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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 12, 1999)
The Nebraska men’s basketball team looks to
improve its offense after several low-scoring out
puts over the season. PAGE 9
A & E
Throughout the month of January; Nebraska ETV is
running a senes of recorded concerts from the Zoo
Bar's 25th anniversary festival. PAGE 12
January 12, 1999
Blustery and colder, high 35. Clear tonight, low 7.
VOL. 98 COVERING THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN SINCE 1901 NO. 78
Pardons Board refuses Reeves clemency
Emotions run high after
! 3-0 decision is announced
By Jessica Fargen and
Senior staff writers
After the Nebraska Board of
Pardons decided not to grant Randy
Reeves clemency, the crowd of family
AP Photo/S.E. McKee
AUDREY LAMM REACTS to the Nebraska Pardons Board declining clemency for Randy Reeves on Monday at the
State Capitol. Reeves murdered two women in 1980, including Vicki Lamm, Audrey’s mother. Lamm and other
family members oppose the scheduled execution of Reeves, set for Thursday.
members and supporters started sob
bing and pleading for his life.
Monday afternoon’s hearing at the
Vsapiuji w ao vuiupwavva
until Gov. Mike Johanns
made it clear he would vote
not to commute Reeves' sen
tence to life imprisonment.
Sobbing, the daughter of
one of the murder victims,
Audrey Lamm, stood up in
the middle of the proceed
ings: “Excuse me, governor
without making eye contact,
asking her to “please sit
down.” The stress in the
The Board’s decision eliminated
Reeves’ best hope to avoid the electric
chair, though there is still a motion
pending in the state Supreme Court.
Eighteen years ago, Reeves was
sentenced to death for the 1980 murders
of Janet Mesner and Audrey Lamm.
The two women were killed in a
Quaker meeting house in Lincoln.
Reeves had been drinking all day before
Reeves’ attorney, Paula Hutchinson,
applied for clemency to address issues
in the case she said were unresolved.
The pre-sentence report contained
comments that were “unsubstantiated
and hearsay,” she said, calling the report
a “disgraceful piece of work.”
Hutchinson said the report also mis
represented the positions of members of
the Lamm and Mesner families, many
of whom oppose the death penalty.
11 11 l 11 1 11 d VJ 11
also pointed out
that Reeves had a
behavior in prison.
said all the ques
tions in the case
had been answered
with 18 years of lit
four U.S. Supreme
- V—VU1 l IlvCU lllgiji
Johanns agreed there was no reason
for a hearing in the case.
“There is a point at which a case
comes to an end,” he said.
The crowd realized the impact of
Johanns statement - the Board was
going to vote no - and started to react.
Hutchinson marched to the back of
the room to compose herself.
Reeves’ supporters had held hope
that Johanns, the swing vote of the
Board, would vote for clemency.
Johanns had been tight-lipped about
how he might vote at his first Pardons
Board hearing, though Reeves support
ers had hoped his Catholic faith, and the
churches’ calls for clemency, would
sway his decision.
Please see BOARD on 3
It s hard to
imagine a case
Gov. Mike Johanns
Changes not foreseen
in death penalty laws
By Jessica Fargen
Senior staff writer
Thursday's scheduled execution
of Randolph Reeves, which wouid be
Nebraska's fourth in five years, is
unlikely to harness Legislature sup
port for abolishing the death penalty.
But that has not stopped some leg
islators from introducing bills propos
ing to abolish or reform existing
“Nil" is how Sen. David Landis
describes the chances of bills - such
as Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers'
LB76. which would abolish the death
penalty - passing.
“These are positions that are usu
ally long-standing, philosophical per
spectives,” said Landis of senators'
opinions on the death penalty.
Landis, a senator from Lincoln,
said Monday that he was planning on
introducing a death penalty-related
bill of his own.
Later this week Landis plans to
introduce his bill that would “create a
defense based on racial discrimina
tion to the use of the death penalty.”
Landis would not elaborate on the
specifics of his bill.
Sen. Kermit Brashear of Omaha
also introduced a bill last week that
would change the method of execu
tion in Nebraska.
But the name in the Legislature
synonymous with abolishing the
death penalty is that of Chambers'.
As he has every year since he
joined the Legislature in 1971,
Chambers introduced a bill that pro
poses to abolish capital punishment
and replace it w ith life in prison with
out parole. In more than 25 years, the
bill has passed only once, but was
vetoed by then-Gov. Charles Thone.
The bills' low success rates are not
surprising, said Plattsmouth Sen.
“I think the body in general is
pretty much pro-capital punishment,”
Although lawmakers passed a bill
last year that prohibits mentally hand
icapped people from receiving a death
sentence, many senators said their
constituents consistently tell them to
keep the death penalty alive in
Hastings Sen. Ardyce Bohlke said
her constituents are no exception.
Please see DEATH on 3
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