Supreme Court overturns inmate’s death sentence
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence for an inmate convicted of a 1995 murder and kidnapping.
A statement from the court says justices decided on Monday to order a new sentencing hearing for Jerry Ray Davidson in the slaying of Virginia Jackson in Dickson.
Although the court upheld his convictions in the slaying of Virginia Jackson in Dickson, justices determined that Davidson’s lawyers failed to present mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of his trial.
They said his lawyers had records documenting his struggles with mental illness, but failed to present any evidence of it. Justices found that defense attorneys in death penalty cases are obligated by the constitution to present “mitigation evidence” that would help a jury assess the defendant’s moral culpability.