22.4.08

Supanchick Trial Coverage

Today I went to the Lane County Circuit Court to cover a judicial case for my reporting class. I stayed about two hours, then raced back to the computer lab to put together 800 words for the article. I wanted to get the thing done by 1700, a common deadline in newspapers, and I managed to do so with about 30 minutes to spare.

I sent the article to my professor and a couple newspapers, but I haven't heard back from anyone.


Jury Considers Capital Punishment for Supanchick

Eugene, Ore. - The Supanchick murder trial entered the sentencing phase Tuesday, after ex-Navy corpsman Tyke Thomas Supanchick, 30, was found guilty on April 18 of killing his estranged wife Kelly Supanchick, 25. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in this case.

The sentencing began with an extended opening statement by the defense, which laid out their case against execution, and repeated their requests for the 12-person jury to be “rational.”

“The first part of the case was driven by emotion,” the defense attorneys said, “but this part is about judgment. His life is in your hands.”

Their opening statement continued by talking about Supanchick’s service in the military and his work in the community, which has continued during his time in prison. The defendant has mentored and tutored other inmates throughout his incarceration, according to the defense attorneys.

“This young man has spent all of his life in service,” the attorneys said. “Nothing can punish him any more than he is being punished. And he welcomes it.”

The defense argues that the murder was entirely out of character for Supanchick, and should not be viewed as evidence of future dangerousness. They said that the trial up to that point had been about trying to explain how something can happen so quickly when he had “led an exemplary life.”

According to the defense lawyers, the defendant accepts that he is “absolutely responsible” for the death. However they cautioned the jury about the impact of an execution upon Supanchick’s five brothers, mother and father.

“This has destroyed them. Truly, truly destroyed.”

The prosecution responded with impassioned testimony by the victim’s parents, Howard Jackson and Beatrice Schwartzman.

“Having your kid murdered makes you question whatever belief system you might have,” Schwartzman said. “Because that is not how it is supposed to work.”

When she heard about her daughter’s death, Schwartzman thought there must have been a misunderstanding.

“It didn’t go in, it’s like it bounced off my head.”

Both parents describe her as a happy, competitive “tomboy,” who was a good mother. She joined the Navy in 2001, and was part of the ceremonial guard in Washington, DC, before receiving a medical discharge for a “circulation problem,” according to Jackson.

Howard Jackson and his wife Sue have legally adopted their granddaughter, Guinevere, 4, and live with her in Topeka, Kan. Schwartzman, who lives in St. Louis, Mo., said that the girl “seems to be in pretty good shape – in spite of it all.”

“She has her ‘mom that died,’ and her ‘mom that she lives with,’” Schwartzman said.

Jackson stated that he has no intent to foster a relationship between her and the defendant. However, he said that they did have a picture of Tyke Supanchick in a personal history photo album, which Guinevere was free to look at whenever she wanted.

“I am not going to lie about [her mother’s death],” Jackson said. “I am going to sugarcoat it.”

After the parent’s testimony, defense lawyers motioned for summary judgment by the judge, citing insufficient evidence of future dangerousness of the defendant. The court adjourned while the defense readied their video testimony in support of the motion.

Kelly Supanchick filed a restraining order against Tyke Supanchick a month prior to the shooting, citing personal threats and worries about two loaded guns in their house. The two were involved in a custody battle over their 18-month-old daughter. Supanchick entered his wife’s home on Dec. 23, 2005, armed with a shotgun, a large knife, duct tape and rubber gloves. Hours later, police arrived at the duplex after being alerted by his father.

Officer Richard Bremer testified that he peered through a window and saw that Kelly Supanchick was bound and in need of help, so police attempted to kick down the door. Tyke Supanchick shot the victim several times in the head and body, killing her, then surrendered to police.

The Supanchick trial is the first Oregon death penalty case held since the US Supreme Court ended its seven months long de facto moratorium on the death penalty on April 16. In a 7 – 2 opinion, the court ruled that correctly administered lethal injection did not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.”

If sentenced to be executed, Supanchick would join 35 men sitting on death row. However, Oregon has only exercised capital punishment twice in the last 32 years, and there are no scheduled executions.

The trial, before Lane County Circuit Judge Gregory Foote, is expected to conclude within a week.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

iolqsOfficer Bremer did not testify that he saw that Kelly Supanchick was bound. He testified that he saw a partial view of her sitting upright on a bed and that she looked terrified and begged for his help. He, and two other officers, were in the process of kicking the door in when she was shot 4 times with a shotgun by Tyke Supanchick.

Tristan said...

