event, the number of female offenders sentenced to prison death rows each year remains only 0.2% to 0.3% of the approximately 3,700 women sentenced to prison each year.

Of these ninety-nine death sentences for female offenders, only thirty-eight sentences (imposed upon thirty-five females) remain currently in effect (see Table 2 below). One such

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sentence resulted in an execution (Velma Barfield) and the other sixty death sentences were reversed or commuted to life imprisonment. Thus, for the sixty-one death sentences finally resolved (excluding the thirty-eight still in effect and still being litigated), the reversal rate for female death sentences in the current era is over 98% (60/61). Appendix A to this article provides a more detailed listing of name, race, jurisdiction, dates of crimes and sentences, and current status for each female death sentence.18




Race of Offender Total Sentencing American Female Rank State White Black Hispanic Indian Sentences

1 Florida 11 2 1 0 14

2 North Carolina 9 2 0 1 12 3 Ohio 3 6 0 0 9

4 Texas 6 1 0 0 7 5 Alabama 4 2 0 0 6

Mississippi 4 2 0 0 6 Oklahoma 5 1 0 0 6

8 California 2 2 1 0 5 Georgia 4 1 0 0 5

Missouri 4 0 1 0 5 11 Indiana 2 2 0 0 4 12 Illinois 1 2 0 0 3

Maryland 1 0 0 2 3 Pennsylvania 1 2 0 0 3 15 Kentucky 2 0 0 0 2

Nevada 1 1 0 0 2 17 Arizona 1 0 0 0 1

Arkansas 1 0 0 0 1 Idaho 1 0 0 0 1

Louisiana 1 0 0 0 1 New Jersey 1 0 0 0 1

South Carolina 1 0 0 0 1 Tennessee 1 0 0 0 1

Totals 67 26 3 3 99

These ninety-nine death sentences for female offenders have been imposed in twenty-three individual states, comprising well over half of the death penalty jurisdictions during this time period. Table 2 lists all death penalty jurisdictions which have imposed death sentences on female offenders since 1973.

As Table 2 indicates, two states (Florida and North Carolina) account for over one quarter of all such sentences. The first ten states have imposed three quarters of female death sentences. These dominant sentencing states range from North Carolina to California and from Texas and Florida to Ohio.

Current Female Death Row Inmates:

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Of the ninety-nine death sentences imposed upon ninety-two female offenders since 1973, only thirty-five females remain on the death rows of fourteen states (see Table 3). These thirty- five female offenders on death row constitute only 1.3% of the total death row population of 2,78520 and only 0.07% of the approximately 50,000 women in prison in the United States.21





Age at Crime Race

Under 21 = 2 (6%) B = 11 (31%) 21-30 = 12 (36%) H = 2 (6%)

31-40 = 11 (33%) W = 22 (63%) 41-50 = 3 (9%) 35 (100%)

51-60 = 4 (12%) 61-70 1 (3%)

33 (100%) Unknown = 2



Age Race Sex

Under 18 = 7 (17%) A = 1 (2%) M = 32 (67%) 18  over = 35 (83%) B = 10 (22%) F = 16 (33%)

42 (100%) H = 3 (7%) 48 (100%)

Unknown = 8 W = 31 (69%) Unknown = 2 50 45 (100%) 50

Unknown = 5 50

Most of the women on death row are white. One fourth were in their forties or older at the time of their crimes, with the total age range remarkably from eighteen to sixty-seven. Over two-thirds of their victims were white and two-thirds were adult males (where these data are known). About one-third of these cases involved the murder of the offender's husband or lover. Several of these female offenders were battered women who killed their batterers or victims chosen by their batterers.

The present ages of these thirty-five female death row inmates range from twenty-one to seventy-three. They have been on death row from six months to nearly twelve years. Despite the statistically high probability (over 98%) that death-sentenced female offenders will never be executed, some of these women have nearly exhausted their appeals. Another execution of a female offender seems likely within the next few years.

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Appendix B to this article sets forth the names of these offenders and some brief details about their crimes and sentences. Multiple sentencing dates mean that the earlier death sentence was reversed but then a new death sentence was imposed.


The current capital punishment process requires guided discretion in choosing between life imprisonment and the death sentence for eligible convicted murderers.22 The primary source of guidance for judges and juries in making this choice is the list of aggravating and mitigating factors in the jurisdiction's death penalty statute.23

The aggravating factors are intended to narrow the pool of all convicted murderers to those particularly deserving of the death penalty.24 Each aggravating factor tends to establish an even more serious characteristic of the murder or a particularly negative characteristic concerning the character and background of the capital defendant. Examples are that the murder occurred during another serious crime such as rape or robbery,25 or that the convicted murderer has committed previous murders.26

Mitigating factors, on the other hand, are intended to provide reasons why the convicted murderer should not be sentenced to death.27. While occasionally referring to characteristics of the murder which make it seem not too horrible, most mitigating factors tend to establish information about the character and background of the defendant that make her seem to be less deserving of the death penalty.28

Although working through this concept of aggravating and mitigating factors, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that "the sentencing authority has always been free to consider a wide range of relevant material."29 This "wide range" clearly includes socially-condemned aspects of the defendant's character if they are intrinsic to his crime, such as racial hatred and a desire to start a race war.30 However, similar racist views of a defendant are not admissible if not related to the crime. For example, membership in a white racist prison gang (the Aryan Brotherhood) was held inadmissible where both the defendant and his victim were white, leaving the racist views "of no relevance to the sentencing proceeding in this case."31 If the contested character factor is not part of beliefs and associations protected by the First Amendment, it may be more available to prosecutors seeking to use it to counter the defendant's assertions of good character.

