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Thread: Von Lester Taylor - Utah Death Row

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    Von Lester Taylor - Utah Death Row


    Kaye Tiedea and her mother Beth Potts




    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced on May 24, 1991 to die for breaking into a cabin in Oakley, Summit County in December 1990 and killing Beth Potts and her daughter Kaye Tiedea. The woman's husband was seriously wounded. Taylor then kidnapped the couple's two daughters before setting the cabin on fire and fleeing.

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    February 6, 2008

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal judge has agreed to halt a Utah death row inmate's appeal so a state court can consider the list of new issues raised in a 400-page petition from Von Lester Taylor.

    On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell granted Taylor's request to have his motion for a stay of execution held. Campbell said the federal appeal should remain on hold until the new claims are considered by the state trial court and the Utah Supreme Court.

    The judge rejected a prosecutor's argument that the federal petition could move forward without hearing Taylor's new claims.

    Filed in November, Taylor's petition contends prosecutors failed to hand over some evidence to defense attorneys and that some members of the jury were biased because of ties to the county attorney's office.

    Taylor pleaded guilty to two counts of capital homicide for the deaths of Beth Potts and her daughter Kaye Tiede in a Summit County cabin in 1990. A jury recommended the death penalty.

    A co-defendant, Edward Steven Deli, received a life sentence.

    Police said Taylor repeatedly shot Potts, 70, and Tiede, 49. Police said Taylor and Deli then shot Kaye Tiede's husband, Rolf, and kidnapped two of his daughters, before setting the cabin on fire and fleeing in a vehicle. Law enforcement rescued the daughters.

    Rolf Tiede survived, even though he was shot point blank in the head and doused with gasoline when the cabin was set on fire.

    The Utah Supreme Court has already rejected Taylor's claim that he did not receive a fair sentencing.

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    Utah Supreme Court to hear home-invasion appeal

    The Utah Supreme Court will hear an appeal by a death-row inmate who broke into a Summit County cabin and killed two women in 1990.

    Von Lester Taylor pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of capital murder for the home-invasion killings of a mother and daughter at a family cabin in Beaver Springs. Court records show Taylor and another man escaped from a prison halfway house then broke into the cabin. When the owners arrived, Taylor fatally shot 72-year-old Beth Potts and her 49-year-old daughter Kaye Tiede. Another family member was shot but survived.

    This is Taylor's third appeal to the state's high court. He is claiming ineffective counsel.

    http://www.kpvi.com/story.php?id=44761&n=15206

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    Utah death row inmate loses religion bias appeal

    The Utah Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a death row inmate who claims the jury selection process in his case unfairly favored Mormons.

    The court issued a ruling Tuesday saying Von Lester Taylor should have raised the claim in earlier appeals and failed to prove that he could not.

    Taylor's attorneys argued in June that the claim was grounds for overturning a lower court ruling that dismissed an earlier appeal.

    Taylor was sentenced to die after pleading guilty to the murders of Beth Potts and her daughter Kaye Tiede during a break-in at a Summit County cabin in 1990. A co-defendant received a life sentence.

    State attorneys contend the appeal is Taylor's third and is an attempt to delay execution.

    A federal court appeal is also pending.

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/art...#ixzz1kPlhBBR5

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Taylor's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.
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    Utah death row inmate says he didn't fire fatal shots

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawyers for a Utah death row inmate convicted in a double murder and kidnapping at a remote cabin say he's innocent and he should get a new hearing to show the case against him was tainted.

    Von Lester Taylor's attorneys said at a Thursday hearing that his partner fired the fatal shots in 1990. Prosecutors said the pair broke into the family cabin and kidnapped two young women after killing their mother and grandmother. The girls' father was also shot in the head, doused with gasoline and set on fire, but he survived.

    Taylor and Edward Deli were captured after a high-speed chase. Deli went to trial and got life in prison. Taylor was sentenced to death after pleading guilty.

    The judge did not immediately decide whether Taylor should get a new evidence hearing.

    http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=157...re-fatal-shots

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    March 8, 2019

    Justice Delayed in Von Lester Taylor Case

    By A.G. Sean D. Reyes
    Utah Office of the Attorney General

    Last week, a federal judge issued a ruling that severely delays the execution of admitted double-murderer Von Lester Taylor, who pled guilty. While we respect the United States District Court and this judge in particular, the decision causes us great concern. The State of Utah must now prepare for a new phase of prolonged litigation as the victims and their families wait even longer for justice.

    First, a little history.


    In 1990, Von Lester Taylor and Edward Deli committed a Christmastime home-invasion and robbery. You can Google this. Both men were armed. During the incident, Kaye Tiede and her elderly mother, Beth Potts, died of multiple gunshot wounds. Later, Taylor admitted firing the first shot, and Mrs. Tiede’s daughter witnessed Taylor shoot her mother. Both daughters (aged 17 and 20 at the time) saw Taylor shoot their father, Rolf Tiede. Rolf was then set on fire. Rolf survived but has since passed away. After the shootings, Taylor and Deli kidnapped the daughters, but were captured by police before making it out of the county.

    Last Week’s Ruling


    After several years of argument and evidence about whether Taylor fired any of the shots that inflicted the victims’ fatal wounds, a federal judge found that he did not, rejecting the state’s arguments (and Taylor’s own admissions) that he is guilty of capital murder. It’s clear that he fired shots and participated, at the very least, as an accomplice. However, the court declared Taylor “actually innocent.”

