Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joseph Daniel Burns a/k/a/ JoJo

Executed July 21, 2010 at 6:50 p.m. by Lethal Injection in Mississippi
Summary:
Burns and Phillip Hale had been hanging out with Michael McBride, who was the manager of a Tupelo motel. When he asked them if they wanted to help him count the motel’s cash, they decided to steal the money. In court testimony, Hale admitted he hit McBride and knocked him down. He said he then left the room to see if anyone was coming, but when he returned, “Burns was stabbing McBride in the back of the neck with a knife, a fork and a Phillips head screwdriver.” Hale testified McBride kept repeating “Why me?” during the stabbing. The following weekend, Burns and Hale spent the stolen money at casinos in Tunica. Accomplice Hale received a life sentence for homicide/murder in 1997. He was released on parole in 2008.
Final/Special Meal:
Burns made no request for a last meal and ate turkey and roast beef sandwiches in the afternoon.
Final Words:
Burns recited the 23rd Psalm and said he was going to live with Jesus.”You can believe that.” Burns then apologized to the victim’s family for the “evil” he brought upon them and stated, “I pray you will one day forgive me, not for myself but for yourself.” Burns then said to his sister: “Boo, take care of your sister. I love you. All right, devil, let’s do your work. That’s it.” Hours before he was put to death, Burns rehearsed the statement he gave to McBride’s family members.
Internet Sources:
“Killer offers apology; Court briefly stalls execution,” by Elizabeth Crisp. (July 22, 2010)
PARCHMAN — Joseph Daniel Burns apologized to Mike McBride’s family members for the “evil” he brought upon them 16 years ago. “I pray you will one day forgive me, not for myself but for yourself,” he said Wednesday night.
Minutes later, Burns, 42, nicknamed “JoJo,” was executed for the Tupelo motel manager’s murder – becoming the third inmate put to death at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman since May. His official time of death was 6:50 p.m.
Greg Gordon, McBride’s brother-in-law, said Burns’ death brought some closure to their family. “For nearly 16 years the wheels of justice have had our family on a nightmare of a roller coaster ride,” he said. “Today, justice was served for that senseless act, and the ride has finally come to an end.”
McBride’s beaten and stabbed body was found in his residence, adjacent to the Town House Motel’s main office, in November 1994.
The execution was delayed several minutes Wednesday while the U.S. Supreme Court completed its review of a last-minute appeal on Burns’ behalf. The Mississippi Department of Corrections received word to go forward with the execution shortly after 6 p.m. – around the time he originally was scheduled to be executed. The state Supreme Court earlier had denied a stay of execution, and Gov. Haley Barbour denied a petition for clemency.
Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said Burns appeared to have accepted that he would be executed and was religious in his final hours.
Burns visited with his three daughters, his mother and his sister, as well as prison chaplain James Whisnant in his final hours. His mother, Imogene Henry, and sister, Delana Loveless, then witnessed his death. Henry appeared visibly shaken as she exited the witness room. None of his family members was made available to the media.
Burns made no request for a last meal and ate turkey and roast beef sandwiches in the afternoon. He did not take a sedative or a shower before the execution, Epps said.
MDOC records show Burns had racked up more than 40 infractions, including violations for a 2000 hunger strike, refusing several drug screenings and possession of illegal items in prison.
The murder of Mike McBride wasn’t Burns’ first brush with the law. Court records show Burns had been convicted of burglary and larceny in 1987. He also had an earlier conviction, but that record is sealed because he was a juvenile at the time. Burns was sentenced to five years but given a chance to enter into the state’s RID program. He also was told to undergo alcohol and drug rehab.
Burns was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for robbing and killing McBride, 57. Phillip Hale, 39, Burns’ accomplice, received a life sentence in 1997 for his part in the murder, but MDOC records show he was released on parole Dec. 1, 2008. Records show he is living in Lee County. The Clarion-Ledger has not been able to reach him.
Hale testified at Burns’ trial that two men had been hanging out with McBride when the motel manager asked them if they wanted to help him count the motel’s cash. They decided to steal the money.
In court testimony, Hale admitted he hit McBride and knocked him down. He said he then left the room to see if anyone was coming, but when he returned, ” Burns was stabbing McBride in the back of the neck with a knife, a fork and a Phillips head screwdriver.” Hale testified McBride kept repeating “Why me?” during the stabbing.
The following weekend, Burns and Hale spent the stolen money at casinos in Tunica.
“It is only through God’s love, mercy and grace that we were able to forgive and pray for the two individuals responsible for Mike’s death,” Gordon said. “Our faith in God is strong and he has carried us through this tragic loss.”
About a dozen protesters gathered outside the gates of Parchman in opposition to the death penalty. Several more gathered at Smith Park in downtown Jackson.
