Mother reacts to death penalty ruling

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego mother of a young murder victim broke down after learning that a U.S. District Court judge had declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional.

“It's just not fair,” said Melina Sellers-Phillips, the mother of murder victim Jonathon Sellers.

In March of 1993, serial killer Scott Erskine sexually assaulted and brutally murdered her nine-year-old son Jonathan Sellers and his best friend, 13-year-old Charlie Keever, in the South Bay.

Both boys were found bound and gagged with nooses around their necks.

“Some days it hurts so much, it's just so hard,” Sellers-Phillips told 10News.

Erskine was sentenced to death in 2004 for the heinous crimes. He remains on death row.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney overturned a death sentence for a man who killed his girlfriend's mother in 1992. Carney then called the death penalty's administration so "dysfunctional" that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

“Do you know what they did to my son, what they did to Charlie? Cruel and unusual punishment, that was cruel and unusual punishment,” Sellers-Phillips said.

In California, there has not been an execution since 2006 because of multiple problems with lethal injection procedures.
Wednesday’s federal ruling could be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

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