Simply put, to the degree to which they address the character and background of the defendant, aggravating factors show her to be more deserving of death and mitigating factors show her to be less deserving of death. No statute's aggravating and mitigating factors expressly mention lesbianism or sexual orientation as an issue to be considered. Since lists of aggravating factors are closed ended,32 presumably no unlisted characteristic (such as lesbianism) can be included. However, lists of aggravating factors are open-ended and defendants have a

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right to introduce all relevant mitigating evidence.33 Therefore, capital defendants would seem to have an opening here to get their lesbianism before the sentencing judge and jury should they wish to do so. However, it is hard to imagine a case in which a capital defense attorney would conclude that informing the judge and jury of the defendant's lesbianism would help convince those sentencers that she is less deserving of death. The inescapable conclusions are that in a typical capital case (1) the prosecutor can't introduce the lesbian factor gratuitously and (2) the defense can but will choose not to do so.


Prosecutors in capital cases ultimately have to get a jury to vote to take a human life -- the defendant's. Prosecutors commonly attempt to finesse this awesome stumbling block by arguing that the defendant is not really human. They will refer to the defendant as an animal and the crimes as monstrous34 The prosecutor's assumption is that a jury will not be as hesitant in concluding that a mad dog must be exterminated as they would be in concluding that a human being must be put to death.

When the capital defendant is a woman, it would appear that sentencing juries are even more reluctant to order death than when the defendant is a man.35 In such cases prosecutors first must defeminize the defendant, trying to show that her crime is more "manly," more like an episode from Bonnie and Clyde than from Arsenic and Old Lace. It would seem that to a typical Southern Baptist jury in a small southern town, an effective means of defeminizing a female capital defendant is to show the jury that she is a lesbian. The more "manly" her sexuality, her dress, and her demeanor, the more easily the jury may forget that she is a woman. In essence, she is defeminized by her sexual orientation and then dehumanized by her crime. The jury is left with a gender-neutral monster deserving of little or no human compassion.


Ninety-nine death sentences have been imposed upon ninety- two female offenders since 1973.36 While more almost undoubtedly exist, four of these females have been identified either as being lesbians or as having been involved in homosexual acts with other females. The purpose of examining these four cases somewhat closely is to determine (1) how and why the defendant's sexual orientation was introduced into the case, and (2) what role and weight this sexual orientation may have had in resulting in the death penalty for these crimes.

No representation is made that these four cases are the entire population of death-sentenced lesbians or even a representative sample. These four cases simply presented themselves because of the prominent news coverage they received or because the facts of the case involved a lesbian relationship or homosexual act. Since similar lesbian/homosexual dimensions may also exist in other, less obvious cases, no generalizations should be made from these four cases. Examination of these four

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cases is a beginning, not the end of this inquiry.

Janice Buttrum, sentenced September 31, 1981, in Georgia:37

Janice Buttrum (caucasian; age seventeen) and her twenty- eight-year-old husband were the parents of a nineteen-month-old baby and were expecting a second child in a few months. They were living temporarily in a small, inexpensive motel in Dalton, Georgia, as was their victim, a nineteen-year-old woman who had just moved there from her family home in Kenton, Tennessee.

Using the ruse of a sick baby, Buttrum and her husband gained entrance to the victim's motel room. Leaving the baby to crawl around the room, Buttrum assisted her husband as he raped and beat the victim. Following this assault, Buttrum continued to sexually abuse the victim (including cunnilingus) and stabbed her ninety-seven times with a small pocketknife. Assessing the results, the Georgia Supreme Court concluded they "can only be described as butchery and barbarism."38

At separate trials, both Buttrum and her husband were sentenced to death. Her husband subsequently committed suicide by hanging himself in his death row cell, but Buttrum's death sentence was reversed in 1989.39

Buttrum had been sexually abused by her foster parents and had married at age fifteen, but little or no evidence as to her bisexual or homosexual orientation came to light. The sexual acts she imposed upon her female victim as she stabbed her to death obviously were presented as evidence to the jury since they were integral parts of the crimes for which Buttrum was on trial.

While speculative, it seems reasonable to presume that a capital jury in a small town in Georgia would have been shocked by Buttrum's homosexual acts. However, given the otherwise "butchery and barbarous" nature of the homicide, it also seems unreasonable to assume that Buttrum would have been spared the death penalty absent the homosexual acts.

