Judge Refuses To Allow Hearing For Convict Who Wants To DieAP , Associated Press
Mar. 9, 1985 2:21 PM ET
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) _ A 37-year-old man convicted of killing three women claims he is a born- again Christian who doesn't want anyone to halt his execution, scheduled for Wednesday.
Death row inmate Stephen Peter Morin has refused to grant interviews from his prison cell.
But State District Judge David Berchelmann said when Morin appeared before him last month ''he told me, 'I don't want anybody to do anything on my behalf. I want to die on the date you set for me.''
The judge, who set the execution date, on Friday denied a request by a defense attorney to order a competency hearing for Morin. The lawyer who prosecuted Morin has said the inmate is ''an absolute sociopath, but sane.''
Morin, a drifter from Providence, R.I., is scheduled to die for the 1981 shooting death of a San Antonio woman. He pleaded guilty last year to capital murder, and a jury recommended execution. He was convicted previously of slaying women in Texas and Colorado.
His guilty plea in the death of Carrie Marie Scott was issued right after the indictment was read. The plea shocked prosecutors, since only once before had anyone in Texas ever pleaded guilty to capital murder.
''I read the indictment. He stood up and he pleaded guilty. I thought: 'Hey, you can't do that. I spent all this time preparing this case,''' recalled prosecutor Susan Reed.
''I don't like to see anyone murdered or killed, but Mr. Morin is a horrible danger to society and he will remain so,'' she said. ''He's a sociopath, an absolute sociopath, but sane.''
Morin's lawyers say they don't know what, if anything, they can do.
''There's probably some ethical duty to try to pursue the matter a little further, but I'm not real sure whether we can do that,'' said J. Keith Alaniz, Morin's attorney.
Sometimes, when an inmate doesn't want to appeal an execution, a relative will file the appeal for the prisoner, but Alaniz said: ''I have never spoken with any member of his family. I don't know that there's any interest (in an appeal).''
Morin's conversion to religion, now playing a part in his execution, also led to his arrest and was the defense attorneys' chief argument to the jury.
Morin claims a woman he abducted, Margaret Mayfield of San Antonio, turned his life around. The woman told police she persuaded him to trade a handwritten journal of scripture for the bullets from his .38-caliber pistol.
Morin also was convicted in Golden, Colo., of the kidnap-murder of Sheila Whalen, 23, a former Lockport, N.Y., teacher. His other Texas murder conviction was for the kidnap-slaying of Janna Bruce, 21, an executive secretary at the Hilton Inn in Corpus Christi. He also has a string of arrests from coast to coast. All three women were killed within a five-week period of 1981.
Morin's execution by injection probably will take place as scheduled, said Assistant District Attorney Ed Shaughnessy.
''He has a right to more appeals, but he also has a right not to have any more,'' Shaughnessy said. ''As of now, nothing is standing between Morin and his execution Wednesday.''
Morin would become the second Texas inmate to be put to death this year and the sixth since the state resumed executions in 1982.