KINGSPORT (AP) - Federal prosecutors will seek life in prison instead of the death penalty for one of two men charged in the slaying of an East Tennessee State University freshman.
U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr announced the decision in the case of Joey Goins, 28, on Tuesday.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Goins would not be eligible for parole. His trial is expected to begin Jan. 6.
Goins and Justin Jones, 20, were indicted in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in connection with James Norwood's death and the armed robbery of the First Bristol Bank.
Federal prosecutors allege Goins and Jones Norwood took Norwood's car by force on April 12, 2002, strangled the student and left his body along a Blountville highway.
Three days later, authorities say, the two robbed a bank at gunpoint and abandoned Norwood's vehicle in Bristol.
Jones gave police a statement implicating Goins in the homicide.
Jones avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty in July to conspiracy to commit carjacking and bank robbery, carjacking that results in death, and bank robbery. His sentencing hearing is Nov. 24.