A death-row inmate who admitted to killing his 2-year-old daughter by setting her on fire will get another chance to avoid execution. The Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided Tuesday that Shawn Grell did not give up his right to a jury sentencing when he waived his right to a jury trial in 2000.
Grell admitted that on Dec. 2, 1999, he picked up his daughter Kristen from day care, took her to a fast-food restaurant, bought a gasoline can and drove her to a remote county island between Mesa and Apache Junction. He said he laid his sleeping daughter down in the dirt, splashed gasoline on her and lit a match.
She woke up and ran around in circles before succumbing.
Grell turned himself in a few hours later. He decided to let Judge Barbara Jarrett of Maricopa County Superior Court decide his guilt rather than a jury. Grell and the state agreed upon a certain set of facts to present to Jarrett, and she convicted him of 1st-degree murder.
The agreement contained a provision that said he wouldn't give up any rights he "may have" to a jury sentencing.
But Jarrett denied Grell's request for a jury sentencing, and she condemned him June 2001, but a year later the U.S. Supreme Court declared Arizona's law of judges determining death rather than juries unconstitutional.
"Grell's stipulation was thus not a meaningless reservation of a pipe-dream right," Justice Rebecca White Berch wrote in the 52-page ruling.
(source: East Valley Tribune)
They say you're beautiful And they'll always let you in But doors are never open To the child without a trace of sin R.J.D