Migrant's Lawyers Try to Keep Death Penalty off Table in Murder Case

Jul 29, 2019

Lawyers for a Mexican immigrant charged with murder in the 2015 killing of a convenience store clerk are urging the Arizona Court of Appeals to reject an effort by prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

Authorities previously appealed a lower-court decision that said prosecutors could no longer seek the death penalty against Apolinar Altamirano in the death of clerk Grant Ronnebeck because Altamirano is intellectually disabled.

Prosecutors argued the judge failed to make an overall assessment of Altamirano's ability to meet society's expectations of him and adapt to the requirements of daily life as an adult.

But Altamirano's lawyers said the judge considered evidence of their client's weaknesses and strengths in such "adaptive behavior," including his work ethic and ability to hold down a job and support his family.