State Supreme Court judges are weighing arguments about just how far prosecutors can go during the penalty phase of a murder trial. Assistant Public Defender Janet Thompson argued before the Court that emotion took over when the jury recommended Earl Forrest be put to death for three murders in Dent County three years ago. Thompson zeroed in on the testimony of one of the victim’s relatives who told the jury one of her brothers had multiple strokes and another died shortly after their sister’s murder. But Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Morrell disagreed, arguing the prosecutor never crossed the line and directly linked the illness and death to the murder. Forrest shot and killed Michael Wells and Harriett Smith in December of 2002. Dent County Deputy Joann Barnes died of injuries sustained during a firefight at Forrest’s house. The Court has taken the case under consideration.
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