Bossier man's fate in hands of U.S. Supreme Court

BOSSIER CITY, La - The life of a Bossier City man sitting on death row is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robert McCoy was accused of killing his estranged wife's mother, step father and son in 2008.

A jury convicted him of first degree murder and sentenced him to the death penalty.

McCoy claims his constitutional rights were violated though, because his attorney Larry English pushed for a conviction on second degree murder, by telling the jury his client did in fact murder three people.

English says, "In this particular case the facts were so overwhelming against Mr. McCoy that from the very beginning this case was always about, I was going to be standing in front of 12 people begging for his life."

English told NBC 6/Fox 33 News he was trying to save McCoy from death row.  Despite his attorney's objections throughout the trial McCoy maintained his innocence.

McCoy is fighting behind bars for a new trial.  He was unsuccessful with the Louisiana Supreme Court.
They unanimously upheld English's method of defending him and the judge's decision and that's how the case now finds itself in our country's highest court.

"I had no idea it would end up involved in a landmark decision.  That's going to frame how somehow in someways the relationships between lawyers and attorneys, so I'm humbled by it."  

The Supreme Court is focusing in on the Sixth Amendment, which gives Americans the right to legal council.

"I made the argument and I think what the court is wrestling with... what is the lawyer's responsibility... if the lawyer believes the client is incapable of making that decision.

English is no longer representing McCoy, but he believes this case will have broad ramifications.

"If it was just about a lawyer failed to follow a client's wishes that case would have never gotten to the Supreme Court.

While English and McCoy are now at the center of a national debate, English wants the public to remember the victims - Christine Colston, Willie Ray Young and Parkway senior and basketball player Gregory Colston.

"We should never forget there were victims in this case and they are a part of this story also."

Last week the U.S. Supreme court heard arguments on the case. A decision is expected by June.


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