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9th Circuit upholds Arizona killer’s conviction

A federal appeals court rejected Todd Fries' argument that his conviction on chemical weapons charges should not have been taken into account when he was sentenced for bomb possession.

A federal appeals court won’t reverse the conviction of Richard Greenway for killing a Tucson mother and her teen-age daughter in 1988.

Judge Mary Schroeder, writing for the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, said there is nothing to back up Greenway’s claim that his trial attorney did not do everything possible to keep him from being found guilty.

Court records show that police found the bodies of Lili Champagne and daughter Mindy Peters in their home. Each had been shot twice.

Richard Greenway

Richard Greenway

Police began looking at Greenway after his sister notified homicide detectives he knew something about the incident. And when police picked up Greenway and co-defendant Chris Lincoln for questioning, Lincoln confessed and implicated Greenway.

He was convicted after a three-day trial of murder, burglary, armed robbery, theft and arson and sentenced to death.

In his appeal, Greenway argued his trial attorney should have pursued questions about whether any of the jurors had been the victim of a violent crime.

The judge had not specifically asked that question. And it was only years later that it was learned that one juror had, in fact, been the victim of a rape and had testified against her attacker at his trial, facts that likely would have led to her being disqualified as a juror.

But Schroeder said there was no way for Greenway’s attorney to know that information, making it “far too speculative” to conclude the lawyer had not effectively done his job.

Greenway also argued his attorney should have argued that there was no premeditation and that he acted out of impulse. Schroeder said that claim makes no sense.

“Had counsel argued that Greenway acted impulsively, counsel would have placed Greenway at the scene of the crimes and negated the defense that he had not participated in the murders, a defense consistent with the physical evidence,” she wrote.


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