Case of triple murderer stalled

After a U.S.

Supreme Court ruling, a convicted murderer's case was continued for the second time in two days Thursday in Mohave County Superior Court.

The ruling Monday could affect the case of Frank Anderson, a 52-year-old Californian would faces the death penalty for three murders in Golden Valley almost six years ago.

Arizona is one of five states where the judges sentence a defendant in a capital case.

The Supreme Court ruled that only juries, not judges, can sentence a defendant to death.

Anderson, along with accomplices Bobby Poyson and Kimberly Lane, was convicted of murdering Leta Kagen, her 15-year-old son, Robert Delahunt, and Roland Wear at the Kagen's Golden Valley residence Aug.

12, 1996.

Anderson was convicted in October at his second trial of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy of murder.

In 2000, the Arizona Supreme Court struck down Anderson's first death sentence following his 1998 murder trial.

During Thursday's hearing, Anderson's attorney, Thomas Kehm, suggested one option of proceeding with the sentencing as long as Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jace Zack would not seek the death penalty.

"There is a serious problem is sentencing Mr.

Anderson with the original jury," Kehm said.

Because of the time since the trial, the memories of the jurors would not be as accurate, he added.

Kehm also said the original jurors knew going into the trial they would not be sentencing Anderson.

The makeup of the jury likely would have been different if the jurors picked at the beginning of the trial also determined the sentence, Kehm argued.

Another option is to retry Anderson, Kehm said.

Judge James Chavez ordered another hearing for July 30, by which the state Legislature could change sentencing laws in light of the Supreme Court ruling.

After that an aggravated /mitigating hearing would then be held.

On the night of Aug.

12, Lane lured Robert Delahunt into a trailer where Anderson cut his throat, then assisted Poyson in crushing the youth's head with bricks.

Anderson also assisted Poyson in shooting Kagen and Wear later that night.

Anderson, Poyson and Lane stole Wear's truck and went to the Midwest.

After he dropped Lane and Poyson off near Chicago, Anderson was stopped and arrested in southern Illinois.

Poyson, 25, was convicted and sentenced to death in November 1999.

The U.S.

Supreme Court upheld his conviction and he is on death row.

Lane, 19, was convicted in her first murder trial, but the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned her conviction and the state Supreme Court upheld that decision.

Prior to her second trial, she pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received a reduced sentence.

On Wednesday, as a result of the Supreme Court ruling, a penalty phase hearing for Charles Ellison was continued.

Ellison was convicted of murdering an elderly Kingman couple in 1999.

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