Death sentence upheld for Ferris cop-killer
By 02/08/2007 00:00:00
AUSTIN - On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the state's Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the death sentence of Kent Sprouse, who was convicted in the death of Ferris police officer Harry 'Marty' Steinfeldt III in October 2002.
The court handed down a unanimous decision, which was decided legally in the 40th District Court in February 2004, with an Ellis County jury convicting the Ferris man of capital murder and then sentencing him to death.
Officer Steinfeldt was responding to a report of a man with a gun at a service station in Ferris when he was shot by Sprouse, who had also killed another man, Pedro Moreno, at the scene.
Cindy Hellstern, assistant district attorney said, 'This is a long process and it just began, we are pleased though with the court affirming the conviction.' The attorney for Sprouse, Mark Griffith said, 'Without explanation it can only be a guess, the judges believe mentally retarded should not be executed but the mentally ill should.'
The opinion delivered by Judge Tom Price states, 'After reviewing appellant's 14 points of error, we find them to be without merit.
'Consequently, we affirm the trial court's judgment and sentence of death.' Sprouse could now file a motion for a rehearing with the court and also a writ with the United States Supreme Court, which is customary in death sentence cases.
There was currently a pending application filed with the 40th District Court by Sprouse and Judge Gene Knize will enter findings of fact and that writ will be sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals, according to Hellstern.