Chiding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a death sentence for a man who killed his gambling buddy over some casino losses, Courthouse News Service reports. George Kayer is on death row for the murder of Delbert Haas in 1994. Haas had borrowed money from Kayer on a Nevada gambling trip, and Haas told the third member of the group, Lisa Kester, that he would kill the man for losing it. “While the three drove home, Kayer took a detour to a secluded area and stopped on the side of a dirt road,” the court wrote. “After Haas exited the vehicle to urinate, Kayer grabbed a gun, sneaked up to him, and shot him pointblank in the head.” Kayer was found guilty of first-degree murder. Rather than let his lawyer seek a delay to turn up any mitigating evidence, however, Kayer moved to expedite his sentencing.
Facing execution now, Kayer claims the assistance of his counsel was ineffective. His new attorneys have produced evidence that he is bipolar. The Ninth Circuit agreed that Arizona’s high court might have vacated his death sentence had it been shown evidence of his mental impairment. The U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed that decision Monday, saying it was wrong to issue “a writ of habeas corpus despite ample room for reasonable disagreement about the prisoner’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim.” Kayer calls himself the “most published prisoner in America,” having started a periodical called Inmate Shopper.