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Laquanta Chapman - Pennsylvania
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    Laquanta Chapman - Pennsylvania





    August 8, 2009

    Death penalty sought against Coatesville man in teen's death, dismemberment

    Prosecutors in Chester County say they plan to seek the death penalty against a man charged in the murder and dismemberment of a teenager last fall.

    Prosecutors accuse Laquanta Chapman, 29, of Coatesville of killing 16-year-old Aaron Turner, who disappeared Oct. 30.

    Authorities allege that Turner was shot and dismembered with a chain saw, and his remains were then left along the road in trash bags for pickup.

    Prosecutors cited Chapman's prior record and evidence that the alleged crime may have been drug-related.

    Defense attorney Michael Noone says the decision to seek the death penalty comes as no surprise. He says he does not concede the aggravating factors cited by prosecutors and could challenge them if his client is convicted.

    Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against Bryan Byrd, 19, of Newark, N.J., who is also charged in the case

    http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/state/all-a10_dismembered.6982655aug08,0,5548842.story?track =rss

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    August 16, 2010

    Accused killer wants option for death penalty discarded

    An attorney representing a Coatesville man accused of killing a city teenager and then dismembering his body with a chain saw has asked the judge presiding over his case to preclude the prosecution from seeking the death penalty at trial.

    Defense attorney Evan J. Kelly of West Chester, who is assigned as one of two attorneys representing Laquanta Chapman, filed a motion to quash the aggravating circumstances cited by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office in seeking the death penalty against Chapman.

    Kelly, a former Chester County prosecutor, said the prosecution had failed to provide evidence to support those aggravating circumstances against Chapman.

    Chapman, 29, is accused in the 2008 death of Aaron Turner, a 16-year-old who lived across the street from him. Turner, whose body has never been recovered, was last seen leaving his Chester Avenue home on Oct. 30, 2008, heading for work at the Community, Youth & Women’s Alliance on Lincoln Highway in Coatesville.

    Chapman allegedly forced Turner into his basement at gunpoint, stripping him of his clothing, shooting him, and then dismembering his body with a chain saw before disposing of the body parts last fall. Chapman’s cousin — Bryan Byrd, 19, of Newark, N.J. — who is also charged in the case, allegedly confessed to witnessing Chapman shoot Turner and then allegedly helping Chapman dismember the body.

    The prosecution, in proceeding with the death penalty against Chapman, cited three aggravating circumstances against him: first, that he had a significant history of violent felonies; second, that the victim had been involved, associated, or in competition with Chapman in selling drugs and that the murder resulted from that business.

    At the time the death penalty notice was filed, First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody, the lead prosecutor on the case, said Chapman’s prior record includes aggravated assault, weapons and drug violations between 1996 and 2000.

    Authorities have also said there was some evidence Chapman had given Turner drugs to sell in the weeks before his death, but that Chapman was dissatisfied with the result.

    In his motion filed Aug. 9, Kelly disputed that the prosecution had made the case for the death penalty.

    “There is no evidence of a significant history of violent felony convictions for Mr. Chapman, and there is no evidence that Mr. Chapman had been involved, associated or in competition with (Turner)” in drug trafficking.

    Kelly said Friday he believed that Chapman’s past record involved convictions for misdemeanor assaults in New Jersey. Under Pennsylvania law, the convictions must be for felonies if the death penalty is sought. He also noted that Chapman had not been charged with drug offenses in the murder case.

    The prosecution is expected to challenge Kelly’s motion.

    http://delcotimes.com/articles/2010/08/16/news/doc4c68a10953120288734375.txt

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    September 7, 2010

    Hearing in grisly Chesco murder interrupted by mom's outburst

    A hearing on whether the prosecution will be allowed to seek the death penalty against a Coatesville man accused of killing a city teenager and dismembering his body with a chain saw was interrupted briefly Tuesday when the victim’s mother lashed out angrily at the defendant and his attorney in court.

