published Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Judge: Killer can hire new attorneys for appeal

  • photo
    Marlon Duane Kiser waits during a court recess during his 2003 trial at the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Courts Building, where he faced charges in the 2001 slaying of Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Donald Bond.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A local man sentenced to die two years ago can hire new attorneys in his death penalty appeal.

Marlon Duane Kiser, 42, faces the death penalty for the Sept. 6, 2001, shooting death of Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Donald Bond.

Kiser was scheduled for execution in May 2010 but was granted a stay, pending the resolution of his post-conviction appeals.

On Monday, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole granted Kiser's request to fire his appeal attorneys for the past three years -- Autumn Gentry, of Nashville, and Rick Haberman with the Michigan office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The judge said in court that new attorneys would be appointed in coming weeks.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston declined to comment on the ongoing case.

Kiser has disagreed with some claims in his appeal and could not resolve those disputes with his attorneys. Details of those disagreements are protected under attorney-client privilege.

Gentry and Haberman sought a competency evaluation for Kiser this summer after he said he wanted new attorneys. The results of the evaluation are sealed, but Poole ruled that Kiser is competent to continue with his appeal.

In court documents Kiser and his attorneys allege that he was set up by his roommate, Michael Chattin, whom Kiser says killed Bond because Chattin thought the deputy was seeing his estranged wife.

Kiser also claims his trial attorneys, public defenders Karla Gothard and Mary Ann Green, were ineffective because they did not put on mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of his trial. But, according to court records, Kiser told the pair not to present a mitigation defense.

Kiser's attorneys have claimed he was not competent to make that decision during sentencing.

Contact staff writer Todd South at or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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