DA: Had Justice Scalia been alive, Baton Rouge cop-killer might be put to death
BATON ROUGE - The district attorney learned Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to overturn a lower court's ruling forbidding convicted cop-killer Kevan Brumfield be put to death.
Brumfield and Henri Broadway were both convicted of the murder of Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Betty Smothers and the wounding of Kimen Lee, while Lee was making a grocery store bank deposit in 1993. Smothers was working off-duty security at the time. A third man involved in the attack, West Paul, got a 25-year sentence in a deal with prosecutors.
Years after his conviction, Brumfield and his attorney's argued he was mentally retarded and could not be put to death. After a series of hearings in various courts, Brumfield was found to be unfit. The district attorney's office was hoping the Supreme Court would overrule other courts and reinstate the death sentence.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office was going to review the court's denial and talk with staff and the Smothers family before making a decision on seeking a rehearing.
"Today's decision is yet another blow to the Smothers family and in my opinion our community for the loss of Cpl. Smothers. This family has suffered through 23 years of legal proceedings, including the a tedious trial, imposition of the death penalty and years of hearings, writs and appeals over alleged intellectual disability and actual imposition of the death penalty. It is more than one family and generations of this family can endure. The jury's decision to impose the death penalty to this defendant was appropriate then and is today," Moore said in a statement. "This is now the third time that the United States Supreme Court has considered the case, and this time, the case was considered on the merits of the mental retardation issue. Justice Scalia, who previously would have upheld the state's procedural bar, is unfortunately deceased, and the Supreme Court has only eight sitting justices at this time."
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