    Angeline Blaylock stood up in Judge William Mahon’s courtroom in the middle of the hearing and began sobbing and shouting at Laquanta Chapman, who is accused in her son Aaron Turner’s murder. She had to be restrained as she moved towards Chapman, and was taken from the courtroom by family members and the prosecutor leading the case.

    “He killed my son! He killed my son!” Blaylock cried repeatedly. “With a chain saw! He tried to get away with murder! He needs to die!”

    As sheriff deputies moved to keep Blaylock from crossing the bar of the court to confront Chapman, she continued to rail at him and defense counsel Evan Kelly, who was in the midst of arguing that the Mahon should forbid the prosecution from seeking the death penalty against Chapman, who say impassively at the defense table while the outburst played around him.

    “You are going to hell!” she yelled at Chapman, as her family and First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody, who had been arguing the defense motion, grabbed her in a bear hug. “A chain saw! You need the death penalty! You should burn in hell!

    “How can you defend him?” Blaylock shouted between sobs at Kelly before being led out of the courtroom.

    Kelly, who is representing Chapman in the penalty phase of the case, contends that the aggravating circumstances that the prosecution has cited as reasons for seeking the death penalty against Chapman are improper and has asked Mahon to revoke the trial’s status as a capital case.

    The aggravating circumstances cited by the prosecution include Chapman’s past criminal history, which it contends includes a pattern of violent felonies, and that accusation that Chapman killed Turner in order to promote his own drug trafficking ring.

    But Kelly has argued that the crimes that the prosecution pointed to were New Jersey convictions for crimes that are either ungraded or that amount to misdemeanors, and that the accusation that Chapman killed Turner over an alleged drug debt did not meet the criteria for “promoting” his own drug enterprise.

    Kelly said his client pleaded guilty to assault charges in 2000 and 203, but that both were 4th degree charges under New Jersey law for pointing a gun at anoher person, actions that would constitute misdemeanors, not felonies, as is necessary under Pennsylvania death penalty rules.

    “He did not plead to felonies,” Kelly told Mahon, who will preside over Chapman’s case when it comes to trail, although that is not expected until next year. “Pointing a gun at someone is not a felony.”

    But Carmody argued that what distinguishes the convictions is not the grading of the case but the length of time that Chapman served for the crimes – both 18-month prison sentences. He told Mahon that Pennsylvania case law qualifies any out-of-state jail term over 12 months as a felony.

    “The line is clear,” Carmody said. “If it is more than a year it is a felony.”

    Chapman, using an alias at the time, was involved in two street shootouts in New Jersey, one of which wounded a 10-year-old bystander.

    Carmody also argued that Mahon should not settle the question of what aggravating factors would be cited in the penalty phase of the trial, after the jury has begun deliberating. He said he did not know whether the evidence in the case will ultimately prove that Chapman killed Turner to get him out of the way of his drug business, but that he did not have to prove that until the trial concludes.

    “I don’t think I’m required to do that now,” Carmody said. All state law demands is that the prosecution be able to cite “any” evidence that an aggravating circumstance is present in the case, and that applied to the assault convictions.

    Chapman, 29, is accused in the October 2008 death of Turner, his 16-year-old neighbor, whose body has never been recovered. The victim was last seen leaving his Chester Avenue home on Oct. 30, 2008, while en route to work at the Community, Youth & Women's Alliance on Lincoln Highway in Coatesville.

    Chapman allegedly forced Turner into his basement at gunpoint, stripping him of his clothing, shooting him, and then dismembering his body with a chain saw before disposing of the body parts last fall. Chapman's cousin — Bryan Byrd, 19, of Newark, N.J. — who is also charged in the case, allegedly confessed to witnessing Chapman shoot Turner and then allegedly helping Chapman dismember the body.

    Chapman and Byrd were originally arrested Nov. 15, 2008, during a police raid in which authorities allegedly seized seven guns — two reported stolen — and marijuana. Police said Chapman was wearing a bulletproof vest and a holster with guns when police raided the home. He and Byrd were not charged with the murder until June 2009.

