Death penalty off table in Napa hospital killing

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty against a psychiatric patient charged with murder in the death of a nurse at a California mental hospital.

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 receiving input from parties including the victims’ family.

Massey is accused of strangling 54-year-old Donna Gross at the Napa State 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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Information from: The Napa Valley Register, http://www.napavalleyregister.com

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