Executed December 6, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Virginia
W / M / 20 - 28 Pakistani / M / 34
70th murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
668th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
7th murderer executed in Virginia in 2000
80th murderer executed in Virginia since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Bobby Lee Ramdass
Robert Ramdass was given a death sentence in 1993 for the robbery / murder of a convenience store clerk, Mohammad Kayani on September 2, 1992. Ramdass said he jumped the counter and pointed a .38-caliber snub-nose pistol at Kayani's head." Ramdass recalled. "He didn't say nothing. He was just pushing buttons and looking at me. ... I told him to stop looking at me. He was scared. I felt he was scared by the way he was looking at me." A witness testified at his trial that Ramdass looked at Kayani lying on the floor after he had been shot and remarked: "That's for taking too long." Three days before that killing, Ramdass shot an Arlington cab driver in the back of the head and left him for dead after robbing him. In addition, he gunned down 19-year-old Darrell Ferguson in an alley on July 15, 1992.
W / M / 20 - 28
Pakistani / M / 34
Ramdass v. Commonwealth, 450 S.E.2d 360 (Va. 1994).
Ramdass v. Commonwealth, 437 S.E.2d 566 (Va. 1993).
Robert Ramdass was given a death sentence in 1993 for the robbery / murder of a convenience store clerk, Mohammad Kayani on September 2, 1992. Ramdass said he jumped the counter and pointed a .38-caliber snub-nose pistol at Kayani's head. "I told the dude to open the safe," Ramdass recalled. "He didn't say nothing. He was just pushing buttons and looking at me. ... I told him to stop looking at me. He was scared. I felt he was scared by the way he was looking at me." A witness testified at his trial that Ramdass looked at Kayani lying on the floor after he had been shot and remarked: "That's for taking too long." Three days before that killing, Ramdass shot an Arlington cab driver in the back of the head and left him for dead after robbing him. In addition, he gunned down 19-year-old Darrell Ferguson in an alley on July 15, 1992. Ferguson was dealing drugs, Ramdass said. Drug dealers carry a lot of cash. Ramdass wanted it. But Ferguson had the audacity to try to run, Ramdass said during a prison interview, so he pumped 2 bullets into the man. In an 8-day crime spree that year, Ramdass was linked to 6 armed robberies, including an incident in which he pistol-whipped a clerk at Bragg Towers.
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death PenaltyBobby Lee Ramdass was sentenced to death in June 1990 for the robbery and murder of 7-Eleven store clerk Kayani. Ramdass planned to rob the store in conjunction with four other people. All five people participated in the robbery. He was 19 at the time of the crime. Ramdass was poor and could not afford to hire his own investigators. However, the trial court denied an ex parte hearing for his motion to hire a medical doctor and investigator, resulting in his inability to retain them for his defense.
Ramdass was not allowed to see the results of the polygraph tests of the other participants in the robbery. He appealed on the basis that he should have been allowed to review them in an attempt to find some ˘exculpatory evidence.÷ He also believes that the results of the polygraph test could have helped his attorney better cross-examine two of the Commonwealth's witnesses. However, both the trial court and the Appellate court found that these reasons were not sufficient enough to allow Ramdass to see the results of the polygraph tests. They felt that the Commonwealth had sufficiently accommodated Ramdass with any evidence which might have helped to prove him innocent including the fact that prior to trial the answers of O'Connor, one of his accomplices, were deceptive in that he attempted to minimize his role in the 7-Eleven incident. The Commonwealth's Attorney also informed Ramdass' attorney of three persons who allegedly would provide an alibi defense, but he also advised that they had made inconsistent statements. As a result of these inconsistent statements, Ramdass' attorney did not utilize them as witnesses.
Virginia Governor Gilmore Press Releases
Statement by Governor Jim Gilmore Regarding the Execution of Bobby Lee Ramdass
RICHMOND - Governor Jim Gilmore today issued the following statement on the execution of Bobby Lee Ramdass:
"Within three months of his release on parole, Bobby Lee Ramdass committed six armed robberies, one attempted murder, and two murders. Ramdass committed the murder for which he ultimately received the death penalty during the course of a robbery on September 2, 1992. On the night of the murder, Ramdass entered a convenience store and ordered the clerk, Mohammad Z. Kayani, to open the store safe. Ramdass then shot Mr. Kayani in the head at point blank range because, in his words, '[Kayani] took too long.' Before he fled the convenience store, Ramdass attempted to shoot the customers who were lying on the floor, but his gun would not fire. "As a result of crimes committed during this robbery, Ramdass was convicted of capital murder, robbery, and illegal use of a firearm in the commission of the murder, and was sentenced to death. The convictions and death sentence were upheld on multiple appeals including Ramdass' most recent habeas corpus petition concerning his right to a jury instruction on parole ineligibility, which the United States Supreme Court thoroughly considered and denied on June 12, 2000.
"Upon a thorough review of the Petition for Clemency, the numerous court decisions regarding this case, and the circumstances of this matter, I decline to intervene."
From the Blotter - Virginia Poised to Set Record for Executions
(Norfolk, Virginia) - Nineteen days and a legal technicality may have meant the difference between life and death for Bobby Lee Ramdass. Ramdass is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday, becoming the 14th person executed in Virginia this year, a record since the state resumed executions in 1982.
Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions this year.
Ramdass' last-minute appeal, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, hinges on whether the judge who heard the case should have informed the jury that Ramdass never would have been eligible for parole if the panel had sentenced him to life in prison.
