Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Holton won't object to new execution date

Holton won't object to new execution date

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Death row inmate Daryl Keith Holton said in a letter he is not opposed to the state setting a new execution date for him after he was spared from the electric chair last September.

Holton, who confessed to killing his three young sons and their half-sister with an assault rifle in 1997, was granted a stay from a federal appeals court the night before he was to be electrocuted at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison.

Lethal injection is the primary method of execution in Tennessee, but inmates whose crimes were committed before 1999 can choose the old method.

Holton chose earlier in 2006 to stop appealing his death sentence, although relatives and his attorneys worked to prove that he was mentally incompetent to decide his own fate

In a handwritten letter filed Monday to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Holton said he does not oppose the motion to set a new date for his death.
"The respondent (Holton) acknowledges the state's difficulty and notes the delay caused by the extraneous, elective filings of third parties," Holton wrote, referring to the efforts by others to halt his execution.
However, he disagrees with part of the state's motion that says he does not wish to pursue any more appeals of his death sentence.
Holton "respectfully demurrs that the position taken has been one of consistent, calculated, deliberate, and selective procedural default rather than one of wholesale waiver," he wrote.

Holton has said he was severely depressed when he committed the murders. His lawyers maintain Holton has a long history of mental illness and may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from his military service in the 1991 Gulf War.

Stephen Ferrell, Holton's federal public defender, was granted the stay from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September for appealing a lower court ruling that his client's case didn't merit a full hearing on his competency, after previous examinations showed him to be sane.
On Jan. 9, the Cincinnati-based court affirmed the lower federal court's ruling that Holton did not deserve a competency hearing, prompting the state to ask for a new execution date.

The murders occurred Nov. 30, 1997, when Holton told the four children -- sons Steven, 12, Eric, 6, Brent, 10, and their half-sister Kayla, 4 -- that they were going Christmas shopping. Instead, he took them to the auto body repair shop where he worked and shot them methodically, police say.

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