Bay County Death Row Inmate Seeks New Sentence

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A death row inmate is hoping for a new sentence hearing nearly 35 years after his original crime.

Kayle Bates was convicted in 1983 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Janet Renee White. Prosecutors say Bates surprised White while she was working alone at a State Farm Insurance office on June 14, 1982. He then dragged her into a nearby wooded area, raped her and stabbed her to death. 

Bates' attorneys argue that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires a unanimous jury decision for the death penalty should retroactively apply to him as a matter of fairness.

Bates already had a second chance at a sentencing in the 1990s but a jury again found him deserving of death in a 9 to 3 vote and the judge in the case agreed. Prosecutors say the recent court decision that found Florida's death penalty rules unconstitutional is only retroactive to cases back to June of 2002.

Judge Hentz McClellan is expected to have a ruling soon. No matter than decision both sides are expected to appeal until the U.S. Supreme Court rules again on the retroactive issue.  


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