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Thread: Douglas Stewart Carter - Utah Death Row

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    Douglas Stewart Carter - Utah Death Row


    Eva Olesen




    Summary of Offense:

    Convicted of stabbing the aunt of a former Provo police chief multiple times and shooting her in the head during a robbery on February 27, 1985. He was sentenced to death on December 27, 1985.

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    July 22, 2010

    Judge grants motion to move death-row inmate’s case along

    A federal judge has thrown out some claims in killer Douglas Stewart Carter’s challenge of his death sentence and allowed others to remain.

    U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart also granted a motion by the son of the woman murdered by Carter to issue a schedule that will help move the case along. In a Tuesday order, the judge set August and September deadlines for briefs from the defense and the government on Carter’s remaining claims.

    Stewart said that after reviewing the briefs, he will either schedule an evidentiary hearing or rule on the merits of the claims.

    Carter was convicted of killing Eva Olesen during a robbery at her Provo home in 1985. His original death sentence was reversed by the Utah Supreme Court in 1989, but a jury in 1992 resentenced him to die. The high court has upheld that sentence.

    A federal review of his case has been pending since 2002. The victim’s son, Gary Olesen, filed a motion for a scheduling order in June, saying that he "is patiently awaiting justice."

    (Source: The Salt Lake Tribune)

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    Witnesses in 85 murder case say Provo police gave them cash, gifts

    Attorneys for death-row inmate Douglas Stewart Carter say police gave money and gifts to two key witnesses in the case and then told them to lie about it at Carters 1985 trial.

    In affidavits filed this month in 4th District Court, the witnesses claim the Provo Police Department paid their rent and utilities, bought them groceries, gifts and a Christmas tree, and even made cash payments to them for about an eight-month period information Carters attorneys say was never provided to the defense.

    We are adamant that this is highly improper and that something should be done to resolve these issues, said Ken Murray, a federal public defender based in Phoenix.

    Carter came to the home of his friends Epifanio and Lucia Tovar and bragged about the murder of Eva Olesen, even demonstrating how he stabbed the woman nearly a dozen times before shooting her in the back of the head during a 1985 robbery at her home, the Tovars testified at the 1985 trial.

    They also testified they received only a $14 witness fee.

    But Epifanio Tovar stated recently in an affidavit that officials of the police department told us that if we were asked at trial, we were not to say anything about their paying for our apartment and other living expenses.

    Attorneys were unable to find the Tovars for Carters 1992 re-sentencing hearing, and attorneys launched unsuccessful searches for the couple in subsequent years.

    Murray said the affidavits secured after the Tovars were recently located in Mexico should allow Carter to reopen his second post-conviction relief case.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home2/5...-case.html.csp

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    I sure hope that these allegations of what amounts to bribery are not true and that they won't have to give Carter a retrial after all of these years.

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    Death-row appeals bring up painful memories for family of slain Provo woman

    Eva Olesen didn't get to the end of the last row she ever knitted.

    Her daughter-in-law suspects she put aside the sweater she was making for her teenage son when the man who killed her came to the door. "I don't know, but I can't imagine Eva stopping mid row unless she was interrupted," Theresa Olesen said.

    Theresa Olesen showed the unfinished brown and tan patterned sweater to 4th District Judge Lynn Davis on Thursday while pleading for closure to a case going on its 27th year.

    A jury convicted Douglas Stewart Carter of stabbing 57-year-old Eva Olesen to death during a home-invasion robbery Feb. 27, 1985, and sentenced him to death. Jurors relied on Carter's written confession and his bragging to friends Epifanio and Lucia Tovar that he killed a woman. Carter is appealing his conviction based on newly discovered evidence of false testimony and suppressed evidence involving the Tovars.

    "I realize Doug Carter doesn't want to die. I'm sure Eva didn't want to die that night," Theresa Olesen said.

    "To his lawyers we ask, stop the pain you are causing. We know Carter has rights, but Eva had rights, too. To Carter we say, you had the chance to avoid the death sentence on Feb. 26. But on Feb. 27, you did enter her house and you did take her life."

    Carter, 56, has petitions pending in four courts state, federal, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Utah Supreme Court. Of the nine inmates on Utah's death row, he is the furthest along in the appeals process. An execution date has not been set.

    After hearing arguments from defense lawyer Ken Murray and assistant Utah attorney general Tom Brunker, Davis ruled that Carter's claim of new evidence came too late to be included in his state petition for post-conviction relief. The judge also said he lacks jurisdiction to decide the matter. His ruling, though, does not preclude Carter from raising the issues in another forum.

    "I think we have a very strong claim on this evidence," Murray said afterward. "Somewhere down the line someone's going to see that this needs to be addressed."

    The Tovars, who were initially scared to talk to police about Carter, testified during trial that other than a $14 check each received, Provo police did not provide them any inducements to take the witness stand. Carter's attorneys say they learned this year that isn't true and contend police told Epifanio Tovar to lie.

    In a sworn declaration, the Tovars say police relocated them twice, paid their rent and utilities, and gave gifts to them and toys to their children. Police also sang Christmas carols at their home and brought them a Christmas tree.

