Casper’s District Attorney will be allowed again to seek the death penalty in the case of a Wyoming inmate convicted of killing a Montana woman. That’s after District Judge Alan Johnson denied a request from Dale Wayne Eaton’s defense team to let him serve life in prison without parole.
Eaton was convicted of killing Lisa Marie Kimmell in 2004, but his death sentence was overturned last year after Judge Johnson ruled he did not receive a proper defense. The judge said Eaton’s history as a victim of abuse should have been discussed.
Eaton’s lawyers also say many witnesses that could have testified on his behalf have passed away.
Mike Blonigen is the Casper District Attorney who originally prosecuted Eaton. He says that none of that should have any bearing on a new sentencing hearing.
"You have to remember that Mr. Eaton wasn’t arrested for this crime for a period of 15 years because he concealed it," says Blonigen. "He has spent another 10 years appealing things, so if you look at delays and missing witnesses, what is it based upon? Is it based upon the state’s conduct or Mr. Eaton’s conduct?"
If Eaton’s lawyers do not appeal the judge’s decision, Blonigen says a sentencing hearing would still be at least a year away.