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North Texas Woman On Death Row To Instead Get Life Term

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HOUSTON (AP) – One of 10 condemned women in Texas is getting off death row after an appeals court agreed prosecutors improperly withheld evidence at her original sentencing hearing.

Chelsea Richardson was convicted of masterminding the slayings of her boyfriend’s parents so her boyfriend could inherit their $1.56 million estate. She was 19 at the time of the December 2003 killings.

The now 27-year-old’s attorneys asked the appeals court for a new punishment hearing because prosecutors withheld a psychologist’s notes suggesting another woman masterminded the plot to kill Rick and Suzanna Wamsley, of Mansfield.

Tarrant County prosecutors didn’t dispute the material was withheld but argued the notes would not have changed the outcome of the jury’s decision to send Richardson to death row.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals sent the case back to Tarrant County prosecutors, who agreed Wednesday that Richardson should be resentenced to life in prison.

Richardson’s boyfriend, Andrew Wamsley, and the other woman, Susana Toledano, are serving life prison terms in the case. Toledano took prosecutors’ plea deal and testified against Richardson and Wamsley, who also was convicted at trial.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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