Yavapai County inmate sentenced to death for murder of Prescott Valley couple
Kenneth Thompson heads to death row for 2012 killings
Kenneth Wayne Thompson II sat stone-faced as he was sentenced to death Wednesday, April 3, for murdering a Prescott Valley couple in 2012.
The verdict was reached by a 12-member jury after three days of deliberation, putting an end to a nine-week trial and seven-year court case.
Thompson, 35, was found guilty in late February of brutally killing his sister-in-law, Penelope (Penny) Edwards, 35, and her fiancé, Troy Dunn, 38, in the couple’s Prescott Valley home.
Soon after, he was found guilty of all aggravating factors alleged in the case, making him eligible for the death penalty.
Efforts were then made by his three defense attorneys during the mitigation, or sentencing, phase to convince the jury that Thompson didn’t deserve to die for his crimes. That effort failed Wednesday as the jury submitted their unanimous decision.
“We felt like the punishment had to fit the crime,” said a juror, who asked not to be identified.
The decision did not come easily, however. At the start of jury deliberation on Thursday, March 28, the initial vote was five in favor of life in prison, five in favor of death and two undecided, said another juror, who also asked not to be identified.
“We just couldn’t get past the brutality of the crime,” the second juror said.
Following the verdict, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Patricia Trebesch asked if Thompson wished to say anything before she read the final sentence. Thompson passed on this opportunity, saying “I said everything in my allocution.”
Trebesch then sentenced Thompson to death by lethal injection. She also ordered him to pay a number of fines and fees, including restitution to the victims with a cap of $500,000. She then said he is to be transported to the Arizona Department of Corrections “without delay” from the Yavapai County Jail, where he had been incarcerated for 2,571 days as of Wednesday.
As is required by state law for capital offense cases such as this, an automatic appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court will be filed on Thompson’s behalf.
Gregory Parzych, one of Thompson’s attorneys, said a new team of attorneys will take over the case for that appeal process.
“We wish Mr. Thompson well in his appeal,” Parzych said.
As for the outcome of this initial case, he said the defense team, which spent three-to-four years on the case, is “disappointed.”
“Every capital case is difficult,” Parzych said. “When you get a death verdict, you always wish you would have done something differently.”
Reflecting the opposite sentiment, the prosecution, led by Steven Young with the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, felt justice had been served.
“I think [the jury] reached a just and appropriate verdict in this case given all the circumstances,” Young said. “And getting justice for the victims is important, of course.”
The last time someone was sentenced to death in Yavapai County was in 2003.