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Judge sentences Tuscumbia man to death in robbery slaying

TUSCUMBIA (AP) — A Colbert County judge overrode a jury's recommendation and sentenced a Tuscumbia man to death for the killing of another man who was beaten with a baseball bat and repeatedly stabbed with steak knives in a robbery.

Circuit Judge Hall Hughston on Tuesday sentenced Anthony Lee Stanley, 41, to die by lethal injection for the July 18, 2005 killing of Henry Earl Smith, 52.

Stanley was convicted of capital murder in April for killing Smith during a robbery at the apartment where Stanley and his wife, Shelly, lived. Hughston told Stanley he was overriding the jury's recommendation of life without parole partly because of the brutality of the killing.

According to testimony, Smith was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed more than 30 times with steak knives. When the blade of one knife became bent, Shelly Stanley said her husband picked up another knife and continued the attack.

She told jurors that she and her husband were broke and desperate for drugs when he concocted a plan to rob Smith by luring him to the apartment under the pretense of paying him for painkiller tablets she purchased from him the previous day.

Shelly Stanley has pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Defense attorney B.T. Gardner Jr. told the TimesDaily he will seek a new trial, arguing against the admissibility of Shelly Stanley's testimony. Gardner contends she feared she might receive the death penalty if she refused to testify. But she testified that prosecutors didn't promise anything.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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