SB 409
Modifies provisions relating to first degree murder
LR Number:
Last Action:
3/13/2013 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2013

Current Bill Summary

SB 409 - This act modifies provisions relating to first degree murder.

POST-CONVICTION DNA TESTING (Sections 547.035 & 547.037)

Under current law, a person who claims to be innocent of a crime for which the person is imprisoned may request to have DNA evidence tested to prove his or her innocence. This act allows a person who has been sentenced to death to have evidence tested to prove innocence of an aggravating factor that led to the person being sentenced to death even if the person cannot claim to be innocent of first degree murder.

Current law also limits post-conviction testing to evidence that has not previously been tested for DNA and evidence that was secured in relation to the crime for which the person is imprisoned. This act allows retesting of evidence that had previously been tested if additional testing would produce more probative results and removes the provision requiring the evidence be secured in relation to the crime.

If the testing demonstrates a person's innocence regarding an aggravating circumstance, the person may file a motion for a new sentence. The court must order the person to serve a life sentence without eligibility for parole upon finding that the testing demonstrates the person's innocence of the aggravating factor.

These provisions are identical to provisions of SB 162 (2013), HB 575 (2013), and HB 619 (2013).


This act provides that only offenders who were 18 years old or older at the time of the crime and who engaged in the act that caused the death, directed another to commit the murder, or entered into an agreement with another person to commit the murder are eligible for the death penalty. The mandatory sentence for accomplices is life without parole and, if the person was under the age of 18, the mandatory sentence is life without eligibility for parole until the person has served 25 years in prison.

This provision is identical to HB 619 (2013).


This act modifies the list of aggravating factors that the judge or jury considers in capital murder cases. Several factors were repealed and some were rewritten.

Under current law, it is a mitigating factor that the offender was an accomplice. This act repeals the accomplice factor because accomplices are no longer eligible for the death penalty.

This provision is identical to HB 619 (2013).