Child killer ready to die

LOUISVILLE — For four years, Marco Allen Chapman hasn't wavered about his last wish — to die by lethal injection for killing two children in a violent attack on their family.

That wish will be granted Friday night, barring a last-minute change of heart by Chapman or the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Chapman is scheduled to be executed at Kentucky State Penitentiary, which would make him the first Kentucky inmate to die at the hands of the state since 1999.

"The only thing I could says is I'm sorry. Even though they shouldn't accept it, my heartfelt apologies for their loss and what I've done," Chapman told The Associated Press in May. "I'm ready. I'm ready and I'm sorry. There's nothing else I can say."

Chapman's aunt, Donna Rumburg of Mount Airy, Md., said his family is a little less certain about his decision. Rumburg, who raised Chapman for a short time, said she hasn't forgiven Chapman for what he did because it's not her place.

"But I don't say I don't love him," Rumburg said.

Chapman, 37, pleaded guilty in December 2004 to killing 7-year-old Chelbi Sharon and 6-year-old Cody Sharon in their Northern Kentucky home. He also admitted stabbing 10-year-old Courtney Sharon, who survived, then raping and trying to kill their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, during the 2002 assault.

Chapman has never explained the attack and might not before the lethal three-drug cocktail is administered.

"To this day, I still don't know why. I don't know exactly what happened that night," Chapman said. "I did something that was immoral and wrong. I want to pay the price for it."

Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday he has no plans to stop Chapman's execution.

"I quite honestly don't see any extenuating circumstances that will cause me to exercise my authority to grant clemency," Beshear said. "It is a heinous crime that was committed."

Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected a motion that would have halted the execution.

Chief Justice John Minton signed an order denying a request by a Louisville attorney to stop it. The attorney, Philip Longmeyer, had questioned on behalf of a group of private citizens whether the Kentucky Department of Corrections should have held public hearings before adopting regulations that specify how lethal injections are administered.

Chapman's first attorney in the case, public defender John Delaney, visited Chapman in prison last week. He said he thinks his former client is telling the truth about not knowing why he committed the crimes.

"Marc is a nice man," Delaney said. "He's a nice guy, a smart guy who doesn't really have a good handle on why he did what he did."

Linda Talley Smith, who prosecuted Chapman, described his case as unusual because Chapman has been so forthcoming about what he did and wanting to take the punishment for it. But that doesn't make it easier for everyone involved to handle, Smith said.

"I don't think that there is any such thing as a healing effect in this type of case," Smith said. "Come Saturday morning, Cody and Chelbi will still be missing from their family's lives."

Despite Chapman's willingness to die, anti-death penalty activists plan to hold a vigil Friday at the prison.

"The issue isn't Chapman," said the Rev. Pat Delahanty, head of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. "The issue is when do you kill. We happen to think it's never appropriate to kill someone."