Judge stays execution in Reno murder

Washoe District Judge Jim Hardesty has put the scheduled execution of Daryl Mack on hold until the court resolves his legal appeals.

Mack, 44, was scheduled to die by lethal injection March 5 at Nevada State Prison in Carson City for the 1988 murder of Betty May, 55, in Reno. He was already in the Nevada prison serving life for murdering Kim Parks in a Reno motel in 1994 when DNA evidence tied him to May's death in 2000.

Mack still hasn't exhausted his state court appeals yet and, after that, has several potential legal challenges he can raise at the federal level.

Mack has already tried to get the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn his sentence, arguing the U.S. Supreme Court ban on judges ordering death sentences should apply to him. The Nevada court ruled last year it didn't apply to Mack because he voluntarily waived his right to a jury trial, so there was no jury to set his sentence.

He is the first man to be convicted of murder in Nevada based solely on DNA evidence.

With Mack's execution stayed, next on the list to die in Nevada is Lawrence Colwell, 34, scheduled for lethal injection March 22. Colwell's date was set by Clark County District Judge Donald Mosley after he abandoned further appeals in his case. He is also seeking to call off a federal appeal which was filed on his behalf by federal public defender Michael Pescetta.

If executed, Colwell will be the 10th Nevada inmate put to death since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence in 1977. Eight of the nine executed so far abandoned further pleas in their cases. Only Richard Moran, who was executed in March 1996, had exhausted all his appeals.

Contact Geoff Dornan at nevadaappeal@sbcglobal.net or 687-8750.


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