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U.S. Supreme Court Restores Death Sentence for Arizona Murder

(Phoenix, Ariz. – May 14, 2007) The United States Supreme Court today rejected further hearings concerning Jeffrey Landrigan’s death sentence for the 1989 murder of Chester Dyer. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that would have required an evidentiary hearing over the absence of mitigating evidence at Landrigan’s 1990 sentencing hearing.

Landrigan, 43, escaped in 1989 from an Oklahoma prison where he was serving prison terms for a 1982 murder and a 1986 prison stabbing. Less than a month after his escape, Landrigan robbed and killed Dyer in Dyer's Phoenix apartment.

During his sentencing hearing, Landrigan told the court he did not have any mitigating circumstances to present. Landrigan also repeatedly interrupted his lawyer's efforts to present information to portray Landrigan in a more favorable light. Landrigan even rebutted evidence his attorney attempted to present on his behalf.

Today’s decision marked the third time this term that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed rulings from the 9th Circuit to restore a death sentence or murder conviction.

Kent Cattani, Chief Counsel of the Arizona Attorney General's Capital Litigation Section, argued the case on behalf of the State.

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