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Judge won't toss death penalty in Trumann case

A judge says prosecutors can still seek the death penalty against a Trumann man accused of killing a police officer — even though the state Supreme Court recently ruled Arkansas' execution law was unconstitutional.

PARAGOULD, Ark. (AP) — A judge says prosecutors can still seek the death penalty against a Trumann man accused of killing a police officer — even though the state Supreme Court recently ruled Arkansas' execution law was unconstitutional.

Defense attorneys for Jerry Lard had asked Circuit Judge Brent Davis to remove the death penalty from consideration in Lard's upcoming trial. The Jonesboro Sun reports that the judge rejected that request.

Lard is charged with capital murder in the April 12, 2011, shooting death of Trumann police officer Jonathan Schmidt.

Davis ruled that last week's Supreme Court opinion didn't prohibit a judge from handing down a death sentence. Lard is set to go to trial July 16.

Justices ruled that the Legislature improperly gave the Department of Correction authority to set execution procedures.


 

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