Washington's Supreme Court has rejected a petition for release from death row inmate Jonathan Lee Gentry, sentenced for the murder of a 12-year-old girl in 1988.
Gentry was condemned in 1991 for bludgeoning of Cassie Holden in Bremerton. The girl was visiting her mother from Pocatello, Idaho.
Gentry, who is black, argued that his trial was tainted by inappropriate, racial comments from the prosecutor and a witness. He sought to apply a decision the court made in an unrelated case in 2011 that was highly critical of race-based prosecutorial misconduct.
But the justices unanimously determined that their 2011 decision does not apply to earlier cases, including Gentry's. They also concluded that Gentry had shown no evidence of racial bias in his trial.
Justice Charles Wiggins dissented on another point. He said the case should have been sent back to Superior Court for a statistical review of whether Washington's death penalty is imposed in a racially discriminatory manner.