A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence of a man convicted in the slaying of a liquor store employee during a robbery in San Diego nearly 30 years ago.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Terry Bemore's attorney failed to properly investigate Bemore's mental health and present those findings to jurors to try to spare him the death penalty. The court said the attorney had been told that Bemore had suffered manic-like episodes and was a heavy drug user.
Bemore was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1985 slaying of Kenneth Muck, a clerk at the liquor store. Muck was stabbed 37 times.
Prosecutors have the option to again seek the death penalty. Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, said the office was deferring to the state attorney general's office, which handled the appeal.