- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A southern Utah man will no longer face a possible death penalty in the shooting death of a 20-year-old woman.

The Spectrum newspaper of St. George reports (https://bit.ly/1PT34UY) that prosecutors said Wednesday they made the decision so the case against 34-year-old Brandon Perry Smith can move more quickly.

He was charged with aggravated murder after Jerrica Christensen died in a December 2010 altercation at a St. George townhome that also left another woman dead.

His co-defendant, 34-year-old Paul Ashton, was convicted nearly three years ago in the death of the second victim, 27-year-old Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden.

Christensen’s mother, Ellen Hensley, said the already-long process of trying a capital case has been difficult for her family. Smith’s mother also expressed relief at the announcement.

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Information from: The Spectrum, https://www.thespectrum.com

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