Lawyers: Inmate set for execution should be resentenced

Lawyers for a man set for execution next month argue he should be resentenced because he wouldn’t get the death penalty if he were sentenced today.

Robert Earl Butts Jr. is scheduled to die May 3. He and another man were convicted and sentenced to death in the March 1996 slaying of Donovan Corey Parks in central Georgia.

The state and federal constitutions prohibit “cruel and unusual” punishments. Butts’ lawyers note that the state prohibition depends on the “evolving standards of decency of the people of Georgia.”

Data show no one convicted of killing a single person with one aggravating factor has been sentenced to death in the past decade. Butts’ lawyers say that means the people of Georgia no longer believe the death penalty should apply in such cases.

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