Judge requests briefs in capital murder case

From the Missourian: “Circuit Judge Gael Wood has directed attorneys on both sides of a capital murder case to file briefs over concerns raised by a Missouri Supreme Court judge in a 1988 death sentence case.”

“Judge Wood set a Thursday, May 3, deadline for defense and prosecution post trial briefs in the case of Vernell Loggins Jr., 39, of Pacific. In February, a Franklin County jury found Loggins guilty of first-degree murder and recommended that he be sentenced to death for the Nov. 3, 2009, murder of Stephanie Fields, Pacific.”

“Judge Wood continued the case to Tuesday, April 17, for sentencing, but later passed the case to Monday, May 21, after researching an issue regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Gerald Smith.

Smith, who was found guilty of murdering a woman in 1981, was sentenced to death in the case. On appeal, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed Smith’s conviction and the death penalty ruling. He was executed in 1990.”