TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The man who killed a Panama City Beach police officer and was sentenced to death has won an appeal.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Robert Bailey should go through the sentencing phase of his trial again. Bailey killed Sgt. Kevin Kight during an Easter night traffic stop in 2005.
The appeal came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida's method for determining the death penalty was unconstitutional and required a jury to unanimously agree that death was the proper sentence.
The jury in Bailey's case voted 11-1 for the death penalty.
"In this case, due to the jury’s nonunanimous vote of 11-1 to recommend a sentence of death, this Court cannot conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury unanimously found that the aggravating factors were sufficient to impose a sentence of death or that the aggravation outweighed the mitigation," Justice C. Alan Lawson wrote in a concurring opinion. "Nor can we speculate why the one dissenting juror determined that a sentence of death was inappropriate."
Kight's family, Christina Kight-McVay and Brandon Kight wrote a statement to the media about the appeal.
"We are deeply saddened by the ruling by the Florida Supreme Court to grant a new sentencing hearing for Kevin's killer," they wrote. "However, we are confident that the State Attorney's Office and the judicial system will see that justice is served in this case. Please keep all of our family in your prayers in this difficult time."
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