"New sentencing ordered for Pennsylvania woman on death row," is the AP report, via the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
The state Supreme Court has ordered a new sentencing hearing for a western Pennsylvania woman on death row in the starvation death of her 7-year-old daughter.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered a new penalty hearing Wednesday on the grounds that her attorney failed to present evidence that may have persuaded a jury to spare her life, such as a history of mental illness, abuse throughout her childhood and borderline intellectual function.
The Observer-Reporter posts, "Supreme Court orders mother to be resentenced for child’s starvation death," by Barbara Mille.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that Michelle Tharp be resentenced for the starvation death of her daughter because her public defender did not at trial present evidence of her mental state that might have resulted in a different verdict than the death penalty.
“We conclude that there is a reasonable probability that at least one juror at (Tharp’s) trial may have struck a different balance had such mental health . . . evidence been presented,” wrote Justice Max Baer.
The court upheld Tharp’s first-degree murder conviction stemming from the starvation death of her daughter, Tausha Lee Lanham.
"Washington County woman who starved daughter gets new hearing," is by Paula Reed Ward of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
During the penalty phase, the jury found one aggravating factor — that the victim was younger than 12 years old — and two mitigating factors — that Tharp had no criminal record and another catch-all provision concerning the defendant’s character.
Still, the panel determined that the aggravating factor outweighed the mitigating ones.
During the Post Conviction Relief Act hearing, however, Tharp presented extensive evidence, including a history of mental illness, previous abuse throughout her childhood and adult life, as well as a borderline range for intellectual function.