By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge has overturned the death sentence for the man convicted in the 1991 murder of police officer Danny Boyle. KYW’s Pat Loeb reports the ruling is based on case law that prohibits executing someone with mental disabilities.
Edward Bracey was driving a stolen car, in February 1991, when Officer Boyle, a 21-year-old rookie, tried to pull him over. Bracey fled, crashed into a building, then got out of the car and opened fire, striking Boyle in the head. Bracey spent more than 20 years on death row but Judge Teresa Sarmina has ordered the sentence vacated, finding Bracey is “mentally retarded,” as defined by law. She cites his low IQ and significant limitations in communication, academics and social skills.
First assistant district attorney Edward McCann said at a press conference, “None of these challenge the strength of the evidence. The evidence of the defendant’s guilt is overwhelming, it’s undeniable.”
The judge did not order a re-sentencing or new trial, so Bracey will spend the rest of his life in jail without parole.
In a landmark 2002 ruling, the Supreme Court said executing people with such deficiencies violates the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
District attorney Seth Williams declined immediate comment.
Members of Boyle’s family planed to speak at a 3pm news conference.