That is my mistake. Officer Bremer said that she was seated, and that when he asked her to open the door she said "I can't, I need help." Defense lawyer Randell Vogt stated that Kelly Supanchick was bound. I apologize for the error.

Anonymous said...

I was a juror on this case. Mr. Tyke Supanchick has been sentenced to life in prison WITHOUT the possibility of parole. Given that he has never really taken accountability for his actions (he could have pled guilty and accepted his sentence)and given that his family still blames Kelly and the Eugene Police Department, expect to see an appeal filed. Tyke and Tyke alone destroyed several families when he chose to aim the Mossberg at Kelly and shoot her 4 times. The blood is on his hands forever.

Anonymous said...

Would the actions of Tyke Supanchick be consistant with a person who is autistic but undiagnosed, and suffering from PTSD?

Tristan said...

Supanchick was diagnosed with PTSD, but there have been no allegations of autism that I know of. The defense argued that PTSD was a factor in the murder, but the prosecution vehemently denied the connection.

Autism and PTSD can mean many different things; a victim can be barely affected, impaired or completely dysfunctional. The broad diagnostic standard means it is difficult to attribute any consistency to the diseases.

However, in Supanchick's case there is no evidence that he was significantly impaired by PTSD or an undiagnosed autism prior to the murder.

Autism is a social disorder, while PTSD can cause paranoia and disassociation, but it is difficult to believe that they could cause a premeditated murder in all but the most severe of cases.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the Eugene Police policy on use of force? I think you will find many things done wrong on this particiular case.

Anonymous said...

I am no big fan of the EPD, but they did NOTHING but try to save her. Tyke hid himself from everyone-- his dad and brother in law AND the police. No one knew he was there. He parked around the corner, hiding his truck, would not answer the doors or phones. Officer Bremer only knew a woman was asking for help and he responded. Stop blaming the EPD - they didn't pull the trigger. Whomever you are, you are starting to sound like HIS family -- blaming everyone but the person who walked into that house with the gun and shot another human being. Period.

Anonymous said...

God fobid you were ever in a bank during a robbery, and the EPD or Officer Bremmer responding. Don't follow procedure just go on in Good Luck with that!!

Anonymous said...

P.S. Bremer didn't try to call or talk to the neighbors in the adjoining duplex.

Anonymous said...

I think that everyone that was not involved should leave it alone. You don't know what it's like going through this. Tyke's family has done nothing wrong so don't say HIS family. Yes their son is alive but it doesn't make it any easier on them they're sufferin as well. Only God can judge so don't act like it's your place. He knows what he did and he's the only one that has to answer for it. I agree it's an awful thing but it's over let it rest.

ino said...

Tristan, Tyke was diagnosed with PTSD by the psych for the defense, but not by the prosecutor's. Did you see how much he cried for the 911 video but not one tear for Kelly? Officer Bremer did what he thought was appropriate to help Kelly. He was not aware that she'd been bound. Tyke's family was indeed involved in the situation. They took his loaded guns from the house in which he and Kelly were living, and moved them to their home which is where he was living. They also blamed Kelly for his behavior and continue to do so.They also still hold the police responsible, not Tyke.

Pearce,Jeremy said...

I grew up most of my teen years with Tyke, This isnt the guy i grew up with something happened to him while in the service, Do i condone his actions, no way but people that have never served dont know what we deal with. We grew up wanting to serve our country we both served in a junior rotc program at our own exspense to train up for the military. I now serve in washington d.c. as a member of the U.S. Army's old guard ceremonial unit and am getting ready to deploy.

I dont know why i am writing this but this guy had to have had something happen to him because this isnt how tyke would have acted

Anonymous said...

First Sup was in the NAVY, second i was with him on his one deployment and NOTHING happened it was a vacation...... So that is crap there was no PTSD causing situations. It was wrong and he is paying. should the cops have handled it better YES. but oh well NONE of you were there and not in there shoes. They made the decision. Live with it people and move on.........

Tristan said...

I've been reading the comments left on this blog over the last few months, and I'm glad that people feel that this is a good place to talk about this.

I read that the jury gave Supanchick life in prison without parole, and that he seemed content with that.

"I deserve to go to prison for a very long time, and I promise I will do everything in prison to redeem myself." Supanchick said to the jury. "Unfortunately there is one thing I can not do, bring Kelly back."

http://www.kval.com/news/local/18154754.html

Anyways, that's as much as I know about what has happened since I wrote the article. If anyone has anything to add, I would appreciate it if they would.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what prision Sup is in? This is a very disturbing thing. I knew Sup for sevetal years while he was stationed at Camp Lejeune an from what I saw of the two of them this suprises me and I am very saddened by tykes actions. I hope Guin will be able to have a great life as she is the real victum in this. Please let me know if any one knows what prision he is in. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Tyke is at
Snake River Correctional
Tyke Supanchick #16299641
777 Stanton Blvd.
Ontario, O. 97914-0595

Tristan said...

