LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered resentencing for a man who was given three life imprisonment terms after pleading guilty to rape.
The court ruled Thursday that a victim impact statement shown during Ira Vankirk's sentencing trial violated his constitutional right to confront the witness.
Greene County prosecutors accused Vankirk of raping a girl sometime between Jan. 1, 2007, and Aug. 31, 2009. The victim was 12 when the crime was reported.
During the videotape, the victim said Vankirk began molesting her when she was around six years old, earlier than the period for which Vankirk was charged.
Vankirk's lawyer objected to the videotape. But the judge said the rules of evidence didn't apply during sentencing.
An after-hours message left for Vankirk's trial attorney, Arlon Woodruff, wasn't immediately returned.
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