New Trial Set For Oct. In WV Death Penalty Case

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Charleston, WV (AP) -- Two West Virginia residents will again stand trial in October on federal charges that carry the death penalty and stem from a drug informant's murder.

A U.S. District Court Judge set the Oct. 27 date for George Lecco and Valerie Friend.

The new date comes as federal prosecutors opt not to appeal Judge John Copenhaver's ruling earlier this month that overturned the pair's 2007 convictions.

The two Mingo County residents were found guilty of targeting Carla Gail Collins to protect a cocaine ring.

The jury had recommended death and the two were awaiting final sentencing when Copenhaver found that a juror had concealed his criminal background.

West Virginia abolished capital punishment for state crimes, but it remains an option in federal cases there.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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