Nevada Court: Inmate No Longer Eligible For Death Penalty

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada death row inmate convicted in the 1980 robbery-killing of a man for $2 is no longer eligible for capitol punishment and must be resentenced, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled.

The Nevada justices ruled Thursday that a New York court's recent erasure of Samuel Howard's lone conviction for a violent crime took the death penalty off the table for his Nevada murder conviction, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Howard, 73, has been on death row for nearly 40 years after being sentenced in the 1980 fatal shooting of Las Vegas dentist George Monahan during a robbery.

According to the Nevada high court, the vacating of Howard's New York conviction eliminated the one remaining aggravating circumstance making him eligible for a possible death sentence.

Under a new penalty hearing for Howard, a jury would decide between a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole or without the possibility of parole.

The last person executed by Nevada was Daryl Mack. He was executed in 2006 for the 1988 murder of Betty Jane May of Reno.