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Appeal denied for Lafferty follows similar path to another famous Utah case

Ron Lafferty (left) and Ron Yengich, LaffertyÕs new defence attorney review the official notice proclaiming Yengich as Ron LaffertyÕs new attorney. At 4th District Court in Provo. Sept. 25, 2002. PHOTO BY STUART JOHNSON. (Submission date: 09/25/2002)

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal court has rejected the latest appeal from Ron Lafferty, the cult leader convicted in the killing of his sister-in-law and her baby in American Fork 35 years ago.  He had requested death by firing squad after his sentence was handed down.

Lafferty who is now 78, is one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the state and his latest appeal was denied by the 10th Circuit Court in Denver on Monday.

Lafferty’s case reminds some Utahns of the 2010 firing squad execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner, convicted of murdering Melvyn John Otterstrom during a robbery in October 1984.  During a prison transfer in April, 1985, he fatally shot attorney Michael Burdell.

Gardner’s execution at Utah State Prison was the first to be carried out by firing squad in the U.S. in 14 years.  Lafferty also requested death by firing squad after his sentence was handed down despite saying for years that he wasn’t mentally competent to stand trial and his original attorneys misrepresented him.

With his latest appeal denied, Lafferty could face a firing squad within months.