Third District Judge Raymond Uno said Friday he will hear arguments Nov. 27 on whether condemned killer Ronnie Lee Gardner's rights were violated by hypnotically enhanced testimony and ineffective counsel during his 1985 capital murder trial.
Gardner, 29, was convicted and sentenced to die for killing Salt Lake City lawyer Michael Burdell during a botched April 2, 1985, escape attempt and shoot-out at the Metropolitan Hall of Justice. A court bailiff and Gardner were also wounded during the shooting spree.Gardner was being escorted into the court building for a hearing on an unrelated murder charge when a woman friend slipped him a handgun. He was able to get out of the court building, but was apprehended on the front lawn.
Defense lawyers filed a 17-page writ in July claiming, among other things, the trial court wrongly admitted certain testimony, and that Gardner's original attorneys failed to object to that testimony.
They also claim trial testimony from attorney Robert Macri, who was standing next to Burdell when the victim was shot, was hypnotically enhanced and should not have been admitted.
Gardner was scheduled to die by lethal injection in August. But Uno granted a stay pending the outcome of the appeal.
The Utah Supreme Court in January 1989 unanimously rejected all of Gardner's 16 arguments on automatic appeal, ruling his constitutional rights were cautiously guarded during all phases of the trial.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for appeal in April.
Deputy Attorney General Sandra Sjogren, who represented the state Friday, said, if Uno rejects Gardner's latest appeal, the defense will likely appeal the decision to the Utah Supreme Court.