Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson has appealed a judge's decision to exclude the death penalty in a murder case scheduled for a June 1 trial.
Last week, Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine granted a defense motion to remove the death penalty from the jury's sentencing options in the upcoming trial of Trustin B. Jones and Robert Guernsey.
Jones, 21, and Guernsey, 34, had faced the possibility of execution if convicted in the 2013 shooting death of Derek Pelphrey, 23, a student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Larson has asked Goodwine to reconsider her decision to take execution off the table. He also filed another motion that asks Goodwine for a stay or a temporary suspension of a trial in the Jones and Guernsey case until a higher court rules on the appeal. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday before Goodwine.
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"If she says she's not going to postpone the proceedings until the appellate court decides whether she can do what she did, then we would go to the Court of Appeals," Larson said Wednesday. "The attorney general would handle that part, and they would transfer it directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition to keep her from having the trial until we get a ruling."
Kim Green, as assistant public advocate for Jones, could not be reached immediately for comment about the motion to stay.
In her order to exclude execution, Goodwine wrote that she had presided over more death-penalty cases than any other judge in Kentucky.
But Goodwine wrote, "The death penalty is the ultimate punishment and should be reserved and sought in cases involving only the most egregious set of facts one could possibly imagine."