Feb. 19


Murder suspect wants statements excluded

A Butler County man accused of killing 2 people is seeking to keep 2 of his interviews with police and any statements or testimony by his 3 co-defendants from being admitted at trial.

Charles Wayne Lindsey, 34, of Roundhill, is charged with 2 counts of murder and 1 count each of 1st-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence.

He is accused of causing the deaths of Cory Hampton, 28, and Britany Tomes, 17, whose bodies were found Nov. 9, 2016, along Region-Reedyville Road in a burning Ford Crown Victoria registered to Hampton.

Lindsey could face the death penalty if convicted as charged.

A motion filed by Lindsey's attorney, Sam Lowe of the Department of Public Advocacy, requests to suppress any statements and testimony from Lindsey's co-defendants, Helen Rone, 23, of Roundhill; Kayla Ford, 28, of Edmonton; and Arlexis Kawai, 23, of Bowling Green.

Ford, Kawai and Rone are each charged with 2 counts of complicity to murder, 2 counts of facilitation of murder and 1 count each of 1st-degree complicity to arson, 1st-degree facilitation of arson and tampering with physical evidence.

According to court records, Ford, Kawai and Rone followed Lindsey to the site of the crime and picked him up from the scene, but told police they did not see him commit the killings and did not see Hampton's car on fire.

The co-defendants gave statements to police in which they said Lindsey admitted to the killings as they traveled away from the scene.

Lowe argues Lindsey was implicated by his co-defendants after police informed them they could be convicted of murder simply by picking him up from the scene, regardless of whether they knew what he did.

Those police statements should be considered involuntary and the credibility of the witnesses is in question, Lowe argued, because police implied the co-defendants were at risk of being convicted of murder for their alleged actions.

"The fear of receiving a punishment for murder, including but not limited to the death penalty, creates a probability that they will say anything to avoid that consequence regardless of truthfulness," Lowe said in his motion.

Butler County Commonwealth's Attorney Blake Chambers filed a response arguing Ford, Kawai and Rone gave voluntary statements to Kentucky State Police, noting Kawai reached out to police for a 2nd interview and Rone gave a statement almost a year after she was indicted that included information corroborating the charges.

"From phone records, a tip to a location where clothes would be found belonging to (Lindsey) that have been DNA-tested to confirm the presence of blood from the victim Hampton, Facebook records, other witness statements, video footage from a car lot, hotel records and (Lindsey's) own statements to law enforcement, the statements of the witnesses have continually been corroborated by the evidence gathered," Chambers said in his response. "If (Lindsey) wishes to address the credibility of Rone, Kawai or Ford ..., he will have ample opportunity to do so at trial on cross-examination."

Another pending motion from Lowe seeks the suppression of 2 of Lindsey's KSP interviews, given Nov. 20, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2016, after he was arrested.

During the course of those interviews, Lindsey had a pending theft charge in Allen County that was unrelated to the Butler County case in which he was represented by a different attorney.

Lowe claims there was no evidence that Lindsey and the other attorney had a "meaningful discussion ... concerning the consequences of waiving his right to remain silent" regarding the 2 interviews, meaning Lindsey's right to effective legal counsel was violated.

Chambers countered in his response that KSP detectives informed Lindsey in the November interview that the attorney in the Allen County case would not represent him in the homicide investigation, and that Lindsey agreed to speak with detectives without a lawyer present.

"He clearly understood his rights, as he had unambiguously asked to speak to his attorney days before (during a separate interview)," Chambers said in his response.

The December interview came about at Lindsey's request, according to Chambers.

Lindsey, either on his own or through family members, requested detectives from KSP Post 3 and Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations West Branch interview him at the Butler County Courthouse "because he had information for them he wished to share," according to Chambers.

No trial date has been set for any co-defendant. Lindsey, Ford and Kawai are set to return to court April 13.

Special Judge John Grise is presiding over the case.

