Court won't keep paraplegic killer in prison

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2009 10:24 AM

The Supreme Court will not stop a lower court from releasing from prison a man who killed his wife just before Thanksgiving 1991, then shot himself in a failed suicide attempt.

The high court refused to hear an appeal from Pennsylvania officials, who wanted to overturn an appeals court decision releasing Edward Hummel from prison.

Hummel was sentenced to life in prison for killing Debra Hummel just before he shot himself in a failed suicide attempt. Because of the shooting, Hummel is now a paraplegic with limited mental abilities. However, a trial judge found him competent to stand trial.

But the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned Hummel's conviction, saying that his public defender was ineffective for agreeing that Hummel was competent without meeting him or ordering more tests.

Pennsylvania prosecutors wanted the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.

The case is Rosemeyer v. Hummel, 09-376.