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Jury rejects death penalty in officers' slaying

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 3:05pm  ET

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - An Anne Arundel County jury has rejected the death penalty for inmate convicted of murdering a corrections officer.

The jury chose instead Wednesday to impose a life sentence without parole for 32-year-old Lee Stephens. Earlier in February, the same jury found Stephens guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing of Cpl. David McGuinn at the now-closed Maryland House of Correction in 2006. Jurors began deliberating last Wednesday on his sentence.

Prosecutors said Stephens and Lamar Harris planned to attack McGuinn, but Stephens was acquitted of conspiracy. Harris was found not competent to stand trial.

This was the second death-penalty trial since Maryland law restricted capital punishment for murders in which there is a videotaped confession or biological evidence linking the defendant to the crime. Both juries rejected the death penalty.

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