Executed January 29, 2002 by Lethal Injection in California
W / M / 26 - 48 W / F / 81
5th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
754th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in California in 2002
10th murderer executed in California since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Stephen Wayne Anderson
Elizabeth Lyman was an 81-year-old retired piano teacher, and lived by herself in Bloomington, San Bernardino County. About an hour after midnight on Monday, May 26, 1980, Anderson, a 26-year-old escapee from Utah State Prison, broke into her home, and cut her telephone line with a knife. He shot her in the face from a distance of between eight and 20 inches with his .45 caliber handgun as she lay in her bed. Anderson then covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100. Anderson next sat down in Mrs. Lyman’s kitchen to eat a dinner of noodles and eggs. His meal was interrupted, however, by sheriff’s deputies called to the scene by a suspicious neighbor who had been awakened by barking dogs and had seen Anderson in Mrs. Lyman’s house through a window. Anderson confessed to the murder.
W / M / 26 - 48
W / F / 81
Two (2) grilled cheese sandwiches (American cheese); One (1) pint of cottage cheese (plain, no fruit); Hominy/corn mixture (regular hominy, regular corn); One (1) piece of peach pie; One (1) pint of chocolate chip ice cream; Radishes.
California Department of Corrections
Stephen Wayne Anderson was convicted of one count of first-degree murder with special circumstances and one count of residential burglary in the May 26, 1980 murder of Elizabeth Lyman. A San Bernardino County jury sentenced Anderson to death on July 24, 1981.
Elizabeth Lyman was an 81-year-old retired piano teacher, and lived by herself in Bloomington, San Bernardino County. About an hour after midnight on Monday, May 26, 1980, Anderson, a 26-year-old escapee from Utah State Prison, broke into her home, and cut her telephone line with a knife, believing no one was at home. He was startled when she woke up in her bed. He shot her in the face from a distance of between eight and 20 inches with his .45 caliber handgun as she lay in her bed. Anderson then covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollowpoint bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100.
Anderson next sat down in Mrs. Lyman’s kitchen to eat a dinner of noodles and eggs. His meal was interrupted, however, by sheriff’s deputies called to the scene by a suspicious neighbor who had been awakened by barking dogs and had seen Anderson in Mrs. Lyman’s house through a window. The deputies arrested Anderson at 3:47 a.m., and took him to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Substation in Fontana.
Anderson was an escapee from Utah State Prison at the time of Mrs. Lyman’s death. He escaped on Nov. 24, 1979, and had been incarcerated for one count of aggravated burglary in 1971 and three counts of aggravated burglary in 1973. While incarcerated at Utah State Prison, Anderson murdered an inmate, assaulted another inmate, and assaulted a correctional officer. Anderson also admitted to six other contract killings in Las Vegas, Nevada that happened prior to the crime for which he received a death sentence.
While incarcerated in the California Department of Corrections, Anderson received CDC 115s (Rule Violation Report). He assaulted another inmate in 1987, used force and violence in 1985, and used force and violence while fighting in 1984.
LAST MEAL REQUEST, JANUARY 28, 2002:
Condemned inmate Stephen Wayne Anderson has selected the following for his last meal: Two (2) grilled cheese sandwiches (American cheese); One (1) pint of cottage cheese (plain, no fruit); Hominy/corn mixture (regular hominy, regular corn); One (1) piece of peach pie; One (1) pint of chocolate chip ice cream; Radishes. It should be noted that inmate Anderson did not request any special food items for his scheduled visits, January 24-28, 2002.
At 12:18 a.m., January 29, 2002, the execution by lethal injection of Stephen Wayne Anderson began in San Quentin State Prison's execution chamber. He was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. When asked by the Warden if he had any last words, Mr. Anderson was very adamant that he did not.
