February 21, 2006

Doctors Overturn Death Penalty

Hatched by Dafydd

The execution of Michael Morales was postponed late Monday night when the two anesthesiologists -- forced into the execution process by the ruling of federal Judge Jeremy Fogel -- abruptly refused to take part in the procedure, citing ethical concerns.

The doctors' withdrawal came at the end of hasty legal maneuvering in U.S. District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. But it was the language in an opinion rendered Monday by the appellate court that had the court-ordered anesthesiologists in mutiny.

The doctors' concerns hinged on the ethics of returning an inmate to consciousness in the event of a botched lethal injection.

Doctors said the ruling raised serious questions about the possibility of having to intervene in the execution "if any evidence of either pain or a return to consciousness arose."

In a statement to the warden, the doctors said, "Any such intervention would be medically unethical. As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process. ... What is being asked of us is ethically unacceptable."

At about 2:00 am Tuesday morning, Morales was returned to his cell on Death Row in the Q. As Big Lizards predicted, the execution is postponed; but prison officials still hope to carry it out before 12:01 Wednesday morning, when the execution order expires.

The death warrant for Morales expires at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. If the execution is not carried out before then, a Superior Court judge would have no more than 60 days to set another execution date.

Judge Fogel, a Clinton appointee, has left Warden Steven Ornoski few choices to carry out the execution within that time limit: now that the anesthesiologists have pulled the plug on the state-prescribed trio of drugs to kill Morales, Ornoski's only remaining option is to try to execute Morales with a lethal dose of the barbiturate sodium pentothal -- what used to be called "truth serum."

This method of execution has never been used before in the United States, and we really don't know how well it will work... and I forsee grave difficulties if the defense team runs to a new federal court and demands a stay of execution until the effects of 5 grams of sodium pentothal can be "studied."

In two previous posts, If I Should Ouch Before I Die and Michael Morales Dead Pool, we warned that this obsession with whether people being executed might "feel pain" before dying would come back to haunt us, wailing like a hanging-hair ghost in a Kabuki play.

As the anesthesiologists interpreted the ruling from the Ninth Circus, if they detected even the faintest evidence that Morales might be feeling pain, they would be legally obliged to stop the execution and try to bring him back to consciousness.

This is madness: we shouldn't be deliberately tormenting people; but on the other hand, you just have to accept the possibility that somebody might conceivably be hurt during an execution, for God's sake. No pussyfooting allowed when administering the death penalty.

It shouldnt' make that much of a difference; it will all be over soon, and the condemned will be beyond feeling any pain (at least in this world). This over-solicitousness of the brutal rapist murderer's frets and feelings is not only unjust to his victim, seventeen year old high-school senior Teri Winchell... it's unseemly for our judicial system, which is based, not on comfort and ease, but on justice.

Morales committed a particularly horrific and callous attack: he murdered Winchell, not because she did anything wrong -- not even because Morales himself had anything against her -- but because the man she was dating was, unbeknownst to her, engaged in a homosexual affair with Morales' cousin, Rick Ortega... and Ortega was jealous.

Ortega picked Winchell up in his car; Morales was hiding in the back seat. As they drove, Morales lunged up and looped a belt around Winchell's throat, trying to strangle her. But the belt broke... so Morales began repeatedly beating her in the head with a hammer he had with him.

When he had battered her into unconsciousness at least (and possibly already death), then Ortega pulled over so Morales could rape Winchell's comatose or lifeless body. Following the rape, he stabbed her over and over until there was no doubt that she was dead.

This is the man the courts are so terrified might feel pain while he's being put to death.

This circus is simply appalling. It is time to stop shifting heaven and Earth to keep this bestial man alive... fiat justicia ruat coelum. If Morales' legal team -- which tried to get his sentence reduced by filing falsified juror affidavits -- doesn't want him executed via lethal injection, let's take them at their word.

Let us set up a gallows and have done with him.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 21, 2006, at the time of 6:29 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/508

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Doctors Overturn Death Penalty:

» The Old Fogel Has Gotten His Wish from Big Lizards
The state of California has given up for now, admitting that under the bizarre new rules decreed by the judicial fiat of Judge Jeremy Fogel, they cannot execute Michael Morales, or indeed any other prisoner they have on death row.... [Read More]

Tracked on February 21, 2006 9:49 PM

» Three-Judge Monte from Big Lizards
Want a preview of what the Supreme Court would be like if a Democrat won the presidency in 2008? Check out this gang-mugging of Florida Assistant Deputy Attorney General Carolyn Snurkowski and U.S. Justice Department lawyer Kannon Shanmugam. The subjec... [Read More]

Tracked on April 26, 2006 5:13 PM

» The World Turned Rightside Up from Big Lizards
You will all recall -- as I'm certain you've memorized every Big Lizards post by now -- and if you haven't, how do you expect to pass? -- that we earlier blogged about the stunning instance of Clinton appointee Judge... [Read More]

Tracked on December 17, 2006 3:36 AM


The following hissed in response by: krkrjak

A nice easy clean departure from this world is way too good for this pond scum, but of course we are just too civilized in our punishment to administer anything less to this kind of human garbge.If I had my way the punishment would fit the crime, thereby allowing the low life to experience the same fear panic and pain the victim surely did before her death.

The above hissed in response by: krkrjak [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 1:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: John Sobieski

Give me that damn syringe and I'll jab it in and empty it pdq! Grow a spine California.

The above hissed in response by: John Sobieski [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 3:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

Feeling Pain

Imagine waking up to an odor of excrement (“especially : waste (as feces) discharged from the alimentary canal”), and realizing that you are still in Prison after already spending two months in Prison. After spending some time wondering where that excrement odor is coming from, what it’s about (???), you hear the outer bars being opened, and realize that the first of roughly three ‘highpoints’ to your day has started. Its breakfast time (followed usually by the ‘highpoints’ of lunch and then dinner) again. Sounds of wheeled carts come next, and the sounds of Prison food trays passing thru bars. Someone from a cell, on one of the cellblocks’ tiers, is heard asking what’s that smell...no one answers. More sounds of wheeled carts and Prison food trays passing thru bars...then, a loud Ugh!!! sound of shock. The cellblock gets very noisy, which lasts for some time, until all there realize that someone had hung himself. Heck, i never knew that you excremented when you hung yourself?!?

Not painful enough?!? Then imagine living the rest of your live in a Prison...in “lockup”, and with a best hope that holds a *VERY* weak possibility that you might (as in “might”) eventually make it into the Prison “population” area where you get to spend the rest of your life. Run that thought through yore mind a ‘few’ time-a-day...so to speak of some lasting pain.

Just one hour behind bars should be enough for any sober human to understand what the loss of one’s Freedom is about, and maybe even understand the words of Patrick Henry:

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

i’ve never understood why anyone would like to live in Prison until they die. Michael Morales brutally murdered and raped (or, possibly had sexual intercourse with the corpse) Terri Winchell, back around January 8, 1981. Roughly two years later, on April 25, 1983, “After a penalty trial, the jury returns a verdict of death.”

In my humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit opinion, if this is 2006, Michael Morales has basically been *TORTURED* for well over twenty years...so to speak.

pain: “3 plural : the throes of childbirth”

torture: “1 a : anguish of body or mind : AGONY b : something that causes agony or pain
2 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure”

Michael Morales...may you experience *AGONY* until they (The State) figures out a way to kill you without any “pain”...*SNICKER*


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 4:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles


5 grams of pentothal and 5 grams of morphine will do the job.


The sphincters relax with death. The bowels and bladder will empty. This always happens if you have intact digestive and urinary systems.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 5:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

5 grams of pentothal and 5 grams of morphine will do the job.

Are you saying that there will be no pain with that mixture??? No pain at all...

The sphincters relax with death.

OK...humble me now remembers. There was also a rather 'tart' smell...as in a twist of p*ss odor mixed lightly in.



The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 6:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: johngaltwannabe

Today I visited the grave of my friend. As several balloons waved in the breeze and the rain came down on the flowers left by family and friends a day before, as mud ran over the granite plate, I stood there, alone, a silent tribute to the girl who was taken from me and my friends in a way I could never have imagined. Thinking back to that time, I said to her that I was sorry, that I never saw it coming. I thought for a while and here is what I remember from 25 years ago.

