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Thread: Michael Anthony Archuleta - Utah Death Row

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    Michael Anthony Archuleta - Utah Death Row



    Gordon Ray Church






    Summary of Offense:

    In 1988, Michael Archuleta and his prison buddy kidnapped Gordon Ray Church, a Cedar City college student, put him in the trunk of a car, drove him to a secluded area and tortured him to death. Archuleta's pants were soaked in his victim's blood. Archuleta was convicted and sentenced to death.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Utah death-row inmate wants new trial in 1989 slaying

    Death row inmate Michael Anthony Archuleta wants his 1989 murder case reopened one some level because he believes his attorneys were ineffective.

    Archuletas new attorney, James Slavens, asked the Utah Supreme Court on Wednesday to send the case back to a trial court.

    Slavens said Archuleta deserves a whole new trial, or at least a new penalty phase, in light of a 2009 statement from Archuletas co-defendant, in which he took primary responsibility for the brutal 1989 murder of Gordon Ray Church.

    Lance Conway Woods statement to Slavens in 2009, was a confession given without hesitation, and one that could have swayed a jury to give Archuleta a life sentence rather than death, Slavens argued.

    Slavens also said that the affidavit from Wood was something that Archuletas previous attorneys could have easily procured during a 2002 post-conviction fight.

    Short of a new trial, Slavens believes the high court should set aside an order for summary judgment and reopen at least part of his clients post-conviction case based on a number of ineffective assistance claims.

    Slavens argued that Archuleta was present during Churchs murder, but did not participate in torturing him. Instead, Slavens said, Archuleta merely carried the mans dead body away from the scene.

    Chief Justice Christine Durham said Woods 2009 confession, which contradicts his sworn testimony in court, might not be enough.

    Archuletas own testimony was plenty to convict him of aggravated murder, Durham said. Its hard to see how a jury would have been swayed by that [additional] evidence if they had it.

    Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker said Slavens failed to offer proof that Archuletas attorneys were ineffective, either at trial or during post-conviction stages.

    On Nov. 21, 1988, then-parolees Archuleta and Wood drove Church a 28-year-old Southern Utah University theater student to a remote location in Millard County. They attached jumper cables to Churchs testicles, used the car battery to shock him, raped him with a tire iron, beat him with a car jack and buried him in a shallow grave.

    In separate trials, Archuleta and Wood each were convicted of capital murder. Wood was sentenced to life in prison. Archuleta was sentenced to death.

    Archuletas conviction has been upheld by the Utah Supreme Court. A second appeal claiming his trial attorneys and first set of appeal lawyers were ineffective also was rejected.

    If the Utah Supreme Court again rejects the ineffective assistance claims, the case would likely be moved to federal court for further appeals, Brunker said.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/51...trial.html.csp

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    High court denies appeal from death row inmate in 1988 hate crime

    The Utah Supreme Court has denied a request from death-row inmate Michael Anthony Archuleta to have his 1988 murder case reopened based on a claim of inefficient counsel.

    In an opinion released Tuesday, the high court rejected a request from Archuletas new attorney, James Slavens, to send Archuletas case for killing a gay acquaintance back to district court for a new trial.

    The opinion marked the fifth time the high court had denied appeals from Archuleta.

    "We find none of Archuletas numerous claims in either of these appeals availing, and we accordingly reaffirm his conviction for first-degree felony murder and sentence of death," justices wrote in an unanimous opinion.

    Slavens had argued that Archuleta, now 29, deserves a whole new trial, or at least a new penalty phase, in light of a 2009 statement from Archuletas co-defendant, Lance Conway Wood.

    In Woods statement to Slavens in 2009, Wood accepted primary responsibility for torturing Gordon Church, a 28-year-old Southern Utah University theater student who had told Archuleta and Wood that he was gay shortly before the two attacked him.

    Woods confession, given "without hesitation," could have swayed a jury to give Archuleta a life sentence rather than death in the brutal slaying of Church, Slavens argued.

    Slavens also said that the affidavit from Wood was something that Archuletas previous attorneys could have easily procured during a 2002 post-conviction fight.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52...avens.html.csp

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    Death warrant to be signed in 1988 Utah slaying

    A death warrant is scheduled to be signed Wednesday for Michael Archuleta, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said.

    The warrant is to be signed at 2 p.m. by a 4th District Court judge at the Spanish Fork Courthouse, the office said.

