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    Kevin Charles Isom - Indiana Death Row


    Cassandra Isom


    Kevin Charles Isom


    Death Penalty Trial: Jury Selection Begins For Kevin Isom in 2008 Indiana Murders of 3 Family Members

    Prosecutors in Lake County, Ind., will seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing his family last summer.

    Prosecutors say Kevin Isom shot his wife and her daughter and son inside the family's apartment in Gary on August 7, 2007. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 40-year-old Cassandra Isom, 17-year-old Michael Moore and 13-year-old Ci'Andria Cole.

    According to a court affidavit, Isom allegedly told investigators that he shot his family because his wife was going to leave him. He also said she had been supporting the family on her own and that he had not been working.

    Now Isom also faces four attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting at police officers who had responded to a hostage situation at the Lake Shore Dunes complex, where Isom allegedly killed his wife and stepchildren.

    "Every death is traumatic to a police officer, but the death of children perhaps hit them more. For the officers who came under fire, it brings home the danger they face," said Gary Police Cmdr. Sam Roberts.

    "We have to send a message to the public that we cannot allow anyone to harm our officers," added Gary Police Det. James Bond.

    Isom is currently being held at the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Ind.

    Gary police investigated 71 homicides in the city last year.

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    Death penalty trial set for Gary man

    Public to pay a portion of costs for his defense

    CROWN POINT - A judge ordered a 42-year-old Gary man to stand trial early next year on death penalty murder charges that he killed his wife and two children.

    Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak also formally committed the public to pay for part of the trial's expense but warned Kevin C. Isom's attorneys there is a limit to what he will allow.

    "I have to balance the taxpayers' interests with the defendant's rights to a fair trial. I don't want to open the county's checkbook to be pillaged by defense experts," Stefaniak said.

    Isom, a former security officer, has pleaded not guilty to charges he fatally shot his wife of 12 years, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Gary's Miller section.

    Stefaniak ordered Isom's trial to begin the week of Feb. 22.

    Capital murder defendants are typically represented by the public defender's office because such high stakes cases require such expensive pretrial preparation that involves hiring at least two attorneys and a stable of defense investigators and experts. The courts have overturned death penalties because of poorly prepared defense strategies.

    Veteran defense lawyers Nick Thiros and Alison Benjamin are defending Isom as private attorneys, but Thiros asked the judge to order the state to pay for a psychologist to examine whether Isom was insane at the time of the crime and a mitigation expert to look into Isom's background for mitigating factors that would be used to argue against Isom's execution if he is convicted.

    Thiros said earlier Isom doesn't believe he killed anyone because he has no memory of the day, although he has reported seeing "disturbing images of brutality."

    Police said neighbors heard shots in the defendant's and victims' apartment and a young girl shouting, "Daddy, don't do that." Police said someone fired shots at officers responding to the call before officers broke in and found the victims dead and Isom with a head wound inside.

    Benjamin said the psychologist may cost $2,500 to $3,500 for the initial examination and an extra $1,800 each day if required to testify in court on his findings. The mitigation expert may be paid as much as $140 per hour.

    Lake County public defender David Schneider said his office has plans to spend at least $200,000 in local tax dollars for death penalty defense involving this and other cases to be filed.

    Stefaniak has scheduled a pretrial hearing Dec. 8 to determine whether to suppress a statement Isom made to police after the killings. The defense is arguing the confession wasn't voluntary and question the authenticity of Isom's signature on the confession.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/4bb87fed-9ffa-50d6-8a12-8a51ff896729.html

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    Isom death penalty murder hearing reset for August

    The death penalty murder case of a Gary man charged with killing his wife and two stepchildren has been postponed until August.

    Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. granted a request by the defense to delay the start of the trial until Aug. 2 for Kevin Charles Isom.

    Isom, 44, of the Miller section of Gary, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. He is charged with killing his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren Michael Moore, 17, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at their Lakeshore Dunes apartment.

    Isom also has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder counts involving four Gary police officers who authorities said Isom fired at.

    Statements conflicting in Indy man's murder trial

    Lake Superior Court jurors heard different versions of the same incident during opening statements for an Indianapolis man on trial for felony murder.

    Terrell Bryannt Nelson, 33, has pleaded not guilty to murder in perpetration of a robbery, robbery, confinement, carrying a handgun without a license, resisting law enforcement and possession of marijuana.

    Deputy prosecutor Christine Parry said in her opening statement that a Feb. 16, 2009, robbery of Antoine Howard in Gary's Midtown section "ended in murder" when Gary police fatally shot Darnell Russell, who authorities said participated in the robbery and refused to drop a gun he was holding.

    Defense attorney Kristina Garza said no robbery took place and that Howard has provided different accounts of what happened that day. Garza said her client never went inside Howard's home. Instead, he dropped off the two men and picked them up later.

    Both Russell and Howard are grandsons of former Gary Police Chief Cobie Howard.

    Arthur Lewis, who was mistakenly released from the Lake County Jail during the weekend, was acquitted in March of murder in perpetration of a robbery, robbery and confinement, but was convicted of a handgun charge, resisting law enforcement and being an habitual offender.

    He faces a maximum 21-year sentence on May 6.

    Lewis has also been charged with escape and his girlfriend, Shelba L. Yosha, has been charged with assisting a criminal and driving with a suspended license.

    http://www.post-trib.com/news/lake/2207460,new-isom0427.article

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    Isom to get medical tests; death penalty trial nears

    Kevin Charles Isom, facing the death penalty if convicted of three counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and stepchildren, will undergo a series of medical tests at a local hospital.

