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California Supreme Court overturns death penalty for man convicted in 1993 armed robberies

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SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court has overturned the death penalty for a man convicted of murdering two store clerks during a string of armed robberies in Los Angeles County in 1993.

The court said a judge improperly dismissed three prospective jurors from Richard Leon's case. Though each of the jurors expressed opposition to the death penalty, they also each indicated they could set that view aside if instructed to do so.

The state Supreme Court cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that it said requires the death penalty be set aside if there is an error in excusing a prospective juror based on the juror's views about the death penalty.

It sent the case back for a new sentencing determination.

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