Satanism wrongly used at trial, death row inmate argues

Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.

The revelation, defense lawyers argue, violated Davis’ free exercise of religion and improperly prejudiced jurors against the 27-year-old inmate.

Prosecutors counter that allegiance to the Church of Satan was relevant information for jurors, who had to determine whether Davis should be put to death as a continuing threat to society.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 11, 2010