Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

 
 

Lance Antonio CHANDLER Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 7, 1993
Date of birth: 1973
Victim profile: William "Billy" Dix, 33 (convenient store clerk)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Halifax County, Virginia, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Virginia on August 20, 1998
 
 
 
 
 
 
clemency petition
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lance Chandler, 25, was asked by Warden David Garraghty if he wanted to make a final statement. He looked up, shook his head and said, "No, sir."

Chandler was convicted of killing William "Billy" Dix, 33, on Feb. 7, 1993, while robbing a small store near South Boston.

Dix did not respond when Chandler asked for the money. Chandler pointed his gun at Dix, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger as he shouted "boom." The gun did not fire, and Chandler pulled the trigger again and shot Dix in the face.

Geraldine Fernandez, who rode to the convenience store with Chandler and the other robbers, testified Chandler wanted to know how it felt to kill a man.

Chandler began his criminal record at age 14 when he was convicted of disorderly conduct. Over the next 5 years, he was convicted of offenses ranging from robbery and use of a firearm to breaking and entering, assault and battery, public drunkenness and cursing and abusing a police officer.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Chandler's final appeal 7-2, and Gov. Jim Gilmore on Thursday rejected his plea for clemency.

Sources: Associated Press, Rick Halperin

 
 

Lance Antonio Chandler

In December 1993, Lance Antonio Chandler stood trial from the February 3, 1993 murder of convenient store clerk William Dix.  At the time of the murder and trial, Chandler was nineteen. 

On the night of the shooting, Chandler had drank several beers and used both cocaine and marijuana.  Two people testified during the trial on behalf of Chandler to further prove that he had ingested drugs and alcohol on the night of the murder.

While testifying on his own behalf, Chandler recalled that "he had consumed almost twelve beers as well as used marijuana and cocaine earlier in the evening and that he was still "high" when he went into Mother Hubbard's.  Chandler stated that he did not have "the slightest idea" why he pulled the trigger and insisted that he did not intend to shoot Dix or to kill him.

While Chandler admitted to shooting Dix, he stated that the killing was not planned and that he never meant to kill him.  In fact, Chandler testified that he thought there was only one live bullet in the gun, amongst three empty shells. 

Under oath Chandler stated that he believed he could have fired the gun "at least four times before the gun would fire a live round and that he did not expect the gun to fire when he pulled the trigger the second time." However, despite his testimony, the jury convicted him of capital murder and sentenced him to death.

Chandler appealed on several issues, mainly focusing his sixth amendment right to effective counsel.  During closing arguments, the Commonwealth attorney stated, "He supports himself because he is a predator.  He is a predator who is following the law of the jungle.  He will look upon some creature, some fellow human being that is weak, disabled, passive and he victimizes them. Is he depraved?  Absolutely.  Is he inhuman? Absolutely.  That is just beyond the bounds of decent society.  This man has degenerated into a predator and a trophy hunter." 

At Chandler's request his attorney did not make a final argument.  Chandler claims that his attorney should have done more to convince him that a closing argument would be necessary in refuting the Commonwealth's statements and preserving his life.  On appeal Chandler argues, that his attorney should have questioned Chandler's competence because Chandler attempted suicide and allegedly suffered hallucinations while in pretrial detention.  However, he was found competent for trial and his attorney never questioned his judgement despite his depressed state.

Chandler also appealed directly on the Commonwealth's closing remarks, stating that they prejudiced the jury toward the death penalty.  Even though during the statement Chandler was referred to as less than human, the Appellate court upheld the trial court's decision to let the remarks stand. 

They found that "The evidence presented at trial certainly supported the argument that Chandler was a 'predator' and a 'trophy hunter.'" Even assuming that the prosecutor's comments were improper, no reasonable probability exists that the outcome of penalty phase would have been different if the statements had been excluded.

Lance Antonio Chandler entered death row on April 11, 1994 and was executed on August 20, 1998.

 
 

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

LANCE ANTONIO CHANDLER, JR.,
v.
FRED W. GREENE, Warden,Mecklenburg Correctional Center.

No. 97-27

Argued: March 5, 1998 - Decided: May 20, 1998

OPINION NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge:

Petitioner Lance Antonio Chandler, Jr., shot and killed William Howard Dix during the robbery of a convenience store in Halifax County, Virginia, on February 7, 1993. Chandler was tried before ajury in Virginia state court and convicted of capital murder and related offenses. On the jury's recommendation, the court sentenced him to death. After exhausting his direct state appeals and unsuccess-fully petitioning the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, Chandler sought post-conviction relief from the Virginia Supreme Court. When that relief was denied, he filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpusin the district court. From the district court's denial of his petition, Chandler has appealed, contending that the district court erred (1) indenying his claim that the state prosecutor peremptorily struck three black jurors in violation of Batson v. Kentucky , 476 U.S. 79 (1986),and (2) in denying his claim for ineffective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase of his trial. For the reasons that follow, weaffirm.

