Man's Death Sentence Overturned After Court Rules Authorities Obtained Text Messages Without Warrant
In 2011, Albert Love received a death sentence for fatally shooting Kennan Hubert, 20, and Tyus Sneed, 17, in Waco, Texas. Now, after spending over three years on Death Row, the 29-year-old's sentence might be revoked after winning an appeal.
According to the Texas Tribune, the Court of Criminal Appeals decided to overturn Love's conviction after the jury ruled that his text messages were obtained without a warrant. Within the messages, prosecutors stated that Love hid the murder weapons. Officials also believe the "revenge killings" of Sneed and Hubert were the result of Love's friend's murder in 2010.
"His records were seized by a court order to his wireless provider, not from a warrant based on probable cause," the site reports. Love's lawyer, Ariel Payan, also shared his immediate thoughts following the ruling, calling it a "rare" moment in the judicial system. "I'm a little bit surprised, but I'm extremely happy about it."
Love reportedly had an accomplice, Rickey Cummings, who was handed a death sentence as well. "The content of appellant's text messages could not be obtained without a probable cause-based warrant," the court's statement reads. "Text messages are analogous to regular mail and email communications."