26 July 2023 :
(JULY 19, 2023) - Demarcus Sears Wins Sentencing Redo
A Georgia man on death row will be resentenced because a state rule giving prosecutors access to defendants’ expert reports violated his constitutional rights.
Demarcus Sears is the only Georgia convict to be sentenced to death for a crime other than murder. He was convicted of kidnapping with bodily injury after he and an accomplice kidnapped a woman in Georgia and killed her in Kentucky.
Sears, now 52 years old, Black, was sentenced to death in Cobb County on September 27, 1993 on charges of kidnapping, raping and killing Gloria Ann Wilbur, 59. In May 1991 he was also sentenced to 2 life sentences for the same facts.
Since Sears' sentencing, psychological experts have reported that Sears suffers from "significant frontal lobe abnormalities" stemming from a history of "multiple head trauma, substance abuse and traumatic experiences."
Sears' attorney did not offer this evidence during the sentencing phase, however.
The man showed that the now-defunct Georgia rule impaired his ability to present mitigating evidence, and had a “substantial and injurious” impact on the jury’s sentencing determination, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said Wednesday.
Demarcus Sears’ counsel elected not to “gamble” on seeking an expert witness to conduct a psychiatric examination for mitigation evidence at sentencing because he feared creating additional evidence for the state, the court said.