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Mental competency hearing begins for convicted killer

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Posted at 11:45 AM, Oct 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-24 13:48:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A mental competency hearing began Thursday for a man convicted of murder in the death of his sister-in-law and her 15-month-old daughter.

Ron Lafferty is on death row for his part in the 1984 slaying of his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her infant daughter, Erica. Lafferty's brother, Dan Lafferty, is serving a life sentence for his role in the murders.

Ron Lafferty has exhausted all of his appeals on the state level and now he hopes the federal court system will grant him a stay of execution.

FOX 13 News and other local news media outlets petitioned the court for access to the hearing Thursday, but a federal judge blocked the request.

Media attorney Jeff Hunt said it's important for the public to have access to details about court proceedings in cases such as Lafferty's.

"It's unfortunate that the public and the media were not able to attend and observe and report on the proceedings, but the judge left the door open to getting access to the transcript of the hearing," Hunt said. "Also, we filed a motion to open up all the sealed court filings relating to his competency."

It may be months before those documents are released. FOX 13 News will provide new details on this story as they become available.

Related story:

Judge orders mental competency evaluation for notorious killer Lafferty