TOPEKA – (March 27 2017) – The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to review the case of Gary Kleypas leaving his capital murder conviction and death sentence intact, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
The high court’s denial means Kleypas’ conviction and death sentence, which previously were affirmed by the Kansas Supreme Court, will stand on direct appeal. The case will next be returned to the Kansas courts for further proceedings under the Kansas death penalty statute. Although the U.S. Supreme Court’s action marks the end of Kleypas’ direct appeals, under both Kansas and federal law Kleypas has remaining options to seek further judicial review through collateral proceedings.
Kleypas was convicted in 1997 in Crawford County District Court of capital murder in connection with the 1996 murder of a Pittsburg State University student. He was sentenced to death in 1998. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Kleypas’ conviction, but overturned his death sentence in 2001 and ordered a new sentencing hearing. In 2008, a second jury recommended a death sentence in the case. The Kansas Supreme Court upheld that death sentence in October 2016.
This is the second death penalty case to exhaust direct appeals since the Kansas Legislature reinstated the death penalty in 1994. The first was State v. John Robinson in October 2016. The Kansas Supreme Court also has affirmed the conviction and death sentence of Sidney Gleason after remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, although Gleason has an opportunity to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case for a second time.
Kleypas is one of 10 people under sentence of death in Kansas. The other death penalty cases that remain pending at various stages of direct appeals before the Kansas Supreme Court are: State v. Scott Cheever (Greenwood County); State v. Jonathan Carr (Sedgwick County); State v. Reginald Carr (Sedgwick County); State v. Justin Thurber (Cowley County); State v. Craig Kahler (Osage County); State v. Frazier Glenn Miller (Johnson County); and State v. Kyle Flack (Franklin County).
In an eleventh case, State v. Doug Belt (Sedgwick County), the defendant died in prison, but the Kansas Supreme Court in October 2016 declined to disturb the capital murder conviction and death sentence.