At the age of 18, Kenneth Reams who is African-American was sentenced to death as an accomplice in a botched robbery that resulted in the death of a white man named Gary Turner. He became the youngest in- mate on death row in Arkansas.
Kenneth Reams' case epitomizes the injustices associated with the administration of the death penalty in America. He was represented by a part time public defender who did not properly investigate the case, did not retain the necessary experts, and did not properly challenge the government's case against him. During the trial, his attorney did not even solicit Alford’ testimony that he, not Reams, shot the victim.
The trial prosecutor excluded black potential jurors on the basis of race and withheld from the defense critical evidence that would have undermined the state's case against him.
December 15, 1993
Kenneth Reams was found guilty at a jury trial for capi- tal murder and sentenced to death.
December 29, 1993
Through defense counsel defendant gave notice of ap- peal to the Arkansas Supreme Court
January 10, 1994
The Circuit Court of Jefferson County grant the de- fendant a stay of execution pending the appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
November 6, 1995
The Supreme Court of Arkansas delivered it’s opinion on - affirming the capital felony conviction and sentence.
May 9, 1996
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States was filed. Writ of Certiorari was «denied.»
January 31, 1997
Petition for relief under Rule 37 of Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure was filed
April 10, 2017
After a 20 lapse in time, on the specially appointed judge, Hon. John W. Cole ruled that Kenneth Reams’ death sentence should be (vacated), and the case set for a new trial should the state seek to pursue a sen- tence other than life imprisonment without parole.
May 10, 2017
Notice of appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court was filed. Outcome of the appeal is currently pending.