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U.S. Supreme Court upholds new trial ruling for Oklahoma death row inmate

by Chris Casteel Published: March 3, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal appeals court ruling granting a new trial to a man who was sentenced to death for killing a Tulsa woman in 1997.
Without comment, the high court rejected an appeal from Oklahoma, which wanted the justices to review the decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
That court ruled last year that jurors in the murder trial of Sterling B. Williams should have been allowed to consider a second-degree murder verdict.
Williams was convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of LeAnna Hand at her Tulsa home. The appeals court said the Tulsa County judge should have considered evidence that Williams didn’t go to Hand’s home intending to kill her. The death penalty can not be imposed for second-degree murder convictions.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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