Tuesday, August 14, 2018
News Roundup

Florida Supreme Court overturns Hillsborough man's death sentence in woman's 2007 stabbing

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the death sentence of a man who raped and fatally stabbed a Seff­ner mother of three in 2007.

While the court upheld the murder conviction of Kenneth Ray Jackson, it ordered that he be resentenced because the jury's recommendation that he receive the death penalty was not unanimous.

Jackson's is the first Hillsborough County death sentence to be overturned as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Hurst vs. Florida, which invalidated the state's procedure for imposing the death penalty.

Previously, Florida judges imposed death sentences after recommendations from juries that only required a bare majority. Since the Hurst decision, the law was revised to require that jurors make specific findings about a case's aggravating factors before a required unanimous vote to impose the death penalty.

Jackson, 34, was sent to death row based on a jury vote of 11-1.

He was convicted in 2013 of the killing of Cuc Thu Tran, a mother of three whom he abducted while she was jogging one morning in September 2007.

He raped her, slicing her throat to silence her screams, according to trial testimony. He then drove a stolen van to a Gibsonton field where he set her body ablaze.

Jackson's case was sent back to Hillsborough Circuit Court for a new sentencing hearing.

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