Utah to challenge decision overturning death row conviction

Nov 28, 2022, 1:35 AM | Updated: 3:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s attorney general plans to file an appeal challenging a judge’s decision to overturn a death penalty conviction three years after the state’s Supreme Court ordered a new trial due to claims of prosecutorial misconduct.

Douglas Stewart Carter, 67, has been on death row since 1985, when a jury found him guilty of the aggravated murder of 57-year-old Eva Olesen, the aunt of a former Provo police chief who was found stabbed and shot in the head.

Though there was no physical evidence linking Carter to the crime scene, prosecutors secured a conviction based on a written confession from Carter, who is Black, and two witnesses who testified he had bragged about killing Olesen. Carter later argued the confession was coerced.

After decades of appeals, the Utah Supreme Court in 2019 reversed Carter’s conviction and ordered a new trial after the witnesses — Epifanio Tovar and Lucia Tovar — said police and prosecutors offered them gifts and money, coached them to lie in court and threatened them with deportation if they didn’t cooperate. The Tovars were immigrants without legal status.

Police said the funds were intended for witness protection.

The Supreme Court’s reversal drew widespread attention in Utah and renewed focus on questions about whether capital punishment should be permitted in the state. Utah was the first state to execute someone after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted its moratorium in 1976.

In his ruling overturning Carter’s conviction, Judge Derek Pullan ruled that the Tovars’ testimonies prejudiced Carter’s trial and gave Utah five days to decide whether to challenge his decision to overturn the conviction.

“The State knowingly failed to disclose that the testimony was false and coached by police. Carter’s conviction was secured — at least in part — on the basis of this false testimony,” Pullan wrote in a decision last week.

Rich Piatt, a spokesperson for the Utah Attorney General’s office said in a statement that the state planned to appeal Pullan’s ruling.

“The office has full confidence that both Carter’s conviction and death sentence will be reinstated on appeal, especially in light of the fact that Carter confessed to committing this murder,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
21 hours ago
The Amazon DTW1 fulfillment center is shown in Romulus, Mich., April 1, 2020. Amazon reports financ...
Associated Press

Amazon beats Q4 revenue estimates, but profits slump

Amazon on Thursday reported worse-than-expected profits, but its revenue beat expectations boosted by sales in North America businesses and the cloud-computing unit AWS.
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Washington’s low-income tax credit available for first time

 Up to $1,200 is now available for thousands of low-income working Washington residents, thanks to a 2008 law that has finally been funded.
21 hours ago
In this undated photo, Nashville, Tenn., newsman Joe Edwards, who has been writing the "Nashville S...
Associated Press

Longtime AP country music chronicler Joe Edwards dies at 75

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Journalist Joe Edwards, who chronicled country music and helped “Rocky Top” become a Tennessee state song during his four-decade Associated Press career, has died. He was 75. Longtime AP colleague Randall Dickerson said Edwards’ wife called him to share the news that her husband died Friday after a lengthy illness in […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

N. Carolina Supreme Court to rehear voter ID, redistricting

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The new Republican majority on North Carolina’s Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rehear redistricting and voter identification cases less than two months after the court’s previous edition, led by Democrats, issued major opinions going against GOP legislators who had been sued. The extraordinary decisions, granted in orders backed by five […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Participants smile as they march with a banner during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade celebra...
Associated Press

Japanese prime minister’s aide leaving over LGBTQ remarks

TOKYO (AP) — A senior aide to Japan’s prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ people. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Saturday that Masayoshi Arai, a secretary at his office, was being dismissed after Arai recently told Japanese media he did not like seeing LGBTQ people. Arai had retracted his […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Utah to challenge decision overturning death row conviction