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2 prosecutors chided for grim neckwear

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GRETNA, La. — Two assistant district attorneys were rebuked for wearing ties decorated with a hangman's noose and the Grim Reaper at a hearing in a capital murder case.

Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick said he told Donnie Rowan and Cameron Mary that the ties were inappropriate and that they should never wear anything like them to work again.

"They were a joke, although a poor joke," Connick said. "People do those kinds of things. I saw one defense attorney wear a tie that said 'not guilty.'"

Defense attorney Clive Stafford Smith accused Rowan and Mary of making light of the possibility that his client, Lawrence Jacobs, could get the death penalty if convicted.

The ties were worn to a pre-trial hearing for Jacobs' second trial on charges that he killed Nelson Beaugh, 45, and his mother, Della Beaugh, 70, while robbing Beaugh's home in 1996. Jacobs was 16 and co-defendant Roy Bridgewater was 17 at the time. Both were convicted in 1998 and sentenced to die.

The state Supreme Court overturned Jacobs' conviction because a juror later said he thought death was the only acceptable punishment for any murder.

Bridgewater was tried separately. The high court reduced his conviction to second-degree murder, then reversed itself in June and reinstated the original conviction and death sentence.

Jefferson Parish is a New Orleans suburb.