St. Louis Public Radio News
2:38 pm
Wed September 3, 2003

High Court Considers Judge's Decision on Death Penalty

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court is again being asked to consider whether a judge and not a jury can order the death penalty.

The high court heard Wednesday from a lawyer representing Deandra Mekel Buchanan, convicted of murdering three people two years ago in Columbia. He was sentenced to death by a judge.

Two months ago, a divided Missouri Supreme Court reversed the death sentence imposed by a judge on Joseph Whitfield and instead sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Buchanan's attorney argues that the Whitfield decision should apply to his client's case.

The state argues Buchanan's death sentence was not arbitrary, and that there's enough factual evidence to support the judge's decision.

The high court did not indicate when it might rule.