The motion is one of several death penalty-related requests filed by defense counsel for 31-year-old Thomas James Leggs Jr. The requests will be heard in Cecil County Circuit Court during a three-day hearing scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Defense attorneys for Leggs argue the court should rule against the state's intent to seek the death penalty because execution methods authorized in Maryland "constitute cruel and unusual punishment and violates evolving standards of decency."
"There is a plethora of evidence to demonstrate that Maryland's lethal injection method, and the correctional policies and procedures governing it, present grave risk of needlessly inflicting a painful, torturous, lingering death," wrote Katy C. O'Donnell, division chief of the aggravated homicide division of the public defender's office, and Kay Beehler, an assistant public defender.
The motion also states that execution procedures used by the department of corrections violate state regulations. O'Donnell and Beehler state the Maryland Court of Appeals previously rejected the execution procedures and the state's continued use violates the Maryland Administrative Procedures Act.
Leggs, a registered sex offender in Maryland and Delaware, was taken into police custody and charged with burglary and kidnapping shortly after Foxwell's relatives reported her missing on Dec. 22, 2009.
More than 3,000 volunteers reported to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on Christmas Day to help authorities search for the missing girl. Her burned remains were located in a wooded area later the same day.
At the time of his arrest, Leggs had been released from the Worcester County Detention Center on bond from burglary and malicious destruction of property charges. A woman reported he had allegedly broken into her home in September. He was convicted on the burglary charge and sentenced to three years in prison.
A Wicomico County grand jury indicted him on murder, burglary, sex offense and kidnapping charges in February 2010.
After the state filed a notice of its intent to seek the death penalty, the case was moved to Cecil County Circuit Court and Judge J. Frederick K. Price, a retired administrative judge for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, was assigned to the case
"Needlessly inflicting a painful, torturous, lingering death"????? HA!! Think about what that poor child had to endure for the remainder of her short life! Who cares how painful death may be for Thomas Leggs, Jr. I would certainly hope it would be a painful and torturous as possible!