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Douglas Stankewitz: Overturned death sentence

October 31, 2012 by  

Douglas Stankewitz: Overturned death sentence, The death sentence of Douglas Stankewitz, California’s longest-serving death row inmate, was overturned by a federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Monday in a 2-1 ruling that Stankewitz, convicted of murdering Theresa Greybeal in 1978 in Fresno, should be re-sentenced to life imprisonment without parole unless prosecutors want to retry the penalty phase of his murder trial.

Stankewitz’s conviction stands, but the appellate panel said his lawyer made only a “paltry” attempt to persuade jurors against a death sentence, ignored documentation of the defendant’s “deprived and abusive upbringing,” potential mental illness and long history of substance abuse.

The ruling upheld a decision by a district court judge, Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, who reviewed the case, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

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