(source: Bowling Green Daily News)


From the Archives -- Death penalty declared unconstitutional

The San Diego Union-Tribune will mark its 150th anniversary in 2018 by presenting a significant front page from the archives each day throughout the year.

Saturday, February 19, 1972

In 1972, the California Supreme Court found that the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the state constitution; 107 condemned inmates were resentenced to life with the possibility of parole. 4 San Diego men were included in the reprieve: Robert Page Anderson, Joseph Bernard Morse, Nathan Elmont Eli, and John David Hayes.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the story:

State Supreme Court Bans Death Penalty----Life Terms Ordered for 107

The California Supreme Court declared yesterday that capital punishment is unconstitutional, and ordered the death sentences of 102 men and 5 women reduced to life imprisonment.

The state's highest court, in a 6-1 decision, said execution is "incompatible with the dignity of man and the judicial process."

It held that the death penalty is cruel or unusual punishment, violating the state constitution.

Among those removed from the shadow of death sentences were Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, convicted assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy; Charles Manson, convicted in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and 6 others, and 3 of Manson's women followers.


In Sacramento, Gov. Reagan said the Supreme Court had put itself above the will of the people and made "a mockery of the constitutional process."

The governor, a Republican, said his administration will seek an immediate rehearing. If the court refuses to reconsider, Reagan said in a statement issued by his press office, then the people should decide the issue through a constitutional amendment.

"This decision makes a mockery of the constitutional process involved in establishing laws in California," Reagan said. "If it goes unchallenged, the judicial philosophy inherent in this ruling could be an almost lethal blow to society's right to protect law-abiding citizens and their families against violence and crime."


The legal attack against the death penalty specifically involved the case of Robert Page Anderson, who was sentenced to death for the killing of a San Diego shopkeeper in 1965. The arguments also covered the case of John Britton Miller, who was condemned for the slaying of a deputy sheriff in Modesto in 1967.

At San Quentin Penitentiary, where men under death sentence are held, Associate Warden James W. Park said "most of the men are pretty happy" about the ruling. "There are no demonstrations or anything like that. Most of them are in a wait-and-see attitude."

An attorney for Angela Davis, the self-described communist scheduled for trial Feb. 28 on murder-kidnap charges in connection with a 1970 San Rafael courthouse shooting, said she would ask immediately that Miss Davis be freed on bail in view of the court's decision.

(source: San Diego Union-Tribune)

USA----3 impending executions

The US Is Set to Execute 3 People in a Single Day----1 has terminal cancer.

After its 1996 high, when 315 people were executed in the United States, the death penalty has been steadily on the decline. Just 23 people were executed last year in 8 states - the 2nd fewest executions in the last 25 years. And while 31 states have the death penalty on the books, only a handful actually carries them out.

There are several reasons for this, but one of them is that capital punishment has been rapidly falling out of favor with prosecutors - last year also had the 2nd fewest new death sentences since 1976. So it's remarkable that this month, 3 people are scheduled to die in a single day. The last time this happened in the US was April 28, 1999, when Texas, Missouri, and Virginia each put a man to death. But barring any intervention from the courts, February 22 could tie that record with executions scheduled in Florida, Alabama, and Texas.

The 1st person scheduled to die is Florida inmate, Eric Branch, whose execution is set to begin at 6:00 pm. He's been on death row since 1994 for the 1993 sexual battery and murder of Susan Morris, who was walking to her car on the University of West Florida's campus.

Last year, lawyers attempted to use a new law to vacate his death sentence. Florida law now requires a unanimous jury in order to sentence someone to death, but Branch was sentenced to death by a vote of 10 to 2. The year he was sentenced became more significant in determining his fate than the non-unanimous jury. His death sentence was handed down in 1994, but only inmates sentenced after 2002 - which was the same year the US Supreme Court ruled that a jury not a judge must decide if a defendant is eligible for the death penalty - are eligible to have their sentences commuted. Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed his death warrant on January 19, 2018.

