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June 16, 2011
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Cop killer on Fla. death row claims mental illness

Robert Bailey tries to win new trial and sentencing

By PoliceOne Staff

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Robert Bailey is currently on death row for the 2005 murder of Panama City Beach Police Sergeant Kevin Kight during a traffic stop on Easter night, but he is claiming his trial attorneys were incompetent and that he is legally mentally retarded.

He went back to court on Wednesday to appeal his case. Under Florida law, mental illness would disqualify him for execution. Bailey's mother, mentally challenged brother, and his estranged father appeared before Judge Michael Overstreet to support Bailey's claim.

WJHG has released key testimony from Bailey's former attorneys, who deny his claim.

"I’ve never suggested to him that he could beat the case by faking mental illness and somehow he could go off to a mental hospital for five years and go home. That's just a fantasy," said Walter Smith, Bailey's ex-lawyer.

Two local psychologists both evaluated Bailey and found that the legal definition of mental retardation does not apply to him.

Dr. Henry McClaren stated he was "confident" in that diagnosis.

Debra Gilchrest, Bailey's mother, recounted a situation to the court that she believed to illustrate Bailey's precarious mental condition. "He fell out of a house or an apartment -- a two story building. They said he wasn't hurt, but I don't know that because my cousin Adam was watching him," she said.

According to Bailey's family, they have a history of mental illness. His father, Robert Bailey Sr., called himself "a chronic Bipolar," and Bailey's brother is mentally challenged.

The Florida Supreme Court rejected a 2008 Bailey appeal.






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