Court upholds life sentence


December 27, 2006

A West Virginia woman sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a teenage romantic rival and her infant daughter lost an appeal yesterday to Maryland's second-highest court.

The Court of Special Appeals upheld the police search and seizure of a blood-spattered minivan that Sonya Daniels was found driving in Martinsburg, W.Va., hours after Deanne Prichard, 16, and 5-week-old Makayla Frost were shot Oct. 19, 2002, outside Prichard's Walkersville home.

Lawyers from the state Office of the Public Defender had argued that Martinsburg police stopped the minivan, owned by Daniels' father, without probable cause. Attorneys Stacy McCormack and Michael Braudes further claimed that a bloodstained hubcap police removed from the van should have been excluded as evidence, saying the search was illegal.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals upheld lower-court rulings on both counts.

Associated Press

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