Evansville man convicted of murder files for appeal

Evansville man convicted of murder files for appeal

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A special public defender has entered his appearance in the appeals case for 33-year-old Christopher Compton.

According to court records, Scott Barnhart entered his appearance in the case late last week.

14 NEWS has requested to speak with Compton in jail twice, he declined both times.

Compton has been sentenced to 200 years in prison.

In September, a jury found 33-year-old Compton guilty but mentally ill on three counts of murder.

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann says Compton faced anywhere from 75 to 225 years for setting a house fire on Franklin Street in March 2014 that resulted in the deaths of Keri Jones, her 3-year-old daughter Jazmin, and Donald Lankford.

Compton received 60 years for Jazmin's death and 55 years each for the other two fire victims.  He was also sentenced to 30 years for being a habitual offender.

The victims' families told us they believe Compton received a just punishment.

"He's going to get what he deserves," said Donna Collins.  "And I feel like our family can go back to our lives now."

Jeff Lankford lost his dad in the fire and now he feels an overwhelming sense of relief.

"I know he'll never be able to get out again," Lankford said.  "He'll never be able to do this to anybody else.  I'm thankful for that."

"I have to forgive so it don't eat me up," he continued.  "But I can never forget."

Hermann feels 200 years meant justice for all three victims in this case.

"Well I just think if our number one goal is to protect the community, I think having him behind bars is one of the first things we need to do," Hermann said.

"He certainly has shown a propensity to hurt people, a propensity to do it again and again," he added.  "When you look at the number of arrests he's had and it's progressively gotten worse over the years, ultimately ending in the deaths of three people.  At some point in our society, we have to say enough is enough and we're not going any further."

[PREVIOUS: Jury declines to recommend life sentence for Compton]

The jury that convicted him declined to recommend a sentence of life without parole, but did find him to be a habitual offender. That tacked 30 more years onto his sentence.

Compton has indicated he will appeal the conviction and sentencing.

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