DA Drops Cheatham Appeal, Pursuing Retrial

Phillip Cheatham

Phillip Cheatham

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee Co. District Attorney Chad Taylor says he will move forward with a new trial for the suspect in a Topeka double murder case.

Taylor announced Tuesday that he is opting not to appeal Phillip Cheatham's case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court reversed Cheatham's conviction in January, citing ineffective counsel at his 2005 trial.

Cheatham's death sentence was previously overturned for the same reason.

Taylor says the decision to not appeal was mad after "exhaustive research and collaboration with numerous prosecution partners."

"It is our position that in order to protect and preserve the rights of the victims, their families and the public in general, that a complete and thorough review of appellate options was absolutely necessary," Taylor said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the incredibly limited number of cases the United States Supreme Court can accept for review, together with the unique facts and circumstances of this case render an appeal in this matter ill-advised."

Cheatham was convicted in the 2003 shooting deaths of Annette Roberson and Gloria Jones. A third woman, Anetta Thomas, was wounded.

Cheatham's attorney, Dennis Hawver, admitted to the court that he lacked capital trial experience and was preoccupied by running for governor at the time.

Among other things, Hawver told jurors Cheatham was a professional drug dealer and "shooter of people."

Taylor says his office will use "whatever resources are necessary" in moving forward with a retrial of the case.


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