Chamblee54

Kenneth Fults And Cathy Bounds

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on April 8, 2016

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Kenneth Earl Fults is scheduled to be executed on April 12. Mr. Fults (GDC ID: 0000927117) was convicted of killing Cathy Bounds on January 30, 1996. Here is exerpts from the Press Advisory, issued by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

The evidence adduced at Fults’ sentencing trial showed that he carried out a week-long crime spree which was centered, at least in part, upon his desire to murder a man who was engaged in a relationship with his former girlfriend. Fults first committed two burglaries, obtaining several handguns. After a failed attempt at murdering his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend with one of the stolen handguns, Fults then burglarized the home of his next-door neighbors. After the male neighbor left for work, Fults forced his way through the front door wearing gloves and a hat pulled down over his face. Fults confronted the female occupant of the home, Cathy Bounds, brandishing a .22 caliber handgun he had stolen during one of the burglaries. Ms. Bounds begged for her life and offered Fults the rings on her fingers. Fults turned Ms. Bounds around toward the bedroom, either taped or forced her to tape her eyes closed by wrapping over six feet of electrical tape around her head, forced her into the bedroom, placed her face-down on her bed, placed a pillow over her head, and shot her five times in the back of the head.

A search of Fults’ trailer home revealed a boastful letter he had written in gang code in which he described the murder with some alterations of detail. Upon being confronted with this letter by a law enforcement officer, Fults confessed to killing Ms. Bounds but maintained that he had shot her by accident while in a dream-like state. The murder weapon was recovered from under Fults’ trailer home, and .22 caliber shell casings shown to have been fired by the murder weapon as well as items from the earlier burglaries were found behind Fults’ trailer home.”

Kenneth Fults is black. His victim, Cathy Bounds, apparently is white. Chamblee54 has been unable to find a picture of Ms. Bounds. One indication that she is white is a comment made by juror Thomas Buffington. “In a footnote to the 22-page decision, the three-judge appellate panel noted that “Buffington denied having any racial prejudices” during voir dire questioning before the trial. … Buffington had told the court back in 1997 “that it did not matter that Mr. Fults was black and that Ms. Bounds was white,” the footnote states.” We will hear about Thomas Buffington again.

There are indications that his attorney, Johnny Mostiler, was incompetent. “Former jurors on the case have since signed affidavits saying that Kenneth’s trial lawyer made little effort to save his client from, and was seen to be asleep during the proceedings. ‘Mr Fults’s lawyer… was uninterested in what was happening, and it seemed like something was wrong with him. I saw him fall asleep repeatedly during the trial, and he would wake up, startled, when it was his turn to examine witnesses. I saw him sleeping off and on throughout the whole trial.’

Kenneth Fults had a tough life. There are indications that he is “intellectually disabled.” Mother Jones discusses these issues in detail. “I just lost sight of raising my kids,” his mother, Juanita Wyatt, told a state court judge, explaining the result of her crack and alcohol addictions. She was court-martialed from the military for writing bad checks to buy drugs, moved her children from house to house and state to state, abused them with switches and belts and electrical cords—using the plug end when the cord itself ceased to have the necessary impact. Whatever boyfriend happened to be with her at the time often joined in. As for Kenneth’s father, the man was no more than a name to him.

Kenneth’s mother didn’t just lose sight of raising her children—she lost sight of them entirely. His younger sister remembered how their mom had abandoned the kids after moving the family to Houston: “We stayed there alone without any adults watching over us so long that the power company had turned off all the utilities. We didn’t have heat or lights; I don’t remember if we had water. I don’t remember how long we were alone…I know it was at least a couple of months. I was really scared. Kenny and Michael tried to make it like it was fun and we were just camping out or something. I know they started stealing for us to have something to eat, because we did not have any money. I also remember that Michael had them dig a hole in the ground in the backyard to bury some of our food to try and keep it cold when our electricity was turned off.”

Legally speaking, the most compelling reason not to sentence Fults to death is that he may be intellectually disabled. Three separate IQ tests over a 16-year period, one of them seven years prior to the murder, all fall within the range for mental retardation. By seventh grade, Fults was testing near the bottom in basic skills. In eighth, he was placed in a “special class…for slow learners.” In that class, a former teacher recalled, Kenny was the “poorest performing student.” There also was abundant testimony that he was incapable of keeping his money straight or filling out job applications. And as a child, he related to far younger children.”

There is the possibility that others were involved in the killing. “Fults contends that his trial counsel, who is now deceased, rendered ineffective assistance by failing to investigate more fully Fults’ claim that other persons were involved and were more culpable in the murder than he was. … Fults testified in the evidentiary hearing held on remand that he informed his trial counsel approximately two weeks before jury selection began that several other persons were involved in the burglary of the victim’s trailer home and that another person, identified by Fults in the evidentiary hearing as “D.” and as “Derrick Smith,” did the actual shooting at the behest of someone identified as “K. G.” Fults further testified, however, that he would not have allowed trial counsel to present this theory about the crime at trial and that he had informed his trial counsel that he would not testify about the alleged co-perpetrators because he feared for the safety of his daughter.”

Perhaps the strangest thing about this case is juror Thomas Buffington. “It was not until April 2005, eight years after sentencing, that Fults claimed in an amended state habeas corpus petition that the “improper biases of jurors … infected their deliberations,” causing them to “improperly prejudg[e]” his case. In support of that claim, Fults provided a handwritten, signed and notarized affidavit from one of the sentencing jurors, Thomas Buffington, dated two days before the petition was filed. “I don’t know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened,” Buffington wrote. “Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what that nigger deserved.”

“Court papers offer no explanation for why eight years elapsed between the trial and Buffington’s comments to the investigator. Lindsay N. Bennett, an assistant federal public defender in Sacramento, California, who is representing Fults, said it is common in Georgia for a defendant’s legal team to reach out to jurors at that stage of an appeal, but not earlier. “During the course of the interview about his jury service, he made the statements reflected in the affidavit,” Bennett said. “They caught the investigator completely off guard because she had no reason to believe prior to that time that this was the case.” Buffington further surprised the investigator by agreeing to sign the statement.”

Mr. Fults requested “a t-bone steak, baked potato with butter, brown rice and apple juice ” for his last meal. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE: Kenneth Fults died at 7:37 pm, April 12, 2016.”…he ended the prayer offered by the chaplain with, “Amen.””

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