Supreme Court Ruling Means No Death Penalty in Two Utah Cases

Supreme Court Ruling Means No Death Penalty in Two Utah Cases

Save Story

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting execution for offenses committed before age 18 means youths accused in two Utah slayings cannot face possible death penalties.

The two Utah defendants affected by Tuesday's ruling are Morris T. Mullins, who pleaded guilty in the rape-murder of an elderly Richfield woman, and Sean Graham, who with another teen allegedly killed their Cedar City group home counselor.

Mullins was 17 at the time of the May 2001 slaying of 78-year-old Amy Davis at her Richfield home.

He pleaded guilty to capital murder in a plea bargain and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming the plea process was flawed. The case is before the Utah Supreme Court.

Sevier County Attorney R. Don Brown had said he would pursue the death penalty if Mullins succeeded in overturning the plea deal.

"That had been my intention," Brown told The Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday. Apparently, that's no longer one of my options."

Sean Graham and another youth were 17 when they allegedly killed counselor Anson Arnett with a baseball bat in March 2004.

Graham's capital murder charge was reduced by a judge to a lesser first-degree felony murder charge, but Iron County prosecutors have appealed the ruling to the Utah Supreme Court.

Graham's co-defendant, Jesse Simmons, accepted a plea-bargain offer and now faces a sentence of five years to life in prison.

Utah has never executed anyone for crimes committed before 18.

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

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast