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Wyoming death penalty case appealed to US Supreme Court

February 28, 2020 GMT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The only man currently facing possible execution in Wyoming has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Seventy-five-year-old Dale Wayne Eaton argues lower courts didn’t property determine his mental competency.

Jurors in 2004 found Eaton guilty of charges including premeditated first-degree murder in the kidnapping, rape and slaying of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell in central Wyoming in 1988.

The jury found that Eaton should be put to death. A federal judge stayed Eaton’s execution in 2014 but an appeals court ruled in 2019 that prosecutors could again pursue death for Eaton, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

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Kimmell disappeared while driving from Denver to visit her parents in Billings, Montana. Investigators determined Eaton kidnapped Kimmell for several days before clubbing and stabbing her and pushing her into the North Platte River.

Kimmell’s body was found in the North Platte River near Casper soon after her disappearance.

The case went unsolved until Eaton went to prison for assault in another case in the 1990s. Investigators linked Eaton’s DNA to Kimmell’s body and unearthed Kimmell’s car on Eaton’s property in 2002.

The last person put to death in Wyoming, Mark Hopkinson, was executed in 1992.