Stephen Wayne Anderson was convicted of one count of first-degree murder and one count of residential burglary in the May 26, 1980 murder of Elizabeth Lyman. A San Bernardino County jury sentenced Anderson to death on July 24, 1981. Elizabeth Lyman was an 81-year-old retired piano teacher, and lived by herself in Bloomington, San Bernardino County. About an hour after midnight on Monday, May 26, 1980, Anderson, a 26-year-old escapee from Utah State Prison, broke into her home, and cut her telephone line with a knife. He shot her in the face from a distance of between eight and 20 inches with his .45 caliber handgun as she lay in her bed. Anderson then covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100. Anderson next sat down in Mrs. Lyman’s kitchen to eat a dinner of noodles and eggs. His meal was interrupted, however, by sheriff’s deputies called to the scene by a suspicious neighbor who had been awakened by barking dogs and had seen Anderson in Mrs. Lyman’s house through a window.
The Lamp of Hope (San Francisco Chronicle & Rick Halperin)
Jan 29, 2002 - CALIFORNIA- Execution of Stephen Wayne Anderson.
Drifter who killed 81-year-old woman executed early Tuesday. With a whispered "I love you," from his lawyer, Stephen Wayne Anderson was put to death early Tuesday for murdering an elderly widow 22 years ago. Anderson died almost entirely surrounded by strangers. No relatives of his victim or members of his own family attended.
Anderson, 48, was pronounced dead from a lethal injection at 12:30 a.m. PST after his attorneys lost a last-ditch battle for the life of the man they said had redeemed himself on death row, learning Latin and writing poems of repentance. As Anderson was lying on the gurney in the death chamber, his public defender, Margo Rocconi, mouthed the words "I love you" 3 times to the condemned man. Witnesses said he responded by mouthing, "Thank you."
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt the execution late Monday night. The nation's highest court voted 8-0, with Justice Antonin Scalia not participating, to reject Anderson's request for a stay of execution and a request to rehear the case. Anderson's defenders had asked Gov. Gray Davis to spare his life, saying he didn't get a fair trial because of a bad lawyer and noting that some family members of the victim did not support the death penalty. Expecting clemency to be denied -- the last California governor to grant clemency was Ronald Reagan in 1967 -- the defense team unsuccessfully waged a separate legal battle arguing that Davis' tough-on-crime platform locked him into an intractable position on clemency. On Monday, Anderson's lawyers filed a new appeal claiming Davis' 34-page opinion showed his bias. That argument also was rejected by the courts.
Anderson was sentenced to die for killing Elizabeth Lyman in the early hours of Memorial Day 1980. Prosecutors said Anderson, who had escaped from a Utah prison some months earlier, broke into Lyman's house in Bloomington, a small town in Southern California, and shot her as she sat up in bed. Anderson ransacked the house, finding $112, and then made himself at home, watching television in her living room and cooking himself a meal of noodles, according to court records. Prosecutors portrayed Anderson as a callous killer with a long criminal record that included confessions to 2 killings in Utah, the stabbing of a fellow inmate and the contract killing of another man. Anderson also confessed to 6 contract hits in Nevada, although it wasn't clear those killings really happened.
His defenders gave a different version. They said Anderson was shaped by a brutal upbringing. They also contended his court-appointed lawyer did a terrible job, failingn to bring out the mitigating circumstances of Anderson's harsh childhood. The death sentences of 2 other clients of Anderson's trial lawyer, the late S. Donald Ames, were overturned because of incompetent representation. But the courts ruled Anderson got an adequate defense. Anderson's new lawyers also said the Utah confessions, which were used to bolster the death penalty case against him, should have been suppressed because officials held him too long before he was arraigned.
Anderson did not make a final statement Tuesday morning. The lethal mix of chemicals began running into his veins at 12:17 a.m., and he died 13 minutes later. About 200 death penalty opponents braved near-freezing temperatures to hold a candlelight vigil outside San Quentin on Monday night, sipping hot chocolate and huddling in blankets to stay warm. Lyle Grosjean, an Episcopal priest from Santa Cruz, was among 15 people who walked from San Francisco to San Quentin to protest capital punishment. "We walk 25 miles to show our commitment that we're against the death penalty. Punishment isn't the answer. Compassion is," Grosjean said. "We're unequivocally opposed to the death penalty in all cases, guilty or innocent."
