Kevin Charles Isom - IN - 2/5/2014

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Judge sets execution date for convicted killer Isom
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent March 8, 2013 11:24AM

Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. set an execution date for Kevin Charles Isom, who was convicted of the 2007 murders of his wife and stepchildren.

Isom, 47, made no statement before Stefaniak imposed the sentence handed down by the jury.

"You are now sentenced to death," Stefaniak repeated three times for the murders of Cassandra Isom, 40; Michael Moore, 16; and Ci'Andria Cole, 13. The killings took place at the family's apartment in the Miller section of Gary.

Isom's execution date is Feb. 5, 2014, one year from the date the jury convicted him during a five-week trial. Three days after the guilty verdicts, jurors found the aggravating circumstance -- that Isom committed multiple murders -- outweighed mitigating circumstances and imposed the death sentence.

Evidence showed that Isom moved frequently as a child and at one time lived in the crime-ridden Altgeld Gardens in Chicago. His mother drank when she was pregnant and his father was absent from his life. A few weeks before the triple murders, Isom was fired from his job as a security officer, and his wife of 12 years had talked about leaving him.

Friday's hearing gave the family of Cassandra Isom, who have attended every hearing since the case was filed, a chance to describe how the murders have affected them.

Isom didn't want to attend the sentencing hearing, but Stefaniak told him, "I decided you will be required to be here and instructed the jail staff to bring you."

His head shaved and wearing jail stripes, Isom sat emotionless, as he did throughout the trial.

Eddrin Barnes described his sister as a beautiful and loving daughter, mother and aunt who cherished her family time and was hard-working.

Michael, an ambitious and goal-oriented teen who had just landed a job, "wanted to buy his mom a mansion when he grew up," Barnes said.

Ci'Andria, whose smile "would melt your heart," enjoyed participating in dances and plays and was helpful and outgoing, Barnes said.

Barnes said he felt the death sentence fit the crime.

"Kevin, you are a coward," Barnes said, adding that Isom was controlling and verbally abusive to his family.

Barnes said his sister learned that Isom hated his own mother. "She would have never married you had she known that," Barnes said.

Barnes said the fact that Isom always wore black reflected the color of his heart.

David Urbanski, a trial supervisor with the prosecutor's office who presented evidence with deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz, argued that the sentences should be imposed consecutively in light of the numerous levels of appeals the case will undergo. "This was the execution of a family," Urbanski said.

Lead defense counsel Herbert Shaps opposed the request, noting that Isom could only be executed once, but Stefaniak said under the law each victim is entitled to an individual sentence and imposed consecutive death sentences.

The judge also sentenced Isom to three years on criminal recklessness charges for shooting at three Gary police officers who responded to gunfire on Aug. 6, 2007, at 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Lake Shore Dunes complex. Isom has spent 2,041 days in the Lake County Jail.

Barnes said the family wanted to express its gratitude to Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Urbanski, Jatkiewicz, Gary police Detective James Bond, victim-witness representative Carolyn Rogers, Stefaniak, the Lake County police crime lab, the jury and everyone who participated in the process of bringing justice to the family.

After the hearing, Cassandra's mother, Oradee Barnes, said: "I thank God that God's justice was served."

Appellate public defender Mark Bates will handle Isom's appeal.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Unfortunately justice has NOT been served yet - and likely won't be for some 20 years yet  >:( :(


1/12/14 Jury sentences convicted murderer Kevin Isomtodeath :GaryNews 1/3

Jury sentences convicted murderer Kevin Isom to death
FEBRUARY 08, 2013 3:00 PM SUSAN BROWN SUSAN.BROWN@NWI.COM, (219) 662-5328

CROWN POINT | A Lake County jury took less than two hours Friday to sentence convicted
murderer Kevin Isom to death.

Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., set Isom's formal sentencing for March 8.

Isom was convicted Tuesday of three counts of murder and three counts of criminal recklessness in connection with the events of Aug. 6-7, 2007, during which he killed his wife and two stepchildren, later firing on responding officers. Found dead in the family's Miller apartment in Gary were Cassandra Isom, 40, and the stepchildren Isom had helped rear during the couple's 12-year marriage -- Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13.

