Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No death penalty requested in Cape case

Originally posted on April 17, 2007

The attorney for alleged murderer Kemar Johnston presented three motions Tuesday morning, one of which was to make death not a possible penalty for the 20-year-old Cape Coral man.

Johnston is charged with two counts of first degree murder and other charges related to the Oct. 7 killings of Alexis Sosa, 18, and Jeffrey Sosa, 14, in Cape Coral.

Lee County Circuit Judge Thomas Reese granted one of Johnston’s motions, which was to appoint a paralegal to assist with the defense.

"One person cannot represent a person in a capital case and do it all," attorney David Brener told Reese. "I’m asking the court to put me in the same position as the state."Brener argued that because Johnston didn’t have an attorney when he was arrested, arraigned, indicted on first-degree murder charges, arraigned again and then notified the state would be seeking death, death shouldn’t be a penalty.

Brener argued that an attorney is essential during those stages and can be used to negotiate with prosecutors.

In a third motion, he asked Reese to make a Florida statute unconstitutional because it alleges a defendant can be labeled a gang member regardless of any connection of the gang to the crime.

Brener argued that "Cash Feenz" is a rap group, not a gang. Reese reserved ruling on the latter two motions.

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