The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the sentence of a Vinton man found guilty of second-degree murder in 2018.
Daniel Heath Kight, 39, was convicted of murder after Judge Robert Wyatt determined the defendant could distinguish right from wrong at the time of the slaying.
Wyatt heard the case without a jury.
In Kight’s appeal, he said he believed his sentence was excessive and he also alleged ineffective counsel. The 3rd Circuit found no merit to either assertion.
Kight pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of David Scasino, 59.
Prosecutors, who said Kight stabbed Scasino more than 80 times, said the men knew each other for 20 years, lived on neighboring lots and had been arguing in the days leading up to the murder.
Calcasieu Parish Coroner Terry Welke said Scasino’s death was caused by multiple stab and incise wounds and he incurred most of his wounds after death.
At trial, prosecutor Charles Robinson said Kight threatened to kill his neighbor and followed through with that threat the next day.
“He (Kight) and David constantly accused one another of being a child molester,” Robinson said. “The defendant knew right from wrong. He had evil inside him.”
Defense attorney Richard White said Kight believed he was doing the right thing when he went to his neighbor’s house to confront Scasino.
“The victim did not deserve this,” White said. “But just like Daniel told the psychiatrists who interviewed him, he thought he was protecting a child from being hurt. Daniel is immature, he’s not bright, but he thought he was doing something to help someone.”
At his sentencing on March 26, 2018, Kight spoke before Wyatt, rambling for 10 minutes as he told the judge, “I’m a ninja and can travel at the speed of light. My body is just a shell and at times I turn into a ninja and can run 186,000 miles per second.”
Witnesses testified during the trial and at sentencing about Kight’s belief that he was a ninja and about how he believed he was close friends with Oprah Winfrey and Cheryl Tiegs.
Wyatt sentenced Kight to life in prison without the benefit of parole.