Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drugs
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: November 26, 1998
Date of birth: January 17, 1978
Victims profile: Charlotte Kenyon, 26, Bryan Harrison, 21, and Daniel Ketchum, 27
Method of murder: Shooting
LocationPalm Beach County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 10, 2002. Commuted to life in prison o April 15, 2008

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC02-1150

DC# 478755
DOB: 01/17/78

Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County Case # 98-12923
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Marvin Mounts
Attorney, Trial: Gregg Lerman – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Gregg Lerman – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Suzanne Keffer – CCRC-S

Date of Offense: 11/26/98

Date of Sentence: 05/10/02

Circumstances of Offense:

In October and November of 1998, Amanda Ingman began trying to locate her drug supplier and “occasional pimp,” Thomas Thibault, to purchase some cocaine.  Thibault contacted Ingman at a house where she was living with her boyfriend, Bryan Harrison, and his roommates, Charlotte Kenyan and Daniel Ketchum.  Harrison became upset when he found out that Thibault called Ingman.

In the early morning hours of 11/26/98, Thibault enlisted the help of John Chamberlain and Jason Dascott to deliver some cocaine to Ingman and resolve the argument with Harrison. Thibault told Chamberlain that there might be a confrontation. 

Chamberlain drove his father’s car and picked up Thibault and Dascott.  While stopped at a gas station, Chamberlain showed Thibault a .45 caliber handgun and ammunition that were stored in the trunk of the car. 

After the argument between Thibault and Harrison was resolved, Chamberlain, Thibault, Dascott, Ingman, and Harrison snorted cocaine in Ingman’s bedroom.  The group then went out to get more cocaine, and upon returning to the house, Harrison and Ingman went inside, while Chamberlain, Thibault, and Dascott remained outside and discussed a plan to rob the residents of the house and steal the electronic equipment from the house. 

Either Ingman or Dascott persuaded Ketchum to open a safe in the living room.  Thibault then pulled out the .45 caliber handgun and ordered Ketchum and Harrison into the bathroom. 

Chamberlain helped by striking Ketchum in the leg with an asp, an extendable police baton. Thibault held Ketchum and Harrison in the bathroom, while Ingman, Dascott, and Chamberlain removed the electronic equipment from the house and put them in Chamberlain’s car. 

While in the bathroom, Ketchum attempted to overpower Thibault, but he shot and killed Ketchum in the struggle.  Thibault left the bathroom and told the others that he had killed Ketchum.  According to Thibault and Ingman, Chamberlain then said “no more witnesses” and encouraged Thibault to kill Harrison or else they were “all going to die” and were “all going to the electric chair.” 

Ingman and Thibault awakened Charlotte Kenyan, who had been sleeping in a back bedroom and placed her in the bathroom with Harrison.  Thibault then “emptied the gun” into Harrison and Kenyan while Chamberlain stood by his side.  Harrison was not dead, so Thibault and Chamberlain went to the car, retrieved more bullets, reloaded the gun and Thibault again “emptied the gun” into Harrison and Kenyan. 

After going back to Chamberlain’s parent’s house, Ingman later went to the house of Harrison’s father and told him of the murders.  Police were alerted to Chamberlain’s involvement by Ingman. 

Codefendant Information:

Thomas Thibault, Jason Dascott, and Amanda Ingman all testified against Chamberlain. 

Thomas Thibault pled guilty to three counts of First-Degree Murder and was sentenced to death.

Jason Dascott pled guilty to three counts of Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to a prison sentence of 10 years and probation sentence of 5 years.

Amanda Ingman was not charged with a crime.  

Trial Summary:

05/30/00          Indicted as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Ketchum                               
Count II:          First-Degree Murder – Harrison
Count III:         First-Degree Murder – Kenyan
Count IV:          Armed Burglary with Assault
Count V:           Armed Robbery

11/21/00          Jury recommendation waived

02/16/01          Jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts I, II, III, and V. 

