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By Chris Adams
Death Watch columns.
Louisiana jury sentences a man to death for non-murder crime
A Louisiana man was sentenced to death in August for raping his
8-year-old stepdaughter. The death sentence is the first in the United
States for any crime other than murder since 1977, when the United
States Supreme Court held in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584
(1977), that death is an excessive punishment for rape. No person has
been executed in America for a non-homicide offense since 1964.
Patrick Kennedy, a 38-year-old African-American man, received the
death sentence in Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, under a
statute passed by the Louisiana legislature in 1995. He is the first
person sentenced to death under the law.
In 1996, in two consolidated pretrial cases, the Louisiana Supreme
Court held that the child-rape statue passed constitutional muster. State v. Wilsonand Bethley, 685 So.2d 1053 (La. 1996). The court distinguished Coker by saying it involved the rape of an adult. Women’s and vi
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