Kentucky Death Row Inmates

01
of 36

Kentucky Inmates on Death Row

Empty chairs in jury box
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Since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, only three people have been executed in Kentucky. The most recent execution was of Marco Allen Chapman, who was sentenced to death in 2005 and killed by lethal injection in 2008 after waiving his right to appeal.

The following are the inmates currently living on death row in Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

02
of 36

Ralph Baze

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Ralph Baze
Kentucky Death Row Ralph Baze - 36 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Ralph Baze was sentenced to death February 4, 1994 in Rowan County for the murder of two police officers.

 On January 30, 1992, Deputy Arthur Briscoe went to Baze’s home regarding warrants from Ohio. He returned with Sheriff Steve Bennett. Baze, using an assault rifle, killed the two police officers. According to the prosecutor's office, each officer was shot three times in the back. ​One officer was executed with a shot to the back of his head as he tried to crawl away.

Baze was arrested the same day in Estill County.

03
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Thomas C. Bowling

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Thomas Bowling
Kentucky Death Row Thomas Bowling - Age 37 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Thomas Bowling was sentenced to death January 4, 1991, in Fayette County for the shooting deaths of Eddie and Tina Early in Lexington, Kentucky. The husband and wife were shot on the morning of April 9, 1990, while sitting in their car before opening their family-owned dry cleaning business. The couple's 2-year-old child was wounded.

This killer rammed the victims' car, then got out and shot all three victims as they sat inside their car. He then returned to his car, but walked back to the victims' car to make sure they were dead before he drove away.

Bowling was arrested April 11, 1990. He was tried and convicted on December 28, 1990 of two counts of murder.

04
of 36

Phillip Brown

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Phillip Brown
Kentucky Death Row Phillip Brown - Age 21 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In Adair County in 2001, this Phillip Brown beat Sherry Bland with a blunt instrument and stabbed her to death over a 27-inch color television. He was sentenced to death for the murder and he also received 20 years for robbery and burglary charges, to be served consecutively for a total of 40 years.

05
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Virginia Caudill

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Virginia Caudill
Kentucky Death Row Virginia Caudill - Age 39 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

On March 15, 1998, Virginia Caudill and accomplice, Jonathon Goforth, entered the home of  73-year-old woman Lonetta White and beat her to death then burglarized her home. They then placed her body in the trunk of her own car and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire. 

Caudill and Goforth were sentenced to death in March of 2000.

See also: Complete Details of Caudill and Goforth's Murder of Lonetta White

06
of 36

Roger Epperson

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Roger Epperson
Kentucky Death Row Roger Epperson - Age 35 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Roger Epperson was sentenced to death June 20, 1986, in Letcher County for the murder of Tammy Acker. The murder occurred when Epperson and two accomplices entered the home of a Fleming-Neon, Kentucky physician on the night of August 8, 1985. They choked the man unconscious and stabbed his daughter Tammy 12 times with a butcher knife while robbing her father of $1.9 million, handguns and jewelry.

Tammy Acker was found dead, with the butcher knife stuck through her chest and embedded in the floor.

Epperson was arrested in Florida on August 15, 1985. He also received a second death sentence for the murder of Bessie and Edwin Morris in their home in Gray Hawk, Kentucky on June 16, 1985.

07
of 36

Samuel Fields

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Samuel Fields
Kentucky Death Row Samuel Fields - Age 21 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In the morning of August 19, 1993, in Floyd County, Fields entered the home of Bess Horton through a back window, hit her in the head and slashed her throat. Ms. Horton died as a result of multiple sharp force injuries of the head and neck.

The large knife used to slash her throat was found protruding from her right temple area. Fields was arrested at the scene.

The case was transferred to Rowan County. Fields was tried and sentenced to death in 1997. That death sentence was reversed for retrial, and in January 2004 he was re-sentenced to death.

08
of 36

Robert Foley

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Robert Foley
Kentucky Death Row Robert Foley - Age 21 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Robert Foley shot and killed brothers Rodney and Lynn Vaughn in his home in Laurel County, Kentucky in 1991.

Several adults and at least six children were present when Foley returned home. The group sat at the kitchen table drinking beer when tempers flared. Rodney pointed at Foley and said not to sucker punch him again. Foley knocked Rodney to the floor, pulled his gun and shot him six times.

Foley then shot Lynn in the back of the head and dumped the bodies in a nearby creek. The bodies were discovered two days later. Foley was charged with capital murder, tried by a jury and sentenced to death.

In 1994, Foley was again convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of four people: Kim Bowerstock, Calvin Reynolds, Lillian Contino and Jerry McMillan.

Foley became aware that Bowerstock was in the area, and believed that she had informed his parole officer that he was selling drugs.

