Attorney Calls Kansas Death Penalty Discriminatory
TOPEKA, Kan. - The attorney for a Kansas man convicted of killing two women and trying to kill a third says the case should be thrown out because the state's death penalty discriminates against blacks. John Val Wachtel is representing Phillip Cheatham Junior, who was convicted in 2005 of killing Annette Roberson and Gloria Jones and trying to kill Annetta Thomas in 2003.
Last year the Kansas Supreme Court overturned his convictions and death sentence because he had received ineffective counsel during his first trial. He awaits a retrial on capital murder and attempted first-degree murder charges. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Wachtel argued Friday at a motions hearing that 37.5 percent of the men on Kansas' death row are black, while black men comprise only 5.5 percent of the state's population.