Mose Young's Appeal for
Copy of the Application for Executive Clemency to Governor Holden
News about the execution - April 25, 2001:
Mose Young, who gunned down 3 people in a pawn shop that wouldn't make a deal, was executed by injection early today at Potosi Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 12:14 a.m. Young lost his final bid for mercy Tuesday night when Gov. Bob Holden rejected his request for clemency and a commutation of the sentence to life in prison. A federal appeals court had rejected Mose's final legal appeal on Monday, leaving the clemency request his last hope.
Shortly before Holden announced his decision, Young said by telephone from the prison, "It's getting kind of shaky, but I understand what I'm facing."
Young's bid for clemency restated what he had pleaded in a lengthy series of court appeals -- that his original defense lawyer did a miserable job.
On Feb. 8, 1983, Young walked into a former location of Lee's Pawn Shop, at 5934 Natural Bridge Avenue, with a rifle after employees at both Lee's shops refused to lend him $1,800 for a stickpin.
He murdered Kent Bicknese, 22, of west St. Louis County, who was on a sales call for his brother's billboard company; James Schneider, 33, of Edwardsville, a co-owner of the shop; and Sol Marks, 80, of Creve Coeur, a part-time employee.
Ronnell "Rock" Bennett, another co-owner, escaped to the basement. Bennett, now deceased, had known Young at Vashon High School and identified him.
Young testified during his trial in 1984 and insisted that a man nicknamed "Mickey" had fired the shots.
Evelyn Bicknese, 66, of West County, the mother of Kent Bicknese, and three other relatives witnessed the execution.
Young spent part of Tuesday with two Roman Catholic nuns and had a last meal. The nuns also attended the execution. Young glanced their way, said something to them and smiled before he died.
Young was within 7 hours
of execution on July 11 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped
the countdown. The court ordered a hearing on the claim that Jane Geiler,
a former assistant prosecutor in St. Louis, had been prevented by then-Circuit
Attorney Dee Joyce-Hayes
from reporting her memory of Young's trial in the clemency appeal.
A follow-up hearing went against Young. In 1984, Geiler was a supervisor to public defender John M. "Jack" Walsh, who represented Young. Walsh was disbarred in 1988 for his handling of another death penalty trial.
Young becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death in Missouri this year and the 49th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989. Missouri trails only Texas (245), Virginia (82), and Florida (51) in the number of executions carried out since 1977.
Young becomes the 25th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 708th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
(sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)
EXECUTION DATE IS SET
The Missouri Supreme Court has set an April 25, 2001 execution date for Mose Young.
Young, 45, was sentenced to death for the slayings at a St. Louis pawnshop in February 1983. Prosecutors said he killed three men after an argument with the pawnshop's owner.
Young, who is at Potosi Correctional Center, has been on death row since July 1984.
INCOMPETENT LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Jack Walsh was appointed
by the court at the last minute to be Mose Young’s legal representative
at trial. He saw Young once for a few minutes before trial.
Walsh never visited the crime scene. He called no witnesses during
the trial phase. He called one witness during the penalty phase.
During breaks in the trial, according to Young, Walsh visited Young with
alcohol mixed in a canned soda and explained, “I need this to take the
After a trial following the Young trial Walsh was disbarred.
Jane Geiler was Jack Walsh’s
boss at the Office of Special Defender. Geiler does not fully blame
Jack Walsh who she believed to be a good attorney that was broken by the
system. Her office was overwhelmed with cases. In fact Walsh
had just come off a rape trial, another murder trial, then he had Young’s
trial, followed by another capitol case the following week. Geiler
said Walsh made no attempt to investigate prior to the Young trial and
absolutely no preparation for the penalty phase of the Young trial.
In a phone conversation with Young’s present appeals attorney, preparatory to filling an affidavit for clemency when Young had an execution date last July, Geiler said, “Attorneys working in her office were a veritable walking violation of the right of effective assistance of counsel.” She went on to say, “her office was a classic example of institutional ineffectiveness and Mr. Young’s defense was the shining illustration.”
