Convicted murderer Jesse Fanus, on death row since 1999 for killing war hero Marion Carl, will have to wait until at least February 2015 for a new sentencing hearing.
Wearing a gray suit and blue shirt, Fanus, 34, appeared Wednesday in Douglas County Circuit Court, where attorneys and Judge George Ambrosini discussed scheduling conflicts and eventually agreed to set the hearing for Feb. 3, 2015.
At issue is whether Fanus should be sentenced to death, life in prison without the possibility of parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
A Douglas County jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death 14 years ago for slaying Carl, a Marine Corps flying ace, in Carl’s home outside Glide on June 28, 1998.
A judge in Marion County, where Fanus is a prisoner at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, ruled in 2011 that Fanus was inadequately represented when he was pleading to be spared the death penalty. The murder conviction stands, but the judge ordered a new sentencing hearing.
Fanus waved at family members when he was escorted into the courtroom by two sheriff’s deputies. He spoke quietly with defense attorney Richard Wolf before the hearing began.
District Attorney Rick Wesenberg suggested setting the hearing for February 2015, and Wolf agreed.
Wesenberg asked Ambrosini to allow two months for testimony and arguments.
In the meantime, Fanus will remain one of 37 people on death row in Oregon.
Oregon has not executed a prisoner since 1997, during John Kitzhaber’s first tenure as governor. Kitzhaber announced in 2011 that he was personally opposed to capital punishment and would not allow any more executions while he was governor.
Wesenberg has indicated that prosecutors will again seek the death penalty for Fanus.
Fanus, then 19 years old, broke into the home of Marion and Edna Carl on North Bank Road near Glide, armed with a shotgun stolen a few days earlier from a Roseburg towing company.
Fanus threatened Edna Carl and demanded cash and the keys to the couple’s car. Marion Carl, 82, who had been asleep in a bedroom, awakened and was shot after walking into the living room.
Edna Carl received minor injuries from a second shot.
Fanus was convicted following a two-week trial. The same Douglas County jury later voted unanimously to sentence him to death, rather than giving him a life sentence.
Marion County Circuit Judge Pamela Abernethy ruled that Fanus’ trial attorney, Mark Hendershott, failed to interview several witnesses before they testified and failed to rebut testimony that Fanus had been raised primarily by his grandparents in a good home.
Fanus bounced between his parents in several towns during much of his youth and was subject to abuse and neglect, Abernethy found.
Fanus was brought to the Douglas County Jail Tuesday from state prison. He will return to Douglas County for a court hearing Dec. 11 on a pre-trial motion.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.