Utah Death Penalty Case Goes to Federal Appeal

Dec 10, 2012

A Utah prison inmate facing death in the 1988 torture slaying of a southern Utah state college theater student is appealing to the federal courts to spare him from execution.

Michael Anthony Archuleta's attorneys cite 16 grounds for appeal in a document filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Archuleta won a reprieve just days before facing a firing squad in April.

The 182-page petition claims Archuleta may meet Utah's criteria for mental retardation, that his sentence is unconstitutional, that his defense was deficient, and that he didn't get a fair trial.

The 50-year-old Archuleta has lost five state court appeals. He was convicted in December 1989 of killing 28-year-old Gordon Ray Church in a remote location in Millard County.