Sanders seeks new trial or sentence in grandmother's death

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Whether convicted murderer KD Sanders gets a new trial or his life sentence reversed is in the Mississippi Supreme Court’s hands.

The court heard arguments this afternoon from Sanders’ attorney, Hunter Aikens, and from Jeffrey Klingfuss about Sanders’ 2008 conviction in the shotgun death of his grandmother, Elma Sanders, in her Tishomingo County home more than 20 years ago.

KD Sanders also was tried for the shooting-bludgeoning of his grandfather, W.D. Sanders, just minutes before his grandmother was shot. But the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Today’s hearing focused on several appeal issues, including whether Sanders could be found not guilty by reason of insanity at one moment, then know what he was doing when he fatally wounded Mrs. Sanders.

The court, from its questions, clearly wanted more debate on Sanders’ sentence by Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner, who ordered him to serve a life sentence in prison before being treated and confined for mental illness.

While the court voted recently voted 8-1 to hear the appeal, today’s questions showed mounting skepticism about the appeal issues.

Immediately after the shootings, KD Sanders took off in the couple’s vehicle and wasn’t returned to Mississippi until he was identified 20 years later in Texas during a traffic stop.

Now, Sanders is confined to a state prison in south Mississippi and reportedly is being treated for mental illness, although Aikens said he disputed its quality compared with a certified treatment facility.

Showing greatest concern about the imprisonment before treatment were justices David Chandler, William Waller Jr., James Graves and Ann Lamar.

But Sanders will need five of the nine votes to get a new trial or a new sentence. The decision isn’t likely for several months.

Read Tuesday’s Daily Journal for more details.