Looking closer at the death penalty in April Tinsley case

Allen County Prosecutor, Karen Richards, said in most death penalty cases, it can take decades before someone is executed.

Posted: Dec 22, 2018 9:35 PM
Updated: Dec 24, 2018 5:11 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Following the sentencing of April Tinsley's 59-year-old murderer, John Miller, Friday morning many people wonder why the death penalty was not an option in the case. 

The 80 year sentence was in line with a plea deal. If he were to live out his entire sentence, he'd be well over 100 years old. 

Miller's defense attorney, Anthony Churchward, said Miller is in failing health.

He was also taken into court in a wheelchair Friday. 

"I know he has some heart conditions. He's on high blood pressure medication," Churchward said. 

Allen County Prosecutor, Karen Richards, said in most death penalty cases, it can take decades before someone is executed. 

"Our experience with the death penalty has been that the appeals process is incredibly lengthy," Richards said. "The last case in Allen County where we had the death penalty ordered, It's 21 years later and we're no closer to Joseph Corcoran's execution than we were the day he was sentenced." 

Richards said she understands the anger and frustration, though, and even said in court she would, "pull the lever" herself.

"I think you could've found 50 people in that court room who would've pushed the button, or given the lethal dose, or pulled the lever on the electric chair, and I certainly am one of them and I'm not ashamed to say that," Richards said. 

But, when deciding how to proceed, Richards said she had to rule based on facts.  

"You can't sentence people based on the emotion you have. You have to look at the facts and the circumstances, and make your decisions accordingly and that's what you have to do as a prosecutor," Richards said. 

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