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Federal appeal in Nebraska soccer player killing rejected

Federal appeal in Nebraska soccer player killing rejected
A memorial set up Monday, April 26, 2004, sits outside the Lincoln, Neb. home where Nebraska soccer player Jenna Cooper was shot earlier in the day Sunday. The 21-year-old Cooper, a junior from Louisville, Ky., died Sunday night at an area hospital after being shot in the neck outside her Lincoln home during a party.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has ruled that the due process rights of a man serving decades in prison for the 2004 shooting death of a Nebraska soccer player were not violated.

Lucky Iromuanya was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of 21-year-old Jenna Cooper, a starting University of Nebraska-Lincoln soccer player. Iromuanya never denied firing the shot outside a Lincoln party that struck Cooper in the neck, but said he only intended to fire a warning shot at a drunken man who confronted him.

On Monday, an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said Iromuanya’s jury would likely have been instructed to consider a manslaughter conviction if his trial had been held after 2011 _ the year a Nebraska Supreme Court decision determined that manslaughter is an intentional killing without malice upon a
sudden quarrel.

But, the panel said, the 2011 case could not be applied retroactively.

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