Utah death row inmate Ron Lafferty dies of natural causes


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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/11/11/utah-death-row-inmate-ron/
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Summary

Ron Lafferty, who spent 34 years on Utah’s death row for the grisly murders of his sister-in-law and her baby daughter in 1984, died Monday at the Utah State Prison. Ron Lafferty had been one of eight men on death row — and a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals made Lafferty the closest of them to execution. Ron Lafferty blamed the breakup with his wife on four people, including sister-in-law Brenda Wright Lafferty and her baby daughter, “who he believed would grow up to be just as despicable as her mother,” court documents say. Watson Lafferty testified that Ron Lafferty had bitter feelings toward Brenda and had referred to their sister-in-law as a “bitch.” And Knapp, who said he was in Ron Lafferty’s station wagon in the driveway, testified that Dan Lafferty forced his way into Brenda Lafferty’s home and he could hear an argument. After Ron Lafferty went inside, Knapp said, he could hear Brenda Lafferty begging not to hurt her child and the baby crying, “then there just wasn’t no more cryin’.” The jury convicted Ron Lafferty and voted unanimously that he be put to death. Ron Lafferty was convicted and sentenced to death again, and he again appealed. The petition alleged the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment and said Ron Lafferty had spent years “under brutal prison conditions, experiencing daily trauma of facing death.” But Benson, in rejecting that claim, quoted a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that says there is no support for “the proposition that a defendant can avail himself of the panoply of appellate and collateral procedures and then complain when his execution is delayed.” That decision was appealed to the Denver-based 10th Circuit, where it was denied in August.

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