Retrial planned for man accused of 1983 N. Idaho killings
LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Prosecutors plan to retry a man previously convicted of murder in the 1983 beating deaths of a Texas couple, after the Idaho Supreme Court ruled he is entitled to a new trial.
Mark Lankford and his younger brother, Bryan Lankford, were convicted in 1984 of killing 27-year-old U.S. Marine Capt. Robert Bravence and his 25-year-old wife, Cheryl Bravence, of El Paso, Texas.
Authorities said the brothers hid the bodies in the wilderness, took the couple’s vehicle, money and credit cards, and traveled to California.
The bodies were discovered three months later, and the brothers were apprehended when they returned to their home state of Texas. Each blamed the other for the crime.
Mark Lankford was granted a new trial in 2007 due to a jury instruction error from the previous trial. An Idaho County jury then convicted him of two counts of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole.
The Idaho Supreme Court ruled a year ago that he is entitled to a new trial because prosecutors violated his constitutional rights to a fair trial.
Last month, the high court denied a request from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office to reconsider its decision.
“We’re ready to go,” Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/2tUg11l) in a story on Saturday about another retrial.
A new trial date hasn’t been set.
Bryan Lankford was sentenced to death following the 1984 trial and later had his sentence commuted to life in prison. He has a parole hearing set next year.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com