(AP Photo/Stephen J. Coddington, pool)
MIAMI, FL - Defense lawyers will try to prove the convicted killer of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford is mentally retarded.
They're trying to persuade a jury to recommend a sentence of life in prison instead of the death penalty.
The same jury that last week found John Couey guilty of abducting, raping and murdering Lunsford will begin hearing testimony today in the sentencing phase.
Jurors will make a recommendation to the judge.
Florida law and a 2002 U-S Supreme Court ruling prohibit execution of retarded people.
John Couey's lawyers had a psychologist that testified that Couey suffers from mental illness, including hallucinations.
Couey spent much of his time during the trial drawing pictures or working in coloring books in full view of jurors.
Some called it a deliberate ploy.
The Couey case was moved from Citrus County to Miami because of intense pretrial media coverage.