Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman says she decided to seek the death penalty for accused child killer James Lee Troutman soon after she heard about the case. She says it is strictly a matter of state law.
“There’s a death penalty statute, and that statute lays out what we call aggravating factors and mitigating factors, and it lays out a list of conditions that are required to be present for a district attorney to seek the death penalty. We look at those factors and determine whether it’s appropriate for us legally to seek the death penalty.”
She says the problem with capital cases is not with getting the conviction or getting jurors to sentence a defendant to death. The problem is with the appeals process.
“We all know that these cases seem to never end. I look in Philadelphia at the Mumia case, which has gone on forever. In Montgomery County we have the Eichinger case, where the appeals just never end, and because capital cases have that kind of scrutiny even after the conviction and after the sentencing, we know going in that we’re in for a marathon.”
Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted in the 1983 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Danny Faulkner. John Eichinger was found guilty of first degree murder in the stabbing deaths of 28-year-old Heather Greaves, her 21-year-old sister Lisa, and Heather’s three-year-old daughter, Avery Johnson, at their King of Prussia home on Good Friday of 2005. The 24-year-old Troutman allegedly raped nine-year-old Skyler Kauffman and beat her to death earlier this month at the Souderton Gardens Apartments, where they both lived. Ferman appeared Thursday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.