Larson’s bargaining underscores need to abolish the death penalty for the mentally ill
In an unusual move, Ray Larson (left), Fayette County Commonwealth Attorney, who over and over again has claimed he never plea bargains a death case, is doing just that, offering the defendant a chance to plead guilty and take 25 years.
A story in the Lexington Herald-Leader details the victims’ family’s unhappiness with this decision.
In an editorial, the Herald-Leader, which does not oppose the death penalty, calls this deal a “reasonable plea bargain.”
Significantly the defendant is mentally ill, and it is distressing that Kentucky does not preclude the use of the death penalty in cases like this, so instead Kentuckians hope that a prosecutor will be reasonable.
Hopefully HB16, which was prefiled in the Kentucky legislature and would abolish the death penalty in Kentucky for people with severe mental illness, will pass and remove this discretion from the hands of prosecutors.
Bourbon Circuit Court prosecutors seek death penalty against man who may be mentally retarded
The Associated Press is reporting that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in Bourbon Circuit Court in a trial to begin in October. The defendant, Lewis Ballard, may be mentally retarded, but the judge allowed the prosecutor to seek death because Ballard only scored below 70 IQ on one test.