State, The (Columbia, SC)
Author: S.C. Department of Corrections and staff reports
Robert South will be the first man prosecuted by 11th Circuit Solicitor Donnie Myers to be executed. Here's a look at the 12 other Death Row inmates against whom Myers has won death sentences:
LARRY GILBERT and J.D. GLEATON -- Gilbert, 40, and Gleaton, 51, have been on Death Row since Oct. 7, 1977, longer than any other inmates. They were sentenced for robbing and murdering South Congaree service station owner Ralph Stoudemire.
LARRY GENE BELL -- Bell, 47, was sentenced in separate trials for two 1985 murders of Debra May Helmick, 9, and Sharon Faye Smith, 17, of Lexington County. Debra May was kidnapped while playing in her yard at a Richland County trailer park. Two weeks earlier, Smith was abducted from the driveway of her home in rural Lexington County. Her body was found after the killer telephoned her family and told them where she was ``waiting.''
MICHAEL TORRENCE -- Torrence, 35, was sentenced in May 1988 for killing a man in a Cayce motel room. Torrence was sentenced to life in prison for two other murders. Torrence helped strangle Charles Alan Bush with a dog collar, then took a motel key from Bush's pants. He went to the motel, where Bush's co-worker, Dennis Lollis, was sleeping. Torrence stabbed Lollis 19 times with such frenzy that he accidentally stabbed himself in the hand. He also killed a Charleston prostitute.
GENE TONY COOPER and ROBERT SOUTHERLAND -- Cooper, 37, and Southerland, 47, were convicted of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. They were sentenced for the 1989 killing of Kimberly Quinn, 28, who died from a shotgun blast fired with the barrel held against her skull after Cooper learned she did not have the $2,800 insurance check he wanted to steal. Her hands and feet were hacked off with an ax before her body was doused with gasoline and burned.
JAMES M. CHARPING -- Charping, 28, is on Death Row for raping, torturing and killing Joan Ann Pruitt in Lexington County in February 1990 after a drug deal. Prosecutors said Charping tortured Pruitt for an hour before killing her. A doctor testified that her body was in such bad shape that she could have died from being beaten, choked or drowned in the pond where her body was found. A co-conspirator, Jeffrey Whitlock, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
LUKE WILLIAMS -- Williams, 43, of Columbia County, Ga., was convicted in November 1993 by an Edgefield County jury for the murders of his wife, 39-year-old Linda Williams, and their son, Shaun, 12. The woman was beaten to death, and the boy was strangled. Their bodies were found in Sumter National Forest June 19, 1991, in a partially burned van. Williams had arranged for insurance coverage on his wife and son amounting to more than $584,000 shortly before their deaths.
RAYMOND PATTERSON -- Patterson, 30, was sentenced in February 1995 to die for killing an elderly West Virginia man when a purse-snatching went awry. Patterson shot 66-year-old Matthew Brooks in the head as they scuffled in the parking lot of a St. Andrews motel in 1985. The victim's wife, Ruth Brooks, also was shot, but survived.
JOHNNY O. BENNETT -- Bennett, 25, waited in jail for five years before being convicted and sentenced in October 1995 for the robbery and murder of Benton Darrell Smith, 24. Smith's body was found partially buried behind a Swansea mobile home in December 1990. His unemployment check was missing and he had been repeatedly stabbed with a screwdriver.
TED BENJAMIN POWERS -- A Lexington County jury needed only 10 minutes on Feb. 23 to sentence Powers, 22, to death for killing an elderly Gaston man. Powers broke into the home of Yeoman Senn, 68, in September 1990 and stabbed him to death in his bed. Powers also beat Senn's wife, Linnie Senn, then 66, and broke her collarbone.
JOSEPH ARD -- Ard, 25, was condemned in April of murdering his pregnant girlfriend, Madalyn Coffey, 17, and their full-term baby. Ard shot Coffey in April 1993 in his Gaston mobile home. The baby suffocated.