Lafonda Fay Foster, sentenced April 24, 1987, in Kentucky:40

Lafonda Fay Foster (caucasian, age twenty-two) was a drug-addicted prostitute who also had a lesbian relationship with Tina Powell. Over a course of several hours in one evening, Foster and Powell killed five adult victims by shooting them in the head, stabbing them repeatedly, cutting their throats, running over them with a car, and (in one case) burning them up. Foster was sentenced to death but Powell received a life sentence.

Foster had a long history of being battered by men, being extremely emotionally disturbed, being drug addicted, and being violent toward others. Her attorney's strategy for avoiding the death sentence before her small town Kentucky jury was to portray Foster as a victim of battering, violence, and drugs. Although Foster clearly had been the perpetrator of horrible violence, she might be spared if she could also be seen as the victim of

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horrible violence.

However, Foster's sentencing hearing was joined with that of her co-defendant and lover, Tina Powell. Powell's strategy, apparently successful, was to portray Foster as a violent lesbian

who battered Powell into submission. Powell even used the Battered Wife Syndrome in her case to demonstrate the degree to which she was dominated and controlled by Foster. These conflicting defense strategies obviously played into the hands of the prosecutor's presumed efforts to defeminize Foster and to portray her as a brutal, "manly" murderer.

Since Foster and Powell were co-defendants in their joint trial for these several murders, it seems almost unavoidable that the judge and jury would learn of their lesbian relationship. The sexual nature of their relationship seems irrelevant until the sentencing phase, at which Powell raised the battering issue.

Moreover, even absent any presumed discriminatory attitude toward lesbian murderers, it seems that the horrifying facts in this case are likely to have overwhelmed any other issue present.

Ana Cardona, sentenced May 1, 1992, in Florida:41

Ana Cardona, a thirty-year-old Cuban immigrant living in Miami, was convicted of killing her three-year-old son in 1990. The child's body had been found in Miami Beach but remained unidentified for several weeks. The local press pushed the story strongly, dubbing the child "baby lollipops" prompted by the shirt he was wearing when found. The child was greatly undernourished and had been beaten savagely over most of his life, finally dying from blows to the head from a baseball bat.

Cardona always denied abusing her child. Cardona's primary defense was that her lover, Olivia Gonzalez, had repeatedly beaten the child, finally killing him. Cardona claims that she lacked the courage to defend her child and took cocaine to escape from the horror of the beatings. She also produced evidence of her troubled upbringing in Cuba and of the severe emotional impact on her of the death of the victim's father.

Cardona's lesbian lover, Gonzalez, had testified against Cardona in return for a forty-year sentence for second degree murder. Although Gonzalez admitted helping to beat the boy and helping to dump the body in Miami Beach, she apparently was able to place the primary blame for the homicide on Cardona. Apropos of the earlier generic description of the monsterization of capital defendants, Cardona's defense attorney noted: "As this case unfolded, it became clear that Ana Cardona was going to be held up to our community as a monster...."42

It appears likely that any negative effect of Cardona's lesbian relationship with Gonzalez was lost in the overwhelming horror of the mistreatment of the victim. The trial judge concluded that "the long period of time over which this baby was subject to torture, abuse, pain suffering separates this crime

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from all other crimes seen in the Dade County Courthouse within the memory of anyone working in this building."43 Press reports suggested that Cardona was held particularly responsible because she was the boy's mother, so presumably a jury would have been even more concerned to learn of this horrible child abuse in the context of a lesbian relationship. However, nothing indicates that if Cardona's lover had been a man rather than a woman that she would have avoided the death penalty.

Aileen Wuornos, sentenced January 31, 1992,

and May 15, 1992, in Florida:44

The last example is Aileen Wuornos, a thirty-three-year-old caucasian and perhaps the most notorious death row inmate, male or female. Her exploits have not only made all of the national and international print media but also have resulted in a book and a television movie-of-the week. Aileen Wuornos has been accused of seven murders, resulting in the label of serial killer. She has received four murder convictions and four death sentences so far, having pleaded guilty and asked for death sentences in the last three instances.

The state of Florida has characterized Wuornos as an alcoholic and drug-addicted prostitute who began to murder and rob her customers, finally arrested in a biker bar as she was sleeping off a drinking binge. Wuornos characterized these seven instances as acts of prostitution during which her customers became violent and/or raped her, in defense of which she had to shoot them to protect herself. Although Wuornos apparently was alone with her victim's when each of the crimes occurred, she was living with Tyria Moore at the time. Wuornos repeatedly stated that she and Moore originally had a sexual relationship but that it developed into a non-sexual, long-term relationship of living together, sharing finances, etc.

At least from her earliest teens on, Wuornos had endured life as a victim of violence and abuse. Raped and pregnant at age 13, she gave up her baby and then turned to prostitution at age 14. She apparently carried into adulthood the explosive temper she had manifested as a child. While greatly over- simplifying, it was this combination of a history of horrible abuse by men and an explosive temper which may explain in large part her violent reactions toward prostitution customers who abusive toward her.

