HOUSTON (AP) — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a new sentencing trial to an inmate on death row for more than two decades for the abduction and slaying of his wife.
The court determined jurors at William Michael Mason's 1992 trial in Houston had no way to consider evidence of his troubled childhood and a long history of drug use when they were deliberating punishment. At the same time Wednesday, the court dismissed another appeal in his case.
Mason's trial was held at a time when rules for Texas capital cases were evolving, particularly in the area of mitigating evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court several times has visited the issue. Its rulings have refined trial procedures and several cases of that era have been returned for new punishment hearings.