Chisum Defense Team Releases Statement on Life in Prison Sentencing

LUBBOCK, TX (NEWS RELEASE) - Justin Chisum pled guilty on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in connection with the murder of his daughter, 4-year-old Kylee Forrest. The circumstances of Kylee’s death are tragic and heart-breaking. Justin Chisum suffers with Schizoaffective Disorder, a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, as well as symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression. Although he suffered from severe mental illness, Justin had never before been found to have abused or neglected Kylee in any way, and he was not under any supervised visitation order for custody because there had never been any prior indication of a need for supervision.

However, in the days leading up to her death, Justin's symptoms worsened and he voluntarily sought treatment for his mental illness, as he had many times in the past when needed. Sadly, he was given medication which, according to his medical history, was ineffective to treat his condition. Since his arrest, Mr. Chisum has been in the Lubbock County Detention Center, a majority of that time housed in the “5D” pod, the special needs wing of the facility, where he has been under a stable and effective medicine regimen without incident.

Prior to Justin’s plea on Wednesday, his defense team maintained he was legally insane at the time of Kylee’s murder. However, when presented with Mr. Chisum’s extensive history of serious mental illness, Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell offered to waive the death penalty in exchange for a plea of guilty and life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Ultimately, Justin decided to accept full responsibility and plead guilty rather than compound the unspeakable tragedy of Kylee Forrest's death by forcing the community and Kylee's family to suffer the rigors of a very emotional trial.

(News release from the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases)


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