Each had suffered a shotgun blast and other multiple wounds tied to two handguns Isom admitted owning. Jurors also found Isom guilty of three counts of criminal recklessness for shooting at responding officers during a subsequent standoff with police. Jurors were not charged with sentencing Isom on the three felonies. Sentencing on those counts will be imposed by Stefaniak.  Each carries a sentence between six months and three years in prison.

Jurors, however, had the sole responsibility for determining the sentence on the three murder counts. Their options had included the death penalty, life without parole or a specific number of years to be imposed by Stefaniak. Because of the possibility of the death penalty or life without parole, the trial was conducted over five weeks in two phases: the first phase to determine Isom's guilt and the second to determine his sentence.

The trial began Jan. 7. The sentencing phase began Wednesday, the morning after Isom's conviction. Jurors heard family members testify about Isom's background and character. The grandson of an Arkansas sharecropper, Isom was reared primarily by his mother, Lula Isom, and his grandmother, Julia Isom. Also involved were numerous aunts, the sisters of Lula Isom, one of seven siblings.

That Isom was brought up primarily by women without the presence of a male role model was one of more than 30 mitigating factors jurors were asked to consider.1/12/14 Jury sentences convicted murderer Kevin Isom to death  The others included his childhood in a gang-ridden Chicago housing project with all its associated risks before moving to Gary with his mother and a cousin.

By not only the family's accounts but also those of a variety of expert witnesses, Isom thrived regardless of the negative influences, the first male in his family to graduate from high school. He held a variety of jobs as a security guard for some 15 years, mostly unsatisfactory to Isom, until landing a job where he found steady employment for four years. Isom lost that job a month before the shootings. The accompanying strains in Isom's marriage provided motives for prosecutors throughout the trial as possible causes for the shootings.

Experts testified Isom suffered extreme emotional disturbance throughout his life and after the death of his family, so severe multiple experts testified Isom's claims to not remembering the shootings were valid. Stefaniak revealed Wednesday a plea agreement for Isom was never viable specifically because Isom couldn't remember anything, so could not admit to any facts.
Forensic psychiatrist George Parker returned to the stand Wednesday for the second time during the trial, saying, "This is to him a mystery." There had been no history of domestic violence.

Parker said Isom's symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome had abated over the years but he suffered from dis-associative amnesia. Psychologist James Garbarino, of Loyola University Chicago, testified to the effects of violence on children and adolescents, saying the consequences can include difficulty in processing information, problems in school, emotional disconnection and the brain re-shaping itself. Responses may differ, however, depending on the child's support system and temperament.

Closing arguments sum up two alternatives

As they did during trial, the prosecution and defense presented closing arguments at the sentencing. Defense attorney Casey McCloskey told jurors the defense was not trying to excuse or justify Isom's actions but to explore the "why." McCloskey urged jurors to ask themselves the key question of what happened that night to lead to the deaths. McCloskey told jurors expert testimony showed Isom had suffered significant limitations in cognitive development. "It happened over time, but it had been building," McCloskey said. "What's clear is he suffered from extreme emotional disturbance," he said. "This is someone who locked himself in a room over the death of a family member." McCloskey asked jurors for a sentence of a set number of years. "He's 47 years old," McCloskey said. "He's not going home. The question is, how much is enough." Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Urbanski said the defense made much of the question of what happened. "There's no dispute to what happened," he said.
Urbanski said Isom slaughtered his family.

"The facts speak for themselves," he said. Urbanski argued Isom had good family support and grew up to be a solid, unremarkable guy of average intelligence, achieving educational goals not shared by other family members. Urbanski said the defense's own witnesses may have revealed the tipping point. "(Isom) made slow, deliberate decisions," Urbanski said, arguing when Isom failed as the protector and provider he had always been, he resorted to the deliberate, conscious decision to eliminate his family.
"Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."  SCOTUS

Peace and Comfort to all Victims and Families

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