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Life Sentence Ordered in Trial Moved Over Ten Commandments Flap

June 17, 1992

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) _ A man whose trial was moved after his attorney objected to the Ten Commandments hanging on a courthouse wall was sentenced to life in prison for beating to death his 4-year-old stepdaughter.

Circuit Judge Laura Melvin on Tuesday followed a jury’s non-binding recommendation when she sentenced George Broxson, 24, to life without parole for at least 25 years. The prosecution had sought the death penalty.

Defense lawyer Robert Adams said he would appeal the guilty verdict.

Broxson claimed his ex-wife actually killed her daughter, Autumn Jean Doyle, in June 1990. He said he was coerced into confessing after initially trying to take the blame for her.

Before the trial, Adams asked that the Ten Commandments be removed from a hallway outside the courtroom because, he argued, the commandment ″Thou shalt not kill″ would sway jurors.

Clergy, politicians and others spoke out against the removal. Melvin first ordered the commandments covered, then had the case moved to Milton, about 60 miles west of this Florida Panhandle city, because of extensive publicity.

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