SEATTLE—King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says he will not seek the death penalty against Daniel Hicks, the man charged with killing his girlfriend and their baby.
Hicks is charged with two counts of Aggravated Murder First Degree for allegedly shooting Jennifer Morgan and their 13-week-old daughter Emma on December 21, 2009 in Seattle.
Below is the statement from Satterberg:
"When the crime of Aggravated Murder in the First Degree is charged, Washington State's capital punishment statute requires the Prosecuting Attorney to make a threshold decision about whether or not the option of the death penalty should be presented to a future jury. In making this decision, the Prosecuting Attorney must consider any and all relevant mitigating factors that would necessitate not seeking the death penalty."
"The question that is eventually asked of any capital case jury, which must first be answered by the Prosecuting Attorney, is set forth as follows: 'Having in mind the crime of which the defendant has been found guilty, are you convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency?'"
"The duty of the Prosecuting Attorney is to ask whether there are any reasons to merit leniency, and, if such reasons exist, to remove the possibility of the death penalty from the potential outcomes of an aggravated murder case. The Prosecutor should conduct this analysis, appreciating that the jury must use the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard in deciding whether there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances."
"After careful consideration of the circumstances of this case, including an extensive review of the background of the defendant, I have decided that this case is not appropriate for the death penalty. The only other punishment for Aggravated Murder is life in prison without the possibility of release. We will pursue a sentence of life in prison in this case."