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Old 03-31-2005, 05:47 PM
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Default DA won't appeal Atascosa ambush ruling(Vodochodsky, TX)

Posted on Thu, Mar. 31, 2005

DA won't appeal Atascosa ambush ruling

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - Prosecutors have decided not to appeal the court
ruling that overturned the capital murder conviction of a man police
said aided
the ambush killing of South Texas sheriff's deputy.

Kenneth Vodochodsky, 24, has been spared lethal injection for the
Oct. 12, 1999, death of Atascosa County Deputy Thomas Monse Jr. Two
other law
officers also were killed in that night's attack.

"Praise God!" his parents, Annette and Anthony Vodochodsky, said in
a two-word statement.

Vodochodsky will be released from death row. But Rene Pena, district
attorney for the 81st Judicial District, said his decision does not
Vodochodsky will go free anytime soon.

Pena said Vodochodsky will be returned to South Texas to face
pending indictments related to the other slayings that included
another Atascosa
deputy and a state trooper. Pena said he hasn't decided which of the
indictments against Vodochodsky he will prosecute next.

Vodochodsky's trial lawyer, Alan Futrell of San Antonio, said he was
pleased his client will be moved out of the Polunsky Unit in
Livingston, where
Texas houses its death row.

"I didn't think he deserved to go there to begin with," Futrell
said. "I'm glad for Kenny, but it still doesn't make the wrong that

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 6-2 last April that the
circumstantial evidence against him was "so weak as to undermine
confidence in
the jury's determination."

Former District Attorney Lynn Ellison appealed the ruling in May,
but the appeals court reasserted this month there wasn't enough
evidence to keep
Vodochodsky behind bars, much less on death row.

Although Vodochodsky never fired any of the fatal shots that killed
the officers, a Karnes County jury convicted him in 2001 under a
Texas law that
states anyone who encourages, assists or even tries to help commit
murder is
equally culpable.

Prosecutors argued he helped his friend and roommate, Jeremiah
Engleton, go on the murderous rampage when Vodochodsky bailed him
out of jail
and drove him to a gun shop to buy $200 worth of ammunition.

According to court records, Vodochodsky gave conflicting statements
to his girlfriend, police and a reporter whether he was at the house
Engleton placed a bogus 911 call to lure officers.

After killing the officers, Engleton committed suicide.

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them,
a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them."
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