Kansas’ highest court has halted its review of the capital murder case stemming from the Greenwood County sheriff’s death because the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing other death penalty cases from the state.
The Kansas Supreme Court issued an order this week stopping proceedings in the case of Scott Cheever, who was sentenced to die for the 2005 shooting of Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels during a drug raid.
The Kansas court raised the issue itself earlier this month and said U.S. Supreme Court decisions in other state cases could apply to Cheever’s case. Both the state attorney general’s office and Cheever’s attorney agreed in brief responses to the Kansas court that a delay was appropriate.
The nation’s highest court has agreed to review Kansas Supreme Court rulings last year that overturned death sentences for three men, Sidney Gleason and brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr.
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The Carr brothers were convicted of killing four people in December 2000 in Wichita after committing other crimes against them and a woman who survived the ordeal. Gleason was convicted in Barton County for the February 2004 killing of Miki Martinez and Darren Wornkey in Great Bend. Martinez was a potential witness against Gleason in an earlier crime, and Wornkey was her boyfriend.
The Kansas court has not upheld any death sentence since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1994, and its last legal executions, by hanging, were in 1965.
The state’s highest court in 2012 overturned Cheever’s capital murder conviction. It said Cheever’s right against self-incrimination was violated by prosecutors who used a court-ordered mental evaluation from a different trial against him.
But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 overturned the decision, noting that Cheever’s own expert raised the issue of whether methamphetamine use had damaged his brain. It ordered the Kansas court to review the case again.