Appeals court affirms rare Michigan death sentence

Started by turboprinz, May 28, 2013, 06:30:25 PM

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turboprinz

May 28, 2013 12:34 PM
GRAND RAPIDS -- An appeals court on Tuesday upheld the rare federal death sentence of a western Michigan man who was convicted of killing a woman in a national forest in 1997 before she could testify against him in a rape case.

Michigan outlawed the death penalty in 1846. But the victim was killed on federal property, which put the case in federal court and allowed the government to seek a death sentence for Marvin Gabrion.

Gabrion was accused of killing Rachel Timmerman, whose body was found bound with chains and cinder blocks in a lake in the Manistee National Forest in Newaygo County. His conviction and sentence were affirmed, 12-4, by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A key part of Gabrion's appeal was that his attorneys were barred from making certain argument to jurors during the sentencing phase in 2002. They couldn't try to sway the jury against death by saying he would only face a life sentence if the trial had been in state court.

But the appeals court said Michigan's lack of a certain punishment is not a mitigating factor to argue in a death penalty case.

"After 11 days of testimony and two days of careful deliberation, the 12 jurors who sat on this case decided unanimously that Marvin Gabrion deserved a sentence of death for what he did to Rachel Timmerman. We have no basis to set aside that moral judgment," the court said.

In dissent, Judge Karen Nelson Moore said Gabrion's attorneys should have been allowed to argue that the location of the murder was significant. She noted that the body was very close to being outside the national forest -- and outside of federal jurisdiction -- by just a "distance roughly the length of a hockey rink."

Not every juror "would be softened" by that fact, but some may have chosen life in prison instead of the death penalty after convicting Gabrion, Moore said.

Prosecutors have blamed Gabrion for the disappearance of four other people, including Timmerman's daughter, Shannon, who was about a year old in 1997. The body of one of the missing, Wayne Davis, was found floating in another lake a few months after the trial. No charges have been filed.

Gabrion, 59, is in federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

http://www.thetimesherald.com/viewart/20130528/NEWS05/305280051/Appeals-court-affirms-rare-Michigan-death-sentence
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Michigal

Federal court is the only way to get the DP in Michigan.
Michigan was the first state to abolish the DP and unfortunatly has too many liberals so I doubt it would ever be reinstated, though I wish it was! I live in MI and boy we could use it!
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says..."Oh crap...she's awake!!!"

I have not met all of the innocent children murdered but I have wept for them. I have not seen all of the monsters but I know they are there.

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