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Asst. commonwealth attorney withholds evidence, yet still pushes for execution–more evidence of Kentucky’s broken death penalty

Brad Bryant

Brad Bryant

From the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s “New evidence ahead of Lexington murder trial leaves death penalty in question” by Josh Kegley:

Daniel Gadson, 30, and Elzandrae Warren, 29, both face capital murder charges in the death of Daryl Delano Carter, 25, but Fayette Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Bunnell indicated at a status hearing Monday that the death penalty could be removed as a sentencing option because of evidentiary issues that arose last week.

Defense attorneys said at the hearing that a packet of documents provided by prosecutors Friday contains evidence that is exculpatory to Gadson and Warren. They said the documents should have been turned over early last year, when the suspects were indicted, rather than 10 days before the lengthy trial.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Bryant said the documents were withheld by a mistake because of a communications breakdown between police and prosecutors. He said prosecutors only recently had learned of the documents while investigating discrepancies in cellphone records that were to be used in the case.

“It’s purely my fault. It was an oversight by me,” Bryant said.

“So is the penalty that I take death off the table?” Bunnell asked him.

“I believe that is an extreme sanction for unintentional conduct,” Bryant replied. “But that is certainly within the court’s discretion.”

If the Commonwealth Attorney’s office can’t be trusted to turn over evidence, how can Kentuckians expect it to fairly apply the death penalty. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Bryant’s neglect is just more evidence that Kentucky’s death penalty system is broken and needs to be abolished.
Photo: Courtesy Lexington Prosecutor

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