Lee Allen Aase has asked the Utah Court of Appeals to overturn his June 1987 conviction for shooting and paralyzing a teenage Clearfield girl.
Aase's attorney, Randine Salerno, argued Monday that testimony by two former roommates who said they saw Aase with a handgun loaded with "snake shot" was irrelevant and prejudicial.Police said one of six shots fired into the victim's bedroom July 31, 1986, was snake shot.
The attorney said the roommates' testimony failed to show any connection between the Clearfield shooting and Aase having loaded a gun a year before the incident.
The three-judge panel took the appeal, which seeks a new trial, under advisement.
Aase was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting of Caryn Per-vine, who was 13 at the time, as she slept in her downstairs bedroom. A shot lodged in the girl's spine, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Aase was given a one-to-15-year sentence on the attempted-murder count and an additional five years using a firearm in the crime. The terms were ordered to be served consecutively.
Salerno also argued Monday that the location of the trial should have been changed due to pretrial publicity. She also said Aase's jury was allowed to go to lunch without a bailiff during its deliberations.
"I don't think it should be up to the defendant to show that none of those jurors were exposed to members of the media" and others, she told the appellate court.
However, Assistant Utah Attorney General Barbara Bearnson countered that the trial judge, 2nd District Judge Rodney S. Page, weighed the issue of allowing the roommates' testimony and decided the evidence's value in proving the case outweighed its prejudicial value.
Bearnson said that testimony wasn't the only evidence linking Aase to the snake shot. Police found more of the ammunition in Aase's home, she said.
And although the jury was allowed to go to lunch without a bailiff, jurors were admonished by Page not to discuss the case with anyone or read newspaper articles about it, Bearn-son added.
"There is no indication that the jurors spoke with anyone," she said.
But Salerno said judicial rules do not require the objection to have been renewed during the original trial to be brought up in an appeal.