Monday, December 18, 2000

Condemned killer never sentenced

The Associated Press

        McKEE, Ky. — A man who asked to be put to death for two murders, and in fact spent several months on death row, is due back in court next month because he was never formally sentenced.

        Ervin Ray King pleaded guilty more than two years ago to robbing and killing two neighbors in Jackson County in February 1998.

        Mr. King made headlines at the time because he also asked for a death sentence. Jackson Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle obliged.

        In April 1999, a month after Mr. King was adjudged mentally competent, Judge Maricle ordered Mr. King transported to the state penitentiary in Eddyville. His or der, contained in Mr. King's offender record, specified that prison authorities “shall hold the defendant on death row.” But the order also says a final judgment had not been prepared and signed.

        Mr. King later retracted his wish to die. Three months ago, his current attorneys were back in Judge Maricle's court, and the judge told them that Mr. King “has not been finally sentenced to death,” Mr. King's records show.

        Mr. King remains at Eddyville, but he has been moved off death row and into the prison's general population.

        A sentencing hearing is scheduled in Judge Maricle's court on Jan. 29.


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