Gary Black enters plea to avoid death penalty

“To avoid the possibility of another death sentence at his third trial this summer, Gary W. Black this week sought and obtained a plea bargain that will keep him locked up for the rest of his life for the 1998 stabbing death of Jason Johnson.

Black, 54, entered an Alford plea Wednesday in Jasper County Circuit Court to the first-degree murder charge he has been facing for 12 years.

Black was twice convicted of the charge and twice sentenced to die by Jasper County juries. Both convictions were overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court, and a third capital-murder trial was set to begin in late July, with selection of jurors from Cass County.”

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