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California Supreme Court favors death row inmate

Posted: July 10, 2012 2:00 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2012 2:00 p.m.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court says a death row inmate sentenced to die for a Bakersfield killing should get a competency evaluation or a new trial.

Monday's ruling came in an appeal of the 1995 conviction of Christopher Charles Lightsey, who was sentenced to death murdering 76-year-old William Compton.

Lightsey was disruptive during court hearings and he fired five attorneys.

He represented himself during a competency hearing, which ended with the judge ruling Lightsey was competent to stand trial.

The Los Angeles Times says California's high court ruled defendants must have legal representation during competency hearings.

A Kern County judge will have to decide if Lightsey was fit for trial. If the reevaluation proves impossible or Lightsey is deemed incompetent, the court says a new murder trial should be held.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.



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