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Thread: Troy Michael Kell - Utah Death Row

  1. #1
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    Oct 2010

    Troy Michael Kell - Utah Death Row

    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced on June 26, 1996, he was a white separatist and an inmate in Utah's Gunnison prison when he stabbed Lonnie Blackmon, a black inmate, 67 times with a crude knife on July 6, 1994. He has chosen to die by firing squad.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2010
    April 2, 2009

    A death-row inmate, convicted after being caught on surveillance video stabbing another inmate 67 times, is telling the Utah Supreme Court that he did not receive a fair trial.

    Even though Troy Michael Kell claims his defense attorneys did not adequately defend him at trial, an appeals attorney on Wednesday admitted to justices that he struggled to find something to argue to them just to keep his client alive.

    An attorney for the state said Kell's history of extreme violence is what ultimately earned him the death penalty.

    From the outset of oral arguments on Wednesday, justices said they were having trouble understanding where Kell thought the trial court was prejudiced against him. The justices asked Kell's attorney, Aric Cramer, to provide examples.

    Cramer admitted that he could not really provide any specific examples but said this was a difficult case and he felt "obligated" to bring the case to the supreme court to keep his client alive.

    Justice Michael Wilkins asked Cramer if he also had an obligation to make the court's time worthwhile.

    Cramer responded that he would rather risk being sanctioned by the court for making frivolous arguments than risk missing some issue that could prove legitimate.

    Assistant Utah Attorney General Thomas Brunker said nothing Kell's defense attorneys would have done could have spared him the death penalty given Kell's violent criminal history in and out of prison.

    Kell was initially given a life sentence without parole in Nevada for shooting James Kelly six times in the face. He was then moved to the Utah State Prison in Gunnison. While there, Kell fatally stabbed Lonnie Blackmon 67 times, including 26 times in the face, 27 times in the neck and nine times in the eyes.

    Kell, who professes to be a white-supremacist, then strutted around yelling "white power" and racist epithets.

    During a special trial held inside the Gunnison prison due to security concerns, a jury found Kell guilty of capital murder in 1996. During the sentencing phase, jurors were given a rundown of Kell's violent history, which included assaults not only on other inmates but also prison guards and included death threats to guards.

    Jurors were told Kell had burned one guard with hot liquid, head-butted another and did not stop assaulting a black inmate until a guard shot him in the legs.

    After hearing his history, the jury imposed the death penalty.

    Brunker said Kell's defense attorneys filed numerous motions challenging the case against him but when it came down to it, there was little they could do to mitigate Kell's criminal history.

    The supreme court will issue a written opinion in the coming months. This is the second time Kell's case has gone before the supreme court. In 2002, the high court upheld his conviction and death penalty sentence.

    (Source: The Associated Press)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    September 8, 2008

    The Utah Supreme Court on Friday unanimously rejected an appeal by death row inmate Troy Michael Kell, who was sentenced to death for stabbing a man 67 times in a gruesome slaying captured on prison cameras. The high court upheld a lower court's dismissal of an appeal Kell had lodged earlier.

    Kell in 1994 stabbed another prison inmate, Lonnie Blackmon, 67 times — including several times in the eyes — with a homemade knife. Prosecutors depicted the slaying as racially motivated. Kell was in a Utah prison after he being transferred from Nevada under an inter-state agreement. He had been convicted of a different murder in that state and had been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Kell's trial for Blackmon's slaying was held in a Utah prison due to security concerns and a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced him to death. The Utah Supreme Court previously affirmed his conviction and his sentence.

    Kell cited several claims in his 2003 petition for post-conviction relief, which he amended in 2005. Among his claims were arguments that he did not get a fair trial, there were problems with jury selection, and that he did not get effective help from his lawyers at both the trial and appellate levels.

    The state responded with a motion to dismiss Kell's claims, saying that these had either already been litigated on direct appeal or could have been raised on direct appeal, but that did not occur, so these were procedurally barred from consideration. A post-conviction court agreed with the state, and Kell appealed that decision, which the Supreme Court has now denied.

