TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – A three-judge appeals panel in New Jersey has issued what could best be called a mixed decision for the man convicted of killing a Mercer County, NJ girl whose death led to the creation of “Megan’s Laws” across the country.

Attorneys for Jesse Timmendequas (above), now 50, argued that a county trial judge erred in rejecting their motions for a new trial based soley on the fact that New Jersey no longer has a death penalty.

Timmendequas was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Megan Kanka.

The panel did not change what is now a life-withhout-parole sentence, but did order the trial court to consider the merits of the filed appeal, which include contentions that Timmendequas’ lawyers at trial were ineffective.

The county prosecutor could comply or take the issue to the state Supreme Court.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060