Edward Bracey off death rowFargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -22-Years later, the man who killed Kathleen Wrigley's Brother, Danny Boyle, is off of death row.
By: Katie Lange, WDAY
Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -22 Years later, the man who killed Kathleen Wrigley's Brother, Danny Boyle, is off of death row.
A Judge Ruled Edward Bracey is not competent enough to be executed. He'll spend the rest of his life in prison.
It's been an emotional roller coaster for the Boyle family, and the judge's decision can be viewed as another punch to the gut.
This afternoon, Patrick Boyle, Danny's Father, choked back tears as he reacted to the judge's decision.
Patrick Boyle, Danny’s father: “As you can all imagine this has been a nightmare for us.”
Danny Boyle was a 21-year-old Rookie when he was killed in February of 1991. He was shot in the head by Edward Bracey who was later arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Bracey has tied up the court since then with appeals and now claims he is mentally retarded and therefore exempt from the death penalty.
Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina has ruled that he is indeed mentally retarded and cannot be executed.
The decision has outraged the police force.
John McNesby, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge: “You can bet that this is a killer and if he shot a judge instead of a cop, he would already be dead.”
Judge Sarmina listened to testimony from mental health experts hired by the defense and prosecution during four days of hearings last April. She has decided the defense produced sufficient evidence to show that Bracey is mentally deficient. Back in 1998 Bracey was turned down in a similar appeal.
Edward McCann, first assistant district attorney: “In 1998, at his prior post-conviction release petition hearing, his own experts testified that he wasn't retarded.”
But Bracey claimed he was retarded shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it's illegal to execute someone who has been deemed mentally retarded. He has now won that appeal and will serve a life sentence.
Patrick Boyle: “This is a miscarriage of justice, it's outrageous and it mocks all that is right and fair.”
Friends and family of Danny Boyle's sister, Kathleen Wrigley took to her Facebook page offering words of encouragement.
Wrigley released a statement to the media saying quote, "and honestly, in the end, after this ruling is digested, our lives will not change at all. We will continue to honor Danny's life by helping others."
No decision yet, but the next step could be an appeal to the state supreme court to put Bracey back on death row.