Families will have voice in Columbs police shooting trial

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge in Columbus has agreed to allow a jury to hear from relatives of two slain police officers should the trial of a man accused of killing them reach the death penalty phase.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Judge Richard Frye agreed with prosecutors Friday that relatives of Westerville officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli can be heard during the mitigation phase of 32-year-old Quentin Smith's trial scheduled for October.

Smith is charged with aggravated murder in the February 2018 slayings. If found guilty, the jury will decide whether to recommend that Frye sentence Smith to death.

It would be the first time that Marsy's Law, a voter-approved constitutional amendment from 2018 that gives rights to crime victims, would apply in a death penalty trial.

Smith's attorneys declined to comment.

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