SC court reverses death sentence in torture case

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's high court has reversed the death sentence of a man convicted in a teen's 2001 torture and death.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a trial judge should have allowed 34-year-old Steven Barnes to represent himself at trial.

Barnes has been on death row since his 2010 conviction. Prosecutors said he beat 16-year-old Samuel Sturrup with a pipe after kidnapping him from Augusta, Ga., in September 2001, stuffed him in a trunk and drove him to South Carolina.

Authorities say Barnes forced Sturrup into the woods, where he ordered four other people to shoot the teen once before Barnes killed him with a shot to the head.

The killing was discovered three months later when a dog found a skull with a bullet hole.

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