Judge Finds Murder Defendant Michael Hendon Mentally Unfit to Face Death Penalty in Triple Slaying

Ed Meyer, Beacon Journal, August 5, 2015

A judge has ruled that a 23-year-old Akron man is intellectually disabled and ineligible to face the death penalty in the 2013 New Year’s Eve slayings of two Barberton teens and their father.

The aggravated murder trial of Michael Deon Hendon, one of two Akron brothers indicted for the crime, was scheduled to begin Wednesday with jury selection in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

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Hendon and his older brother, Eric Donta Hendon, 32, were both charged in capital murder indictments with the shooting deaths of Ashley Carpenter, 18, her brother David Kohler Carpenter, 14, and their father, John Kohler, 42, at their 7th Street Southwest home in Barberton on Dec. 31, 2013.

Ashley and David Carpenter

Ashley and David Carpenter

Kohler’s girlfriend, Ronda Blankenship, now 39, also was shot at the home but survived. She is expected to be a key state’s witness in both trials.

Eric Hendon still faces the death penalty.{snip}

Earlier this week, Jones issued a 30-page written order, finding that Michael Hendon had “experienced significant limitations” in two or more adaptive skills well before the age of 18

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In siding with the defense claim that Michael Hendon is intellectually disabled, Jones wrote that having him face execution would violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment in the Eighth Amendment.

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Michael Hendon was born in 1991 “addicted to crack cocaine,” Jones wrote, with additional documentation that his mother “abused alcohol” when she was pregnant with him.

In an exhaustive review of his school records, Jones said he spent two years in kindergarten, and that at age 8 in 2000, his full-scale IQ in the Akron Public Schools system’s Wechsler Intelligence test was 69.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2002 decision in the case Atkins v. Virginia, set a full-scale IQ score of 70 as the standard for determining intellectual disability.

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Michael and Eric Hendon

Michael and Eric Hendon

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