VIOLATION OF THE BATSON RULE
Ms. Geiler continued to describe to Joe Margulies, Young’s appellate attorney, the condition in the Circuit Attorney’s office at the time of Young’s trial.
Shortly after Mr. Young’s trial, Ms. Geiler joined the Office of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney. Ms. Geiler described the loathsome and nearly universal practice of the prosecutors in that office to use their peremptory challenges to remove Blacks from criminal juries.
In 1986, the Supreme Court
in Batson v. Kentucky limited a prosecutor’s ability to use his
peremptory challenges to remove people of color. But, Ms. Geiler explained – speaking slowly and emphasizing her words – prior to that decision; prosecutors in her office “always, always” used their strikes against Blacks.
The prosecutor in Mr. Young’s case used all nine of his strikes against Blacks – some of whom he removed without so much as asking a question. Ms. Geiler found this fact completely unsurprising, since the prosecutors in her office practiced racial profiling long before the term had been coined.
THREAT TO EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY PROCESS
Last July when Mose Young received an execution date, later stayed by the US Supreme Court, Jane Geiler was asked by Mr. Margulies to participate in the executive clemency process. While supplying information already included in this alert, she suddenly refused to cooperate further.
After Geiler’s initial phone conversation with Young’s attorney, Margulies received a voice message that said if she cooperated any further, she would have to leave her job in the Circuit Attorney’s office.
Margulies called Ms. Geiler
the next morning, June 24, 2000. Counsel was appalled by the
threat to Ms. Geiler’s career, and asked her whether she believed the threat was serious.
Ms. Geiler said, “There was no ambiguity. Dee Joyce Hayes, Circuit Attorney, told me if I give you a statement, I will lose my job.”
Again choking back tears, Ms. Geiler explained that she simply could not afford to lose her job. She explained that she and her husband had both recently experienced major medical problems.
Because of her condition, Ms. Geiler explained that she needed the insurance that came with her position, and could not do anything that would jeopardize her job. She emphasized that what she had said in our previous conversation was true, but that she could not, and would not, cooperate further.
Mose Young has claimed from day one that a man named “Mickey”, not he, walked into Lee’s Pawn Shop on February 8, 1983 and opened fire, randomly killing three people.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN
We are asking Governor Bob Holden to stay the execution of Mose Young and to appoint a Board of Inquiry to look into the differences effective assistance of legal counsel would have made in the Young case.
We also ask this Board
of inquiry to investigate violations of the Batson rule, excluding black
jurors without cause, now substantiated in the testimony of Ms. Jane Geiler
of the Circuit Court Attorney's office of St. Louis where Mr. Young was
MASK mourns the loss of life of Sol Marks, Kent Bicknese, and James Schneider. We offer prayers and support to their families and loved ones as they continue to struggle to heal from this senseless act of violence.
Another state-sponsored act
of violence, the execution of Mose Young done in our names, is not an act
of Justice and can not heal the wounds of murder. Justice can never be
merely punishment, especially punishment of death. We as a society
has failed miserably if our only solution is more killing. There has to
be a better answer than more violence.
Justice must be restorative in nature and help mend the fabric of society so sorely torn by a senseless act of violence
In every instance the death penalty is "cruel and unnecessary."
An execution by the state
is a premeditated violent assault on the human
person. In common with torture, execution is an assault against a person
already restrained by the state and thus can never be painless or humane.
The state forces us to become what we condemn, killers in cold blood.
We must work for a society
that replaces hate with love, vengeance with
reconciliation, and execution with mercy.
For More Information Contact:
Tom and Jeanette Block
Missourians Against State Killing (MASK)
PO Box 190466
St. Louis, MO 63119-6466
Information Provided By MASK
Mose Young's Appeal for
Copy of the Application for Executive Clemency to Governor Holden