Oral arguments in the appeal of Mark Hopkinson, who has evaded numerous execution dates for a 1979 murder conviction, have been set for April 4 in Cheyenne.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch of Denver has set oral arguments for briefs filed by both sides in the long-running appeal.Hopkinson came within 24 hours of being executed by lethal injection last September at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins when a three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit upheld Matsch's stay of execution.

Hopkinson, of Fort Bridger, was sentenced to life in prison for ordering the deaths in 1977 of Evanston attorney Vincent Vehar and his wife and a son, and was later sentenced to die for arranging the torture-slaying of Jeff Green, of Mountain View.

Green was scheduled to testify about the bombing in 1979 when he disappeared two days before his scheduled appearance before a grand jury. His mutilated body was found at a rest stop near Fort Bridger two days after his mother saw him leave their home with two men. Green's killers have never been apprehended.

Munker said he had telephoned Hopkinson at the prison to tell him of the hearing date.

One of the main arguments before the judge is whether the jurors understood the instructions given them by the judge.