Appeal hearing set on Indiana death sentence case

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court is scheduled this week to hear the appeal of a Gary man sentenced to death for killing his wife and two teenage stepchildren.

A Lake County jury last year convicted Kevin Isom in the 2007 shooting deaths of his 40-year-old wife, Cassandra, 16-year-old Michael Moore and 13-year-old Ci’Andria Cole in the family(s Gary apartment.

Defense attorney Mark Bates has identified eight possible trial errors which he said justify the Supreme Court throwing out Isom’s death sentence or granting him a new trial. Those include the judge ordering three consecutive death sentences, since a person can only die once, The Times of Munster reported.

Deputy Attorney General Kelly Miklos has responded in court filings that Indiana law allows judges to issue a penalty for each conviction, so the judge was within his rights to sentence Isom to death for each of the three murder convictions.

The Supreme Court is to hear arguments in the case on Thursday. The Supreme Court’s review of Isom’s death sentence is automatic under state law.

Bates also is challenging how the jury was selected and several procedural rulings during the five-week trial. The defense also says the death penalty isn’t appropriate given Isom’s upbringing in Chicago housing projects.

“Kevin Isom’s background, growing up neglected and in an urban war zone, cannot be constitutionally ignored when giving due regard to his character, the record and his amenability to rehabilitation,” Bates said. “Although his crime is horrible, it does not warrant the severest moral condemnation.”

Isom was arrested after a 3 1/2-hour standoff with police. Police said Cassandra Isom was shot in the head and her two children suffered gunshot wounds to their bodies.

The defense argued during the trial that Isom was struck unconscious by the real killer.

Miklos said in court filings that Isom’s death sentence is appropriate for the crime.

“(Isom’s) decision to kill his defenseless family was motivated by a recent job loss and the resulting stress on the marriage; life circumstances that are well within the range of common stressors individuals face in everyday life,” Miklos said. “There is no evidence that his family was aware of the threat that (Isom) posed that evening as the family gathered to watch television after their day.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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