U.S. Supreme Court declines review of convicted killer Jordan Clemons’ case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Jordan Clemons to review whether his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted and sentenced to death for killing his ex-girlfriend in 2012.
Clemons was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Karissa Kunco in January 2012.
Jurors in 2015 found Clemons, formerly of Mt. Washington, guilty of killing Karissa Kunco, 21. Her body was found dumped in a wooded area in Washington County after her throat had been slashed repeatedly.
In his petition for review, Clemons, now 30, raised two issues. He claimed he had not wittingly waived his Miranda rights before making inculpatory statements to police, and that he wasn’t granted a change of venue for the trial despite what he claimed was substantial, sensational and inflammatory pre-trial publicity.
According to Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone, whenever someone is convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Pennsylvania, their case is automatically reviewed by the state Supreme Court. He said the state Supreme Court didn’t find any legal issues with Clemons’ case, but his attorney appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Vittone said there are other ways that Clemons can appeal his death sentence. Pennsylvania has a Post-Conviction Relief Act, where prisoners can file claims on things such as how effective their attorneys were during trial or an appeal. There are also federal habeas corpus petitions, where federal courts can determine whether a state’s incarceration of a prisoner is valid, he said.
“By no means is this over,: Vittone said. “This is just the first step in the appeals process.”
Clemons is being held in the state prison in Greene County.