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Jury: Man guilty of murder

It took a Pulaski County jury less than two hours Wednesday morning to convict a Dublin man of involvement in the murder of a woman he described as a “close friend.”
French David Kanode faced up to 50 years in prison on the convictions of conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder. Under the jury’s sentencing recommendation, the most he can receive is 22 years when Judge Colin Gibb officially imposes sentence at a later date.
Both the prosecution and defense agreed Dawn Meredith Wright’s murderer, Richard Forest Mabry, lied to police multiple times regarding what happened the night of the murder. However, the jury did not accept Kanode’s testimony that he had no part in the woman’s death.
Wright’s body was found lying in a ravine off the side of a dirt road on Bloomer’s Mountain several days after Mabry stabbed her five times, puncturing both of her lungs. Mabry says Kanode threatened to kill him and his family if he did not murder Wright as part of an initiation into the Pagans motorcycle gang.
Mabry claimed that he intended to tell Wright about the plot and “save her” life, but she “overreacted” and started struggling with him when a knife fell from his pocket. During testimony, he had no real explanation as to why the woman ended up with six stab wounds – two of which were in her back – other than to say he was trying to stop her from hitting him..
Kanode admitted riding around with Mabry and Wright the night of her murder, but he said there was no discussion of murdering Wright and he had no idea of Mabry’s intent.
According to testimony from both sides, Kanode was left at a Pulaski home while the murder took place.
Mabry says Kanode knew he was supposed to kill Wright when they left and Kanode said he thought they were just going to buy some drugs.
The defense contends Wright rejected Mabry’s sexual advances and he killed her because he was “insulted” and angry.
Prior to receiving evidence for the sentencing phase of the trial Wednesday, court bailiff’s told Judge Gibb that Kanode wasn’t “behaving.” The judge did not specify what Kanode had done, but he warned that he would have the defendant restrained if necessary.
According to sentencing evidence, Kanode has two prior misdemeanor convictions for assault. His mother, Louise Peoples, explained that one of the incidents involved Kanode’s stepfather. She said the men are “real close” now.
Peoples said her son has been “growing up and maturing” since the 1998 and 2003 convictions.
“He’s been really working hard to turn his life around. He doesn’t want to hang around the same kind of people he used to.”
She said her son’s fiancé has been a good influence on him, noting, “as a matter of fact he probably would be on the same track without her influence.”
Peoples described her son as “very sensitive” and “very caring.” She added, “He’s friendly. He’s a really nice person.”
In deciding on a sentence, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor suggested the jury ask themselves, “would Dawn Wright be dead if not for” Kanode’s actions?
“Richard Mabry used the knife to kill Dawn Wright, but French Kanode used Richard Mabry to kill Dawn Wright,” Fleenor told the jury. “Dawn Wright would be alive if not for French Kanode.”
The prosecutor concluded, “Quite frankly, French Kanode is a dangerous man.”
Defense attorney Jonathon Venzie reminded the jury that the murder, according to the prosecution’s theory, was based on an initiation into a motorcycle gang of which it is agreed Kanode wasn’t a member.
He said while he respects the jury’s findings in the case, Venzie asked them to “remember your findings have a reliance on information from a very unstable person” who lied to police and “came in here (courtroom) and lied.”
It took the jury less than an hour to reach its recommendation for sentencing.
A background report will be completed before Kanode is officially sentence. At that time, Judge Gibb can impose the recommended sentences to run consecutively (one after another) for a total of 22 years or concurrently (at the same time) for a total of 15 years. He also can reduce the sentence, but he cannot increase it.

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Jury: Man guilty of murder

It took a Pulaski County jury less than two hours Wednesday morning to convict a Dublin man of involvement in the murder of a woman he described as a “close friend.”
French David Kanode faced up to 50 years in prison on the convictions of conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder. Under the jury’s sentencing recommendation, the most he can receive is 22 years when Judge Colin Gibb officially imposes sentence at a later date.
Both the prosecution and defense agreed Dawn Meredith Wright’s murderer, Richard Forest Mabry, lied to police multiple times regarding what happened the night of the murder. However, the jury did not accept Kanode’s testimony that he had no part in the woman’s death.
Wright’s body was found lying in a ravine off the side of a dirt road on Bloomer’s Mountain several days after Mabry stabbed her five times, puncturing both of her lungs. Mabry says Kanode threatened to kill him and his family if he did not murder Wright as part of an initiation into the Pagans motorcycle gang.
Mabry claimed that he intended to tell Wright about the plot and “save her” life, but she “overreacted” and started struggling with him when a knife fell from his pocket. During testimony, he had no real explanation as to why the woman ended up with six stab wounds – two of which were in her back – other than to say he was trying to stop her from hitting him..
Kanode admitted riding around with Mabry and Wright the night of her murder, but he said there was no discussion of murdering Wright and he had no idea of Mabry’s intent.
According to testimony from both sides, Kanode was left at a Pulaski home while the murder took place.
Mabry says Kanode knew he was supposed to kill Wright when they left and Kanode said he thought they were just going to buy some drugs.
The defense contends Wright rejected Mabry’s sexual advances and he killed her because he was “insulted” and angry.
Prior to receiving evidence for the sentencing phase of the trial Wednesday, court bailiff’s told Judge Gibb that Kanode wasn’t “behaving.” The judge did not specify what Kanode had done, but he warned that he would have the defendant restrained if necessary.
According to sentencing evidence, Kanode has two prior misdemeanor convictions for assault. His mother, Louise Peoples, explained that one of the incidents involved Kanode’s stepfather. She said the men are “real close” now.
Peoples said her son has been “growing up and maturing” since the 1998 and 2003 convictions.
“He’s been really working hard to turn his life around. He doesn’t want to hang around the same kind of people he used to.”
She said her son’s fiancé has been a good influence on him, noting, “as a matter of fact he probably would be on the same track without her influence.”
Peoples described her son as “very sensitive” and “very caring.” She added, “He’s friendly. He’s a really nice person.”
In deciding on a sentence, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor suggested the jury ask themselves, “would Dawn Wright be dead if not for” Kanode’s actions?
“Richard Mabry used the knife to kill Dawn Wright, but French Kanode used Richard Mabry to kill Dawn Wright,” Fleenor told the jury. “Dawn Wright would be alive if not for French Kanode.”
The prosecutor concluded, “Quite frankly, French Kanode is a dangerous man.”
Defense attorney Jonathon Venzie reminded the jury that the murder, according to the prosecution’s theory, was based on an initiation into a motorcycle gang of which it is agreed Kanode wasn’t a member.
He said while he respects the jury’s findings in the case, Venzie asked them to “remember your findings have a reliance on information from a very unstable person” who lied to police and “came in here (courtroom) and lied.”
It took the jury less than an hour to reach its recommendation for sentencing.
A background report will be completed before Kanode is officially sentence. At that time, Judge Gibb can impose the recommended sentences to run consecutively (one after another) for a total of 22 years or concurrently (at the same time) for a total of 15 years. He also can reduce the sentence, but he cannot increase it.

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