WASHINGTON, D.C. (KSLA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that after spending six years on death row, a Bossier City man convicted of killing three people will get a new trial.
Robert McCoy was found guilty of first degree murder in 2011 for the deaths of his estranged wife's mother, stepfather, and son. In an attempt to avoid the death penalty, McCoy's defense attorney, Larry English, told the jury that his client was guilty at trial. McCoy, however, maintained his innocence and objected to this strategy.
Today, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling, saying that the circumstances of McCoy's trial were unconstitutional, violating his Sixth Amendment rights.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote the opinion which reads, in part:
Richard Bourke is the Director of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and represented McCoy:
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says he disagrees with today's decision:
The crime happened in 2008, when McCoy's estranged wife's mother, Christine Colston-Young, stepfather Willie Young, and her son Greg Colston were all shot in the head in their Bossier City home. Mike Halphen, who was the Bossier City Police Chief at the time, said that McCoy was angry with his estranged wife and just went into the home and started shooting. "You could see there had been a struggle, they had tried to get away," said Halphen.
Police were familiar with McCoy before the murders. He was wanted for allegedly attacking his wife with a knife a month before the shooting.
McCoy's arrest was nothing if not dramatic. He spent days on the run from police before being arrested in Idaho. Police there say McCoy tried to commit suicide in his jail cell. A month later he allegedly attempted suicide again, this time in a Bossier Parish jail cell. So far, police say McCoy has attempted suicide four times while in custody. McCoy denies this, saying that in each instance officers were physically assaulting him and trying to cover it up.
At his sentencing hearing, McCoy told the jury, "I'm no monster. I'm no cold-blooded killer," saying he was framed by the Bossier City Police Department.