Kentucky prosecutor drops death penalty, saying witness lied

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 11:10:02-04

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A death penalty case has unraveled in Kentucky, where a prosecutor said he can’t go forward because a key witness can’t be truthful at trial.

Hardin County prosecutor Shane Young said no physical evidence shows Aaron Pearson was complicit in the murder of 71-year-old Army veteran Norman Hall.

Young said testimony from another suspect, Eloysia James-Venerable, was key to a conviction. She was given a plea deal limiting her time to at least 20 years if she would tell the truth.

But the prosecutor said she’s proven untruthful, and he can’t pursue capital punishment if he’s “not 100% certain” about her testimony.

The News-Enterprise reports that Pearson accepted a plea deal of 15 years on lesser charges. Young said he’ll now pursue a life sentence for his former key witness.