Beyond the legal issues, Anderson's supporters said his writings showed a spirit worth saving. In prison, Anderson had written a play, started a novel, and published a number of poems. One, "I Miss Them All," begins, "I miss leaves whispering/softly through the evening haze;/little conversations upon the breeze,/rustling giggles and hush, child, hush."
Anderson becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in California and the 10th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992. Anderson becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 754th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
Death Penalty Focus
ACTION ALERT - IMPENDING CALIFORNIA EXECUTION - JANUARY 29, 2002
See: January 28, 2002 Release by Death Penalty Focus .
See: January 26, 2002 Release by Mr. Anderson's lawyers .
See: January 25, 2002 Release by Mr. Anderson's lawyers.
See: January 25, 2002 Northern California Media Advisory .
See: Anderson sues Gov. Gray Davis.
Also see: Death Penalty Focus 1/14/02 Press Release.
Also see: Anderson's Poetry & Photo.
Gov. Gray Davis denied clemency for Stephen Anderson on Saturday, January 26, 2002.
Stephen Wayne Anderson, 48, was executed at San Quentin State Prison on January 29, 2002 at 12:01am for the 1980 murder of Elizabeth Lyman. Anderson was one of 607 people on California's death row. The work of Anderson's court-appointed trial lawyer, Don Ames, was previously ruled so deficient that two other men he represented who were sent to death row had their sentences voided by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
On December 21, 2001, the 9th Circuit denied Anderson's request for a rehearing of his appeal, with a dissent from six of the judges in which they said, "… [Anderson's] death sentence may well have been imposed, not because of the crime that he committed, but because of the incompetence of an attorney with little integrity and a pattern of ineffective performance in capital cases."
There is also strong evidence of police misconduct, which has been a consistent problem in San Bernardino County. Members of the victim's family strongly oppose the execution.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: PLEASE write and call these officials to demand an end to state-sanctioned killing in California:
Stephen Anderson Poetry
I Miss Them All
I miss leaves whispering
softly through the evening haze;
little conversations upon the breeze,
rustling giggles and hush, child, hush.
I miss fresh cut summer grass,
turned wet and vibrant green; ah, yes,
I miss those bugs annoying my nose, my eyes,
my ears: I miss cursing at their taunts.
I miss catching scent of honeysuckle,
lifted warm on gentlest breeze; and the sound
of distant children playing at dusk,
called for supper but reluctant to go.
I miss the harsh bite of wood smoke
drifting through the heavy autumn air; and the scent
of dead things burned against obscure horizons,
rising upwards into a thousand sunset colors.
I miss listening to the sounds of night,
crickets chirping and birds calling each other,
I miss watching life unfold and hearing echoes
continuing through winter's cold.
I miss so much living behind these walls,
cloistered away from the world beyond: but sometimes
I hear the rain across the roof, and
smell it upon the sidewalks cleaned.
I miss the sensation of all things purified,
of life free of all its burdens; and I miss
just living for sunsets and the moon
and those things lost, hush...child, hush.
Stephen Wayne Anderson - 25 September 2000
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
California - Stephen Anderson
Scheduled Execution Date and Time: 1/29/02 3:01 AM EST
Stephen Anderson is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 29 in California for the murder of Elizabeth Lyman. Since reinstatement California has only executed nine people, despite having the largest death row in the United States.
In 1985 Anderson’s death sentence was vacated by the California Supreme Court on the grounds that he had not intended to kill his victim during the robbery- a circumstance required by law in California for capital crimes. However, due to the circumstances of California’s Supreme Court, when different justices were elected in 1986 they voted to reinstate Anderson’s death sentence.
Like a handful of other states, voters in California elect Supreme Court Justices.These Justices often are elected while death row inmates are pursuing their appeals- leading to the danger that their cases may be politicized. Stephen Anderson was unlucky enough to be facing appeal when conservative judges were elected to the Court. Please write to Gov. Davis of California to let him know that the death penalty is not a fairly applied form of justice in his state.
