Appeals Panel to Consider Death Penalty Case

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A federal appeals court says it will consider whether a videotape made by a former butcher might have turned jurors away from the death penalty had they been allowed to see it.

Gary Carl Simmons, Jr., was convicted of capital murder in 1997 in Jackson County and sentenced to death for chopping up the body of a Texas drug dealer and raping the victim's girlfriend.

According to court documents, Simmons made the videotape shortly before his arrest.

Simmons claims in his appeal that he expressed remorse for his actions. Such a display, Simmons contended, could have resulted in a different sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday it would hear arguments on whether the videotape should have been allowed as evidence during the sentencing phase of Simmons' trial.

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