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Psych profile shows man on death row has full faculties

Apr 30, 2014 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A psychologist has determined Wyoming's lone death row inmate doesn't qualify as intellectually disabled, a finding that closes what could have been a potential avenue for additional appeals.

Inmate Dale Wayne Eaton, 69, was sentenced to death in 2004 in state court for the 1988 rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell of Billings, Mont. Eaton's lawyers don't dispute he killed Kimmell.

She disappeared in 1988 while driving across Wyoming. Her body was found later in the North Platte River. Investigators linked Eaton to her killing through DNA evidence while he was serving prison time on an unrelated offense. Investigators later dug up her car on his property west of Casper.

Eaton's fate now hangs on a federal court proceeding in Cheyenne, where his lawyers are arguing that his state team failed to present an adequate defense.

Eaton's legal team put on an evidentiary hearing last summer before U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne.

Eaton's lawyers have tried to establish that his trial team failed to show jurors details about how his tortured family history, childhood and long-term mental and emotional problems. They say the jury might have spared his life if they knew more about him.

Last summer, Johnson approved a $14,000 request from Eaton's lawyers for further testing after the lawyers said they had uncovered new evidence that Eaton's IQ might be so low that he could be covered by the federal ban against executing people with intellectual disabilities.

Eaton's lawyers filed the resulting report from psychologist Daniel J. Reschly in court this week.

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