If found guilty, Weisheit could face death penalty - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

If found guilty, Weisheit could face death penalty

By Nathan Ryder - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Sarah Harlan - email

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - If convicted, an accused child killer could now face lethal injection.

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco said the punishment fits the crime in the case against 34-year-old Jeffrey Weisheit.

He's charged with setting a house fire, killing his fiancée's two children.

Weisheit's trial will mark the seventh time Levco has sought out the death penalty in his 20-year history as county prosecutor.

"I've decided to file a request for the death penalty," Levco said.

Weisheit is accused of setting a house fire on Fischer Road earlier this month.

That fire killed his fiancée's children, 8-year-old Alyssa and 5-year-old Caleb Lynch.

"Even when it's obvious, or obvious to me, what I should do, it's still difficult," Levco said. "Some are more difficult than others."

Under Indiana state law, several different factors can make a case eligible for the death penalty, including the involvement of children under the age of 12, multiple murders and even arson.

While there are some factors Levco said he won't discuss outside of trial, he did say this:

"I used, or I cited the age of the children and the fact that it was multiple murders," Levco said.

For Levco, the decision to pursue the death penalty isn't just his.

He discussed the possibility with investigators and also held separate conversations with Alyssa and Caleb's mother and biological father.

"Both of them told me they would prefer that I make that decision without their input," Levco said. "Ultimately, the decision is mine but it's rare that I'm going to decide this if everybody doesn't want me to file it."

The decision will now also change how the trial process progresses.

Weisheit will be assigned two attorneys who are death qualified.

"They have more resources," Levco said. "They have virtually unlimited resources. That will delay the trial with the hiring of expert witnesses, depositions, things of that nature."

Levco said he's sure where Weisheit's trial will be held will be an issue that's raised by Weisheit's defense.

Consequently, only two out of five death penalty cases tried by Levco have been moved away from Evansville.

Weisheit will be back in court Tuesday morning.

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