Death Sentence Overturned

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Kentucky Supreme Court has overturned a 1999 conviction and death sentence of a man it said was unfairly portrayed as a Mexican hit man for the Mafia.

The court ruled yesterday that Ruben Salinas (sah-LEE'-nahs) was improperly linked by hearsay to an organized crime group known as the ``Bluegrass Conspiracy.''

The court also says the jury was given incorrect instructions about kidnapping, the aggravating factor that made the death penalty possible for Rios.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Joe Bouvier says Rios will be tried again.

Rios admitted shooting 63-year-old retired Lexington firefighter Aubrey Nuckolls in 1998, but contended it was self defense. He also admitted stuffing Nuckolls' body in the trunk of Nuckoll's car and leaving him for a month on a Jessamine County farm.

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