A judge denied a defense motion Monday to exclude the death penalty as a sentencing option before the Aug. 7 trial of Terry Lavaughn Farrell.
Farrell, 23, of Lexington faces murder and robbery charges in Nov. 22, 2015, shooting death of Jamaal T. Gossett, 18.
Public defender Shannon Brooks-English had sought to exclude consideration of the death penalty on the basis of common standards of decency.
“We just don’t see the death penalty being utilized and sought and given the way we once did as a society,” Brooks-English said after a court hearing.
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But Judge Thomas Travis denied the motion, citing a Kentucky Supreme Court decision last year that Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine erred when she excluded the death penalty as a potential sentencing option in another Fayette murder and robbery case.
The Supreme Court said Goodwine should have waited to hear the evidence at trial before deciding to exclude the death penalty. Although “the death penalty has fallen into disfavor in recent years, it remains a viable penalty in Kentucky, authorized by our legislature in specific types of cases, including those in which the defendant is charged with committing murder in the course of the commission of first-degree robbery,” the Supreme Court said in its 2016 opinion.
Meanwhile, Lamonte Williams, a witness for the prosecution in Farrell’s trial, is under indictment for five counts of wanton endangerment in the Oct. 16 fatal shooting of Trinity Gay, 15, the daughter of Olympian Tyson Gay. The defense brought up the matter during Monday’s hearing.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrea Williams said no offer or plea agreement has been extended to Lamonte Williams in regard to his testimony in the Farrell trial. It’s unclear what the testimony of Lamonte Williams will be in the Farrell trial.