Prosecutors Predict Six Death Penalty Cases In Bay County Could Be Overturned

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court is sending another death row inmate back to Bay County for re-sentencing.

The high court overturned the death sentence Kevin Jeffries, 32, received for the torturing and killing of a 90-year-old Lynn Haven man in 2013.

He was part of a trio that killed Wallace Scott at his home.

State Supreme Court justices ruled the jury didn't have the necessary findings to impose the death penalty on Jeffries.

It's one of several local death row inmates who's sentences have been overturned.

Although he was only an accomplice, the other two defendants cut deals, and Jeffries was the only one to receive a death sentence.

However, that's not why he and others are receiving new sentencing phases.

"The United States Supreme Court decision in Hurst requires not only the jury must unanimously find that a defendant committed the crime, but the jury must unanimously find that death is the appropriate decision," said Prosecution Attorney Larry Basford.

In Jeffries' case, the jury recommended the death penalty by a ten to two vote.

Last week the court granted a new sentencing for Robert Bailey who shot and killed Panama City Beach Police Sgt. Kevin Kight in 2005.

Before being interviewed Thursday, Basford joined defense attorneys for a status hearing for James Card, another murderer who's getting a new sentencing.

Basford said this process is taking a toll on his staff, and even more-so on the families of the victims.

However he says the state attorney's office will continue to seek "just" punishment in each case.

"We intend to still pursue the death penalty when we believe that that is an appropriate sentence and that we have evidence and the law is on our side to support the death penalty," said Basford.

Card will be back in court next month for another hearing.

Basford says it's ultimately up to the victim's family whether the state will pursue the death penalty or a life sentence life without parole for the other remanded cases.


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