There are 59 inmates on Mississippi’s death row. The state has executed 44 people since March 1955, including Burns. Paul Everette Woodward and Gerald James Holland were executed back to back in May. They were the first since August 2008. Officials have said two more executions could be scheduled by the end of the year.
“Mississippi executes man for 1994 slaying of motel clerk,” by Rogelio Solis. (July 21, 2010)
Mississippi on Wednesday executed Joseph Daniel Burns for the 1994 stabbing death of a Tupelo motel clerk.The 42-year-old was given a lethal injection Wednesday evening at the State Penitentiary at Parchman. Burns was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m. It was Mississippi’s third execution this year.
Burns was convicted of murder in 1996 and was sentenced to death for the slaying of Floyd Melvin McBride at the Town House Motel. Prosecutors said Burns stabbed McBride while an accomplice opened the motel safe, then the two men fled with money from the safe.
Burns, clad in a red prison jumpsuit and white sneakers, apologized to McBride’s sister and nephew, asking them to forgive him “for this evil and pain I brought on you.” Strapped to a gurney with IV tubes in his arms, he recited the 23rd Psalm. After the final line — “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” — he added, “You can believe that because that’s where I’m going.” “All right, devil, let’s do your work. That’s it,” he said as corrections officials cut off the microphone. After a short time he closed his eyes and was still.
His mother and a sister were on hand as witnesses. No member of Burns’ family came to the media center to speak after the execution. His body was turned over to a Tupelo funeral home. McBride’s brother-in-law, Greg Gordon of Tupelo, read from a statement in which he asked for prayers for both families. Gordon said it was only through those prayers that the McBride family could forgive Burns for what he did. “It is only through God’s love, mercy and grace that we were able to forgive and pray” for Burns, Gordon said. “Today, justice was served for that senseless act,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Republican Gov. Haley Barbour denied Burns’ request for clemency. “I will not substitute my judgment for that of the courts, which have considered the matter,” Barbour said. Mississippi allows the death penalty in cases where a person is convicted of murder along with another felony, such as robbery.
Burns had been scheduled to die at 6 p.m., but the U.S. Supreme Court asked the state Wednesday afternoon to delay the execution while justices reviewed issues raised by Burns’ attorneys, including whether Burns was denied a mental evaluation. State officials agreed to the delay. Less than a half hour after the originally scheduled time, the stay was denied. Soon after the denial was announced, witnesses were escorted to the execution site. Burns had spent Wednesday in a cell near the death chamber. He visited with his mother, three sisters and two daughters.
Burns did not initially request a last meal, but later changed his mind. Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said Burns had roast beef and turkey sandwiches and a soft drink. Epps said Burns declined a sedative.
Burns’ lawyers claimed in the petition to the U.S. Supreme Court that Mississippi judges should have allowed the inmate’s expert to conduct a psychological evaluation that could have been used for clemency or appeals. Prison officials won’t allow defense experts to have access to death row prisoners without a judge’s order, the petition said. “When Burns was denied access, he was denied his fundamental constitutional rights,” the lawyers argued.
Burns’ lawyers also claimed his attorney did not properly prepare for the sentencing phase of his trial. The Mississippi Supreme Court rejected a similar argument. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in papers filed with the high court that Burns had plenty of time to file an appeal with the nation’s highest court. “By waiting until the last minute to file these actions no other conclusion can be reached other than petitioner is attempting by any means to delay his execution with the tardiness of his filings,” Hood wrote.
“Burns execution: The Accomplice.” (July 21, 2010 • 2:28 pm)
JoJo Burns and Phillip Hale both had a hand in the robbery and murder of Mike McBride — there’s no question about it. But while Burns is sitting in a holding cell waiting to be executed tonight, Hale is back home in Lee County.
Hale, 39, testified against Burns at trial and received a life sentence for homicide/murder in 1997. He was released on parole Dec. 1, 2008, records show. I’ve been trying to track down Hale to get his thoughts on all of this but have so far been unsuccessful at getting anyone to respond to my queries on how to contact him.
Of the two men, Hale was the one who actually knew McBride. He did odd jobs around the hotel, like cleaning the pool and mowing the lawn. He introduced Burns to McBride the day of the murder. McBride’s sister, Kay Gordon, told me that her brother had even taught Hale how to read.
Hale testified at Burns’ trial that two men were hanging out with McBride when the hotel manager asked them if they wanted to help him count some cash. The two men decided to steal the money instead. In court testimony, Hale admitted he hit McBride and knocked him down. He said he then left the room to see if anyone was coming, but when he returned “Burns was stabbing McBride in the back of the neck with a knife, a fork and a Phillips head screwdriver.” Hale testified McBride kept repeating “Why me?” during the stabbing.