    During the search of Chapman’s home, police found mutilated dog parts inside a trash bag in the dining room along with empty bottles of bleach. Chapman and Byrd had been incarcerated in lieu of bail on drug, gun and animal cruelty charges. Carmody has said he believes Chapman killed the dogs to cover up Turner's murder.

    Investigators have said Turner's DNA was found on several items in Chapman's home, including two chain saws and a metal post in the basement.

    Turner was an 11th-grader at Coatesville Area Senior High School and the Center for Arts & Technology. Before his disappearance, he was taking courses to become an auto mechanic. Blaylock has said her son was looking forward to graduating high school and becoming a mechanic.

    Carmody, speaking after the hearing, said he had spoken with Blaylock about her outburst and that she understood that what she did was unacceptable.

    “She is an understandably distraught mother, and it has been a long horrible crime for her and her family,” he said. “It’s a very volatile situation.”

    Earlier this year, Chapman’s sister an cousin were charged with assault after causing a near riot at a preliminary hearing for Chapman’s mother, who was accused of lying to police in the investigation and hiding a car that police believed was involved in the case.

    Carmody said he moved to get her out of the courtroom to keep the incident from escalating. “I explained to her very clearly that we can’t have conduct like that, and she understands,” he said.

    Mahon did not rule on the death penalty questions.

    http://delcotimes.com/articles/2010/09/07/news/doc4c86a992990fd843161770.txt

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    Prosecution in 'chainsaw killer' case allowed to use evidence from search

    WEST CHESTER — Prosecutors in the case of a Chester County man accused of killing a Coatesville teenager then dismembering the body with a chainsaw may use evidence police collected while initially searching the suspect’s house for drugs, a judge has ruled.

    Common Pleas Court Judge William P. Mahon on Monday issued a two-page order dismissing the defense’s claim that the police lacked probable cause to go inside the Chester Avenue home of LaQuanta Chapman in November 2008 during a raid that had centered on a detached garage nearby.

    Once inside the house, Coatesville police found bloody clothing and other evidence that led them to believe Chapman had been involved in a homicide. Police later charged Chapman and another man with the murder of 16-year-old Aaron Turner, who had disappeared days before after leaving home to go to a community service appointment.

    Chapman, 31, of Coatesville, is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance and related offenses and is being held in Chester County Prison. His trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Nov. 7. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

    Chapman’s attorney, Michael Noone of West Chester, had argued in a suppression motion filed in 2010 that the warrant police had obtained to search a back yard garage at Chapman’s home did not allow police to enter the house; police should only have been allowed to go inside the garage.

    Noone said the evidence police found inside the house should be disallowed at trial as “fruits from the poisonous tree.”

    Assistant District Attorney Peter Hobart, who argued the suppression motion before Mahon last May, said police were looking for evidence of drug dealing at Chapman’s home, which would mean the garage and the house, where Chapman would presumably have kept money and other paraphernalia included in the drug business he allegedly had been running from the garage.

    Mahon agreed.

    “As a practical matter, once the police executed the search warrant with respect to the detached garage at 35 Chester Avenue, the police would be required to enter the occupied residence at that same location in order to protect the police and the general public in the neighborhood,” the judge wrote. “The residence was part of the premises described to be searched. The application of common sense requires denial of (Chapman’s) motion.”

    During the Nov. 15, 2008, drug raid, police found three illegal sawed-off shotguns and other weapons, ammunition, marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside the house.

    Police also found bloody clothing, a bullet fragment and a shell casing in a black trash bag, and the sawed-up carcass of a dog in a plastic garbage bag that also contained DNA evidence later used by investigators piecing together the murder case against Chapman.

    During the raid, Chapman was found in the house wearing a bulletproof vest and holding two revolvers, police said.

    At a hearing last year, First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody —who will lead the prosecution of the case with Assistant District Attorney Michelle Frei — acknowledged the matter’s importance, calling the evidence in the drug raid a crucial lynchpin for the murder case.

