Correction: POS not eligible for the death penalty.

I posted previously about the POS, Vincent Puglisi, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of the coauthor of “Curious George”, Alan Shalleck.

Shalleck suffered “83 blunt force injuries and more than three dozen stab wounds” in the attack that killed him.

Well, according to the trial court, Puglisi wasn’t eligible for the death sentence (of course, the AP story didn’t mention any of this):

Circuit Judge Krista Marx rejected the state’s attempt to have Puglisi sentenced to death for the brutal killing of Curious George collaborator Alan Shalleck because Puglisi’s co-defendant, Rex Ditto, got a life sentence. That’s what the judge gave Puglisi.

[…]

Puglisi admitted to police that he held a pillow over Shalleck’s face at one point while Ditto stabbed Shalleck. And he said he threw candlestick holders at the man who adapted more than 100 stories about Curious George to television.

Shalleck did not die easily. A forensic pathologist testified that he suffered 83 blunt-force injuries, 37 stab wounds and 49 defensive wounds in a fight for his life. When it was over, his assailants left his body in trash bags in his driveway and stole some of his jewelry.

Ditto pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon in October in return for a life sentence. Puglisi was convicted by a jury of the same charges last month.

Assistant State Attorney Andy Slater argued that Puglisi should be sentenced to death. But Judge Marx said the law prohibits her from doing so unless Puglisi was more culpable than Ditto.

“Much of the evidence points to Rex Ditto being the dominant player in the crime,” Marx said. At most, she said, Puglisi was equally culpable, and a death sentence for him would be disproportionate to that of his co-defendant and therefore an illegal sentence.

A similar problem occurred with the four defendants charged with the murder of Redskins football player Sean Taylor.

The triggerman in the case was a 17 year-old.

Persons that commit capital crimes when under the age of 18 are not eligible for the death penalty (Roper v. Simmons).

Therefore, the state couldn’t seek the death penalty for the other three defendants either (About.com).

Gee, thanks, Supreme Court.

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