Friday, February 24, 2006

Florida Death Row Inmate Acquitted by Florida Supreme Court.

The AP is reporting that the Florida Supreme Court has "unanimously ordered the acquittal of a [Florida] death row inmate Thursday, saying prosecutors had not proved he killed two neighbors." The inmate, John Robert Ballard, had served nearly three years for the 1999 murders of two of his friends. The State will apparently not ask the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling.

According to the story:

The only evidence tying Ballard to the crime was a fingerprint on a bed frame and an arm hair found in Jones' hand, the high court said. But the court noted the possibility that Ballard left the fingerprint and hair during one of his many visits.

Jones was a marijuana dealer, and gang members had shot into the apartment a week before the killings, the court said. But prosecutors never presented evidence ruling out the gang members as the killers.

Also, prosecutors believe the killer's motive was robbery - Jones kept large amounts of money in the apartment - but there was no evidence Ballard had such money after the killings, the court said.

Hat-tip to How Appealing (February 23, 2006)
AP Story (February 23, 2006)
Florida Supreme Court opinion (February 23, 2006)


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