BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated the death penalty for an Idaho man convicted in the gruesome murder of a Blackfoot woman in 1984.
A three judge panel ruled Tuesday in the case of Richard Leavitt, who was convicted in the brutal stabbing death of 31-year-old Danette Jean Elg.
Leavitt was sentenced to death in 1985 by a state judge who cited the heinous nature of the crime.
Defense attorneys have tried several times to appeal the death sentence.
In 2007, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill vacated the death sentence, ruling that Leavitt's lawyer during sentencing was ineffective for failing to explore if brain damage could explain the personality disorders effecting Leavitt's actions.
In a divided opinion, the appeals court justices disagreed and put Leavitt back on Idaho's death row.