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Kaine Spent Legal Career Defending Rapists, Murderers

- October 4, 2016

RICHARD LEE WHITLEY

Tim Kaine Defended Richard Lee Whitley, Who Sexually Assaulted And Murdered His Elderly Neighbor  

As An Attorney, Tim Kaine Defended Richard Lee Whitley, A Man Who Sexually Assaulted And Murdered His Elderly Neighbor And Who Had An Extensive Criminal History. “When the state sent 2,500 volts through the body of murderer Richard Lee Whitley on Monday night, a little bit of Timothy Kaine died, too. It's not that Kaine, Whitley's lawyer, thought his client was innocent. Whitley had a long criminal history and had confessed to the 1980 murder and sexual assault of an elderly Fairfax County neighbor.” (Frank Green, “From The RTD Archives: When The State Executed Murderer Richard Lee Whitley In 1987, A Bit Of Tim Kaine Died, Too,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/20/16)

  • “[Richard Lee] Whitley Admitted To Strangling Parsons, Cutting Her Throat And Sexually Assaulting Her With Two Umbrellas.” “Whitley was convicted May 13, 1981, of what Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. described as the ‘unbelievably brutal’ slaying of the Pimmit Hills widow. At the trial, a signed statement was introduced in which Whitley admitted to strangling Parsons, cutting her throat and sexually assaulting her with two umbrellas.” (Donald P. Baker, “Richard Whitley Dies In Va. Electric Chair,” The Washington Post, 7/7/87)
  • Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. Described Whitley’s Crime As, “Unbelievably Brutal.” “Whitley was convicted May 13, 1981, of what Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. described as the ‘unbelievably brutal’ slaying of the Pimmit Hills widow.” (Donald P. Baker, “Richard Whitley Dies In Va. Electric Chair,” The Washington Post, 7/7/87)

“Although He Normally Handles Civil Cases, He Volunteered His Services Because Of His Opposition To The Death Penalty.” (“A Bit of Killer’s Lawyer Died, Too,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/12/87)

Tim Kaine: “His Crime Was A Terrible Crime.” “‘His crime was a terrible crime. It was a tragedy. I don't have any doubt about that,’ said Kaine.” (Frank Green, “From The RTD Archives: When The State Executed Murderer Richard Lee Whitley In 1987, A Bit Of Tim Kaine Died, Too,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/20/16)

Kaine Asserted That “Something Personal In Me Will Die” With Whitley. “‘For somebody who has a view like mine’ about life, said the 29-year- old Harvard University law graduate, ‘the pain is a very real thing. ... Something personal in me will die, too,’ when Whitley dies.” (Frank Green, “From The RTD Archives: When The State Executed Murderer Richard Lee Whitley In 1987, A Bit Of Tim Kaine Died, Too,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/20/16)

“He Told The Washington Post That ‘Murder Is Wrong In The Gulag, In Afghanistan, In Soweto, In The Mountains Of Guatemala, In Fairfax County … And Even The Spring Street Penitentiary.’” (Michael Shear, “Death Penalty A Key Strategy For Kilgore,” The Washington Post, 12/27/04)

LEM TUGGLE

Lem Tuggle Raped, Sodomized, And Murdered Jessie Geneva Havens

The Autopsy Of Lem Tuggle’s Victim Revealed A Gruesome Murder And Sexual Assault, Much Of Which Was Conducted While She Was Alive. “An autopsy revealed that the victim's body had an abrasion and a bruise on the left frontal area of the forehead, a small abrasion on the right frontal area of the forehead, an abrasion on the neck, a bite mark on the lower, inner quadrant of the right breast, a number of small bruises on the upper, inner aspect of the right arm, and a bruise on the right thumb and right wrist. Havens also had sustained a large bruise on the upper, inner thigh, bruises on the vaginal vault at the posterior aspect and near the bottom, and a gunshot wound in the chest. According to the medical examiner, ‘the bruises of the vagina indicate penetration of the vaginal vault by something, a penis, a finger, an object, something.’ The medical examiner testified that both the bite mark on the breast and the bruising around the vagina occurred while Havens was alive. He also testified that no semen or spermatozoa was found in Havens' vagina, but that semen was found in the rectum, indicating “penetration and ejaculation into the rectum.’” (Tuggle V. Thompson, No. 94-4005, U.S. Court Of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 6/29/95)

