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Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Parrish Death Sentence

From Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeighKentucky Death Row inmate Melvin Lee Parrish of Louisville has failed to convince the state sSupreme Court to reverse his death sentence.In 2000, a Jefferson Circuit Court jury found Melvin Lee Parrish guilty of murdering his cousin Rhonda and one of her two sons in a dispute over money he had loaned the woman. Parrish had smoked crack cocaine prior to the murders. He received the death penalty for the child’s murder, a sentence later upheld on direct appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.In a new appeal, Parrish argues the death sentence violates his constitutional rights because he’s mentally handicapped. A lower court found that not to be the case because experts determined Parrish’s IQ to be at least 70. The high court agrees with the lower court, saying Parrish’s claim “clearly has been refuted by the record.”The high court, in a 6-0 decision with one justice not sitting, also rejects several other arguments in the appeal, including ineffective assistance of counsel.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.