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Kyle David Sharp - Arizona
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Thread: Kyle David Sharp - Arizona

  1. #1
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    Kyle David Sharp - Arizona

    Facts of the Crime:

    Nine-year-old Brandon Coughlin lived at the Sands Motel in Wilcox, where his mother was the manager. He became worried after his mother did not return after he heard a woman screaming, a door slamming and footsteps pounding in the room above.

    After Brandon was unable to find his mother, he went to a nearby Circle K, where the clerk noticed him in distress. The clerk called the police who went to the motel and found Brandon's mother, who had been sodomized and strangled to death, on the bathroom floor of Sharp's room.

    The police found Sharp lying on the bed fully clothed except for shoes, faking unconsciousness. Sharp strangled the victim so hard that the bone at the base of her tongue was broken.

  2. #2
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    Los Angeles, California, August 5, 2010 –Nearly a decade of work by a team of investigators from Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII) was rewarded last week when Cochise County Superior Court Judge Wallace R. Hoggatt vacated the death sentence of defendant Kyle Sharp, who was sentenced in Arizona in 1997 for the murder of Judith Coughlin.

    Ruling on the defendant’s appeal in State of Arizona v. Kyle David Sharp, Judge Hoggatt cited the work of Keith Rohman, president of PII, as “instrumental in identifying and locating the witnesses...who testified concerning the horrific abuse...inflicted upon Kyle Sharp over the course of many years when he was a child....” Rohman and his investigative team located and interviewed dozens of key witnesses whom Sharp’s previous attorneys failed to present during his sentencing in the Arizona Superior Court. These witnesses included several members of Sharp’s fractured family, his high school art teacher, and a medical doctor and a psychiatrist, both of whom treated Sharp for physical and emotional abuse sustained during childhood.

    According to attorney Thomas Gorman, who represented Sharp in his death row appeal, Keith Rohman and his staff “were methodical, dogged, determined, creative, committed and relentless in their pursuit of evidence.” Gorman added that aspects of Sharp’s Ineffective Assistance of Counsel claim “would not have been proven without the work product of Keith Rohman and his staff.”

    “Arizona is a conservative state,” said Rohman, “And death sentences there are rarely overturned. In this case, however, the Judge recognized that a real injustice had been done in sentencing Kyle Sharp to death.”

    Rohman and his staff began work on Sharp’s case in 2001. In addition to mitigation on behalf of Kyle Sharp, Rohman has worked on capital cases in California, Alaska, New York, Indiana, Arizona and the State of Washington.

    Based in downtown Los Angeles, Public Interest Investigations, Inc., was founded by Keith Rohman in 1984. The firm’s caseload spans a wide range of legal issues and specialties, including employment law, civil rights, international human rights, torts, and environmental law. PII’s clients include governmental entities, corporations, and civil and criminal attorneys.

    http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=121038

  3. #3
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    BISBEE — A man who was sentenced to the death penalty for brutally killing a woman at a motel in Willcox in 1995 will get his punishment reconsidered in Cochise County Superior Court as a result of a recent decision.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Judith Coughlin, 50, on July 1, 1995. He was convicted in late June and early July of 1996, and he was sentenced to death for the murder and to prison terms for the kidnapping and sexual assault counts on April 7, 1997.

    http://www.svherald.com/content/news...ets-new-chance

  4. #4
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    Condemned killer gets new chance


    BISBEE - A man who was sentenced to the death penalty for brutally killing a woman at a motel in Willcox in 1995 will get his punishment reconsidered in Cochise County Superior Court as a result of a recent decision.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Judith Coughlin, 50, on July 1, 1995. He was convicted in late June and early July of 1996, and he was sentenced to death for the murder and to prison terms for the kidnapping and sexual assault counts on April 7, 1997.

    Based on evidence presented at a post-conviction relief hearing and other information, Judge Wallace Hoggatt issued an order dated July 29 vacating the death sentence. Proceedings will be held to determine whether the death sentence should be imposed again. A trial-setting hearing is set for Aug. 27.

