Supreme Court Rejects Case of Woman on Alabama Death Row

Supreme Court Rejects Case of Woman on Alabama Death Row
Heather Leavell-Keaton (L), 22, is led into the courtroom by a sheriff's deputy as she appears for a bail hearing in Mobile County District Court in Mobile, Ala., on Dec. 14, 2010. (Press-Register, Mike Kittrell/AP Photo)
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court is leaving in place the sentence of a woman on death row in Alabama who helped her boyfriend kill his two young children.

The high court on Monday rejected an appeal from lawyers for Heather Leavell-Keaton. As is typical, the court rejected the case without comment.

Leavell-Keaton was convicted of murder in the death of 3-year-old Chase DeBlase and manslaughter in the death of his sister, 4-year-old Natalie DeBlase. Prosecutors said she poisoned the children with antifreeze. There was also evidence the children’s father, John DeBlase, strangled them. The children’s remains were found in the woods in Alabama and Mississippi.

Leavell-Keaton was originally sentenced to death in 2015. A new sentencing hearing was ordered, however, after a court found that the judge who sentenced Leavell-Keaton to death erred by failing to give her a chance to speak on her own behalf before sentencing. She was sentenced to death again in 2021.

Leavell-Keaton’s lawyers argued in their petition to the Supreme Court that at the most recent sentencing hearing she should have been given the opportunity to present evidence of her good behavior in prison between 2015 and 2021.

Leavell-Keaton is one of five women on death row in Alabama.

John DeBlase was also convicted in the death of the children in a separate trial and sentenced to death. He remains on death row.