Judge overturns death sentences in double Missouri killings - KMOV.com

Judge overturns death sentences in double Missouri killings

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A judge has thrown out the death sentence that was handed down against David Barnett who stabbed his grandparents in the St. Louis area in 1996 A judge has thrown out the death sentence that was handed down against David Barnett who stabbed his grandparents in the St. Louis area in 1996

By JIM SUHR
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge has thrown out the death sentence for a man who stabbed his grandparents to death in their St. Louis-area home in 1996.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber's 189-page ruling benefiting 39-year-old David Barnett ordered the state to sentence Barnett to life in prison without parole or to decide within 180 days whether to pursue another death sentence during a new hearing.

Barnett killed Clifford Barnett and Leona Barnett after they returned from a post-church brunch.

He confessed to police the next day, and jurors later convicted him of first-degree murder.

Webber ruled that Barnett's trial attorneys didn't adequately investigate and present mitigating evidence relating to Barnett's dysfunctional background.

A spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says that office is reviewing Webber's ruling.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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