Cecil New pleads guilty to murder, kidnapping - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cecil New pleads guilty to murder, kidnapping


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- We're about to get a look at the thousands of pages of evidence the prosecution compiled against accused child killer Cecil New.

He pleaded guilty to the murder and kidnapping of a once-missing four-year old boy Thursday in a surprise move that shocked prosecutors.

On Friday morning, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman signed an order to release the discovery in the case.  It includes several thousand pages of documents.

In them are intimate details about the case, including pictures and witness testimony about how Ivan Cano died.

New pleaded guilty to the murder, kidnapping,  tampering with physical evidence and unlawful transaction with a minor. Prosecutors have said New killed four-year old Cesar Ivan Cano and attempted to hide evidence by disposing of his body in the garbage.

The admission came one day before jury selection was set to begin in New's trial.

New's attorneys requested an emergency hearing Thursday and again asked Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman for a change of venue, citing that extensive media coverage of the case made it impossible for New to get a fair trial in Jefferson County.

The judge denied that request – and moments later – New entered a guilty plea to all charges.

"He is prepared to enter what we call an open plea of guilt to all charges," said Jay Lambert, New's defense attorney. "I've advised Mr. New that no potential penalties are off the table – including the death penalty."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Heck advised the judge that prosecutors would seek the death penalty against New in part because of the aggravating circumstances in the case – namely that Cano was kidnapped and was not returned alive.

Lambert told the judge New would not request any penalty less than life without the possibility of parole.

The plea was an unexpected turn, and avoids a trial that was expected to take as long as two months.

Reached by phone, Ivan's uncle, Manuel Cano, told Fox 41 News he thinks New should get the death penalty.

"You know I think he deserves the death penalty... I don't know. I really wanna see him and see his face and say... and ask him why he do that to a little kid, you know. What can the little kid do to him (for him) to think to kill that little kid," Manuel Cano said.

All parties have agreed to return to court on Oct. 25 for a status hearing. At that time, the judge will set a date for sentencing.

Spokesman for the Cano family, Christopher 2X, tells Fox 41 News that the sudden plea came as a surprise to him:  "I think everybody was shocked, and my sources told me that they believed that the Commonwealth Attorney's Office had no idea that this was going to happen."

For more of Christopher 2X's reaction, click here.

Cano disappeared from his home near Churchill Downs in 2007.  His body was found in the back of a garbage truck several days later.

Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley released a statement: "We are satisfied with the plea and we will withhold comments until after the sentencing hearing. We are glad this will bring closure to the Cano family and the community."

Click HERE to read more about Cecil New.

New's most recent pre-trial hearing was held on Wednesday and focused mainly on evidence. The judge denied multiple motions filed by the defense to suppress evidence they felt was improperly obtained through search warrants.

They even tried to suppress some of the testimony of the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ivan Cano. The medical examiner determined Cano's cause of death as unknown, but determined the manner of death a homicide, which the defense had a problem with.

But prosecutors say it wasn't all opinion, saying scientific evidence was used to determine the manner of death. "It is absolutely not an interference with the jury to let the medical examiner to do what they do which every day in the state of Kentucky is determine a manner of death."

There was even controversy over where to store some of the evidence in the courthouse. "Some of this evidence smells grossly bad," said Jay Lambert, one of New's defense attorneys.

Defense attorneys say some of the evidence smells so bad, an expert examiner had it removed from his office. "He contacted us three or four different times, and said, 'My staff is gagging every day.'"

Click here for a previous story about evidence in New's trial.

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