Fiegehen’s new attorney appeals murder case
Appeal News Service
MINDEN – An appeal notice was recently filed in the case of convicted murderer Christopher Fiegehen.
“I will never say this is a frivolous appeal,” said Fiegehen’s new Reno attorney Richard Cornell.
A well-known and practiced criminal defense attorney, Cornell said Fiegehen’s case recently came his way through Fiegehen’s parents.
Fiegehen, sentenced Aug. 21, for the death of Johnson Lane resident Al Chorkey and the attempted murder of Lorelle Chorkey, is behind bars in Nevada State Prison in Ely.
The 24-year-old Carson City resident took the stand in his own defense in the last hour of the trial and said he didn’t commit the crimes.
Cornell said he’s not familiar enough with the case to determine if he believes his client is guilty or innocent, but he said he has at least two grounds for appeal.
Under consideration, are the jury’s “ambiguous” verdict and the prosecution’s lack of proof for home invasion.
Cornell has 120 days from the Sept. 18 notice of appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court to prepare his case. A 60-day extension, typically allowed, may extend that time.
But, he said, he plans to file his opening brief in the winter of 2004 and the state has 30 days after that to file a reply, with a possible 30 day extension.
What and when something will happen, if it does, is not clear. But Cornell says he’s got at least two angles, possibly three, that may work as grounds for appeal.
The first is the verdict itself.
He said he feels the jury should have been able to make a distinction between first- and second- degree murder, a point that Fiegehen’s previous attorney, Richard Young, briefly argued.
Cornell said he believes the jury could have returned a second-degree murder conviction for Chorkey’s death. He said the idea of an open murder charge is that the jury can choose any verdict, be it first, second, voluntary or involuntary.
Jurors were not instructed to do so, he said.
That would be second-degree murder, he said.
He said he doesn’t think prosecution truly proved that Fiegehen was at the home to commit either burglary, a dropped charge, he said, or home invasion.