Seven years ago, Noah Espada was sentenced to death for killing Sandra Ramos and his former boss, Luke Scott.
Scott was Espada’s boss at a River Walk nightclub and had recently fired him.
During his trial in August 2005, prosecutors claimed that Espada was seeking revenge for his firing and had planned to kill Scott.
He mistakenly broke into the apartment of Ramos thinking it was Scott’s apartment.
Fearing she would recognize him, he suffocated her with a plastic bag.
Estrada returned to the apartment complex two days later and shot Scott to death.
During a hearing on Friday before visiting judge Bert Richardson, Espada’s lawyers called an expert witness to address the testimony in the punishment phase of Espada’s trial.
“Noah was the recipient of a very abusive parenting experience,” Joann Murphey, a psychologist, testified.
That mitigating issue was not fully explored for the jury, according to Michael Gross, Espada’s appellate attorney.
Espada’s writ seeking a new punishment phase of his original trial also claims that the jury did not get adequate information to address the second special issue.
That issue asked the jury to decide whether Espada was a future danger to society.
“It is a difficult thing to do to make predictions about future dangerousness," Murphey testified.
The hearing will continue next week. It is a routine part of the appeals process afforded convicted killers on death row.