09 March 2020 :
Timothy Hurst sentenced to life in prison without parole. Hurst, who is now 41 years old, black, is accused of killing Cynthia Harrison, 28, on 2 May 1998 during a robbery. Hurst was sentenced to death in Escambia County for the first time on April 26, 2000 in Escambia County, but that sentence was overturned on September 17, 2009 (see) by the State Supreme Court, becouse his defendants during the trial had not adequately illustrated some possible mitigating factors linked to low IQ and serious problems in childhood. Hurst was sentenced to death a second time on August 16, 2012 (see) after a 7-5 vote by the jury. The appeal against the second sentence led first the United States Supreme Court (see 12/01/2016 Hurst v. Florida) and then the state one (see 14/10/2016 Hurst vs. State) to declare unconstitutional the capital law at the time in force in Florida, which allowed death sentences to be issued without the unanimity of the jury. In the meantime, Parliament has changed the law, and jury unanimity is now mandatory in Florida. “They found unanimously that the death sentence was appropriate, in the case. However, when they determined whether or not to recommend death, they did not unanimously agree not to recommend a death sentence. Therefore, the only available sentence in the case, was a sentence of life in prison,” explained today Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille. The judge immediately sentenced Hurst to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Timothy Hurst was 19 years old when he was working in a fast food restaurant and was convicted in the killing of his Popeye’s Manager Cynthia Harrison in 1998. A jury found Hurst guilty of 1st-degree murder and he was ordered to death but he appealed that decision and the sentence was vacated. In 2012, a jury voted 7-5 for the death penalty, but the Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that Florida’s death penalty process violated the 6th Amendment because the judges were deciding the factors that brought the death penalty into play when it should’ve been the jurors reaching a unanimous decision. This week, an Escambia County jury met for the 3rd time but did not reach a unanimous decision to impose the death penalty.