Murder suspect back in court free from threat of death penalty

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

BENTON, IL (KFVS) - A 21-year-old woman being tried in a capital murder case appears in a Franklin County court Friday for a pre-trial hearing for the first time since the death penalty was abolished in Illinois.

Afton Ferris' defense team argued some evidence collected in Colorado when she was arrested should be excluded from trial.

Two Larimer County detectives who assisted in the arrest of Ferris and her boyfriend, Michael Schallert, flew to the Heartland to take to stand to discuss evidence collection techniques and the circumstances surrounding a recorded interview between Ferris and police in the Larimer County Sheriff's Department in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Ferris and Schallert are accused of shooting and killing Terri Siebeck and Kandis Majors in their West Frankfort home back in October 2009.

Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty in the case, now that won't happen. Just this week, capital punishment was abolished in the state.

"I was very disappointed," said Kandis Majors' mother Cindy Marlow. "Not just for this case, but a lot of different families who have to deal with this situation."

Ferris did not reply when Heartland News asked her how she felt now that she could not be put to death.

Ferris' trial is set to start on June 28. Schallert will be back in court March 22 at 1:30 p.m.

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