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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Ind. Courts - Still more on: Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson and possible serial murder case

Updating this ILB entry from May 23, 2012, yesterday Andrew Wolfson of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported:

Accused serial killer William Clyde Gibson III said in a letter to The Courier-Journal that he will plead guilty and accept the death penalty in the deaths of three southern Indiana women because "after all I am guilty."

Writing from the Floyd County Jail, where he is being held without bond on three counts of murder, Gibson said he has written to the prosecuting attorney and told him "I will pled (sic) guilty to the death penalty -- just to save some more heart ache." * * *

Defense lawyers not involved in the case say that if Gibson tries to plead guilty to a capital crime, his defense lawyers will vigorously contest his competency to enter that plea and his sanity at the time of the offenses.

Kent Wicker, a former federal prosecutor, said they will have an ethical obligation to ensure he is "fully competent to waive any important rights." * * *

Gibson, 54, wrote to the newspaper in response to a request for an interview, which he turned down.

His letter was received Friday and the envelope was marked in red ink with a notice saying "This stamp identifies this correspondence has been mailed" by an defendant "incarcerated in the Floyd County Jail."

In Kentucky, the state Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the guilty plea and death sentence of Shawn Windsor, who asked to be executed for killing his wife and son in 2003. His public defenders had pursued a mandatory appeal on his behalf, but the court said it found "no circumstances that would require reversal."

In Indiana, a Parke County man who asked to die for murdering his wife and two young stepdaughters was spared the death penalty in 2009 by a judge who instead sentenced him to three consecutive terms of life without parole.

Judge William Hughes said that life would be more painful and the court is not in the business of assisting suicide.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Professor Joel M. Schumm offers another decision, Robert A. Smith v. State of Indiana, an Oct. 23, 1997 opinion authored by Chief Justice Shepard:
Robert Smith pled guilty to the murder of Michael Wedmore under a plea bargain that called for the death sentence. Over Smith's objection, we have reviewed his case to assure that the sentence is a proper one. We now affirm.
The opinion, at Part IV, includes a discussion headed "Public Policy, the Forced Appointment of Special Counsel, and the Appropriateness of Smith's Sentence."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 9, 2012 11:16 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts