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View Sample Pages : Kokomo Tribune, December 08, 1994

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Kokomo Tribune (Newspaper) - December 8, 1994, Kokomo, Indiana Kokomo Ind KOKOMO Thursday Dec 50 cents Gregory Resnovers son Gregory Barnett center witnessed his fathers execution Tribune photos by Anne Farrar Countdown to Resnovers electrocution started in 81 By JOE FOLLICK Tribune staff writer MICHIGAN CITY Ind Gregory Resnover was sentenced to die in July 1981 for his part in the December 1980 slaving of Indianapolis Police Detec tive Sgt Jack R Onrberg Resnover was executed in the Indiana State Prison just after 1 Kokomo time this morning Ohrberg had come to a downtown Indianapolis home to arrest Resnover for the murder of a Brinks security guard at an Indianapolis Kmart in an August 1980 robbery Resnover was later sentenced to 80 years for that mur As Ohrberg knocked on the door at least two auto matic weapons were fired from inside the house killing Ohrberg Prosecutors in the trial agreed there was little evi dence linking Resnover directly to pulling the trig ger that killed Ohrberg Trial records show the gun which fired the deadly bullets had Tommie J Smiths fingerprints on it Smith is on Indianas Death Row temporarily housed in the Supermax prison in Westville Resnovers defense claimed he fired toward the door as Ohrberg entered only to protect himself from an unknown intruder Indiana law allows the execution of a nontrigger man when he or she is the codefendant in a murder trial The Supreme Court has supported the con stitutionality of such a law Resnover s appeal process continued until Wednesday afternoon when attorney Robert W Hammerle again asked the Supreme Court the District Court and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to postpone Resnovers execution Fiftyone inmates remain on Indianas Death Row including Resnovers accomplice Tommie J Smith Resnover and a team of lawyers had filed appeals over the past 13 years to trial courts the Indiana Supreme Court the United States District Court the United Sfates 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court All decided that Resnovers trial was fair and that the sentence to death was legal and proper Opposition to Resnovers date with the electric chair amplified during the week before the execu tion Relatives of Resnover and the Indiana Civil Lib erties Union led protests press conferences and appeals in vain efforts to persuade Indiana Gov Evan Bayh to offer clemency in the case Racism and the appear ance that Resnover did not pull the trigger that killed Ohrberg were the themes of vocal rallies outside the governors office in the Statehouse Resnover is the 75th per son executed in Indiana since capital punishment began in 1897 The first 13 executions were hangings all since 1914 have Deen by electrocution The elec tric chair used in Indiana is partly made up of wood taken from the hangmans scaffold used from 1897 to 1907 Resnover was the first person executed in Indiana since William Vandiver in October 1985 He was the first person executed after exhausting his appeal process in Indiana since Steven Judy in March 1981 In 1985 Vandiver was still breathing after being hit with two jolts of electricity that should have killed him Vandiver was still breathing 17 minutes after the first jolt in the chair Resnovers execution went smoothly according to officials The chair had last been tested Wednes day morning and a new piece of equipment to moni tor voltage had been installed Appeals time run out for Resnover t Chair works smoothly in states 75th execution Family supporters weep over killers death ByJOEFOLLICK Tribune staff writer MICHIGAN CITY Ind At this morning Kokomo time Gregory Resnover donned an eye less hood made of black cloth and was escorted approximately 25 paces to the execution room in the Indiana State Prison Thirteen minutes later he became the 75th person executed in Indiana The 43yearold Indianapolis man was sent to the electric chair after being convicted of killing a police officer though he did not fire the fatal shot in the December 1980 slaying in downtown Indi anapolis Resnover was pronounced dead at Kokomo time by one of two attending physicians The electric chair which worked smoothly according to Indiana Department of Correction officials delivered volts of electricity through Resnovers shaved head and legs for 10 sec onds followed by a short gap and then 500 volts for 20 seconds I didnt see much movement but a lot of sparks flew out of his Eric McCauley a member of the Human Rights Coalition of Indiana told Associated Press Outside the Indiana State Prison Indianapolis Police patrol man John Correll said many offi cers felt relieved that justice has finally come the Associ ated Press reported Appeals and protests marked the final minutes of Resnovers life as they had the final weeks The State of Indiana chair Resnover is the 75th person executed in Indiana He is the 62nd person electrocuted since the inception of the Gregory Rosnovar electric chair in 1914 Dae 1880 Indianapolis Police Sgt Jack Ohrberg is killed as he comes to arrest Gregory Resnover for murder Juna 1981 Jury finds Resnover and Tommie Smith guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder July 1981 Judge sentences Resnover to death 1981 to praaant Appeals to Indiana and courts fail to overturn sentence Dec Resnover is executed at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City Resnovers friends comfort ed each other Supreme Court rejected a stay Wednesday afternoon and the appeals process was dropped early in the evening At Resnovers request to have the execution videotaped without his wearing the customary hood was denied by the Indiana Supreme Court Twelve members of Resnovers family visited the condemned man until 5 Wednesday They huddled outside of the prison in a setaside area much of the remainder of the night Alternately solemn and singing they weeped loudly as midnight passed Three Indianapolis police offi cers were involved in facetoface shouting matches with protesters from various human rights groups outside the prison Outnumbered by members of the media approximately 60 pro testers chanted and spoke throughout the evening until just after the execution when they quickly dispersed Resnover was granted unlimited use of the phone in his last full day of life and was allowed unlimited visitors until 5 A spiritual adviser and three attorneys remained with him until when he was left alone in his cell with three offi cials stationed outside Resnover refused many of the offerings traditionally made to condemned prisoners A shower was refused although he did take a fresh change of prison issue clothes including shower slippers a light denim longsleeved shirt and dark denim pants with slits made for the electrodes to fit through His head was shaved before he went into his holding cell at 7 He refused to request a meal and did not eat a dinner consisting partly of deep fried chicken mashed potatoes with jziblet gravy and ice cream with chilled peaches Resnover also declined to make a final statement saying he had left one with his attorney Robert Hammerle Hammerle did not disclose this last statement upon leaving the prison after the execution only saying that This shows we are a violent people This was not an act of political courage This was an act of political Bieghlers appointment with death on hold during appeal process Bieghler KTGiaphic By KEVIN MARONEY Tribune assistant metro editor Still on Indianas death row is Kokomos Marvin Bieghler who is in the Maximum Control Com plex in Westville Ind Eleven years ago Bieghler 46 was con demned to Indianas electric chair He was sentenced to die after Howard County jurors convicted him of two murder charges for the shooting deaths of a Russiaville couple Susan Carpenter of the state public defenders office in Indi anapolis said Wednesday that Bieghlers case is still in the post conviction relief phase which is part of the appeal process The public defenders office attorneys represent many of the people on Indianas death row Postconviction is a mechanism in which attorneys allege that errors were made during a trial In Bieghlers postconviction relief petition attorneys are asking for a new trial to vacate his death sen tence and to dismiss his murder convictions If the requests are denied Bieghler still has other avenues in which he can appeal through state and federal courts Meanwhile Bieghlers death sentence is on hold until he exhausts his appeal rights Before Bieghlers case can however Miami Circuit Court Judge Bruce Embrey in Peru must rule on the postconviction relief peti tion Embrey the special judge in the case has said He cant rule until he gets a transcript of Bieghlers trial On March 25 1983 Howard Superior Court 1 Judge Dennis H Parry gave Bieghler the death penalty The judge followed the recommendation of the Howard County jurors who convicted Bieghler Bieghler was convicted of two charges of murder for the deaths of Tommy Eugene Miller 20 and his pregnant wife Kimberly Jane Wright Miller 19 The cou ple were found shot to death in their Russiaville mobile home Dec Kim fourto eightweeks preg nant was shot three times in the chest Tommy was shot in the chest six times Both slayings are attributed to an unpaid drug debt Authorities also allege in court records mat Bieghler was a drug dealer and believed Tommy Miller was a police informant Inside todays Tribune D7 Local Worid Vol 144 No 96 CHRISTMAS NATO draws up rescue plans troops would be involved in evacuation effort SARAJEVO BosniaHerzegov ina AP With 356 peacekeepers still held hostage by Serbs and operations at a standstill NATO nas speeded up plans to get all peacekeepers out of Bosnia The North Atlantic Treaty Orga nization gave its military experts until Friday to come up with detailed plans for withdrawal of the peacekeepers in Bosnia Foreign Minister Alain Juppe of France which has the most sol diers in Bosnia told NATO on Wednesday that the situation for peacekeepers was becoming NATO officials said a force of troops would be needed to protect the peacekeepers if they had to withdraw under fire Its a highly risky operation and would require a reinforce ment of ground troops to pull Juppe said in Paris Defense Secretary William Perry says more than troops would be involved in any NATO evacuation of peacekeepers Until now the United States has declined to send ground troops to Bosnia ;