PEN American Center: A Fellowship of Writers
"Poet Laureate of America's Damned," by Bell Gale Chevigny.
"BORN IN St. Louis and raised in New Mexico," prize-winning poet Stephen Wayne Anderson wrote to me four years ago, "I was passing through California when I shot someone during an $80 bungled burglary and found myself a permanent resident. That residency grows short; my lease is coming due." Anderson's eviction, by lethal injection, is scheduled for one minute after midnight. A national campaign has been under way to ask Gov. Gray Davis for clemency, but the governor denied it on Saturday. Chances are now slim for any last-minute reprieve.
Anderson's case is strong. He is a thoroughly rehabilitated man. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in California in 1977, there has not been such strong support for clemency from a victim's family. Surviving relatives of 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman have said that they do not want or need his execution. The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco has overturned two other capital convictions on the grounds that defense attorney S. Donald Ames, Anderson's trial counsel, was incompetent. Ames failed to present to the jurors the mitigating circumstances of Anderson's extraordinarily troubled childhood; his parents were mentally disturbed and his father regularly beat him to within an inch of his life. Moreover, his murder occurred during a burglary of a house; Anderson heard a sound and fired into the dark, instantly killing a woman. He did not flee. Rather he opened the curtains, turned on all the house lights and waited three hours for the police to arrive, according to his attorneys. Confessing his crime to the police, he said that he hoped California has a death penalty. At his trial, he said of his victim, "She didn't deserve that. I was very wrong."
Although Anderson confessed to two other murders, he was never convicted of them. And according to his attorneys, he later retracted one and insisted that the other was in self-defense. Relatives of the victim in the alleged self- defense case have also argued against Anderson's execution.
My argument for Anderson's life springs from personal experience. Like other writers on the prison committee of the PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) American Center, I know how dramatically many prisoners grow while behind bars. From the hundreds of manuscripts submitted to our contest every year, we get a privileged glimpse of some of the most serious writing in the country. Editing a collection of the best work of 51 PEN prison-writing contest winners, I asked the authors what motivates them. Fiction writer Susan Rosenberg replied, "Writing forces me to remain conscious of the suffering around me and to resist getting numb to it. I write to keep my heart open, to keep pumping fresh red blood."
Anderson would say the same, although the threat of death puts the task of remaining human to the harshest test. He wrote me about the more than 500 men awaiting court decisions on California's Death Row: "We carry imminent destruction with us constantly. We eat, sleep and breathe death." But writing, he said another time, offers the experience of "coming out of an emotional desert into an exciting whirlwind of expression and release." And, again, "A sentence of death made me realize the value of life, and of living." After a period of despair, Anderson undertook to educate himself. He read everything he could and even studied Latin. Now, he writes; his thirst to read is so great that "I even dream of libraries."
He rises at midnight to read and write in relative quiet. The week before his scheduled execution, he was trying to complete a novel. "These are the graves of the executed ones." So begins "Conversations with the Dead," which took first prize for poetry in the 1990 PEN contest. Contemplating San Quentin's "phantom land," its "horizon of tombstones," Anderson writes with unflinching remorse of murder victims: "stolen from life, becoming but candles lit by children, who became adults before childhood lived . . ."
Living on Death Row for 20 years, Anderson has seen some men released; others walk to their death. He is a connoisseur of despair, the poet laureate of America's damned. He longs for an anthology of condemned prisoners' writing. His own gift of compassion may be the greatest reward for his personal transformation. In a recent poem, he wrote: Over these incarcerated years, I have heard men wail in the night, mourning misplaced lives and lost souls . . ." The poem concludes: "Nothing seems as forlorn as the profound crying, of an unseen man weeping in solitude."
Anderson has had no disciplinary problems for 15 years. No victims' relatives cry for his blood. The majority of Californians now support life without parole instead of the death penalty. Nationally, the moratorium movement is growing; this is an opportunity for the Golden State to join it.
