Her attacker was 19-year-old Timothy Hurst, an employee who made off with about $1,000.
The jury found Hurst guilty. He was sentenced to die for the crime that was committed in 1998.
The convicted killer is now 36. The United States Supreme Court is taking up the case as it considers the death penalty in Florida with oral hearings scheduled for October.
The judge sentenced the killer to death based upon a 7-to-5 recommendation by the jury that convicted him. Opponents demand a unanimous jury decision before a judge can sentence a murderer to death.
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The U.S. Supreme Court this fall will hear arguments in a challenge to the way Florida sentences people to death — a challenge backed by three former Florida Supreme Court justices and the American Bar Association.
The case, which stems from the 1998 murder of an Escambia County fast-food worker, focuses on the role that juries play in recommending death sentences, which ultimately are imposed by judges.
Attorneys representing Death Row inmate Timothy Lee Hurst, including former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman, contend that Florida's unique sentencing system is unconstitutional. Supporting that position in friend-of-the-court briefs are former Florida Supreme Court justices Harry Lee Anstead, Rosemary Barkett and Gerald Kogan, along with the American Bar Association and seven former Florida circuit judges.
Part of the argument centers on what are known as "aggravating" circumstances that must be found before defendants can be sentenced to death. Hurst's attorneys argue, in part, that a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requires that determination of such aggravating circumstances be "entrusted" to juries, not to judges.
Also, they take issue with Florida not requiring unanimous jury recommendations in death-penalty cases. A judge sentenced Hurst to death after receiving a 7-5 jury recommendation.
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