COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for a man who represented himself during a second death penalty trial.
In an opinion released Monday, Justice John Kittredge disagreed with 45-year-old Norman Starnes’ appellate attorneys that defendants facing the death penalty should not be allowed to act as their own lawyers.
Starnes originally was sentenced to death in 1997 for the shooting deaths of two men whose bodies were found in some Aiken County woods. The Supreme Court had reversed that sentence in 2000, saying the trial judge should have given the jury more specific instructions on self-defense.
Starnes was again convicted and sentenced to die in 2007. Prosecutors said Starnes planned the killings and buried the victims under concrete on his uncle’s farm.