INMATES PETITION REGARDING CLEMENCY DENIED
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - An inmate who is scheduled to be executed next week for a 1980 murder lost an appeal to a federal circuit court in San Francisco today to have Gov. Davis removed from considering his clemency petition. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Stephen Anderson had not presented any evidence or information suggesting that Davis would not be fair in judging the petition.
Anderson, 48, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison on Jan. 29 for murdering a retired piano teacher at her home in San Bernardino County.
He claims in a lawsuit filed Jan. 14 that Davis has a blanket policy of denying leniency to murderers seeking clemency or parole. The suit seeks a court order transferring his clemency petition from Davis to Lt.Gov Cruz Bustamante and delaying the execution while the petition is considered. The appeals court upheld a ruling in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco last week declined to grant those orders.
Harry Simon, a deputy federal public defender in Los Angeles, said Anderson's lawyers are preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The clemency petition asks to have Anderson's sentence changed from death to life in prison without parole. Byron Tucker, a spokesman for the governor, said this evening that Davis is reviewing the petition and has not set a date for reaching a decision on the clemency bid.
San Bernadino County District Attorney
NEWS RELEASE - For Immediate Release - DENNIS L. STOUT, District Attorney
Contact person: Deputy District Attorney David Whitney
Date: December 12, 2001
Execution Date Set - San Bernardino, CA - Today, Judge Bob Krug set an execution date of January 29, 2002, for convicted murderer Stephen Wayne Anderson, 47. The execution will take place at San Quentin Prison. In 1980, Anderson escaped from a Utah prison and murdered an 81-year-old Bloomington woman, Elizabeth Lyman, after she interrupted a burglary. Anderson was sentenced to death in 1981, but the penalty was reversed. He was sentenced to death a second time in 1986.
Anderson will be the first person to be executed in San Bernardino County since the new death penalty statute was enacted in 1977.
The Californian: North County Times
December 13, 2001 - The Back Page - North County Times
Execution Date Set for Drifter Who Ate Macaroni While Victim Died.
SAN BERNARDINO (AP) ---- An execution date was set Wednesday for a San Bernardino County drifter who ate macaroni while his victim bled to death. Stephen Wayne Anderson has exhausted his appeals and was given a Jan. 29 execution date by San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Bob Krug. Anderson, 48, was convicted of killing 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman. Anderson shot the former piano teacher in the face before burglarizing her Bloomington home on Memorial Day in 1980.
Anderson watched television in her living room and ate macaroni he fixed himself as the woman bled to death. In a taped confession, Anderson said he shot Lyman because she surprised him after he broke into her house looking for money. Anderson was an escaped convict at the time from a Utah prison, where he had been serving a sentence for another burglary.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both rejected Anderson's final appeals last month. He had argued that he received ineffective legal assistance during his trial from Donald Ames, who died last year. A federal appeals court has converted two death sentences to life terms because of Ames' poor representations in other cases, but upheld Anderson's death sentence. Anderson's new lawyers argued unsuccessfully that Ames did not line up witnesses in an attempt to persuade the jury to spare Anderson's life.
Anderson is set to become the 10th inmate executed in California since voters reinstated capital punishment in 1978. He can choose either lethal injection or the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison, where he is housed. He is one of more than 600 condemned inmates in California.
"State Murder in California," by Jackie Thomason.
February 3, 2002 - It rained off and on during the day on Monday, January 28th, and there were threatening clouds when I left home around 8pm. By the time I had parked the car and walked to the quaint Village of San Quentin, the sky had cleared. The full moon, which earlier in the day hung like a stage prop over the East Bay hills, was now high in the sky.
The Village is far from city lights so that the stars shone brightly enough that I could recognize the Big Dipper and Orion.On the way to the prison gates I stopped briefly at a small public access way to the beach. This is one place where the view of the Bay Bridge isn't dominated by the San Francisco skyline. The waves lapping gently against the shore belied the violent act planned for 12:01 on the next morning. Some of the thousand or so people present to protest the murder had been at every execution since California began using the death penalty again in 1992. They had come three times for Jaturun Siripongs whose appeals had twice delayed his execution at the last minute.
