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INFORMATION ON THE SCHEDULED EXECUTION OF DAVID LOOMIS CARGILL

PRESS ADVISORY

INFORMATION ON THE SCHEDULED EXECUTION OF DAVID LOOMIS CARGILL

June 4, 1998

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker offers the following information in the case against David Loomis Cargill, who is currently scheduled to be executed after 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, June 9, 1998.

Scheduled Execution

On May 27, 1998, the Superior Court of Muscogee County filed an order, setting the seven-day window in which the execution of David Loomis Cargill may occur to begin at noon, June 9, 1998, and end seven days later at noon on June 16, 1998. The Commissioner of the Department of Corrections has set the specific date and time for the execution as 7:00 p.m., June 9, 1998, pursuant to the discretion given the Commissioner under state law. Cargill has concluded his direct appeal from the criminal case as well as state and federal habeas corpus proceedings. He is currently being represented by Phillip S. McKinney of the firm Rogers and Hardin of Atlanta, Georgia. The firm has represented Cargill in his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings.

Cargill's Crimes

On the evening of January 22, 1985, David Cargill and his brother, Tommy Cargill, robbed the Premium Oil Service Station on River Road in Bibb City, Muscogee County, Georgia. Cheryl Williams worked part time at the station, and her husband Danny came to the station that evening to help his wife after putting their four male children, under the age of ten years, to bed. Later in the evening of January 22, the bodies of Danny and Cheryl Williams were found lying face down in the service station, and each had received two bullet wounds in the head. Gunpowder residue indicated that Cheryl Williams had been shot from a distance less than two feet. Forensic evidence established that both victims had been lying on the floor when they were shot. Approximately $482.79 in cash was taken from the service station, and Danny Williams' knife, valued at $35, was also taken.

A light green, 1969 pickup truck had been stolen from John McCollom of Opelika, Alabama, on January 16, 1985. This truck was seen near the service station on the night of the murders and armed robberies. A cousin of Tommy Cargill's wife had seen both Tommy and David Cargill in possession of this truck in Phenix City, Alabama, on the day of the murders.

Brenda Cargill Mathis, who had married David Cargill in 1983 and divorced him shortly after he was arrested in this case, testified that she had heard David Cargill talk about the "big crime" or the "big one" and that he would not leave any witnesses because "dead men don't talk." She also identified the stolen truck as having been in David Cargill's possession at the time of the murders. David Cargill had given her items which John McCollom identified as having been in the truck when it was stolen. Other items were found in their apartment.

On the morning of January 22, according to Brenda Mathis, Tommy Cargill came to their apartment and David Cargill told his brother to return when it got dark. Tommy left in the truck. When Tommy returned that evening, Tommy told David Cargill that "the girl" or "the girls are there alone" because he had just gone by there. David Cargill retrieved a gun he had given Brenda Mathis for safe keeping, having told her not to leave any fingerprints on it, put the gun in his pocket and told his brother for them to leave. David Cargill returned to the apartment between 9 and 10 p.m. that evening and brought a large box of fried chicken and other food, including chocolate pudding, even though he had no money when he left the apartment. As they ate, Brenda Mathis saw what she thought might be blood on David Cargill's shirt sleeve, and then he rubbed chocolate pudding into the blood. A report about the robbery appeared on television, and David Cargill responded that "they" must not have gotten anything. He later gave her between $150 and $175 dollars and to tell anyone that it was child support from her former husband. When another television news report about the crimes indicated there were witnesses, David Cargill laughed and said there were not any witnesses.

A friend had encountered David Cargill at a lounge that night and gave Cargill a ride home. The friend stopped at fast food restaurant where Cargill bought the fried chicken. The friend said that Cargill had a lot of money.

The murder weapon was found hidden under a dog house in someone's backyard in a plastic bag and had no fingerprints on it. The gun had been previously sold to David Cargill, however.

David Cargill's next door neighbor had previously had a conversation with him about "easy money" and David Cargill had told the neighbor he was scoping out a place on River Road to rob. David Cargill said he would have to kill any people who were present so they could not identify him.

On the Saturday night after the murders, Brenda Mathis and David Cargill went to a club. Cargill said he was tired of the man who had sold Cargill the gun "bad mouthing" Cargill so that, after leaving the club, Cargill set the man's apartment on fire. While at the club, David Cargill told an acquaintance to "get out of my face. I killed two. One more wouldn't matter."

On the following Monday, Brenda Mathis heard a television news report about a possible link between the murders and the apartment fire. David Cargill left, and that was the last time she saw him. She went to Tommy Cargill's to find him and threatened to call police when Tommy would not tell her where David Cargill was. Tommy told her not to go to police as it would make things worse for them and they had enough on them.

David Cargill was arrested in Columbus, Georgia, on February 13, 1985. In a subsequent interrogation, David Cargill admitted he shot both Cheryl and Danny Williams.

The Trial

At a trial on July 15-20, 1985, a Muscogee County jury found David Cargill guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery. One armed robbery was based upon the cash taken from the service station while the second armed robbery was based upon taking the knife of Danny Williams. The jury imposed a sentence of death for each murder, finding that the murder of Cheryl Williams occurred while Cargill was engaged in the commission of an armed robbery and that the murder of Danny Williams occurred while Cargill was engaged in the commission of the murder of Cheryl Williams. The trial court imposed a death sentence for each murder in accordance with the jury's sentencing verdict on July 20, 1985.

The Direct Appeal

The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed Cargill's murder and armed robbery convictions and death sentences on March 11, 1986, and denied reconsideration April 1, 1986. Cargill v. State, 255 Ga. 616, 340 S.E.2d 891 (1986). The United States Supreme Court denied Cargill's petition for a writ of certiorari on February 23, 1987, and denied his petition for rehearing on April 20, 1987. Cargill v. Georgia, 479 U.S. 1101, reh'g. denied, 481 U.S. 1024 (1987).

State Habeas Corpus

Cargill filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County on May 22, 1987. An evidentiary hearing was held on July 13, 1988. On August 18, 1989, the state habeas corpus court denied relief in an unpublished order. The Supreme Court of Georgia denied the application for a certificate of probable cause to appeal on October 25, 1989. The United States Supreme Court denied Cargill's petition for a writ of certiorari on May 29, 1990, and denied rehearing August 13, 1990. Cargill v. Zant, Warden, 495 U.S. 963, reh'g. denied, 497 U.S. 1046 (1990).

Federal Habeas Corpus

Cargill filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on January 31, 1991. On April 13, 1994, the district court denied relief.

On August 27, 1997, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of federal habeas corpus relief. Cargill v. Turpin, 120 F.3d 1366 (11th Cir. 1997). The circuit court denied rehearing on August 21, 1997. The United States Supreme Court denied Cargill's petition for a writ of certiorari on April 20, 1998, and denied his petition for rehearing on May 26, 1998.