    "Defense counsel were legally unqualified to represent Kyle Sharp during the sentencing phase of the trial, from November 1, 1996, through April 7, 1997, the date a sentence of death was imposed. Counsels' performance during that time fell below prevailing professional norms for the representation of capital defendants in Cochise County," states the order.

    "Counsels' deficiencies ensured that the sentencing judge was not informed of substantial mitigating evidence - evidence that the sentencing judge was entitled to receive and which the defendant was entitled to have the court consider. Kyle Sharp was prejudiced by his attorneys' unprofessional errors," it continues.

    On the evening of June 30, 1995, and the early morning of the following day, Sharp played pool, drank alcohol and used marijuana and then he returned to his motel room. Shortly after 1:30 a.m., on July 1, 1995, he requested extra towels, which were delivered by Coughlin, the motel manager. He held her against her will, and beat, stripped, sodomized and strangled her to death.

    The judge's order states that as of Nov. 1, 1996, when a new rule went into effect, Sharp's defense counsel were not qualified to represent him in preparing for his presentence hearing, in conducting the presentence hearing or at sentencing. At the time, they did not have "the necessary proficiency and commitment which exemplify the quality of representation appropriate to capital cases."

    The order points out that the lead defense counsel acted unreasonably in refusing to seek funding for a mitigation specialist or for a mitigation investigation, counsel did not hire a mitigation specialist or conduct a mitigation investigation, and counsel did not present sufficient testimony at the pre-sentence hearing to prove the existence of any substantial mitigation.

    Hoggatt's order also states that some contentions presented at the post-conviction relief evidentiary hearing "had a reasonable probability of establishing the causal connection between defendant's 'unfortunate childhood or his abuse of drugs and alcohol and his criminal actions' which the Arizona Supreme Court determined to be lacking."

    Some of them include the following: a member of Sharp's family forcibly sexually abused him as a child in a manner that was similar to the way Coughlin was sodomized; Sharp expressed a great deal of anger toward his mother for not protecting him; and both the victim, 50, and Sharp's mother, 42, were middle-aged women as of July 1, 1995, and could have been perceived to be in a position of authority.

    http://willcoxrangenews.com/articles...ews/news01.txt

  5. #5
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    Changes in death sentence law bring 1995 case back to court

    A man who killed a woman at a Willcox motel on July 1, 1995, will appear in Cochise County Superior Court in the near future for a settlement conference.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, was convicted in the summer of 1996 of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Judith Coughlin, 50. On April 7, 1997, he was sentenced to death.

    Division 3 Judge Wallace Hoggatt issued an order in July vacating the death sentence, citing deficiencies of sentencing counsel that caused the sentencing judge to not be informed of substantial mitigating evidence.

    During a status hearing in Division 3 court on Monday, Jonathan Bass, of the Attorney General’s Office, told Hoggatt that the state intends to seek the death penalty again.

    Hoggatt tried to schedule a settlement conference for Dec. 13, but the state objected. So, Hoggatt referred the case to Division 1 Judge Charles Irwin to set a date for a settlement conference.

    If the parties do not reach an agreement, the court would need to hold a trial to determine punishment. In 1997, a judge could sentence a person to death, but the law has since changed. Now, a death sentence must be imposed by a jury.

    http://www.svherald.com/content/news...ase-back-court

  6. #6
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    Changes in death sentence law bring 1995 case back to court

    BISBEE - A man who killed a woman at a Willcox motel on July 1, 1995, will appear in Cochise County Superior Court in the near future for a settlement conference.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, was convicted in the summer of 1996 of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Judith Coughlin, 50. On April 7, 1997, he was sentenced to death.

    Division 3 Judge Wallace Hoggatt issued an order in July vacating the death sentence, citing deficiencies of sentencing counsel that caused the sentencing judge to not be informed of substantial mitigating evidence.

    During a status hearing in Division 3 court on Monday, Jonathan Bass, of the Attorney General's Office, told Hoggatt that the state intends to seek the death penalty again.

    Hoggatt tried to schedule a settlement conference for Dec. 13, but the state objected. So, Hoggatt referred the case to Division 1 Judge Charles Irwin to set a date for a settlement conference.