    Kell is one of 10 men in Utah's death row.


  4. #4
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    On May 27, 2009, Kell filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.


  5. #5
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Death row inmate Troy Kell takes wedding vows in handcuffs

    Utah death row inmate Troy Kell was married at the Utah State Prison Thursday afternoon.

    Details on who the woman is and how the pair met are unknown, but prison officials confirmed that the wedding took place before two witnesses and a justice of the peace, which is customary unless the inmate designates a different officiant, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said.

    The nuptials took place in a small room with a barrier that prevents any physical contact. Kell's violent history, which includes his time in prison, required that he remain handcuffed during the entire ceremony. The two were not allowed any contact before, during or after the wedding took place.

    Kell was sentenced to death in 1996 for the brutal murder of fellow inmate Lonnie Blackmon, who Kell stabbed 67 times with a homemade shank. He was seen on prison video surveillance tape recordings strutting and yelling "white power" after killing Blackmon, who is African-American.

    The death-row inmate was initially given a life sentence without parole in Nevada for shooting James Kelly six times in the face. He was then moved to the Utah State Prison in Gunnison as part of a prisoner exchange program.

    It was there, in 1994, when he stabbed Blackmon, leading him to have more limits placed on his activity in prison.

    "Troy is more restricted than the typical death row inmate because of the crime and his behavior," Gehrke said. "A typical death row inmate would have more privileges and freedoms than Troy Kell would."

    While most death row inmates are let out of their cells for recreation time one hour each day, Kell is only allowed out for a one-hour stretch three times a week.

    He is allowed two visitations per month, which can last up to an hour and a half, all of which must take place behind a glass partition. He can write as many letters from his solitary confinement cell as his materials allow.

    Any phone calls the man would make would have to be placed to those on an approved list and during Kell's three hours of out-of-cell time, Gehrke said.

    His trial, for aggravated murder, was held within the prison compound because of security concerns. He was set to die by firing squad in 2003, but filed an appeal. The process for that appeal is ongoing.

    Gehrke said Kell and his fiancee met all of the requirements to make the wedding possible, including a background check on the woman.

    Salt Lake County Jail inmate Curtis Allgier, also known for his white-supremacist views, planned a wedding earlier this year — on Adolf Hitler's birthday, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Allgier is facing the death penalty in the 2007 slaying of corrections officer Stephen Anderson.

    Salt Lake County Correctional Lt. Michael Deniro said the decision to cancel the wedding was made by Allgier and his fiancee.

    "They are not married and there are no plans at this time," Deniro said.


  6. #6
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Death-row inmate who stabbed prisoner 67 times says he had inadequate counsel

    The Utah Supreme Court on Monday heard for the third time arguments by attorneys representing death-row inmate Troy Michael Kell, who wants his conviction for fatally stabbing a fellow prisoner at a state prison in 1994 to be overturned.

    Megan Blythe Moriarty, a federal public defender representing Kell, said Kells prior attorneys failed to investigate 106 claims that Kell identifies as "red flags" in how his case was handled.

    Among Kells chief concerns is a claim that his attorneys didnt investigate and present to a jury "mitigating circumstances" that may have swayed jurors to convict Kell to life in prison instead of death for the July 6, 1994 murder of Lonnie Blackmon at the Gunnison prison.

    Video footage captured another inmate holding Blackmon, 32, down while a 26-year-old Kell stabbed him 67 times with a shank. Blackmon was serving a sentence for robbery and theft. Hed been transferred to Utahs prison from Arkansas, while Kell had been transferred to Utah from Las Vegas.

    Kell, now 42, was convicted in Nevada for the 1986 murder of a Canadian tourist in Las Vegas. He was sentenced to two life sentences. A Sanpete County jury in 1996 convicted Kell of capital murder and sentenced him to die for Blackmons murder.

    The execution has failed to proceed as the case continues to be held up in appeals.

