Marco Chapman of Kentucky wants to be executed after admitting he brutally killed two children and left their sister and mother for dead, reports the Associated Press. What makes Chapman’s case different is his decision to waive trial and sentencing by a jury. His own attorneys say he wants to use the legal system to commit “suicide by court.” On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments on Chapman’s request.
Volunteering for a death sentence is not new. Since 1977, when Gary Gilmore waived appeals and stepped before a firing squad in Utah, 124 inmates in 26 of the 38 states with a death penalty law have waived appeals and asked to die, says the Death Penalty Information Center. Law Prof. Michael Hoffheimer of the University of Mississippi said deferring to a convicted man’s decision to seek a death sentence would take away legal safeguards to ensure that only a competent, guilty person is put to death.