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Peter Avsenew, convicted twice in Wilton Manors double murder, granted new penalty phase trial

Judge grants Peter Avsenew new penalty phase trial in death penalty case
Judge grants Peter Avsenew new penalty phase trial in death penalty case 00:27

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A man who has been convicted and sentenced to die twice in the 2010 slayings of a Wilton Manors couple has been granted a new penalty phase trial.

Peter Avsenew, 38, was found guilty last June for the murders of Stephen Adams and Kevin Powell, who were found slain in their Broward County home after being beaten and shot.

The jury's decision last summer was the second time that Avsenew had been found guilty.

In 2017, he was convicted and sentenced to death but that decision was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court, which tossed it based on a technicality involving testimony by his mother that was ruled inadmissible.

Avsenew was again sentenced to death in October by the same jury that convicted him five months earlier. His lawyer then alleged jury misconduct.

During a hearing in November, that jury's foreman admitted during a hearing that he had watched a documentary about the case before he deliberated on Avsenew's punishment.   

That bolstered Avsenew's lawyers, who argued that the jury foreman did his own research after the panel handed down its guilty verdict but before the sentencing phase had occurred.

A second juror was also questioned by the judge, who reportedly reviewed some written correspondence, parts of which were not presented during the second hearing.

When the juror was asked by the judge if they had conducted any research outside of the court proceeding, which violated an instruction by the judge, the juror said, "Yes, your honor."

The new penalty phase trial for Avsenew is set for late next year. 

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