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Hampton faces death as sentencing phase begins in murder trial

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CHARLOTTE -- Sentencing is scheduled to begin Monday morning for Andre Hampton. He was found guilty Wednesday of beating and torturing his son to death in 2008. Although a jury could sentence Hampton to death, there's a good chance he will never endure that ultimate penalty.

27-year old Andre Hampton is facing a possible death sentence. A jury convicted him last week of killing his toddler son. Now that same jury must determine his sentence, although North Carolina hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006.

"There's no official moratorium but there is something of a de facto moratorium based on litigation that's going on that needs to be resolved first," said Cindy Adcock, an Associate Professor at the Charlotte School of Law.

Some inmates on death row are still appealing their sentence based on the Racial Justice Act. As the fight continues, they can't be executed. There are also appeals based on the method of execution.

"Initially a challenge to the constitutionality of lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment because of some science evidence we have now that perhaps the inmates are suffering internally even though you can't see it externally," explained Adcock.

The state department of public safety says there are some inmates who have exhausted all of their appeals. But there are no dates currently set for an execution. The Death Penalty Information Center says this is a national trend.

"It's certainly a national phenomena,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director, Richard Dieter. “There are 75% fewer death sentences then there were a decade ago."

Dieter says six states abolished capital punishment all together. North Carolina could join the list, but Dieter doesn't think it will happen any time soon.

"Without the use of the death penalty it really doesn't make a lot of sense to keep it, have it on the books for one execution every five years,” added Dieter. “It really is an expensive proposition."

If Hampton is sentenced to death, he will have years of state and federal appeals

William Robinson was the most recent person sentenced to death in North Carolina. He was convicted and sentenced in Stanly County in December of 2011.

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