High Court Considers Legality of Inmate's Death Request

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The state Supreme Court on Thursday considered whether a death row inmate convicted of brutally killing two children can proceed with his wish to expedite his own execution.

Marco Chapman's court-appointed attorneys argued against Chapman's death wish before the high court, saying, among other things, that the judge at Chapman's sentencing should have sought evidence that might have mitigated the sentence.

Chapman asked a judge after his guilty plea in 2004 to allow him to be executed, and the judge agreed.

"There is no case, whether it's this case or any other horrible case you can imagine, that is so awful that you don't have to take that second step," said Donna L. Boyce, one of Chapman's attorneys. "There is no mandatory death sentence ..."

Chapman admitted to killing 6-year-old Cody Sharon and 7-year-old Chelbi Sharon, and attacking their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, and their sister, Courtney Sharon. Chapman said he deserved to die for the Aug. 23, 2002 attack at Marksberry's home in Gallatin County.

The trial judge, Tony Frohlich, said at the time that he could find no legal reason not to grant Chapman's request.

David Smith, an assistant attorney general, told justices that Chapman was found to be mentally competent after several psychiatric evaluations.

"There's nothing at all inappropriate about a defendant saying, 'Judge I want this particular sentence,' and a judge going along with it," Smith said.

The Kentucky Supreme Court is reviewing the case, as it does with all death penalty convictions. Marksberry attended the Thursday hearing, but declined to comment afterward.

Chief Justice Joseph Lambert wondered if Frohlich may have benefited by hearing mitigation evidence at Chapman's sentencing hearing. Mitigation evidence is typically offered by defense attorneys to cast the accused in a more positive light. Lambert noted that Chapman waived his right to present that evidence.

"If you have a trial judge, who, by virtue of being denied mitigation evidence ... was he denied the very evidence that he needed to make that ultimate decision?" Lambert asked.

Police said Chapman attacked the family because he was upset with Marksberry for telling Chapman's girlfriend to end a relationship with him.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Darlene Location: Harrodsburg on Apr 14, 2007 at 10:40 AM
    I agree with Heather from Jeffersonville. I do not think he should have the right to die right now. make him sit it out like everyone else and have time to THINK long and hard about the lives that he took. I hope that he suffers every day that he is alive. Why should he be given the easy way out while this mother misses her kids every day. I think he should sit it out and think.
  • by Heather Location: Jeffersonville on Apr 13, 2007 at 10:28 AM
    He does not need to be granted his wish.He is obviously suffering with the thought of living after what he has done and he needs to continue suffering. Those children did nothing to that man and they will haunt him for the rest of his life!!! Whats up with people killing innocent children!!
  • by lee Location: carlisle on Apr 13, 2007 at 10:04 AM
    Did Cody or Chelbi have a choice? Give him what he wants. Save the money to house a child molester, or another child murder who should be put to death as well. Why not just save the whole bunch of convicted child abusers and let them sit with your grandchildern. If you have a bitin dog who you know will keep bitin do you put him down or furnish people for him to bite. clean up the world people
  • by Shirley Location: Kentucky on Apr 12, 2007 at 01:19 PM
    I think its horrible that the courts are even considering his request, it's the same as a mercy killing,is that legal???


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