Arkansas man, 39, sentenced to death

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Arkansas man, 39, sentenced to death

Post  Jennie on Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:41 am

A Garfield County, Okla., judge on Tuesday sentenced an Arkansas man to death for the fatal shooting of a woman at a Blaine County home more than 2 years ago.

District Judge Ronald G. Franklin agreed with a jury's recommendation that Wendell Arden Grissom pay for killing Amber Matthews with his life.

Grissom, 39, of Paris also received a life sentence for shooting with an intent to kill for wounding Drue Kopf, whose home is where the deadly robbery attempt occurred. That sentence and terms of 25 years for grand larceny and 40 years for possessing a firearm after a felony conviction will run consecutively, the judge ordered.

On Nov. 3, 2005, Grissom entered Kopf’s home, northeast of Watonga, and shot her several times as she struggled with him. Kopf managed to escape, but Matthews, of Kingfisher, could not.

Grissom shot her twice in the head, once as she held Kopf’s 5-week-old daughter and again after she fell on the floor of the children’s room, court records show.

A change of venue to Garfield County was granted for Grissom and his co-defendant, Jessie Floyd Johns, whose trial is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

Grissom's attorney, John W. Coyle, submitted a filing stating his client's intent to appeal his death sentence. Coyle said he and his son Billy Coyle would withdraw from the case to allow an Oklahoma Indigent Defense System attorney specializing in death penalty appeals to take over. Franklin appointed the new attorney during the sentencing.

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