Prosecutors say Carlos Kennedy used a claw hammer to bludgeon Zoa White to death in her home on Springhill back in 2010.
“So I was shocked beyond belief,” said Ret. Judge Rusty Johnston.
Johnston presided over Kennedy’s first trial, and if he could come back for the retrial, he says he would have overruled the jury.
“If anyone deserves the death sentence, it’s Carlos Kennedy.”
To build a convincing case, the prosecution brought back a lot of the same evidence, fingerprints, and DNA, along with graphic images of the bloody crime scene to show the jury.
“She was so savagely brutally murdered without any remorse in the most vicious way,” said Johnston.
And once again the prosecution painted Carlos Kennedy as a cold, heartless killer. Kennedy, who acted as his own attorney, did nothing in court to defend himself. This time, this jury recommended life in prison without parole after they found Kennedy guilty.
“Jurors are not allowed to sentence anyone except in a capital case, and that’s, of course, a recommendation, most states have them sentence them, maybe Alabama and Delaware now that allow the recommendation of the judge as the final sentencing authority.”
So the question now being debated now is whether judges should override a jury, especially if he feels the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
“But in every other criminal case it’s the judge that sentences the convicted criminal, that’s because judges are required by law to compare those sentences with like crimes.”
The debate now rests in the Alabama Supreme Court.