    On Tuesday, Carmody declined comment on the ruling but praised Hobart and the city police.

    Noone also declined comment, saying he had not yet spoken with his client about Mahon’s ruling.

    Chapman is accused of forcing 16-year-old Turner into the basement of the Chester Avenue home at gunpoint, stripping him of his clothing, fatally shooting him, then dismembering his body with a chainsaw before disposing of the body parts.

    Turner went missing Oct. 30, 2008, after leaving his Chester Avenue home for a community service assignment.

    A relative of Chapman’s, Bryan Bird, has also been charged. Both men were arrested in 2009.

    http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/...txt?viewmode=2

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    Defense in murder case seeking delay

    WEST CHESTER — Attorneys for a Chester County man accused of killing a Coatesville teenager then dismembering his body with a chainsaw have asked a Common Pleas Court judge to delay the scheduled start of his murder trial.

    Judge William P. Mahon held a closed-door hearing last week in which he listened to evidence from a trial consultant called by the defense about the difficulties she is having compiling so-called mitigating evidence for LaQuanta Chapman.

    Chapman, 31, of Coatesville is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance and related offenses and is being held in Chester County Prison. Jury selection is now scheduled to start Nov. 7, with the trial beginning Nov. 14.

    Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

    In a motion filed last month, defense attorneys Michael Noone and Evan Kelly, both of West Chester, told Mahon they would need more time to prepare Chapman's defense, and they asked that the judge postpone the Nov. 14 start date "so that the defense can adequately prepare a mitigation presentation to the jury."

    A death penalty case in Pennsylvania is divided into two phases: the guilt phase and the penalty phase. If a defendant is found guilty of first-degree murder, the jury then hears evidence from the prosecution as to why he should face the death penalty and evidence from the defense to mitigate that.

    Noone and Kelly have hired Juandalynn Taylor of Philadelphia to work as their mitigation specialist to assist them in collecting and reviewing whatever medical, educational or legal records about Chapman "from various agencies in multiple states' that would help in his defense.

    "Due to the number of agencies that must be contacted and the amount of information that must be collected," the attorneys said, they would need time beyond the current start date for the trial.

    The closed-door hearing with Mahon on Wednesday was held so that Noone and Kelly could have Taylor tell him about her efforts without giving away defense strategy to the prosecution, they said.

    The Daily Local News objected to the hearing being closed, but Mahon denied the paper's request to keep it open to the public.

    First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody, who is leading the prosecution of Chapman, said that his office wanted the trial to begin as soon as possible in deference to the family of Chapman's alleged victim, 16-year-old Aaron Turner.

    Mahon did not rule on the defense motion Wednesday and has scheduled an in-chamber conference next week to discuss the matter with all the attorneys involved.

    Neither Noone nor Kelly would comment on their motion or the difficulties that Taylor is having collecting information of Chapman, who is from New Jersey and has a criminal record there.

    Turner was allegedly murdered by Chapman sometime in late October 2008. He was last seen leaving home in Coatesville on Oct. 30, 2008 to go to a community service appointment. He never returned home, and his body has not been found.

    Police focused on Chapman after raiding his home on North Chester Avenue on Nov. 15, 2008 looking for evidence of a drug trafficking operation there.

    Once inside the home, the Coatesville police stumbled on bloody clothing and other evidence that led them to believe that Chapman had been involved in a homicide. They charged Chapman and another man, Bryan Bird, with Turner's murder in 2009 after DNA and other evidence pointed to his involvement.

    Chapman is accused of forcing Turner into the basement of the Chester Avenue home at gunpoint, stripping him of his clothing, fatally shooting him then dismembering his body with a chainsaw before disposing of the body parts.

    Authorities say Chapman tried to disguise the dismemberment by cutting up dogs in his home and disposing of their carcasses in the trash.

    http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/...txt?viewmode=3

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    Trial delayed for Coatesville man accused in chainsaw murder case

    The Chester County man who authorities say killed a Coatesville teenager and then dismembered his body with a chainsaw has a new – but not unfamiliar – defense team.

