U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition From Murderer Dale Wayne Eaton
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear the appeal of Dale Wayne Eaton, who was convicted in 2004 of the murder of Lisa Marie Kimmel in 1988, and for a while was Wyoming's lone death row inmate.
"The Court today entered the following order in the above titled case: The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied," according to a letter filed Tuesday from the Clerk of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court, like it usually does with such petitions, did not give an explanation for its denial.
With the decision, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office can now proceed to ask Natrona County District Court to again sentence Eaton to death.
The brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of the 18-year-old Kimmel drew national attention and was known as the 'Lil Miss murder case because that was license plate on her car.
She was found in the North Platte River at Government Bridge in Natrona County on April 2, 1988. She was driving from Denver to her home in Billings, Mont., and was to pick up her boyfriend in Cody. He called to report that she never arrived.
The cases remained unsolved until 2002 when researchers found DNA from her rape kit matched Eaton's, who had owned property in Moneta between Casper and Shoshoni. Her car was unearthed on the property that summer.
Eaton, now 75, was tried and convicted in March 2004 on all counts in Natrona County District Court, and the judge sentenced him to death, according to the summary of the case in a July 23, 2019, ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
He appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court on the grounds that his attorneys were ineffective, but the state's high court affirmed the conviction and death sentence, according to the summary.
Eaton appealed to the federal court in Wyoming, which upheld the conviction but dismissed the death penalty on Nov. 20, 2014.
He then appealed to the 10th Circuit Court, which affirmed the guilty conviction and said the Natrona County District Attorney's Office could pursue the death penalty. The federal circuit court sent the case back to the Wyoming U.S. District Court on July 23.
The next month, District Attorney Dan Itzen announced he would again seek the death penalty for Eaton.
However, Itzen's intention was put on hold because Eaton's attorneys said they probably would appeal the case.
In February, Eaton filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, which asks a higher court to order lower court to deliver its record in a case for review, with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hil responded and asked the Supreme Court to deny his petition, arguing he did not preserve his ability to appeal the case.
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