Utah Supreme Court hears death row case

Sep 6 2013 - 8:24pm

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Supreme Court is taking up the case of a death-row inmate who claims his trial lawyer failed to emphasize a history of drug and alcohol abuse that could have reduced the man's sentence.

Taberon Dave Honie was convicted of slashing the throat of an ex-girlfriend's mother in 1998 in Cedar City.

Claudia Benn was a 49-year-old Paiute substance abuse counselor.

Justices spent much of a hearing Thursday debating how much effort by the trial attorney was enough. The Utah Supreme Court isn't expected to rule for months.

State lawyer Thomas Brunker says five family members and a forensic psychologist were called to testify at sentencing about his unfortunate upbringing.

Honie says he was born to alcoholic parents, might suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, abused drugs and alcohol and could have suffered brain damage from a 30-foot fall as a teenager.

 

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