Child killer Mark Dean Schwab faces execution Tuesday

June 29, 2008
Sun-Sentinel
Sarah Lundy|Sentinel Staff Writer

Is lethal injection cruel and unjust punishment?  I personally can’t even consider that the criminal/murderer would think they would have that right, a right they never gave their victim.  After he lead them to the body his only comment was if he could get something from Burger King to eat and drink, That showed such remorse, NOT that hearing that remark made me sick………..flagranny2

Child killer Mark Dean Schwab — who kidnapped, raped and murdered 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa — is set to die Tuesday by lethal injection.

His execution marks Florida’s first state killing since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the commonly used, three-drug lethal cocktail is not cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.

That ruling ended a de facto moratorium on the death penalty that had swept the nation while the high court focused on the issue.

Since the ruling, nine condemned men have been put to death across the country — far fewer than the “bloodbath” death-penalty opponents had feared would follow the decision.

Now, eyes shift to Florida on Tuesday, when Schwab, barring any last minute legal moves, will become the 10th man to die since the ruling.

“There is no question of his guilt, and the law says [lethal injection] is an appropriate punishment,” said Wayne Holmes, a Seminole-Brevard assistant state attorney and prosecutor on the initial Schwab case.

Junny’s parents, Vicki and Braulio “Junny” Rios-Martinez, could not be reached for comment.

For the past 16 years, Schwab has lived in a 6-by-9-foot cell in Florida State Prison in Starke. He joined death row in 1992 after he was convicted of killing Junny, a little boy who loved surfing and baseball.

On April 18, 1991, Schwab called the 11-year-old’s school and identified himself as the boy’s father. He left a message for Junny to go to a baseball field after school. Witnesses said they saw Junny get into a U-Haul with Schwab.

Five days later, Schwab led investigators to the boy’s body, which he hid inside a footlocker in a palmetto thicket in Canaveral Groves, north of Cocoa.

Schwab was originally scheduled to die by lethal injection Nov. 15. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a last-minute stay that postponed the execution while it considered the lethal-injection issue in a case that originated in Kentucky.

Some had hoped the top court’s decision would quash many of the legal challenges to lethal injection. But the closely watched ruling did little to settle the debate, and some say it has actually sparked more on the issue.

“It’s really started the ball rolling,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University and a death-penalty expert. The U.S. Supreme Court “hasn’t changed things that much, but there is a more heated discussion,” she said.

Some states — such as Georgia and Texas — are moving forward with executions this year. Texas has 16 scheduled to die before the end of the year.

Others — such as Ohio and Delaware — are examining the way they carry out capital punishment. Last month, a judge in Ohio became the first in the country to order authorities to stop using the three-drug cocktail and opt for a single, large dose of barbiturate, which is often used in animal euthanasia.

“This may have reverberations in other states,” said Ty Alper, associate director of the death penalty clinic at the University of California Berkeley school of law.

It doesn’t appear that Florida is headed toward the one-dose process yet.

Last year, Florida enacted new and detailed procedures for how to administer the three-drug cocktail after convicted-killer Angel Nieves Diaz needed a second dose of the fatal chemicals and took 34 minutes to die in 2006.

The state responded by requiring more staff training and better monitoring of proceedings in the death chamber.

Schwab will be the first condemned prisoner to enter the chamber since Diaz. There are no other executions scheduled in Florida. But there are 377 Florida prisoners waiting on death row.

Out of options
In 1992, Mark Dean Schwab was sentenced to death in the 1991 slaying of Junny Rios-Martinez, but the execution was delayed by appeals. On Nov. 14, Schwab’s execution was delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether lethal injection is constitutional. In April, the court ruled it is, and in May, Gov. Charlie Crist ordered that Schwab be executed.

Sarah Lundy can be reached at slundy@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-6218.

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Airlines Thwart Plans of ‘Too Sick’ Girl, 5, to Travel to China for Stem Cell Treatment

Monday, June 30, 2008
FoxNews

As a parent what would you do?….flagranny

Two airlines this weekend declined to fly Miranda Goranflo and her daughter Hailey to Beijing, where the 5-year-old was to receive stem-cell treatments for a rare fatal disease, the Courier-Journal reported.

The airlines, Air China and Air Canada, decided during a layover in Vancouver, British Columbia, that Hailey was “too sick” to fly this weekend. After being treated at a Vancouver hospital for seizures, the girl and her mother were forced to fly home to Shepherdsville, Ky., the report said.

“I’m completely distraught,” Goranflo, who disagreed that her daughter was unfit to fly, told the Courier-Journal from Vancouver. “I cannot believe we’ve come this far and we have to come home.”

Click here for photos of Hailey.

Hailey and her 3-year-old brother Carter suffer from an incurable disorder called Late Infantile Batten Disease. The disease causes seizures, dementia, and blindness. Most sufferers don’t make it beyond the age of 12. Hailey can no longer walk, talk or eat without a feeding tube, the report said.

Batten disease is relatively rare and occurs in an estimated 2 to 4 of every 100,000 live births in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

After raising $78,000, Hailey’s parents planned to take her to China for an experimental stem-cell treatment that is not offered in the U.S.

Details of Hailey’s thwarted trip were posted on the family’s blog Saturday.

Click here for more on this story from the Courier-Journal.

