RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The number of death penalty trials in North Carolina is dropping.
Only one person in the state was sentenced to die in 2013.
Thirty-three-year-old Mario Andrette McNeill was convicted last spring of kidnapping, human trafficking and killing a 5-year-old Cumberland County girl.
His trial was one of five capital cases where a death sentence could have been imposed.
North Carolina has averaged fewer than three death sentences a year over the past decade. That compares with the 1990s, when there were more than two dozen people often were sent to death row in a single year.
North Carolina had no executions this year. A series of lawsuits filed in 2006 challenged the fairness of executions.
The state has 155 inmates on death row, but most have challenges pending.