AAA  Jul. 3, 2014 11:45 AM ET
Man no longer facing execution in 1982 Pa. slaying
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(AP) — A judge has removed the death sentence imposed on a man convicted in the murder of a south-central Pennsylvania woman more than three decades ago.

Lebanon County President Judge John Tylwalk instead sentenced Freeman May on Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

May, 56, was convicted of the 1982 stabbing death of Kathy Lynn Fair, 22, whose remains were found six years later in woods in Lebanon County.

The judge ruled in April that May was incapacitated and incompetent to proceed after a forensic psychologist testified that he suffered from a delusional disorder.

District Attorney David Arnold said the life term was the only appropriate solution since "the law is crystal clear that you cannot execute a mentally incompetent defendant," the Lebanon Daily News reported.

"So while it's frustrating that Freeman May was not executed after his initial death sentence, we have no choice but to respect the fact that he cannot be executed now or in the future under Pennsylvania law," he said after the hearing.

May was convicted of killing Fair, a young mother, and sentenced to death in 1991. The sentence was reversed but reinstated after a second penalty phase hearing in 1995. An appeals court again lifted the death sentence but it was reinstated by a jury in 2008 following a third penalty phase hearing.

Tylwalk said May had gone into "a precipitous decline" since 2008 and as a result was "unable to properly analyze his options," which included accepting a life sentence, a possible fourth penalty phase trial or death by lethal injection.

May's son, Landon, now 32, remains on death row on convictions in the 2001 torture and murder of a friend's adoptive parents.

Associated Press
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