Court: death sentence OK in Dothan triple murder

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state appeals court, taking a second look at a death penalty case, has ruled that a man who gunned down three people in Dothan is not mentally retarded and can be executed.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday upheld the death sentence of Jerry Jerome Smith. He was sentenced to death for the 1996 slayings of two men and a woman when he tried to collect a drug debt.

The court ruled last year that Smith was mentally retarded and should not be sentenced to death. But the Alabama Supreme Court asked a Houston County judge to see if Smith falls under a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on executing a mentally retarded person.

The Houston County court heard testimony from mental health experts and ruled that Smith was not mentally retarded, and the appeals court agreed Friday.

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