Tuggle Raped, Sodomized, And Shot His Victim In The Chest Only Four Months After He Was Paroled From A 20-Year Sentence For Murdering A 17-Year Old Girl. “Tuggle, whose arm was emblazoned with a "Born to Die" tattoo, was convicted of murdering Jessie Geneva Havens, 52, of Smyth County, Va., in 1983. Havens was raped, sodomized and shot in the chest only four months after Tuggle was paroled from a 20-year sentence for the 1971 murder of a 17-year-old girl.” (Tod Robberson, “Murderer Executed In Va. Prison,” The Washington Post, 12/13/96)

Investigators Found Tuggle’s Victim Dead With Her “Blouse ‘Pulled Up To About The Armpits,’ And ‘Black Silk Panties Rolled Down Somewhat.’ A Portion Of The Victim's Pantyhose Was ‘Sticking Out Of The Top’ Of Her Jeans, And One Of Her Legs Was Out Of The Pantyhose.’” “Approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 2, the investigator went to the place where Tuggle said Havens would be found. He found Havens' body at the site. Havens was clad in jeans ‘down around her knees,’ a blue and white striped blouse ‘pulled up to about the armpits,’ and ‘black silk panties rolled down somewhat.’ A portion of the victim's pantyhose was ‘sticking out of the top’ of her jeans, and one of her legs was out of the pantyhose.” (Tuggle V. Thompson, No. 94-4005, U.S. Court Of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 6/29/95)

In His Defense Of Tuggle, Kaine And His Fellow Petitioners Argued Forced Sodomy Did Not Constitute Rape

In Virginia, Murder Accompanied With Rape Was Capital Murder. Sparing Tuggle From The Death Penalty Thus Meant Proving That He Didn’t Rape His Victim. “The capital murder charge for which Tuggle was convicted was murder during or subsequent to the rape of the victim. Va.Code § 18.2-31(e). Had the murder been unaccompanied with a rape charge, it would not have been capital murder in Virginia. Thus, the element of rape was critical to this case. Petitioner contends that the evidence in the case was insufficient to warrant a conviction for rape.” (Tuggle V. Thompson, 854 F. Supp. 1229, Civ. A. No. 92-0737-R, US District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke, 6/8/94)

  • As Discussed In The Tuggle Case, A Rape Conviction Required Vaginal Penetration By The Penis. “In Virginia, a rape conviction requires evidence that the vagina was penetrated by the penis. The lack of seminal fluid is a strong circumstance indicating that there was no penetration. McCall v. Commonwealth, 192 Va. 422, 65 S.E.2d 540 (1951); Coles v. Peyton,389 F.2d 224 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 849, 89 S. Ct. 80, 21 L. Ed. 2d 120 (1968). The Virginia Supreme Court has, in non-capital cases, reversed rape convictions even where they involve vaginal injury and unequivocal expert testimony that penetration of the vagina by a penis had occurred.” (Tuggle V. Thompson, 854 F. Supp. 1229, Civ. A. No. 92-0737-R, US District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke, 6/8/94)

Kaine And His Fellow Petitioners Sought To Argue That, Because Seminal Fluid Was Found Only In The Rectum And Not The Vagina, There Was Insufficient Evidence To Convict Tuggle Of Rape. “Although petitioner acknowledges that semen was found in the victim's rectum, no seminal fluid was found in or around the vagina. There was a small bruise at the entrance to the vagina, but there was no testimony concerning when the bruise occurred. The state's pathologist, Dr. Oxley, said that the bruise was consistent with penetration by ‘something, a penis, a finger, an object, something. … Petitioner argues that, given the lack of seminal fluid in or around the vagina and the lack of any injury or bruise in the vagina, there was insufficient evidence to convict Tuggle of rape.’” (Tuggle V. Thompson, 854 F. Supp. 1229, Civ. A. No. 92-0737-R, US District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke, 6/8/94)

The Circuit Court Denounced Kaine’s Rape Defense As, “Clearly Erroneous.”

