Supreme Court Overturns Death Penalty for Southeast Missouri Man

Supreme Court Overturns Death Penalty for Southeast Missouri Man
By: Heartland News & Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The state Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence for a September 1992 murder in southeast Missouri.
But today's decision does not mean Andrew Lyons will be moving off of death row, because he still is under the death penalty for another murder.
Lyons was convicted of killing his 22-year-old girlfriend, Bridgette Harris, and her 49-year-old mother, Evelyn Sparks, in Cape Girardeau.  Harris, her son, and Sparks were found shot to death in September of 1992.  Lyons was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his 11-month-old son Dontay.
In 1996, a jury sentenced him to death for Harris' murder but could not agree on a sentence for Sparks' murder. So a judge then imposed a second death sentence.
The Missouri Supreme Court overturned that sentence imposed by a judge.
The ruling follows a 2002 precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court that the constitution's right to a jury trial also applies to death sentences.