A former Louisville man was sentenced to death Friday for the 2007 murders of two men in Lexington.
Carlos Ordway, 29, was convicted in July of fatally shooting Patrick Lewis, 21, and Rodrieques Turner, 25, both of Louisville, while the two were inside a car on Appian Way.
Before Ordway was sentenced Friday, public defender Sam Cox noted that even Turner's mother, in a letter to the judge filed in the court record, said that she would be satisfied with life without parole.
Cox and co-public defender Dennis Shepherd had argued during the trial that Ordway acted in self-defense. But at the conclusion of a two-hour sentencing hearing, Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine said "the jury chose not to believe Mr. Ordway's self-defense theory."
The jury recommended the death penalty, "and this court is going to carry out the sentence of the jury," Goodwine said.
Goodwine said she had reviewed similar death-penalty cases involving multiple murders.
The defense said that Ordway grabbed Turner's gun and shot the two men after one of them put a gun to Ordway's head and took drugs from him.
The judge rejected a defense motion that there was insufficient evidence to put Ordway to death.
"We had a thoroughly circumstantial case, and at the very best we had a guess as to what happened in that moving vehicle, in that neighborhood at 10 o'clock at night," Shepherd said.
But Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said "juries don't want to sentence people to death. In this instance, the jury believed that the evidence was so strong against that defendant, that they believed that that was the appropriate punishment for what he did."
Goodwine agreed, saying "the evidence supports the finding of the jury on two counts of intentional murder."
Goodwine rejected a defense argument that Ordway should not be sentenced to death in the name of "conservation of the commonwealth's resources" during a time of recession.
"I don't think anybody would argue that the commonwealth is in recession, and that there is an added cost to putting someone on Death Row. There is no question about that," Goodwine said. "But quite honestly, I believe ... that is a debate that is more appropriate to be addressed in the legislature."
She also rejected a defense motion that execution should be removed as a sentencing option "because of a historical bias in using the death penalty against African-American defendants."
"Obviously, you don't have to explain to me the historical predicament of African-Americans," said Goodwine, who is black. "But, again, I think the job of a trial judge in imposing a sentence is to do so color-blind. ... I try to do that in any case, regardless of the race of the defendant."
Ordway spoke only during the beginning of the hearing, when he asked Goodwine why he was handcuffed and shackled, and why the courtroom had eight law enforcement officers watching him in the courtroom.
"I ain't disrespected nobody," Ordway said.
Goodwine responded that as a convicted felon, Ordway no longer had a presumption of innocence, and that he was being treated as any similar defendant would.