LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence of a 65-year-old Nevada prison inmate who killed a Reno used car salesman in 1982, just months after killing his girlfriend in the Seattle area.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Tracy Petrocelli’s murder and robbery convictions for shooting James Wilson.
But the judges said Wednesday that Petrocelli’s constitutional rights were violated during penalty proceedings because his attorney wasn’t present when he was interviewed by a psychiatrist who testified for the prosecution.
Petrocelli’s attorney, A. Richard Ellis, didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a telephone message.
Officials in the Washoe County District Attorney and Nevada Attorney General offices didn’t immediately say whether they’ll retry Petrocelli’s penalty phase or seek a lesser sentence like life without parole.
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