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Ruling on Eaton execution could come in 2014

Aug 16, 2013 - Staff and wire reports

A federal judge has given lawyers until early next year to submit written arguments about whether the former Riverton man who is Wyoming's lone death row inmate should be put to death for a crime committed 25 years ago.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson wrapped up a two-week evidentiary hearing last week on claims from lawyers representing death row inmate Dale Wayne Eaton. The hearing featured testimony from relatives and mental health professionals about Eaton's background.

The 68-year-old Eaton was convicted in 2004 of the 1988 rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell, of Billings, Mont.

His lawyers don't dispute that he killed her, but claim he didn't get an adequate defense from the Wyoming Public Defender's Office.

Johnson plans to rule after Eaton's lawyers and lawyers for the state file briefs, the last of which is due in late February.

After breaking the case, investigators located the missing girl's car buried on Eaton's property near the Fremont-Natrona County line at Moneta. After Eaton's conviction, Fremont County firefighters were called into burn Eaton's house and outbuildings to the ground, and the site was cleared.

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