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Roger Keith Coleman

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NEWS
May 19, 1992 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Convicted murderer Roger Keith Coleman moved a step closer to the electric chair Monday when Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder rejected his plea for a pardon. "I have not been convinced he is innocent," Wilder said after what he called an "exhaustive review" of the evidence. Wilder, himself a former criminal defense lawyer, had been considered Coleman's best hope for avoiding a scheduled Wednesday evening execution.
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NEWS
May 21, 1992 | ROBERT L. JACKSON and DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Roger Keith Coleman, the convicted Virginia murderer who had insisted he was innocent and who had won many supporters during his last months, was executed in the electric chair Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeals. Coleman, 33, was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m. PDT by a prison doctor at Greensville Correctional Center, 60 miles south of Richmond.
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NEWS
May 21, 1992 | ROBERT L. JACKSON and DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Roger Keith Coleman, the convicted Virginia murderer who had insisted he was innocent and who had won many supporters during his last months, was executed in the electric chair Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeals. Coleman, 33, was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m. PDT by a prison doctor at Greensville Correctional Center, 60 miles south of Richmond.
NEWS
May 19, 1992 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Convicted murderer Roger Keith Coleman moved a step closer to the electric chair Monday when Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder rejected his plea for a pardon. "I have not been convinced he is innocent," Wilder said after what he called an "exhaustive review" of the evidence. Wilder, himself a former criminal defense lawyer, had been considered Coleman's best hope for avoiding a scheduled Wednesday evening execution.
NEWS
May 13, 1992 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Only two facts about the Slate Creek murder remain undisputed. On the night of March 10, 1981, a young housewife died violently in her tiny, one-bedroom home on a hillside above the fast-flowing creek. And on May 20, 1992, her brother-in-law, who served as a pallbearer at her funeral, is scheduled to be electrocuted for the crime. This Appalachian coal mining town was stunned by the wanton murder and soon focused its attention on a likely suspect.
NATIONAL
January 13, 2006 | From Associated Press
A new round of DNA tests that death penalty opponents believed might prove the innocence of an executed man instead confirmed that Roger Keith Coleman was guilty when he went to the electric chair in 1992. In a case closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner announced that testing on DNA taken from sperm proved Coleman raped and murdered his sister-in-law Wanda McCoy in 1981.
OPINION
November 10, 2002 | Samuel R. Gross, Samuel R. Gross is a professor of law at the University of Michigan.
Ten years ago, Roger Keith Coleman was executed in Virginia for rape and murder, proclaiming his innocence to the end. He is one of several prisoners who have been put to death in the U.S. in recent years despite serious, unresolved doubts about their guilt. In Coleman's case, however, we could know for sure, if the state would permit it. Semen recovered from the victim is sitting in a laboratory freezer.
NATIONAL
January 6, 2006 | From Associated Press
Gov. Mark R. Warner on Thursday ordered DNA evidence to be tested to determine whether a man convicted of rape and murder was innocent when he was executed in 1992. If the testing shows Roger Keith Coleman did not rape and kill his sister-in-law in 1981, it will be the first time in the United States a person has been exonerated by scientific testing after his execution, death penalty opponents said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2001 | JOE DAVIDSON, Joe Davidson is a commentator on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." E-mail: joetdavidson@hotmail.com
Just by noting that "serious questions are being raised about whether the death penalty is being fairly administered," Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor signaled how the questions might be answered. As she told a Minneapolis, Minn., meeting of women lawyers, "The system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed." Those statistics show that 90 people have been released from death row since 1973, she said. Her speech, unfortunately, won't halt capital punishment.
NEWS
June 14, 1992 | DAVID BROWN, THE WASHINGTON POST
Even if he was innocent, few experts think that Roger Keith Coleman, the convicted rapist and murderer from Virginia, could have passed a polygraph examination on his execution day. Strapped in and wired up to a machine that bore more than a passing resemblance to the device that would electrocute him 12 hours later, Coleman failed the so-called lie detector examination. It was the 33-year-old man's last chance to prove his innocence, but almost certainly not his best.
NEWS
May 13, 1992 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Only two facts about the Slate Creek murder remain undisputed. On the night of March 10, 1981, a young housewife died violently in her tiny, one-bedroom home on a hillside above the fast-flowing creek. And on May 20, 1992, her brother-in-law, who served as a pallbearer at her funeral, is scheduled to be electrocuted for the crime. This Appalachian coal mining town was stunned by the wanton murder and soon focused its attention on a likely suspect.
NEWS
August 29, 1993 | CHRISTOPHER SULLIVAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
At the end of the long walk to the gallows or the electric chair, after years of legal appeals and deliberations, death finally comes. Or not--if a condemned inmate receives the gift of mercy. Is the clemency system fair or just? Should it be? Consider a few contrasting cases: * Last year, Roger Keith Coleman was executed in Virginia despite claims of innocence and of overlooked evidence.
NEWS
July 22, 2001 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Nine years after Roger Keith Coleman was put to death in Virginia's electric chair, his legal case lives on, a test of whether the state may have executed the wrong man. A young coal miner from a small Appalachian town, Coleman was convicted of the rape and murder of his sister-in-law, even though no witnesses or conclusive evidence tied him to the crime.
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