PORTLAND, Ore. -- A retired judge from Malheur County threw out the conviction and death sentence of Angela McAnulty, Oregon's only woman on death row, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to murdering her 15-year-old daughter.
Senior Circuit Court Judge J. Burdette Pratt issued his signed order late Wednesday. He said McAnulty should get a new trial because her attorneys failed to adequately represent or advise her during her trial.
McAnulty's case is one of the most notorious in modern Oregon history. Pratt noted the evidence was "particularly gruesome."
According to prosecutors, McAnulty singled out her daughter Jeanette Maples to beat and starve while allowing her other two children to eat.
Kenneth Hadley was part of McAnulty's defense team during her trial and sentencing. He said others on the defense had only a month and a half to prepare since they were finishing up another death penalty case.
"We felt very rushed," Hadley said. "They were given a very short period of time before we started this trial, and I thought that was terribly unfair."
Hadley said prosecutors did not give McAnulty a plea deal, unlike her husband. He said McAnulty pleading guilty with the death penalty still on the table was meant to show the jury that she was taking responsibility for her actions and was shocked when the jury came back with the death penalty verdict.
Hadley said they brought up her childhood trauma and mental illness during the sentencing phase, but court records filed on McAnulty claim only a fraction of evidence was presented.
In an email to KEZI, Senior Prosecutor Erik Hasselman with the Lane County District Attorney’s Office, who first prosecuted the case, said the Oregon Attorney General will be deciding whether to appeal the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals. He said until it is officially sent back to their office for a retrial, they won't comment.
KEZI 9 News reached to people who knew Jeanette Maples but haven't heard back. KEZI also reached out to organizations dedicated to fighting child abuse in Lane County, and while officials were not available for a formal interview, they said there are more prevention programs available today compared to 2009.