    The Tovars say they were told the living arrangements were for protection from Carter. They also say police threatened to deport them, file criminal charges and take away their son if they didn't cooperate in the case.

    Brunker points out that the defense has not said the payments were made to the Tovars in exchange for their testimony. Also, he said the police officers involved categorically deny the couple was told to lie or deny receiving any benefits.

    Carter, he said, admitted in his confession that he told the couple that he killed Eva Olesen.

    "He stabbed her eight times in the back, once in the neck, and once in the abdomen. He finally shot her in the back of her head at point blank range, shooting through a pillow to muffle the sound," Brunker wrote in court documents.

    Carter presented no direct evidence at the 1985 trial that his confession was false, including the admission that he told the Tovars about the murder. The Tovars have not recanted their testimony.

    Theresa Olesen, 48, said she remembers Lucia Tovar's testimony well.

    "She didn't speak English. She didn't even know who Doug Carter was when he came to their house. All she testified is what she saw, that he pointed to the television and laughed and demonstrated how her hands were tied behind her back and how she was stabbed in the back. How does Lucia know how she was killed? She saw him demonstrate it and laugh."

    The Olesen family does not want to send an innocent man to death, she said. "But he did take her life. Let's remember that."

    In addition to Theresa Olesen, Eva Olesen's sons Gary (Theresa' husband) and Eirik attended Thursday's hearing.

    Gary Olesen, 56, said he has taken the past 26 years one day at a time. He said relives "that horrible night" with every news story about the case. "It's been very hard."

    "It's been really painful. A long, ongoing ordeal," said Eirik Olesen, 42.

    The sweater has special meaning for Eirik Oleseon. His mother was knitting the sweater for him, the youngest of her children who was 15 at the time.

    Theresa Olsen has tried over the years to get someone to finish the sweater, but can't find the same yarn. She said she's not sure what she'll do with it now, adding maybe the family will place it at Eva Olesen's gravesite someday.

    For now, she and Gary have it at their home in Spanish Fork. "I keep it in a basket just to remind us."

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/7...oman.html?pg=2

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    High court hears arguments in case of death-row inmate Carter yet again

    Attorneys representing death-row inmate Douglas Carter made a fourth appearance before the Utah Supreme Court on Wednesday, continuing arguments that the convicted murderer didn’t receive sufficient counsel from other attorneys who represented him earlier in his case.

    The arguments before the high court were another step in the ongoing saga of a now 56-year-old Carter, who was convicted of stabbing and fatally shooting Eva Olesen during a robbery at her Provo home in 1985. Olesen was the aunt of then-Provo Police Chief Swen Nielsen.

    Ken Murray, an attorney for Carter, argued to the high court that Carter is entitled to a redo of his second claim for post conviction relief, which a district court judge denied. Carter also lost his first appeal of post-conviction relief. Murray said Carter’s counsel at sentencing failed to disclose information about Carter’s tough upbringing, which could have influenced his sentence.

    In 1992 during court proceedings, Carter’s family described themselves as a close-knit family, who were well-educated and supported Carter, Murray argued. In 2006, several interviewed changed their story dramatically and said Carter grew up in a drug-riddled and gang-riddled neighborhood.

    Had Carter’s counsel presented the "true story" of his background at sentencing, there may have been a different outcome, Murray alleged.

    Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker disputed that claim.

    "It’s equally plausible that they’ve become convinced the picture they painted in 1992 didn’t help their brother and son, so they decided to change their testimony," Brunker said.

    "Now we don’t know the truth about what his background even is."

    Brunker argued Carter can’t legally bring forward his latest claims for relief at this stage in the court process.

    "They’re plainly barred. No statutory exception applies. No common law exception applies," Brunker told the high court.

    The justices took the arguments under advisement and will issue a decision at a later date.

    If the high court rules in favor of Carter, the case would be moved back to a district court where a judge would reconsider the merits of Carter’s claims. A judge could deny the merits of the claims a second time after rehearing the case.

    Carter, one of nine inmates on Utah’s death row, has separate appeals pending in the state’s 4th District Court and in U.S. District Court.

    Brunker pointed out Wednesday that Carter twice confessed to the murder following his arrest and that the case has now been moving through the court system for 27 years.

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

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    Federal court judge denies Utah death row inmate’s appeal

    A federal judge has denied a Utah death row inmate’s attempt to get his case reconsidered, but more proceedings are likely.

    U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart reviewed a dozen claims made by convicted murderer Douglas Stewart Carter in which he asserted state courts erred in deciding such issues as the effectiveness of counsel at his 1985 trial and admissibility of his confession.

    Stewart found that state courts dealt fully and appropriately with Carter’s case. While the Utah Supreme Court may have used "imprecise" language in some of its rulings on Carter’s appeals, it properly applied legal standards and was reasonable in reaching its conclusions on each claim, he said.

    On the issue of effectiveness of counsel, Stewart said that while there is "strong argument" that Carter’s attorney was "deficient," the record did not show that met a prejudicial standard. Stewart also found that the Utah Supreme Court also made a reasonable determination in allowing Carter’s confession to be used at trial.