This was my first time at a San Quentin vigil. I had opposed the death penalty, but was reluctant to make that a focus of my political action. The crimes involved were usually extraordinarily cruel and typically were committed against women and children. My friend Tory, an anti-death penalty activist, and I had discussed this many times. "Not in my name," she would say in response to my demurs. Change sometimes happens strangely. I remember the feeling I had when my attitude towards activism on this issue changed. I was listening to an interview with a death row inmate on KPFA. This was one of those difficult cases in which the crime was horrible, the victim was a woman, and the inmate was undoubtedly guilty. I don't remember the details of the crime or of the injustice in the court. I do remember the feeling I had, a shifting almost physical in nature. I knew then what Tory meant when she said "Not in my name."
I worked security at the vigil, but in fact there were no pro-death penalty protestors near the prison gates. My friends tell me that this has been a major change since the days when there were confrontations. We kept watch on one man known to be a heckler and on two men who seemed suspicious but whom we thought to be undercover cops (which they later told me they were). As midnight approached the crowd became quieter. The political speeches turned to more personal statements by families of victims. And then to religious statements, all by Christians. There was a large contingent of people carrying mass manufactured white crosses. I found their presence disturbing. Coalitions make strange bedfellows, as these folks also carried signs with an anti-abortion message.
Finally a Native American contingent began a heartbeat drumming and singing. This was an important part of the event not only for its moving effect on the crowd but because the drumming could be heard on death row, letting the people there know that we were outside opposing their murder by the State of Callifornia. I stood by the bay listening to and feeling the drum. I've never understood why Christians bow their heads when they pray. I watched the lights of the Bay Bridge twinkle and lifted my fact to look up at the moon which seemed to be racing across the sky. The cold began to get into my bones and I noted a layer of ice on cars parked nearby.
Around 1am there came an announcement that Stephen Wayne Anderson was murdered by the State of California at 12:32 am on January 29,2002. We gathered our things and walked with cold-stiffened joints back to our cars. I drove home and went to bed where I after a long time I finally fell asleep and dreamed bad dreams.
The Guardian Unlimited Network (UK)
"Bard of Death Row Executed," by Oliver Burkeman in New York.
California Governor Rejects Pleas for Clemency for Convicted Killer Who Wrote Award-Winning Verse
Wednesday January 30, 2002 - "I was passing through California when I shot someone during a bungled burglary, and found myself a permanent resident," Stephen Wayne Anderson wrote to his friend and editor, Bell Chevigny, in 1998. "That residency grows short; my lease is coming due." Anderson was a homeless fugitive when he shot and killed an 81-year-old retired piano teacher, Elizabeth Lyman, at her rural California home in 1980. Once captured, he confessed to another killing of a fellow inmate during an earlier jail sentence. By the time he was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin prison shortly after midnight yesterday - the 10th person to be executed in California since the death penalty was reintroduced there a quarter of a century ago - he was a prize-winning poet and playwright.
A coalition of writers and human-rights activists had fought a long campaign to prove that Anderson had been fully rehabilitated, and that but for an incompetent defence attorney he would never have been sentenced to death in the first place. But a last-minute appeal for clemency by Pen, the international writers' group, was rejected by the governor of California, Gray Davis, who is on record as objecting in principle to granting clemency in death penalty cases. "I feel very sad and very angry and very ashamed," said Ms Chevigny, a former professor at the State University of New York, and the editor who first included Anderson's poetry in a published anthology. "This was a totally unsought death in so many ways; both victims' families had said they did not want nor need the death penalty, and more than half the population of California opposes the penalty. The governor has ignored the will of his voters."
Anderson's poetry won two prestigious Pen awards for prison writing, and formed the basis of the off-Broadway play Lament From Death Row. His work, Ms Chevigny said, "struck me as very different to the stereotype of prison writ ing it was so powerful, and it bore such a witness to this underground life of our country - I was taken with the degree to which he had come to rest emotionally. At one point, he wrote to me that it was too bad he was only learning the meaning of life just as he was about to lose it."
