22 December 2023 :
December 19, 2023 - Frank Ford Cosey was sentenced to death in 1996. Now he'll serve life due to a disability.
Judge Donald Johnson ruled in October that Frank Ford Cosey, who was convicted of rape and murder in 1996 and sentenced to death, could not be executed because he had an intellectual disability — which would render his death penalty cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of the Eighth Amendment, according to a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Judge Johnson denied a motion by the state Attorney General’s office Tuesday morning to reconsider the overturning of Cosey’s death sentence with little discussion. Prosecutors will seek to appeal the decision with the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.
Cosey, now 64, was convicted in 1996 of raping 12-year-old Delky Nelson and slashing her throat inside her home 6 years earlier. Investigators found Cosey’s fingerprints and DNA at the scene.
His execution was delayed by more than 20 years due to numerous legal actions, including in 2000 when the Louisiana Supreme Court reaffirmed his conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a review of his case the following year.
Judge Johnson granted Cosey evidentiary hearings to establish whether he had an intellectual disability in 2015, which the Louisiana Supreme Court later allowed to move forward by a 4-3 decision in 2016.