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Dale Wayne Eaton timeline: From trial to death to life

Dale Wayne Eaton timeline: From trial to death to life

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Key dates in the murder of Lisa Marie Kimmell and the death penalty case of Dale Wayne Eaton.

March 25, 1988: Lisa Marie Kimmell drives from Denver. She plans to stop in Cody en route to Billings, Montana. She doesn't arrive, and a search for her begins the following day.

April 2, 1988: Kimmell's body is found by a fisherman in the North Platte River southwest of Casper near Government Bridge. She had been raped, stabbed and beaten. Investigators would spend a decade chasing leads without success.

1998: Officials run Dale Wayne Eaton's DNA through a database while he is incarcerated on an assault charge. It matches DNA found on Kimmell, but news of the connection isn't released to the public.

July 2002: Kimmell's mangled car is unearthed on a property owned by Eaton in the unincorporated town of Moneta, about 75 miles west of Casper.

April 17, 2003: Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan files charges against Eaton, including first-degree premeditated murder.

March 17, 2004: After a two-week trial, a jury in Casper convicts Eaton on all charges.

March 20, 2004: The same jury returns a unanimous verdict of a death penalty sentence for Eaton.

April 8, 2004: Kimmell's parents are awarded a $5 million civil judgment against Eaton for a wrongful death complaint.

May 20, 2004: A Natrona County judge signs a death warrant for Eaton and sets execution for June 25.

Jan. 10, 2005: The Wyoming Public Defender's Office files its first appeal, arguing, among other things, that Eaton received inadequate defense counsel. Judge David Park denies the appeal six months later.

July 18, 2005: Kimmell's parents have Eaton's barn and trailer destroyed after being awarded his Moneta property as part of the civil judgment.

July 13, 2006: A motion for a new trial based on Eaton's competency is denied. At a hearing two months later, Eaton's attorneys argue about his representation at trial and jury instructions.

Aug. 18, 2008: The Wyoming Supreme Court denies an appeal for a new trial.

Oct. 13, 2008: A Natrona County judge sets Eaton's execution for Dec. 19. One month later, the Wyoming Supreme Court delays Eaton's execution.

Feb. 25, 2009: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear one of Eaton's appeals, filed in December 2008. Two weeks later, the Wyoming Supreme Court orders the execution to remain on hold.

June 3, 2009: Eaton attorney Michael Reese files another appeal, arguing, among other things, that Wyoming's death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. The district court accepted the prosecution's response, and the state Supreme Court later declined to review.

Dec. 15, 2009: Natrona County District Court Judge David Park set a new execution date for Eaton, Feb. 12, 2010. It is later stayed on appeal.

Aug. 13, 2010: Eaton files an appeal in federal court focusing mostly on inadequate representation at trial.

Dec. 18, 2011: Eaton's appeal is accepted by the federal court, halting his execution.

May 3, 2012: A federal judge allows Eaton's appeal to continue in federal court. Hearings focusing on Eaton's competence and his representation are held through July and August 2013.

Nov. 20, 2014: U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson issues a 375-page ruling, vacating Eaton's death sentence and ordering a new sentencing hearing in Natrona County District Court. He allows prosecutors 120 days to appeal his ruling.


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