Saturday, April 08, 2006

Convicted Nevada slayer says ghost made him kill

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A Nevada Supreme Court panel has voted 2-1 to reject an appeal from an inmate who claimed his murder conviction should be tossed because a ghost made him kill.

Justices ruled Wednesday that Samuel Marquez wasn't insane when he hit bartender Richard Adamicki over the head with a baseball bat in 2001, and that he should continue to serve the 100-year sentence he received for his first-degree murder conviction.

Adamicki never regained consciousness after the attack at a Las Vegas-area tavern, and died two months later.

Marquez stole the victim's wallet and $2,700 from a cash register. The incident was caught on videotape and a few hours later police arrested Marquez, who confessed to the killing.

During the trial, forensic psychologist Mark Chambers testified Marquez saw an apparition during the night of the beating and robbery. He said Marquez claimed he had seen the ghost of a dead woman many times since he was a child in El Salvador.

Chambers testified that Marquez feared the ghost, believing she was responsible for his sister's death and wanted to take him to the afterlife.

While he was in the bar, Marquez again saw the ghost and she demanded he take the money, according to Chambers. The psychologist added the fearful Marquez didn't know right from wrong at that point.

In the decision, Justices Mark Gibbons and Jim Hardesty ruled a lower court properly rejected defense arguments that an instruction should have been given on insanity.

Despite saying Marquez acted because of fear of a ghost, the two justices noted that Chambers also stated Marquez wasn't delusional. A delusional state is one of the conditions for a finding of legal insanity in Nevada.

Justice Bill Maupin dissented, saying a jury instruction on the legal definition of insanity should have been given.

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