SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 27, 2013

Worcester man convicted of Rutland man's slaying

WORCESTER (AP) — A Worcester man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 2011 beating and stabbing death of a Rutland man in his home.

James Rutherford was convicted Tuesday by a Worcester Superior Court jury of killing 52-year-old Francis Spokis in July 2011.

Prosecutors say the 27-year-old Rutherford stabbed the 52-year-old Spokis multiple times and beat him with a baseball bat during a robbery in which jewelry and electronics were taken.

A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, but a judge postponed sentencing until Jan. 6.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that Rutherford’s lawyer raised a diminished capacity defense, claiming his client was addicted to crack cocaine and his mental state rendered him incapable of premeditation or of forming the intent for murder.

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