Location:
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT;
Scope:
Court Cases;

OLR Research Report


January 10, 2012

 

2012-R-0020

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.

Eleven inmates are currently sentenced to death. Robert Breton, first sentenced to death in 1989, has been on death row the longest. 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. Joshua Komisarjevsky is the most recent person sentenced to death (2011).

The cases for seven of the 11 inmates have not completed the initial appellate review by the Connecticut Supreme Court (including Komisarjevsky's, where the sentencing process is not yet complete). The remaining four 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 which were denied by the Superior Court. All four are appealing the Superior Court's decision.

Table 1 provides, for each of the 11 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. The trial in the Superior Court on the habeas petition is scheduled for June 2012 (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: Superior Court denies petition, appeal to Appellate Court is 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 denies petition, appeal to Appellate Court is pending

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

Table 1 (Continued)

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: Superior Court denies petition, appeal to Appellate Court is pending

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 upholds new death sentence: November 29, 2011

Motion for reconsideration filed December 19, 2011

 

Russell Peeler, Jr.

Convicted of ordering the killing of a woman and her 8-year-old son, a potential 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

 

Table 1 (Continued)

Name

Description of Offense

Offense Date

Sentencing Date

Direct Appeal

Habeas Corpus

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

Connecticut Supreme Court appeal pending

 

Joshua Komisarjevsky

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

July 23, 2007

December 9, 2011 (jury verdict but sentencing process not yet complete)

   

CR:tjo