                       Judgment of Acquittal ordered on Count IV

05/10/02          Sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Ketchum – Death
Count II:          First-Degree Murder – Harrison – Death
Count III:         First-Degree Murder – Kenyan – Death
Count V:           Armed Robbery – Life Imprisonment

Case Information:

Chamberlain filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 05/21/02, citing the following errors: death qualification of the jury; denying a motion to disqualify the judge; allowing improper comments on Chamberlain’s credibility; allowing out-of-court identification of Chamberlain; violating the rule of sequestration; using prior consistent statements; using a demonstrative aid; constitutionality of the felony-murder jury instruction; failing to have sufficient evidence of First-Degree Murder; constitutionality of the murder in the course of a felony aggravator; failing to have sufficient evidence to support aggravating factors and rejecting mitigating factors. 

On 06/17/04, the convictions and sentences were affirmed.

Chamberlain filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 01/21/05 that was denied on 03/21/05.


Chamberlain off Death Row, resentenced to life in prison

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — He supplied the gun and the car used in a triple murder. He got more bullets so that the victims could be finished off. And today, John Chamberlain got off Death Row, resentenced to life in prison on a technicality.

"I now vacate the death penalty that was previously imposed on you," Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown told Chamberlain at a court hearing, as family members of two of his victims watched. With that, Chamberlain will be transferred from Death Row to another high-security facility.

"It just doesn't seem like justice," said Anita Charest of Palm Springs, whose daughter, Charlotte Kenyon, was awakened from her bed, taken to a bathroom and executed.

"He killed my daughter. His parents can visit him. He gets three meals a day now and we pay for it. "He should fry, and I would be right there in front."

Chamberlain and Thomas Thibault were convicted of first-degree murder in separate trials. Both were sentenced to death for the slayings of Kenyon, 26, Bryan Harrison, 21, and Daniel Ketchum, 27, in the West Palm Beach house they shared on Thanksgiving 1998.

A third defendant, Jason Dascott, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released last month and is on probation in Monroe County for the next five years.

Thibault's death sentence was reversed in 2005 on a procedural technicality, and he received life in prison. Now 32, he's serving his sentence at Glades Correctional Institution in Belle Glade.

Chamberlain's attorney then argued that he should receive the same sentence as Thibault, especially since it was Thibault who shot all three victims.

"We all agreed the case law says you can't have disproportionate sentences," said prosecutor Terri Skiles.

Accompanied by Chamberlain and Dascott, Thibault went to the Norton Avenue house intending to sell cocaine to a woman, Amanda Ingman, who lived there with the victims. Once there, the defendants decided to take stolen electronics from the home that Ingman said were kept in a walk-in safe.

Thibault held Harrison and Ketchum at gunpoint while Chamberlain and Dascott robbed the house. When Ketchum rushed him, Thibault shot and killed him.

Chamberlain then urged Thibault to kill Harrison and Kenyon to eliminate witnesses, Ingman told police. Thibault said later that he "emptied the gun" on them, and when Harrison continued breathing, Chamberlain went to the car and got more bullets so he could finish the job.

Like her mother, Kenyon's sister was unhappy that Chamberlain's life was spared. "It's very upsetting," she said. "In my opinion, he's almost more responsible than Tommy. At least Tommy took responsibility for his actions. This man has never taken responsibility for this."

She and other relatives of the victims said they are angry that Ingman was never charged in the crime. Skiles said the men charged with the murders would not cooperate when asked about Ingman, whose boyfriend, Harrison, was one of the people murdered.

Prosecutor Skiles successfully argued that Judge Brown should impose consecutive, not concurrent, life sentences on Chamberlain. Since life carries no possibility of parole, there is no practical distinction. But it does carry a symbolic value, Skiles suggested.

"It makes each life that was taken accounted for by the defendant," she said.


