Report: Court Overturns Death Penalty in Lithonia Murders

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of Lithonia man who killed his wife and two children in Lithonia, but overturned the death penalty, according to media reports.


The Georgia Supreme Court threw out a death penalty sentence for Clayton Jerrod Ellington, who was convicted of killing his wife and 2-year-old twin sons, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other media reported. 

The case will go back for a new sentencing trial after the court upheld the murder conviction, the AJC reported.

Ellington in 2008 was sentenced to die for the 2006 murders of his wife, Berna, 31, and two sons, Christian and Cameron. The three were killed by hammer blows.

The court voted unanimously to overturn the sentence, saying that the judge had improperly prevented his lawyers from asking prospective jurors if the death penalty would be their only consideration for punishment, the AJC said.

Jurors in the case found nine aggravating circumstances, and only one was needed for the death penalty, which he received for all three murders.


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