updated 5/10/2005 2:11:54 PM ET 2005-05-10T18:11:54

Prosecutors said Tuesday they will not seek the death penalty when they retry the man who admitted to a highway shooting spree that left one woman dead.

Charles McCoy Jr.’s first trial ended in a mistrial Sunday.

The evidence of his mental illness presented at the trial will outweigh any evidence that would support a death sentence, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said after meeting with defense attorneys and the judge.

“Based on what I know now, taking the death penalty out of the indictment is the appropriate thing to do,” O’Brien said.

Jurors could not agree whether McCoy was insane Sunday after four days of deliberating.

McCoy, 29, had pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to 24 counts in 12 shootings in 2003 and 2004. He could have faced the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge of aggravated murder for the one person killed, Gail Knisley.

O’Brien, who maintained McCoy knew his actions were wrong and should go to prison, said he spoke on Monday with Knisley’s relatives and said they don’t believe that execution is the only way to get justice.

On Monday, defense attorneys had said they would not rule out trying to reach a settlement with prosecutors.

“We’d be foolish not to sit down and try to work out a structured settlement,” defense attorney Mark Collins said. He said he was making the statement even though the attorneys and McCoy’s family believe he is legally insane and belongs in a mental hospital instead of prison.


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