Wuornos intentionally shot and killed at least four and perhaps seven middle-aged white males under circumstances that made it difficult for judges and juries to believe she acted in self defense. She was irascible and profane during her trials, not only showing no remorse for her acts but also threatening the judge and prosecutor and their families. She was portrayed as a prostitute, a thief, and a drug-addicted drifter. While her lesbian relationship with Moore did come up at her trials since Moore was involved in at least some of the pre-crime or post- crime activities, it seems unlikely that Wuornos's lesbianism was a key factor in her repeatedly being sentenced to death. As for

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the state's desire to portray Wuornos as a monster, her lesbianism was greatly overshadowed by her other personal characteristics.


It continues to appear that, all other things being equal, the capital punishment system is more reluctant to sentence a female offender to death than it is to sentence a male offender to death. The research so far, although very preliminary, suggests that female offenders tend to lose what ever chivalrous protection that might exist as their crimes are more shockingly violent and as their character and background are less traditionally feminine.

This article probes this second factor to explore the effect of lesbianism on the offender's perceived character and background. The assumption is that evidence or inferences of a capital defendant's lesbianism would be negative as to her character and background and thus more likely to lead to a death penalty rather than life imprisonment. While not being sentenced to death solely or even largely because she is a lesbian, the sense is that lesbianism would be likely to be at least one more nail in her coffin.

Four cases out of the recently-sentenced ninety-two female offenders were identified in which the offender's lesbian relationship or homosexual acts received fairly prominent play at the guilt and/or penalty phases of the capital trials. While an attempt was made to discern the impact of the lesbianism factor, all four cases involved several other factors which may well have overshadowed the lesbianism.

In the Foster and Wuornos cases, the violent deaths of five and seven victims respectively almost undoubtedly dominated all other aspects of the cases. However, in the Buttrum and Cardona cases, only one victim died. Buttrum's victim was raped and stabbed ninety-seven times, so presumable the violence and gore of the crime were dominant. Similarly in Cardona's case, the horribly beaten three-year-old was a most sympathetic victim whose case was championed by the local press. It may be, then, that the violence of the crimes overshadowed any significant effect of the lesbian factor. In any event, it is not obvious that these cases are unusual for death sentences. The exception may be Cardona's case, since the death penalty is fairly rare for mothers who kill their children.45

Despite this absence of clear proof of the disparaging impact of a capital defendant's lesbianism, it continues to seem likely that this theme exists. Perhaps it is best illustrated by considering a trial strategy for a capital defense attorney representing a lesbian offender somewhere in the southeast. Assuming that persuasive proof of her lesbianism can be mounted, is it likely that the defense attorney would want to demonstrate the offender's lesbianism as a positive quality within her character and background that renders her more suitable for life than death? While one hopes the jury would not decide upon death because she is lesbian, it seems unlikely the jury would vote to

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save her life because she is lesbian.


1. Elizabeth Rapaport, "The Death penalty and Gender Discrimination," 25 LAW  SOC' REV. 367 (1991); and Elizabeth Rapaport, "Some Questions About Gender and the Death Penalty," 20 GOLDEN GATE U. L. REV. 501 (1990).

2. Victor L. Streib, Discrimination Against Male Offenders in the Imposition of the Death Penalty (invited paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, New Orleans, La., Jan. 1986). Similarly, my first attempt to deal with the subject of this article was a conference paper: Victor L. Streib, Death Penalty for Lesbians: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Significance of a Capital Defendant's Lesbianism in the Context of the Sentencing of Female Offenders to Death in the United States, 1973-1993 (paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Chicago, Ill., May 1993). This article was based largely upon that earlier paper.

3. Victor L. Streib, "Death Penalty for Female Offenders," 58 U. CIN. L. REV. 845 (1990).

4. These reports have been generated since Aug. 1, 1988. The latest issue is Victor L. Streib, Capital Punishment for Female Offenders: Present Female Death Row Inmates and Death Sentences and Executions of Female Offenders (Jan. 1, 1973, to December 31, 1993) (unpublished report available from author).

5. Victor L. Streib  Lynn Sametz, "Executing Female Juveniles," 22 CONN. L. REV. 3 (1989).

6. Victor L. Streib, "Death Penalty for Battered Women," 20 FLA. ST. U. L. REV. 163 (1992).

7. One article which may be representative of this penchant for exaggeration, in my view, is Victoria A. Brownworth, "Dykes on Death Row," THE ADVOCATE, June 16, 1992. Of signal importance to me in understanding the general phenomenon of the specific impact of law on lesbians has been RUTHANN ROBSON, LESBIAN (OUT)LAW: SURVIVAL UNDER THE RULE OF LAW (1992).

8. Much of the material in this section is taken from Streib, supra, note 4.

9. The leading effort nationally to document each and every lawful execution in the United States and its predecessor colonies and territories has been conducted for a quarter of a century by Watt Espy, Director of the Capital Punishment Research Project, Headland, Alabama 36345. His recent report from which these data are taken is Watt Espy, List of Confirmations, State- by-State, of Legal Executions as of January 1, 1994 (unpublished report available from Capital Punishment Research Project).

10. Id.

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11. See, e.g., Joseph Ingle, "Final Hours: The Execution of Velma Barfield," 23 LO. L.A.L. REV. 221 (1989); and "Woman Executed in North Carolina," N.. TIMES, Nov. 3, 1984, at 1.

