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Texas death sentence again thrown out over disability claims

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ highest criminal court has again vacated the death sentence of a Dallas man so that a jury can reconsider whether he’s intellectually disabled.

The ruling Wednesday marks the second time the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the death sentence of Kenneth Wayne Thomas. He was convicted in 1987 of fatally stabbing Mildred Finch, the wife of Dallas civil rights lawyer Fred Finch, who was also killed in the attack.

The court vacated his first death sentence in 2010 after saying jurors had no way of considering mitigating evidence that Thomas had low intelligence. A different jury again sentenced Thomas to death, concluding he didn’t have an intellectual disability.

But the appeals court said in Wednesday’s 5-4 ruling that the second jury used flawed criteria and it ordered another sentencing hearing.

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