    Judge William P. Mahon on Wednesday appointed West Chester defense attorneys Evan Kelly and Elizabeth Plasser-Kelly to represent Laquanta Chapman. Both attorneys had served as mitigation counsel for Chapman – the attorney handling any possible death penalty phase of the capital murder trial – in the past, Kelly most recently. (The two are not related.)

    At the same time, Mahon, who will preside over the eventual trial, vacated an earlier order setting the first and second weeks of November for Chapman’s trial date. He did so after Kelly and Chapman’s former counsel for the guilt phase of the trial, Michael Noone of West Chester, told him that the defense’s expert for the penalty phase of the trial could not be ready by November.

    Noone said that he believed the expert, mitigation specialist Juandalynn Taylor of Philadelphia, would need a year to prepare. She was not appointed until May.

    Mahon did not set a new trial date, but indicated that he hoped it would be scheduled in the coming year.

    The trial delay disappointed the prosecutor in the case, although he acknowledged that had Mahon forced the case to go to trial in November it would have caused an issue for an eventual appeal, should Chapman be found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

    “I question the mitigation expert’s arbitrary deadline of one year,” said First Assistant Patrick Carmody, who is leading Chapman’s prosecution. “But given how a death penalty case is scrutinized so highly on appeal, it could create an issue (if Mahon did not continue the matter.) What we are doing is treading carefully because of the serious nature of the case.”

    Carmody said he had spoken with the family of the victim in the case, 16-year-old Aaron Turner, and that they too were disappointed in the delay. “They are anxious to try this case, and just hope that it keeps progressing,” he said of Turner’s family.

    Chapman, 31, of Coatesville, was in the courtroom for the proceedings Wednesday but did not address the court. He was joined by various members of his family, who sat waiting patiently during other court business, and who spoke with Noone after Mahon relived him of his representation.

    “They understand that certain things take some time,” Noone said after the hearing. “They know this is a very serious case, and they recognize that certain things need to be done properly.”

    “Their only concern is that Laquanta gets a fair defense,” said Kelly.

    Noone had resigned his position as a court-appointed attorney in Chester County in August, but had agreed to stay in the Chapman case pending Mahon’s decision. When it became clear the trial would be continued until at least 2012, however, Noone asked to be allowed to step aside. Mahon agreed, appointing Kelly to take over as guilt phase counsel and Plasser-Kelly to replace Kelly in the penalty phase. Plasser-Kelly had represented Chapman in that role previously.

    In death penalty cases, defense strategy is to use two different attorneys to handle the two parts of the trail – the guilt phase, during which the jury is asked to determine whether a defendant is guilty of first-degree murder or some lesser crime, or not guilty at all – and the penalty phase, during which the jury is asked whether the defendant should get the death penalty or not, instead serving life in prison without parole.

    Noone and Kelly hired Taylor in May, after a motion to keep the death penalty from being applied in the case failed. She is assisting them in collecting and reviewing whatever medical, educational or legal records about Chapman "from various agencies in multiple states' that would help in his defense.

    "Due to the number of agencies that must be contacted and the amount of information that must be collected," the attorneys said in court filings, they would need time beyond the current start date for the trial. The attorneys and Taylor held a closed-door hearing with Mahon last month so they could tell him about her efforts without giving away defense strategy to the prosecution.

    Chapman allegedly murdered Turner sometime in late October 2008. He was last seen leaving his home in Coatesville on Oct. 30, 2008, to go to a community service appointment. He never returned home, and his body has not been found.

    Police focused on Chapman as a suspect after raiding his home on North Chester Avenue on Nov. 15, 2008 looking for evidence of a drug trafficking operation there. Once inside the home, the Coatesville police stumbled on bloody clothing and other evidence that led them to believe that Chapman had been involved in a homicide. They charged Chapman and another man, Bryan Bird, with Turner's murder in 2009 after DNA and other evidence pointed to his involvement.

