(WBIR) A federal appeals court has ordered a new sentencing for a Tennessee death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a nurse at Fort Campbell after forcing her to listen to her husband's slaying.
The ruling Thursday from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the state 180 days to hold a re-sentencing hearing for 46-year-old Ronnie Cauthern or vacate his death sentence.
A jury condemned Cauthern for the slaying of Rosemary Smith, a captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps at the military post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line.
Her husband, Patrick Smith, also died in the attack in 1987 at couple's home in Clarksville, Tenn.
Judge Eric Clay found prosecutorial misconduct based on a prosecutor's comments and ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing.