Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 30, 2006 3:27:39 GMT -5
The Jackson County prosecutor says he's no longer considering pursuing the death penalty for a teenager accused of two interstate sniper shootings. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling forbids capital punishment committed by persons under the age of 18. However, the prosecutor is still considering pursuing life in prison without the possibility of parole for 17-year-old high school student Zachariah Blanton.
On an I-65 overpass in Jackson County early Sunday morning, detectives say Blanton fired his hunting rifle at 2 oncoming pick-up trucks. The trucks were hit within sight of an interstate weigh station, where Jerry Ross's relatives pulled over and called 911 as he lay dying in the cab.
Minutes later, more shots were fired into a second truck, injuring a passenger.
"I heard two bang-bangs," said Alicia Taulbee, who witnessed the attacks from her home next to the overpass, "like firecrackers going off."
"Just as soon as we heart the shots, the car came by here, down the road he went," Scotty Taulbee said.
Hours later, 100 miles away, two more shootings occurred on I-69 near Muncie.
Travelers unnerved by the random interstate shootings are relieved. Tammy Hammons left home the day of the shootings.
"I was constantly looking," she said. "Looking in the rear-view mirror. I couldn't really enjoy my vacation."
Blanton is jailed without bond, awaiting a murder trial scheduled for December. If Jackson County prosecutor Stephen Pierson seeks life without parole, he expects to notify the court by mid-September.