Judge Says Death Penalty Case Can Proceed

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A federal judge says prosecutors may continue to pursue the death penalty against a convicted sex offender charged with luring his 12-year-old niece to his Vermont home with the promise of a pool party before molesting and strangling her.

Michael Jacques is accused of kidnapping and intentionally killing seventh-grader Brooke Bennett in 2008. Brooke’s body was buried near his home in Randolph, just south of Montpelier.

District Court Judge William Sessions on Wednesday also denied a defense request to move Jacques’ trial out of state but says he could revisit the issue. The Burlington Free Press newspaper reports the judge also ruled prosecutors won’t be able to use incriminating statements Jacques made about the charges he faces to a friend acting as a government informant. Jacques has pleaded not guilty. He goes on trial in September.

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