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Plea puts stop to federal death penalty trial

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The first-ever federal death penalty trial for the Southern District of Indiana was set to start today, but a plea agreement means a trial likely won't be happening at all for a man connected to a violent killing spree four years ago.

However, the Evansville court and U.S. Attorney's Office have been in this position before when the same defendant, Jarvis Brown, signed a plea agreement in September 2008 after months of postponements in the trial. Federal prosecutors indicted Brown in 2006, showing that Brown and two other men committed a crime spree and shot 12 people - killing four and wounding eight. The criminal activity was part of a series of robberies, attempted robberies, and shootings in Indianapolis and Evansville during an 18-day period in December 2005 that was all connected to a drug trafficking operation.

Last fall's plea agreement would have meant life in prison rather than execution for Brown, but he refused to sign a petition as the judge wanted, and the trial was rescheduled.

Now, attorneys have reached a similar result this time around. According to an entry dated March 17, the plea agreement entails Brown pleading guilty to six charges: murder to keep a woman from talking to law enforcement; three firearms counts, a count of drug trafficking conspiracy, and a count involving the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of narcotics.

All sides have agreed, and the court found Brown to be fully competent and capable of entering the plea agreement. A sentencing hearing is set before U.S. District Judge Richard Young in Evansville at 1:30 p.m. June 30.

Cases remain open for co-defendants Gabriel Jordan and Teddy Weems, though docket entries show Weems pleaded guilty at one point and Jordan's case could still lead to a death penalty trial.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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