Judge Overturns Death Penalty For Dale Wayne Eaton

Nov 20, 2014

A federal judge has overturned the death penalty for Dale Wayne Eaton, Wyoming's lone death row inmate.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne on Thursday stated Wyoming has a choice of either granting a new sentencing proceeding for Eaton within 120 days in Natrona County or keeping him locked up for life without parole.

The 69-year-old Eaton was sentenced to death in 2004 in state court for the 1988 rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell of Billings, Montana.

The Wyoming Supreme Court had upheld Eaton's death sentence.
 
Eaton's federal lawyers didn't dispute that he killed Kimmell.  But they argued Eaton's state defense team had failed to present information to the jury about his tortured background to give jurors reason to consider sparing his life.