A federal court overturned the death sentence for California's longest-serving death row inmate Monday on the grounds that his defense lawyer did an inadequate job.
A 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel decided 2-1 that Douglas Stankewitz should be resentenced to life without possibility of parole unless prosecutors retry the penalty phase of his case, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Stankewitz was convicted in the 1978 murder of Theresa Greybeal in Fresno. A majority of the 9th Circuit panel said his lawyer presented a "paltry" amount of evidence in trying to avoid the death sentence for his client and ignored extensive documentation of his troubled past. Stankewitz was born into a poverty-stricken and abusive home, and records show he was severely emotionally damaged by age six.
Read more at the Times Union