Attorneys argue over death penalty for suspect in quadruple killing

Local News
marcus dansby mugshot_207400

The defense team for a Fort Wayne man facing the death penalty in a quadruple killing has again argued he should not face the possibility of death row.

Attorneys for Marcus Dansby on Thursday argued a motion to pull the death penalty that Allen County prosecutors are seeking. Dansby is faces faces four counts of murder related to the killings, along with an attempted murder charge, all related to a Sept. 11, 2016, incident at a home at 3006 Holton Ave. that left three adults and a full-term unborn baby dead and a 14-year-old girl badly hurt.

Dansby’s defense team of Michelle Kraus and Robert Gevers called a doctor to testify Thursday in open court. Dr. Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychology professor from Temple University, discussed the science of the brain in regards to development and maturity. He said Dansby could have had the mentality of an adolescent at the time of the crime.

The prosecution and Dansby’s defense team argued over when a brain is capable of making adult decisions and how much it can change from arrest to trial.

Dansby was 20 when authorities said he shot and stabbed to the death 37-year-old Consuela Arrington; 18-year-old Traeven Harris; 18-year-old Dajahiona Arrington and her full-term baby named A.J. inside a home at 3006 Holton Ave. on Sept. 11, 2016. He’s also accused of shooting and stabbing 14-year-old Trinity Hairston, who would make a recovery.

Police were called to the Holton Avenue home around 4 a.m. that Sept. 11, 2016. Officers arrived to find the victims bodies stabbed and shot, and Dansby covered in blood, leaning over the couch, crying and asking for help, according to an affidavit.

On him, police found a large blood-soaked knife with a broken handle, the affidavit said.

During an interview with police, Dansby immediately told the investigator, “I am still hearing gunshots,” and reportedly asked, “Did anyone survive?” according to the affidavit.

Dansby had cuts on his left hand and initially told police he did know where the cuts came from. Later he remembered “his cat scratched him,” according to the affidavit.

Police said that Dansby and Dajahiona Arrington had been in a relationship, but the pair had separated after the woman became pregnant with another man’s child. A DNA test confirmed, though, that Dansby was the father of the unborn child.

In January 2017, the Allen County prosecutor filed a motion to seek the death penalty against Dansby.

Dansby’s defense team previously argued the death penalty would be “cruel and unusual punishment” and argued Dansby should not face the death penalty because he was under 21 years old at the time of the crime. The court filing cited parts of the U.S. and State Constitution.

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull did not make a ruling Thursday, and ordered the prosecution to have something on file by Jan. 2.

Dansby is set to stand trial in April.

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