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Federal prosecutors to appeal new trial order in Vermont death penalty case

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MONTPELIER, Vermont — Federal prosecutors said Monday they would appeal a judge's decision granting a new trial to a man on death row for murder because one of the jurors in the trial visited the crime scene and discussed the case outside of court.

The two paragraph notice to appeal the July decision by U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was filed Monday.

The notice did not lay out the basis for the appeal of Sessions' decision.

Donald Fell's lawyers did not return calls and emails Monday seeking comment.

Vermont does not have a death penalty, but Fell was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 under federal law for the kidnapping and death of Terry King, 53, the North Clarendon woman who was abducted as she arrived for work at a Rutland supermarket. King was later killed in New York.

A jury found Fell and later sentenced him to death.

Efforts to reach King's family on Monday were unsuccessful.

In Sessions' July decision, he said the juror, identified in court papers as juror 143, disobeyed multiple court orders to not discuss the case outside of court, thus violating Fell's right to a fair trial.

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