Death penalty off table in Napa hospital killing

NAPA, Calif.

Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein told the Napa Valley Register on Friday that his office decided not to pursue a death sentence against Jess Willard Massey after input from parties including the victim, Donna Gross', family.

Massey is accused of strangling the 54-year-old Gross at the hospital on Oct. 23 after demanding cash and cigarettes. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder with special allegations and burglary.

Massey was convicted of burglary in 1995 and admitted to the hospital in 1999 after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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