Prosecution wants to halt trial until judge rules on death penalty appeal

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Commonwealth is requesting to delay the trial of a man accused of murdering until a judge rules on an appeal filed in the case.

Last week, Fayette County Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone ruled the state's death penalty law is unconstitutional for defendants who were under the age of 21 when they allegedly committed their crimes. Back in June, attorneys for Travis Bredhold argued that the death penalty should be excluded in this case because Bredhold was 18 at the time of the crime. Lexington Police say Bredhold shot and killed Mike Patel during a robbery at a Marathon on Alexandria Drive in December 2013.

The defense argued it is unconstitutional to execute someone under 21 because the average male brain doesn't reach full maturity until age 25. Scorsone ruled in favor of the defense. Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn says the ruling is contrary to state and federal laws and filed an appeal.

In court on Friday, Red Corn said the Commonwealth plans to file Motion to stop proceedings in Bredhold's case while the appeal happens. The defense stated that they would oppose that motion and ask the judge to keep the case on track for a trial scheduled to begin September 5th as a non-death penalty case.

Red Corn said in court that there was no need to argue other motions in the case until they get a ruling on the appeal. Judge Scorsone said there would be a trial, either way, so the issues will still need to be argued.

The defense filed a motion to sever charges of what was in his possession at the time of his arrest from the charges from what happened inside Marathon. Judge Scorsone denied that motion.

He set another hearing in the case for August 25; the issue of stay will likely be discussed.

The defense team for two suspects charged in the 2015 murder of 22-year-old Jonathan Krueger made a similar argument in court about the death penalty back in July. They had a psychologist from Temple University testify about brain development. That case set for trial in October.

The Commonwealth asked the judge that if he is going to issue an order in the Krueger case similar to the one in the Bredhold case to do it soon so the Commonwealth can join the appeal with the Bredhold case. Judge Scorsone says he will have to review that one and will make a decision when he has time.

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