It was in November 1980 that this story begins for me. I was busy with college, working at the skating rink and celebrating the election of Ronald Reagan. At the time everyone was concerned about the Russians and the nukes pointed at us. We were demoralized about the 70 hostages taken by Iran and fed up that a President tried to hide from the press the facts of a fishing attack involving a killer swamp rabbit. This was also the month I first met Terri Lynn Winchell. She was about 5 feet tall with beautiful flowing brown hair in a style we now make fun of as big hair of the 70’s. She worked at the skating rink and was your typical 17 year old girl. She smiled and giggled and brighten any room she entered. She loved to sing at the piano and write songs. From an early age, she proved to be special, her family said. She learned to walk at 8 months old, and could sing as soon as she could speak. At 3, she could play the piano. People who attended church all over Stockton could recognize her voice. In high school, Winchell was a straight-A student and a humble beauty, those closest to her said. Her mother said her daughter had planned a bid to become Miss San Joaquin County. In 1980, she was a contender to become a "Pibb Girl," the next face of the Coca-Cola Bottle Co., because of her striking resemblance to a composite of the most prominent female celebrities of the time. She had Pam Dawber's hair, Susan Anton's eyes and Kristy McNichol's nose. On slow evenings at the rink she would wonder away from her station at the snack bar and join me at the railing next to the rink just to talk and watch. We had a lot of good times together chatting. Out on the floor of the rink were our friends Ricky, Barry, Brian, Jerry, Rhonda, Lisa, Windy, Freda, Cindy and Brad. Some were working as floor guards and some were employees with a night off but still at the rink to hang out. Terri was dating Barry’s brother Randy who did not work at the rink but was a good baseball player for Delta College. Sometimes we all went out after the rink closed to Lyons or Denny’s and took up whole sections of the restaurant. The skating rink was the cool place to hang. Ricky was on my pairs skating team. He and I sometimes traded our partners who we would grab and throw into the air and then catch while skating very fast across bitter pecan hardwood. Our partners were anywhere from 15 to 18 years old and were small, light, strong and especially cute and it was not a problem to just pick them up and throw them over your head. I was always amazed at the trust they had in Ricky and myself. And we never dropped them because their moms were always close by watching every move Ricky and I made.

In December John Lennon was shot -- my grades were dropping and I was broke. One of the last things I remember was an evening in December when I looked out across the floor of the rink and saw no floor guard on duty. It was a slow evening and so we had one floor guard, one DJ and me. I looked up towards the DJ booth and saw no one there either. The record playing was close to ending and it would not be unusual for them to be dealing with a problem on the other end of the rink. I hustled up there to change the record. Once up there I could see the entire rink and still no employees. Then I looked down and under the desk to see my two friends holding hands and crying together. I changed the record, looked at them again -- shaking my head and said, “get it together,” then laughed at them and left. I was shocked to see my two friends acting like a couple of gays. I got the feeling they were gay for the first time.

In January 1981 everyone was looking forward to Reagan taking office. The hostages were still held by Iran, over 400 days so far and Carter had a failed Presidency. Ricky was having a hard time too but I didn’t know why, I suspected it had to do with what I saw in December and I had heard he had tried to kill himself but didn’t know for sure if that was true. His friends seemed to want to help him but didn’t know how. I saw Teri Winchell at the rink for the last time but didn’t know it at the time. Oh how I regret not being able to protect her from the future. Word was spreading that Randy had been raped by Ricky. Terri still friends with everyone was still hoping that her problems with Ricky were over. It was a Thursday Night that Terri’s mother lay sick in bed. Terri was getting ready to go out to pick up some fish and chips at Long John Silvers. At the same time Ricky was plotting with his cousin Michael Morales how to get Terri alone to murder her. Michael explained that he would strangle the girl, then toss her out on the road. They agreed there would be a signal: "When are you getting an eight-track in the car?" Pat Flores lived in the same house where Morales lived. She testified that the day before the murder, while she was sitting in her kitchen, “Mike come up from behind me and he threw a belt around my neck and he tightened it up a little bit. . . . And then I . . . took it off and I asked him what he was doing. He said he was practicing. I asked him, I said, ‘Well, who are you going to do this to?’ He goes, ‘Never mind.’ And I go, ‘Do I know him?’ He goes, ‘No. Neither do I.’ ” He also told her that “Rick was gonna come over later” and “pick up a girl.” Raquel, Michael’s girlfriend testified that Morales said “he was gonna do Rick a favor,” that “he was gonna hurt this girl,” that “he was gonna strangle her,” that “he was gonna use his belt” and “put it around her neck.”

