OGDEN — Though it was originally scheduled to only take place in August, the appeal hearings for a man on Utah’s death row will continue.
The hearings regarding the case of Douglas Lovell will continue into November, according to court records. Lovell, a 61-year-old man twice convicted of capital murder and twice given a death sentence, is in the process of appealing his case once more.
Court records show that additional days of testimony will take place to facilitate additional testimony for the case.
The court hearings scheduled were set for Sept. 13, Sept. 30, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. According to court records, one of Lovell’s former attorneys, Michael Bouwhuis, testified once more during the Sept. 13 hearing. Bouwhuis has taken the stand during previous days in the course of the appeal hearings.
Originally, the 23B hearings were scheduled to take place nearly every weekday in August. However, once those dates were over, the four additional days were added to the case.
The hearings, named after Rule 23B in the Utah Rules Of Appellate Procedure, will determine whether or not Lovell received ineffective assistance of counsel during his most recent jury trial, which took place in 2015.
The actions of a second Lovell attorney, Sean Young, during the 2015 jury trial are one of the main points of investigation for the ongoing series of hearings. Young testified in August that his performance during the Lovell trial was one of the main reasons his public defender contract with Weber County was terminated in the years following the trial.
In October 2018, Young had his license to practice law in Utah suspended for three years after it was found that he mishandled a number of cases, including Lovell’s 2015 trial.
The 2015 trial led to Lovell’s second conviction of aggravated murder, who was first arrested in 1985 after the murder of South Ogden woman Joyce Yost. Lovell had previously been charged with raping Yost, and he killed her to prevent her from testifying in court.
In 1993, Lovell pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with the state, with one stipulation being that Lovell had to show authorities were Yost’s body was hidden. However, her body was not located, and Lovell was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
To this day, Yost’s body has never been found.
The death sentence prompted Lovell to attempt to withdraw his guilty plea, which at the time, the Ogden district court did not allow. In 2011, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Lovell could withdraw his plea, finding that the court failed to properly inform Lovell of his right to a trial.
That ruling lead to his 2015 jury trial, where he was once again convicted and sentenced to death. In 2017, the Utah Supreme Court again remanded the case back to the district court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Lovell’s attorneys appropriately did their jobs during the 2015 trial, which is the current matter at hand.
Lovell remains on Utah’s death row at the Utah State Prison in Draper.