HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – The state’s highest court on Monday upheld the convictions of a former death-row inmate who killed his ex-wife and their 16-year-old son 30 years ago.

Robert Breton was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of capital felony for beating and stabbing to death his 38-year-old ex-wife, JoAnn Breton, and their son, Robert Breton Jr., in December 1987 in Waterbury.

Breton’s attorneys argued that the defense failed to bring up mitigating evidence, including that Breton suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was high on methamphetamine at the time of the killings, which could have led to a conviction on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Monday that Breton had willingly instructed his trial lawyers not to pursue that line of defense, including presenting certain evidence from his conviction in the 1966 stabbing of his father, which might show he had a history of mental health problems. Breton received a suspended sentence after being convicted of manslaughter in that case.

Breton, 70, spent 26 years on death row before a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that found executing death-row inmates would be unconstitutional because of legislation that outlawed capital punishment for future crimes.

The only other sentence available for capital felony is life in prison without parole. The court ruled that Breton has the right to file another appeal arguing that his sentence is illegal.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 


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