U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene heard attorneys' arguments Thursday on behalf of condemned murderer Ronald Lafferty, who is seeking a stay of his execution date, but requested more detailed briefs and directed the lawyers to return to court Monday morning.
Greene said he will further study transcripts pertinent to Lafferty's case over the weekend.Representing Lafferty, who appeared in court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, attorney Michael Esplin said two issues on which Lafferty is challenging his death sentence are presently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in Oklahoma cases. These include an argument about jurors having preconceived opinions about the death penalty and another about the use of the photographs of the murder victims in sentencing phases of trials.
Besides the petition for a stay in the death sentence, Lafferty's attorneys have filed a motion for a writ of habeas corpus. The Utah attorney general's office, for its part, filed a motion to dismiss Lafferty's appeal.
Lafferty was convicted in the July 24, 1984, murder of his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her daughter, Erica. His brother, Dan, was convicted of the same crimes but was sentenced to life in prison.