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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Inmate spared death in cellmate’s murder

April 7, 2007

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— A federal prison inmate convicted of killing a cellmate and using his entrails to taunt guards was spared execution Friday after a jury could not unanimously agree on the death penalty.

William Sablan, 42, faces life in prison without parole at his April 18 sentencing, said Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney.

Sablan was convicted of first-degree murder last month in the death of Joey Jesus Estrella, 33.

The jury had been deliberating Sablan's sentence for three weeks. Jurors were not asked in court Friday how many favored the death penalty for Sablan, but all agreed they could not reach a unanimous decision for execution.

Sablan and his cousin Rudy Sablan were accused of killing Estrella on Oct. 10, 1999, after a night of drinking homemade wine and fighting in the cell they shared at the federal penitentiary in Florence.

Rudy Sablan, 37, also faces a first-degree murder charge. His trial date has not been set.

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