Jury to decide new sentence for killer Death penalty had been overturned

July 07, 1998|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

EASTON -- For the second time in two years, a Talbot County jury will be asked to decide whether a North Carolina man convicted of killing a Maryland state trooper should die by lethal injection.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys began interviewing 60 prospective jurors yesterday, selecting the panel that will deliver a new sentence for Ivan F. Lovell, who pleaded guilty to the 1995 shooting of 28-year-old Tfc. Edward A. Plank Jr. on U.S. 13 in rural Somerset County.

A Talbot jury sentenced Lovell to death in June 1996, but the sentence was overturned by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The state's highest court ruled that Lovell should not have been forced to appear in court restrained by shackles on his wrists and ankles.

The appeals court also cited the trial judge, William S. Horne, for failing to instruct the jury adequately.

Yesterday, Lovell sat quietly before Horne without restraints, dressed in a dark suit, his braided hair pulled back with a rubber band. Half a dozen police officers in plain clothes were stationed in the second-floor Easton courtroom.

Horne told public defender Franklin Draper and Somerset County State's Attorney Logan C. Widdowson that uniformed officers will be present during what is expected to be five days of hearings.

The jurors, who will hear much of the evidence presented at Lovell's first sentencing hearing, will have three options: life in prison, life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty, the judge said.

According to trial testimony, Plank stopped Lovell for speeding on U.S. 13 near Princess Anne early Oct. 17, 1995. The trooper was shot in the face as he approached the car. After the shooting, police found $63,000 worth of cocaine hidden in the vehicle.

Pub Date: 7/07/98

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