Terri got a telephone call around 5:15 p.m. from Ricky.. She spoke with him, then called her best friend Glenda. Terri told Glenda that Ricky had asked her to go with him to the mall to pick out a present for his new girlfriend. Driving her mother’s car, she left to pick up the food, telling her mother she “would be right back” and would be “back within the hour.” She didn't tell her mother about the meeting, but had planned to return home shortly with a fish-and-chips dinner. Hours passed. Terri’s mother became increasingly worried. "The last thing I said to her when she walked out the door was 'You look so beautiful,' Terri and Ricky met outside of Sears at the Webberstown Mall in Stockton. They hugged and chatted for a few minutes before Ricky asked her if she would come with him for a quick drive to his cousin's house. It wouldn't take long, he said. "When I picked her up - when I saw her, I didn't want to do it, you know," Ricky would later tell detectives. "It was fine talking about it on the phone but when I saw her, I just couldn't picture doing it." He complimented her on the sweater she was wearing. Then Michael slid into the backseat of Ricky's Monte Carlo. He was behind Terri. During the drive, Morales asked her where she went to school and what was her name. He joked about Winchell, the girl's last name, and the doughnut shop. Michael and his cousin Ricky pretended they were driving to a girlfriend's house when they meandered onto a country road off Interstate 5 near Lodi. A few minutes later, as darkness began to fall, Michael asked the question: "When are you getting an eight-track for your car?" He then lurched forward and wrapped his leather belt around Terri's neck. He pulled and pulled. The belt bit into her skin and drew blood. Ricky couldn't bring himself to watch but heard his sweet beautiful friend Terri struggle against the grip that wanted to end her life. After about 20 seconds, the belt broke sending blood throughout the car and into the faces of her murderers. That's when Michael pulled out the claw hammer. He slammed the hammer against the back of Terri's head - -over and over again. He wasn’t able to get a good throw with the hammer from behind her in the Monte Carlo, so instead he tortured her with small light hits against the base of her skull and ear. Terri screamed for Ricky to help her and tried to fend off the assault with her hands and arms.while still confused why her close friend Ricky would not stop the car and come to her aid. The terror that must of went though Terri’s mind as she was being hit repeatedly with that hammer while her friend who she had met to try to help him through his own crisis, yet he was ignoring her last desperate pleas for help. Ricky kept driving and shutting her out of his mind. Michael eventually beat her unconscious, crushing her skull. Finally, Ricky pulled over. Michael told him to “drive away and come back in 15 minutes” – “Why waste this fine piece of ass?” At that point he dragged Terri from the front seat and across the roadway, face-down and face dragging on the cold assault road into the vineyard. He pulled her purple sweater up over her head. Blood and bruises about her head. He removed her pants and panties in the middle of a row of old vine zinfandels. Mud covered them both. He then raped her. The 17-year-old girl, who could have been a local beauty queen, was now barely recognizable. She must have still been alive while this animal named Michael Morales mounted her in that cold, dark and wet vineyard because as he finished and began walking away from her, he turned around, pulled out a kitchen knife and plunged it into her chest four times, "To make sure she was dead"
Terri’s mother waited for her daughter to come home. By 8 p.m., she said she knew something had happened.

Randy testified that around 8:30 that night, he got together with Rick Ortega in Ortega’s car. Ricky performed a sex act on Randy. Randy testified that the car “smelled like ammonia.” Little did RANDY know that his other love Terri Lynn Winchell, innocent and 17 had been brutally murdered by the man who he was now in. Reality bites.

