Killer asks for new trial
November 30, 2005
A Carson City man convicted in 2003 of killing a local contractor will be in court Friday in a bid for a new trial.
Anthony Echols’ attorney, Richard Cornell, will be presenting “newly discovered” evidence in district court – namely statements from Echols’ supporters that Albrecht’s family repeatedly made disparaging comments inside and out of the courtroom and within earshot of the jurors.
“Members of the Albrecht family made so many inflammatory, prejudicial comments as to the ultimate result in both the guilt and penalty phases that, considering the contested nature of this case, those messages had to have been heard by the jury and had to have had a prejudicial impact upon them,” Cornell wrote in a motion filed last year.
Echols, 43, was convicted of first-degree murder in the August 2000 shooting and received two life sentences without parole.
According to court documents, Echols’ estranged wife was friends with Albrecht, whom Echols viewed as his romantic rival. A few hours after being arrested for violating a restraining order, Echols went to Albrecht’s home and shot him in the head.
Among other claims in the motion, attorney Cornell alleges Albrecht’s family intimidated Echols’ family, commented from the gallery during court testimony, and spoke negatively, loudly and animatedly in the hallway during recesses as jurors were exiting.
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He also alleged at least one juror was seen nodding from the jury box at the victim’s father following testimony on the second day of trial.
“The outward emotion expressed by all of the Albrecht clan during the trial around the Carson City Courthouse was unmistakable. The jury simply couldn’t have missed it,” the motion reads.
In another motion, Cornell asked that Albrecht’s family be excluded from the courthouse and courtroom during the proceedings. A ruling on that motion is expected Friday.
Echols, who was being held in Ely State Prison, was transferred to a prison in Carson City on Nov. 22.
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.