Foley found Bowerstock and immediately grabbed her by the hair. Reynolds came to her assistance. Foley pulled his pistol and shot Reynolds, then Bowerstock, then Contino, then McMillan. He returned to Bowerstock and shot her again in the back of the head. He then took their valuables, placed the victims in a septic tank and covered them with lime and cement.

09
of 36

Fred Furnish

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Fred Furnish
Kentucky Death Row Fred Furnish - Age 30 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Fred Furnish was sentenced to death on July 8, 1999, in Kenton County for the murder of Ramona Jean Williamson.

On June 25, 1998, Furnish entered Mrs. Williamson’s Crestview Hills home, and strangled her to death. After killing Mrs. Williamson, Furnish used her debit cards to withdraw money from her bank accounts.

The jury also found Furnish guilty of robbery, burglary, theft and receiving stolen money by fraud.

Furnish, who had several convictions for theft and burglary, had spent nearly a dozen years behind bars. Each time he was released, he soon returned to prison for another burglary. By the time he was released in April, 1997, he had hit a prison guard, adding an assault charge to his record.

10
of 36

John Garland

Kentucky Death Row Inmate John Garland
Kentucky Death Row John Garland - Age 30 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

John Garland murdered three people in McCreary County in 1997. Garland, 54 at the time, had been in a relationship with a 26-year-old woman. He suspected she was pregnant by another man.

Garland, along with his son Roscoe, went to the mobile home where his former girlfriend was with two friends, a man and a woman, and shot all three to death.

Roscoe Garland gave a statement to the officers explaining that his father was jealous of Willa Jean Ferrier and that she had been involved with other men. Garland's son was the key witness at the trial.

Garland was sentenced to death on February 15, 1999.

11
of 36

Randy Haight

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Randy Haight
Kentucky Death Row Randy Haight- Age 33 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Randy Haight escaped from the Johnson County Jail in 1985. He was there while awaiting trials in three counties. He stole guns and several cars, shot at a Kentucky state police trooper and caused another police officer's death in a gunfight.

He executed a young couple, David Omer and Patricia Vance,  while they were inside their car. He shot the man in the face, chest, shoulder, and back of the head and shot the woman in the shoulder, temple, back of the head and through the eye.

12
of 36

Leif Halvorsen

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Leif Halvorsen
Kentucky Death Row Leif Halvorsen- Age 29 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In Fayette County in 1983, Leif Halvorsen, along with Mitchell Willoughby, executed a teenage girl, Jacqueline Greene, along with Joe Norman and Joey Durham. They were all inside a home they were remodeling. Greene was shot eight times in the back of the head. 

13
of 36

Johnathon Goforth

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Johnathon Goforth
Johnathon Goforth Johnathon Goforth - Age 39 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

On March 15, 1998, Johnathon Goforth and accomplice, Virginia Caudill, entered the home of a 73-year-old Lonetta White and beat her to death.

After killing her, they burglarized her home, then placed her body in the trunk of her own car and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire. 

14
of 36

Benny Hodge

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Benny Hodge
Kentucky Death Row Benny Hodge- Age 34 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Benny Hodge was sentenced to death June 20, 1986, in Letcher County for the murder of Tammy Acker. The murder occurred when Hodge and two accomplices entered the home of a Fleming-Neon, Kentucky physician on the night of August 8, 1985. They choked the man unconscious and stabbed his daughter, Tammy Acker, 12 times with a butcher knife while robbing her father of $1.9 million, handguns and jewelry.

Tammy Acker was found dead, with the butcher knife stuck through her chest and embedded in the floor.

Hodge also received a second death sentence on November 22, 1996 for the murder and robbery of Bessie and Edwin Morris in their home in Gray Hawk, Kentucky on June 16, 1985.

Mr. and Mrs. Morris were found with their hands and feet tied behind them. Mrs. Morris was shot twice in the back. Mr. Morris died as a result of a gunshot wound to his head, two blunt force head injuries and obstructed breathing caused by a ligature gag.

15
of 36

James Hunt

Kentucky Death Row Inmate James Hunt
Kentucky Death Row James Hunt- Age 56 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

James Hunt shot his estranged wife Bettina Hunt, in Floyd County in 2004. When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the body of Bonita Hunt with bullet wounds to the arms, cheek area, the face and a wound between the bridge of her nose and left eye.

16
of 36

Donald Johnson

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Donald Johnson
Kentucky Death Row Donald Johnson - Age 22 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Donald Johnson was sentenced to death on October 1, 1997, in Floyd County for the stabbing death of Helen Madden.

Ms. Madden’s body was found on November 30, 1989 at the Bright and Clean Laundry in Hazard where she was employed. It was determined that she had also been sexually assaulted.

Johnson was arrested on December 1, 1989 and charged with murder, robbery and burglary. The sexual assault charge was added later.

