Thursday, June 29, 2006

S.C. Supreme Court holds that prosecutor's "King Kong" comments not inflammatory

In State v. Bennett, Bennett was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. During the course of the proceedings, the solicitor referred to the defendant as "King Kong" and the victim as the "blond lady," tying them to the recent motion picture. Bennett, a black man, argued that this unnecessarily injected race into the proceedings. The Supreme Court disagreed. According to the Court:

The comment referred to Appellant's immense size, strength, and the destructiveness of his previous crimes. In this case, the trial court properly determined that Appellant's size and strength were probative of the aggravating circumstance of physical torture, which the court charged to the jury. In this regard, the Solicitor's use of the term "King Kong" was not suggestive of a giant black gorilla who abducts a white woman, but rather, descriptive of Appellant's size and strength as they related to his past crimes.

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