Sunday, 8 April 2007

"Give Them What They Want"

April 8, 2007

"Give Them What They Want"

As Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe put it, "Hey, Hey, Give Them What They Want." That's my reaction to this AP story out of Kentucky:

Like scores of inmates in other states, Marco Allen Chapman wants to go ahead with his execution after admitting he brutally killed two children and left their sister and mother for dead. What makes Chapman's case groundbreaking, lawyers say, is his decision to waive trial and sentencing by a jury, and then nearly beg to be sentenced to death....

On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of Chapman's request, part of the automatic appeals process in all death penalty cases. The case has the unusual twist of putting prosecutors and Chapman on the same side arguing for the death sentence while Chapman's court-appointed defense attorneys seek to stop the lethal injection....

Chapman, who has turned down multiple interview requests, pleaded guilty in December 2004 to killing 7-year-old Chelbi Sharon and 6-year-old Cody Sharon in their home in the northern Kentucky community of Warsaw. Chapman also admitted stabbing 10-year-old Courtney Sharon, who survived, then raping and trying to kill their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, during the 2002 assault. A judge granted his request to be sentenced to death....

Chapman's court-appointed attorneys, Donna Boyce and Randall Wheeler ... argue that the trial judge mishandled the case and that Chapman was depressed and seeking to use court proceedings to commit suicide. They want a new sentencing hearing after Chapman has been treated for depression. "Marco Chapman is committing suicide," Boyce and Wheeler wrote.

Prosecutors' briefs say Chapman was found competent multiple times. "The fact of the matter is that preferring death over life imprisonment is not state assisted suicide, just because death penalty abolitionists like to call it that," Assistant Attorney General David Smith wrote.

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