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Man on Utah’s death row for 30 years seeks new trial

December 14, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Chicago native who has been on death row in Utah for more than three decades for the death of a Provo woman is seeking a new trial.

Douglas Stewart Carter, 63, is asking the state Supreme Court to order a new hearing based on information that surfaced years after his conviction, the Deseret News reported .

Carter was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of stabbing and shooting 57-year-old Eva Olesen — the aunt of a former Provo police chief — during a home-invasion robbery in February 1985.

His attorneys claim Provo police officers paid two witnesses’ rent and instructed them to lie about the financial help. That information could have changed the case’s outcome, they claim. They are seeking for a lower court to review the evidence at a new hearing.

“Mr. Carter’s been on death row for over 30 years and all he’s asking for is a fair trial,” defense attorney Eric Zuckerman said.

Prosecutors said the claims are not true, arguing the testimony from the witnesses, who were Carter’s friends, matched his own admission to police about the killing.

“Carter confessed to the police, and he told his friends, the Tovars, what he’d done,” Utah Assistant Solicitor General Erin Riley said. “These new declarations don’t change anything about their testimony, about Carter telling them he committed the murder.”

Carter has asserted that he was coerced to confess, so the police officers’ alleged behavior lends more credibility to that claim, defense attorney Paula Harms said.

“We believe the confession is thrown into doubt because the veracity of law enforcement is thrown into doubt,” Harms said in court.

The lawyers presented arguments to the state’s highest court Wednesday. The court has not yet issued a decision.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

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