Federal judge throws out death sentence in double murder
BATON ROUGE- A federal judge has overturned Todd Wessinger's death sentence in the shooting deaths two decades ago of restaurant co-workers 27-year-old Stephanie Guzzardo and 46-year-old David Breakwell.
U.S. District Judge James Brady ordered a new penalty phase hearing be held for Wessinger who has been on death row for 18 years.
Brady's decision did not disturb Wessinger's first-degree murder convictions for the Nov. 19, 1995, shooting deaths of Guzzardo and Breakwell.
Brady, who held an evidentiary hearing on Wessinger's claim that his trial attorneys provided him ineffective assistance at the 1997 penalty phase of his capital murder trial, ruled Monday that those lawyers were indeed deficient.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says his office will review the ruling and file an appropriate response.