Thank you very much for posting that information. I'm sure that there are many people who appreciate knowing where he is and how to contact him.

Those who are interested can get more information about the Snake River medium correctional facility at this website: http://www.oregon.gov/DOC/OPS/PRISON/srci.shtml

Tristan said...

Re-reading the comments made me realize that I had mistakenly said that Supanchick was in the Marines rather than the Navy. Now that is a quite embarrassing error of the type that I would hope that I no longer make in the work I now do nine months later. Thank you anonymous poster for correcting me.

Anonymous said...

Before Tyke went on any deployments he was horrible to Kelly. And like someone else mentioned he was on vacation for his deployment. I personally know this. Kelly was sheltered and unable to do anything and Tykes parents helped him keep her "under control" by taking her checkbook and giving her an allowance like a child because of Tykes request while he was deployed. The verbal abuse started from the day they got married. PTSD is not to blame. He wanted her to leave without her daughter.. and as a parent.. I would have never agreed to that either.

Anonymous said...

Cyber bully!!!!

JoeSchmoe said...

I have a few comments to make. I spent about a year and a half with Sup in the Navy, both right before he and Kelly met, and after they got married. To be honest, I never really understood why they stuck together longer than a few months. Sup was big into music. Always playing his guitars, drums, keyboard or anything he get his hands on. In general, he was a very driven, happy guy. He volunteered with the Sea Cadets, was big into his mentorship programs, and always seemed ready to help with just about anything. Right after those two started seeing each other though, all that quickly got shut down. Kelly was always trying to control his life and would flip out whenever he would want to go to a concert or go play music with us. He had to start telling us that he wasn't allowed to go do anything, else the she would have him 'sleeping on the couch' type of deal. It really bugged the heck out of him and they fought constantly. Most of the time, he would bend over backwards to try to keep her happy, but it never worked.
He always seemed to be in a bad mood after that. Things were all rosey in the beginning of course, but that passed quickly and was never the same.

Now this is not to say that Kelly was a completely horrible person or that I hated her for any reason. However, she was not the angel everyone is making her out to be either (or at least not in my opinion). She was very critical of a lot of things, and was a nightmare to work with on several occasions. Most of us chalked it up to her not 'hacking it' as far as military life went and we figured that--Hey! We're not the one married to her, so whatever! I knew her seperate from Sup, so this was not a preconcieved stab at her character. It's unfortunate what happened to her, and I don't mean to spit on her grave so to speak, but I've read a lot of bad info on what everyone thinks on how she was in real life. It's easy to paint a pretty picture of the victim when it's a tragic situation, but it takes two to tango and I'm pretty sure both sides had a good hand in what happened. I agree, he screwed up royaly and is paying the piper for it. Whether he gets death or life, he's still getting the worst either way. Life in prison or facing God himself...you tell me which is worse.

On the other hand, I can see why he would be capable of doing such an awful thing. One night, he got drunk out of his mind, swam up the Anncostia river, and boarded the display ship in the Navy Yard--pirate style. All we could think was WTF dude?!!! He stood tall in front of the man for that one. Another wierd thing was when the DC sniper stuff was going on, he and Kelly took a trip to the Guitar Center, and he had a big black instrument case he was carrying with him. He kinda laughed at the idea someone could've mis-identified him as the sniper because of the case. He was kind of routing the sniper is what he told me. Maybe he did have morbid thoughts like that running through his head that made hime more capable of committing the crime? I'm not too sure, but I knwo he asn't alone in thinking the same thing--only nobody else wen out on a shooting spree either.

Another thing to think about too, seeing someone mentioned it: the Pentagon attack. Sup was pretty much right in the middle of it. His camera was out the second he had the thought to get it. He was on ASF and ended up going into the building over the next few months and saw lots and lots of bad stuff. He said he had nightmares about a lot of it. We knew some of the people that died in there and it was pretty dramatic for all of us. Sure it wasn't front line combat, but it was frightening enough at times and nobody can discount what happened to him there.

I'm not really trying to argue for or against either side on all this, I'm just giving you guys more of a background on what I saw and experienced myself. A few people got to comment on his deployment so I wanted to give examples of what happened even before that that might explain a few things.

Rebecca said...

