SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has refused to halt the appeals filed by condemned killer Ron Lafferty.
In an order issued Friday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson denied Lafferty’s request to stay his federal appeals while he litigates issues of evidence in state court.
“While he has asked the court to consider his petition for habeas relief from his murder conviction and sentence of death on the grounds that both are unconstitutional, the court cannot consider any of the questions raised in Mr. Lafferty’s petition until it resolves the one in Mr. Lafferty’s current motion: Would it be a proper exercise of the court’s discretion to stay the federal proceedings and allow Mr. Lafferty the opportunity to return to state court and litigate his unexhausted claims?” the judge wrote. “The court finds that it would not.”
Lafferty wanted his appeals halted while he pursued claims that evidence was mishandled by prosecutors in his murder case. Lafferty was sentenced to death for the 1984 murders of his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her baby daughter, Erica, whose throats were slit. Ron Lafferty and his brother, Dan, were convicted of the gruesome slayings, claiming they were directed to kill by God.