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Prosecutors withdraw request for death penalty in murder case

East Baton Rouge prosecutors in the case against a 23-year-old man charged with four counts of first-degree murder will reportedly not be seeking the death penalty any longer, according to the Advocate. The decision was reportedly made on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, the families of the victims are grieving and hope that withdrawing the request for the death penalty will speed up the process. Oftentimes, the appeals process that goes along with seeking the death penalty can delay cases for years before there is any kind of resolution.

According to sources, the victims were an 80-year-old woman and her 46-year-old daughter, and an elderly couple, both 73-years-old. Charges against the man stem from the murder of four individuals in 2007. The four were reportedly found shot to death in April 2007 in their homes. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of insanity, though he the court has found that he is competent to proceed to trial.

Murder trials, particularly where they involve a request for the death penalty, can really be drawn out. For example, Derrick Todd Lee, a serial killer convicted in 2004, is still going through the appeals process in the state court system. Henri Broadway and Kevan Brumfield, two individuals convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 in connection with the slaying of a Baton Rouge police officer, are still going through the appeals process, one in the state court system, the other in federal court.

These types of cases are very difficult for the family of victims, for obvious reasons. Families of murder victims are not always willing to let go of the possibility of capital punishment. From a defense attorney's perspective, though, the death penalty is the most serious punishment any offender can receive. It is fitting that the legal system set up protections for offenders from this mostly costly punishment, which leaves little room for the offender to their wrongs and find any kind of redemption.

State District Judge Bonnie Jackson has set a trial date for January 23

Source: USA Today, "Miles won't confirm suspensions of three players," Glenn Guilbeau, October 21, 2011.

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