Appeals court grants stay for Oklahoma death row inmate

Tuesday, August 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Death row inmate Loyd Winford Lafevers has won another stay of execution from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the appeals court in Denver granted the stay Monday to allow Lafevers time to try to overturn his death sentence.

Lafevers was originally granted a stay 32 hours before his scheduled execution in March so that his attorneys could present new DNA evidence. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals concluded two weeks ago that the new evidence showed nothing that would overturn his conviction. On a 2-1 decision, the federal appeals court panel extended the stay until Nov. 1 or until a lower court rules on his new application for the overturning of his sentence.

Two of the judges said a lower court should rule. Dissenting Judge Michael Murphy was against a stay. He said Lafevers had not made a sufficient showing on his claim of DNA evidence.

Lafevers and Randall Cannon were convicted of killing Addie Hawley, 84, in Oklahoma City in 1985. Hawley was kidnapped from her home, placed in a car trunk and taken to a remote area where she was raped, beaten and set afire. The first convictions of both men were reversed on appeal.

They were tried again in 1993 and found guilty and again sentenced to death. Lafevers has always blamed the killing on Cannon. The DNA tests showed blood on a pair of pants belonged to Cannon and an unidentified man. Prosecutors used the pants as evidence in Lafevers' trial.

The state appeals court said the DNA test results show that neither Lafevers' blood nor the blood of the victim were on the jeans admitted at the trial. "At most, this shows the jeans have no relevance to the case, "the state appeals court said. "It does not show Lafevers did not commit the crimes, and we do not find that the jury might have returned a sentence of less than death based on this evidence."