    Last week, Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. reviewed an itemized estimate of charges for Isom that totaled $7,125, not including fees charged by physicians. The judge has ordered Lake County Jail authorities to allow Isom to be taken to St. Anthony Medical Center for the tests and directed the public defender's office to secure funding from the county to pay for Isom's medical costs in advance.

    The tests include a CT scan of his facial bones and MRI of his cervical spine and brain.

    Isom is represented by private attorneys, but there has been discussion in court that money to pay his lawyers, which has come from a relative, has run out.

    Typically, death penalty cases are handled by the Lake County public defender's office.

    Stefaniak said in death penalty cases, the law is different as to what medical tests would normally be approved by a judge.

    Isom has constant headaches which have left him unable to focus and concentrate and cause him to tire easily because of the pain, according to a motion filed by defense attorney Alison Benjamin in seeking a delay of Isom's jury trial that had been scheduled to begin in April. Isom suffered a head injury at the time of his arrest.

    The headaches have impeded the ability of mitigation expert Manette Zeitler to work with Isom, Benjamin wrote.

    Isom, 44, of Gary, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers. Isom was charged in the Aug. 6, 2007, deaths of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 17, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, who were found dead in their Lakeshore Dunes apartment in the Miller section. He has pleaded not guilty.

    Isom's trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 2.

    http://www.post-trib.com/news/2365024,new-isommedical0608.article

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    Isom will get public defenders

    Two veteran public defenders have been appointed to represent Kevin Isom, a Gary man facing the death penalty in the 2007 shootings of his wife and two stepchildren.

    Defense attorney Herbert Shaps is lead counsel and is joined by Casey McCloskey in representing Isom, 46, who has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder in the deaths of Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 17, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13.

    Isom also has pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers who said Isom shot at them when they responded to the family apartment Aug. 6, 2007, in the Lakeshore Dunes complex in Gary's Miller section.

    Last month, Isom's family told Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., they hired defense attorney Nick Thiros, who died Oct. 14, and are seeking a refund. Last year, the judge ordered the county to pay for mitigation expenses for Isom.

    Isom's case is set for jury trial starting May 9.

    http://www.post-trib.com/news/lake/2...om1209.article

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    Attorneys seek delay in Lake County's lone death penalty trial

    CROWN POINT - Lake County public defenders Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey are asking for more time to prepare the county's only death penalty case.

    In reporting their progress to the court Friday, Shaps told Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. four more months are not adequate to meet the current trial date of May 2.

    The public defender's office was ordered in November to take over representing murder defendant Kevin Isom, 45.

    Isom is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Miller.

    Stefaniak had ordered the public defender's office to take over Isom's defense after Isom sought to replace the law firm of Thiros & Stracci in the wake of the death of trial lawyer Nick Thiros in October.

    At the time, Stefaniak told Isom the chances of obtaining a refund from the Thiros firm and finding a new private lawyer to take on a death penalty case were minimal and declared Isom indigent.

    Stefaniak said he thought it necessary to move the case forward in the interest of the victims' family.

    Stefaniak on Friday took the question of continuing the trial under advisement until a hearing Feb. 25 when the public defenders also are expected to report on other trial issues.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...d899c0a43.html

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    Trial in Lake County's only remaining death penalty case continued

    Lake County's only remaining death penalty case has been reset for September.

    Kevin Isom, 45, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Miller.

    Isom's had been set for trial the weeks of May 2 and May 9, but Isom's new defense attorneys had asked for the trial to be continued in the face of preparing a death penalty.

    Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. had ordered the public defender's office to take over Isom's defense after Isom sought to replace the law firm of Thiros & Stracci in the wake of the death of trial lawyer Nick Thiros in October.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...0afe94304.html

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    Death penalty juror choices may take months

    Jury selection for the capital murder trial of a Gary man will begin in April, more than five months before the first evidence is presented.

    Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. ordered court staff to begin sending out notices to 500 people next month as the first step in gathering a pool of potential jurors to sit for two weeks beginning Sept. 26.

    The trial will determine whether Kevin Isom, 45, fatally shot his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Miller as police and the prosecutor's office has charged.

    Jurors could impose the death penalty on him.

    Lake County public defenders Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey said they needed ample time to screen potential jurors to find a panel they believe will give Isom a fair trial. Potential jurors will fill out an extensive questionnaire and be examined by a jury specialist working for the defense team.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...1294a915d.html

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    Jury selection begins in Lake County's lone death penalty case

    Jury selection in the county's only death penalty case started Friday.

    Prospective jurors in the upcoming trial of Kevin Isom, 45, were questioned, in part, about their ability to participate in what potentially could be a three-week trial.

    The court calendar for Lake Criminal Court Thomas Stefaniak Jr. is cleared for a two-week period beginning Sept. 26. A conviction could prolong the trial another week for the penalty phase of the trial.

    Partial jury selection proceedings concluded Friday and were set to pick up on June 3.

    Stefaniak ordered court staff in March to begin sending out notices to 500 people as the first step in gathering a jury pool.

    Jurors will determine Isom's guilt in the shooting of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, at the family's Lakeshore Dunes Apartments in Miller.

    Though the trial is still months away, Lake County public defenders Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey said in March they needed ample time to screen potential jurors to find a panel they believe will give Isom a fair trial.

    Potential jurors fill out an extensive questionnaire and are examined by a jury specialist working for the defense team.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...1755a914c.html

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