Archived Story

Ruling could affect sentence given to murderer of Thorsby girls

Published 5:23pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012

“I have little to no concern in re-sentencing Mark Duke,” Owens said.

Duke and Michael Brandon Samra killed Duke’s father, Randy Duke, after a dispute over the family truck. In trying to cover up the crime, the two killed three other people in the Pelham residence: Randy Duke’s girlfriend, Dedra Hunt, and her two daughters.

Duke was originally given the death sentence, which was commuted to life in prison when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that no one could be executed because of crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Samra and his counsel filed an argument on Jan. 23 that Samra’s death sentence is improper because Duke was more culpable in the crimes and was receiving a lesser sentence. That argument was rejected, and Samra is still scheduled to receive the death penalty.

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