Criminal Justice

Murder defendant seeks to have 'murder' neck tattoo removed before trial

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A Kansas man awaiting trial next week on a first-degree murder charge would rather the jury not see the giant mirror-image “MURDER” tattoo he is sporting around his neck.

Jeffrey Wade Chapman, who is charged with the 2011 murder of a man whose body was found by hunters, contends in a pretrial motion that jurors seeing the tattoo could be “extremely prejudicial” to his defense, the Great Bend Tribune reports.

Chapman is asking a judge to allow a tattoo artist to either remove or cover up the tattoo prior to trial. He also wants the judge to bar prosecutors from any mention of it in front of the jury.

Prosecutors say they do not oppose Chapman’s request to conceal the tattoo from jurors through clothing, a bandage or any other means compliant with jail policy.

But the local sheriff has pointed out that under state law, tattoo artists are not allowed to practice outside of licensed tattoo parlors, and he says he would oppose any request to transport Chapman to such a facility to have the work done there.

Such requests are not without precedent. In 2010, a Florida judge approved the hiring of a cosmetologist at $125 a day to cover a large swastika tattooed on a murder defendant’s neck.

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