MONTPELIER — Attorneys for a Vermont man facing the federal death penalty are asking a U.S. District Court judge to declare the federal death penalty law unconstitutional.
In documents filed in federal court Monday, the attorneys for Donald Fell argued the federal death penalty is unreliable, arbitrary and there are "unconscionably long" delays in death penalty cases.
The 35-year-old Fell was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 for the 2000 killing of Terry King, who was abducted in Rutland and later killed. Last year a judge ordered a new trial for Fell because of juror misconduct during the original trial.
In 2002 the judge then hearing the case declared the federal death penalty unconstitutional, but two years later an appeals court overruled that order allowing the original trial to go forward.