Lawyer in Death Row Case Defies Own Client—and Loses

Now the Supreme Court will weigh in on the fairness of that
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2018 1:43 PM CST
Robert McCoy.   (Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in a death row case, but this one has an unusual element. The case involves Robert McCoy, who is currently on Louisiana's death row after being convicted of a triple homicide back in 2011. McCoy has always maintained his innocence, but his attorney, Robert English, defied McCoy's wishes during the trial and told the jury that McCoy was guilty—figuring it was the only hope of avoiding a death sentence, explains NBC News. The gambit didn't work, however. McCoy was convicted and sentenced to death, and now McCoy is arguing that his constitutional right to mount a defense was violated. More background and developments:

  • The crime: McCoy is accused of killing his estranged wife's teenage son, mother, and stepfather, while searching for his wife, and the Washington Post reports that prosecutors had compelling evidence. On a 911 call, McCoy's mother-in-law could be heard saying, "She ain’t here, Robert. I don’t know where she is," before a gunshot rings out and the call is disconnected. Witnesses saw McCoy's car leaving the area, and cops later found the phone his mother-in-law used to call 911 in the vehicle.

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