Escapee convicted in slaying of Florida student avoids death

March 15, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Citing an agreement he made to avoid execution, the Florida Supreme Court tossed a death sentence given to an escaped Louisiana inmate convicted of killing a graduate student.

The court unanimously ordered Thursday that Kentrell Johnson be sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2010 kidnapping and killing of 29-year-old Florida State University graduate student Vincent Binder.

Authorities say he was found dead in St. Johns County field near Interstate 95 several weeks after he disappeared. Deputy marshals caught up with Johnson and two other Louisiana prison escapees in Miami and linked them to Binder.

Justices upheld Johnson’s murder conviction, but vacated his death sentence because he helped authorities find the body in an effort to avoid the death penalty. That agreement was nullified after the case was shifted to a different prosecutor.

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