Federal jury recommends death sentence in first VT capital trial for half-century

[JURIST] A federal jury in Vermont Thursday recommended the death penalty for Donald Fell, convicted [JURIST report] in June of kidnapping and murdering a supermarket worker [Rutland Herald report; case archives] in 2000. Vermont hasn't executed a convict since 1954, and the last death sentence given in 1957 was later commuted. The state formally abolished the death penalty in 1987. The federal government took jurisdiction of the case and brought the federal court proceeding [JURIST report] since Fell kidnapped his victim in Vermont and murdered her in New York. On appeal, the US Second Circuit allowed federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty [Rutland Herald report]. In 2001, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft nixed an agreement by Fell to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. AP has more.

 

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