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The Nation | IN BRIEF / PENNSYLVANIA

Death Term Voided for Man Who Killed 13

November 02, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has thrown out the death sentence of a man convicted of killing 13 people, ruling the jury got confusing instructions.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ordered prosecutors to give George Banks a new sentencing hearing within 120 days. Otherwise, he will be sentenced to life in prison.

Banks was convicted in a shooting rampage in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 25, 1982. Banks, who is biracial, said he killed his five children, ages 1 to 6, to save them from a racist society. The other victims were four mothers of his children and four bystanders.

The three-judge appeals panel upheld Banks' conviction, but ruled that jury instructions wrongly implied that all had to agree on mitigating circumstances to spare Banks from death.

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