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Court Rejects Indiana Man's Appeal in Arson Deaths of 2 Kids
Updated November 8, 2018 6:21 PM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence of a man in a 2010 house fire that killed his fiancee's two children.

All five justices agreed in Wednesday's decision that Jeffrey Weisheit was guilty of crimes, though Chief Justice Loretta Rush thought Weisheit should get a new penalty phase. The other four justices upheld the sentence, The Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Weisheit was convicted in 2013 of murder and arson in the deaths of 5-year-old Caleb Lynch and 8-year-old Alyssa Lynch at the family's Evansville-area home. Autopsies found the children died from smoke inhalation, indicating they were alive when the fire was set.

Weisheit contends his attorneys failed to call expert witnesses and failed to appropriately question jurors. Lawyers for the state argued that Weisheit's attorneys were highly qualified.

Justice Steven David wrote in the majority opinion that Weisheit "has not shown that he would be given a different sentence even if counsel had committed none of the alleged errors in light of the nature of this particular crime -- the murder of two small children -- and the overwhelming evidence of his guilt."

In her partially dissenting opinion Rush described the crime as "unequivocally horrific" and "disturbingly reprehensible," but she said that Weisheit was denied his constitutional right to effective counsel during the penalty phase of his trial.

Weisheit was arrested in Kentucky following a police chase that at times exceeded 100 mph. Officers had to subdue Weisheit with a stun gun after he threw a knife toward officers.

Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com



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