Court throws out death sentence of man in 1984 killing

Saturday, February 25th 2006, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has thrown out the death sentence for a man convicted of killing his seven-year-old former stepdaughter.

A Washita County jury convicted Richard Norman Rojem Junior and sentenced him to death for killing Layla Dawn Cummings in 1984.

A federal appeals court threw out his death sentence in 2001 because of errors that occurred in his trial. He was again condemned to die in 2003.

Yesterday, the state appeals court granted Rojem a new trial on grounds that errors were made during the sentencing phase.

The appeal court said one of the errors occurred when the trial court refused to dismiss three jurors for cause, resulting in Rojem being forced to keep an unacceptable juror in the 2003 trial.