Former Baton Rouge automobile dealer Hamid Ghassemi won't face the death penalty if convicted in an alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting his ex-wife in 2015, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings, who in January filed a notice saying the state would seek to execute the 67-year-old, reversed course Wednesday during a brief court proceeding. Ghassemi now will face a mandatory term of life behind bars if found guilty as charged.

In remarks to state District Judge Lou Daniel, who is presiding over the case of Hamid Ghassemi and three co-defendants, Cummings cited the continuing state of flux involving the execution process in Louisiana as the reason for the reversal.

At the request of state corrections officials, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick on Monday barred Louisiana from carrying out any death sentences for at least one more year. Her order came in a federal lawsuit that challenges the state's lethal injection protocols.

Just hours before Cummings made her announcement Wednesday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said his office was leaving the federal case and he accused Gov. John Bel Edwards of preventing efforts to execute criminals on death row.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III pointed out that most of those on Louisiana’s death row have been appealing their cases for 20 years or more.

“We seem to place more emphasis and concern for the constitutional rights of these defendants, whose rights should be properly protected, but we ignore the rights and feelings of those family members of the victims who suffer decades of misery,” Moore said.

“As an office we wrestle with these type of decisions, trying only to seek death in those extremely few cases where death is an appropriate sentence for the jury to consider, as we did in this case,” he added. “Likewise, however, we have to consider the impact on our victims’ families under our state’s current appellate system of review of death sentences.”

Cummings said she met with the son of Hamid Ghassemi and murder victim Taherah Ghassemi to discuss the decision not to seek the death penalty.

Tommy Damico, one of Hamid Ghassemi’s attorneys, said he wasn’t surprised by Cummings’ announcement.

“We never seriously thought they would seek the death penalty,” he said.

One of Ghassemi's co-defendants, Tyler Lee Ashpaugh, 23, of Denham Springs, pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter in the slaying of Taherah Ghassemi, 54. His plea agreement calls for a 40-year prison term. Ashpaugh admitted that the murder-for-hire scheme also had targeted Hamed Ghassemi, the son of Hamid and Taherah Ghassemi.

Taherah Ghassemi's body was found May 16, 2015, in a heavily wooded area of rural St. Helena Parish. She had been shot in the head.

Authorities allege Hamid Ghassemi paid $10,000 to have her killed.

Two other men — Daniel Humberto Richter, 36, of Walker, and Skyler Williams, 20, of Denham Springs — also are charged with first-degree murder in the case. Richter once worked for Hamid Ghassemi, who owned Import One and Import One Elite on Airline Highway at the time of his former wife’s death.

Daniel on Wednesday set a tentative trial date of Oct. 22 for Ghassemi. Williams and Richter already have trial dates of Aug. 27 and Oct. 22, respectively.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.