12. 408 U.S. 238 (1972) (declaring unconstitutional several state death penalty statutes which did not provide for adequate procedural safeguards against random and capricious death sentencing).

13. NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND, INC., DEATH ROW, U.S.A. at 10 (Winter 1993; published in February 1994).

14. Victor L. Streib, supra, note 4. The cutoff date for the analysis in this article is December 31, 1993.

15. 428 U.S. 153 (1976).

16. The first execution in the current era was that of Gary Gilmore in Utah on January 17, 1977. See, e.g., NORMAN MAILER, THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG (1979); and Paul J. Larkin, "The Eighth Amendment and the Execution of the Presently Incompetent," 32 STAN. L. REV. 765 (1980).

17. Victor L. Streib  Lynn Sametz, supra, note 5.

18. While the sources of this information are many, the major sources are the outstanding data gathering effort of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (see supra, note 13) and the equally fine monitoring effort of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.


20. DEATH ROW, U.S.A., supra note 13.


22. See the line of cases established by Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976); Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 586 (1978); and Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982).

23. Lockett v. Ohio, supra, note 22.

24. Gregg v. Georgia, supra, note 22.

25. E.g., N.J. STAT. ANN. sec. 2C-11-3(4)(g) (West Supp. 1992) ("The offense was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary or kidnapping....").

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26. E.g., N.J. STAT. ANN. sec. 2C-11-3(4)(a) (West Supp. 1992) (The defendant has been convicted, at any time, of another murder.").

27. Lockett v. Ohio, supra, note 22.

28. Id.

29. Payne v. Tennessee, 111 S.Ct. 2597, 2606 (1991).

30. Barclay v. Florida, 463 U.S. 939 (1983).

31. Dawson v. Delaware, 112 S.Ct. 1093, 1098 (1992).

32. Gregg v. georgia, supra, note 22.

33. Eddings v. Oklahoma, supra, note 22.

34. See, e.g., Darden v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 168 (1986).

35. See, e.g., Streib, supra, note 3; but see Rapaport (1991), supra, note 1.

36. Streib, supra, note 4.

37. Material for the Buttrum case was taken largely from Streib  Sametz, supra, note 5, at 32-24.

38. Buttrum v. State, 249 Ga. 652, 657, 293 S.E.2d 334, 340 (1982); cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1156 (1983).

39. Buttrum v. Black, 721 F.Supp. 1268 (N.D.Ga. 1989).

40. Information for the Foster case comes primarily from Foster v. Kentucky, Supreme Court of Kentucky, case #87-SC-356-MR (Dec. 19, 1992); Rapaport (1990), supra, note 1; and telephone conversation with Foster's attorney, Kevin McNally, on May 1, 1992.

41. Information for the Cardona case comes primarily from Patrick May, "Judge Calls Fatal Abuse `Heinous, Cruel Crime'," Miami Herald, Apr. 2, 1992, at 1A; Luisa anez, "Baby Lollipos Killer Sentenced to Electric Chair," Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale; Broward County; Florida), Apr. 2, 1992, at 1B; and Patrick May, "Mom Begs Judge for Mercy in Baby Lollipops Case," Miami Herald, Apr. 1, 1992, at 3B.

42. May (Apr. 2), supra, note 41, at 17A, col. 4.

43. Id. at 1A, cols. 1-2.

44. Information for the Wuornos case comes primarily from Amended Initial Brief of Appellant, Wuornos v. State, Supreme Court of Florida, Case #79,484 (filed Jan. 26, 1993); MICHAEL RENOLDS, DEAD ENDS (1992); Phyllis Chesler, "Sex, Death  the Double Standard," On The Issues, Summer 1992, at 29; "Roadside Killer Handed 3 More Death Sentences," Miami Herald, May 16,

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1992, at 5B; "A Case of Sex and Death in Florida," NEWSWEEK, Jan. 20, 1992, AT 4; "Prostitute Sentenced to Death," N.. Times, Feb. 1, 1992, at 1; "Jurors Recommend Death Penalty for Florida Woman Who Killed 7," N.. Times, Jan. 31, 1992, at A8; "Florida Cops Say Seven Men Met Death on the Highway When They Picked Up Accused Serial Killer Aileen Wuornos," People, Feb. 25, 1991, at 44; "Killing Her Way to Fame," TIME, Feb. 18, 1991, at 45; and Ronald Smothers, "Woman Suspected in 7 Killings in Florida is Arrested," N.. Times, Jan. 18, 1991, at A15.