Still, Hale admitted that he helped cover up the crime and the following weekend, he and Burns went to Tunica casinos and spent the money they stole from McBride’s office.
MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps said Burns “does regret committing the crime.” But the death row inmate also told the commissioner that Hale played a bigger role than he indicated in court testimony. “He has forgiven him and he has accepted God,” Epps said.
When you have a crime committed by two people, I think the most obvious defense is pointing the finger. It’s not surprising that Hale testified against Burns, and it’s not surprising that Burns is now using this opportunity to make statements against Hale. It will be interesting to see whether Burns’ final remarks to McBride’s family include any references to Hale’s role. I also wonder whether Mr. McBride’s family has any thoughts on the matter.
“Burns execution: Witnesses.” (July 21, 2010 • 1:49 pm)
The CL’s Jimmie Gates will be witnessing tonight’s execution of JoJo Burns alongside Jack Ellitott from the AP, Keith Hill from Mississippi News Network and Ronnie Mott from the Jackson Free Press. WAPT’s Mary Kathryn Adams and Brad McMullan also were scheduled to witness the execution, but MDOC spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary said the WAPT team had a wreck on the way to Parchman so they will not be here. Singletary said she heard one person was injured and had to be taken to the hospital. No further details at this time.
The media witnesses serve an important purpose because they have to come back and detail what they saw. There are no photos/videos allowed in there. You can’t even bring a cellphone. Other witnesses tonight include Parchman Chaplain James Whisnant, attorney Glenn Swartzfager, (inmate) JoJo Burns’ mother and sister, (victim) Mike McBride’s sister and nephew, and Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.
Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, will be the witness on Gov. Haley Barbour’s behalf. I witnessed the state’s last execution — Gerald James Holland. This time I’m out here in the media center posting the latest info here and on the CL site.
“Burns execution: Burns doesn’t want anything special for last meal.” (July 21, 2010 • 1:38 pm)
It’s a morbid fascination. Everyone always wants to know — what’s going to be his last meal? Well, JoJo Burns pulled a fast one and requested nothing special. He will be offered the standard meal all other inmates are given for dinner tonight — red beans and rice, corn, greens, cornbread, cake and iced tea.
“He didn’t see a big deal in not requesting a last meal,” Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said. “It’s the first time I can recall an imate didn’t request one.” Epps said he questioned him about it to see why. Although MDOC requires that last meals are able to be prepared by the regular staff here, it’s not uncommon to see some pretty unusual and even extravagant requests.
In May, Gerald James Holland had a 14 oz. T-bone (medium rare and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, onion and garlic); a baked potato with cream cheese, bacon bits and chives; Brussel sprouts with jalapeno cheese sauce; a salad with lettuce, tomato, green onion, celery, bell pepper, radishes, bleu cheese dressing and salt and pepper; apple pie and 1-liter of Pepsi.
Paul Everette Woodward had a burger with fries, onion rings, a bowl of chili, ice cream and root beer before he was executed. Epps said Woodward ate everything except a couple of fries.
So it’s no wonder Epps said he was a bit surprised that Burns didn’t want anything special. Burns did not eat breakfast this morning. He was given a plate of sausage, biscuits and eggs, but Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said he he declined the food.
For lunch, Burns ate salami with bread, cheese, pickles, lettuce and juice. He had an afternoon snack of roast beef and turkey sandwiches and a Coca-Cola.
“Burns execution: Criminal past & a U.S. senator’s ties to Burns.” (July 21, 2010 • 3:44 pm)
The murder of Mike McBride wasn’t JoJo Burns’ first brush with the law. Court records show that Burns had been convicted of burglary and larceny in 1987. He also had an earlier conviction, but that record is sealed because he was a juvenile at the time.
Burns’ attorney during the 1987 case was none other than Roger Wicker — now U.S. Senator for Mississippi. Burns was sentenced to five years, but given a chance to enter into the state’s RID program. He also was told to undergo alcohol and drug rehab.
“Burns execution: Prison infractions.” (July 21, 2010 • 4:22 pm)
JoJo Burns has racked up more than 40 infractions while in MDOC custody for the murder of Mike McBride. Here’s a sampling of the rules he’s broken:
2010: Two for contraband, two for refusing a drug screen and one for passing an object.
2009: Two each for refusing a drug screen, threatening a staff member and contraband.
2008: Threatening a staff member and possession of marijuana.
2007: Contraband and assaulting a staff member.
2006: Interfering with security.
2004: Assaulting an inmate.
2001: Possession of tobacco/paper.
2000: Refusing 17 meals (hunger strike) and two refusals of drug screenings.
1999: Possession of a “stinger” in prison.
1997: Unauthorized contact with the public (correspondence with pen pal via Internet), possession of unauthorized items (radio, stinger, lighter) and interfering with the running of the facility.

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