Alabama Supreme Court rejects death penalty appeal

File - This Oct. 9, 2014 file photo, shows an arm restraint on the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Attorneys for 21 death row inmates who will be in a federal court this week challenging Oklahoma's lethal injection procedure outlined their strategy in court documents that reveal grisly new details in the botched execution of an inmate in April, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The Alabama Supreme Court won’t reconsider the sentence of a death row inmate who argued a judge had too much power in handing down the death penalty.

Justices on Friday turned down the appeal from Ronnie Lynn Kirksey, who was sentenced to death in 2010 after being convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 23-month-old son. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 ordered a review of Kirksey’s sentence after that court struck down Florida’s similar death penalty sentencing statute.

Kirksey argued his sentence was also unconstitutional because the jury, which suggested a death sentence, was told its decision was merely a recommendation. The Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his sentence.

Judges said there are key differences that make Alabama’s statute constitutional. The state Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal with one dissent.

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