COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/27/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LEE SORRELS COLEMAN. TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: RHONDA R. HAYES-ELLIS, STACY L. FERRARO, MERRIDA P. COXWELL, JR.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
FOR APPELLANT: STACY L. FERRARO.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.
LAMAR, JUSTICE. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
[¶1] After a federal court declared Mack Arthur King ineligible for the death penalty under Atkins v. Virginia, the Lowndes County Circuit Court sentenced him to life without parole. King argues on appeal that he should have been sentenced to life. We agree, and we vacate King's sentence and remand the case for resentencing.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[¶2] Lelia Patterson was found dead in her home on August 3, 1980. King v. State, 421 So.2d 1009, 1010 (Miss. 1982). King subsequently was indicted for capital murder in her death, and he was convicted and sentenced to death in December 1981. Id. at 1018. Since that time, King has filed numerous appeals seeking relief from his conviction and sentence, but those are not relevant here.
[¶3] In 2013, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi found that King was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution. King v. Epps, 2013 WL 1291632, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Mar 26, 2013). The district court vacated King's death sentence and gave the State an opportunity to impose a sentence less than death. Id. at **1; 12. The State then filed a Motion to Vacate
Sentence of Death and Resentence Petitioner to Life Without Parole in the Lowndes County Circuit Court.
[¶4] King filed a motion objecting to being sentenced to life without parole. He argued that the only sentencing options available at the time he committed the crime were death and life. He argued that the 1994 sentencing amendments which added life without parole as a sentencing option for capital murder could not properly be applied to him, because they would violate the ex post facto clauses of the United States and Mississippi Constitutions. He also argued that his ...