Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Court denies Santistevanís appeal for new trial

Idaho Court of Appeals upholds earlier ruling


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Idaho Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling denying David L. Santistevan a new trial for the shootings in 2004 of two Bellevue teenagers.

In a ruling issued June 7, the Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by Blaine County 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee. In a ruling issued in May 2010, Elgee dismissed a post-conviction-relief petition, wherein Santistevan claimed that he didn't receive a fair trial when convicted by a Blaine County jury of two counts of second-degree murder. Santistevan was asking the 5th District Court for a new trial or to have the convictions overturned.

In his appeal, Santistevan claimed that Elgee erred in dismissing the petition by denying a claim that Santistevan had ineffective legal counsel during his trial in 2004.

The Idaho Court of Appeals, however, ruled that Santistevan's claims were without merit.

Santistevan was represented at his trial in 2004 by Hailey attorneys Keith Roark and Douglas Nelson.

Santistevan, 54, is currently an inmate at the Idaho state penitentiary in Boise serving a 35-year prison sentence. It was imposed by Elgee in 2005 for the shootings of teenagers Tyrel Peak and Marshall Hooten on March 29, 2004, in an alley behind the Silver Dollar Saloon in Bellevue.

He is not eligible for parole until March 30, 2026.

Santistevan has admitted to the shootings but has insisted that he did it in self-defense.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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