Name: Peggy Sue WOLFE
Given Name: Peggy Sue
Change Date: 23 Jul 2007
Calhoun County jury recommends death in Hardee's slaying
Birth: 31 AUG 1930
Katherine R. Dougan
Published: September 2, 1999
Death in the electric chair was the verdict recommended by a Calhoun Co unty Circuit jury Wednesday afternoon for 18-year-old Greg Wynn of Anni ston. The jury reached its verdict in just 56 minutes Wednesday; the sa me jury found Wynn guilty Tuesday of capital murder after deliberating f or one hour.
Wynn was found guilty in the April 8, 1998, beating death of Denise Bli ss, 33, who was a night manager at Hardee's in Lenlock.
After Circuit Clerk Ted Hooks read the jury's recommendation, the court room filled with wails, screams and loud sobbing.
"No God, please no," screamed one of Wynn's cousins.
At least a dozen or more of Wynn's relatives sobbed and cried out so lo udly that deputies had to remove them from the courtroom.
As Circuit Judge Sam Monk attempted to restore order to the courtroom, h is voice was drowned out by the shouting in the foyer outside the third -floor courtroom.
After the outburst, several jurors started to weep openly. As Monk poll ed each juror, asking individually if they participated in the decision , one woman juror was so shaken she couldn't speak for several moments. F inally, she gasped out the word, "yes."
Wynn refused to stand while Hooks read the jury's verdict. After the se ntencing phase of his trial was concluded, he turned to face the courtr oom and waved to his mother, who sat stoically, tears streaming down he r face.
Wynn's formal sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 9 a.m. Ju dge Monk may follow the jury's recommendation of the death penalty, but h e also has the option of sentencing Wynn to life in prison without paro le.
A social worker and several of Wynn's relatives testified at Wednesday' s sentencing hearing.
Wynn's aunt, Virginia Williams, described Wynn as "a real good kid ... r eal quiet." Tears streamed down Ms. Williams' face as she testified, lo oking directly at Wynn as she talked about how he used to come to her h ouse to watch wrestling on television with her children.
Ms. Williams testified about whippings Wynn got as a child. "Some of th e punishing (Wynn) got was outrageous," said Ms. Williams.
A 15-year-old cousin said, "I seen him get pushed around and stuff." Th e same cousin said he saw Wynn's mother throw a toy metal Tonka truck a t Wynn, striking him in the back.
"When I hear about braided switches ... an electric cord being used on a c hild ... I get chills," said Wynn's attorney Valerie Goudie. "When I he ar how somebody who is supposed to love and take care of you beats you l ike that ... I don't know if I've got the words to tell you what happen ed to him in his life."
She pointed out that her client was 17 years old at the time of the mur der.
"Not old enough to vote. Not old enough to drink. We are the only weste rn nation to impose the death penalty on juveniles," said Ms. Goudie. " Sixteen months in the county jail will make you not want to show how yo u feel. Seventeen years of abuse will make you not want to show how you f eel."
District Attorney Joe Hubbard said a 17-year-old knows the difference b etween right and wrong.
"I don't care if you've been hit with a Tonka truck or not," Hubbard sa id. "How do you get from ‘he threw a Tonka truck at me' to what he did t o Denise Bliss?"
Hubbard continued: "He took her to the freezer to make sure she was gon na die if that beating didn't do it."
The district attorney then described what happened during the beating, r eading excerpts from the testimony of state toxicologist Dr. Joseph Emb ry.
As Hubbard started to describe Ms. Bliss' injuries, Peggy Carpenter, Ms . Bliss' mother, hurried from the courtroom, choking back a sob.
About a half-dozen of Ms. Bliss' friends and relatives followed.
"You might say maybe she didn't feel (the injuries), but we know she di d," said Hubbard.
According to the toxicologist's testimony, Ms. Bliss tried to defend he rself during the attack.
Embry testified during the trial that evidence indicated Ms. Bliss live d for at least 30 minutes after the attack, Hubbard reminded the jury.
To reach the capital murder verdict, the jury had to conclude that the c apital offense was particularly heinous, atrocious or cruel, according t o Hubbard.
"This was a pitiless homicide, unnecessarily torturous to the victim," h e said.
As Hubbard completed his closing argument, he held two photos aloft, on e in each hand, in front of the jury.
"What kind of 17-year-old could turn this" indicating the photo in his l eft hand, "into that," said Hubbard, shaking the photo in his right han d.
The jurors could not look at the photo in Hubbard's right hand. Some gl anced at it; others looked straight down at their hands, with tears in t heir eyes.
Raising his voice, Hubbard said, "I submit to you this heinousness and a trociousness is UNMATCHED!"
Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star: Greg Wynn awaits verdict on Wednesday.
Copyright, 1999, The Anniston Star, Consolidated Publishing Co. All Rig hts Reserved.
Judge gives Wynn death
Brian Lazenby and Katherine R. Dougan
Published: September 18, 1999
Calhoun County Circuit Judge Sam Monk upheld a jury's recommendation Fr iday and sentenced 18-year-old Greg Wynn of Anniston to die in Alabama' s electric chair. Wynn's jury recommended the death penalty after findi ng him guilty of murder in the death of Denise Bliss, 33, of Weaver. Ms . Bliss, a night manager at Hardee's restaurant in Lenlock, was bludgeo ned to death as she closed the restaurant in April 1998. Wynn was 17 at t he time he committed the murder.
Ms. Bliss' family tearfully exchanged hugs after Monk announced his dec ision.
Wynn's mother and sister sat unmoving.
