But when the defense ran out of money, the state Supreme Court ruled that King could not seek a death sentence until the lawyers were paid -- approximately $200,000 for each of the three defendants, King said. When state legislators refused to allocate more money, prosecutors dropped their pursuit of the death penalty.
In January, one of the inmates was sentenced to 54 years in state prison.
"Unless the legislature is willing to appropriate a lot of money for the defense, then I think that the death penalty is pretty well negated in New Mexico," King said in an interview. More...