A Norfolk attorney who is seeking to stop the execution said the jury that convicted Ramdass was led to believe that he may have been eligible for parole if he got a life sentence, and felt bound to sentence him to death. The jury even asked the judge if Ramdass would ever be eligible for parole, but the judge would not answer the question directly. ``Any jurors who are considering death need to know if life in prison means no eligibility for parole, especially if the jury asks,'' said attorney F. Nash Bilisoly, a maritime lawyer handling his first death-penalty case. The Virginia attorney general's office disagrees and is fighting to make sure that Ramdass is put to death Tuesday.
No one disputes that Ramdass is a heartless two-time killer.
Ramdass, 27, began his life of crime when he was 13. In his teens, he piled on convictions for theft, burglary, robbery, gun possession and escape, according to court documents. The Fairfax County man went on a robbery and killing spree during summer 1992, when he was 20. He shot 7-Eleven clerk Mohammad Z. Kayani in the head during a robbery, held up two fast-food restaurants and killed a drug dealer, all within the span of six weeks. Kayani also was killed. Court-appointed psychiatrists and social workers blamed Ramdass' actions on a bleak and abusive upbringing by a neglectful mother who was a topless dancer and a father who beat him as a boy because he did not believe Ramdass was his son.
But no one, not even Ramdass' lawyers, are using that to excuse his behavior. All his lawyers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court for is another chance with a jury. ``If that jury then comes back with a sentence of death, then I don't think Bobby Ramdass has anything to complain about,'' Bilisoly said.
The technicality in the case revolves around the 19 days between Ramdass' murder conviction on Jan. 30, 1993, and the day a judge signed a sentencing order in a prior robbery. If the judge had counted that robbery conviction -- which another jury had handed down 23 days earlier -- as Ramdass' second strike, the judge would have been bound by Virginia law to inform the jury in the capital-murder case that Ramdass would not be eligible for parole under the old three-strikes rule. That law mandated life without parole for anyone convicted of three violent felonies. The jury even asked the judge: ``If the defendant is given life, is there a possibility of parole at some time before his natural life?'' The answer should have been no, Bilisoly said. Ramdass already had been sentenced to 76 years for the first robbery and was scheduled to receive 18 years for the second robbery. But the judge counted only one strike. He told the jury: ``You should impose such punishment as you feel is just under the evidence and within the instructions of the court. You are not to concern yourselves with what may happen afterwards.'' Bilisoly said he is not suggesting that the judge or prosecutors did anything illegal or unethical.
``But there can be no doubt that it resulted in an uninformed jury that felt it had no choice but to impose the death sentence,'' Bilisoly wrote in his clemency petition to Gov. Jim Gilmore. Three jurors in the capital-murder case later told defense attorneys that they would have voted against a death sentence had they known that Ramdass never would have been eligible for parole, Bilisoly said.
In a further twist, 18 months after Ramdass was sentenced to death, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a South Carolina case that nearly mirrors Ramdass' case that jurors must be informed if a defendant will not be eligible for parole if sentenced to life.
Ramdass' attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to apply that South Carolina case to Ramdass.
``We are not asking for the court to order that he be given life without parole. We're asking that it go back to the jury and let them decide,'' Bilisoly said. Appeals court judges have been divided on the issue as well. U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson in Norfolk sent Ramdass'case back for resentencing, but that decision was overturned by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country. Fourth Circuit Judge Francis D. Murnaghan Jr. of Baltimore, who disagreed with the majority's decision, wrote of the technicality: ``Splitting hairs when a man's life is at stake is not becoming to a judiciary or a legal system.''
The state attorney general's office on Thursday said this legal argument has been tried in the past and has failed. ``The claim that Ramdass' attorney is making is one that is frequently made in capital cases, and it's not one that we feel has merit,'' said David Botkins, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Earley. ``The bottom line is that he was found guilty in a Circuit Court in Fairfax County,'' Botkins said.
If the U.S. Supreme Court rejects Bilisoly's argument, Ramdass' only chance will be clemency from the governor. Gilmore has granted clemency in only one other death-penalty case. If Ramdass' case is sent back for resentencing, a new jury will be given two options, life or the death penalty. But this time, jurors would be informed that Ramdass has no chance for parole. In addition to the 94 years he's serving for the two robberies, Ramdass is also serving another life term for a separate murder conviction he received subsequent to the capital-murder conviction.
Fight the Death Penalty USA
A man convicted of killing a convenience store clerk during a 1992 robbery was executed Tuesday night, nearly a year after the Supreme Court halted his scheduled execution so it could hear his appeal.
Bobby Lee Ramdass, 29, was condemned for the killing of Mohammad Kayani during a robbery of the store in Fairfax County. Ramdass was executed by injection. According to testimony at his trial, Ramdass screamed at Kayani to open the store' s safe " or I'll blow your ... head off." He then shot Kayani and laughed as he stood over the body. Gov. Jim Gilmore, in a statement denying clemency, noted that after Ramdass shot Kayani he tried to shoot customers in the store who were lying on the floor during the robbery but his gun wouldn't fire.
Ramdass was 3 hours from execution on Nov. 23, 1999, when the Supreme Court issued a stay to hear his appeal. The appeal contended the trial judge should have informed the jury that Ramdass would never be eligible for parole if sentenced to life in prison, and the court later rejected it. 4 of the jurors who recommended the death penalty said they would have called for life in prison had they known Ramdass could not be paroled. Tuesday, when asked for a final statement before his execution, Ramdass said: "Redskins are going to the Super Bowl," and then laughed. His wife, who he married a week ago, visited him before the execution.
Ramdass becomes the 7th condemned inmate to be executed this year in Virginia and the 80th condemned inmate overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. (sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)