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Alberta man could skip out on death sentence

An Alberta man convicted of killing two young men 27 years ago could be spared from his death sentence in Montana.

An Alberta man convicted of killing two young men 27 years ago could be spared from his death sentence in Montana.

Former Red Deer resident Ronald Smith is slated for a lethal injection, but Montana is one of a handful of states currently debating whether or not it should keep the death penalty.

The state’s senate voted 27-23 in favour of abolishing capital punishment, but it still needs to be passed by the state’s legislature before getting a rubber stamp from Montana’s governor.

Smith’s lawyer, Greg Jackson, said a vote in the senate is only a half victory, but expects a decision could be finalized by the end of the year.

The 51-year-old prisoner was sentenced for the death penalty for shooting two men while he was drunk during a trip in 1982.

Smith, who was hitchhiking from Red Deer to Mexico before he was arrested, later changed his mind and has decided to fight his death sentence for 25 years.

Smith was accused and convicted of shooting two men that picked him up for a ride.

This isn’t the first time the state has given its death penalty a second look. A bill was passed through the senate last year, but it never made it past a legislative committee in Montana.

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