After hearing Monk's ruling, Peggy Carpenter, Ms. Bliss' mother, left t he courtroom clasping an envelope filled with pictures of her daughter.
"I still hear her voice," Ms. Carpenter said, crossing both hands over h er heart. "There's a space here that is gone and can never be replaced.
"It's in God's hands now, and (Wynn) has to face a higher judge. We all h ave," she said. "The last thing she said to me was, ‘I love you, and I' ll see you tomorrow.' I guess tomorrow will come for us one day."
Monk had the option of sentencing Wynn to life in prison without the po ssibility of parole, but, after hearing remarks from defense attorney V alerie Goudie and Calhoun County District Attorney Joe Hubbard, he sent enced Wynn to die.
Ms. Goudie pleaded for Monk to sentence Wynn to life without parole. "W e are the only western nation that imposes the death penalty on juvenil es," she said.
Hubbard argued that even a 17-year-old knows right from wrong.
"When you strike someone up to 40 times, breaking numerous bones and ca using teeth to be knocked from her head, you have to consider the psych ological terror that caused," Hubbard said.
According to Hubbard, there are two reasons the death penalty usually i s sought. "As an act of vengeance, which is not proper, and as an act o f justice, which is proper.
"I ask the court to do it because, under the law, it is the just and pr oper thing to do," he said. "I'll look Mr. Wynn in the eye and say, I t hink it is appropriate that you die in the electric chair."
Monk addressed the court about the serious nature of his decision. He s aid Wynn received a "fair and error-free trial."
He then gave Wynn the opportunity to say something.
"I already said what I have to say," Wynn said.
After sentencing, Wynn was transported to death row at Holman Prison in A tmore, said Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson.
Ms. Bliss' family and friends waited outside a courthouse exit for one l ast glimpse of Wynn.
As deputies escorted the prisoner to a patrol car, a friend of Ms. Blis s called out: "What do you have to say now?"
Wynn replied: "Justice ain't served till you get the real murderer."
During trial testimony, Wynn denied twice that he murdered Ms. Bliss.
As the sheriff's vehicle backed away from the courthouse, a cluster of M s. Bliss' family and friends cheered and applauded, shouting out remark s to Wynn.
After leaving the courthouse, the group drove to the Lenlock Hardee's. U sing red roses, they spelled "DENISE" across the lawn.
A family member said, "We love you, Denise."
Ken Elkins/The Anniston Star: Calhoun County deputies put Greg Wynn, 18 , into a law enforcement vehicle Friday after Wynn was sentenced to dea th.
Copyright, 1999, The Anniston Star, Consolidated Publishing Co. All Rig hts Reserved.
Ruling spares local killer from execution
Joseph Lord Star Staff Writer
Published: March 2, 2005
For nearly seven years, Peggy Carpenter and her family have grieved for h er daughter, Denise Bliss, who was beaten and killed at the Hardee's re staurant in Lenlock in April 1998. "All I've got left are memories - an d don't you get me wrong, I cherish every single one of them," Carpente r said Tuesday.
Bliss' family supported Circuit Judge Sam Monk's imposition of the deat h sentence on the man convicted of killing Bliss, Greg Wynn, who was 17 a t the time of the killing.
But that was then.
After years of reflecting on Bliss' death and Wynn's sentence, Carpente r was untroubled Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executi ng offenders who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes i s unconstitutional.
Wynn's death sentence will be vacated. In its place he'll serve life in p rison without parole - the only other possible sentence in a capital mu rder case, according to Calhoun-Cleburne District Attorney Joe Hubbard.
Greg Wynn is led away by deputies after being sentenced to death by Jud ge Sam Monk for the April 1998 murder of Denise Bliss. Wynn, 17 at the t ime of the murder, will have his death sentence vacated following Tuesd ay's Supreme Court ruling. File Photo: Ken Elkins/The Anniston Star
Peggy Carpenter, mother of murder victim Denise Bliss, is shown with pi ctures of her daughter after the sentencing of Wynn. File photo: Ken El kins/The Anniston Star
Copyright, 2005, The Anniston Star, Consolidated Publishing Co. All Rig hts Reserved.
PEGGY WOLFE CARPENTER
Graveside services for Peggy Wolfe Carpenter, 75, of Anniston, were Mon day at 11 a.m. at the Anniston Memorial Gardens with Rev. James Cohorn o fficiating. K.L. Brown and Cremation Center was in charge of services. M rs. Carpenter died Friday at Anniston RMC. Survivors include her daught ers, Judy Austin, of Anniston and Veronia Hill, of Jacksonville; three s ons, John Chris Carpenter, of Weaver, Scott Carpenter, of Birmingham, a nd Steve Cheatwood, of Anniston; a sister, Imogene Rutledge, of Glencoe ; a brother, Gary Wolfe, of Piedmont; seven grandchildren, Miranda, Lan ce and Holly Austin, Brian Cheatwood, Ashlie and Blake Carpenter, and C ody Blohm; a great-grandchild, Kahne Adams; a nephew, David Langley; fo ur nieces, Patty Carroll, Angie Maddox, Tina Smith and Donna Wagner. Mr s. Carpenter was a resident of Calhoun County most of her life and was o f the Baptist faith. A daughter, Denise Bliss; her mother, Luna Needham ; two brothers, Travis and Billy Wolfe and a niece Freida Davis precede d her in death.
Mother: Luna Izola DAVIS b: 7 DEC 1905 in Piedmont, Calhoun Co., AL
- Abbrev: Piedmont Journal
Title: The Piedmont Journal or The Piedmont Journal - Independent newspaper (P iedmont, AL 36272)