An appeals court affirmed two no-parole life prison sentences Friday in a double-murder case that once was dismissed over double-jeopardy issues.
By a 5-0 vote, the state Court of Criminal Appeals upheld two first-degree murder convictions for Marlin James Mack, now 36.
In 2006, Tulsa County jurors spared Mack from possible death sentences and imposed no-parole life terms for the murders of Dana Lamar James and Marvin DeShawn Teague in 2000.
James, 27, and Teague, 24, were each shot in the head and set on fire. Their bodies were found charred beyond recognition in a car.
In 2002 a federal judge had sentenced Mack to life in prison for convictions linked to an interstate cocaine and marijuana conspiracy. He was not charged with murder in federal court, but evidence was presented there regarding those killings.
In state court in 2004, then-Associate District Judge Caroline Wall dismissed Mack's double-murder case after his public defenders argued that he already had been punished for the homicides, because those accusations were used against him to increase his federal punishment.
In 2005, the state appeals court reinstated the double-murder charges but did not resolve key legal issues.
Federal court action in the meantime had thrown out Mack's federal sentence, and the state appeals court found that prosecution on the state murder charges was not barred.
Mack's life sentence in federal court subsequently was reinstated, though, and in appealing his double-murder conviction, Mack again raised a double jeopardy argument.
In Friday's order affirming the outcome of the murder trial, the state appeals court ruled that "the doctrine of dual sovereignty applies, and the state prosecution is not barred by double jeopardy."
The doctrine allows state and federal prosecutions and punishments for the same acts because the law views state and federal governments as separate sovereigns.
Bill Braun 581-8455