By: Debbie RolenStaff Writer
December 28, 2012
LOGAN— Brent Spencer has filed a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. Spencer pled guilty to Murder in the First Degree and Death of a Child by Parent and was sentenced to “Life with Mercy” as to Count One and was also sentenced to a 40-year consecutive sentence as to Count Two. Spencer was remanded to the Division of Corrections, where he remains incarcerated.
On December 10, 2008, three-year-old Kagen Spencer was shot in the head and his mother and grandfather found him lying on the concrete underneath the carport when they got home from work. Kagen was transported to the hospital, where he later died.
Kagen had been left in the care of his father, Brent D. Spencer (Petitioner), who claimed he took Xanax pills and had virtually “no memory” of anything that happened after taking them. Toxicology reports at the time indicated he had also consumed many alcoholic beverages at the same time he took the Xanax. The child had been shot once in the head with a .22 caliber pistol and his father had also been shot once in the foot.
Spencer is arguing his counsel rendered ineffective assistance in violation of the state and federal constitution by: erroneously informing Petitioner that if he proceeded to trial, “non-existing” evidence could be introduced against him; interjecting his religious beliefs and/or services into the proceedings and thereby ultimately coercing Petitioner to enter a plea of guilty to the charged offenses; failing to properly investigate and/or inform Petitioner of evidence consistent with an “Accidental” defense; failing to obtain a ruling from the circuit court as to the validity and/or constitutionality of Petitioner’s alleged statements to police, prior to advising Petitioner to plead guilty to the charged offenses; failing to move the circuit court to quash the indictment against Petitioner; deciding not to proceed with a trial and thereby reject the state’s plea offer; and, failing to make a timely objection to an un-fulfillable plea bargain.
Spencer is asking the court to set the matter for omnibus hearing, which is a pretrial hearing. It is usually conducted soon after a defendant’s arraignment. The main purpose of the hearing is to determine the admissibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest. The prosecutor and the defendant’s counsel attend the hearing to discuss matters pertaining to the case.