Top court rejects twice convicted killer’s bid for new trial
The New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected a twice convicted murderer's bid for a new trial.
The court gave no reasons for denying Steven Fortin's request. The ruling upheld an appellate court decision issued last October that rejected the Carteret man's arguments that several witnesses in his 2007 retrial should not have been allowed to testify.
The appellate panel also rejected Fortin's argument that his sentence of life in prison without parole was unconstitutional.
Fortin initially was sentenced to death in 2001 for sexually assaulting and killing Melissa Padilla, a Woodbridge mother of four. Prosecutors say Padilla was killed in August 1994 when she crossed paths with Fortin while walking to a motel where she was living.
The state Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2004, but he was convicted again in November 2007.
A month later, the Legislature abolished the death penalty.
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