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Missouri man pleads guilty to murder to avoid death penalty

Criminal appeals offer a person convicted of a crime to have their case reviewed for error, and subsequently as way to possibly have their sentence reduced or a conviction overturned. The appellant’s case is based on an error made during the original trial that would have impacted the jury’s decision and the severity of the sentence imposed.

In recent news, a man convicted of murder in 1993 entered plea of guilty to avoid the death penalty during a retrial. His case had been ongoing since the murders happened in 1991, with the capital punishment sentence being overturned in 2002 and then reinstated in 2004. The conviction was vacated by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2015. The case was set for a retrial and the retrial began in January 2017.

With conflicting stories and allegations police brutality from multiple defendants, the 1991 case of the murders of two sisters was fraught with controversy since the onset. One of the original suspects received $150,000 in damages after claiming he was beaten by police officers.

The defendant was currently serving a 15 year sentence for assaulting a prison guard in addition to the murder sentence. The plea bargain allows the man to escape capital punishment, but he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The multiple changes in sentencing in this case followed by the retrial thoroughly illustrate the need for proper legal representation from the earliest point. Criminal allegations have serious consequences and an experience criminal defense attorney can help a defendant make case decisions as legal proceedings progress.

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