Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 12, 2006 5:17:00 GMT -5
A man found guilty of killing another man while pursuing an ex-girlfriend he had kidnapped had his 1st-degree murder conviction and death sentence upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Donald Lee Leger Jr., convicted of killing Troy Salone on Dec. 11, 2001, had kidnapped his ex-girlfriend from her house. After the woman escaped from his van, he pursued her to a mobile home in St. Mary Parish where resident Troy Salone was shot to death and his wife was wounded as they investigated screaming outside.
In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court rejected numerous points raised by Leger, including the admissibility of statements he gave to police, the effectiveness of his court-appointed attorney, the seizure of evidence from his van and the use of photo identifications made by witnesses.
Although the high court found that part of 1 of 6 statements made to police had been improperly admitted into evidence, Justice Chet Traylor wrote for the majority that in the face of other evidence, that decision constituted "harmless error."
The court also rejected Leger's challenge to the selection of several jurors.
In a dissent, Chief Justice Pascal Calogero said that although questions surrounding the statements constituted "harmless error," the case should have been sent back to a trial court for a new jury to determine punishment without using the statements.
No execution date has been set. Leger can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the conviction and pursue other appeals in federal court.