Feds to withdraw death penalty for Michael Jacques - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Feds to withdraw death penalty for Michael Jacques

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Michael Jacques Michael Jacques
Brooke Bennett Brooke Bennett

A Vermont man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing his niece will not face the death penalty.

Federal prosecutors have struck a deal with suspected murderer Michael Jacques. The Randolph man is charged with the 2008 abduction, sexual assault and killing of his 12-year-old niece Brooke Bennett.

"He's not getting away with anything. Michael Jacques is going to spend every last breath he has in a federal prison. That's not a nice place to be," said Jerry O'Neill, a former federal prosecutor, who was not involved with the case.

On Friday the U.S. Justice Department announced it has called off the 47-year-old's upcoming death penalty trial. In exchange Jacques will plead guilty to all charges against him and agree to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

"It's a result that makes sense all the way around," O'Neill explained. 

O'Neill says while the decision may anger death penalty proponents it spares prosecution, defense and court resources -- while bringing certainty and closure to the case.

"There's absolute certainty as to what the result is. if you take this case to trial, there's at least some possibility that he would not get the death penalty and you don't have any better result than what you're getting right here, O'Neill explained.

Under the agreement Jacques also surrenders his right to an appeal. O'Neill says the deal sends a message to criminals and protects the public.

"It's a huge deterrent involved in it. And Michael Jacques will never molest another child.  That's probably the most important thing you can accomplish," O'Neill said.

No date for that plea has been announced.

Click here for complete coverage of the Brooke Bennett case.

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