Supreme court orders new penalty hearing in death case
November 16, 2002
The Nevada Supreme Court has vacated the death sentence imposed on Doneale Feazell and ordered a new penalty hearing in the case.
The court ruled that Feazell’s conviction in the murder of Derrick Hamilton in Las Vegas was valid. But they agreed with Feazell that his legal counsel was inadequate in the penalty phase of his case by not protesting duplicate aggravating circumstances in the arguments used to justify a death sentence.
“Counsel was ineffective and prejudice resulted because this claim has merit,” the high court ruled. “The aggravaters are duplicative.”
The court said striking that aggravator from the case could change Feazell’s sentence and ordered a new penalty hearing.
Feazell was convicted of shooting Hamilton while Hamilton and girlfriend Tira Miller were sitting in the vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot.
Feazell and another man blocked Hamilton’s car, and Feazell walked up to the window, uttered a racist slur and shot the victim.
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The high court pointed out in the order that it had previously made the same ruling in another case involving duplicate aggravating circumstances used to support a death penalty argument. The decision to remand for a new penalty hearing was unanimous.