Court won't re-impose death sentence in child rape-murder
NEW ORLEANS- The Louisiana Supreme Court has refused to consider re-imposing the death penalty for a man serving life for the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in 1985, when he was 21.
John Francis Wille was sentenced to death for first-degree murder of Michele Lopatta. However St. John the Baptist Parish prosecutors agreed in 2014 that the sentence should be life, and that Wille could continue appeals arguing he's innocent.
After a new district attorney was elected, she asked courts to reinstate the death sentence. Lower courts said no. The high court refused without comment Monday to hear the case.
Wille's lawyers claim trial errors and say Wille's confession was coerced. Attorney Kate Rhodes Janofsky said Tuesday that a judge has heard some evidence, and more witnesses are planned.