    Carter argued he did not recall being read his Miranda rights and claimed he was induced to confess by a promise that a friend with whom he stayed in Tennessee would not be criminally charged and or separated from her children. In two different decisions, the Utah Supreme Court found Carter’s confession was made voluntarily.

    Ken Murray, a federal public defender representing Carter, said Wednesday he was still analyzing the 119-page decision and would then "make a decision about what our options are."

    Carter has about 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also has cases pending in state district court and before the Utah Supreme Court that center on witness testimony given at his 1985 trial.

    Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker called Stewart’s decision a "significant step," but one that took far too long. Carter filed his federal case in 2002.

    "We are glad that this is over, but it should not have taken 10 1/2 years. and in future cases we will take steps to shorten the process," Brunker said.

    Carter was convicted of murdering Eva Olesen in her Provo home on Feb. 27, 1985. Oleson’s hands had been tied behind her back with a telephone cord ripped from the wall. She was nude from the waist down and had been stabbed eight times in the back, once in the abdomen and once in the neck with a kitchen knife. A medical examiner said Oleson, 57, was still alive when she was fatally shot in the back of the head.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54...ssion.html.csp
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    Death row inmate loses again in court

    A death row inmate has lost another appeal in his bid to get his case reheard.

    The Utah Supreme Court on Friday said Douglas Stewart Carter had failed to show his counsel at his original trial was "so deficient as to be constitutionally ineffective." The decision upheld a lower court ruling.

    The ruling mirrors a decision issued by a federal court judge in September, who also found that Carter had failed to show that state courts erred on questions about the effectiveness of counsel at his 1985 trial and admissibility of his confession. Carter has about a week to file a notice of appeal on the federal ruling with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Carter was convicted of murdering Eva Olesen in her Provo home on Feb. 27, 1985. Olesen’s hands had been tied behind her back with a telephone cord ripped from the wall. She was nude from the waist down and had been stabbed eight times in the back, once in the abdomen and once in the neck with a kitchen knife. A medical examiner said Olesen, 57, was still alive when she was fatally shot in the back of the head.

    At his first trial in 1985, a jury unanimously found Carter guilty of first-degree murder and that aggravating circumstances existed, which made him eligible for the death penalty. On Dec. 19, 1985, the jury sentenced Carter to death.

    Over the subsequent 27 years, Carter made various appeals to get the verdict and sentence overturned, arguing, among other things, that his confession was coerced and should have been suppressed; that the prosecutor had tainted the jury by indirectly commenting on his decision to not take the witness stand in his own defense; and that his counsel had been ineffective.

    The Utah Supreme Court rejected all but one issue raised by Carter — that jury instructions were flawed — and, based on that finding, ordered Carter to be re-sentenced. At that 1992 penalty hearing, a jury again decided Carter should be executed for the crime.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55...-1985.html.csp

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    On December 11, 2012, Carter filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit over the denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir.../ca10/12-4203/

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    Utah Supreme Court hears petition of death row inmate

    By Dennis Romboy
    The Deseret News

    SALT LAKE CITY — For the fifth time since his conviction 29 years ago, the Utah Supreme Court heard arguments Monday from death row inmate Douglas Carter.

    The justices are now weighing whether an apparent clerical error in the filing of his third post-conviction relief petition prevents a 4th District Court judge from considering it.

    Carter's attorney, David Christensen, told the five-judge panel that the state is raising a technical issue to stop arguments on the merits of the petition. Lawyers for the condemned killer say they learned in 2011 that Provo police gave money and gifts to the prosecution's star witnesses and that the state hid the evidence.

    Assistant attorney general Tom Brunker argued that Carter's lawyers didn't immediately try to correct the filing error and the petition didn't meet court deadlines. He previously said that the new evidence cited in the petition would not have changed the outcome of Carter's trial.

    A jury convicted Carter, 59, of fatally stabbing and shooting 57-year-old Eva Oleson during a robbery at her Provo home in 1985. Jurors relied on Carter's written confession and his bragging to friends Epifanio and Lucia Tovar that he killed a woman. Oleson was the aunt of then Provo Police Chief Swen Nielsen.

    The Tovars, who were initially scared to talk to police, testified during trial that other than a $14 check each received, Provo police did not give them any inducements to take the witness stand. Carter's attorneys say they learned that isn't true.

    Later in a sworn declaration, the Tovars say police relocated them twice, paid their rent and utilities, and gave gifts to them and toys to their children. Police also sang Christmas carols at their home and brought them a Christmas tree.

    The Tovars say they were told the living arrangements were for protection from Carter. They also say police threatened to deport them, file criminal charges and take away their son if they didn't cooperate in the case. Epifanio Tovar admitted to disposing of Carter's .38-caliber handgun used in the murder.

    In 2012, the state supreme court denied Carter's second post-conviction relief petition in which he argued, among other things, that he had ineffective counsel during his trial. He also has an appeal pending in federal court.

    Of the eight inmates on Utah's death row, he is the furthest along in the appeals process, but an execution date has not been set.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/8...ow-inmate.html

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