17
of 36

David Matthews

Kentucky Death Row Inmate David Matthews
Kentucky Death Row David Matthews - Age 33 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

David Matthews was sentenced to death November 11, 1982 in Jefferson County for the brutal murders of Mary Matthews and Magdalene Cruse on June 29, 1981 in Louisville, Kentucky. Mary Matthews was his estranged wife and Magdalene Cruse was his mother-in-law. In the process of committing these crimes he burglarized his wife’s home. 

Matthews was tried and convicted on October 8, 1982.

18
of 36

William Meece

Kentucky Death Row Inmate William Meece
Kentucky Death Row William Meece - Age 31 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

William Meece burglarized a family's home in Adair County in 2003. On February 26, 2003, he shot and killed Joseph and Elizabeth Wellnitz and their son, Dennis Wellnitz in their home, in Columbia, Kentucky.

19
of 36

John Mills

Kentucky Death Row Inmate John Mills
Kentucky Death Row John Mills - Age 25 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

John Mills was sentenced to death October 18, 1996 in Knox County for the stabbing death of Arthur Phipps at his residence in Smokey Creek, Kentucky.

On August 30, 1995 Mills stabbed Phipps 29 times with a pocket knife and stole a small amount of money. He was arrested that same day at his home which he rented from Mr. Phipps, on the property where the crime occurred.

20
of 36

Brian Moore

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Brian Moore
Kentucky Death Row Brian Moore - Age 22 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In Jefferson County in 1979, Brian Moore robbed and executed 77-year-old Virgil Harris, who begged for his life. Moore drew a gun on Harris as he was returning to his car in a grocery store parking lot. He commandeered the car and threw the victim down an embankment several miles away. He then shot Harris from point blank range on the top of the head, in the face below the right eye, inside the right ear and behind the right ear. He returned hours later to remove a wristwatch from the body.

Mr. Harris had been on his way to celebrate his 77th birthday with his adult children.

21
of 36

Melvin Lee Parrish

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Melvin Lee Parrish
Kentucky Death Row Melvin Lee Parrish - Age 34 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

On December 5, 1997, Melvin Lee Parrish stabbed and killed Rhonda Allen, who was six-months pregnant, and her 8-year-old son LaShawn Allen. He also stabbed the woman's 5-year-old son nine times. The five-year-old survived and was able to identify the killer as the person who stabbed his mother and brother to death.

Parrish was trying to take money from the woman when the murders occurred. He was sentenced on February 1, 2001 in Jefferson County.

22
of 36

Parramore Sanborn

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Parramore Sanborn
Kentucky Death Row Parramore Sanborn - Age 38 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Sanborn received the death penalty for the 1983 kidnapping, rape and murder of Barbara Heilman. Sanborn tore out the victim's hair, stabbed her nine times and dumped her body alongside a country road.

Barbara Heilman was the mother of three children.

23
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David Sanders

Kentucky Death Row Inmate David Sanders
Kentucky Death Row David Sanders - Age 27 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

David Sanders executed Jim Brandenburg and Wayne Hatch by shooting them in the back of the head during a grocery store robbery in Madison County in 1987. One victim died almost instantly, the other died two days later.

Sanders confessed to these crimes and to the attempted execution of another grocery storekeeper one month earlier.

24
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Beoria Simmons

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Beoria Simmons
Kentucky Death Row Beoria Simmons - Age 29 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Beoria Simmons kidnapped, beat, raped and executed three women with a pistol in Jefferson County in 1981, 1982 and 1983. A fourth would-be victim escaped.

25
of 36

David Skaggs

Kentucky Death Row Inmate David Skaggs
Kentucky Death Row David Skaggs - Age 31 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

David Skaggs executed an elderly couple, Herman and Mae Matthews, by beating them with a hammer and a pistol during a robbery at their home in Barren County in 1981. Skaggs had five prior felony convictions. He was arrested eight days later in Indiana.

26
of 36

Miguel Soto

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Miguel Soto
Kentucky Death Row Miguel Soto - Age 26 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Miguel Soto shot and killed his former in-laws, Armott and Edna Porter, in Oldham County in 1999. Soto also shot and wounded his ex-wife, Armotta Porter, who had been living with her parents. He also shot in the direction of his three-year old daughter. He was sentenced to death Aug. 17, 2000 in Oldham County.

27
of 36

Michael St.Clair

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Michael St. Clair
Kentucky Death Row Michael St. Clair - Age 34 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Michael St. Clair escaped from an Oklahoma jail where he was awaiting trial for two murders.

During his escape he shot a man while carjacking his truck. He then traveled to a Bullitt County rest-stop on October 6, 1991, where he carjacked Frank Brady. He took Brady to an isolated area, handcuffed him and then shot him twice, killing him. He then returned to the rest-stop where he burned Brady's car and shot at a state policeman before being arrested.

