Casady Agrees to Waive Death Penalty: Prosecutor says it is only way to get [The accused] back from Canada

The state of Arkansas will not be seeking the death penalty in the capital murder case of accused murderer [The accused] of Saline County.

Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady said Friday that he has consulted with the U.S. State Department and “determined that our only option for bringing [The accused] to justice here in Saline County is to waive the death penalty to make certain the Canadian authorities will release him back into our custody to stand Trial.”

“Obviously, this is not the result that either the family [of the victims] or I wanted, but brining him back to face the charges here is of paramount importance both to me and to the families...”

[The accused], 43, who fled to Canada to avoid trial in Saline County Circuit Court, is charged with the July 2005 murders of his former wife and her friend.

A conviction could have resulted in [The accused] receiving a lethal injection, which has been his primary argument in trying to remain in Canada where there is no death penalty.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Bush sent the following letter to the Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C:

“[The accused] is currently being incarcerated in Canada awaiting deportation to the United Sates. He is charged in Saline County, Arkansas, U.S.A., with two counts of capital murder. These offenses qualify for imposition of a sentence which could include life imprisonment or death. As a duly empowered Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, and after consultation with Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady, I am able to offer the following assurance to the Government of Canada. Should [The accused] be convicted of capital murder, the state of Arkansas will assure the government of Canada that the death penalty will not be imposed upon [The accused] for these offenses.”

Bush notes previously that prosecutors planed to consult with the families [The victims] before a decision would be made on the death penalty issue.

Local authorities have accused [The accused] of shooting his ex-wife four times and her new husband three times at their home in Benton. [The victim] was the father of three young children.

[The accused], a former soldier, has spent several months at the Calgary Remand Centre, after fleeing the United States while awaiting trial in Saline County Circuit Court.

[The accused] has been ordered out of Canada. However, the federal government wanted an assurance from the U.S. State Department that he would be spared the death penalty if returned.

While [The accused] initially admitted to shooting the two childhood friends, he claims he did it in self-defence and has pleaded not guilty.

[The victim]’s mother, previously said she and other family members would never agree to eliminating the death penalty as an option and urged Saline County prosecutors not to give into Canada’s request.

Brady reportedly said she pleaded with Canadian authorities to cease protecting her son’s accused killer and return him to the United States.

Canada refuses to deport or extradite individuals who face the death penalty, following a Supreme Court ruling six years ago that found the punishment violated the Charter of Rights.

The Department of Justice recently sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. State Department seeking an assurance [The accused] would not be put to death if convicted of the two murder charges.

Gregory Dunn, [The accused]’s Calgary-based lawyer, reportedly said he expected the death penalty to be waived despite the pleas of [The victim]'s family.

“I appreciate that the authorities are indicating they are going to consult with the families, because that’s the right thing to do. But at the end of the day, I just don’t see the United Sates not playing ball on this,” said Dunn.

“If the United Sates wants him back in a timely fashion, if they want him back to face a jury and judge on these charges, they are going to have to play ball.”

It was possible that if prosecutors had refused to waive the death penalty – and if Canada were to continue its stance – [The accused] could have been released in Canada, where he faces no criminal charges.

He was arrested in Longview, Alberta, Canada on Oct. 5 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He had been using the alias “Tim Bond.”

[The accused]’s parents were charged with assisting in his flight from justice a short time before he was apprehended in Canada. He was on the phone with Saline County Sherriff’s Sgt. Paul Viner in Benton when the Mounties special weapons team threw a small explosive device to distract him and rushed into his room.

Investigation determined [The accused] left Saline County and went on a cruise in Mexico, then missed the ship at some point and began moving around to different cities.

Detective Cpl. Mike Frost, who worked with Viner on tracing [The accused]’s whereabouts by means of cell phone tracking, said [The accused] left Mexico, then flew to Dallas; Memphis, Tenn.; Atlanta; back to Memphis back to Dallas; Denver and then to Canada. He is believed to have entered Canada on Sept. 26, about the time authorities received information that he had been in Mexico.

Sheriff Phil Mask reported that his investigators learned [The accused] was receiving financial assistance, though detectives were not certain of the source.

Viner said he believed, based on conversations with [The accused],that the suspect possibly won money on the cruise ship in Mexico and was thus able to finance much of his flight from authorities.

[The accused]’s parents, Betty Abbott, 60, and his stepfather, Bill Abbott, 74, of Paron, were released from jail after [The accused] was apprehended.