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Smothers' murderer given life in prison instead of death penalty

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Baton Rouge - The legal maneuvering of the past 23 years has ended as 19th District Judge Richard Anderson complied with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling and re-sentenced convicted murderer Kevan Brumfield to life at Angola Prison.

Brumfield was found guilty by a jury in 1995 for his part in the January 7, 1993  ambush robbery and murder of off-duty Baton Rouge police officer Betty Smothers.  

After hearing emotional testimony from two of Smothers children, Anderson agreed "that the system is what it is, this court has not choice but to follow the federal courts ruling."

Smothers, who was 36, was working an off-duty security assignment when she and Kimen Lee, a grocery store manager, were attacked at the after-hours deposit at a bank. Smothers, a single mother of six children, was shot five times and killed and Lee was injured.

Brumfield was sentenced to the death penalty and was awaiting execution when he filed in 2003 that he was mentally incapable of understanding the severity of his crime.

Earlier this summer, the The U.S. Supreme Court shot down D.A. Hillar Moore's request for further proceedings on whether Brumfield has an intellectual disability that prevents the state from executing him. The Court has ruled that people who are found to be intellectually disabled or mentally ill cannot be executed. The courts' decisions mean Brumfield can not be executed.

Warrick Dunn, the oldest of the six children, said he was "disgusted and ashamed that the system failed my family, failed my mother."

Dunn, who was 18 at the time of his mother's murder would leave Baton Rouge for a college football career at Florida State University, and then onto the NFL for eleven years playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.

Dunn has spent much of his adult life giving back to the Baton Rouge community in honor of Betty Smothers, creating a charity that helps provide homes for single mothers.

The hearing comes just days after two Baton Rouge Police officers and an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputy were shot and killed in an ambush on Airline Highway.

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