Prior to yesterday, Louisiana was the only state with a death row inmate facing execution for a capital crime that did not involve a murder. Today a second Louisiana man is under sentence of death for the rape of a five year old child. The Shreveport Times has, "Death for rapist: Jury says man should die for assaulting 5-year-old."
A man proscutors say used a 5-year-old girl as a sex toy for him and his girlfriend made history Wednesday by being sentenced to die.
Richard Davis, a 35-year-old Ohio native, listened but did not make eye contact as each Caddo juror verbally confirmed his sentence.
It was only two days ago that the same group of nine women and three men spent 1½ hours deliberating before convicting Davis of aggravated rape for repeatedly sexually assaulting the child from October 2004 to January 2005.
AP has, "Jury sentences Ohio man to death for raping 5-year-old girl," via KATC-TV.
Davis is the first person in Caddo Parish and the second in Louisiana to be sentenced to death for raping a child. He was convicted Monday under a 1995 law that allows capital punishment for raping a child less than 12 years old.
Judge Scott Crichton must formally sentence Davis before he is transferred to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
The verdict will be automatically appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court and it will be years before all appeals are exhausted and Davis could be executed.
Earlier this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the death sentence given to Patrick Kennedy, 42, of Harvey, for raping an 8-year-old girl in 1998.
Defense attorneys said he was then the only person on a U.S. death row for rape without murder, and would be the test case for whether the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the death penalty for someone who rapes a child.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that Georgia's death penalty for rape violated the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. But the high court said repeatedly that its ruling applied only to adult victims.
More on the Patrick Kennedy case is here. Lawyers for Kennedy have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to examine the Louisiana state law that provides the death penalty for non-homicidal child rape. The Court has not yet decided whether or not it will accept the case for review. Tom Goldstein, in this SCOTUS Blog post, believes the Court is likely to grant cert in the case.
An indexing note. This carries the Jessica's Law tag even though the Louisiana statute pre-dates the Jessica's Law proposal and its death penalty provision enacted by Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina. Montana has a similar provision, again passed prior to the Jessica's Law campaign. The Jessica's Law index is here.