Killer of Carson teen loses 7th try at reduced sentence

By Geoff Dornan

Appeal Capitol Bureau

The man who said at his sentencing he deserved to be punished for the assault and murder of a 15-year-old girl has lost another attempt to have his sentence overturned or reduced.

Keith D. Houston, 48, pleaded guilty on Valentine's Day 1983 to raping and strangling Julie Elder.

The teen's body was discovered in August 1982 behind a condominium complex in southwest Carson City.

"I broke God's law. I broke the law of man and I must be punished," he told District Judge Mike Griffin at his sentencing.

Griffin agreed and ordered Houston to serve two consecutive life terms without possibility of parole.

Houston has repeatedly tried to overturn that sentence. Supreme Court files show his case has now been before the court seven different times. In his most recent filing, he asked for a writ of habeas corpus arguing he only entered the guilty plea to avoid the death penalty.

But Justices Bill Maupin, Mike Cherry and Nancy Saitta noted Houston has filed several petitions for post conviction relief and that this one was filed 24 years after the conviction. They wrote that Houston failed to establish that he was the victim of a fundamental miscarriage of justice "because he failed to demonstrate that he was actually innocent of all of the charges."

They concluded that Houston is not entitled to relief and that briefing and oral arguments on the issues are not warranted.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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