A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence given to an Alabama death row inmate for the 1979 shooting of a county sheriff in Alabama.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday overturned the death sentence given to 60-year-old Billy Joe Magwood for the 1979 shooting death of Coffee County Sheriff Neil Grantham.
The appeals court said Alabama's law when Grantham was killed did not make killing a law enforcement officer a death penalty offense. Magwood had argued that the law was later changed to make murder of a law enforcement officer an aggravating offense for jurors to use in determining if someone should be sentenced to death.