By ROGER ALFORD
Associated Press Writer
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the death sentence of a convicted child murderer
who wants to be put to death.
Marco Allen Chapman pleaded guilty to brutally attacking a woman and her three children, killing two of the children, in 2002 because she advised his girlfriend to drop him.
Chapman filed an affidavit in May, saying he wants to be put to death.
"My rights are mine, and I am entitled to waive them just as is any other defendant," Chapman wrote.
His lawyers argued that his wish to waive appeals showed he was not competent. But the court ruled Thursday that "our review of the record in this case ... shows that Chapman's plea was competently, knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily made."
The trial judge, Tony Frohlich, had also said he could find no legal reason not to grant Chapman's request.
Chapman's court-appointed attorneys, Donna Boyce and Randall Wheeler, appealed the sentence, saying a defendant who seeks the death penalty is inherently incompetent.
Chapman, 35, says he deserves to die for stabbing and slashing Cody Sharon, 6, and Chelbi Sharon, 7, to death in August 2002 and wounding their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, and their sister, Courtney Sharon, who was 10 at the time.
He said he attacked the family because Marksberry had tried to discourage Chapman's girlfriend, a friend of Marksberry's, from seeing him.
Despite the state Supreme Court ruling, it could be years before an execution date is scheduled, said Allison Connelly, a University of Kentucky law professor. Defense attorneys still could appeal the case to the federal level, even asking the U.S. Supreme Court for review, she said.
Connelly said the state attorney general's office typically won't ask for an execution date until all appeals are exhausted.
The defense lawyers declined to comment Thursday.
Volunteering for a death sentence is not new. Since 1977, when Gary Mark Gilmore waived his appeals and was killed by firing squad in Utah, 124 inmates in 26 states have waived appeals and asked to die, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)