Kevin Wayne Dunlap to face death penalty
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, KY - A triple murder suspect's life remains on the line as he gets ready to face a jury. Friday attorneys for Kevin Wayne Dunlap failed to spare their client from facing the death penalty. A Livingston County judge denied the motion to take the death penalty off the table in the triple murder case.
Prosecutors say Dunlap raped Kristy Frensley inside her Trigg County home, then murdered her three children a little more than a year ago. Not only was the death penalty on the line in court today, but defense attorneys took aim at whether crucial elements are admissible in the case against Dunlap.
Just back from a month-long psychiatric evaluation, the defendant returned to court alongside his lawyers, who came armed with several pre-trial motions aimed at turning the case to their advantage. Up first, defense attorney James Gibson argued that a recent decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court to put executions on hold actually makes it too easy for a Kentucky jury to vote for death. "They're going to say, well, it doesn't matter. We can sentence him to death," Dunlap attorney James Gibson argued, "The Supreme Court is going to do something to him one day, or they're going to change executions. Whatever. We don't have to worry about it. We don't have to live with this. It's not our responsibility."
But Circuit Judge C.A. Woodall didn't buy that argument. "I think it is common knowledge that even when a jury does sentence a person to death, that that's not something that's going to happen overnight," Woodall said, "that there are still multiple appeals. It's difficult for me to see where this diminishes that."
It was one of several of the day's victories for the prosecution, but not everything was as clear cut. The defense sought to prevent the only surviving victim, Kristy Frensley, from identifying Dunlap in court based on her previous experience with photo lineups. "She was unable to identify him in either one of those lineups as her attacker," Gibson said.
However, prosecutor G.L. Ovey argued that Dunlap is a man of many faces. "This man has changed his appearance," Ovey said, "that's been noted with photograph after photograph."
For the most part, Dunlap, sporting a new moustache and seeming to have gained weight from previous appearances, sat mostly quiet and still while the attorneys argued the points that could seal his fate.
Woodall postponed a ruling on the motion to suppress Kristy Frensley's in-court identification. In the meantime, he agreed to meet with Frensley before making a decision.
Dunlap will be back in court in January when the results are expected back from his psychiatric evaluation. That's when the judge will rule on whether he's competent to stand trial.
After that Dunlap will have one last hearing the day before his trial. That's set begin February 9th.http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/news/local/79686132.html