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California Briefing / Sacramento

Death sentence upheld in killing of officer

February 06, 2009|Maura Dolan

The California Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a West Covina police officer more than two decades ago.

Michael Anthony Jackson was sentenced to death in 1984 for the fatal shooting of Officer Kenneth Wrede. A federal appeals court later overturned the sentence on the grounds that Jackson's lawyer inadequately represented him during the penalty phase of the trial. The penalty phase was retried, and Jackson was again sentenced to death in 2002.

Jackson objected to the 2002 sentence on a variety of grounds, including charges of prosecutorial misconduct. During the retrial, a prosecutor told jurors to think how they would feel if someone they loved was left to die "in a gutter" like the officer, "choking on his own blood." The state high court said the prosecutor's comments were permissible under the law.

-- Maura Dolan

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