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Hearing Set in Appeal of Guilty Plea

Hearing Set in Appeal of Guilty Plea



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- An Aug. 2 hearing has been set in an appeal by an inmate who was sentenced to death after he was unable to lead authorities to his victim's body.

Doug Lovell is seeking to withdraw his 1993 guilty plea to aggravated murder in the 1985 death of Joyce Yost, 39, of South Ogden.

Lovell contends his trial attorney failed to provide effective counsel when he allowed Lovell to make a plea agreement requiring him to lead police to Joyce Yost's body in exchange for a life sentence.

The deal did not address what would happen if Lovell was unable to find the body.

He spent five weeks trying unsuccessfully to show authorities where he buried the woman's body in Ogden Valley.

The agreement was voided, but Lovell still pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to death.

On April 12, the Utah Supreme Court directed 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon to hear Lovell's motion seeking to withdraw his guilty plea.

Lyon inherited Lovell's appeal process from now-retired Judge Stanton Taylor, who sentenced Lovell to death.

Lovell's appeals lawyer has since taken a position as a federal public defender, so two local public defenders have been appointed to represent. They are Jim Retallick and Ryan Bushell.

Whether the taking of Lovell's plea met all legal requirements will likely be at the center of the coming legal battle, Retallick said.

The oral arguments on whether Lovell may withdraw his guilty plea are set for Aug. 2.

At sentencing, Lovell said he had killed Yost to keep her from testifying that he had raped her. Prosecutors used Yost's preliminary hearing testimony to convict Lovell of the rape.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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