Anderson never denied shooting Lyman in the face during a robbery in what he thought was an empty house. Afterwards, he told his lawyers, he turned on all the lights in the house, sat down at the kitchen table and waited for the police to arrive. "I was very wrong," he told the jury at his trial. His sentence was upheld on appeal, but in a dissenting opinion, one judge called Anderson's state-provided defence attorney, Donald Ames, who is now dead, "deceptive, untrustworthy and disloyal to his capital clients" and said the death penalty "may well have been imposed, not because of the crime that [Anderson] committed, but because of the incompetence of an attorney with little integrity and a pattern of ineffective performance in capital cases".
In an appeal in a separate case, Ames's daughters testified against him, accusing him of physical and psychological abuse and saying he often made racist comments about his clients. "This was a man who had no idea what was required to properly prepare for a capital case," Donald Ayoob, a public defender who worked on the case, told the newspaper LA Weekly. "When it comes to the shoddy representation that capital defendants get at trial, Don Ames was a poster boy."
But Governor Davis said he had reviewed the evidence and was convinced of Anderson's guilt. "There is no dispute that Mr Anderson, with an IQ of 136, is an extremely intelligent man. But his intelligence, ironically, makes the brutality and indifference of his crimes all the more reprehensible," he said in a statement. Anderson's own background of physical abuse at the hands of his father, Ms Chevigny said, had never been properly put before a court. "His poems showed that even the most brutalised person can rediscover who he or she is through imagination and thought," she said.
Condemned cell poem
Extracts from Conversations with the Dead, written at San Quentin in 1990, taken from Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing - A Pen American Centre Prize Anthology
"These are the graves of the executed ones,"/ he announced with a sombre, indifferent/kind of respect / and yet later, in quiet reflection,/ I understood his tone came out of/that secret reservoir of the soul which knows/ "I, too, could end up as forgotten dust;/ I, too, might die for nothing."
Often now I think back upon my journey/ through that phantom land: a land caught/ like evening haze at dusk, soon to perish/ into the gathering darkness of night/ but, for one brief moment, beyond time. I recall those I, too, have slain:/ those by my wrath seized, stolen from life,/ becoming but candles lit by children/ who became adults before childhood lived.
"These are the executed ones," he stated, eyes/ small sparks, and then was gone, dissolving/ into the umbra arts of night,/ leaving but those sparks which smoulder in my soul,/ like candles surrounding the powerless and/ charred Virgin's image in a chapel/ "These are the executed ones," he announced,/ studying a horizon of tombstones. "Pray for them / and for those to come."
Condemned Murderer Executed at San Quentin for 1980 Slaying; Stephen Anderson Killed Woman, 81, In Her Home," by Kevin Fagan, Pamela Podger, Harriet Chiang.
San Francisco Chronicle - Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - Stephen Wayne Anderson was put to death at San Quentin State Prison early this morning, 22 years after he fatally shot an 81-year-old San Bernardino County woman during a burglary and then fixed himself some noodles in her kitchen.
Anderson, 48, who became a writer and poet while on Death Row, was led into the prison's apple-green death chamber and strapped onto a padded gurney. As he lay with his arms and legs secured, a lethal chemical mix was pumped into his veins, rendering him unconscious, stopping his breathing and, finally, paralyzing his heart. Anderson was the 10th man to be put to death in California since executions resumed in 1992 following a 25-year hiatus.
The inmate spent his final hours alone, while his attorneys made a desperate attempt to save his life, arguing that the condemned man had no chance for clemency because Gov. Gray Davis was predisposed to deny any plea for mercy. But each court ruled against him, and the execution remained on course. He lost his final appeal last night before the U.S. Supreme Court. The only witnesses he asked to be at the execution were his two attorneys and the psychologist who testified for him during his trial. Earlier in the day, his federal public defender, Margo Rocconi, described him as calm. "He's not holding out hope, so it will be easier for him," she said.
