Appeals Court Tosses Death Sentence For Ohio Man

CINCINNATI (AP) - A federal appeals court has thrown out the death sentence of a man convicted of beating an Ohio woman and dumping her body in an abandoned building in 1993.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati issued a split-decision Friday in the case.

The panel by a 2-1 vote held that Maurice Mason had poor legal help in the sentencing portion of his 1994 trial in the death of 19-year-old Robin Dennis.

The appeals court says Mason's lawyers failed to interview his family and investigate records suggesting violence and drugs pervaded Mason's childhood.

The court says prosecutors have 180 days to hold a new sentencing hearing.

A message seeking comment was left Friday at the Ohio Attorney General's Office.