A divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered resentencing for a Death Row inmate convicted in the 1993 murders of a 6-year-old boy and his father in Broward County.
Justices, in a 4-3 decision, ruled in favor of Alex Pagan, who was convicted of murdering 6-year-old Michael Lynn and the boy’s father, Freddy Jones, during a robbery of the family’s home.
Pagan was also convicted in the attempted murders of Jones’ wife, Latasha, and 18-month-old Lafayette Jones.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court majority pointed to a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst v. Florida and a subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision.
The 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found Florida's death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges, instead of juries.
The subsequent Florida Supreme Court ruling said juries must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.
The jury in Pagan’s case recommended a death sentence by a 7-5 vote.
The Supreme Court majority Thursday was made up of Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince.
Dissenting were justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson.