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9:49 PM Mon, Jan. 21st

Sentencing date set of triple murderer

Convicted triple murderer Frank Anderson was back in Mohave County Superior Court Monday with his sentencing process sailing through uncharted waters.

Anderson, a 52-year-old Californian, could be sentenced to death for the murders of a Golden Valley family six years ago.

The state legislature recently enacted a law whereby a jury will hear aggravated factors then decide whether a defendant should be put to death.

The special law was put into place after the U.S.

Supreme Court ruled that judges imposing the death penalty were unconstitutional.

Arizona was one of five states where the judges sentenced a defendant in a capital case.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez set Oct.

21 for a four-day hearing where a jury will be selected to weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in Anderson's sentencing.

Under the new law, a unanimous jury is needed to find at least one aggravating factor and to sentence a defendant to death.

Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jace Zack estimated he would need a day to present the aggravating factors against Anderson.

Also during Monday's hearing, Chavez denied a motion filed by Anderson's attorney, Thomas Kehm, to sentence his client to life in prison.

Anderson 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.

A jury convicted Anderson 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 murder conviction following his 1998 murder trial.

On that August night six years ago, Kimberly Lane lured Robert Delahunt into a trailer where Anderson cut his throat, then Anderson assisted Bobby Poyson in crushing the youth's head with bricks.

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

The three codefendants then stole Wear's truck and after dropping Lane and Poyson off near Chicago, Anderson was stopped and arrested driving the truck in Southern Illinois.

Poyson was convicted and sentenced to death in November 1999.

His case also will be sent back to Mohave County for resentencing.

Lane was convicted of murder, 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.