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For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the district court. BACKGROUNDA three-count information was filed against Gales on May 22, 2001. Second, it removes the option of sentencing by the trial judge and requires sentencing by a panel of three judges. 1 does not change the statutory definitions of aggravating and mitigating circumstances or the manner in which they are to be balanced. Ed.2d 556 (2002), to vacate Gales' death sentences and remand the first degree murder causes for resentencing. Autopsies indicated that Latara was killed by manual strangulation and that Tramar died from drowning and manual strangulation. Seven-year-old Tramar's body was found lying in a bathtub.
Count I charged Gales with first degree murder based on an allegation that on or about November 12, 2000, he purposely and with deliberate and premeditated malice or during the perpetration of a first degree sexual assault killed Latara Chandler. 1 makes two significant changes in Nebraska's capital sentencing procedure.
Soucie, for amicus curiae Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy. NATURE OF CASEArthur Lee Gales, Jr., was convicted pursuant to jury verdict of two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted second degree murder in the district court. However, Gales is not, for purposes of this appeal, challenging the factual basis for his convictions. The jury was discharged; a three-judge sentencing panel of the district court was convened to preside over a mitigation hearing and received evidence of mitigation and sentence excessiveness or disproportionality.
Gales did not testify or offer evidence at trial and did not dispute the State's general theory of how the children were killed; instead, his defense was that he was not the person who assaulted Judy and killed the children. The jury unanimously found each of the statutory aggravating circumstances set forth above to exist.
Because Gales assigns a great many errors, we have for the sake of clarity consolidated, restated, and reordered Gales' assignments of error.
Other factual details will be set forth below as relevant to our discussion of the issues presented in this appeal. ANALYSISGales assigns that the court erred in imposing the death penalty for a number of reasons.
These principles, compelling adherence to our prior resolution of issues, will prove dispositive of several of Gales' claims.(i) Ex Post Facto Law Gales first argues that L. 1 was an impermissible ex post facto law, because, according to Gales, L. 1 transformed the statutory aggravating circumstances from sentencing factors into elements of “capital felony murder.” Brief for appellant at 9.