The Circuit Court Rejected Kaine’s Assertions As “Clearly Erroneous.” “The district court was clearly erroneous in finding that no rational factfinder could find proof beyond a reasonable doubt of rape on the evidence. The court explained this by saying that the jury most likely was influenced by inaccurate pretrial information concerning other rapes committed by Tuggle as well as public pressure ‘heightened by press contact with jurors.’ This is pure speculation and is not supported by the record. As we have explained above, only one of the jurors sitting on the case had been contacted by the press, and this related not to Tuggle but to another case. The information concerning other rapes had occurred months before in newspapers which some of the jurors had read;  however, most had forgotten and all had agreed that they could judge the case fairly and impartially based only upon the evidence presented in court. …The district court's granting of the writ on the ground that evidence was insufficient to prove rape was clearly erroneous and is reversed.” (Tuggle V. Thompson, No. 94-4005, U.S. Court Of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 6/29/95)

PERCY L. WALTON

As Governor, Tim Kaine Commuted The Death Sentence Of Triple Murderer Percy Walton

As Governor Tim Kaine Commuted The Sentence Of Triple Murderer Percy L. Walton. “Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has stopped tonight's execution of triple murderer Percy L. Walton and commuted his sentence to life in prison without parole, saying that Walton is mentally incompetent and that putting him to death would be unconstitutional.” (Jerry Markon, “Va. Governor Commutes Death Sentence,” The Washington Post, 6/10/08)

Then Attorney General Bob McDonnell Pointed Out That The Court’s Had Rejected Kaine’s Assertion That Walton Was Mentally Impaired. “Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) agreed that ‘a person who is mentally incompetent may not be executed.’ But he said he opposed Kaine's decision because the courts had rejected that argument in Walton's case. ‘My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Walton's three murder victims . . . who have suffered for more than 11 years,’ McDonnell said.” (Jerry Markon, “Va. Governor Commutes Death Sentence,” The Washington Post, 6/10/08)

Even The New York Times Acknowledged That Kaine Relied On An “Expansive Interpretation Of Supreme Court Case Law That Mr. Kaine’s Predecessors Might Not Have Employed.” “Wherever Mr. Kaine could hold to his ideals, his supporters say, he did. Though he commuted only one sentence, to life in prison, Mr. Roberts said the governor’s team concluded the inmate was mentally unfit for execution, using an expansive interpretation of Supreme Court case law that Mr. Kaine’s predecessors might not have employed.” (Sheryl Gay Stolberg And Thomas Kaplan, “On Death Penalty Cases, Tim Kaine Revealed Inner Conflict,” New York Times, 7/23/16)

Family Members Of The Victims Objected To Kaine’s Decision And Irene Jurscaga Wrote A Protest Letter To The Governor. “Family members of the victims said they saw no justification for mercy. ‘I don't think he deserves it," said Irene Jurscaga, Elizabeth Kendrick's sister, who is writing Kaine a protest letter.” (Jerry Markon, “Va. Governor Commutes Death Sentence,” The Washington Post, 6/10/08)

  • Irene Jurscaga: “He Broke Into My Sister's House And Killed Them Execution Style. He Had Them Kneel.” (Jerry Markon, “Va. Governor Commutes Death Sentence,” The Washington Post, 6/10/08)
  • Irene Jurscaga: “He Knew What He Was Doing. . . . He Knew How To Kill And Hide His Gun And Take My Brother-In-Law's Car. My Sister Begged Him For Her Life.” (Jerry Markon, “Va. Governor Commutes Death Sentence,” The Washington Post, 6/10/08)

JENS SOERING

On His Last Day As Governor Kaine Tried To Have Jens Soering Sent To Germany Where Parole Would Be Possible In Just Two Years

Jens Soering Was Convicted Of Two Counts Of First Degree Murder And Had Been Denied Parole For Years. “Soering was given two consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, who were stabbed in their Bedford County home. The son of a West German diplomat, he has been eligible for parole in Virginia since 2003 but has been turned down.” (Frank Green, “Murderer Jens Soering Could Be Sent To Prison In Germany,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 1/16/10)

Kaine Tried To Transfer Soering To Germany, Where He Could Be Released From Prison In Only Two Years. “Kaine spoke with reporters Wednesday for the first time since announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. He was asked to explain why, in his final days as governor of Virginia, he asked the U.S. attorney to transfer Jens Soering to Germany, where he could be released from prison two years later.” (Andy Salsman, “Kaine Defends Attempt To Transfer Convicted Killer,” NBC, 4/7/11)

“The Announcement Of Kaine's Action Took Place On His Last Full Day In Office.” (Frank Green, “Murderer Jens Soering Could Be Sent To Prison In Germany,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 1/16/10)

Family Of The Victims: “It Is Incredible That This Governor Would Take That On Himself Without Letting The Family Of The Deceased Know. I Don't Get It.” (Frank Green, “Murderer Jens Soering Could Be Sent To Prison In Germany,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 1/16/10)

Family Of The Victims: "I Think The Governor Has Pulled A Fast One On Us." (Frank Green, “Murderer Jens Soering Could Be Sent To Prison In Germany,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 1/16/10)


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