Minnehaha Co. Judge Denies Killer's Request
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
January 16, 2013 8:55 PM
The Sioux Falls man who confessed to killing a 75-year-old hospice nurse in her home in July of 2011 was in court Wednesday and asked a judge to wave capitol punishment in his case.
James McVay planned a killing spree with a plot to assassinate the president.
He needed money and transportation, which led to the murder of Maybelle Schein.
Defense attorneys asked the judge to put Mcvay's maximum sentence to life in prison without parole.
The judge denied this request, a decision the Minnehaha County State's Attorney, Aaron McGowan said he supports.
"We certainly agree with that ruling," said McGowan.
The request to eliminate the death penalty from James McVay's possible sentences, follows McVay's first-degree murder, but mentally ill plea, McVay's attorneys claim execution is cruel and unusual punishment.
The judge denied the killer’s request and McGowan said state statues in this case is cut and dry.
"Any possible punishment with a guilty, but mentally ill plea is available to the judge or jury in this type of case," said McGowan.
McVay's attorneys said there have been three cases in South Dakota, where people made the same plea as McVay, and received life in prison without parole.
McGowan stressed again, McVay will receive any punishment decided by a jury or judge, which includes death by lethal injection.
He said mental illness does not afford McVay the same protection as mental incompetence.
"Like there is for cases of mental retardation or incompetence that are separate and are distinctly laid out by the Legislature," said McGowan.
McVay pleaded guilty to the July 2011 killing of Maybelle Schein, the victim caught in the killer's twisted plot to assassinate the President.
After McVay served prison time in South Dakota for previous crimes, he was put in community transition program with minimul security where he walked away from authorities.
He made his way to the west side Wal-Mart where he stole clothes and camping knives, then slept under a bridge at Sertoma Park.
On July 2, 2011, McVay wandered to a Sioux Falls neighborhood where he broke into Schein's home to steal items he needed to carry on his mission to kill the President.
McVay stood over Schein in her home until she woke up from her nap, he then stabbed her to death, saying he wanted to quote "get blood on his hands...get experience killing people."
It's been more than a year, since McVay committed murder and McGowan hopes McVay faces his sentence soon.
"Eventually we'd like to get the case closed at the penalty phase," said McGowan.
After the court hearing, the judge asked to meet with both the prosecution and defense, to start mapping out the next steps.
A jury could hear Mcvay’s case, where evidence from both sides will be used to determine Mcvay's sentence.