When those efforts failed, Branch's lawyers tried to use the fact that he was 21 at the time of the offense to get him off death row. In 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled that executing an individual under the age of 18 is a violation of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. But, as Branch's lawyers said in court documents last month, there is an emerging consensus that individuals in their late teens and early 20s are cognitively comparable to juveniles. Branch turned 22 a few weeks after the murder.

Just 1 hour after Branch is scheduled to die, Alabama prison officials will be preparing to execute Doyle Hamm who has been on death row since 1987 for the murder of Patrick Cunningham, a motel clerk. He is now 61 years old, having spent more than 1/2 of his life in prison. Hamm is also suffering from cranial and lymphatic cancers. According to court documents, the cancer was discovered in 2014, and he underwent treatment. But in early 2017, the cancer returned, and a doctor ordered surgery.

In September 2017, a doctor examined Hamm for "accessible veins" which prison staff could use to inject him with the lethal drug cocktail. After an extensive examination, the doctor concluded that because of his illness and previous intravenous drug use, finding a suitable vein would be unlikely. Difficult to access veins can lead to a botched execution, such as when Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after staffers struggled to find a vein to insert the IV with the drug cocktail. Because of his compromised veins, Hamm's lawyers say his execution could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Hamm was scheduled to have surgery 3 months after he was examined; instead, the Alabama Department of Corrections canceled it and issued a death warrant.

Hamm's case took a surprising turn on February 6, when a judge issued a stay of execution. But Alabama???s attorney general quickly filed an emergency appeal challenging the stay and the 11th circuit vacated it, after ordering a medical examination and requesting that the findings be presented at a hearing no later than 5:00 pm Central Standard Time on February 20. "I am confident that the emergency medical examination and emergency hearing will vindicate our position," Hamm's lawyer Bernard Harcourt said in a statement.

If the intervention is unsuccessful however, at the same time Hamm's execution is scheduled to begin, a few hundred miles west in Texas, prison officials will be preparing to put 38-year-old Thomas Whitaker to death. In 2007, he was convicted of arranging the murder of his family in order to obtain $1 million in inheritance.

In December 2003, Whitaker, his brother, and his parents entered their home in Sugar Land, Texas, after a dinner celebrating his graduation from college. (Records show that Whitaker never actually graduated.) Upon entering the home, each member of the Whitaker family was shot by Christopher Brashear, the gunman Whitaker had hired to give the appearance of an interrupted burglary. In order to avoid suspicion, Whitaker wrestled with the attacker and got shot in the arm. The inmate's mother Patricia and his brother Kevin died. Whitaker's father Kent survived.

The police began investigating the crime but could find no leads. In July 2004, Whitaker fled to Mexico and lived there for a year under the name Rudy Rios. But in August 2005, Steven Champagne, who had given the gunman a ride to the house, confessed to police that he was involved and described all the circumstances.

Whitaker was arrested in Mexico and returned to the United States to stand trial. Brashear was given a life sentence, and Champagne was sentenced to 15 years in prison. But after negotiations for a life sentence failed, Thomas Whitaker was sentenced to death.

And now his father is fighting to save his remaining child's life.

In the clemency petition for the inmate submitted in January, his lawyer wrote:

"There is no reason for this particular execution to take place. No one close to the people involved in this case want it to happen. Some passionately oppose it. Others simply wish their lives could be restored to the time before the crime. It is only the State of Texas, through its employees and representatives, that mechanically marches forward onto the date of death."

Whitaker's relationship with his father has changed after he arrived on death row. "They have actually grown closer," Keith Hampton, Whitaker's lawyer says. "If the parole board recommends clemency and the governor commutes his sentence to life in prison, a dark cloud will be removed from their lives."

On February 13, Kent Whitaker met with the parole board in an effort to spare his sons life. "I'm going to be thrown into a deeper grief at the hands of the state of Texas," he said to the media after the meeting. "We're not asking them to forgive him or let him go, we just want them to let him live."

(source: Mother Jones)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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