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Utah Supreme Court rejects Honie petition to halt execution

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 08, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has rejected a petition for extraordinary relief filed by death row inmate Taberon Honie.

In the one page order obtained by FOX 13 News late Monday, Associate Chief Justice John Pearce rejected the petition which challenged the death warrant signed by a Cedar City judge last month. In the order, Justice Pearce wrote that case law "does not permit a defendant to employ a challenge to the issuance of a death warrant to raise constitutional arguments concerning the death penalty."

The Court declared that the lower-court judge did not abuse his power in issuing the death warrant, but also left a window open should circumstances change for Honie's defense team to refile a challenge. There may be other arguments still pending before the Utah Supreme Court, but Honie's options are limited.

Honie is slated to die by lethal injection on August 8 for the 1998 murder of his ex-girlfriend's mother, Claudia Benn. Iron County prosecutors alleged Honie broke into her house, slit her throat and sexually assaulted her with a knife while her grandchildren were there.

Honie has asked the Utah Board of Pardons & Parole to commute his death sentence to life in prison. The board is the only one that can do that (the governor does not have that power under Utah law). A hearing on that is scheduled for later this month.