MONTPELIER, Vt. — A federal judge in Vermont has ruled that statements made by a man who allegedly participated in the 2000 killing of a Rutland woman alongside another man now facing the death penalty are reliable.

The Rutland Herald reports Judge Geoffrey Crawford ruled last week that some statements Robert Lee made to investigators before he died in prison provided information about motive. Prosecutors had appealed Crawford’s original ruling to exclude Lee’s testimony.

Prosecutors say Lee and Fell kidnapped 53-year-old Terry King in a carjacking plot and later killed her.

Donald Fell was tried and sentenced to death in 2005 but his conviction was overturned in 2014 for juror misconduct. Fell faces a second death penalty trial.

It’s uncertain if Lee’s statements will be admissible if the trial reaches a penalty phase.

Information from: Rutland Herald,