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Convicted Murderer Beats Death Penalty

Just a year ago, the government made plans to hang murder convict Godfrey Sawyer. On Thursday, the Court of Appeal eliminated the possibility of Sawyer facing the death penalty for the shooting death of Sterling Eugene when it quashed his murder conviction.

However, the court ordered that Sawyer face a retrial on the charge of manslaughter. He was freed on $15,000 bail pending the retrial.

Sawyer, 29, was sentenced to death November 9, 2009 by Senior Justice Anita Allen for the murder of Quality Discount Store employee Sterling Eugene during an armed robbery. Allen is now the president of the Court of Appeal.

Plans were made to read a death warrant to Sawyer in February 2010. Those plans were put on hold when Sawyer appealed his conviction.

However, Allen’s fellow justices of appeal did not agree that the intention to kill, which is necessary to prove murder, was satisfied on the evidence. Allen did not sit on the appeal.

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