    It is the view of the State of Utah that Taylor is not innocent at all.

    This federal review of Taylor’s 1991 guilty plea and death sentence has spanned twelve years so far. We’re concerned that the court’s ruling now permits Taylor to raise dozens of new complaints and further delay justice for the victims and their families.

    “This ruling does not send Mr. Taylor home or even give him a new trial,” said Utah Assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson. “However, it means that Taylor can now exploit a technicality to delay justice. He will do this by bringing claims in federal court that he should have raised in the state courts decades ago.”

    Peterson estimates that technicality will delay Taylor’s execution by as much as another decade.

    “This decision disregards Utah accomplice liability law, Taylor’s multiple confessions and, most distressingly, the feelings of the victims’ family who have pleaded for speedy justice,” Peterson said.

    Next Steps

    The State of Utah is now preparing for prolonged litigation, at the same time exploring all available options in response to the federal court’s ruling.

    https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/von...r-taylor-case/
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    Judge overturns Utah death row inmate Von Lester Taylor’s double murder conviction

    By Pat Reavy
    Desert News

    He was sentenced to die nearly 30 years ago, but now a federal court has overturned the conviction of Utah death row inmate Von Lester Taylor, saying that he received ineffective counseling during his trial decades ago.

    “The court concludes that Mr. Taylor’s guilty plea was unconstitutional and must be invalidated,” U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell wrote in the decision handed down Tuesday. “He has established that his attorney, Elliott Levine, provided him with deficient representation falling well below the prevailing professional norms.

    “Because Mr. Taylor’s death sentence was based on his invalid guilty plea, it must be vacated.”

    On Dec. 22, 1990, Taylor and Edward Deli walked away from a halfway house in Salt Lake City, and then broke into a vacant mountain cabin in the Beaver Springs subdivision in Oakley, Summit County. But less than three minutes after Kay Tiede and her mother,

    Beth Potts, a blind and partially handicapped Murray woman, arrived at the cabin and walked in on them, they were shot multiple times and and killed. Tiede’s husband was also robed shot multiple times, including once in the head. He was then dosed with gasoline as he pretended he was dead. He survived.

    Taylor and Deli then set the cabin on fire and kidnapped Tiede’s two daughters. The two men were arrested following a high speed chase with police.

    On May 1, 1991, Taylor accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to two counts of capital murder in exchange for eight lesser charges being dropped. The deal, however, did not include taking the death penalty off the table and he was sentenced to death.

    Deli, meanwhile, did not accept a plea deal. He went to trial and was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The judge recommended that he never be paroled.

    In her 37-page decision, Campbell wrote that Levine did not properly investigate the case, assuming that Taylor’s guilt was a forgone conclusion.

    “The court finds that Mr. Taylor’s constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel was violated when he pleaded guilty to two capital murders based on inexcusably uninformed advice from counsel which then exposed him to the possibility of execution. The record shows there is a reasonable probability that, but for trial counsel’s failure to investigate, Mr. Taylor would not have pleaded guilty to two capital murders and would have insisted on going to trial with evidence that Mr. Deli, not Mr. Taylor, caused the deaths of Kaye Tiede and Beth Potts,” according to the decision.

    Since his conviction, Taylor, now 54, has filed numerous appeals, many of which have made it to the Utah Supreme Court, arguing that Levine failed to conduct an adequate investigation to find mitigating evidence, according to court documents.

    “Still, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision because it found that Mr. Levine’s deficient performance did not prejudice Mr. Taylor,” the latest ruling states. “Given the horrendous circumstances of this crime, it is not at all likely that the jury would have concluded that the mitigating circumstances outweighed the aggravating circumstances.”

    Taylor then petitioned a federal appeals court on the basis of “actual innocence.”

    “In March 2018, the court held a three-day evidentiary hearing, during which the parties presented ballistics and medical forensics evidence, along with supporting expert testimony. Based on that evidence, the court, on February 25, 2019, held that Mr. Taylor had satisfied his burden to show ‘actual innocence,’” the new ruling states.

    The court found that the bullets fired by Deli’s gun caused the actual deaths of Tiede and Potts, even though Taylor also shot them, according to court records.

    During Deli’s trial in 1991, he denied shooting anyone during the crime spree. Prosecutors said common sense indicated otherwise because he was seen several times carrying one of the murder weapons and reloading it.

    Because of the new ruling, Taylor was able to again argue that Levine’s errors represented a “miscarriage of justice.”

    “He did not visit the scene. He did not hire an investigator. And critically, he did not consult, much less hire, experts,” according to Campbell’s ruling. “If Mr. Levine had fulfilled his duty to investigate by, for example, hiring a ballistics expert and a forensics expert, he would have uncovered evidence that contradicted the state’s evidence.

    “Mr. Levine was not informed when he advised Mr. Taylor, and he made little to no effort to become informed. There was no articulated, or conceivable, strategic reason for failing to hire an investigator and experts in a death penalty case,” the court ruled.

    According to the Utah State Bar’s website, Levine’s bar certification in Utah is currently suspended.

    https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/3/...der-conviction
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    yet another example of why so many people have no faith in the judicial system.

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