OGDEN -- Jeremy Valdes' death penalty prosecution is back on the 2nd District Court calendar as the defense prepares to attack capital punishment.
Valdes is charged with aggravated murder and faces the death penalty if convicted in the slaying of Pamela Knight Jeffries, 56, and her son, Matt Roddy, 30, the day before Thanksgiving in 2009.
Roddy was stabbed multiple times, and Jeffries was suffocated by a plastic bag over her head sealed with duct tape.
The deadline for Valdes' defense motions has been set for Oct. 11 for his public defenders, with prosecutors to respond by Nov. 15. The defense would then have until Dec. 6 to file rebuttal motions.
The dates were set Monday before 2nd District Judge Mark DeCaria at a scheduling conference without any discussion of exactly what motions would be filed.
Prosecutors have been expecting the constitutional challenges, and on Tuesday, Ryan Bushell, Valdes' co-counsel, confirmed that multiple challenges to the constitutionality of the death penalty are planned in the coming motions.
Such attempts to throw out the death penalty have been a regular and unsuccessful occurrence in Northern Utah capital cases lately.
Glenn Howard Griffin's 2009 aggravated murder conviction in Box Elder County was preceded by two years of defense motions targeting capital punishment. Riqo Perea's trial last year was delayed almost three years by such defense motions attacking the practice as cruel and unusual before his conviction in a 2007 Ogden gang double homicide.
A jury opted against execution in Griffin's case, and prosecutors abandoned it as a possibility on the eve of Perea's trial. Both men are serving life prison terms without possibility of parole.
Doug Lovell's public defenders have indicated such motions are coming in his death penalty case, sent back to Ogden recently by the Utah Supreme Court in a 1985 homicide.
Valdes' case has already drawn one lengthy motion fight. A suppression bid was argued for almost a year in multiple hearings before the Weber County Attorney's Office conceded his Miranda warnings were flawed.
Judge DeCaria ruled in June that Valdes' damning admissions to police can only be used in rebuttal at trial, if for example, Valdes takes the stand to proclaim his innocence.