Death penalty experts join Jacques’ defense

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Two out-of-state lawyers have joined the defense team of Michael Jacques, in anticipation that federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the man accused of kidnapping 12-year-old Brooke Bennett.

At the request of public defender Michael Desautels, U.S. District Judge William Sessions has appointed David Ruhnke and Jean deSales Barrett of Montclair, New Jersey, to assist Desautels. The husband-and-wife team has extensive experience in capital cases, but Ruhnke says one of their goals is to persuade prosecutors not to seek capital punishment in the first place.

Jacques is scheduled to appear in court today for a probable cause hearing.

Brooke disappeared June 25 and was found dead a week later. Authorities still haven’t said how she died, or released autopsy results.

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