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Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
11:44 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Death row inmate's case on hold

A Mohave County Superior Court judge stopped proceedings Monday for one of two brothers convicted of the 1991 murders of a Grasshopper Junction couple.

Judge James Chavez granted a stay of Robert Wayne Murray's proceedings until the Arizona Supreme Court rules on whether a recent U.S.

Supreme Court death penalty ruling applies retroactively to convicted murderers already on death row.

Chavez ordered another hearing for Murray to be held 15 days after the Arizona Supreme Court rules on the matter.

Murray's attorney, Matthew Newman, filed a motion in superior court three weeks ago for a 90-day stay to his client's proceedings because of the Timothy Ring ruling.

The U.S.

Supreme Court, ruling on Ring v.

Arizona, decided in June that a jury, rather than a judge, must decide aggravating circumstances that would sentence a defendant to death.

Murray and his brother, Roger Wayne Murray, were convicted of murdering Dean Morrison and Jacqueline Appelhans in May 1991 at their small grocery store in Grasshopper Junction.

The Murrays, who also were convicted of two counts of armed robbery, were sentenced to death.

Grasshopper Junction is located off U.S.

Highway 93 north of Kingman.

Arizona is one of several states where judges decide whether a defendant is sentenced to death or life in prison.

Arizona legislators expected to meet in special session this week or next to write a death penalty law that will comply with the Supreme Court ruling.

Roger Murray's case was consolidated with three other capital cases for a motion to stop proceedings toward his execution.

More than a half dozen other Mohave County defendants are on death row.

Convicted murderers Charles Ellison, Frank Anderson and Allen Nicklasson have not been sentenced.