    If the parties do not reach an agreement, the court would need to hold a trial to determine punishment. In 1997, a judge could sentence a person to death, but the law has since changed. Now, a death sentence must be imposed by a jury.

    http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/arti...ews/news30.txt

  7. #7
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    Hearing scheduled in ’95 Willcox slaying

    BISBEE — A settlement conference will be held next month in Cochise County Superior Court for a man who killed a woman at a Willcox motel on July 1, 1995, even as the state intends to seek the death penalty against him.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, was convicted in the summer of 1996 of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Judith Coughlin, 50. On April 7, 1997, he was sentenced to death.

    But, in July, Division 3 Judge Wallace Hoggatt granted him a reconsideration of punishment because of deficiencies of sentencing counsel that caused the sentencing judge to not be informed of substantial mitigating evidence.

    This month, Jonathan Bass, of the Attorney General’s Office, announced the state plans to seek a death sentence. A jury trial would need to be held to decide whether the death penalty should be imposed again.

    Attorneys representing Sharp requested a settlement conference, and during a hearing in Division 3 on Nov. 1, the parties stipulated that Hoggatt could conduct that hearing. He proposed a date of Dec. 13.

    Bass said he did not object to that date, but the state did not waive its right to move for a change of judge. The court considered that statement to mean the state objects to Hoggatt conducting the settlement conference.

    So Hoggatt referred the case to Division 1 Judge Charles Irwin for the purpose of a settlement conference. That hearing is now set for Dec. 15, according to court records.

    Then the state filed a notice of change of judge, and Hoggatt issued an order dated Nov. 8 that assigns the case to Division 4 Judge Ann Littrell. But, Irwin will still hold the settlement conference on Dec. 15.

    http://www.svherald.com/content/news...illcox-slaying

  8. #8
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    Convicted killer’s settlement conference postponed

    A settlement conference that was scheduled for this month in Cochise County Superior Court was not held for a man who killed a woman at a Willcox motel on July 1, 1995.

    Kyle David Sharp, 38, was convicted in the summer of 1996 of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Judith Coughlin, 50. On April 7, 1997, he was sentenced to death.

    In July, Division 3 Judge Wallace Hoggatt ordered he should get a new consideration of punishment, citing deficiencies of sentencing counsel that caused the sentencing judge to not be informed of substantial mitigating
    evidence.

    In November, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it plans to seek a death sentence. The law currently requires a jury decision on whether or not the death penalty should be imposed.

    The defense requested a settlement conference, and Hoggatt scheduled that hearing for Dec. 15 before Division 1 Judge Charles Irwin. However, that hearing was cancelled pursuant to an order issued Dec. 9 by Division 4 Judge Ann Litttrell.

    The defense filed a motion in late November requesting a stay of the re-sentencing proceedings until a petition for review can be considered regarding a decision by Hoggatt in 2004.

    “Several of the claims alleged in Mr. Sharp’s petition denied by Judge Hoggatt are guilt phase issues that if reconsidered and granted on review would obviate the need for the currently pending re-sentencing,” states the motion.

    The defense is challenging the trial court’s denial of resources, experts and other claims on the guilt phase. It argued that spending time and resources now on a new sentencing would be wasteful if the defense is successful in getting a new trial.

    http://www.svherald.com/content/news...ence-postponed

  9. #9
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    SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — A man who had his death sentence for brutally raping and killing a Willcox motel manager in 1995 set aside has been re-sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

    The Sierra Vista Herald reports that 42-year-old Kyle David Sharp was sentenced Friday in Cochise County Superior Court in Bisbee.

    Sharp was convicted in 1996 of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering 50-year-old Judith Coughlin.

    A judge threw out his death sentence in 2010, saying the lawyer representing him at sentencing didn't present mitigating facts.

    The state Attorney General's Office planned another death penalty phase but agreed last month to agree to a natural life sentence.

    Judge Ann Littrell said Friday that the life sentence is appropriate because Sharp experienced a "horrific childhood" that included being beaten and raped. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/M...fe-3851067.php

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