The Supreme Court in the state of Ohio reversed a death penalty sentence because the convicted murderer had a bad childhood.

The court upheld Troy Tenace's conviction in the 1994 aggravated murder of 76-year-old Edward Kozlowski during a robbery of the victim's Toledo, Ohio home.

However, a 4-3 majority determined that Tenace's "horrific childhood" created a mitigating factor which outweighed the aggravating circumstances needed to support the death penalty.

In writing the opinion for the majority, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger noted that a clinical psychologist characterized the Tenace's childhood as a "tutorial for criminal behavior" which resulted in antisocial personality disorder.

Tenance was physically abused and encouraged to cheat and steal. While still a child he was taught to abuse drugs with his mother and her boyfriends, eventually graduating to cocaine.

"There was evidence that Tenace was made to watch the sexual abuse of his sister and that he was sexually abused himself - at one point being sold by his mother for sexual services," Lanzinger wrote.

Tenance also expressed remorse for his crime and cooperated with police, the judge noted.

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