State Justices Decline Fed. Court's Questions in Death Penalty Case

State Justices Decline Fed. Court's Questions in Death Penalty Case

December 4, 2003

NASHVILLE (AP) -- The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to determine whether state law requires a new trial for a death row inmate.

Appeals by Paul Gregory House presented DNA and other evidence that appears to prove his innocence in the murder of an East Tennessee woman.

House was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey, whose battered body was found at the bottom of a wooded embankment 100 yards from her rural Union County home.

The decision by the state justices is likely to return the issue to a federal appeals court, which had asked the state high court to rule.

But House suffers from multiple sclerosis and his public defender says the prisoner might die before that occurs.

Public defender Steve Kissinger says his cynicism over this case is getting very high.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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