Attorneys have reached an agreement to have Jeffrey Wade Chapman wear a turtleneck at his first-degree murder trial, covering a tattoo on his neck that says “murder” in reverse letters.
Chapman, formerly of Pawnee Rock, is charged with the premeditated murder of Damon Galyardt, a 25-year-old central Kansas man who was shot on Nov. 11, 2011. His body was taken to an area southwest of Great Bend, where it was found by hunters.
When Chapman’s attorney filed a motion in Barton County District Court asking that a tattoo artist be allowed to remove or cover the tattoo, attorneys referred to it as “the ‘murder’ tattoo.” But the State responded that Kansas law does not allow tattoo artists to practice in jails. Both sides agreed last week that the tattoo will be covered by clothing, according to Lisa Taylor at the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration.
The tattoo dates to 2010 or earlier, and can be seen on a Kansas Department of Corrections photo dated February 2010. The defense has asked that no reference be made to the tattoo in front of jurors, since it has no bearing on the case but could be prejudicial.
The trial date was also moved from this Monday to Aug. 18. Taylor said that change was at the request of the defense attorney, who wanted more time to survey the pool of potential jurors. The defense is seeking a change of venue, claiming Chapman won’t be able to get a fair trial in Barton County, where the case is so well known.
The next hearing on this case is set for May 9.