JUST IN: Death penalty dropped from Delray case of man charged with killing ex

A Miami man will no longer face a possible death penalty when he goes to trial this month on allegations that he killed his ex-girlfriend and dumped her body in a Delray Beach ditch, a judge has ruled.

The decision from Circuit Judge Krista Marx in John Eugene Chapman’s case Thursday comes as the future of capital punishment in Florida has grown increasingly uncertain in he year since the U.S. Supreme Court declared the state’s death penalty sentencing process unconstitutional.

It also comes a day after Florida’s Supreme Court added to the confusion when they issued, then retracted, a ruling that barred prosecutors from seeking death penalties under state law.

Marx granted Palm Beach Public Defender Carey Haughwout’s request to keep a jury from imposing a death sentence against Chapman on the grounds that with there is currently no lawful procedure in place for imposing death penalties in Florida.

Marx also agreed with Haughwout’s arguments that prosecutors’ 2015 indictment against Chapman failed to include the necessary elements for the murder to be charged as a death penalty case based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Although Marx allowed Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott until Tuesday to submit further written argument to try to change her mind, the judge said it was clear that there is currently no death penalty in Florida.

“I don’t think that there’s any way that a circuit court judge can cure the fact that there’s no procedure in place,” Marx said.


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