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Death penalty challenged in pirate murder case

Attorneys for three Somalis charged with murder in the shooting deaths of four American cruisers aboard a yacht off the coast of east Africa want a federal judge to stop prosecutors from seeking a possible death penalty because they contend it is unconstitutional.

The trio faces a number of charges that could bring them the death penalty arising from the February 2011 hijacking of the yacht Quest. They include hostage-taking resulting in death, violence against maritime navigation resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death. In all, 22 of the 26 counts with which the defendants are charged are death-eligible offenses.

Click here for the full report by the Washington Post.