High court upholds 2 death sentences
Associated Press Writer
The Nevada Supreme Court upheld death penalties Thursday for a man convicted of killing a Las Vegas woman outside a drug store and another found guilty of raping and killing a Sparks teenager in her bedroom.
Justices unanimously upheld the conviction of James R. Walker for the killing in Las Vegas of Christine Anziano, 33, in August 2003 but split 4-3 over whether he deserved a new penalty hearing. Besides first-degree murder, Walker also was convicted of five other counts for crimes committed against two other people within 24 hours of Anziano’s death, including slitting one man’s throat.
In another ruling issued Thursday, the court affirmed the death sentence of Tamir Hamilton, convicted of the 2006 rape and killing of 16-year-old Holly Quick. Quick’s mother found her body when she went to wake her for school.
Both Walker and Hamilton, who are black, argued the trial courts erred by denying their objections to the prosecution’s use of peremptory challenges against blacks in their respective jury pools.
Walker, in his appeal, also argued the trial judge erroneously limited his attorney’s questioning of potential jurors, that he should have been tried separately on the three incidents, and that statements by the prosecutor were improper.
Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre was joined by Justices James Hardesty, Mark Gibbons, and Kris Pickering in upholding the conviction and death penalty.
“Although Walker’s trial was not free from error, no error considered individually or cumulatively rendered his trial unfair,” the ruling stated.
Justices Michael Cherry, Michael Douglas and Nancy Saitta concurred with the conviction, but said Walker deserved a new penalty hearing.
Justices upheld his conviction and sentence 6-1.