Federal appeal in Nebraska soccer player killing rejected
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the due process rights of a man serving decades in prison for the 2004 shooting death of a Nebraska soccer player were not violated.
Lucky Iromuanya was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of 21-year-old Jenna Cooper, a starting University of Nebraska-Lincoln soccer player. Iromuanya never denied firing the shot outside a Lincoln party that struck Cooper in the neck, but said he only intended to fire a warning shot at a drunken man who confronted him.
On Monday, an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said Iromuanya's jury would likely have been instructed to consider a manslaughter conviction if his trial had been held after 2011 — the year a Nebraska Supreme Court decision determined that manslaughter is an intentional killing without malice upon a sudden quarrel.
But, the panel said, the 2011 case could not be applied retroactively.