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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 28, 2000)
Court set to re-sentence Reeves
■ A three-judge panel will
reweigh the evidence of the
1980 murder of two women.
BY JOSH FUNK
Because the Nebraska
Supreme Court reversed its 1991
decision early this year, convict
ed murderer Randy Reeves will
begin the sentencing process
anew today for the 1980 mur
ders of two women in Lincoln.
Lancaster County District
Judge Karen Flowers, head of the
three-judge panel, will hear
motions dealing with the sen
tencing process this morning.
The other two judges on the
sentencing panel are Lincoln
County District Judge Donald
Rowlands and Douglas County
District Judge Richard
Reeves was convicted of two
counts of felony murder for the
stabbings of Janet Mesner and
Vicki Lamm at the Quaker meet
ing house in Lincoln because
there was evidence of sexual
In January the state Supreme
Court ruled that Reeves’ case
should have been sent back to
district court for re-sentencing
when errors were found in 1991.
Instead the Nebraska
Supreme Court re-sentenced
Reeves to death itself. That
action effectively eliminated an
appeal because every death sen
tence handed down by
Nebraska’s courts is automati
cally reviewed by the state High
Court, and the court could not
review its own re-sentencing.
Of the defense's three
motions, only one, which asks
that a separate judge be
appointed to hear procedural
motions, is expected to be con
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The two other motions filed
by Reeves’ lead attorney, Paula
Hutchinson, ask that all pro
ceedings be held in open court
on the record, and that Reeves
be present for all hearings.
Lancaster County Attorney
Gary Lacey, who was one of the
original prosecutors in Reeves’
case, said not only would he
support the motion to have
everything on the record, “I
insist on it.”
During the sentencing
process, the three-judge panel
will weigh all the evidence much
like a jury would, which is why
Hutchinson has asked for a
fourth judge to hear other
Because the three-judge
panel will serve as a kind of jury,
Hutchinson said a fourth judge
is needed to rule on procedure,
just as a judge in a jury trial
Lacey said another judge
was unnecessary and compared
the panel’s role to that of a judge
in a bench trial. In that setting,
judges always rule on both the
facts and legal procedure.
“I can’t find any authority in
the statutes or in case law for it,”
Lacey said. “They've got three
judges and now they want a
Lacey said he did not plan to
present any motions for the
Lacey would not say
Wednesday whether he will seek
the death penalty again.
The court is also expected to
set a schedule for the sentenc
ing process today.
Whether or not the court will
be able to re-sentence Reeves
before the end of the year will
depend on the number of
motions filed and the schedules
of everyone involved. Reeves’
other attorney, Tim Ford, is from
Seattle, so the schedule may
have to work around his travel.
Also, the 19-year-old pre
sentence investigation will have
to be updated, if not redone.
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