Death Row inmate gets sentence modified to life

Monday, April 14, 2008

Florida's Death Row will soon have one fewer resident. John Chamberlain, sentenced to death for a triple murder in West Palm Beach on Thanksgiving 1998, is scheduled to have his sentence modified to life in prison at a court hearing on Tuesday.

The death sentence of Thomas Thibault, his co-defendant and the shooter in the bloody robbery, was reduced to life in September 2005 after a procedural technicality prompted prosecutors to offer Thibault life imprisonment as long as he didn't appeal his conviction.

Chamberlain's lawyer then argued that his sentence should not be harsher.

"It was our position that he was equally or less culpable," said Suzanne Keffer, Chamberlain's appellate lawyer, who works in the Fort Lauderdale office of the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, which represents indigent Death Row inmates.

In a motion she filed to vacate Chamberlain's sentence, Keffer cited other cases in which a death sentence was reduced on grounds of disproportionality because a co-defendant received a life sentence. Among them was a 1975 Florida Supreme Court ruling reversing the death sentence of a man because his co-defendant, the triggerman in a murder, got life.

"We pride ourselves in a system of justice that requires equality before the law," the justices said. "Defendants should not be treated differently upon the same or similar facts."

Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown has agreed with that argument in Chamberlain's case, even though the Florida Attorney General's Office maintained that he should still get death because Thibault's life term was the result of a plea negotiation, not a jury's recommendation. On Tuesday, Brown is expected to formally resentence Chamberlain.

There are 389 men and one woman on Florida's Death Row, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Chamberlain is one of 10 men whose Palm Beach County crimes landed them there. The last execution for a Palm Beach County murder was in 1992, when Nollie Lee Martin was electrocuted. His crime was killing a college student working a summer job at a Delray Beach convenience store.

Chamberlain, of West Palm Beach, will become the second man on Death Row for a Palm Beach County crime in the past three years to be resentenced to life in prison. In March 2005, Cleo LeCroy got a reprieve when the U.S. Supreme Court banned executions of people whose crimes were committed when they were under 18.

The triple murders on Thanksgiving 1998 were set in motion when Thibault went to the house at 6507 Norton Ave. to sell cocaine to a woman, Amanda Ingman, who lived there with the victims. He was accompanied by Chamberlain and another man, Jason Dascott.

They drove to the house in Chamberlain's father's car.

Once there, Thibault, Chamberlain and Dascott decided to rob the home's residents of electronics. Thibault held two of them, Bryan Harrison, 21, and Daniel Ketchum, 27, at gunpoint in the bathroom while his cohorts stole items.

Ketchum rushed him, and Thibault shot him dead in the ensuing struggle, according to court testimony and records.

Ingman testified that Chamberlain said "no more witnesses" and urged Thibault to kill Harrison. Thibault claimed that he left the decision up to Ingman, whose boyfriend, Harrison, was one of the other two people in the house. She favored getting rid of them, he said.

Ingman and Thibault then awakened Charlotte Kenyon, 26, sleeping in another room. They placed her in the bathroom with Harrison.

Thibault later testified that he "emptied the gun" into Kenyon and Harrison with Chamberlain at his side.

Harrison was still breathing, however, so Chamberlain went to the car and got more bullets. Once again Thibault began firing. The three victims were shot 10 times altogether.

Thibault was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2001 by Circuit Judge Marvin Mounts. Chamberlain's trial was next. He was convicted of the same charges and also sentenced by Mounts to die.

Dascott pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Ingman was never charged.

Thibault was resentenced to life in September 2005 because nobody, including Mounts, had ever asked him if he waived his right to a jury during the sentencing phase of his case. That opened the door for Chamberlain to ask that his sentence also be modified.

Today, Thibault is 32 and incarcerated at Glades Correctional Institution in Belle Glade. Dascott was released from prison last month, a day before his 29th birthday. He is living in the Florida Keys, where he is on probation for the next five years.



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