Anderson awaits ruling on death-row case
KINGMAN — A week-long evidentiary hearing has ended for a California drifter who sits on Arizona’s death row for a 1996 triple murder in Golden Valley.
Frank Winfield Anderson, 70, was sentenced to death in December 2002 for his part in the murder of a Golden Valley family in August 1996. He was originally sentenced to death in 1998. The Arizona Supreme Court reversed the conviction and death sentence and the case was retried in Mohave County in 2002 when Anderson again was convicted and sentenced to death.
Superior Court Judge Rick Williams heard testimony from witnesses in a week-long evidentiary hearing in Kingman on Anderson’s post-conviction relief.
Phoenix defense attorney John Saccoman argued that the trial judge improperly instructed the jury on the lesser included sentence of life without parole. Other defense arguments included ineffective counsel and prosecutor misconduct. There were also changes in the law since filing the PCR.
Anderson’s age and his deteriorating physical health, which leaves him in a wheelchair, would make it cruel and unusual punishment if he is executed; he may not live long enough to face execution, Saccoman argued.
Williams took the testimony under advisement and will schedule a status hearing to set another hearing for testimony from one last witness in the PCR.
Anderson’s co-defendant, Robert Poyson, 42, was sentenced to death for the murders but a federal appeals court overturned his death sentence. A third co-defendant, Kimberly Lane, pleaded guilty and served eight years in prison and has since been released.
Anderson, Poyson and Lane were arrested for the brutal murders of Leta Kagen, her 15-year-old son, Robert Delahunt, and Roland Wear at Kagen’s Golden Valley home Aug. 12, 1996. Anderson and Lane, who was 14 at the time of the murders, had hitchhiked to Golden Valley from California.
The three suspects committed the murders in order to steal Wear’s pickup truck. They fled to Illinois where Anderson, Poyson and Lane eventually were arrested.