Appeals court overturns Oklahoma man's death penalty

Published: August 6, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence of an Oklahoma City man convicted of killing his common-law wife and her fetus.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that Victor Wayne Hooks did not receive effective counsel when he was sentenced in 1989 for the 1988 beating death of Shalimein Blaine. Hooks was sentenced to 500 years in prison for the death of the fetus.

The court said Hooks' attorney at sentencing failed to thoroughly explore Hooks' background that included abuse when he was a child and a head injury in an auto accident. The court also said the attorney failed to properly prepare a defense psychiatrist for testimony.

A spokeswoman for Oklahoma's attorney general did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. has disabled the comments for this article.

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