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John Mills - Kentucky
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Thread: John Mills - Kentucky

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    John Mills - Kentucky

    Facts of the Crime:

    Was sentenced to death on October 18, 1996 in Knox County for the stabbing death of Arthur Phipps at his residence in Smokey Creek, Kentucky. On August 30, 1995, Mills stabbed Phipps 29 times with a pocket knife and stole a small amount of money. He was apprehended that same day at a residence, which he rented from Mr. Phipps, on the property where the crime occurred.

    Mills' death sentence was affirmed on direct appeal by the Kentucky Supreme Court on May 19, 2005. The US Supreme Court denied his certiorari petition on March 6, 2006.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Inmate facing death sentence gets parole hearing

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A death row inmate was allowed last month to argue for his release before the Kentucky Parole Board - a hearing that officials now agree should not have taken place.

    The Kentucky Department of Corrections, as well as attorneys involved in the case, said the Parole Board erred in allowing 41-year-old John Mills to argue for his freedom.

    The Oct. 28 hearing, which state officials believe was a first involving a death row inmate in Kentucky, came months after Knox County Circuit Judge Roderick Messer threw out Mills' death sentence for the August 1995 stabbing death of 79-year-old Arthur L. Phipps in Knox County.

    However, Mills was still under a death sentence at the time of the hearing because prosecutors and Mills' lawyer appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, and Messer's order was automatically stayed.

    Todd Henson, a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said the Parole Board erred in granting Mills the hearing at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville.

    Henson said the board looked into Mills' status after The Associated Press questioned how a death row inmate received a parole hearing.

    Records of the board's hearing obtained by The Associated Press show a 2-0 vote to defer action on Mills for five years. Board members cited the seriousness of the crimes, prior felony convictions and the violent nature of the crime. The records make no mention of the death sentence or an appeal. Had the board voted in Mills' favor, he could have been released from prison.

    Henson said the Parole Board has voided the decision and corrected Mills' record. He said board members weren't aware that the death sentence imposed on Mills, who is housed on death row at the prison, was still in place at the time of the hearing because no one notified them that an appeal had been filed.

    The decision to grant Mills a hearing in error drew the ire of both prosecutors and the inmate's attorney.

    Chris Lasch, who represents Mills, said the entire episode could have been avoided if one of the attorneys in the case had been contacted.

    "But I also believe it's fundamentally unfair to put a man like John Mills through this exercise in false hope, and I hope that in the future the DOC and the Board will be more vigilant," Lasch said.

    Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele, who prosecuted Mills, couldn't understand why no one checked on Mills' legal status before granting him a hearing.

    "I have no idea," Steele said. "I couldn't even begin to venture a guess."

    Messer, who originally sentenced Mills to death on Oct. 18, 1996, cited deficiencies in the way Mills' defense attorney handled the capital sentencing and ordered a new hearing in the death of Phipps, a one-time member of the Phipps Family music group. But, Messer left intact convictions for burglary and robbery.

    Steele's office and Lasch appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, putting a legal halt on Messer's order and leaving Mills' death sentence in place. Because the Parole Board didn't get the notice of appeal, it treated Mills' case as if there was no death sentence in place, Henson said.

    Henson said without a death sentence in place, Mills would have had a right to a hearing after 12 years in prison. He's served 16 so far.

    Attempts over a week to reach members of Phipps' family were unsuccessful.


  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Ky appeals court turns away death row inmate's challenge to tobacco free prison

    The Kentucky Court of Appeals has turned away a challenge by a death row inmate to the state's tobacco free prisons policy.

    The court on Friday found that state law does not limit the Department of Corrections authority to ban smoking at penal institutions.

    Death row inmate John Mills challenged the ban, saying Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson didn't have the authority to implement a tobacco free policy.

    Kentucky started the tobacco free prison policy in 2006.

    Mills was sentenced to death Oct. 18, 1996 in Knox County for the stabbing death of 79-year-old Arthur Phipps at his residence in Smokey Creek.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  4. #4
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Death row inmate's sentence could be overturned

    A death row inmate convicted of a 1995 murder in Knox County wants a lesser sentence that would spare his life.

    44-year-old John Mills admitted to killing gospel singer Arthur L. Phipps.

    "Some of my dad's music makes me very emotional," said Phipps' daughter, Truleen Morgan. "I really can't listen to it much. It makes me very emotional, because I sang those songs with him."

    The music and the memories are all Morgan has left of her father.

    She says he and her brother-in-law were the first people to find her father after the attack.

    "He was beaten and tortured. His throat was slashed. He had 29 stab wounds. It was a horrendous thing."

    A year later, a jury found John Mills guilty and recommended the death sentence.

    Mills has maintained over the years that his lawyer did not represent him well enough.

    Last month, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided to allow Mills a new penalty phase, and the chance to get off of death row.

    "I think the death penalty is the best thing for this man," said Morgan. "He has so much anger. I wouldn't want him out on the streets again, so I certainly hope he never gets out of prison."

    Now nearly 20 years since Phipp's murder, his daughter says the memories of that day are no less painful.

    "It's sad that we can't put it behind us," she said. "Of course there's no closure, never any closure once something like this happens."

    Whatever happens, Morgan says she will never stop fighting for her father.

    Prosecutors say there is a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will decide to take up this case.

    They say Mills' murder conviction would remain intact even with a new trial, and he could still end up with the death penalty.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  5. #5
    Moderator MRBAM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Capital Region NY
    Can anyone find the filings??

  6. #6

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