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Court Allows Gary Murderer to File Belated Appeal

Man who killed family had missed deadline in dispute with his attorneys

GARY, Ind.--A Gary triple murderer will be allowed to appeal his death sentence, despite missing a deadline last year.

Just one day after hearing arguments, a 4-1 Indiana Supreme Court has granted Kevin Isom's attorneys permission to go ahead with his appeal. Isom had refused to sign one of the necessary papers because he was dissatisfied with his state public defenders. His attorneys say he's declined to even meet with them. 

At Thursday's arguments, justices suggested assigning Isom a new attorney would give Isom the opportunity to show whether he genuinely wants to give up the chance to challenge his death sentence, while causing no harm to the judicial system. Attorneys for the state argued Isom has continued to show no interest in the appeal since allowing the deadline to pass, and that not enforcing the rules would create unnecessary delay.

Isom was convicted of shooting his wife and two teenage stepchildren to death in 2007. His attorneys contend Isom may not be mentally competent to be executed.

The Court issued a terse two-paragraph order reopening the appeal, and ordering the two sides to submit a schedule within a month for a hearing and final ruling. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter dissented.

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