    Chapman is accused of forcing Turner into the basement of the Chester Avenue home at gunpoint, stripping him of his clothing, fatally shooting him, and then dismembering his body with a chainsaw before disposing of the body parts.

    Authorities say Chapman tried to disguise the dismemberment by cutting up dogs in his home and disposing of their carcasses in the trash.

    Chapman is being held without bail in Chester County Prison. Byrd will be tried at a later date.

    Carmody asked Mahon to set aside some time in November that had been reserved for the trial to hear a status update from Taylor on her efforts, and to litigate any other pre-trial matters. “My goal in November will be to ask you to pick a date in the year to come to try this,” Carmody told Mahon.

    “As it will be for myself,” Mahon responded.

    http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/...mode=fullstory

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    MURDER WITNESS GUILTY

    The New Jersey man who brought a Coatesville teenager to the home where he eventually met his gruesome demise has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges in the case.

    Bryan Byrd, 22, also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, as well as unrelated drug offenses, in the 2009 death of 16-year-old Aaron Turner.

    Police allege that Turner was shot several times in the basement of a Chester Avenue home in Coatesville, and that his body was then dismembered with a chain saw.

    Byrd is alleged to have helped cut up Turner's body with his cousin, LaQuanta Chapman, who authorities say killed Turner over a drug dispute. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Chapman.

    Turner's body, which was allegedly put in trash bags purchased at a local Dollar Store, has not been found.

    Byrd entered the guilty pleas late Friday afternoon in front of Judge William Mahon, who is set to preside over Chapman's trial sometime in 2012. Some of Turner's relatives sat in the courtroom while Byrd went through the questions and answers posed by Mahon about whether he understood the rights he was giving up.

    The open plea calls for no set prison term, but Mahon

    pointed out that Byrd faces a possible maximum state prison sentence of 97 years — 40 years for third-degree murder, 40 years for conspiracy to commit murder, seven years for abuse of a corpse, seven years for hindering apprehension, five years for possession of an instrument of crime and three years for the drug offenses.

    Byrd's attorney, Mark Rassman of Kennett Square, said his client would address the court when he is finally sentenced by Mahon.

    First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody, who is the lead prosecutor in the case against Byrd and Chapman, 32, told Mahon that Byrd had agreed to cooperate with the prosecution at Chapman's upcoming trial and against any other person involved in Turner's death, including a man who is said to have helped Chapman shoot Turner.

    "Our intent is to try Chapman and to keep investigating the circumstances of Aaron's murder to possibly prosecute any other people involved at a later date," Carmody said after the plea. "The charge of murder has no statute of limitations."

    His family last saw Turner in late October 2008 on his way to a community service appointment in Coatesville.

    When police arrested Chapman on drug and weapons charges in November 2008, they found DNA evidence that led them to charge him with Turner's death.

    According to court records, Byrd told investigators in April 2009 that he was riding in a car along South Eighth Avenue in Coatesville with a female friend when they spotted Turner, who Byrd knew as "Head."

    Byrd said that Chapman, alias "Quan," wanted to meet with Turner and so Byrd yelled out the car window for Turner, telling him to meet them at Chapman's Chester Avenue home. Turner was waiting for the pair when they arrived, and the three were soon after joined by a fourth person, a "husky" man Byrd did not know.

    When they went inside the house, Byrd said, Chapman began arguing with Turner and questioning him. He said he could hear Chapman yelling at Turner and hitting him in the head. Soon after, Chapman told him, "Let's go to the basement."

    Byrd said Chapman grabbed Turner by the collar and forced him downstairs as he followed with the other man. Once in the basement, Chapman told Turner to take off all his clothes then told Byrd to go upstairs and turn up the radio.

    When he returned downstairs, Byrd told police, he saw Chapman fire two shots at Turner with a small, silver handgun; the first shot was to Turner's head.

    Another witness said he was upstairs at the time and heard as many as six shots. Chapman later called the witness to the basement, where he saw Turner lying naked on the floor with "bullet holes in his heart." Chapman gave the witness a $10 bill and told him to go to the Dollar Store and buy trash bags.

