Man who killed, dismembered victim over drug debt will get another day in court, says state high court
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OWENS V. URBINA (S14A1334)
Under a ruling today by the Supreme Court of Georgia, a man who pleaded guilty to a reduced charge after he was indicted for sexually abusing a little girl will not have to register as a sex offender.
The high court is upholding the judgment of a Fulton County court judge, who ruled earlier this year that Mario Urbina of Muscogee County does not need to register as a sex offender because
Robert Wayne Holsey to be executed on Tuesday, December 9
Forsyth – The Morgan County Superior Court has ordered the execution of convicted murderer Robert Wayne Holsey. The court ordered the Georgia Department of Corrections to carry out the execution December 9-16, 2014. Commissioner Brian Owens has set the date for Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison in Jackson at 7pm.
Holsey was sentenced to death for the December 1995 murder of 26-year-old Deputy Sheriff Will Robertson in Baldwin County. If executed, Holsey will be the 32nd inmate put to death by lethal injection.
The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 55,000 state prisoners and over 160,000 probationers. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 12,000 employees.
Holsey’s Crime (December 17, 1995)
The Georgia Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:
The evidence at trial showed that shortly before 1:30 a.m. on December 17, 1995, Holsey entered the Jet Food Store in Milledgeville with a gun and demanded money. After receiving money from the store’s cash register, Holsey directed the store clerk to open the store’s lottery machine. Although Holsey ordered the clerk into a back room, the clerk was able to observe Holsey leave in a small red automobile. The clerk immediately called the police and provided a description of Holsey and his car.
Less than four minutes after Holsey left the food store, Deputy Sheriff Will Robinson stopped a red Ford Probe at a nearby motel. He relayed the vehicle’s license plate number by radio and approached the vehicle; Holsey then fired. Forensic evidence showed that the deputy suffered a fatal head wound.
Several guests at the motel observed a person matching Holsey’s descriptions returning to the red Ford Probe and speeding away. The police soon discovered the vehicle and gave chase, but Holsey was able to avoid apprehension. One witness testified that she observed the red Ford Probe and recognized Holsey, with whom she was personally acquainted.
Holsey’s girlfriend testified that shortly after the shooting Holsey called and asked her to meet him at his sister’s house. He told her to drive her blue Jeep Cherokee rather than her red automobile because the police were searching for a red Ford Probe. When she arrived at the house, Holsey was hiding behind a fence. Holsey had his girlfriend drive him past the murder scene. When she refused his request to be driven to his mother’s house where he could monitor a police scanner, Holsey had her drive him through back roads to his sister’s house where she had picked him up. Holsey instructed her to park directly behind the red Ford Probe in order to conceal its license plate.
While Holsey and his girlfriend were still in the Jeep, a law enforcement officer drove up to the red Ford Probe. The officer checked the Probe’s license plate number, which matched the number transmitted by the victim. The officer then illuminated the Cherokee and the Probe with his headlights and transmitted a request for additional support. When Holsey exited the Cherokee “very quickly,” the officer turned on his blue police lights, exited his own vehicle, drew his service weapon, and twice commanded Holsey to raise his hands. Holsey failed to comply, began looking around as though searching for an escape route, and, after the officer threatened to shoot, Holsey finally raised his hands. The officer then commanded Holsey to lie prone on the ground. When the chief deputy arrived less than two minutes later, he confirmed that the Probe’s license plate number matched the number from the victim’s radio call and discovered a fresh bullet hole in the back of the Probe. He then awakened and interviewed the occupants of the residence. The occupants, Holsey’s sister and another woman who was the owner of the Probe, both stated that Holsey had borrowed the vehicle that night. The chief deputy then, less than fifteen minutes after Holsey was initially detained, asked Holsey his name and placed him under arrest.
Clothes matching the description of those worn by the armed robbery perpetrator were discovered nearby. Shoes removed from Holsey after his arrest matched the description given by witnesses to both the armed robbery and the murder. A sample of blood taken from one of the shoes proved through DNA analysis to be consistent with the blood of the victim.
Holsey v. State, 271 Ga. 856, 857-858 (1999).
The Trial (1996-1999)
Holsey was indicted in the Superior Court of Baldwin County, Ga. on January 8, 1996, for malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery. On February 11, 1997, a jury found Holsey guilty on all counts. The jury’s recommendation of a death sentence was returned on February 13, 1997. Thereafter, Holsey filed a motion for new trial, which was denied on January 19, 1999.
The Direct Appeal (1999-2000)
The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Holsey’s convictions and death sentence on December 2, 1999. Holsey v. State, 271 Ga. 856 (1999). The United States Supreme Court denied Holsey’s request to appeal on June 19, 2000.Holsey v. Georgia, 530 U.S. 1246 (2000).
State Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2000-2007)
Holsey, represented by attorneys from the Georgia Resource Center, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County, Ga. on October 6, 2000. Evidentiary hearings were held June 16-18, 2003, and December 8-9, 2003. On May 15, 2006, the state habeas corpus court entered an order granting Holsey relief as to his death sentence finding that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The state habeas corpus court denied Holsey relief as to his convictions. The State appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, which unanimously reversed the habeas corpus court’s order and reinstated Holsey's death sentence on February 26, 2007. Schofield v. Holsey,281 Ga. 809 (2007). On December 3, 2007, the United States Supreme Court denied Holsey’s request to appeal.Holsey v. Hall, 552 U.S. 1070 (2007).
Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2007-2009)
Holsey, represented by attorneys from the Georgia Resource Center, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on November 21, 2007. On July 2, 2009, the district court denied Holsey federal habeas corpus relief.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2009-2012)
Holsey’s case was appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009. The case was orally argued before the 11th Circuit on February 13, 2012. On September 13, 2012, the 11th Circuit denied relief. Holsey v. Warden, 694 F.3d 1230 (11th Cir. 2012).
United States Supreme Court (2013)
Holsey requested to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied June 10, 2013. Holsey v. Humphrey, 133 S. Ct. 2804 (2013).
Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Press Release
Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies responded to a single vehicle accident on Highway 140 near Little Refuge Road north of Waleska at approximately 2p.m. Tuesday afternoon. A motorcycle driven by Joseph Dillon Howell, 23 years old of Waleska, left the roadway and struck a tree.
Howell was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses stated that Howell was traveling at a high rate of speed after passing several cars and swerved to miss a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction before leaving the roadway. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit is investigating the accident.
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