Judge overturns man's death sentence
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has overturned the death sentence and murder conviction of a man for a killing during an armed robbery in Natchitoches Parish in 1993.
56-year-old Willard Allen's conviction was overturned by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell. The judge says that the state trial court allowed an "avowedly biased juror to be seated on petitioner's jury, through a fatally defective voir dire."
Drell returned the case to state court and ordered a bail hearing be conducted within 45 days.
Allen remains in custody at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The state has 270 days to decide whether to retry him. If they don't, Judge Drell says Allen must be released.
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