OGDEN -- Doug Lovell's lawyers remain close-mouthed about how they plan to defend a man who testified on the stand under oath how and why he killed a South Ogden woman in 1985.
A scheduling conference Thursday in 2nd District Court for Lovell resulted in setting another scheduling conference for Jan. 12.
Lovell's public defenders have yet to file the first of what are expected to be numerous motions in the death penalty case.
"We're not ready to disclose everything we're looking at now," lead counsel Mike Bouwhuis said after the hearing.
The issues being explored generally include possible procedural questions in the handling of the case by police and prosecutors, he said, as well as due process concerns regarding the state's capital homicide statute itself.
"We'd like to retain the element of surprise for as long as we can," said Sean Young, second chair defense counsel on the case.
Several motions will be filed within 60 days was all Young would reveal.
Lovell, 53, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.
After the high court decision, prosecutors have indicated they will again seek the death penalty for Lovell in the 1985 murder of Joyce Yost, of South Ogden.
Lovell is currently serving a sentence of 15 years to life for the 1985 rape of Yost. She disappeared that year. Lovell wasn't charged with her murder until 1992. A year later, he pleaded guilty to the slaying and was sentenced to death.
At his 1993 sentencing hearing, Lovell detailed in sworn testimony his killing of the 39-year-old Yost, meant to prevent her from testifying about the rape.
Bouwhuis and Young would only say the motions coming in the case would be those typical to any death penalty proceeding, seeking to have it declared unconstitutional the most obvious example.
Judge Michael Lyon had indicated he hoped a briefing schedule for the defense motions and prosecution responses could be set at Thursday's hearing.
Bouwhuis said he was sympathetic to the concerns of Yost's family, discussed at the hearing, about the case dragging on.
"We were just appointed two months ago to a 26-year-old case," Bouwhuis said after the brief hearing. "The death penalty is the most severe penalty we have in the criminal justice system.
"For that reason, the U.S. Supreme Court says the highest standards are required of attorneys and the greatest scrutiny of their performance ... and the court has said what is less important is the rights of the victim's survivors to a speedy trial."
In 1993, Lovell spent five weeks trying to lead authorities to where he said he buried Yost in Ogden Valley, a search that included backhoes and a cadaver dog.
Prosecutors were willing to forgo execution if Lovell could lead them to her remains.
When nothing was found, Deputy Weber County Attorneys Gary Heward and Bill Daines asked for and received the death penalty for Lovell from now-retired 2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor.
Heward and Daines are prosecuting the case again.