Holmes’ attorney says he could’ve done more to keep convict off death row in other case

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DENVER -- The lawyer who defended Sir Mario Owens says he could've done more to keep him off death row in Colorado.

The same lawyer is now the lead attorney for James Holmes, who is also facing the death penalty.

Dan King's surprising testimony took place Friday.

Owens is on death row and out of legal appeals. He was convicted, along with Robert Ray, for the double murders of Javad Marshal Fields and Fields' fiancee Vivian Wolfe in 2005.

Owens public defenders are now trying to convince a judge the convict had inadequate defense counsel at his original trial.

Owens' lead attorney in 2008 was Dan King, chief trial deputy for the state public defenders' office. "Dan King is looking back on his trial and he's saying 'yes, I made mistakes,'" says criminal defense attorney David Beller.

King is lead attorney for Aurora Theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

King testified Friday that he was not properly qualified to defend Owens, blaming mistakes in judgment, strategy and lack of experience.

He says he was given inadequate time, resources and personnel form the office of public defender to mount an effective defense. "When you are looking at the execution of your former client the defense attorneys are willing to blame themselves to avert that," says criminal defense attorney Christopher Decker.

"The judge has to look at Dan King's testimony and either decide that Dan King did not make any mistakes of if he did make mistakes that those mistakes would have led to a different trial ruling," David Beller says.

Decker adds that King's team is trying to get a new trial for Owens. "I think it unveils some of the realities that are occurring in each and every one of the Holmes proceedings because every time the defense says we need more time to review materials we need more resources to get experts."

They're already laying the foundations for a Holmes appeal.

The Aurora theater shooting trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in late January and those same questions about a lack of resources and time for the public defenders' office will almost certainly be brought up again by the man leading his defense.

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6 comments

    • Colo_Native_RN

      ….better yet, just vote Chickenlooper out of office in a week. This election shouldn’t even be close. Have the attorney General office block ANY attempt by Chickenlooper to pardon Nathan Dunlop and further more, have the new governor sworn in the day after the election. THERE IS A CASE EXAMPLE for this, from another state, as it has happened before.

  • annpirie

    How can anyone in their right mind vote for a man who threatened the voters with freeing Dunlap if he loses the election. Frankly, I more afraid of Hickenlooper than Dunlap.

  • Dawn

    Yet another story with dismal editing…Fox, for the sake of getting your point across correctly…FIRE YOUR EDITOR!!!!!

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