A federal judge struck down Tuesday the death sentence of a man who killed his grandparents in 1996.
The judge ruled David Barnett’s trial attorneys didn’t present enough evidence about what he endured as a child before he stabbed 82-year-old Clifford Barnett and his 75-year-old wife, Leona, at their home in Glendale.
Barnett, 39, murdered the couple after taking their car and 120-dollars.
U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said Barnett’s attorneys should have presented during the sentencing phase of the trial evidence that Barnett was sexually abused by one man while his real father was a violent alcoholic, and that his mother attempted more than once to abandon him, once giving him to a suicidal prostitute.
Attorney General Chris Koster could appeal the decision, or prosecutors could file an attempt in the next 180 days to seek another death sentence. Otherwise, Barnett would remain in prison for life without a chance for parole.