The couple, both 24, were shot dead in 2007 by Gregory Decay in 2007.
Decay is black. His victims were white.
The convicted killer took his case to the Arkansas Supreme Court in an effort to escape the death penalty. He claimed ineffective counsel.
The court disagreed and Decay's appointment with pre-mature death stands.
Decay killed Jones and his girlfriend, Rice, execution style at their apartment in Fayetteville, AR. Both were hot in the head with a .40-caliber pistol,
From our news source we read:
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the ineffective counsel claim of a condemned man from New Orleans who killed a Fayetteville couple in 2007.Continue reading ►
Decay, now 29, was sentenced to death twice by a Washington County jury in 2008 for fatally shooting Kevin Jones and his girlfriend, Kendall Rachel Rice, both 24, in their Fayetteville apartment in April 2007. Jones and Rice were natives of Fort Smith.
The high court denied Decay’s initial appeal in November 2009, but remanded the case to circuit court in May 2013 on Decay’s subsequent appeal, arguing he had ineffective counsel at trial.
Circuit Court Judge William Storey rejected Decay’s claim of ineffective counsel but failed to provide a written finding for his decision. Upon Storey providing written findings, the case returned to the Supreme Court.
Decay claimed ineffective counsel in five areas: his trial counsel failed to develop and present mitigation evidence; failed to object to the prosecutor’s comment that Decay failed to testify; failed to object to the prosecutor’s statement Decay would be eligible for parole if sentenced to life in prison without parole; and failed to present the defense of his choice.
The justices found the first three claims had no merit based on the trial record and his trial counsel explained during a hearing before Storey why he didn’t follow Decay’s wishes regarding his defense.
The attorney explained Decay wanted to present a denial defense, but Decay’s confession and recorded phone calls Decay made to his family while in jail corroborated physical evidence that incriminated Decay, and Decay’s desire not to testify made it problematic to argue Decay wasn’t even present when Jones and Rice were killed, according to the opinion issued Thursday.
Jones was a 2001 Southside graduate who moved to Fayetteville to be closer to his parents. Rice had just moved to Fayetteville, and most recently had worked at the Electric Cowboy in Fort Smith. She attended Greenwood schools as well as Southside.
Decay was an evacuee from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He came to northwest Arkansas in search of a better life, according to 2008 trial coverage.
Jesse Westeen, who drove Decay to the couple’s apartment, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of being an accomplice to first-degree murder. He was given 25 years on each count, to run consecutively.
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