A Missouri Supreme Court ruling affects the murder trial from another county. Alis Ben Johns, the convicted murderer who took law enforcement on a months long chase through the Ozarks, will not face the death penalty in his trial in Camden County. The State Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, ruled that Johns is not eligible for the death penalty, because a Pulaski County judge found him mentally retarded in an earlier first degree murder case, a finding the state never appealed. The Supreme Court has ruled that the state is bound by the Pulaski County judgment that Johns is mentally retarded and, therefore, is prohibited from seeking to put him to death. Johns began his crime spree in late 1996, evading officers for six months, robbing and killing as he went. He has received a life sentence from Newton County and Pulaski County and will now stand trial in Camden County, facing the possibility of his third life sentence.
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