    On Nov. 21, 1988, then-parolees Archuleta and Lance Conway Wood drove Gordon Ray Church — a 28-year-old Southern Utah State College theater student — to a remote location in Millard County. They attached jumper cables to Church’s testicles, used the car battery to shock him, raped him with a tire iron, beat him with a car jack and buried him in a shallow grave.

    In separate trials, Archuleta and Wood each were convicted of capital murder. Wood was sentenced to life in prison. Archuleta was sentenced to death.

    Archuleta’s conviction has been upheld by the Utah Supreme Court. A second appeal claiming his trial attorneys and first set of appeal lawyers were ineffective also was rejected.

    In May, the death row inmate asked that his case be reopened, claiming his former attorneys were ineffective.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53...-utah.html.csp

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    A judge on Wednesday signed a death warrant for Michael Anthony Archuleta, who has been on Utahs death row for more than two decades.

    Fourth District Judge Donald Eyre set Archuletas execution date for April 5.

    Attorneys noted that this is the third time over the years that a judge has set an execution date for Archuleta.

    On Nov. 21, 1988, then-parolees Archuleta and Lance Conway Wood drove Gordon Ray Church a 28-year-old Southern Utah State College theater student to a remote location in Millard County. They attached jumper cables to Churchs testicles, used the car battery to shock him, raped him with a tire iron, beat him with a car jack and buried him in a shallow grave.

    In separate trials, Archuleta and Wood each were convicted of capital murder. Wood was sentenced to life in prison. Archuleta was sentenced to death.

    Archuletas conviction has been upheld by the Utah Supreme Court. A second appeal claiming his trial attorneys and first set of appeal lawyers were ineffective also was rejected.

    In May the death row inmate asked his case be reopened, claiming his former attorneys were ineffective.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53...-utah.html.csp

  6. #6
    Senior Member Member Slayer's Avatar
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    Is Mr Archuleta facing LJ or FS Heidi?:untroubled:

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    I don't know what method of execution Archuleta has chosen. He was sentenced to death prior to 2004 when Utah adopted lethal injection, so he is entitled to pick death by firing squad. I guess we will find out in the next few days.

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    Inmate requests firing squad as execution order is signed

    Archuleta, 49, has requested to die by firing squad.

    But the likelihood of an April execution is slim.

    "It's not final if he chooses to proceed in federal court," said Tom Brunker, who heads the capital appeals division in the Utah Attorney General's Office. A federal appeals process which can take many years has not even begun in Archuleta's case.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7...is-signed.html

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    State won't oppose death by firing squad in Archuleta case

    Utah death row inmate Michael Archuleta has chosen the firing squad to carry out his April 5 death sentence for a 1988 murder.

    Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says the state wont oppose it.

    Archuleta was sentenced to death for the Nov. 22, 1988, murder of Southern Utah University student Gordon Ray Church, 28.

    At his original conviction he chose lethal injection, but changed his mind and opted for the firing squad in 1994. Even though the state did away with the firing squad in 2004, Shurtleff says Archuleta made his choice before the law changed, so it will stand.

    The courts have held that the method of execution is the choice, if there is a choice of the condemned person, Shurtleff said.

    Archuleta can change his mind and say he no longer wants the firing squad, but if he insists on the firing squad, Shurtleff says the state wont oppose it and thats how hed be executed.

    There are four other death row inmates who opted for the firing squad before the law changed.

    The firing squad is comprised of five volunteer, POST-certified officers. Each carries a .30-caliber rifle. Four of the rifles are loaded with live rounds, the other with a blank. It gives shooters a way to rationalize and cope with the assignment. Their identities are kept anonymous partly for their privacy, and also for their protection.

    Church offered Archuleta and Lance Conway Wood, who were both on a parole, a ride after meeting the pair at a gas station.

    After driving into a nearby canyon, the two men had Church exit the vehicle on the premise of robbing him, but instead began to severely beat and torture him before raping him with a tire iron and burying him in a shallow grave.

    Wood told his parole officer and led investigators to the body the next day. He was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last person executed in Utah by firing squad. Gardner had been on Utah's death row since October 1985 and was executed on June 18, 2010. He was the third person executed by firing squad in Utah or anywhere else in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7...leta-case.html

  10. #10
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    I think he thinks that its a smart step to chose the FS. Maybe he changes his mind again, when he realizes that Utah seriously considers to execute him with the FS.

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