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      SC Supreme Court overturns death sentence

      By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's highest court has overturned the death sentence of a man convicted of strangling an Anderson woman in 2006.

      The State Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a trial judge should have let Raymondeze Rivera take the stand during his trial, even if defense attorneys thought the testimony might harm their case.

      The court also overturned Rivera's conviction and ordered that he be retried.

      Rivera was sentenced to death in 2010 in the killing of Kwana Burns. Prosecutors said Rivera strangled the woman two days after he killed another woman, Asha Wiley.

      Rivera is serving a life sentence in Wiley's death. He testified at his first trial that he was sent to Anderson to kill Burns, and then killed Wiley because she knew too much.

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      Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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