Top Ky. court clears way for child killer's death

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Kentucky Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for the execution of a child killer who asked to be put to death so that delays would not "drag out the misery" for himself and his victims' families.

Marco Allen Chapman, 36, could be put to death as early as next month if no further appeals are filed. The court issued only a brief order to set the execution in motion and did not explain its reasoning.

Chapman filed an affidavit last year asking that public defenders not be allowed to file additional appeals because he wants to be executed for the murders of 6-year-old Cody Sharon and 7-year-old Chelbi Sharon in the northern Kentucky town of Warsaw in August 2002.

His defense attorneys called his request for a speedy execution "suicide by court," and argued that his wish to waive appeals showed he was not competent. They have been pushing for another competency hearing.

Defense attorney John Palombi, one of a team of lawyers who have been trying to stop the execution, said Chapman has been unwilling to authorize pleadings in his case. He said he doesn't know what the next step will be for the defense team.

"I really don't even want to predict," Palombi said.

The Supreme Court had previously rejected arguments made by Chapman's defense team that his guilty plea amounted to state-assisted suicide.

Shelley Catharine Johnson, spokeswoman for the Kentucky attorney general's office, had no immediate comment on the Supreme Court's order. Under state law, the execution would go forward on Nov. 21.

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