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Texas appeals court reverses death sentence for third time

[JURIST] The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals [official website] Wednesday reversed for a third time the death sentence of John Paul Penry [advocacy website; Texas offender record, PDF], a convicted killer whose death sentence was twice reversed by the US Supreme Court and sparked debate [Amnesty International report] over whether mentally handicapped criminals should be put to death. Penry was convicted of killing a woman in 1979 and allegedly gave a detailed confession of his plans to commit the crime. His conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1989, and the Court later overturned his death sentence in 2002 when it banned capital punishment for the mentally retarded. The appeals court has the majority opinion, Judge Keller's dissent, and Judge Cochran's dissent [text]. AP has more.

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