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Archive for Friday, November 2, 2007

Jury recommends death in sheriff’s slaying

November 2, 2007

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— A Kansas jury on Thursday recommended the death penalty for a man accused of killing a sheriff who was serving an arrest warrant.

Scott Cheever, 26, was convicted Tuesday of capital murder in the 2005 shooting death of Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels.

He is the 11th person sentenced to die under the state's 1994 capital punishment law, according to the attorney general's office.

After hearing evidence in the penalty phase, the Greenwood County jury deliberated for only two hours before finding aggravating circumstances justifying the death penalty. The circumstances include a previous assault conviction and the finding that he killed the sheriff to avoid arrest.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 23.

Samuels was shot Jan. 19, 2005, while serving arrest warrants on Cheever for allegedly stealing firearms from his stepfather and not reporting to his parole officer.

Cheever showed no obvious emotion when the verdict was read, but a woman in the courtroom burst into tears. Members of Samuels' family also showed no visible response.

During testimony before the sentence recommendation was announced, Cheever said he had become a Christian in the past six months. He said he met with ministers while he was confined to the Sedgwick County Jail and began studying the Bible.

Cheever also apologized to Samuels' family.

"I feel like a piece of crap," Cheever said. "I'm sorry. I'd do anything to take it back. You say sorry, and it's like when you run into someone's car, you say, 'Oh, I'm sorry.' This is not like that."

Cheever said he was sorry he took a father away from Samuels' children and a husband away from his wife.

Cheever also was found guilty Tuesday of four counts of attempted capital murder against two deputies and two state troopers, one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of criminal possession of a firearm.

He admitted killing Samuels at a house in Hilltop, but testified he was high on methamphetamine at the time. His public defender, Tim Frieden, argued that his client's actions weren't premeditated.

Comments

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 1 month ago

Death is never justice. Revenge, perhaps, but never justice.

shockchalk 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't think madmike is angry. He's just glad that this man was sentanced appropriately for his crime.

The article says that he has become a Christian since he was incarcerated so he probably isn't worried about death. Where he's headed is a far better place than where he's been.

badger 7 years, 1 month ago

I support the death penalty in principle, but what appears to be a lack of premeditation bothers me in this case. I'm not sure that it's appropriate, or that the killing of a law enforcement officer is any more worthy of the death penalty than the killing of someone else.

aeroscout17 7 years, 1 month ago

Samuels was a good man. I won't way in on the death penalty here, but I will say I hope Cheever is gone for a long time (if not forever).

aeroscout17 7 years, 1 month ago

Oops, I meant "weigh" in not "way" in.

Confrontation 7 years, 1 month ago

"During testimony before the sentence recommendation was announced, Cheever said he had become a Christian in the past six months. He said he met with ministers while he was confined to the Sedgwick County Jail and began studying the Bible."

I hate when people use this as an excuse. BTK had already studied the bible and considered himself a Christian. The same for Martin Miller. No one should ever reconsider a sentence or give leniency for becoming a Christian. It's completely laughable.

Moderateguy 7 years, 1 month ago

logicsound - "Can you imagine if the penalty for assault was to take a criminal out behind the woodshed and beat him up?"

Um, perhaps there might be a lot less assault taking place, or at least if you did assault someone, you would be aware of the potential consequences...

Perhaps we should return a bit to the old "an eye for an eye" approach. The current judicial system is hardly creating the kind of utopian society the originators envisioned.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

by the time they get around to doing executions this dudes will be almost old men...if your gonna execute someone do it the next day...screw the waiting and the added expense to us taxpayers for caring for these useless meat puppets while they wait for judgement day.

kawrock 7 years, 1 month ago

logicsound: Would you still feel the same way about the death penalty if someone raped and brutally murdered your mother or sister.

coolmom 7 years, 1 month ago

i think he premeditated his life by doing drugs and stealing guns and how is it not premeditation if you were stealing guns and having guns when you were not supposed to? if he wasnt up to no good would he have ditched his parole officer? justice doesnt have to be pretty.

feeble 7 years, 1 month ago

Moderateguy (Anonymous) says:

Perhaps we should return a bit to the old "an eye for an eye" approach. The current judicial system is hardly creating the kind of utopian society the originators envisioned.

I believe the standard response is "then we would all be toothless and blind."

There are two major problems with the death penalty:

  1. False positives - executing someone who, upon review, was clearly not the guilty party. http://forejustice.org/search_idb.htm Sure, the wrongly accused might be posthumously pardoned, but the "damage" is done. Someone exonerated for a less crime might receive financial compensation, but nothing can be done for the wrongly executed individual.

  2. To prevent false positives, Many states that still practice the death penalty hold condemned persons for ten years or more before execution, which in turn lessen the effect of capital punishment.

Corporeal and capital punishment are most effective when the punishment is swift and complete. Doling little bits out over a period of years, or withholding punishment for a decade or more to little to deter other criminals, since those criminals know they will have years to prepare in the even that they are sentenced to death.

The problem is fairly intractable. Either we say it is ok for the State to make mistakes and execute innocent parties (which some will argue open the door further to allowing a police state) or we execute no one, or very seldom execute, and then devalue that form of punishment.

bevy 7 years, 1 month ago

Don't know if you all know this, but my parents live in Greenwood County and they told me that Cheever was actually a cousin of the sheriff (Distant, but there was a family tie). That makes it worse, in my mind. I think the penalty is appropriate.

jonas 7 years, 1 month ago

"kawrock (Anonymous) says:

logicsound: Would you still feel the same way about the death penalty if someone raped and brutally murdered your mother or sister."

God forbid someone not base their beliefs on self-centeredness. I've heard of people who don't advocate the death penalty when they lose a family member in this way. Personally, I'd like to hope that I would retain that much sense of myself to keep from losing my principles in bloodthirstiness just because me and my own were affected. Having not been in that situation to this date, and hope I never will, I can't say for certain, of course.

I agree with badger, the lack of apparent premeditation makes me wonder why they thought the death penalty was appropriate.

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