SPRINGFIELD (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death
sentence for a man convicted of killing the brother of basketball player
Marvin Cheeks, a firefighter, was found face down Oct. 5, 1991 in a puddle
of water under a Chicago viaduct. About 200 feet away was his Isuzu Amigo,
engulfed in flames.
James Munson was convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated
kidnapping and arson.
He challenged his conviction on the grounds that there were errors in jury
selection and that he was not effectively represented by his trial attorney. He
also claimed that he should not have been given the death sentence.
The Supreme Court rejected these arguments and found that he was eligible
for the death penalty because he killed Cheeks to avoid being identified.
The justices also upheld the death sentences of the following men who had
challenged decisions by lower courts to reject their appeals: Murray Hooper,
convicted of murder for the 1980 killings of three men in Chicago; and
Demetrius Henderson, convicted of the 1986 murder and sexual assault of
Kimberly Boyd in Chicago.
The court set execution dates for all three men, but stays are likely.
Hopper and Munson have not exhausted all state and federal appeals, and
Henderson can still file additional federal appeals, said Lori Corral,
spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Ryan.