    "This is an ugly case," Moriarty told the high court. "That is why it required good and thorough [investigation into] post-conviction relief. His counsel didnt do anything."

    Assistant Utah Attorney General Thomas Brunker disputed Moriartys claims, arguing that Kells counsel did an in-depth examination of potential post-penalty conviction options. Brunker said "every effort to curb Kells violence have been tried and failed" leaving death as the only punishment not tried.

    Kell, a white supremacist, yelled "white power" while wiping the blood of Blackmon, an African American, from his hands as other inmates cheered. Kell stabbed Blackmon nine times in the eyes, a tactic Brunker said was done to ensure the victim experienced the most excruciating pain possible.

    Brunker said that evidence in Kells case includes testimony from a guard he threatened, saying he had "nothing to lose" by acting out in prison because he was already serving two life sentences in the Nevada case.

    "His attitude was It gives me cart blanche to do whatever in prison, " Brunker said.

    Justice Jill Parrish questioned defense attorneys on how Kell can claim prejudice with the death sentence when he was already serving two life sentences with the Nevada case. She questioned whether jurors had another option other than death that would have punished Kell sufficiently.

    Moriarty responded that if jurors had been shown other mitigating circumstances it could have changed the balance of their decision dramatically.

    Larry Blackmon, Lonnie Blackmons brother, told The Salt Lake Tribune last year that he doesnt believe in the death penalty.

    "I dont think its effective," Larry Blackmon, 55, said in an interview from his Arkansas home."I dont think it works. If it worked, we still wouldnt have people doing murders and rapes."

    Larry Blackmon said his 72-year-old father wants the execution to proceed, however, and to be in the audience when Kell is executed. The state of Utah paid $175,000 to Blackmons family to settle a lawsuit filed after the mans death that alleged corrections could have prevented the killing.

    Brunker said if the high court should rule in Kells favor, it could open the door for the other eight inmates on Utahs death-row to stall out their cases by filing similar post-conviction relief appeals.

    The Supreme Court took the arguments under advisement and will issue a ruling at a later date. An appeal for Kell in federal court has been stayed until the high court rules on his state case.


  7. #7
    Passed away.
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    Oct 2010
    The Phog
    Kell is much smarter than your usual death row inmate and is using it to his advantage. Another case of the court system gone wacko...the crime was caught on tape. You have an inmate who is an admitted racist who killed a man because he was black. He has one previous murder conviction.

    He had an X date in 2003...yet here we are 8 years later debating whether or not he had a fair trial? Ludicrous.

  8. #8
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    This was a murder that can not be mitigated. Ineffective counsel..no way. The video speaks for itself!

  9. #9
    I just watched a whole documentary on Troy Kell and I can honestly say this man is extremely intelligent. Even for a High School dropout, hearing him talking and the manner in which he articulates things, he is a very, very smart man. After seeing this documentary, I've come to hold respect for Kell

  10. #10
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    The Utah Supreme Court has denied a death row inmates appeal in an opinion that could affect the cases of the eight other inmates set for execution.

    Troy Michael Kell, convicted of stabbing a fellow inmate 67 times with a shank in 1994, argued his prior attorneys "wasted his post-conviction opportunity" to change his death sentence, according to the opinion.

    Assistant Utah Attorney General Thomas Brunker said the 42-year-old Kells opportunity to go back to that part of the case, which had already been decided and unsuccessfully appealed, was over. He called the filing an attempt to create a loophole in laws designed to limit litigation.

    "They were trying to bootstrap it onto an older action in a way that could avoid those limitations," he said. The opinion " is very good for us."

    Kell attorney David Christensen said they were "disappointed" in the ruling but hadnt yet decided whether they would appeal it in state court or go forward with the federal appeal.

    After killing the inmate, Kell, then 26, yelled "white power" as he wiped the African-American victims blood from his hands.

    He still has a habeas corpus petition pending in federal court and his case will likely take years to decide, Brunker said.

    Kell was serving two life sentences for the 1986 murder of a Canadian tourist in Las Vegas. He has said he wants to die by firing squad.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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