DALLAS, Texas -- A Louisiana man's death sentence in Texas has been reduced to life in prison without parole in the killing of a woman who helped him when he relocated after Hurricane Katrina.
Attorneys for 50-year-old Roosevelt Smith Jr. contended he's mentally impaired and ineligible for execution under Supreme Court guidelines.
A state-appointed psychologist determined Smith was impaired. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday agreed.
Smith, who was from Napoleonville, La., was condemned for beating and strangling 77-year-old Betty Blair in October 2005 at her home in Pasadena, just east of Houston. She'd been helping evacuees at a church and hired Smith and others to do odd jobs. He earlier had several burglary convictions and prison stints in Louisiana.