WASHINGTON (UPI) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out the death sentence of an Oklahoma man convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two children.
Shaun Michael Bosse was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 2010. When sentencing was being determined, the state of Oklahoma asked three of girlfriend Katrina Griffin’s family members to recommend a sentence to the jury — a motion Bosse objected to.
The three family members recommended a death sentence and the jury agreed. Bosse would later file an appeal through Bosse v. Oklahoma seeking to overturn the sentence but a lower court upheld it. After appeals, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously to vacate the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Criminal Appeals judgment.
The case will be sent back to the lower court to determine whether the death sentence recommendation given by the victim’s family members affected the jury’s sentencing determination.
“The state argued … even if the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals was wrong in its victim impact ruling, that error did not affect the jury’s sentencing determination, and the defendant’s rights were in any event protected by the mandatory sentencing review in capital cases required under Oklahoma law,” the Supreme Court said in its opinion. “The judgment of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”