Kansas court upholds death sentence for sheriff's killing

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The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence imposed against a man who fatally shot a sheriff during a 2005 drug raid.

Kansas hasn't executed anyone in more than 50 years, and Friday's decision in Scott Cheever's case is only the second time the court has upheld a death sentence under the state's 1994 capital punishment law.

An execution by lethal injection isn't likely to be scheduled soon, but state Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement, "today's ruling marks the end of the first line of appeals in this case."

Cheever acknowledged shooting Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels as Samuels tried to serve a warrant at a rural home about 75 miles northeast of Wichita, but Cheever's attorney argued that he was too high on methamphetamine for the crime to be premeditated.

The slain sheriff's son, Heath Samuels, is now serving as interim sheriff in his father's old job in Greenwood County. He said he was "very excited" to see the court system still works. The family supports the death penalty, he said.

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