Kendall Francois - Trial and Sentence

Trial and Sentence

Two days after his arrest, Francois was indicted for the murder of Catina Newmaster. On September 9, he appeared in court, and a plea of "not guilty" was entered on his behalf. A month later, on October 13, he was charged with eight counts of first degree murder, eight counts of second degree murder, and attempted murder.

Under New York State law, first degree murder, which includes serial murder, gives the District Attorney the option of pursuing the death penalty. Though the D.A. makes the decision to ask for that sentence, it may only be imposed by the jury which has heard the case; Francois' attorneys chose to plead guilty on 23 December, before the D.A. had decided whether to seek the death penalty, thereby avoiding trial by jury and therefore the possibility of death.

On February 11, 1999, the Dutchess County Court ruled that the guilty plea could not be accepted. Later it was discovered that Francois contracted HIV from one of his victims. His defense team took the case to the State Court of Appeals, which upheld his guilty plea in a ruling in March 2000.

On August 11, 2000, Judge Thomas Dolan formally sentenced Kendall Francois to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is currently incarcerated in Attica Correctional Facility.

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