Sammie Stokes was sentenced to death by the State of South Carolina for the sexual assault and murder of Connie Snipes. According to court documents Sammie Stokes was paid $2000 by Patti Syphrette to kill her daughter-in-law, 21-year-old Connie Snipes, The victim would be picked up and brought to a wooded area where she was sexually assaulted and then murdered. Sammie Stokes would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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Sammie Stokes 2021 Information
Admission Date: 10/31/1999
Location: Broad River
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U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider the appeal of a death row inmate convicted of murdering a woman in Orangeburg County.
Sammie Stokes admitted to a role in the 1998 contract killing of Connie Snipes. But he appealed the results of his 1999 trial, noting the attorney who represented him also prosecuted him seven years earlier.
Keir Weyble, Stokes’ attorney in the Supreme Court case, said his client will have several options to appeal the case at the federal level. He said the case is currently pending in U.S. District Court.
Should the federal district court refuse to hear Stokes’ case, it would go up to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court again, if needed.
“There is a fair amount of standard litigation to go,” Weyble said Monday.
An execution date has not been scheduled for Stokes.
The high court rejected three other death penalty appeals Monday.
Stokes was charged after the nearly nude body of 21-year-old Connie Snipes was found in Branchville in May 1998.
She had been shot twice in the head and an autopsy showed she had been sexually assaulted. Stokes and Snipes had been acquaintances prior to the mutilation and killing of Snipes.
Stokes was promised $2,000 for Snipes’ death.
Stokes was sent to the South Carolina Department of Corrections on Halloween Day 1999 after being found guilty on charges of murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and first-degree criminal sexual misconduct.
In his appeal, the 49-year-old Stokes said defense attorney Thomas Sims also prosecuted him seven years earlier for assaulting his ex-wife and never informed the judge about the earlier case.
During the penalty phase of his trial, Sims asked the jury not to give Stokes the death penalty because he had shown remorse.
Sims never told the judge of his prior involvement in prosecuting Stokes, or that the earlier case relied in large part on the testimony of Stokes’ ex-wife, Audrey Smith, according to Stokes’ current lawyers.
When prosecutors called Smith to testify in the sentencing phase of the murder trial, Sims pulled his punches, Stokes’ lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court filing.
Sims rejected the idea that he did anything wrong. Sims said he and Stokes discussed the matter and that Stokes said he wanted Sims to remain as his lawyer.
Sims told the Associated Press, “I fought for Sammie and I wanted him to live out his life.”
Executions and new death sentences have been declining in recent years in the U.S. Twenty inmates in five states have been executed in 2016, the lowest number since 1991, when 14 people were put to death. No more executions are scheduled this year.