45. See, e.g., Rapaport (1991), supra, note 1.




1973 Ward, Mamie Lee W N.C. ? 9-?-73 reversed

in 1976

1974 Hunt, Rozell O. AI N.C. ? 6-?-74 reversed

in 1976

1975 Boykin, Margie W N.C. ? 12-?-75 reversed

in 1976 Dodds, Catherine W La. 1-?-75 ?-?-75 reversed

in 1976 Lockett, Sandra B Ohio 1-15-75 4-?-75 reversed

in 1978 Osborne, Alberta W Ohio 12-15-74 6-2-75 reversed

in 1978 Sanders, Janet W Okla. 2-24-75 8-26-75 reversed

(AKA Miller) in 1977

Smith, Rebecca W Ga. 8-31-74 1-30-75 reversed in 1983

Glenn, Mabel B Cal. ? 10-21-75 reversed

in 1979 1976 Brown, Faye B. B N.C. ? 1-?-76 reversed

in 1977

Jacobs, Sonia W Fla. 2-20-76 8-20-76 reversed in 1981

Wernert, Patricia W Ohio 11-18 -75 11-22-76 reversed in 1978

1977 Smith, Benita B Ohio ? 12-?-77 reversed

-------------------------------END PAGE 119---------------------------------

in 1978

1978 Anderson, Mary W Texas 1-3-78 8-29-78 reversed

in 1982?

