A federal judge ruled Monday that the truck driver arrested in the nation's deadliest immigrant-smuggling attempt will be retried on a conspiracy charge, which puts the death penalty back on the table.
Tyrone Williams, 34, was convicted in March on 38 counts of immigrant smuggling for his part in a 2003 journey that ended in the deaths of 19 people crammed into his sweltering tractor-trailer.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore removed the death penalty as a possible punishment on some of those charges because the jury could not agree on his role in the deaths. The judge also declared a mistrial on charges of conspiracy and 19 other counts because the jury deadlocked on those offenses.
A retrial on the conspiracy charge is expected to be held by the end of the year.
Williams is the only one of 14 defendants in the case to face a possible death sentence.
He could get up to life in prison on the smuggling charges on which he was convicted. No sentencing date has been set.