Death penalty in capital murder case overturned, new sentencing hearing ordered

Local News

A Port Arthur man sentenced to death for the 2012 capital murder of his wife in her Waco apartment will get a new punishment hearing after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his death sentence.

A jury convicted US Carnell Petetan, Jr in the 19th District Court in connection with the September 27, 2012 shooting death of Kimberly Petetan who was shot twice in front of her nine-year-old daughter. She had been living apart from Petetan following alleged physical abuse. The two had been married in 2010 after they became pen pals while Petetan was serving a 20-year sentence for attempted murder.

The arguments before the court centered on whether Petetan should have been able to claim intellectual disability and whether it would have made him ineligible for the death penalty.

The case had been before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals at least twice before, once following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding mental capacity and the death penalty.

Court records show there had been multiple presentations made before the court regarding Petetan’s mental abilities and IQ with some conflicting results.

The original jury rejected his defense of intellectual disability against what the ruling described as “the great weight and preponderance of the evidence.”

In a ruling filed Wednesday, the Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the death sentence and remanded the case for a new punishment hearing.

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