The News Edge was on hand in the Kentucky Supreme Court Chambers at the State Capitol in Frankfort Thursday to hear Dunlap’s public defender Kathleen Schmidt request the state’s high court overturn the death penalty sentence that was handed down by a Livingston County Circuit Court Jury in February 2010. Schmidt discussed the testimony of both witnesses for the prosecution and defense that said during the sentencing trial the abnormality, discovered on the right frontal lobe of Dunlap’s brain, impaired his ability to decide about entering a guilty plea.
She also claimed the presiding Circuit Judge C.A. Woody Woodall, III, pushed the case to trial too quickly after learning of the size of the brain abnormality.
Deputy Chief Justice Mary Noble questioned Schmidt’s assertion that the brain abnormality referred to an as AVM impaired Dunlap’s judgement.
The ability to make a decision was also questioned by Justice Will Schroder.
Assistant Kentucky Attorney General David Abner said expert witnesses testified about the brain abnormality, but also said they did not feel the AVM affected his ability to decide about entering a guilty plea.
Abner also said admitting to the crime was a reasonable response by Dunlap in response to the severity of the crime.
Following the oral arguments that lasted more than an hour, Justices met behind closed doors to discuss the case. Justice Bill Cunningham, who recused himself from the case, says Chief Justice John Minton will select one justice to write the opinion on the case, which could be filed as early as December of this year or January of next year.
On hand in the Supreme Court Chambers to hear oral arguments was the prosecutor in the case Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey, father of one of the victims Jeff Frensley and some of his family.
For more pictures, CLICK HERE