Death sentence overturned for Indiana man convicted of killing sheriff’s deputy

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. (June 2, 2015)– The man convicted of killing a central Indiana sheriff’s deputy will not face the death penalty.

A federal appeals court threw out the death sentence for Tommy Pruitt, stating Pruitt is mentally disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

Morgan County deputy Dan Starnes was killed in 2001, during a shootout following a traffic stop. Deputy Starnes pulled Pruitt over on a rural road after receiving information the individual had been involved in a burglary a few days earlier in Bloomington and may have stolen guns in his vehicle. Authorities said

Pruitt pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and exchanged fire with the deputy.

Deputy Starnes suffered five gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. He died a month later from his injuries.

Police said Pruitt also shot at the deputy’s son, who was in the vehicle as part of a summer internship program.