Supreme Court denies hearing Indiana death penalty case

The United States Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari filed in the case of Tommy Pruitt, meaning the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that reversed the death penalty for Pruitt will stand.

Pruitt will be resentenced in Dearborn County later this year. Pruitt shot and killed Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Dan Starnes in June 2001.

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld Pruitt’s death penalty sentence, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed it, saying Pruitt was intellectually disabled.

“We conclude that Pruitt has established that he is intellectually disabled and categorically ineligible for the death penalty and that trial counsel were ineffective in their investigation and presentation of evidence that Pruitt suffered from schizophrenia,” Circuit Judge John Tinder wrote for the panel when the decision was reversed in June 2015. “We therefore reverse the district court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

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