Appeals Court Rules in Jefferson and Houston County

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state appeals court has ruled that capital murder convictions in the killings of a Jefferson County deputy and a Houston County grocery store worker must go back to lower courts for additional review.

In the Jefferson County case, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals said Circuit Judge Alfred Bahakel must take another look at the claims of ToForest Onesha Johnson that he had ineffective attorneys in his capital murder trial.

The court said the judge didn't rule on each of Johnson's individual arguments before dismissing his claims of ineffective legal counsel, and the judge must go back over each individual argument.

Johnson was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die for the 1995 shooting death of Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff William Hardy. Hardy was shot while working offduty as a nighttime security guard at a Birmingham hotel.

In the Houston County case, the appeals court sent the capital murder conviction of Christopher Anthony Floyd back to Circuit Judge Larry Anderson. Anderson must review Floyd's claims that prosecutors unfairly removed blacks and women from the pool of potential jurors for his trial.

Floyd was convicted and sentenced to die for the 1992 robbery and shooting death of Ashford grocery store worker Archie Waylon Crawford.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)