Byhalia man seeks new trial in death of mother-in-law

LAFOON

LAFOON

JACKSON (AP) – A Byhalia man argues in a post-conviction petition that he received poor legal advice when he pleaded guilty to the 2002 slaying of his mother-in-law.

The post-conviction petition is among dozens of cases the state Court of Appeals will consider during its May-June term. It will not hear oral arguments. A decision may come later this year.

Court records show Kep Lafoon pleaded guilty to a murder charge in October of 2002 in Marshall County Circuit court to avoid a possible death penalty in the slaying of Barbara Meek. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole as a habitual offender with two prior felonies on his record.

Prosecutors said Lafoon stole Meek’s pickup and took her hostage on Sept. 20, 2002, driving her into Tennessee and back in an attempt to force a meeting with his estranged wife.

After returning to Byhalia, Lafoon wrecked the truck, and when city police arrived at the scene, he pulled a firearm on them, firing several shots over the next several hours.

He later shot Meek and himself.

Meek died at Regional Medical Center in Memphis. Lafoon recovered from his wounds.

A judge in Marshall County denied Lafoon’s post-conviction petition in 2013.

In his appeal, Lafoon argues to the Appeals Court that his trial attorney didn’t do a good job but did not discuss specific instances.

Prosecutors said state law provides a post-conviction petition must be filed within three years after conviction and sentencing. They said Lafoon waited 10 years.

Nonetheless, prosecutors say Lafoon offers no affidavit other than his own to show that he was improperly advised or duped into making his plea.