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Ky. court upholds death sentence for Donald Herb Johnson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of an eastern Kentucky man convicted of robbing, sexually assaulting and killing a woman at a coin laundry business 24 years ago.

The justices concluded that 46-year-old Donald Herb Johnson was not coerced into entering an unconditional guilty plea to killing Helen Madden in November 1989 at the Bright and Clean Laundry in Hazard.

After being sentenced to death, Johnson claimed a judge urged him to enter the unconditional plea, which left open the prospect of a death sentence. Johnson also claimed his lawyers threatened to quit if he didn't plead guilty.

Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Mary Noble said there's no evidence to back Johnson's claim of being coerced.


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