By midnight, Terri’s mom could feel her daughter was gone. "It's a feeling I had in the pit of my stomach, like your insides are ripped out," she said. "That feeling has never left." She called the police to report that her car was missing around 10:00 that night, and reported that Terri was missing at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. That day, Friday, the police interviewed Terri Winchell’s mother, Terri’s best friend Glenda and Terri’s friend Christine. They also interviewed Terri Winchell’s boyfriend Randy. The interviews led the police to Ricky, whom they interviewed at a police station Friday night. Ricky gave the police permission to search his house and car, and they did, starting just before midnight Friday night. They found Ricky’s shoes, which were wet, and noted that the tires and undercarriage of his car were also wet. The police found blood splattered all over Ricky’s car which still smelled of ammonia. The officers returned to the station house around 1:00 am, Saturday morning. Around 2:00 a.m., Ricky led the police to a vineyard on Bender Road on the outskirts of Lodi where they found Terri Winchell’s body. Terri was found naked except for a shirt and bra, which were pulled up over her breasts and around her neck. The base of her skull had been shattered. Her skull, cheek bones, and jaw were fractured. She had been stabbed four times in the chest. Her face and body were severely bruised and much of the skin of her front side was torn up from being dragged across the road. She had multiple wounds on her hands and forearms, typical of a person defending herself. She struggled so hard patches of hair were torn from her scalp. Terri’s mom said “After I was notified by Sgt. Andy Jackson that they were recovering her body from a cold, dark vineyard in Lodi, I looked at the laundry basket with her clean clothes still in it and I thought, ‘This is the last time I will ever be able to fold her clothes,”’ she said. “My heart wrenched with grief.” The police arrived at Morales place the next morning, Saturday, with a search warrant. They found a claw hammer, not in a toolbox or tool drawer, but in the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. Blood was found on the hammer. They found a kitchen knife with the tip broken off in a kitchen cabinet. In a bedroom, they lifted the mattress off the box spring and found hidden between them a broken belt, which had blood on it consistent with Terri’s. A wet towel smelling of ammonia was in a wastebasket. In another bedroom, they found a large kitchen knife on a night stand, and Terri Winchell’s purse in the closet.

Ricky and Michael were arrested and tried and convicted for rape and murder. The government tried Morales on three theories of first degree murder — murder with premeditation, murder by torture, and murder by lying-in-wait — and two special circumstances — intentional killing by torture and intentional killing by lying in wait.

Barbara Christian (Terri’s mom) said she told my boys, “When you see them stick that needle in his arm, just think that is the arm he used to stab her and do all those cruel things to her,'"

And as I stood at her grave today at BLOCK 3639 SPACE 8 in the Cherokee Cemetery just southeast of Lodi, CA, I thought about all of this, how if only I had known more about my friends, if only if only…… but I didn’t -- no one saw this coming except Ricky and Michael. I do remember stage moms hoping that their 16 year old daughters would get to date Ricky -- the cutest boy at the rink; little did they know – how shocking it must have been for them to learn that they almost delivered their daughters to the very darkest evil cowardice man of the rink, my friend Ricky. Oh if only I could have a do over. What if I could have protected her from Ricky, Michael and Randy. Perhaps with time she would have been mine, to marry, have kids with, and grow old together. Today she would be 42 years old and preparing for her kids to graduate college.

Funny how those who murder seem to be so concerned for their own pain and suffering when it's their turn. I wonder how many times during his rape and execution of Terri did Michael question or care whether or not she was in "excruciating" pain? He not only took Terri's life, he took her family's life. They have relived Terri's death every day. Time never will heal an atrocity such as this. Michael and Ricky shouldn't be afraid of the "excruciating" pain of the needle or of a life term. They both should be afraid of meeting Terri again at the feet of GOD. AND afraid of the welcoming committee that awaits their arrival at the gates of hell. As far as punishment is concerned, if it was left to me, I would beat them both with a light hammer over a period of days. How about doing to them what they did to Terri? Why should he just go out peacefully?

The above hissed in response by: johngaltwannabe [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2006 1:22 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved