Court Reverses 2 Death Sentences on Technicalities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Supreme Court has reversed two death sentences, one a 22-year-old murder case from Leon County
and the other in the killing of a Brevard County couple in 2000.

In a split decision, the high court said Thursday the state failed to provide unbiased ground for defendant Anthony Welch when he objected to the state's preemptory challenge to a female juror.

Welch was convicted of killing Rufus and Kyoko Johnson in December 2000.

In the second case, the court asked for a new evidentiary hearing on behalf of Jerry Wickham, convicted of a 1986 murder and robbery in Leon County. The ruling also ordered the new hearing be presided by a judge outside the Second Judicial Circuit.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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