    When the witness returned, he saw Chapman and Byrd cutting Turner's body apart with a chain saw, he told police.

    http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/...mode=fullstory

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    Miranda issues surface in murder case

    When Laquanta Chapman was taken into custody in November 2008 for having illegal guns and drugs in his Coatesville home, among the things he spoke with an investigator about were the remains of butchered dogs and some bloody clothes in the house.

    He returned to those topics again a few days later, when he spoke with that same Coatesville officer and a member of the Chester County Detectives office. In both instances, he said the dogs had been killed for misbehaving, and that the blood was from the canines.

    What authorities contend, however, is that the dogs had been slaughtered to cover up the dismemberment of a Coatesville teenager who Chapman and another man had shot to death in the basement of the home on Chester Avenue. Chapman was charged with the murder of Aaron Turner in 2009 and is awaiting trial in the case, for which the prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

    On Friday, an attorney for Chapman asked the judge presiding over his case to suppress the statements that Chapman gave at the time, saying that they had been made in violation of his Miranda rights. In the second statement, attorney Evan Kelly said, Chapman had been brought to the Chester County Justice center from prison to speak with the investigators, even though he had an attorney at the time who was not consulted about the interview.

    Kelly quizzed the city’s police investigator, Sgt. Chris McEvoy, about a two-hour period that he spoke with Chapman in a department interrogation room but which was not video or audio taped — suggesting that Chapman may have asked for an attorney at the time.

    McEvoy, however, denied that Chapman had ever asked for an attorney to be present and said that Chapman had readily agreed to speak with him without the presence of counsel.

    The prosecution played for Mahon a portion of a recording of Chapman’s 1 hour and 54 minute initial statement in which he hands back a Miranda waiver card he had signed for McEvoy while agreeing to talk.

    “I waive those rights,” Chapman can be heard saying. “You are here to talk to me tonight without a lawyer? Says McEvoy. “Yes,” Chapman responds.

    Mahon heard a number of pre-trial issues during the proceeding on Friday, including whether the publicity surrounding the case would necessitate moving the trial to another county or bringing in jurors from outside Chester County, and whether the prosecution had given all the information it had on the second man alleged to be involved in Turner’s execution.

    He made no ruling on the discovery motion or Kelly’s request to suppress Chapman’s statements, but ruled against the change of venue request, agreeing with Kelly that a decision on that should be made when prospective jurors are asked if they know too much about the case to consider it fairly.

    Turner, 16, went missing in late October 2008 on his way home from a community service project in Coatesville. His body had never been found.

    Police contend that Turner went to Chapman’s house on Chester Avenue, and there Chapman and another man shot him in the basement. The men then used a chain saw to dismember his body and dispose of it in trash bag, mixed in with remains from pit bulls killed to cover up Turner’s murder. Chapman was arrested on Nov. 15, when polcie raideid his home ostensisbly looking for guns and drugs, but also looking for Turner’s whereabouts.

    Chapman, 32, was charged with Turner’s murder in November 2009. DNA found in the house matched that of the missing teenager.

    The other man has not been arrested. On Friday, Chief Deputy Ditrict Attorney Patrick Carmody, who is leading the prosecution, told Mahon that authorities did not have sufficient evidence to charge him, but that the investigation was still open and there was still a chance he would be arrested.

    A third man, Chapman’s cousin, 22-year-old Bryan Byrd, was in the house at the same time as the murder. He was charged along with Chapman, but has pleaded guilty to charges of third degree murder, conspiracy, and abuse of a corpse, and is expected to testify for the prosecution.

    The trial in the case is scheduled to start Aug. 1.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20...r-case&pager=2
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    Coatesville chainsaw case continued until fall

    The judge presiding over the trial of a man accused of murdering a Coatesville teenager then dismembering the victim with a chainsaw has reluctantly agreed to a postponement until fall.

