McCoy no longer faces death penalty

The Franklin County prosecutor says he won’t seek the death penalty in the second trial of the man behind a string of Columbus-area highway shootings.

The first trial for Charles McCoy Junior ended in a mistrial on Sunday after jurors deadlocked on whether to convict him or whether to find him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says based on what he now knows about McCoy’s severe mental illness, he thinks dropping the death penalty specification is the appropriate thing to do.

He says the severity of McCoy’s paranoid schizophrenia would outweigh the aggravating circumstances in the death of 62-year-old Gail Knisley.

McCoy’s lawyers acknowledge he was the gunman. The issue during trial was whether his mental illness kept him from knowing his actions were wrong.

Defense attorney Michael Miller said after the meeting, “There’s not a shred of a chance that a jury would give him death.”

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