LAW: DEATH, OR LIFE IN A 'RUBBER ROOM'?

Will Charles McCoy Jr., the man arrested in the Ohio shooting spree, face the death penalty? It's not an easy call. McCoy, 28, who surrendered last Tuesday in Las Vegas after a brief manhunt, is no Beltway sniper. The suspect, who is to be arraigned this week, is alleged to have taken mostly pot shots at cars, houses and schoolbuses. In 24 shootings, he's suspected of killing just one person, a 62-year-old woman. Authorities don't even classify the shooter as a "sniper" because he didn't use a high-powered rifle like the D.C. duo; McCoy's suspected of firing a 9mm pistol from highway overpasses.

In order to qualify McCoy as "death eligible" under Ohio law, prosecutors have to prove he was intent on a killing spree, arguing that it was an act of terrorism or mass murder. That motive will be difficult to prove since McCoy's believed to be mentally ill. (His family says he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia; authorities suspect he stopped taking his medication.) Trucker Bill Briggs, who was nearly killed by a bullet while driving through Ohio last October, would rather authorities didn't press for a death penalty. "He should be treated like John Hinckley," says Briggs, "and spend the rest of his life in a rubber room."

LAW: DEATH, OR LIFE IN A 'RUBBER ROOM'? | News