Warren County judges to decide if man gets death penalty in sister’s killing

Lawyers for a 38-year-old Warren County man began this morning making the case that he should be sentenced to life in prison, as opposed to death, for murdering his sister and attempting to murder her husband to get money to buy heroin in September 2017.

Last week, a three-judge panel found Christopher Kirby guilty of capital crimes, prompting the second phase of the trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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“At no point have we ever justified the killings here,” lawyer John Kaspar said.

But Kaspar said Kirby’s life should be spared in recognition of the poverty, family dysfunction, mental health problems and drug use in his life.

Thomas Swales, a neuropsychologist, testified that Kirby attempted suicide while in jail since murdering his adoptive sister, Deborah Power, 63, and attempting to murdering Ronnie Power, 66, at a home they shared in South Lebanon.

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Swales also described Kirby’s lifetime of drug use and treatment in the jail with drugs for people with severe mental illness.

Kirby never finished high school but studied landscaping at the Warren County Career Center, Swales testified.

The trial is expected to end today with a decision on whether Kirby should be sentenced to death.

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