Pat Delahanty (right), KCADP’s executive director, was quoted in an article in the Sept. 23 LEO Weekly about Shawn Windsor.
On Dec. 27, 2003, Windsor killed his estranged wife, Betty Jean Windsor, and their 8-year-old son, Corey. Before his trial, in October 2006, Windsor tried to commit suicide by overdosing on antidepressants.
From Sarah Kelley’s “A Life and Death Decision“:
Five days after the suicide attempt, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Martin McDonald conducted a hearing to determine whether Windsor–still being treated at University Hospital–was competent to proceed. The judge weighed the disparate views of two mental health experts, and the following day declared that although Windsor might not be “firing on all cylinders,” he was competent enough under state law to go forward with his capital case.
A few days later, Windsor appeared in court and — ignoring the advice of defense attorneys — told the judge he wished to waive a jury trial, plead guilty to the murders and be executed.
Three years later, Windsor is appealing his death sentence to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Kelley spoke with Delahanty about his–and KCADP’s–position on this case:
At a minimum, he [David Niehaus, the Louisville public defender representing Windsor] argues, Windsor should be re-sentenced because his mental state was not thoroughly investigated, pointing out that [Marco] Chapman — who did not attempt suicide — was granted three competency evaluations, whereas his client underwent only one.
It’s a sentiment shared by the Rev. Patrick Delahanty, executive director of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who believes the state should make every attempt to determine whether a defendant is competent.
“If his intent at the time was to die and he took advantage of the state’s willingness to do that, it’s a public policy gone completely awry,” he says. “Obviously, in our opinion the death penalty is never warranted. But regardless of whether you agree or disagree on that, it clearly should not be up to the person who committed the crime to determine the penalty.”