The Vermont Supreme Court is upholding the second-degree murder conviction of a woman convicted of stabbing her niece to death in their Essex Junction home.
In its decision issued Friday, the Supreme Court ruled the trial court acted properly when it declined to instruct the jury hearing the case against Latonia Congress to consider her psychological condition. That could have led to a conviction on voluntary manslaughter.
Congress, now 35, was convicted in 2011 of second-degree murder in the 2009 death of 16-year-old Shatavia "CeCe" Alford. Congress's lawyer had argued she was insane and asked that the jury consider that.
The decision says it addresses conflicting opinions on the issue. But a dissent by Chief Justice Paul Reiber says the ruling defies common sense.