Barfield, Velma W N.C. 2-1-78 12-2-78 executed 11-2-84

Bracewell, Debra W Ala. 8-15-77 5-17-78 reversed in 1981

Detter, Rebecca W N.C. 6-2-77 9-26-78 reversed in 1979


1979 Binsz, Michelle W Okla. ? 10-23-79 reversed

in 1984 Burnett, Linda W Texas 6-01-78 3-20-79 reversed

in 1983 Cunningham, Emma W Ga. 1-1-79 10-26-79 reversed

in 1983 Tyler, Shirley B Ga. 10-22-79 12-04-79 reversed

in 1985 1980 O'Bryan, LaVerne W Ky. 7-5-79 9-12-80 reversed

in 1982 Perillo, Pamela W Texas 2-24-80 9-2-80 now on

 11-13-84 death row 1981 Buttrum, Janice W Ga. 9-3-80 8-31-81 reversed

in 1989 Stebbing, Annette W Md. 4-9-80 4-30-81 reversed

in 1985

Thomas, Patricia B Ala. 2-28-81 12-28-81 reversed in 1990

1982 Cannaday, Attina W Miss. 6-3-82 9-23-82 reversed

in 1984 Ford, Priscilla B Nev. 11-27-80 4-29-82 now on

death row Foster, Doris AI Md. 1-29-81 2-8-82 commuted

 4-4-84 in 1987 Smith, Nadean W Okla. 7-4-82 12-29-82 now on

death row

Whittington,Teresa W Ga. 1-2-82 5-7-82 reversed

in 1984 1983 Grant, Rosalie B Ohio 4-1-83 10-21-83 commuted

in 1991

Neelley, Judith W Ala. 9-23-82 4-18-83 now on death row

Summers, Sheila W Nev. 9-14-82 12-20-83 reversed

-------------------------------END PAGE 120---------------------------------

in 1986

oung, Sharon W Ohio 6-12-83 9-30-83 reversed in 1986


1984 Foster, Doris AI Md. 1-29-81 4-4-84 commuted

 2-8-82 in 1987

Hendrickson, Pat. W Ark. 3-10-83 4-13-84 reversed

in 1985 Jackson, Andrea B Fla. 5-16-83 2-10-84 now on

 2-21-92 death row Moore, Marie W N.J. 1- -83 11-19-84 reversed

in 1988 Perillo, Pamela W Texas 2-24-80 11-13-84 now on

 9-2-80 death row Tucker, Karla W Texas 6-13-83 4-25-84 now on

death row Williamson, Celia W Miss. 3-23-82 3-14-84 reversed

in 1987 Windsor, Karla W Idaho 9-6-83 2-28-84 reversed

in 1985

1985 Beets, Betty W Texas 8-6-83 10-14-85 now on

death row

Brown, Debra B Ohio 7-13-84 6-18-85 commuted  6-23-86 in 1991

Buenoano, Judi W Fla. 9-16-71 11-26-85 now on

death row

Houston, Judy W Miss. 6-03-84 11-30-85 reversed

in 1988 Thacker, Lois W Ind. 11-03-84 06-27-85 reversed

in 1990 1986 Brown, Debra B Ind. 6-18-84 6-23-86 now on

 6-18-85 death row

Cooper, Paula B Ind. 5-14-85 7-11-86 reversed in 1989

Owens, Gaile W Tenn. 2-17-85 1-15-86 now on

death row 1987 Caillier, Carla W Fla. 11-20-86 3-19-87 reversed

in 1988

Casteel, Dee Dyne W Fla. 8-20-83 9-16-87 reversed in 1990

-------------------------------END PAGE 121---------------------------------

Cox, Sue W N.C. 7-12-86 10-30-87 reversed

in 1992 Dudley, Kaysie W Fla. 9-30-85 1-27-87 reversed

in 1989

Foster, Lafonda W Ky. 3-9-86 4-24-87 reversed

in 1991


1988 Green, Elizabeth B Ohio 1-4-88 7-11-88 commuted

in 1991 Haney, Judie W Ala. 1-1-84 11-18-88 now on

death row Newton, Francis B Texas 4-7-87 11-17-88 now on

death row Wacaser, Nila W Mo. 8-28-87 5-31-88 reversed

in 1990 Walker, Altione W Ala. 3-31-88 12-15-88 reversed

in 1992

1989 Allen, Wanda B Okla. 12- -88 4-26-89 now on

death row

Balfour, Susie B Miss. 10-7-88 10-14-89 reversed

in 1992 Coffman, Cynthia W Cal. 11-7-86 8-30-89 now on

death row

Harris, Louise B Ala. 3-11-88 8-11-89 now on death row

Jones, Patricia W Okla. 4- -88 12-7-89 now on

death row Lampkin, Beatrice B Ohio 11-4-88 4-26-89 commuted

in 1991 Landress, Cindy W Ind. 4-23-88 6-26-89 reversed

in 1992

Plantz, Marilyn W Okla. 8- -88 3-31-89 now on

death row Rivers, Delores B Pa. 1-30-88 3-16-89 now on

death row

Stager, Barbara W N.C. 2-1-88 5-19-89 reversed in 1991

Twenter, Virginia W Mo. 5-4-88 1-6-89 reversed

in 1991 1990 Butler, Sabrina B Miss. 4-11-89 3-14-90 reversed

-------------------------------END PAGE 122---------------------------------

in 1992

Hunt, Deidre W Fla. 10-20-89 9-13-90 reversed

in 1992 Jennings, Patricia W N.C. 9-19-89 11-5-90 now on

death row MaHaley, Marilyn W N.C. 3-20-90 12-17-90 reversed

in 1992 McDermott, Maureen W Cal. 4-28-85 6-15-90 now on

death row

Moore, Blanche W N.C. -89 11-16-90 now on

death row

Smith, Rebecca W S.C. 7-17-89 12-10-90 reversed in 1992


1991 Copeland, Faye W Mo. 1986-88 4-27-91 now on

death row

Gay, vette B N.C. 5-30-90 8-10-91 reversed in 1993

Isa, Maria H Mo. 11-6-89 12-19-91 reversed

in 1993 Milke, Debra Jean W Ariz. 12-2-89 1-18-91 now on

death row

Smith, Geraldine B Ill. 6-?-87 2-20-91 now on death row

Williams, Dorothy B Ill. 7-31-89 4-18-91 now on death row

1992 Alfaro, Maria H Cal. 6-15-90 7-14-92 now on

death row

Cardona, Ana H Fla. 11-2-90 4-1-92 now on death row

Garcia, Guinevere W Ill 7-24-91 10-9-92 now on death row

Hill, Doneta B Pa. 6-20-90 4-9-92 now on  3-24-91 death row

Jackson, Andrea B Fla. 5-16-83 2-21-92 now on

 2-10-84 death row Phillips, Shirley W Mo. 10-?-89 4-6-92 now on

death row Wuornos, Aileen W Fla 12-1-89 1-31-92 now on

5-24-90 5-15-92 death row

7-30-90 5-15-92 9-11-90 5-15-92

-------------------------------END PAGE 123---------------------------------

1993 Ballenger, Vernice W Miss. 7-10-83 1-13-93 now on

death row Larzelier, Virginia W Fla. 3-8-91 5-11-93 now on

death row O'Donnell, Kelly W Pa. ? 7-1-93 now on

death row Thompson, Catherine B Calif. 6-14-90 6-10-93 now on

death row




Haney, Judy: White; age 32 at crime and now age 42 (DOB 6-29-

51); murder (hired killer) of her white husband in Talladega County on 1-1-84; sentenced on 11- 18-88.

Harris, Louise: Black; age 34 at time of crime and now age 40 (DOB 6-16-53); murder (hired killer) of her black husband in Montgomery County on 3-11-88; sentenced on 8- 11-89.

Neelley, Judith Ann: White; age 18 at time of crime and now age

29 (DOB 6-7-64); kidnapping and murder of white female age 13 in DeKalb County on 9-28-82; sentenced on 4-18-83.


Milke, Debra Jean: White; age 25 at crime and now age 29 (DOB: 3-10-64); murder of white male age 5 (her son) in Maricopa County on 12-2-89; sentenced on 1-18-91.


Alfaro, Maria del Rosio (Rosie): Hispanic; age 18 at crime and now age 21; burglary, robbery and murder of Hispanic girl age 9 in Anaheim on 6-15-90; sentenced 7-14-92.

Coffman, Cynthia: White; age 24 at crime and now age 31 (DOB 1- 19-62); murder of white female age 20 in San Bernadino County on 11-7-86; sentenced on 8-30-89.

McDermott, Maureen: White; age 37 at crime and now age 46 (DOB 5-15-47); murder of white male age 27 in Van Nuys (Los Angeles County) on 4-28-85; sentenced on 6-8-90.

Thompson, Catherine: Black; age unknown; murder (hired killer) of her husband on 6-14-1990; sentenced on 6-10-1993.


-------------------------------END PAGE 124---------------------------------

Buenoana, Judias V. (AKA Judy Ann Goodyear): White; age 28 at crime and now age 50 (DOB 4-4-43); arsenic murder of white husband in Orlando on 9-16-71; sentenced on 11-26-85.

Cardona, Ana: Hispanic (Cuban); age 30 at crime and now age 33; murder of son age 3 in Miami Beach on 11-2-90; sentenced on 4-1- 92.