PROTESTERS GATHER OUTSIDE
About 230 demonstrators gathered outside the prison, protesting the execution. After he was pronounced dead, his two lawyers, Rocconi and Robert Horwitz, released a statement calling him "the poet laureate of the condemned." "He still had so much more to contribute to the world," they said. "We will miss him greatly." The condemned man had few friends or relatives, living virtually a solitary life behind bars. But he left an unusual legacy, having written thousands of poems and short stories and several novels during his 20 years on death row. He won national prison writing awards for his work and had a play performed off-Broadway, drawing praise for his compassion and his grasp of the human condition. In the days leading up to his death, he completed a short story called "Laughing Water."
But prosecutors say he will be remembered as a cold-blooded killer who committed a heinous crime on a helpless victim. On May 26, 1980, shortly after 1 a.m., Anderson, who had escaped from Utah State Prison, broke into the home of Elizabeth Lyman, an 81-year-old retired piano teacher who lived in Bloomington (San Bernardino County). He ransacked the home and found $112. When he entered the bedroom, Lyman abruptly sat up in bed and screamed. He fired a shot at close range, striking her in the face. After covering her with a sheet, he went to the kitchen, made himself a bowl of noodles and sat down to watch some television.
EVIDENCE OF OTHER KILLINGS
Prosecutors say Lyman's murder was the latest homicide by a brutal killer. During his trial, Anderson admitted stabbing to death a fellow inmate in the prison kitchen while at Utah State Prison. He also admitted to investigators that after his escape from prison he had been paid $1,000 to shoot to death a man suspected of being a drug informant, using the same .45-caliber revolver that was used to kill Lyman. He later recanted the confession. In 1981, he was sentenced to die after a jury found him guilty of burglary and murdering Lyman.
In an attempt to save his life, his defense lawyers focused on his trial attorney, S. Donald Ames. The lawyer, who died in 1999, never talked to Anderson outside of court, contacted only one relative and put on virtually no case during the penalty phase in which Anderson ultimately was sentenced to die. Two of Ames' other clients had death sentences overturned because of the lawyer's ineffective representation. But each court denied Anderson's appeal. His attorneys also made an unsuccessful attempt to disqualify Gov. Davis from deciding Anderson's clemency request because they said Davis is biased, having rejected all three previous clemency requests from condemned inmates.
SUPPORT FROM VICTIM'S FAMILY
The inmate's friends and defenders had argued that after a childhood of abuse and neglect, the hardened criminal had changed within the controlled confines of prison, finding a poetic voice and remorse for his crimes. Anderson received support from Lyman's daughters -- as well as the slain Utah inmate's mother -- who said they did not want him executed. But Davis on Saturday denied Anderson's request for clemency.
Anderson was moved at 6 p.m. to a "death watch" cell, just a few feet from the death chamber where he had his last meal. The inmate asked for two grilled cheese sandwiches, a pint of plain cottage cheese, and a mix of hominy and corn, topped off by a piece of peach pie, a pint of chocolate chip ice cream, and radishes. The condemned man did not ask for a spiritual adviser to be with him during his final hours, San Quentin Prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said.
After his death, his attorneys released part of one of his poems, titled "Unchained Visions, #9:" If no other misses you, I will: I will sense the emptiness where once you breathed.
Stephen Wayne Anderson, 48, was the 10th person to die in the San Quentin death chamber since executions resumed in 1992. The others: -- April 21, 1992: Robert Alton Harris, 39. -- Aug. 24, 1993: David Edwin Mason, 36. -- Feb. 23, 1996: William George Bonin, 49. -- May 3, 1996: Keith Daniel Williams, 48. -- July 14, 1998: Thomas Martin Thompson, 43. -- Feb. 9, 1999: Jaturun "Jay" Siripongs, 43. -- May 4, 1999: Manuel Babbitt, 50. -- March 15, 2000: Darrell "Young Elk" Rich, 45. -- March 27, 2001: Robert Lee Massie, 59.