No Death Penalty In Brutal Casper ‘Lil Miss’ Murder-Rape
Dale Wayne Eaton, the man convicted of raping and murdering a college student more than three decades ago, is no longer facing the death penalty.
That's according to documents filed in Natrona County District Court.
A jury in 2004 convicted Eaton for the 1988 murder and rape of Lisa Marie Kimmel.
According to a stipulation filed in district court, prosecutors and Eaton's attorneys agreed that Eaton is no longer mentally competent to undergo a death penalty sentencing hearing.
Following his conviction, a Natrona County jury voted unanimously to sentence Eaton to death as the murder was "especially atrocious or cruel, being unnecessarily torturous to (Kimmel)."
Eaton was also sentenced to life imprisonment, 40 to 50 years and 20 to 25 years for non-capital crimes.
What followed was a protracted legal battle that eventually made its way to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals before being sent back to the Wyoming courts. In 2019, Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen again filed notice that prosecutors would be seeking the death penalty.
But following a mental competency evaluation last summer, prosecutors agreed to withdraw their intent to seek capital punishment.
"(...) Mr. Eaton will undoubtedly remain in prison until he dies no matter how this court exercises its remaining sentencing discretion," the stipulation states. "The gravity of the stakes and complexity of the issues have reduced considerably."
According to the filing, Eaton has for years exhibited signs of brain deterioration, including becoming confused and disoriented. He also told an examiner that he was 10 years older than his actual age.
Additionally, the filing states Eaton has suffered multiple strokes over the years.
"On the Dementia Rating Scale-Second Edition, Mr. Eaton's total score was 'in the range of significant dementia, placing him in the bottom 1% of the population his age,'" an examiner wrote.