LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A former Kentucky National Guard soldier facing a resentencing in a death penalty case for slaying his former in-laws and wounding his ex-wife has reached a deal to avoid a possible execution.
Under the terms of a deal reached Monday, 41-year-old Miguel Angel "Mickey" Soto will serve life in prison without parole for killing 65-year-old Armott Porter and his wife, 58-year-old Edna Porter of Crestwood, on June 29, 1999. The deal doesn't affect Soto's 50-year sentence for attempted murder in the wounding of his ex-wife, Armotta Porter, and firing a shot in the direction of his then-3-year-old daughter, Brianna Porter.
Prosecutors said Soto used a .38 to kill Armott Porter and carried a .45 semiautomatic pistol during the attack.
As part of the agreement, Soto waived all appeals rights in state court. But Soto will be allowed to ask a federal judge to throw out his conviction.
Soto's attorney, public defender David Barron, said he had spoken with prosecutors previously about reaching an agreement in Soto's case but it didn't come together until the two sides convened in Oldham Circuit Court on Monday for a hearing.
"I don't know if you'd call it really fast, but it took a few hours," Barron told The Associated Press. "He just had to waive all state litigation, now and in the future."
Shelley Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, confirmed the agreement.
"The Office of the Attorney General agreed to the plea at the request of the victims' family," Johnson said.
Attempts to locate Armotta Porter on Tuesday and Wednesday morning were unsuccessful.
Oldham Circuit Judge Karen Conrad upheld Soto's conviction, but granted him a new sentencing hearing in February 2011. Conrad found that a juror gave inaccurate statements during pretrial questioning. Conrad also found that the same juror in the case failed to follow his oath and consider mitigating evidence in the case.
Soto had admitted shooting Armott Porter in a shed behind the Porter home, then entering the house and shooting Edna Porter. He then waited for his ex-wife, Armotta Porter, to arrive, prosecutors said.
Porter testified that Soto shot her in the back as she ran from him, after pushing their 3-year-old daughter, Brianna, into the laundry room. Armotta Porter also went into the laundry room, where Soto fired through the door, hitting her in the knee.
On a 911 tape of Armotta Porter calling for help, she could be heard telling Brianna to go watch TV while she talked on the phone.
Soto remains at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, a maximum security facility that houses violent inmates as well as death row.
Kentucky is in the midst of changing its execution process and switching to a one- or two-drug process. The Justice Cabinet and Department of Corrections are set to release a version of the process on Nov. 15. That document would then be reviewed by lawmakers. The state last executed in inmate in 2008.
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