A death-row inmate from Philadelphia has been granted a hearing to address whether his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to present evidence of mental-health problems.
The ruling Wednesday by the state Supreme Court does not vacate the death sentence given to Michael Rainey, 36. But the proceeding ordered could lead to a new penalty hearing if Rainey's lawyer was found to be ineffective, said Hugh Burns, chief of the appeals unit for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
Rainey was sentenced to death for the shotgun slaying of a 74-year-old neighbor, Carroll Fleming, during a robbery attempt in 1989. He came within days of execution in 1996 but was granted a stay by a Philadelphia judge to give him time to file an additional appeal.