While state prison officials are preparing for Utah's second execution in less than a month, attorneys for convicted murderer Ronald Watson Lafferty say they are ready to initiate proceedings to prolong their client's life.
Public defender Gary Weight said he and co-counsel Michael Esplin will file a writ of habeas corpus Tuesday to initiate the appeals process. Lafferty has repeatedly fired the two men as his legal counsel but asked them last month for their help in fighting his June 24 execution date.Lafferty was sentenced to die for the murder in 1984 of his sister-in-law and her 15-month-old daughter.
Weight said the writ will be filed in federal court and a stay of execution likely will be granted shortly thereafter so the court can consider the writ.
"This part of the appeal phase could last six months, less than that or maybe more," he said. If the writ is rejected, Weight said, he and Esplin will then appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.