2016 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: State Supreme Court upholds conviction, death sentence in murder of Sheriff Matt Samuels

Release Date: Jul 22, 2016

TOPEKA – (July 22, 2016) – The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and death sentence of Scott Cheever in the 2005 murder of Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

“Unless the United States Supreme Court takes the highly unusual step of agreeing to hear this case a second time, today’s ruling marks the end of the first line of appeals in this case,” Schmidt said. “I’m encouraged the Kansas Supreme Court has agreed that this case was properly tried and the defendant was properly convicted and sentenced under applicable law.”

The Kansas Supreme Court had previously overturned the conviction in 2012, citing a constitutional violation and ordered a new trial. Schmidt appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously overturned the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in 2013, and remanded the case to the Kansas Supreme Court for further proceedings. Those proceedings concluded with today’s 6-1 ruling.

Cheever becomes the second person in Kansas whose sentence of death has been upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court since the death penalty was reinstated. The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence of John E. Robison Sr. last November. Robinson’s attorneys are seeking U.S. Supreme Court review, but the high court has not said whether it will hear the case.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.