George Carlin, Grammy-Winning Comedian, Dies at 71

Monday, June 23, 2008
The Associated Press as told to Foxnews
 

A great comedian, Carlin will definitely be missed.  He took comedy and pushed the button a little further but that was what so great about him…..flagranny2

                                                                                                             

Los Angeles, Calif. – George Carlin, the dean of counterculture comedians whose biting insights on life and language were immortalized in his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV” routine, died of heart failure Sunday. He was 71.      

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

“He was a genius and I will miss him dearly,” Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press.

Carlin’s jokes constantly pushed accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the “Seven Words” — all of which are more or taboo on broadcast TV and radio to this day. When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail — and typically unapologetic on his release.

A Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying the language was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.

When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1978 upholding the government’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

“So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” he told The Associated Press earlier this year.

Carlin served as host of the first epidsode of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975 and appeared some 130 times on “The Tonight Show.”

He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies. Carlin hosted the first broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” and noted on his Web site that he was “loaded on cocaine all week long.”

He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

When asked about the fallout from the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson’s breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction,” Carlin told the AP, “What are we, surprised?”

“There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body,” he said. “It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.”

Carlin was born May 12, 1937 and grew up in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, raised by a single mother. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he joined the Air Force in 1954. He received three court-martials and numerous disciplinary punishments, according to his official Web site.

While in the Air Force he started working as an off-base disc jockey at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and after receiving a general discharge in 1957, took an announcing job at WEZE in Boston.

“Fired after three months for driving mobile news van to New York to buy pot,” his Web site says.

From there he went on to a job on the night shift as a deejay at a radio station in Forth Worth, Texas. Carlin also worked variety of temporary jobs including a carnival organist and a marketing director for a peanut brittle.

In 1960, he left with a Texas radio buddy, Jack Burns, for Hollywood to pursue a nightclub career as comedy team Burns & Carlin. He left with $300, but his first break came just months later when the duo appeared on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar. r Carlin said he hoped to would emulate his childhood hero, Danny Kaye, the kindly, rubber-faced comedian who ruled over the decade that Carlin grew up in — the 1950s — with a clever but gentle humor reflective of its times.

Only problem was, it didn’t work for him.

“I was doing superficial comedy entertaining people who didn’t really care: Businessmen, people in nightclubs, conservative people. And I had been doing that for the better part of 10 years when it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things for the wrong people,” Carlin reflected recently as he prepared for his 14th HBO special, “It’s Bad For Ya.”

Eventually Carlin lost the buttoned-up look, favoring the beard, ponytail and all-black attire for which he came to be known.

But even with his decidedly adult-comedy bent, Carlin never lost his childlike sense of mischief, even voicing kid-friendly projects like episodes of the TV show “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” and the spacey Volkswagen bus Fillmore in the 2006 Pixar hit “Cars.”

Carlin’s first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin.

Breaking News: Tim Russert host of “Meet the Press” dead at 58

Friday, June 13, 2008
Fox News

WASHINGTON —  Tim Russert was big wherever he went — in politics, in television, in writing — and even in a suit.

Russert, the hard-hitting but big-hearted moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died at work Friday at age 58 of a reported heart attack.

Russert, who also was in charge of NBC News’ Washington bureau, is survived by his wife, Maureen Orth., and his son, Luke.

A noticeably shaken Tom Brokaw made the announcement live from New York on the NBC network, saying his colleague collapsed and died early Friday afternoon in the network’s bureau in Washington.

Brokaw said Russert had just returned from a trip to Italy with his wife and son to celebrate his son’s graduation from Boston College. They reportedly were still in Italy at the time of his death.

“He has been a very familiar face on this network and throughout the world of political journalism as one of the premiere political analysts and journalists of his time,” Brokaw said.

Russert was also known for his large stature, his love of his family, and his affinity for his home town, Buffalo — and it’s NFL franchise, the Bills. Brokaw said Russert had just visited Buffalo last week to assist in moving his father to a new home. Russert’s father, known as Big Russ, was the subject of one of Russert’s best-selling books.

“I think I can invoke personal privilege to say that this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice. He’ll be missed as he was loved — greatly,” Brokaw said.

Russert had hosted “Meet the Press” since 1991, taking the seat from Garrick Utley. Russert also authored two best-sellers, including “Big Russ and Me,” which focused on the relationship with his father, and the “Wisdom of Our Fathers.”

Russert honed his hard-hitting interviewing style over the years, and became a make-or-break appearance for any major American politician, as well as must-see television for political observers, in and outside government.

He regularly interviewed the biggest names in domestic and international politics. He also moderated presidential debates, including at least three during the 2008 presidential campaign cycle. He was scheduled to host Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for the upcoming Sunday show.

Click here to read more national reaction on Tim Russert’s death.

“Meet the Press” has been on network television since 1947, and is the longest running American public affairs show.

Russert — who also was an attorney and a former aide to former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) — had a distinctive on-air style marked by tough questioning and extensive research that included posting well-documented quotes and charts on air.

During the 2000 election, Russert received light ribbing but made an indelible memory for making repeated references to a white dry-erase board he continued to write on while explaining the ongoing tallies. He eventually determined that night — before the recount and the hanging chads — by playing out numbers on his erase-board tally that Florida would be the center of the action.

Russert’s reputation — criticized both by conservatives for liberal bias, and liberals for conservative bias — might have been the only one left untarnished by the scandal involving former White House aide…… To continue [Click HERE]