Court Hears Appeal in Utah Death Penalty Case

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Denver (AP) A Utah man facing execution in a courthouse shooting death is asking a Denver-based federal appeals court to overturn his conviction and sentence.

Andrew Parnes, an attorney for Ronnie Lee Gardner, told a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday that Gardner never underwent a mental health evaluation before he was sentenced.

Parnes says an evaluation might have convinced jurors to sentence him to life in prison instead.

Utah Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker argued that an evaluation wouldn't have made a difference.

The 48-year-old Gardner was convicted of shooting and killing attorney Mike Burdell in 1985 when Gardner was in court facing charges stemming from another fatal shooting.

The judges didn't say when they would rule.

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