Prosecutors urge Grand Rapids federal judge to keep files open in latest death penalty appeal


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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Federal prosecutors in western Michigan are urging a judge to let the public see recent court filings in a death penalty case.

Attorneys for Marvin Gabrion want to keep a cover on the latest challenge to his death sentence. There might be references to Gabrion's mental health.

In 2002, Gabrion was convicted of killing a woman in a national forest in Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids. He was sentenced to death, a punishment available for murders prosecuted in federal court. He's still fighting the sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim VerHey says the public isn't served when court filings in a well-known case like Gabrion's are kept secret. It's not known when Judge Robert Holmes Bell will make a decision.

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