28
of 36

Vincent Stopher

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Vincent Stopher
Kentucky Death Row Vincent Stopher - Age 24 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Vincent Stopher was sentenced to death March 23, 1998, in Jefferson County. On March 10, 1997, in Jefferson County, Deputy Sheriff Gregory Hans was dispatched to the home of Vincent and Kathleen Becker. Stopher and Hans got into a fight and Stopher shot Hans after he was able to get control of the officer's gun.

29
of 36

Victor Taylor

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Victor Taylor
Kentucky Death Row Victor Taylor - Age 24 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In 1984, Victor Taylor kidnapped, robbed, bound, gagged and executed two high school students, Scott Nelson and Scott Nelson. The boys had gotten lost on their way to a football game in Jefferson County. Taylor sodomized one of the boys before executing him.

Taylor told four people he had killed the victims. The personal property of the victims was found in his possession.

He was sentenced to death May 23, 1986.

30
of 36

William Thompson

Kentucky Death Row Inmate William Thompson
Kentucky Death Row William Thompson - Age 35 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

William Thompson was serving a life sentence for a murder for hire in Pike County.

While serving that sentence in 1986 in Lyon County, he reported for prisoner work detail, then took a hammer and hit prison guard Fred Cash 12 times in the head, killing him. After killing the guard, he took the victim's body to a nearby barn where he took the victim's wallet, keys, and knife. He then drove the prison van to a bus station to try and escape. Police arrested Thompson at the bus station on his way to Indiana.

31
of 36

Roger Wheeler

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Roger Wheeler
Kentucky Death Row Roger Wheeler - Age 36 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

While on parole for 10 counts of robbery, Wheeler killed Nigel Malone and Nairobi Warfield. Both of the victims were stabbed multiple times.

When detectives arrived at the scene they discovered the murder weapon, a pair of scissors, still in the neck of one of the victims and a blood trail leading from the victims to the streets. Blood samples collected at the scene matched Wheeler's blood.

32
of 36

Karu White

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Karu White
Kentucky Death Row Karu White - Age 21 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Karu White was sentenced to death March 29, 1980, in Powell County for the murder of three Breathitt County residents.

On the evening of February 12, 1979, White and two accomplices entered a Haddix, Kentucky store operated by two elderly men, Charles Gross and Sam Chaney and an elderly woman Lula Gross.

White and his accomplices bludgeoned to death the men and woman. They took a billfold containing $7,000, coins, and a handgun. Due to the brutal nature of the fatal beatings, they had to be buried in body bags.

33
of 36

Mitchell Willoughby

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Mitchell Willoughby
Kentucky Death Row Mitchell Willoughby - Age 25 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Mitchell Willoughby was sentenced to death September 15, 1983, in Fayette County for the participation in the murder of three people with Leif Halvorsen, also sentenced to death.

On January 13, 1983, the two men shot to death Jackqueline Greene, Joe Norman and Joey Durham in a Lexington, Kentucky apartment. That night they attempted to dispose of the bodies by throwing them from the Brooklyn Bridge in Jessamine County, Kentucky.

34
of 36

Gregory Wilson

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Gregory Wilson
Kentucky Death Row Gregory Wilson - Age 31 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Gregory Wilson was sentenced to death October 31, 1988, in Kenton County for kidnapping and murdering Deborah Pooley of Kenton County.

On May 29, 1987, Wilson and a female accomplice forced Pooley into the back seat of her car. Wilson raped Pooley and later strangled her while the accomplice was driving. Wilson was arrested on June 18, 1987. He previously served a prison sentence in Ohio on two counts of rape.

35
of 36

Shawn Windsor

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Shawn Windsor
Kentucky Death Row Shawn Windsor - Age 40 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

In Jefferson County in 2003, Shawn Windsor beat and stabbed his wife, Betty Jean Windsor, and 8-year old son Corey Windsor. At the time of the murders, there was a domestic violence order in effect which ordered Shawn Windsor to remain at least 500 feet away from his wife and to commit no further acts of domestic violence.

After killing his wife and son Windsor fled to Nashville, Tenn. in his wife's car, which he left in a hospital parking garage. Nine months later, in July of 2004, Windsor was captured in North Carolina. 

36
of 36

Keith Woodall

Kentucky Death Row Inmate Keith Woodall
Kentucky Death Row Keith Woodall - Age 24 at the time. Death Row Prison Photo

Keith Woodall abducted 16-year-old Sarah Hansen from a local convenient store in Muhlenburg County in 1997. Woodall took Hansen from the parking lot to a wooded area where he raped her and slashed her throat. Woodall then put her body in the icy lake.

Sarah Hansen had gone to the store to return a video.