Death row inmate Michael Tisius is appealing his sentence to the Supreme Court. His attorney says whether he possessed a weapon while in state custody led to prejudicial sentencing. Michael Tisius, 30, was 19 when he helped Roy Vance break out of the Randolph County jail, shooting and killing two guards in the process.
A judge resentenced Tisius to death last year. Tisius is now fighting for life in prison.
Kansas City public defender Jeannie Willibey says the court didn’t follow proper process when it failed to bring in a witness in regards to “exhibit 53,” which deals with what the court calls a boot-shank Tisius had while in custody. Willibey says he never admitted to that, he said he “had a piece of metal in his boot he was holding for someone else.”
The Attorney General’s counsel, Richard Starnes, says the information is factual, and the defendent did admit there was sufficient evidence against him, hence, the Alford plea. Starnes says it’s Tisius’ argument is irrelevant since he did enter an Alford Plea, meaning he agreed the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him of the crime regardless of an admission of guilt.
“We do not challenge the state’s ability — we agree the state could have if it wanted to bring in particular circumestances, they could have also brought in a witness from the Dept. of Corrections,” Willibey says. At issue, she says, is that the state used the allegations in the felony complaint.