California Supreme Court Overturns Death Sentence of Man Convicted of Killing Long Beach Woman

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The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday to overturn the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a Long Beach woman, ruling that prospective jurors were improperly excused for expressing ambivalence about the death penalty.

The state high court said the trial judge should not have excused at least four potential jurors in the trial of Jamelle Edward Armstrong, one of three men convicted of kidnapping, robbing, raping, torturing and killing Penny Sigler in 1998.

All of the excused jurors had testified they could recommend the death penalty if evidence showed it was justified, despite their personal views.

“The state is permitted to cull from the jury pool only those who would be unable to set aside their personal views and follow the law and the court’s instructions,” Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote for the court.

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