Marlon Kiser was a Tennessee prisoner on death row who spent more than 30 years trying to prove his innocence. He was convicted of killing Hamilton County Deputy Donald Bond Jr. in 2003 by shooting him multiple times when he was checking on a suspicious vehicle at a produce stand. Kiser claimed that he was framed by his former roommate, James Michael Chattin, who had a motive to kill Bond because he was having an affair with Chattin’s wife.
Kiser maintained his innocence and started a website and a petition to seek clemency from Governor Bill Lee. He also received support from some anti-death penalty activists and religious leaders. He argued that he was innocent and that his trial was unfair. He said that he was denied effective counsel, that the prosecution withheld evidence, and that the jury was biased.
But his most desperate attempt to clear his name was to request the court to test palm and fingerprints on Bond’s flashlight and car, hoping to prove that they belonged to Chattin. He begged for the tests to be done before his execution, which was scheduled for Dec 9, 2023. He said that the tests would exonerate him and implicate Chattin.
However, the results revealed that the prints were Kiser’s, providing more evidence that he committed the crime. The Hamilton County District Attorney, Neal Pinkston, said that the fingerprints “don’t lie” and that they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kiser killed Bond. He said that Kiser “got what he deserved”.
Kiser’s last hope backfired on him and sealed his fate. But he never got to face his execution. He died of COVID-19 complications on Nov 10, 2023, while he was still on death row. He was one of the 11 death row inmates who contracted the virus at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.
Kiser’s death raised questions about the clemency process and the justice system. His lawyer, Henry Martin, said that he was innocent and that he was a victim of a flawed system. He said that Kiser was a human being, not a statistic, and that he was a son, a brother, a friend, and a person of deep faith. He also said that Kiser’s case was a tragic example of how the death penalty system is broken and unjust.
But Bond’s widow, Lisa Bond, said that she was relieved that Kiser was dead. She said that he was a cold-blooded killer who executed her husband and shot him 11 times. She said that she hoped that he suffered and that he would burn in hell. She also said that she was glad that she did not have to witness his execution and that she could finally move on with her life.
– Death Row Inmate Who Begged For Untested Fingerprints To Be Tested Before Execution Gets Results Back, Opposing Views, Nov 3, 2023
– Tennessee death row inmate Marlon Kiser dies of COVID-19 complications, ABC News, Nov 10, 2023
– Marlon Kiser’s death raises questions about clemency process, The Tennessean, Nov 12, 2023
– Marlon Kiser’s lawyer says he was innocent, blames flawed justice system, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Nov 14, 2023