'Joe Schmoe'-So its OK to kill her because she was difficult? Oh wait no you're just saying that its not quite so bad because he had his reasons...hmm, interesting point of view. Well the Kelly I knew was sweet and giving and always upbeat no matter what was going on and you should be ashamed of yourself for what you've said about her. I am shocked and saddened by what he did to Kelly and I am relieved to know that he is paying for his crime, it would be nice if he would take some responsibility rather than blaming his horrifying behavior on PTSD.

Joe Schmoe said...

Rebecca-I never said it was ok that he did what he did. Regardless of how bad things were between them, his resolution was definitely the wrong one, and that's why he is where he's at. I apologize if I hurt anyone's feeling further by what I posted, but like I said, that was just how I saw things from my point of view. I'm not here to split hairs, just putting in my two cents. They both were a victim of their own circumstances.

Both sides lost, so it doesn't do any good to say who was more right or wrong. I understand that's not entirely fair to Kelley, but that's life. Nobody ever said everything was going to be perfect.

Tyke chose to take the cowardly way out and then tried to hide behind a phony defense because he knew he was going down either way. For that, I do have empathy for Kelley. She got screwed out of the rest of her life. But that doesn't remove the fact that she was difficult to deal with. Call me heartless and rude for saying it if you like, but that's the truth of the matter.

As far as blaming it on PTSD, we all know that's a load of crap. I honestly don't believe it for one second. They both got into a nasty situation and couldn't figure out the proper way to deal with things. No matter how you look at it, it still happened and you can only look at the people involved. I've seen the two of them get in some really ugly fights, so I don't doubt for a second that Kelley didn't have anything to do with spurring him on at some point. However, that does NOT mean she deserved what she got. If he had chosen to act differently, we obviously wouldn't be sitting here talking about it. So it was more than just his own actions that are to blame for what went on. He just carries the majority of the fault.

simpledrift said...

Tyke was my best friend while growing up together in Junction City OR. We did what all kids do for fun, we rode bikes all over lane county, We both fished the Willamette River countless times, we would play Army together and we worked together on a huge model train layout. Tyke was into train photography, and quite good at it. I was always jealous of his family life, due to my family life was almost none existent at the time. He has the best father and a great loving mother, I spent many nights over there playing board games or watching the TV. So one day I decided to join the Army, Tyke wanted the Navy. After I left Oregon, Shortly later Tyke followed in the Navy. I spoke to Tyke only once since I was in Europe on the other side of the world from him, during that phone conversation he seemed happy, I asked why, He said its due to being married and having a perfect baby togeher. I even Spoke with Kelly for a short few minutes, when Tyke returned he asked me how much longer in the service I have, I will be out in 3 month, Then the wifes can meet and the kids can play together, while we go off and hit the fishing spots that would have been severly underfished for the last couple years of us being gone, I closed out the call and said my good byes. I looked at my wife with a smile, what she asked, well babe I'm just excited to get back home. Kris, Kris wake up the phone is ringing, ok got up and looked at the clock "THEE AM" this better be good, I picked the phone up and said what is it in a very disstrubing voice. The phone paused, Then I could here a faint cry, Oh Boy! what is going on back home now. My Mom Starts asking me to sit down, by now my mind is racing thinking in my head of family member got in troulbe or killled. Son are you sitting down, yes mom spit it out, well listen to me, I'm so sorry but Tyke has just shot and killed his wife. I frooze. I stared at the reciever lying it in my hands, I followed one single tear falling from my cheek to the phone in very slow motion. The events of my childhood ran before me in an instance. How could this of happen. If only I could have been home sonner I could have stopped this. What was he thinking when he did this. I must pray for him, his family and her and her family. That was how it affect me then and now, Two friends go to war together but in different services and come back home diferent men. I have his addrress to write him in prison but I still have not had the words to say or write, How on earth do you start a letter off like this. If only the Army would have sent me home 3 weeks sooner, a life would still be alive, a mother, and a friend. May God take over this and set our hurt and anger aside, Pray for all involed.

Anonymous said...

police are awesome poeple. they did what they thought was best to help. i was also deployed with supanchick. he had more than once made comments about killing his wife when we got back and nobody took him serious. and the fact that he said things like that were never spoke of until the tragedy. ptsd cannot be blamed on this because we were never in a hostile environment the entire deployment. NO COMBAT. everyone deserves to be happy and he took that away from her and her family.

Anonymous said...

Sup was weird. He didn't have PTSD I was with him he gave me advil for colds when we got to Kuwait witch was all he ever saw. I can see why he used it as a defense but he never was around a trauma let alone a war. Why didn't the state follow up on that. I hope things have changed. The wife was cheating I know he said that he couldn't cope.