    On Friday, Common Pleas Court Judge William Mahon granted a request from one of two attorneys representing Laquanta Chapman to delay the trial until October. The request was made over the objection of the prosecution, which had been ready to start the trial on Aug. 1.

    The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Chapman for the October 2008 murder of 16-year-old Aaron Turner. Authorities contend that Chapman, with two other men, shot and killed Turner the basement of Chapman’s home on Chester Avenue in Coatesville, then cut his body into pieces with a chainsaw and disposed of them in trash bags.

    Attorney J. Michael Farrell of Philadelphia is representing Chapman in the penalty phase of the trial, which would begin when and if Chapman is found guilty of first-degree murder. He was appointed in October after other changes in Chapman’s defense team.

    At a hearing on Friday, Farrell told Mahon that he had not had sufficient time to prepare for the mitigation defense of Chapman. In addition to not receiving police records concerning Chapman and his mother from New Jersey, Farrell said he had been involved in several homicide trials in Philadelphia that diverted his attention from Chapman’s case.

    He would thus not have sufficient time to prepare for the August trial date, Farrell said.
    “I always reach beyond my grasp,” Farrell told Mahon during the hearing. “I thought I could get up to speed. I did not know the extent of the work there is to do.”
    “I am not complaining, but judge, these are the facts,” he said.

    Assistant District Attorney Michelle Frei, one of two prosecutors assigned to the case, told Mahon that she had witnesses lined up and ready to go to trial in August, and that some had foregone summer vacations to make themselves available.

    “We have had this set date for seven months now,” she said, noting that Mahon had scheduled the trial in December. “And we have a family that has waited for justice for nearly four years. The commonwealth is ready to proceed to trial in August.”

    Mahon agreed the trial had been “pushed off and pushed off and pushed off” for three years after Chapman’s arrest and four years from the date of the alleged crime. Most of the reason for that is because of changes in Chapman’s court-appointed counsel, the judge said.

    Chapman had been represented at one time or another by four attorneys, who would either work the so-called “guilt phase” of the case or who would try to convince the jury not to impose the death penalty.

    Mahon said the court was constrained to appointing certified attorneys qualified to represent death-penalty defendants.

    “As much as I am loathe to continue it again, because of the time delay, it seems to me that in this situation a 60-day continuance is not egregious. But this is the last continuance I am going to give.”

    Under the schedule set by Mahon, jury selection will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 24. There will be two weeks then set aside for the trial, the weeks of

    Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. Two holidays, including Election Day on Nov. 6, fall during that period.

    Turner vanished in late October 2008 on his way home from a community service project in Coatesville. His body has never been found.

    Chapman was arrested Nov. 15, 2008, when police raided his home looking for guns, drugs and clues to Turner’s whereabouts. Chapman, 32, was charged with Turner’s murder in November 2009. DNA found in the house matched that of the missing teenager.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20...ued-until-fall
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

  10. #10
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    Jury selection for Laquanta Chapman death penalty trial begins

    Jury selection began Wednesday in the death penalty trial of the man accused of the murder of a Coatesville teenager who was allegedly dismembered with a chainsaw.

    Each of the potential jurors who appeared at the Chester County Justice Center was given a 14-page, 60-question questionnaire to complete after being welcomed to the courthouse by Common Pleas Court Judge William P. Mahon, who will preside over Laquanta Chapman’s trial.

    Chapman is accused of the 2008 death of 16-year-old Aaron “Head” Turner, whose body has never been found.

    In addition to asking biographical information about the potential jurors and their thoughts about juries and criminal cases, the court also asked more probing questions about their habits and the viewpoints of potential jurors.

    The questionnaire also asked whether they had read anything about the Chapman case and whether the potential juror had a fixed opinion about his guilt or innocence.

    As to the death penalty, the questionnaire posed a series of questions about whether those answering would be willing to serve on a jury that could consider the death penalty. It asked specifically whether jurorshad any “moral, religious or conscientious objections” to the death penalty.

    If the potential juror would answer yes to that question, they could be excluded from the jury pool.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20...y-trial-begins
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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