Post by SoulTrainOz on Jun 27, 2006 22:35:13 GMT -5
An attorney for a man convicted of killing a Gary police officer in 1981 told the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday that prosecutors should be prohibited from again seeking the death penalty.
50-year-old Zolo Agona Azania was twice sentenced to death for killing Gary Police Lieutenant George Yaros during a bank robbery. The Indiana Supreme Court twice overturned the death sentence while upholding the conviction.
Azania's attorney says that several witnesses have died and some physical evidence is missing, hindering his defense.
The state says barring the death sentence would set bad precedent and that there is testimony from court transcripts and depositions the defense could use in a third penalty phase.
Post by SoulTrainOz on Jun 28, 2006 20:12:48 GMT -5
Man's sentence has been overturned twice.
Prosecutors should be prohibited from again seeking the death penalty against a man convicted by Allen County juries of killing a Gary police officer in 1981 because the passage of time would hinder his defense, an attorney told the Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday.
2 previous death sentences against Zolo Agona Azania were overturned, and his attorney, Michael Deutsch, noted that several witnesses are dead and some physical evidence is now missing.
The state asked the court to overturn a judge's ruling that bars prosecutors from seeking the death sentence again.
Allen County juries sentenced Azania, formerly known as Rufus Averhart, to death twice for killing Gary police Lt. George Yaros during a bank robbery. The state Supreme Court overturned the sentences but upheld the conviction.
Since the most recent reversal, Azania's attorneys have claimed that delays by prosecutors have violated Azanias due process rights.
Boone Circuit Court Judge Steve David agreed, saying in a May 2005 ruling that Azania might have difficulty defending himself because some witnesses have died.
Azania has been in prison for the crime for about 25 years.
Arthur Perry, a deputy attorney general who argued for the state, said unless prosecutors are able to seek and get a 3rd death sentence, credits for time served could make Azania eligible for discharge in about 5 years.