Story Archive

Did ’E Cheatham?

During jury selection for a 2005 murder trial in Topeka, Kan., Dennis Hawver said the defendant, Phillip D. Cheatham Jr., was a drug dealer and a killer. When the trial came, he didn’t reveal evidence that might have shown the defendant wasn’t even in Topeka when the murders he was on trial for took place. The worst part: Hawver was the defense attorney. He’s been disbarred. Dressed as Thomas Jefferson with a powdered wig, he pounded a lectern and told the Kansas Supreme Court at his disciplinary hearing, “I am incompetent!” But he also argued that the strategy he used in the murder case was forced on him by his client. The theory they presented: only an incompetent criminal would have needed so many bullets to kill two people, only an incompetent criminal would have left a third victim alive to tell the tale — and Cheatham was a competent criminal. Cheatham is now getting a second trial; his conviction and death sentence from the first one were overturned. (AC/Wichita Eagle) ...Good, because we need competent criminals out on the street.
Original Publication Date: 30 November 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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I believe humanity is held back by the lack of thinking. I provoke thought with examples of what happens when we don’t think, and when we do. This is True is my primary method: stories like this come out every week by email, and basic subscriptions are free. Click here for a subscribe form.

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