Luna Nixes Plea Deal, Ready for Re-Trial
By WestKyStar Staff
CADIZ, KY - Convicted murderer George Luna is set for re-trial on Monday in Cadiz.
Luna is being re-tried for the Sept. 2007 death of 46-year-old Debra Hendrickson. He is accused of bludgeoning Hendrickson and setting fire to the Benton mobile home where they were both staying.
Prosecutors told the Paducah Sun that the commonwealth offered Luna a plea deal during his final pre-trial hearing on Tuesday. That deal reportedly carried a 40-year sentence on the murder charge and an amended second-degree conviction on the arson. That deal would have called for Luna to spend a total of 40 years in prison. Luna ultimately turned the deal down.
Luna was convicted by a Marshall County jury in August 2008 of murder and first-degree arson. At that time the recommended sentence was two consecutive life terms. A reported issue with a juror brought about the re-trial. After a jury could not be seated in Marshall County, the re-trial was moved to Trigg County.
Luna also testified that he no longer wishes to serve as co-counsel in his re-trial, leaving that job to his appointed attorneys.
Judge Dennis Foust is also scheduled to rule on motions concerning character evidence and a request to strike statements Luna made the night he was arrested before the trial starts Monday.
Evidentiary and witness details were also addressed at Tuesday's hearing, including a decision to stipulate the testimony of chain-of-custody witnesses.
The Sun reports that Special Commonwealth Attorney Jeff Prather said the jury pool will include more than 100 people. Foust said he expects to seat a jury on the first day.
The trial is set for 9 a.m. Monday in Trigg Circuit Court.