Man who murdered four-year-old girl by roasting her in an oven wants retrial

By admin
03 June 2015

An American federal judge has ruled that John Lane (66), who’d been sentenced to 20 years in jail, has provided sufficient proof that his mental state prevented him from lodging an appeal earlier.

A 66-year-old man convicted of the murder of a little girl by forcing her into an oven and cooking her alive is seeking a retrial. John Lane, who’d been sentenced to 20 years in jail, has provided sufficient proof that his mental state prevented him from lodging an appeal earlier, an American federal judge has ruled.

'Lucifer's gone now. Angela's OK'

Lane was convicted in 1985 of the murder of Angela Palmer. He’d put her in his oven in his flat and turned it up as high as it would go, lodging a chair under the door’s handle prevented her from getting out.

The girl’s body was found by firemen called to investigate a report of smoke in the building, in Auburn in the north-eastern state of Maine.

When firefighters arrived, they found Lane holding a Bible in one hand as he stood calmly with Angela's mother Cynthia, who he was dating at the time, and Angela's 5-year-old sister, Sarah.

"It's all right," he's said to have told them. "Lucifer's gone now. Angela's OK."

Angela's mother was arrested along with Lane arrested after her daughter's charred body was found in the oven. She had been in the next room, high on prescription drugs, as her daughter screamed as she was roasted alive. She was eventually acquitted on a manslaughter charge.

During his initial trial, Lane's attorney E. James Burke told the court Lane was an insane alcoholic, who was performing a rite of exorcism when little Angela was killed. He allegedly though Angela was a demon and trying to kill him.

Lane was convicted of murder in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison. But 30 years later, he wants a retrial.

In a motion presented to the federal court, Lane argued that his attorney in the 1985 trial didn’t provide him with a proper defence.

He argued that his attorney should have included records of his mental state and should have questioned a psychiatrist’s report which stated that Lane had realised that what he’d done was wrong.

According to court reports the appeal court in Maine upheld Lane’s conviction.

The federal judge ruled that Lane be allowed to argue he was too ill mentally to appeal earlier, and also rejected the prosecution’s motion that the appeal be set aside.

The attorney-general’s office has 14 days in which to decide whether to overrule the judge’s decision.

SOURCES: SKY NEWS, MIRROR.CO.UK, CBS NEWS

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