U.S. Supreme Court won’t reconsider federal courts’ decision to strike down Kevan Brumfield’s death penalty sentence _lowres

Kevan Brumfield

A Baton Rouge man who has spent more than two decades on death row in the 1993 fatal shooting of Baton Rouge police Cpl. Betty Smothers will be resentenced July 20 to life in prison behind those same Louisiana State Penitentiary bars.

The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office announced Friday it won’t seek a rehearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to reinstate Kevan Brumfield’s death sentence in the ambush slaying of the 36-year-old mother of six children.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the decision came after conferring with the Smothers family and after it was determined any attempt at a rehearing would be futile.

That means Brumfield, 43, will be resentenced to life imprisonment by state District Judge Richard Anderson.

“They understand we couldn’t prevail, and agreed with our legal decision not to pursue it,” Moore said of the Smothers family.

Moore said her family will be in the courtroom when Brumfield is resentenced.

Warrick Dunn — a former Catholic High School, Florida State University and NFL running back — is Smothers’ oldest child. Dunn, who lost his mother two days after turning 18, has called Brumfield’s mental disability claim “offensive and morally wrong.”

Dunn could not be reached for comment Friday.

An East Baton Rouge Parish jury condemned Brumfield to die in 1995, but the sentence was later overturned after U.S. District Judge James Brady ruled in 2012 that Brumfield is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.

The U.S. Supreme Court barred the execution of intellectually disabled inmates in 2002.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, after initially reversing Brady in 2014, affirmed his ruling late last year after the Supreme Court sent the case back to the appellate court. The high court refused last month to take up Moore’s request to reinstate Brumfield’s death sentence.

The 23-year legal battle ended Friday with Moore’s decision not to ask the justices for a rehearing.

“This concludes 23 years of trauma to the Smothers family, as well as an equal amount of years of intensive investigation, prosecution, and appellate work,” the district attorney said.

Also on death row in the Smothers case is Henri Broadway, 45, of Baton Rouge. He is seeking a new trial, claiming his trial attorneys were ineffective.

Smothers was shot to death Jan. 7, 1993, outside a Jefferson Highway bank where she had driven a grocery store manager to make a night deposit as part of Smothers’ off-duty security job. The manager, Kimen Lee, was wounded but survived.

Brumfield was accused of shooting Smothers to death. Broadway was accused of firing into Smothers’ police car and wounding Lee.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.