Coday sentencing today: State seeks 101 years for killer

Prosecutor requests 29-year-old never receive parole

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2007

The one thing district attorney Doug Gardner can't explain at Jason Coday's sentencing today is why the 29-year-old man bought a gun, sawed off the barrel and killed an out-of-town painting contractor within 48 hours after arriving in Juneau.

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He does intend, however, to show that Coday's crime repeated a growing behavioral pattern and justifies a maximum sentence.

Gardner has asked that parole never be an option for Coday.

Seeking the fullest punishment under law, prosecutors hope Judge Larry Weeks will order Jason Coday to spend 101 years in prison for the random shooting of Simone Kim behind Fred Meyer in 2006. The time would involve 99 years for the murder and two years for misconduct involving a weapon, for sawing off the shotgun.

Understanding and explaining criminal motive is a traditional consideration at sentencing, William Saxbe, law professor at Ohio State University said.

In lieu of motive, Gardner said new evidence would be presented to establish Coday's history of anti-social behavior. Two witnesses will take the stand while Gardner argues for the harshest possible sentence.

During jury selection last May, Gardner continually posed a question to every potential juror. "Can you make a discussion based on the facts of a case without knowing why any of it happened?"

With eyewitnesses and DNA evidence, Gardner proved Coday killed Kim by shooting him in the back four times at close range with a .22-caliber rifle.

"The murder of Kim Could be hardly described as anything less than an ambush killing," Gardner said.

The "why" never came up again. Following a five-day trail, Coday was found guilty of first-degree murder.

"If there is no answer to that, it is unsettling," Gardner said.

Coday did not take the stand in his own defense. David Sied, Coday's attorney, argued a case of mistaken identity based largely on picking apart witness testimony. The only hints to Coday's state of mind came in public. Several times during the trial Coday made random nonsensical outbursts, once accusing members in the jury to be dressed in black and red gang colors.

After hearing the verdict, Coday sarcastically thanked Sied then attacked him before state police put him on the ground.

Sied did not return calls for this article.

In a recent letter sent to the family of Kim, Jeannie Coday, the defendant's mother, couldn't answer the nagging question. Why?

"I'm not sure why this happened. All I know is, it was wrong and no life should be taken like that for any reason," Jeannie Coday said.

In lieu of motive, Gardner will show the court a behavioral trend with Coday's alleged actions in Sandy Valley, Nev., two months before killing Kim.

"The defendant's behavior demonstrates anti-social and dangerous tendencies," Gardner said.

In a sentencing memo Gardner told how Coday used methamphetamines before roaming a suburban neighborhood with a shotgun shell between his teeth and sawed-off shotgun in his hands. Coday shouted and fought with residents. Draped in an 18-shell ammunition belt and two knives, Coday taunted a father and his children.

Coday allegedly fired two shots that night before police arrested him on Weapons and drug charges.

Las Vegas Police say Coday did "scare the residents."

Today, a Las Vegas cop will testify while presenting the shotgun Coday allegedly used in the June 2006 assault.

Gardner closed his court memo saying Coday's "isolation is the only way to ensure public safety."

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