Prosecutor: Lawmakers Need To Clarify Death Penalty Stand
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The prosecutor who secured a death sentence against Dale Wayne Eaton for the murder of a Montana woman nearly 30 years ago says Eaton's continuing appeals signal that the Wyoming Legislature must decide whether it truly supports capital punishment.
A federal judge last year set aside Eaton's original death sentence in the 1988 killing of Lisa Kimmell, of Billings, Montana. The judge ruled Eaton had received inadequate representation from the Wyoming Public Defender's Office.
The judge last week blocked the state from holding another death penalty hearing for Eaton while his federal appeals are pending.
Casper District Attorney Mike Blonigen was the original prosecutor in Eaton's 2004 trial. Blonigen says that if state lawmakers want Wyoming to have the death penalty, they must adequately fund both the prosecution and defense.