Death sentence amended for man convicted of killing Fairfield of - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Death sentence amended for man convicted of killing Fairfield officer

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Demetrius Jackson (R). Source: File WBRC video Demetrius Jackson (R). Source: File WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A man convicted of killing a Fairfield Police officer is no longer facing the death penalty.

In 2008, a jury found Demetrius Jackson guilty of killing Officer Mary Smith. His death sentence has now been amended.

Shortly after Jackson was convicted, attorneys began working on his appeals case, which is an automatic process with every capital murder conviction.

In March 2013, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the guilty verdict, but sent the sentence back to the trial judge.

At the time of Jackson's sentencing, 10 jurors voted for giving him life without parole and two voted in favor of the death sentence. Judge Teresa Petelos overrode the jury's recommendation, which is allowed by Alabama law, and sentenced Jackson to death.

But the appelate judges said Petelos' reasons for overriding the jury were unclear and told the trial court to review the information considered during the sentencing and issue an amended sentence.

But Petelos is no longer on the bench. So when the new judge, David Carpenter, reviewed the case, he amended Jackson's sentence to life without parole. According to the order, he did so for a number of reasons, including:

-Jackson's difficult family life that included abuse.

-The fact that four members of Smith's family did not ask for the death penalty.

-The jury's "overwhelming support" for life imprisonment.

FOX6 News spoke with Rep. John Rogers, who is the godfather of Smith's daughter, about the change. While he feels very strongly Jackson should face death, he says the family, including his goddaughter, will not fight the change.

"Of course she had tears in her eyes," he said of his goddaughter. "Upset when she called me and I told her the best thing to do instaed of ruling the process again, looking at all the photos, let's let it go."

FOX6 News attempted to reach Judge Carpenter Monday but were unable to reach him. Petelos declined to comment for this story as she had not yet read the ruling.

Ironically, even though Judge Carpenter has amended the sentence based on directions from the appelate court, this doesn't mean the court has to accept his order. But for now, Jackson will remain in jail for life without parole.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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