Death penalty upheld for Md. man
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty for a Maryland man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Washington, D.C., police officer's son.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said Wednesday that mistakes were made in Kenneth Lighty's case, but none of them were serious enough to warrant reversal.
“It is well established that a criminal defendant is entitled to a fair trial, not a perfect one,” Senior Judge Clyde H. Hamilton wrote in the unanimous opinion, which was joined by judges Diana Gribbon Motz and G. Steve Agee.
Lighty's attorney, Amanda Michelle Raines, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Lighty, of Hillcrest Heights, Md., was sentenced to death for the 2002 slaying of Eric L. Hayes II. The 19-year-old Hayes was abducted from a southeast Washington street and driven to Prince George's County, where he was shot in the head and the body execution-style.
The appeals court also upheld the kidnapping convictions and life sentences of two accomplices, James Everett Flood III and Lorenzo Anthony Wilson.
Lighty claimed that the prosecution should not have been allowed to introduce evidence of his involvement in a drive-by shooting that left another man dead less than a month after the Hayes kidnapping and murder. The appeals court agreed that the evidence should have been disallowed but said the error was harmless.
“The evidence of guilt presented by the government was overwhelming,” the court said, and the details of the drive-by shooting had no bearing on the jury's decision.
The court also rejected Lighty's claim that he and Flood should have been tried separately. Those two were tried together. Wilson was tried separately.
-- Associated Press
Washington Post Editors
August 12, 2010; 7:56 AM ET
Categories: Death Penalty , From the Courthouse , Homicide , Pr. George's , Updates
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