Angela Mcanalty, The Only Female Prisoner On Oregon’s Death Row, Was Given A Life Sentence

The lone woman on death row in Oregon has now been given a new sentence of life in prison. On August 3, 2020, the Lane County Circuit Court approved a settlement agreement in which McAnulty agreed to give up her appeals against her murder conviction, and Lane County prosecutors agreed to withdraw their appeal of a 2019 decision that overturned the death sentence imposed on her in February 2011.

Since voters reintroduced the death penalty in the state of Oregon in 1984, only McAnulty has received a death sentence.

For the 2009 aggravated murder of her 15-year-old daughter, Jeanette Maples, McAnulty received the death penalty. Kenneth Hadley and Steven Krasik, who was handling a second capital case in which Joshua and Bruce Turnidge were given the death penalty in Marion County for a deadly bank explosion in Woodburn, Oregon, represented her at trial.

They were court-appointed attorneys. The Turnidge case came to an end on December 22, 2010, and as McAnulty was anticipating a plea deal from Lane County prosecutors, McAnulty’s attorneys skipped looking into any potential mitigating circumstances.

The case did not resolve, and the trial judge turned down the attorneys’ request for a postponement so they could adequately prepare McAnulty’s defense. On the first day of the trial, the defense attorney suggested that she enter a guilty plea to the charges of aggravated murder even though the prosecution had not yet agreed to drop the request for the death penalty.

When the case reached the punishment phase, the jury gave McAnulty the death penalty. In 2014, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld her conviction and execution.

On July 10, 2019, Judge J. Burdette Pratt overturned McAnulty’s conviction and death sentence during a 12-day post-conviction hearing. In recommending McAnulty to plead guilty to the charge of aggravated murder without receiving anything in exchange from the state, Pratt decided that trial counsel had been ineffective.

The Only Female Prisoner On Oregon's Death Row
The Only Female Prisoner On Oregon’s Death Row

He also found that counsel had been ineffective in the penalty phase of the trial for failing to conduct an adequate investigation and present evidence regarding McAnulty’s mental health and psychological trauma as part of the defense case for life and for failing to show that she did not pose a future danger to society, which is required for a death verdict under Oregon law.

The settlement was made possible by the prosecution’s appeal of the court’s decision and McAnulty’s cross-appeal on the arguments she had made that the court had rejected.

Following the state’s appeal, SB 1013, which dramatically narrowed the application of the state’s death-penalty law, was approved by the Oregon state legislature and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown.

The new law restricted the use of the death penalty for murder to cases involving acts of terrorism that result in the deaths of two or more people, premeditated killings of children under thirteen, homicides in prison committed by inmates already serving time for aggravated murder, and premeditated killings of police or correctional officers. The law was applicable to McAnulty’s retrial as well as all new capital cases.

The highest term possible for McAnulty’s crime under the new statute was life in prison without the possibility of parole, and on July 29, prosecutors and McAnulty met to complete their plea agreement. “The settlement deal specifies that the death sentence is annulled, and Angela McAnulty is sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release,” said Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow.

Richard McAnulty, Maples’ stepfather, was also accused of the murder. After a separate trial, he was found guilty in 2011 and given a life sentence with a 25-year parole eligibility period. He didn’t challenge his verdict or sentence.

52 women are currently incarcerated on death row across the country as a result of McAnulty’s resentencing. Kelly Gissendaner, a native of Georgia, was the final woman to be put to death in the US in 2015. She passed away by lethal injection.

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