Alabama court orders review in death penalty case

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that a judge must take another look at a capital murder case that has become a rallying point for death penalty opponents.

The court issued an 8-0 decision Friday saying a Jefferson County judge must review Anthony Ray Hinton's claim that he did not have an effective attorney at trial because the lawyer did not hire a qualified firearms expert.

Hinton was sentenced to die for the shooting deaths of John Davidson and Thomas Wayne Vason during robberies at fast-food restaurants in Birmingham in 1985.

Hinton was arrested after a third robbery and nonfatal shooting.

The prosecution had a forensic expert tie the gun in that case to the two fatal robberies.

Death penalty opponents have cited Hinton as someone who lacked money to put up an adequate defense.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)