I

During the evening of February 7, 1993, Lance Chandler, Geral-dine Fernandez, Dwight Wyatt, and George Boyd discussed robbing a local convenience store called Mother Hubbard's. Chandler told the three others that the store clerk, William Dix, was "a little bit slow" and would not give them any trouble. Chandler also said that they could get a gun from his half-brother, Henry Chappell. Chandler had previously given a fully-loaded revolver to Chappell to hide for him.

The four conspirators, together with Bernice Murphy, Chandler's girl-friend, drove to Chappell's house in South Boston, Virginia, and obtained the gun from Chappell. Wyatt inspected the gun and saw thatit was loaded, and Chandler also checked the gun. As the group drove to Mother Hubbard's convenience store, Wyatt handed Chandler the gun.

When the group arrived at Mother Hubbard's, Chandler, Wyatt,and Boyd went into the store. Boyd and Wyatt headed to the back of the store to steal beer, while Chandler approached Dix and demanded money. When Dix did not respond, Chandler pointed the gun at Dix, closed his eyes, and pulled the trigger as he said "boom."

The gun didnot fire, and Chandler pulled the trigger a second time, shooting Dixin the face. The bullet passed through Dix's mouth into his neck, bruising his spinal cord and paralyzing the muscles that controlled his breathing. Dix later died. Chandler, Wyatt, and Boyd then ran from the store carrying a case of beer. When the five individuals were later questioned by Halifax County authorities, Chandler admitted to shooting Dix.

A Halifax County grand jury indicted Chandler on one count of capital murder, one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony. At trial, during jury selection, Chandler's attorney objected to the prosecutor's use of three out of five peremptory challenges to remove three black jurors from the jury, but the trial judge found that the prosecutor's explanation for striking the three black jurors was "race neutral" and overruled Chandler's objection.

Several of Chandler's companions on the date of the murder testified at trial for the prosecution. Wyatt testified that, after the three men left the store, Chandler remarked that the money did not belong to Dix, and both Fernandez and Murphy testified that, when they were in the car driving away from the crime scene, Chandler said, "the man was protecting money that wasn't his," and "why didn't that man open the register?" Fernandez also testified that Chandler said that he had always wanted to know what it was like to kill a man and that he was going to put a hole in the shell casing and wear it around his neck as a souvenir.

Chandler, testifying in his own defense, admitted that he shot Dix.He maintained, however, that the killing was not premeditated and that he never intended to kill Dix. He claimed that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he shot Dix and that he did not believe the gun would fire live bullets.

Chandler explained that when he received the gun, he looked inside its cylinder and saw what he thought were three empty shell casings and one live bullet. Chandler stated that he thought he could pull the trigger at least four times before the gun would fire a live round and that he did not expect the gun to fire when he pulled the trigger the second time.

He admitted, however, that the gun had been fully-loaded when he gave it to Chappell five days earlier. Chandler testified that he did not have "the slightest idea" why he pulled the trigger while pointing the gun at Dix and insisted that he did not intend to shoot or kill Dix. Several witnesses corroborated Chandler's testimony that he had been using drugs and alcohol the night of the murder.

The jury found Chandler guilty on all counts, and the court commenced the penalty phase of the trial before the same jury. During the penalty phase, the Commonwealth sought the death penalty based onboth Chandler's future dangerousness and the vileness of his crime. The prosecution introduced evidence of Chandler's prior criminal record, which included a conviction for disorderly conduct at age fourteen, a conviction for breaking and entering at age sixteen, and a conviction for assault and battery at age eighteen.

In addition, when Chandler was nineteen, he was convicted of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, cursing and abusing a police officer, and failing to appear in court. He also was convicted of robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony in connection with a holdup of aUPS delivery driver less than six months before he murdered Dix.

The prosecution also presented evidence that Chandler had dropped out of school in the 9th grade, had little record of employment, and had no active involvement in any religion. Fernandez testified again, repeating her previous testimony that, following the murder, she twice heard Chandler state that he planned to wear the empty shell around his neck as a souvenir. She further testified that Chandler had warned her and the others on the Monday after the murder that if they went to the police, they would not "live to see Court date."

Chandler chose not to present any evidence or call any witnesses during the penalty phase. He also chose to waive closing argument...

 

 
 
 
 
home last updates contact