Jackson, Andrea Hicks (aka Felice): Black; age 25 at crime and now age 35 (DOB 2-26-58); murder of black male police officer age 28 in Jacksonville on 5-16-83; sentenced on 2-10-84; reversed in July 1989; resentenced on 2-21-92.

Larzelere, Virginia: White; age 38 at crime and now age 41 (DOB 12-27-52); murder of white male (her husband) about age 40 in Edgewater near Daytona Beach on 3-8-91; sentenced on 5-11-93.

Wuornos, Aileen: White; age 33 at crime and now age 37 (DOB: 2- 29-56); murder of white male age 51 in Volusa County near Datona Beach on 12-1-89; sentenced 1-31-92; murder of white male age 43 in Citrus County on 5-24-90, white male age 50 in Volusa County on 7-30-90, and white male age 56 in Marion County near Ocala on 9-11-90; 3 additional death sentences imposed on 5-15-92.


Smith, Geraldine: Black, age 39 at crime and now age 45; hired man to kill her lover's wife (black female, age 37) in Chicago in June 1987; sentenced on 2-20-91.

Williams, Dorothy: Black, age 35 at crime and now age 39; robbery and murder of black female age 97 in Chicago on 7-31-89; sentenced on 4-18-91.

Garcia, Guinevere: White, age 32 at crime and now age 34; murder of Hispanic male (her husband) age 60 on 7-24-91 in Du Page County; sentenced on 10-9-92.


Brown, Debra Denise: Black; age 21 at crime and now age 31 (DOB 11-11-62); murder of black female age 7 in Gary on 6-18-84; sentenced on 6-23-86.


Ballenger, Vernice: White; age 55 at crime and now age 56; arson and murder of white female age 75 in Leake County on 7-10-83; sentenced on 1-13-93.


Copeland, Faye: White; age 67 at crime and now age 73; murder of four white male adults in Livingston County from 1986 through 1988; sentenced on 4-27-91.

Phillips, Shirley Jo: White; age 53 at crime and now age 57;

-------------------------------END PAGE 125---------------------------------

murder of white female age 66 in Springfield (Greene County) in Oct. 1989; sentenced on 4-6-92.


Ford, Priscilla: Black; age 51 at crime and now age 64 (DOB 2- 10-29); murder of 3 white females and 3 white males in Reno on 11-27-80; sentenced on 4-29-82.


Jennings, Patricia JoAnn [Wells]: White; age 47 at crime and now age 51 (DOB: 8-24-42); murder of white male age 77 (her husband) in Wilson County on 9-19-89; sentenced on 11-5-90.

Moore, Blanche [Taylor]: White; age 56 at crime and now age 60 (DOB: 6-?-33); murder of white male adult (her boyfriend) in Alamance County in late 1989; sentenced on 11-16-90.


Allen, Wanda Jean: Black; age 29 at crime and now age 34 (DOB 8- 17-59); murder of female adult in Oklahoma County in December 1988; sentenced on 4-26-89.

Jones, Patricia: White; age 36 at crime and now age 42; murder in Oklahoma County in April, 1988; sentenced on 12-7-89.

Plantz, Marilyn Kay: White; age 27 at crime and now age 33 (DOB 10-19-60); murder of white male adult (her husband) in Oklahoma County in August, 1988; sentenced on 3-31-89.

Smith, Lois Nadean: White; age 41 at crime and now age 53 (DOB 9-12-40); murder of white female adult in Gans (Sequoia County) on 7-4-82; sentenced 12-29-82.

PENNSLVANIA Hill, Doneta: Black; ages 23 and 24 at crimes and now age 26; murders of Asian male age 72 in Philadelphia on 6-20-90 and of Black male age 21 in Philadelphia on 3-24-91; sentenced on 4-9- 92.

O'Donnell, Kelly: White; sentenced on 7-1-93.

Rivers, Delores: Black; age 34 at crime and now age 40 (DOB 12- 25-53); murder of female age 74 in Philadelphia on January 30, 1988; sentenced on 3-16-89.


Owens, Gaile Kirksey: White; age 32 at crime and now age 41 (DOB 9-22-52); hired someone to murder husband in Shelby County on 2-17-85; sentenced on 1-15-86.


-------------------------------END PAGE 126---------------------------------

Beets, Betty Lou: White; age 46 at crime and now age 56 (DOB 3- 12-37); murder of adult white male (husband) in Athens (Henderson County) on 8-6-83; sentenced on 10-14-85.

Newton, Francis Elaine: Black; age 21 at crime and now age 28 (DOB 4-12-65); murder of husband (black male age 23), son (black male age 7), and daughter (black female age 2) in Houston on 4-7- 87; sentenced on 11-17-88.

Perillo, Pamela Lynn: White; age 24 at crime and now age 38 (DOB 12-3-55); robbery and murder of white (?) male age 26 in Houston on 2-24-80; sentenced on 9-2-80 and 11-13-84.

Tucker, Karla Faye: White; age 23 at crime and now age 34 (DOB 11-18-59); murder of white female age 32 and white male age 27 in Houston on 6-13-83; sentenced on 4-25-84.


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