"Death sentence overturned," by Sean O'Sullivan is in today's Wilmington News Journal. Here's the beginning of this lengthy report:
The second-longest-serving inmate on Delaware's death row may be free on bail as soon as next week.
At a brief hearing Tuesday that left prosecutors speechless, Superior Court Judge John A. Parkins Jr. overturned the conviction and death sentence of Jermaine Wright for the January 1991 slaying of liquor store clerk Phillip Seifert.
Parkins said he had "no confidence" in the evidence against Wright, despite a videotaped confession. He said he plans to hold a hearing next week that appears likely to result in Wright's release on bail.
Wright has been under sentence of death for 20 years. The only person who has been sitting on Delaware's death row longer is Robert Gattis, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection later this month.
When Parkins announced that he found Wright's conviction and sentence "constitutionally infirm," more than a dozen family and friends of Wright in the courtroom erupted in cheers before they were quickly quieted by bailiffs.
Wright shook hands and exchanged hugs with his attorneys Herbert Mondros and James Moreno.
Afterward, Moreno said they saw the judge's action as a total vindication for their client.
Wright's original trial counsel, Jack Willard, was also in court and spoke briefly to say that the case had kept him awake nights for 20 years. He praised Parkins for his ruling. "You know there is a God and God hates injustice," Willard told Parkins.
Prosecutors Greg Smith and Danielle Brennan were clearly stunned by Parkins' ruling and declined to comment as they left the court. Several hours later, the Delaware Attorney General's Office issued a one- sentence statement: "We are reviewing the court's opinion to determine the next step and will communicate our decision when it is made."
Thanks to Rachel Dromgoole for distributing.